Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lawrence "Larry"Lobster - R.I.B.

Poor Larry. His memorial reads, "May he rest in butter." and "Here today, bisque tomorrow..."

He was a hard-shell lobster and he was yummy! As were all his relatives that we enjoyed on the last full day of our season this year. We had a lunch-time lobster bake at Calderwood Island and it was quite pleasant. Rob L. provided the artwork. It's going to be a looooong winter before we get to have another island lobster bake and see if the marker is still there!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Donating to local food pantries.

At the end of the season we always cart boxes of left-over food off the boat and to our house. We eat what perishables we can, store what we can use next year, and donate the rest to a local food pantry. I figured if that is what we do every year, that must be what the other local captains do too...and I was right! So this year I suggested that we put our donations all together and get a picture and that happened on Thursday when we had our first Maine Windjammer Association meeting to start planning for 2010. Capt. Mike hosted the meeting and it was a pretty setting for our group photo:

We filled the back of my truck even though a couple boats had already delivered their donations. All told, we estimated that our annual donation added up to about 300 pounds on non-perishable food for our local communities. Not bad, especially when you figure we've been doing this for years!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Our funky cover!

Our cover has been on since October 8th, just a few days after our last moments of sailing for the season. The rig is tarred, the masts are slushed, the black water tanks have been scraped, and the fresh water tanks have been emptied. The thru-hulls have been closed, the antifreeze is in the lines, and the blocks have their second coat of finish paint. Whew! We're ready for winter.

I love our funky paint job!

Joe Berkall took this pic of John after he had tarred the rig. Did he get any tar on the rig?
This is one of the last (and messiest!) jobs of the season.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


On the last day of the season we had a stowaway. She showed up early in the morning before we were even underway and stayed with us almost all the way back to Rockland. She enjoyed a breakfast buffet of sunflower seeds, apple crisp topping, and dried fruit. There was quite a discussion over what she was and whether her appearance was good luck or bad luck.

Bob Grant captured a shot of our stowaway as she enjoyed a ride in Rebecca (our starboard side dingy).

Some thought she was a Baltimore oriole, some thought an accidental. Marc did some research at home and found compelling online photos that suggest our stowaway was a female yellow-headed blackbird. Way cool when you see the range map:

According to AllAboutBirds.com, these birds live and breed in prairie wetlands and along other western lakes and marshes where tall reeds and rushes are present. The site goes on to say "A few Yellow-headed Blackbirds appear nearly every winter along the East Coast, especially in Florida. Occasionally a few go even further afield; vagrants have been seen in Iceland and northern Europe." Now we can add Penobscot Bay to the list!

Why was our visitor so far from home? Word must have spread about our great trips on the Evans, of course!

Now, was her appearance good luck or bad luck?

I did a little research online and found an amazing book published in 1892 called Legends and Superstitions of the Sea, and of Sailors in all Lands and at all Times. This is an amazing book! There are 502 pages and I, of course, haven't read them all but I have found some preliminary references to birds. Including:

Swans floating in the wave is a harbinger of good luck.

Sea-fowl are regarded as furnishing indications of coming storm or sunshine.

"When sea-birds fly to land,
A storm is at hand."

A Scottish rhyme says - "Sea-gull, sea-gull sit on the sand,
It's never good weather when you're on the land."

Goylir, another sea-bird, is thought to appear before a storm and was named by Spanish sailors "malafigo" or evil-bird.

And, of course, we all know (from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner) that it is thought by sailors a bad thing to kill a gull, especially an albatross.

"For all averred I had killed the bird
that made the breeze to blow."

Well, our little yellow headed blackbird flew away and we were convinced that she was good luck. The sun was shining for most of the morning but, as the superstitions say, a storm was on the way. We made it to the dock in time to take our sails off and stow them away dry and about an hour later a soaking rain started and stayed with us for the rest of the day...even though our stowaway did not.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Making the news...well, front page of the local paper anyway!

We were fortunate enough to make the front page of our local paper, The Herald Gazette, on October 1st, thanks to photographer Tim White. We love the historic use of wind power on our 1886 National Historic Landmark schooner and the modern wind turbines being built on Vinalhaven in the background. Tim captured a combination of centuries in one shot!

The caption says: " Under full sail, the Isaac Evans sets forth along the Vinalhaven shoreline, where newly erected wind turbines rise above the trees. According to photographer Tim White, it was one of those lucky photos, captured from a balcony at the Samoset Resort in Rockport with a Canon 500mm lens he uses for bird photography. 'As I set it up on a tripod, I saw the Evans out of the corner of my eye, and it sailed right through my field of view. I couldn't have planned that shot if I'd tried!' photo by Tim White"

We're glad we could oblige!

I love the shadow of the main mast on the fore sail, the flags out straight, the yawl boat up...just so much to love about the shot. (I wish we had our topsail set.)

Note: That's yours truly in the yawl boat. I was replacing one of the hoist blocks because the patch had broken and the pin holding the sheave was compromised. That's "the amazing Bob Bickford" at the wheel.

View more of Tim's photography here: http://www.timwhitephotography.com/ (great Maine scenes!)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Shore Support

Repeat guest Bob Grant captured this action shot of Brian catching our lines as we returned to the dock from a trip early this season. There's a lot going on here...did you notice Brian's hair cut? And the new cat walk, railing, and pilings complete with plastic caps? Of course you see that heavy line in mid-air (great toss!) and Brian's focus. Knowing that he was there every time to cast us free and catch lines upon our return was nice.

