June 4, 2017

Of Sailboats, Love, and Subtle Changes

"Let the beauty of what you love be what you do."


Back to the Bay!

For this blog post I'm taking a little different slant.  I'll be comparing and freely elaborating on the similarities of boats and love and how both of these dear elements can often leave you breathless with both subtle and profound changes.

It was April 2017 when I trotted my horse back into the little town on the Chesapeake Bay, Deltaville, Virginia.  Glory Days was right where I'd left her in the dusty boat yard for the past 6 months. It was finally time to get her prepped and ready for a summer of cruising with passionate dreams of sailing with her into New York Harbor by mid June. 

It was also time to get her prepped and ready for the imminent, now get this... sale of the boat.  I know it's hard to imagine, but the next best boat is out there waiting to be discovered. Like love, there's many fish, or in this case many boats in the sea.  Allow me to explain.

In love and boats it is all a passion of the heart.  All too often we find ourselves wanting just a little bit more than meets the eye. There is no perfect love or perfect boat, so get over it.  Accept what you can accept and celebrate it. 

In sailor's terms this need to have just a "little bit more" length or glitter is a psychological phenomenon known as "three-feet-itis."  It's a chronic condition in a sailor's salty brain that keeps whispering in his ear: "Just 3 more feet in length and you would have the perfect boat!"  Be careful, "three-feet-itis" CAN be sexually transmitted. 

Just a few more feet in length may not sound like much, but with more length comes more width, more space, more weight, and more safety. In other words, bigger, better, faster, more. 

I have found when it comes to passions like boats and love nobody really knows for sure how things will turn out.  Both are reasons to live and die for, and both require a high degree of risk. And both will take you to the highest possible places of ecstasy, passion, comfort and bliss. Love is all that's worth living for, and boats are a close second.

It's never easy to part company with anything you truly love, be it the girl you lost or the boat you sold.   My current conundrum of "Sail or Sale" may sound like a dichotomy but either option is not bad I keep reminding myself.  

I've worked hard for what I have in life but sometimes the reality of my privileged life smacks me right in the face. Why, with all the pain, poverty, and suffering in this world could I ever have any reason to pine over whether to Sail or Sale my yacht?  It's silly. In fact it's embarrassing and humiliating when I find myself complaining about such a good problem to have.

Someone asked me why on earth would you sell this great boat? True, she's taken me over 4000 miles from Key West to Norfolk, and Bahamas in between. And yes, it is hard to imagine actually parting with her, soulmate material. It's sort of like the love you thought would last forever. For me it's a clear case of three-foot-itis, so I try not to get too attached to the separation factor for this piece of fiberglass called a boat. Love is a different matter all together.

Some of the best memories of my entire life were shared on this boat, particularly during the past 2 years. But like  love, with a boat you only advance from one situation in order to move UP to another that hopefully has a higher calling to your spirit. It's a gamble either way.

Clearly, it was time to get to work here.  The weather in April was near perfect and this would be a working trip not a sailing trip. The first order of business would be to prep and paint the hull with a double coating of a toxic antifouling paint to repel those pesky barnacles and sea growth.


It's that time to give way to the whims and fancies of your heartstrings.  Oh my, the great spiritual lift of creating a NEW dream through the labor of sanding, scrubbing, and scraping! That always stirs me to discover a new level of enlightenment I never knew I had.  Sort of like a fresh new giddy love affair. 

Whether Sail or Sale, either way, Glory Days needs to look her best since she will soon be going to either the Macy's parade in NYC or the sales parade right here. 

Returning into the zen of boat work came easily. There is a unique satisfaction in doing things yourself.   Lord knows there are enough things that must be hired out to others so why not learn to be a do-it-yourselfer even if you’ve never done it before?  

My personal mantra for 2016 had been "When was the last time you did something for the first time?" I continue to follow this creed and it has opened my life to many new experiences.  

My new personal mantra for 2017 is "I can do anything if I believe it." I'm still living this creed but heres' the big "but." Although boats and love are dearest to me, boats are a far easier task to learn and master.

Spelled backwards and it's the beginning of  E V O L ve

Other than a few cuts and scratches and a bruise on my thigh the size of Jamaica I survived the whole boat work ordeal pretty much unscathed.  In fact it was quite rewarding to complete it all and tell myself "I can do anything damn it."  (Well except you know what... sigh.)

I'll spare you the gory details of sweat, scrapes, and broken fingernails in the course of my boat work here.  All the cuts, nicks, and blisters from this vessel project are what sailors affectionately call "boat bites." (Lovers call them "passion marks.") 

These little wounds in the photo above are nothing compared to the boat bites I got last time I tackled this job.  Me must be getting smarter.

Now for some real boat porn! 

Below is a photo of the prop before I began. As you can tell, she's "eat up" with barnacle growth. Sort of like an STD for a boat you might say :)  You gotta clean it up before you can move on to new waters.

This task was about a 5 hour job of sitting on a stool  grinding away and wearing her down with a stiff wire brush on a power drill.  But wallah! My perseverence soon transformed this bad rash into a handsome bronze blade... shimmering like a star once again! 
(I'm easily amused.)

After 3 coats of zinc infused paint below, she's ready for another season or two.

Next, I don’t mean to sound cocky here, but somewhere down the line about 2-3 years ago I embraced the bold notion that I could do just about anything I set my mind to. (Except of course when it comes to jig saw puzzles, mathematics, and love.) 

I arrived at this "Can Do" epiphany because all it really takes is a little curiosity, some research, and good dose of patience. Ah the parallels of love and boats continue to woo me.  Before you know it you can suddenly become a bona fide world class handy man! Women love handymen. Glory Hallelujah! 
You see, I had taken a long look at the type of guys I hired to do certain jobs for me like engine repairs and electrical tasks that I was not well versed in.  Then I said to myself, hmmmmm this dude doesn’t look any smarter than me but he DOES know how to rebuild a carburetor for $150 an hour. Or he DOES know how to paint the bottom of a boat for $2300. Bingo!

Boat work is not rocket science.  Suddenly it became a no brainer. I’ve come to the conclusion that before I hire-out expensive labor for jobs, I will first give it a try myself. And if I don't at least try, I should have my head examined the next time I'm forking out 2 or 3 boat bucks for their services.  (By the way, one "boat buck" is the equivalent of $1000.) 
OK, for the moment lets imagine I CAN fix anything, navigate anywhere, solve algebra equations, and even LOVE like God!  And let's even say I'll always embrace a humble gratitude for everything happening around me whether it pains my heart or tickles my soul. AMEN! I feel much better now that I got that out of the way.

Oh boy! More boat porn photos!!  (Should this really be following by a Jesus photo?)

I won't bore you with all the details of the various solvents, paints, primers, epoxies, compounds, and grids of sandpaper required. And let's not forget the contortionist moves of working a paint roller while lying upside down under a boat. And while you're at it in the 90 degree weather, be sure to wear a full respirator, goggles, gloves and a disposable jump suit. It's not time to die just yet so kids be sure to always use protection in lovemaking and boat working.  

One last thing, you will have to suck up to the fact that anti-fouling paint for a boat costs upwards of $200 per gallon and you will need two. Try not to spill any please. 

Whether you are sanding the surface or applying the paint, these are toxic chemicals my friend, and they deserve respect. They are poisons that are designed to KILL aquatic growth on the hull surface so please don't treat them lightly.  

Protect your body and your lungs and just maybe you'll get out alive! Don't forget, there's a great blue sea out there with perfect anchorages and umbrella drinks awaiting all your hard work. 

Once it's all done you can stand back proudly and admire your purty work.  NOTE: This is the first time I've ever used a RED paint on her belly.  I guess I was feeling rather festive that day!

Thankfully a fellow boater loaned me his electric power buffer so I was able to wax out the sides for a nice shine job.  Damn she looks good! Physical attraction in boats and love goes hand in hand like shiny happy people.

With the exterior work complete I could focus on some interior housekeeping chores before taking a couple days off to explore the bay front and countryside. "Yes Dear I've done the chores you asked." 

No more work! Now to the FUN STUFF!!

I cycled over 100 miles while in town on this trip. I can't get enough of it.  It's sort of like sailing! You got the wind in your face and you are harnessing an energy source that is FREE. And it is taking you to places all over! 

The waterfront around Deltaville, Virginia is occasionally  placid and calm like this.  The town of Deltaville is dinky. There's no stoplight in town, only a couple restaurants, a library, some churches and literally dozens of boat contracting services sprinkled all over. 

With a 90 minute commute from Richmond or D.C., the population swells in the summer.  Here you will find about 700 residents and over 4000 boats that call Deltaville home.

Last but not least, there is a West Marine Store in town with all your boating supplies at a retail price.  The running joke for many sailors headed for another trip to West Marine is that they are going to The Temple. I suppose it's like tithing at the sanctuary of your vessel.

This section of the Chesapeake is basically a craggy peninsula and a geographic wonder that is surrounded by two mighty rivers, the Rappahannock and the Piankatank.  Very romantic.


An Osprey quietly takes it all in.

Three sloops resting at a vintage Chesapeake lighthouse museum.
If I were a painter I would paint this boat scene.
A side trip to the historical little town of Urbanna yielded a pretty photo of a perky barmaid, a historical church, and a geek standing in a yellow meadow.

 Rural Virginia can be quiet gorgeous.

And the waterfront just kept on giving.

"Respond to every call that excites your spirit."
"Reason is powerless in the expression of love."
"Only from your heart can you touch the sky."

These peaceful scenes on the water inspired me to write another new song while there.  It is called You've Done It Again God.  You can click on this link below if you'd like to see the music video.

Click HERE for video: "You've Done It Again God"

Folks, if you've gotten this deep into my blog entry I'll ease up on my philosofying and leave you with some final favorite photos. Since I know no one actually reads the stuff I post here I am free to ramble on endlessly with an unbridled profusion of gibberish and observations! 

Note, you'll never find any advice in my blog cause I don't have any! I'm just trying to figure it all out myself whether be in the world of boats, love, or keeping my nose clean. (Experiment: If you've read this far into the blog, please do me a favor and enter "Gotcha" in the comments box below!)

Easter Sunrise service outdoors at a local park. I was greeted by the Easter Bunny in the boatyard early that morning.  What were the chances of that?

In conclusion for Sailboats, Love, and Subtle Changes I'll leave you with one final thought. 

Could it really be true that this concept, Sale or Sail,  applies to both love and boats? 

Either you Sell Out or you Sail Away with me baby! It makes sense to me.  

I like to think I'll know to answer to that question one day even if I don't care for the terms of the deal at the time. Something to ponder anyway.  Don't give up on either.

Sing it Stevie. He's known for his guitar slinging, but his voice is so soulful on this tune. 

I ain't gone 'n' give up on love, love won't give up on me
 I ain't gone 'n' give up on love, love ain't gone 'n' give up on me
Every tear that I've cried, only washed away the fear inside
Now I, I ain't gone 'n' give up on love
Every beat of my heart, pounds with joy and not with pain
Every beat of my heart, pounds with joy and not in vain
Although those are painful memories, only brought me to my knees
I was just given up on love. 



By June she was launched for another round of adventure.  Splash! Fate will soon determine if she goes on to New York Harbor or if I get to go boat shopping for a new love.

Please stay tuned to see what unfolds with more tales about boats, love and those ever subtle changes that often have huge effects! 

And maybe I'll even learn a lesson about myself along the  way.  Lord knows I could use that.
Thanks for visiting. Namaste. 


  1. I like reading your "Gibberish"-- Made my morning Coffee better..

    I'll follow along with you on your Blog..
    It would be Hoot to meet you one day if you ever sail up through the L.I. Sound-- There's good Anchorage on the North side of Cockenoe Island off of Westport CT. I could come out and say Hi..

  2. gotcha! love the water and the Rumi and the freedom, Ellen

  3. I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this.

    gclub online

  4. Hello Joe, Beautiful Yacht and, yes, the love affair we have with our boats is real! I have my own story, but I will keep it short by saying that I have also spent hours shining off barnacle growth on the props of her as well. I wish you bright days and the best in life as well as in love!