October 17, 2009

1885 British screw schooner Amazon at Bristol RI Columbus Day 2009

Higher resolution images are available here

The British screw schooner Amazon was built at Southampton in 1885 from designs by the renowned Dixon Kemp. Kemp intended her to be fast and a good seaboat.

Carvel planked in teak and pitch pine on oak frames, with alternate wrought iron strap floor reinforcement, bronze fastenings, lead keel and copper sheathing, Amazon's survival reflects the high quality insisted upon at build - her hull is still largely original.

Her builder and first owner, Tankerville Chamberlayne, Esq., personally supervised her construction by his own 'Arrow Yard' at Northam on the River Itchen. This small non-commercial facility was established by the Chamberlayne family for the maintenance of the famous cutter Arrow (1822), which was adapted continuously and thereby kept racing competitively into the 1890s. Amazon's engine and boiler were supplied by the adjacent works works of Day, Summers and Company.

Amazon was used for summer cruising, to attend sailing regattas along the south coast of England, and to visit France. She was sold shortly after Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Royal Fleet Review in 1897 to a prominent French yachtsman an was based at St. Malo as Armoricain until 1900, when she returned to British ownership.

A new owner took her to London and after 52 years, her original engine and boiler were removed on her conversion to diesel in 1937. she became a houseboat in a west London Yacht Basin.

Arthur Lowe (1915 — 1982) an English actor best known for playing Captain George Mainwaring in the popular British sitcom Dad's Army bought "Amazon" as a houseboat in 1968, but realized her potential and took her back to sea in 1971. He used Amazon as a floating base while touring coastal theaters, accompanied by his wife Joan. Amazon pursued a successful charter business in the 1980s, before migrating to the north of Scotland in 1990.

This unique vessel is currently registered in Guernsey, a British Crown dependency in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. I photographed her on Columbus day 2009 on a mooring near the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, RI.


July 06, 2009

Short Video from Tuesday night Racing June 30

Matt Asaro's Quest 33 Cepheus before the BYC Cox series race.

Kayaks on Barrington River

There was a large group of kayaks out paddling on the Barrington River tonight.

June 21, 2009

Rescue from capsized center console off Newport RI Fri June 19

The front page of the June 20 Providence Journal featured a rescue story of a capsized center console with 2 men aboard off Brenton Point Friday morning.

pro jo june 20 2009 Newport rescue

One of the boaters reached shore on his own, after their 19 foot Grady White center console capsized in rough surf off Brenton Point. Two brave Newport police officers, Scott Moody and Joseph Lavallee, judged that the man who was still in the water didn't have much time. Rather than waiting for rescue crews, who were donning wetsuits at the scene, they dropped their belts and bulletproof vests, walked over slippery rocks into the 60 degree surf and swam to assist the exhausted victim. They tried to help him walk when they got closer to shore, but he could barely stand after 35 to 40 minutes in the water. The victims were treated for hypothermia at Newport Hospital. Neither of the boaters was wearing a life jacket.

more details on the story are on the Projo news blog:

Hats off to officers Moody and Lavallee!

A couple of summers ago, I witnessed a similar incident when a center console with 2 fishermen aboard capsized in breaking surf at nearby Kettlebottom rock. Fortunately in that incident, the two fishermen were picked up unharmed by a nearby boat (after the current washed them clear of the surf zone.) Boaters and fishermen need to be extremely cautious in these waters. When large ocean swells roll into the shallows around these reefs, dangerous breaking waves appear suddenly.

June 18, 2009

BYC Cox Series Tuesday Night racing June 16

We took 2nd place and are third overall in the series so far.

June 11, 2009

BYC Cox Series Tuesday Night June 9 Racing Photos

June 9

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

BYC Cox Series Tuesday Night June 2 Racing Photos

June 2

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

BYC Cox Series Tuesday Night May 26 Racing Photos

May 26

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

BYC Cox Series Tuesday Night May 19 Racing Photos

May 19

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Fishing is looking up

Striper fishing is in full swing in RI. I landed this 34 in bass last evening on the Warren River trolling a tube. I found success on the rising tide at about 7:30 pm. As soon as I hooked up, I realized it was a nice fish and I had left the landing net down below. I was alone on the boat and didn't want to take a chance putting the rod in a rod holder to grab the net from the cabin, so when the fish came up to the boat, I stepped down onto the swim platform and lifted my catch out of the water without a net.