He juggled three phones, kept things going on our other boat (M/V Rendezvous), ran the Evans office and Ship's Store, was often at boarding and/or Captain's Call, ordered supplies, and kept track of all the money. Not to mention doing all the ship's laundry (the first season we've ever done it on our own rather than using a service.)

I'm sure I've left out a bunch of stuff that he'll tell me all about later but I thought this was a good shot to share of this season's wonderful shore support.

Hail Mary

The schooner world lost a gentle soul this season and there are no words I can write to better honor Mary Barney than the ones her captain wrote on his blog. Please read them here:


and here:


Isaac H. Kitten

Our friends Joan and Bob just acquired a new member of the family and named him "Isaac H. Kitten". Isn't he adorable?!?!?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Winter Projects

It rained today so we couldn't finish the plastic for our winter cover so the winter projects have begun. Mark and John spent the day taking blocks apart, cleaning the old grease off, checking bearings, regreasing, and putting everything back together. There are 65 blocks on the schooner and they have 17 more to go that they'll finish tomorrow. The next step for all of the blocks is to sand, prime, and paint them. Yup...we do all of that each year. Blocks are pretty important and we want to make sure they are in tip-top shape.

I cleaned our wood cook stove and prepared it for winter by smearing a coat of shortening on every surface inside and out. We cover it with plastic to keep dust and water off our greasy surface. In the spring we'll wipe off as much as we can and start a fire to burn off the rest.

We also were on "poop patrol" today. We winterized our holding tanks which is an odiferous job! Brian was right there with me for the second year in a row opening up our tank access ports and helping get everything clean in there. Our system flushes with salt water and when that mixes with the contents of our tanks it creates a brittle scale. I learned early on in my ownership that if I didn't get in there at the end of the season and break away all that scale that it would build up and cause problems during the season. Okay, it's not the most glamorous captain's job there is but it sure makes life easier during the summer.

I was thinking it for the last several weeks of the season but I'm now able to sing it from the mountain-tops....We didn't have to take our head pumps apart even once this summer! Woohoo! I only had one five-minute head repair all season and that was when one of the spring cartridges (that makes the flush pedal work) broke. I also didn't have to replace either of our water pumps although usually I have to replace at least one of them mid-season. Lastly, after taking care of a few early-season problems with the yawl boat, we didn't have any further problems with her for the rest of the year. But not having to take a head pump apart during a trip (any trip!) is a wonderful thing. Once again...woohoo!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Winter Berth

As of 3:00 pm yesterday, the schooner is in her winter berth! That's three hours of work on Saturday and five hours of work today....eight hours to remove everything from the schooner and get her tied up inside the cove at the shipyard. Two months to put her together and one day to take it all apart!

We started at 9:00 am taking down the remaining rigging and swinging the main boom forward to the fore mast so it fits under the cover that we'll be building today. The topmast is down and both anchors and chains are off the boat waiting to be stored ashore. At high tide today we will get Tug 'n' Grunt out of the water and move the winter cover pieces over to the schooner. We're pretty sure our funky paint job on the cover is going to cause some talk and funny looks but we love the way it looks and can't wait to see it all together!

Yes, we'll post pictures!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

I found my camera!

I was hoping for a busy day today aboard Rendezvous because of the visit of Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas cruise ship but the weather made it possible for me to putter at the shipyard. I sorted through piles of boat parts, brought home more food stuffs, and found my camera!

We sailed home yesterday morning from Barlett Harbor on North Haven. There was sun early in the morning but the closer we got to home the darker the sky became. We sailed through a shower and took an extra tack to see if we could dry the sails and get in before the next shower. Here we've just taken the sails down and we're heading for the dock. Megan and Ruth are tying the last of the square knots that will keep the main in a neat bundle as we carry it off the boat.
And here you can see Joe taking the last of the hardware off the fore:

"Birthday" Bob got some great shots of the sails and spars being carried off and I'll share those next.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

We did it!

Well, sad but true, our season aboard the Evans is now over. Over but for the final stages of preparing her for winter.

In just three hours today, with the help of all the guests from our last trip as well as Apprentice Jay from New Jersey and a crew member from a neighboring schooner, we were able to get all the sails off and stored in our sail bin before the rain arrived. Unfortunately, two of our three hours today were wet but we got a lot done anyway.

The main gaff, fore boom, and fore gaff are all stowed in the dock building. All the remaining food is now jamming our (and Levi's!) refrigerator and pantry at home. All the cooking tools, deck boxes, and spare parts are off. The mirrors, soap dishes, sink stoppers, curtains, framed pictures, and books are off. Rebecca and Daniel are on shore as are their davits. Life jackets, cushions, folding chairs and tarps are stacked away. The cannon, powder boxes, electronics, running lights, light boxes, life raft and rack, EPIRB, radar, radio, depth sounder, GPS, life ring, and strobe light are packed away.

There is still plenty to do to keep the crew busy before I head off for the Open Door session at Haystack Mountain School for Crafts next weekend. We need to secure the centerboard, swing the main boom, lower the topmast, remove both anchors and chains, lower and label all the blocks and lines, and remove the mattresses, blankets, quilts, and pillows. We'll remove the pot belly stove and grease up the galley stove before wrapping it in plastic (that stays on the schooner year-round).

When all that is done (by the end of the day on Monday most likely), we can move the schooner into her winter berth, rig our winter lines, take Tug 'n' Grunt out of the water, and build our winter cover. If the weather cooperates, that can all be done by the end of the day on Thursday. We'll see.

The last trip of the season was amazing. There's so much to report. Watch for posts and pictures (if I can find my camera amongst all the stuff that came off the schooner today!)

Good work crew!