|DATELINE - Lake Martin, Alabama
Another Messabout goes down in the history books. Yippee!!!
A good time was had by all.
Mike & Vicki
(click to enlarge)
Cruising's officialdom was in attendance in full force. Mikeeeee, the
tireless moderator, was accompanied by his entourage; fiancée Vicki/Hippy
Chick and son Jeremiah. "Maddog!", the feckless group owner, made the 18
hour drive from Philadelphia, only to stagger around in a sleep deprived
stupor, mumbling semi coherently, before collapsing into his borrowed from
Chuck & Sandra
Celebrity members included Chuck Leinweber of Duckworks Magazine
fame and his wife Sandra. The throngs of group regulars included John
Bell, Ed Jones, and Bill Pecoul; a new member still in the first stage of
the boatbuilding disease, you know, "I'm thinking about this boat, that
boat, ..." (Sorry Bill, I was pretty bleary by the time we talked I hope
you'll get The Usual Suspects to help you along with your decision making
Mike gets Boo Boo
FRIDAY - Mikeeee and I were setting up the campsite when Chuck and
Sandra arrived. We exchanged "Howdies" and started unloading boats. They
brought two, "Caprice"
their 26' Sharpie, and David
Beede's 2001 Contest
winner, a smaller sharpie. We hauled the little sharpie off Chuck's
truck and plopped into the water. Chuck and Sandra went off to the boat
ramp to launch Caprice. Meanwhile the rest of us tossed
Boo Boo The Dinghy and Puffin into the
drink in front of the campsite. In what seemed like no time at all,
Caprice hauled up to the beached fleet, C&S hopped out and extended
introductions commenced in earnest. Full scale boat inspections rambled
from one craft to the next; everyone was duly impressed with everyone
else's magnificent efforts.
The Bell's in Mr.
"Ahoy the campsite!" John Bell and his miniature crew of two arrive
by water on their
AF4. John had some difficulty finding us. "I've been looking for you
guys and 'The Big Blue tarp' for two hours."
Apparently despite all of Mikeeee's preparations, the nincompoops at
the front gate completely forgot who, what, where and when the Dinghy
Cruising Messabout was. Another round of introductions and inspections
Maddog at the helm
"Maddog!", ever the tactless lout, hollers, "Awright! That's enough
of all this Hoohaa. Let's go sailing!" The Gathering marvels at my ability
to cut right to the meat of the matter.
Launchings begin in less than inspirational wind conditions. The
light breezes are temperamental and several of us, myself included, accept
tows from the powered craft. Eventually we all get out to the more open
and windier parts of the lake. Sailing and motoring fun abounds for
several hours. The stinkpotters zip about hither and yon. Those of us of
the cloth powered persuasion ponder why this place was called
State Park. Eventually the sun begins reaching for the trees on the
far shore and the fleet returns to the campsite.
Full scale boat
More boat talk. Dinner. More boat talk. The rain storm builds slowly
giving us time to gather the camping brik-a-brak and cram it all under Big
Blue. After dinner the campfire was large enough and hot enough to
overcome the rain and we all huddle around under umbrellas telling [what
else?] more boat stories far into the night. All in all, a day very well
SATURDAY - Huge breakfast and still more boat stories, followed by
lackluster sailing conditions.
MIKEEEE: "It's all your fault 'Maddog!'. Everywhere you go the wind dies."
Well Kids, this may be truer than I'd thought. Lake Lanier was supposed to
be a sailing Mecca... that is, until I showed up. Must be something about
me and boats-in-the-water. More on this later.
Mike shares his
On the plus side, had I been thoroughly occupied ripping along, I
wouldn't have time to "play" with Puffin's rig and study her advantages
and drawbacks. I've come to the conclusion that as awe inspiring as
Puffin's Junk rig is, it's just too damn complicated. The full deck is too
cramped as well. Puffin is a work in progress. The sail with its battens
will remain the same, but the rig will be converted to a balanced lug
version, reducing the six running lines to the masthead to two; a halyard
and a boom parrel [needed to take in the first reef up.] I'm still
debating whether to fool with the luff hauling parrel.
The deck, for lack of a better description, is going to be gutted. I'm
going to remove the side decks altogether and cut the main deck back to
the mast sleeve, exposing the CB well. That will still leave a small cubby
area to store stuff and alloy me to shorten the CB well, thereby letting
me shorten the CB to three feet.
Mr. Moon towing
Last year I'd built some oars but never got around to making them
functional on the boat. So this time I brought a few tools along and bored
some holes in the toerail for thole pins. I lashed the oars in place with
bungie cords. The Bad News: the pins promptly walked out of the holes and
committed suicide by jumping into the drink. The Good News: the little
bastards weren't necessary, the bungies did just fine alone. Yippie! Oar
Power! (The future promises more innovation; Mikeeee gave me a weedeater
to transform into an Iron Genny.)
Puffin on her
Saturday evening the mighty gathering is down to five, Jeremiah has
other plans. The rain is less determined and convincing. We enjoy
Mikeeee's Boston Butt Baked Beans and Hobo dinners under Big Blue. We
listen to CD's, having almost exhausted our collective supply of boat
stories. Truth is, most of us are hoarse from all the talking. "T Bubba",
a "Southern comedian", has us all in stitches for the better part of an
hour. Another day very well spent.
SUNDAY - Morning finds us all having breakfast, tearing down the camp,
and launching boats for a last valiant attempt to put our rails under. No
such luck, it's still me+boat+water=no wind.
Ed Jones & his
Ed Jones arrives to find all but the last details packed and ready to
head down the road. Ed breaths new life into the multitude. A fresh round
of introductions, inspections and Oohs and Aahs are in order. Ed has built
the most beautiful, well crafted, exquisitely detailed, little skipjack
I've ever seen. Truly a work of Art.
Ed and Mikeee head off to the ramp. Ed takes a dip on entering his boat
[on the water] for the first time. Luckily no cameras were present to
record his ignominy. The skipjack clears the marina, jib and gaff
resplendent in the morning sunlight. She's well down on her lines due to
Ed's and Mikeeee's organic opulescence, but giving a fair impression of
"sailing" due in large part to Ed's electric trolling Genny; a very
discrete accessory. From afar it would have fooled an expert, she seemed
to be sailing effortlessly. This was an excellent photo opportunity for
Ed's marvelous boat. I took loads of pictures.
.... and son
Time to go home - Remember what I said about "me+boat+water=no
wind"? Well, as I came down out of the mountains or hills or whatever they
are... I picked up a tailwind that blew so hard, so steady and so long
through Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, and North Carolina that I
averaged 44MPG for 450 miles. That's 12MGP better than normal. I was
halfway thinking about breaking out the sail; I could have probably gotten
home with the motor off. Sheesh! Some guys just can't get a break.
SUMMATION - A good time was had by all. It was great to meet new
people. I'd do it again in a minute!
(editors note: visit Maddog's website at: