Monday, December 31, 2012

New Address

If you didn't notice it down at the bottom of my last post, my blogging is continued post-build at:

Happy New Year to all! 

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Beautiful sunny day - time to go sailing! 

My car pulled the trailer and boat like a champ.  I could hardly tell I was towing something.  Everything made it down to the ramp in one piece.

Lolita Gomez with her pennant.  You can see more of her art at
Notice what else is happening here - I am struggling to push the rudder stock on (next time I'm bringing some grease) because the pintles and gudgeons are so tight that it is a long process of swaying the rudder back and forth while pushing down until it finally slides into place.  Also Rachel is dunking her head in the background!  

Rigged and ready to sail...

...except can't forget the champagne!

And I shared some with the Blue Tang since I don't think we did anything special for it's maiden voyage years ago.

A sea mirage.

Unfortunately we didn't have the breeziest day for sailing, so we spent some time just floating, but we did happen upon the occasional burst of wind, especially right before and right after lunch.

Brown pelicans.

Pelican and cormorants on the buoy between the Swan and Walt's boat.

See if you can find the osprey perched at the top of a tree.

Here comes Walt and Rachel with their sun-reflecting umbrella.

The osprey took off as we approached.

But the vulture stuck around, maybe hoping that in the noon heat one of our party would succumb.

We did some test tacks and jibes before coming in for lunch and got the pennant flying in the wind.

Not all Florida beaches are white sand.  Choice spot in the grasses and oyster shells.

We found a nice shady spot for lunch under cedars and palms, or in the cedar for Ross with his (un)frozen pizza.  The flies were not too bad.

There were lots of fiddler crabs on the beach.

The males sport one large pincher claw, and they aren't afraid to show it off (or use it).

Lilly calls them the prairie dogs of the coast - when you walk near them, they skitter off to their numerous holes and quickly dive out of sight.

Lilly relaxes on the sail back to the ramp.  Relaxation was short-lived due to shallow areas requiring the crew to raise and lower the centerboard and the lack of wind that required the crew to row us back in.  

The Blue Tang takes advantage of some wind to try to come to our rescue.  But we made it back on our own power (ie Ross's power).  

No videos of sailing, only herding fiddler crabs! 

For all of you who have followed along from around the world, I hope you've enjoyed seeing our boat come alive over the past year and a half or so.  It was a long, often challenging, but always fun project, and I think my dad would agree with me that we're glad it's finished so that now repairs can begin!  This is the culmination of this blog, but if you want to see pictures and read stories of future adventures on and off the Swan, feel free to check out  (It might take me a couple weeks to get this new blog up and running, so check back in a little while if nothing is up yet).

I also want to note the viewership of this blog.  When I started the blog, I imagined it as a way for family and friends that weren't in Tallahassee to watch the building process.  Little did I know that people from all over the world would be checking in regularly, but thanks to google and technology, I was able to keep track of where people were viewing the blog from.  Don't worry, I couldn't tell that you were checking in; just how many hits I had from each country.  There was a definite trend in the number of viewers from the top group of countries, so I like to guess that probably a good portion of these views were from people regularly checking in.  My theory is supported by knowing when people check the blog - y'all learned quickly that I usually posted on Sundays or Mondays - I could tell this by seeing huge spikes in hits on these days!

As of yesterday (so not including who sees this post), the top 10 countries (from most views first) were:

United States
New Zealand

Of course there were hits from many more countries than this, but unfortunately google only saves the data for the top 10...

goodbye and au revoir! (At least that covers 1/2 of the countries on the list).

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Launch is still on for tomorrow (Sunday) at Dickerson Bay.  Can't really call it a "cold front" in Florida, but the rainy weather today should lead into clearer skies and hopefully less than 90 temps tomorrow. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Lolita made a beautiful pennant for us! It'll fly Sunday!  

And there's enough left over fabric that if I ever get around to it, I can try to make a jolly roger for when we decide to go pirating :)

Monday, September 3, 2012


Trumpeter swan family on C-3 pool at Seney National Wildlife Refuge.  I drove the curly maple lumber home from the upper peninsula of Michigan at the end of my summer working on the refuge.  

Come see the Swan sail!
Sunday 9/9/12
Leaving Tallahassee 10 am
for Dickerson Bay, Panacea
Launching from the ramp at the end of Bottoms Road.
See you there.
(Check for a post Saturday for weather update)
For those of you overseas and states away - pictures will be posted of course!

If we are lucky, maybe we'll be honored with the presence of dolphins, or even a sea turtle.  But I'll be happy with a pelican or some gulls, too.  I saw these dolphins while canoeing off of St Marks National Wildlife Refuge.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

8-26. Day Last.

We're still playing around with how to transport the mast most safely.  It can go on top of my car on the roof rack, or on the boat like this (to a corner), or to the center of the transom.  Traveling on the boat is a little scarier because it and the boat need lots of protection.  For storage, this works really well, though, down the center of the boat to the transom it makes a nice A-frame for the tarp to sit over.  

And the carport is finally clean and empty!  Just in time for a hurricane that didn't come.

Downhaul on the boom.  We played around with this, tried it aft of the parrel beads, but decided the forces worked out better with the downhaul fore of the parrel beads - of course we can change it again after we've gone sailing a few times and have a better feel of how it'll actually work.

Raised the sail a couple times to try things out, get situated, and loosen up the parrel beads and raising action.  It was breezy and the boat was ready to sail.

Also lashed on the shackle for the mainsheet attachment to the boom.

We have an ingenious system for getting the boom and mainsheet out of the way when rowing - you just unclip the pulley with mainsheet from the bottom of the boat, clip it into a little line tied to the gunnel, then tie off the mainsheet so it isn't loose, and it holds the boom over to either side of the boat, clear of the oars and your head.

Here's a close-up of the system on the gunnel.

And another view of the mainsheet and boom out of the way on the gunnel.

Lowering the sail.

And all protected for the storm that didn't come our way.  Daddy also glued on the leather strips on the transom for the oars to rest on when not in use, and after that was done, the boat was officially finished and ready to sail.  There are going to be some adjustments, and actually I think we're going to have to re-do the foredeck porthole because we can't open it - the plastic warped some when I screwed it on because the holes didn't line up exactly - but that's can wait till we've launched.

Planning on sailing September 9, probably at Dickerson Bay in Panacea.  I'll post when we know for sure so that anyone can come see the boat if they want.  

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Finishing touches are happening.  The rudder and rudder stock are all rigged up and ready to steer, pin included - holding the tiller in the rudder stock.  

Below is my favorite piece of wood on the boat.  Unfortunately not the best photo, but you can see the beautiful grain of the curly maple.  Different in each piece of maple, this one looks 3-dimensional from certain angles under the varnish.  A rippling water effect.  Thanks to Jerry from Germfask, MI for all of the curly maple!

Lashing for the mast, and the belay pin for the downhaul.

Yesterday, Daddy took advantage of a day without rain to put the last coat of paint on the gunnels, then load the boat onto the trailer, where she'll sit until we take her sailing.  Here's a close up the bow hole rather than using a big bolt like we were intending to for cranking up onto the trailer.

On the trailer ready to hit the water, almost!

I screwed on the second oar lock socket this afternoon.  We are going to glue small strips of leather down on the top edge of the transom to protect the wood where the oars will lay when tied and not in use.  We always hope to not have to use the oars, and I wish we could go sailing without them because they can really be a nuisance, but the places we go sailing here, we really need oars, especially for getting away from and to boat ramps, getting clear of weedy shore patches on Lake Hall, and for all the days when winds are iffy.

And I love this drill.  It's been the best - I hope my dad lets me keep it when the project is completed; I've never owned a drill.  It has been through a lot and is caked with epoxy, so it's super strong now.  

Tomorrow we're going to attach the mainsheet to the boom, then we're ready to go sailing.  I guess we're just waiting on Isaac to pass now...