Sunday, June 26, 2011


I took this shot of a sign in Placencia, Belize a few years ago. Always a good reminder for sailors and landlubbers alike no matter where they are.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Often when I'm on BIANKA whether sailing or in one of my favorite anchorages I notice and hear things that might escape me in other settings. It might be the call of some bird or the wave action of the waters perhaps the sudden change in direction or temperature of the breeze.  It's good to pay attention to such things when sailing because they can sometimes tell you things that the electronics you might have on board will not. The journey of Capt. Marvin Creamer on his boat Globe Star back in the 1980's is a good reminder why.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I do enjoy my life on board BIANKA. Which might seem boring to some who need restaurants, nightlife and the constant companionship of others to feel that they are living well. I can find myself very happy with just sailing, and staring while anchored in some quiet location and preparing my meals.   Living on board for me is never boring and I find it does not have to be expensive either. It very much depends on what you need and not necessarily on what you want as Bob at BOAT BITS points out here and here. I was reminded of this lesson a few weeks ago when I was getting BIANKA ready for launching. The boat was still on land and I had not yet started provisioning her for the season. I decided to take break for lunch and check out a new waterfront restaurant at the nearby Town beach. It was a little more upscale from the snack bar next to it and had a nice waterfront view overlooking the beach. I had an appetizer, fish sandwich and a glass of wine. The bill came to a little over $41.00. A few days later after I launched BIANKA I went to the supermarket and spent about the same amount of money on groceries that I bought back to the boat. But, with those groceries I had lunches for a week as well as breakfast and some dinners including a delicous Lobster Roll for the same amount. Oh yes, I still had a waterfront view while dining in the cockpit.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Saturday Night at Sea Giclee Poster Print by George Cruikshank, 42x56
There are some things that I find that are just better to experience on my boat. One of the real treats for me in the beginning of the season is to listen to the  live broadcasts of the annual  Sea Music Festival held at Mystic Seaport Museum . This weekend was the 32nd one held. It is broadcast live on WPKN 89.5 FM in Bridgeport Connecticut. While being at the site does have some advantages as they have various workshops and concerts during the four days of the of the festival. I still find listening to the evening concerts on board BIANKA with a glass of some libation in my hand as the boat swings around in the breeze and my toe tapping in the cockpit to be another one of those pinch me moments. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Well, hard to believe but, it's been five years since I started my writings and ramblings here on the BIANKA LOG BLOG.  My first post is here. Since that time a lot has happened the Westerebeke diesel was removed and replaced by an electric propulsion system. In so doing BIANKA became the world's first Nonsuch with electric propulsion. I've also managed to cruise or travel to some really nice places in the world and hope to travel to many more before the ride is over.

Friday, June 10, 2011

SPRING LAUNCH: Friggin' Rigging

Well BIANKA finally got launched. The mast was stepped easily enough. But, the rigging took way much longer than usual. I don't know if it was the 90 degree heat along with an ozone health warning and no breeze or it's just that I am getting older. But, I raised and lowered the wishbone several times before finally getting it right. My first major mistake was not checking the choker block on the boom. I had it raised into position I climbed the ladder and attached the hanger lines and was about to install the choker line through the block when I noticed the block had no sheeve. What the...? I know it was fine last year somehow over the winter it fell apart and I missed it. So i HAD TO  unhook the hanger lines and lower the boom and replace the bad Schaffer block with a new Garhauer. I then raised the boom... wait did I put the right block on the boom? So I again lower the boom and inspect the block turns out I did. So it went on like that for a few hours in between stops to rest and take on water in the sultry tempertures. Finally everything was rigged and the sail put on and once out on the mooring all was right in the world as I opened up a cold beer and toasted to the new season.

Saturday, June 04, 2011


BIANKA is about to be splashed so I'm busy putting the finishing things that need to be done below the waterline. There are not too many things to do beyond fresh zincs and checking to make sure the through hulls are clear. One thing that needs to be done is to clean the prop and ground plate of whatever growth still remains. I use to spend a lot of time with a hand scrapper accomplishing this task. Then I discovered that a  3M 7772ES Paint and Rust Stripper and an electric drill makes this task so much easier and faster.

 Here is the before photo of the prop:

There are few pesky barnacles and some hard sponge like growth. Below is what one of the blades looks like with less than a minutes worth of work using the 3M Paint and Rust Stripper and my trusty Black and Decker Drill:

In five minutes you can have the prop nice and shiny and ready for the water. It might also uncover some important information about your boats prop as I did:
The above shows I have a 16 inch right hand turning prop with a 13 inch pitch. Important info if one wants to change or replace a prop. Props are not the only thing the 3M Paint and Rust Stripper can make shiny and new. It also does a great job on on the boats Dyna Plate grounding bar making it really shine:

My biggest concern here is that some landlubber yahoo wandering through the boatyard is going to think it is a gold bar instead of bronze and try to steal it off the boat. So it's best to get the boat in the water as soon as possible.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


BIANKA is still not in the water though I am hoping to fix that by the weekend. Part of the reason was my girlfriend needed a vacation so Capt. Mike spent seven days swimming and snorkeling in the Florida Keys delaying BIANKA's launch.  Not that it was hardship to do so.  But, what struck me was how warm the water was. In some locations the water temperature was 88 degrees Fahrenheit. That's pretty warm for spring and bad news now that we have started Hurricane season. The National Hurricane center has this prediction for this year:

"Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA is predicting the following ranges this year:

•12 to 18 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which:
•6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including:
•3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher)

Each of these ranges has a 70 percent likelihood, and indicate that activity will exceed the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes."
Having been on board last year and rode out a brush with Hurricane Earl successfully I am not eager to repeat the experience. I will certainly  be keeping a weather eye to make sure I am not surprised if one should one be making it's way up the coast.