In Pictures: 20th-Annual Leukemia Cup Regatta

This past weekend, I took a slight hiatus from working on the boat to attend the local Leukemia Cup Regatta, a race that drew sailboats from all over the state for fun sailing and fundraising. Towering 12-meter yachts with professional crews swapped wakes with family-run daysailers, all paying a registration fee that went towards blood-cancer research.

As crews tacked back and forth, plying the waters of Narragansett Bay, it seemed as though every sailor had a smile on their face, perhaps none more so than former America’s Cup champion and Chairman of the Leukemia Cup Regatta, Gary Jobson (whom you might recognize as the longtime-America’s Cup commentator on NBC.)

Jobson signed on as the organization’s honorary chairman in 1993 with the stipulation that he would only hold the position for three years. Well, twenty-two years and 372 regattas later Jobson is still at the helm, and the only change he’s made is dropping the word “honorary” from his title.

“The curve ball in this whole operations was 10 years into the position, in 2003, I was diagnosed with non-hodgkin’s lymphoma and I can report that it was a very tough 2-year battle with stem cell transplants,” says Jobson.

That cruel twist of fate left him with a better understanding of blood cancer, its treatments and cures.  “All the research that was being done thanks to the regattas, I ended up being the recipient. Sometimes when you try to help other people out, like myself and the folks at this regatta have done; the biggest recipient in the end might just be you.”

For more information about the Leukemia Cup Regatta and how you can help, please visit lls.org

Please enjoy a sampling of photos of this life-saving organization.

Discover Jamestown (in 22 photos)

Our home port of Jamestown, Rhode Island, is just a few minutes across the bay (or over the bridge) from its flashier and more famous Newport neighbor. Despite the proximity, these two destinations run at totally different decibels. With 5,400 permanent residents, Jamestown is a bit slower and a whole lot quieter, which is how the locals here like it.

It’s the type of town where everyone still gets morning coffee from a quaint bakery instead of a drive-through window and picks up supplies for a weekend project from the local hardware store. There are no supercenters. Dining options are limited to a half-dozen restaurants on Narragansett Avenue, but there’s enough variety to last all summer.

Transient slip space can be scarce in the high season, so plan ahead. If you want your mooring with a serene view and launch service and near one of the world’s best lobster rolls, I recommend Dutch Harbor Boat Yard on the island’s west side. Protected moorings at Clark Boat Yard or Jamestown Boat Yard (on the east side) are also excellent options. With a location that is close to destinations like Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Cuttyhunk and Nantucket, this is a smart jumping-off point — assuming  you ever decide to leave.

Enjoy a virtual stroll through the town that we call home:

 

Springing into the Boating Season

Mounds of snow retreated to the sewers, the once frozen ground was now soft beneath my boots and the sound of a circular saw pierced the still morning air. All of this could mean only one thing: Spring had finally arrived at Jamestown’s Clark Boat Yard. And with that, it was time to get back to work on the Karen Marie.

Among this year’s many projects, one of the most pressing is to refinish the interior, starting with the ceiling. Over the years the roof coring (the plywood center in-between two outer layers of fiberglass) has rotted due to a number of small leaks. Layer upon layer of fiberglass strips, wood, paint, plastic headliner, nails, screws and bolts had been affixed, like a Frankenstein gone wrong, to fix (read: hide) the leaks.

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In the battle of water vs. roof, water was clearly winning.

Armed with a scraper, my faithful orbital sander, and plenty of 60-grit paper, Karen and I began grinding down the many layers of debris. We worked in shifts so that sander was running constantly while the other person cleaned up the debris and attempted to pick up some of the dust that settled on, well, everything. After about 10 total hours, the ceiling was finally smoothed out and numerous holes were sealed with silicone. The next step is to adhere a Sailright fabric headliner to the top.

It was a weekend filled with hard and dirty work, but I type this entry with sore shoulders and a smirk on my face. Boating season is here at last.

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If you couldn’t tell, there is still a lot of sanding left to do.
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Even with the respirator and goggles, the interior work has been a dirty job so far.

4 Reasons to Love Woodworking

Tightly tucked into the corner of a snow-covered boat yard, the Karen Marie rests idly on a set of rusted blue stands, her canvas cover shielding her from the elements.  Unlike last winter, the past few cold-New England months were not filled with a frantic boat project. There were no masts to build but alas, I am learning that there is always work to be done on a boat.

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The better of the two doors, it could still use some TLC to return it to its former glory.

My focus is now shifting to the interior of my 1961 Rhodes Chesapeake, which is beginning to show her age.  She needs her old wooden roofline torn down and replaced, a fresh coat of paint, new upholstery and just some plain old TLC. The brightwork that years ago must have glistened is now gray and worn, setting the mood for our small living space. Looking to get a jump on its restoration, I brought my wooden companionway staircase and one of two wooden doors home for sanding and refinishing. On a few of the warmer days I set out with my orbital sander to remove layers  (and a lot of them!) of old varnish from their cedar skin.

Though sanding and wood working in general is considered a laborious chore (and in some ways it is) and often left for boat yards to handle, I rather enjoy it and here’s why:

  1. You get out of it what you put in: Few things in life are fairer than woodworking. If you take your time sanding and ensure that all the layers of old varnish are removed while continuously going over your work with a finer and finer grit paper, ensuring no sanding marks are left behind, when you’re finished, you will have something that really shines. Cut corners, leave scuffmarks or neglect the hard to reach places (read: underside of companionway steps) and it will show.
  2. It gives you an excuse to buy new toys: My toolbox sometimes looks the lost and found at the airport. I have three screwdrivers, of all different brands, two wire strippers of different colors, an assortment of zip ties, hose clamps and an bevy of paintbrushes that would make da Vinci jealous. But where my tool collection thrives is with my sanding equipment. I am the proud owner of a new belt sander, orbital sander and multiple sanding blocks for hand sanding. I have sandpaper of every grit and color. (In fact, I’ve been told I should head down to the beach with paper and glue to save money.) I have battled many hard to reach edges in my young restoration career. I’ve sanded the underside of handrails and a detailed steering wheel until I was certain I’d permanently rubbed off my fingerprints (thankfully, I still have all 10).  That all changed when I acquired a Dremel Multi-Max MM40, with a sanding attachment. This bad boy saved me approximately 4 hours of work on just the door and staircase project alone by reaching the tight corners.

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    A new power tool is a beautiful thing.
  3. Time to unplug: Sanding a flat door is not what you would call intellectually stimulating. In fact, some would say it’s mindless work, and I would have to agree, but in the instant gratification world we live in, where email alerts, Facebook and ESPN Gameday updates too often consume our personal time, I find it almost therapeutic to sit in my back yard or garage, unplug and work on something with my hands.
  4. Something to be proud of: My parents instilled in me, at a young age, the value of doing things yourself. Whether it was remodeling a bathroom, building a deck or simply fixing your own flat tire, the pride in doing something yourself was not lost on me, or so I thought. It wasn’t until I had built the wooden mast for my boat and sailed her that I truly appreciated the value in building something on your own that you could be proud of.  The same sense of pride was there when I painted the boat, varnished her topsides and I know one day when I’m hiding from a rainstorm in the cabin, I’ll be proud of this project too.

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    Karen uses a piece of 80-grit to sand the corners of the door, while occasionally giving me a death stare while I happily sand away with my new Dremel tool.

Happy Sanding!