May 24, 2009

My first fish of 2009

No longer skunked.... Fishing off the Whaler in Narragansett Bay I caught a keeper tautog and a schoolie striper (throw-back) yesterday morning. My first fish this season.

May 17, 2009

Lots-A-Luck is running

It always feels good to get the engine running for the first time of the season. I replaced the gaskets on the exhaust elbows because I was starting to get a little rust around the edges of the gaskets. The castings look good after 4 years of service. I cleaned them up, bolted them back up with the new gaskets, touched up the paint. No leaks when I started her up! There is nothing like the throaty rumble of a V8 that's been sleeping all winter long.

The engine is a fresh water cooled LM318. It has a 4" dia. Sen-Dure heat exchanger. Every year, when I replace the pencil zinc I have to grind it down because the zinc's I can buy hit one of the legs of the heat exchanger.

Here is what the stock pencil zincs look like from most marine supply places.
Here is what it looks like after I grind it to fit
pencil zinc
Here is what it looks like installed (with the end cap of the heat exchanger removed. It's not that easy to see in the last photo, but the zinc hits that bottom leg of the heat exchanger. If you try to force it in, I think it's possible the zinc could snap off the brass plug and you might not even know it if the end cap wasn't removed from the heat exchanger.
chysler heat exchanger

I posted a question about it over on the marine engine discussion forum. I'm pretty sure that others must have run into this too. It's a pain in the neck, but I stick the zinc in the chuck of my drill press and grind away material with a 60 grit abrasive. if I had a lathe I would turn it down. I'm probably removing about 1/3 of the zinc to get it to clear the bottom leg of the heat exchanger.

Tuesday night racing starts this week at Barrington Yacht Club. I'll be crewing on Glamorous Glenice with Ray and many from the old crew. I've been away from it for years and am looking forward to getting back to it.

May 13, 2009

Kathleen a sweet cat from N. Falmouth

Kathleen caught my eye a couple of weeks ago when I was out for a bike ride, and stopped by the Warren River to see what was going on in the yards. I regretted not having my camera, that first time I saw her when she was out of the water. I was out biking again this morning and took along my camera. I was surprised to see she is in the water, rigged and almost ready to go.

Wood hull, new wood spars. Purr!

May 05, 2009

Commissioning the Whaler

I packed the tailer wheel bearings a couple of weekends ago, but the real fun came this past weekend. Charged the battery, tightened up the spark plugs, fresh gas in the tank, she started right up on the first crank! I love the sound of the engine the first time it starts up in the spring. I had to scrub the terminals on the battery cables to get the power tilt working.

Now all we need is some sunshine!

March 21, 2009

Frostbiting off Newport March 21 via webcam

I was tickled by this image of the Newport Frostbiting fleet in front of Fort Adams this morning via the RI Yachting webcam.

Spring is here and the crocuses are up.

February 01, 2009

Impressions from the Providence Boat Show

I visited the boat show Saturday evening. It was awfully quiet. I counted only 14 people in Charlie Soares seminar on striped bass fishing, which historically draws big crowds. Charlie, as usual offered an informative and entertaining program. The show floor space was reduced and I would say that exhibitors outnumbered visitors. One difference I noticed compared to past shows was I didn't see exhibitors asking visitors to remove their street shoes before going aboard. I think the salesmen were just happy to see a warm body, and weren't about to discourage visitors.

I had a pleasant chat with Joe Burke, publisher of Points East about his magazine, which he said is doing well despite tough economic conditions.

SafeSea was showing some very impressive video of rough water rescue / recovery operations around Newport.

I held on tight to my wallet this year. I bought a cup of coffee and paid $1 for 3 hours parking at the Providence Place Mall. That's a huge reduction compared to last year, when I renewed 2 boat registrations, updated my SafeSea membership, bought a $99 set of Bad Dog drill bits.

January 31, 2009

Update on Goetz Yachts - back in operation.

The Providence Journal reported Friday that Goetz Yachts is back in operation, rehiring 40% of its workforce last week and 40% this week after a client recommitted to an $8 M project that had been halted due to economic conditions. Eric Goetz reported that many of his employees were working over the last couple of weeks despite not being paid for their effort. That's dedication that you won't find in most businesses. The downside is that the company is operating in receivership. I'm rooting for them to pull this one out.


January 24, 2009

Dewaruci Indonesian tall ship at Newport RI, June 2007

At the end of June, 2007 I was lucky to visit and photograph the largest gathering of tall Ships at Newport, RI since the 1976 Bicentennial. I motored around the harbor in my Boston Whaler. Traffic in the harbor wasn't too heavy the day before the parade of sail. On a cold day like today, the photo makes me think that spring can't be too far off.

Dewaruci is a 58.3 m (191 ft.) steel hulled barkentine sailed as a training ship by the Indonesian Navy. Construction started in 1932 but was delayed by world war II. The vessel was completed and launched in 1953.

Keep Warm,

January 13, 2009

Signs of the Economic times: layoffs at Hinckly, receivership at Goetz

The Bangor Daily News reported today that Hinckley yachts laid off 25 more employees from it's Trenton, ME facility after laying off 49 from the same plant last October. The slumping economy remains the reason the luxury yacht manufacturer is cutting back. The latest layoffs reduce the number of employees Hinckley has in Maine to 215.

The layoffs at Hinckley come just a week after Eric Goetz Custom Sailboats, Inc. of Bristol, RI was petitioned into receivership and all of its 75 workers were laid off on Jan. 6. Eric Goetz told the East Bay Newspapers that the inability to obtain refinancing along with termination of a contract by an international customer precipitated the situation.a statement was issued, saying “The company is hopeful that this project will be restarted, however, in order to preserve its assets and to protect its workforce, the company laid off workers on 12/31/08 after having met its payroll and health insurance obligations,” You can read the story about Goetz atEastBayRI.com. Not that I could ever afford a boat from either of these companies, but I hope that this works out. There are a lot of related businesses that benefit from their high-end projects.

January 12, 2009

Hand Carved Wooden Striped Bass - Realisitic

A few years ago, a friend of my Dad's carved this replica striped bass to commemorate a beautiful fish that was caught by his son. That's some very impressive woodworking!

Last week the bills for the yacht club and the mooring arrived. Sure signs we are headed toward warmer weather.



January 08, 2009

Sailing Ship Jeanne Johnson visiting Providence July 2003

I photographed the Jeannie Johnson, a 3 masted barque during her visit to Providence in July, 2003. My webshot archive of photos is here.

The Jeanie Johnston is a stunning replica of a 19th century sailing ship, one of the last before the steam ships took over. Her construction was completed in 2002, and she now operates as a Sail Training vessel, a Famine History Museum and a Corporate Entertainment venue.
Length : 45m (148ft)
Beam: 8m (26ft)
Draft: 4.2m (14ft)
Displacement: 510 tonnes
Rig: 3-masted barque, with 4-square sails/mast, and single topsails.

January 06, 2009

More fishing - 31" striped bass July 2008

Here is the best shot I have from fishing last summer. Caught near Kettle Bottom Rock off Jamestown, RI. Thanks to my son Nick for taking the photo!
I always enjoy seeing that glimpse of red in the western sky when I leave the office at the end of the workday during these first weeks of January. It's the first indication that the days are getting longer and spring is on its way.

January 04, 2009

My legendary fishing outing - July 3, 1966

It was just after my 8th birthday. I went fishing with my Dad at Rocky Point off Plymouth MA, where the Pilgrim nuclear plant is now located in Podunk, our 19-1/2 foot Grady White runabout. We were bottom fishing with sea clams on dual hook rigs. I said, "Dad, I think I've got something". I couldn't lift the rod. He took it from me, pulled on it and said, "You're caught on the bottom. Try to work it loose." I played with the rod for about 15 minutes or so trying to get it up, but couldn't budge it. It was time to head in, so my Dad took the rod again and started pulling on it. Surprised, he said you've got a fish! We were very surprised when the fish came into sight and it wasn't one, but two big cod, close to 10 pounds each. Those were the days. I posed for the photo in our backyard when we got in. A priceless memory.


January 01, 2009

Happy New Year, more winter photos

2008 ended with another 6-8 inches of snow and a frigid blast from the north. Here are more photos taken the week before Christmas.

This isn't the same Moonshine mentioned in my recent post