Sunday, November 01, 2015


Everlasting Moon was making almost 6 knots on a close reach with a good and steady 10-12 knot breeze blowing over the sparkling blue of Hawk Channel, and sitting on the lee side coaming I could see ahead well enough to dodge the lobster traps that dot the shallows north of the head pin at South Sound Creek. With Moon heeling gently into the breeze like this I can get really comfortable with my butt on the rail, my shoulder and head resting on the bimini frame, and my foot on the wheel. I had taken a left when I came out of the channel, and was headed north east under a bright blue sky with a scattering of white puffiness. With about 10 miles of open water ahead of me before there would be any shallows to worry about I enjoyed drifting off into daydream heaven......

Keep this heading, dodging a few coral heads up near Carysfort Reef, and in a day or so I could be at West End, Grand Bahama poised to make the turn to head up into the Abacos. Or, hang a left at Angelfish Creek and I could spend some time exploring Biscayne Bay, then toodle down the ICW to Florida Bay and points south and west. So many options and opportunities!

My plan is to be retired by this time next year, or at least not working a regular job for a while, and it is getting harder every day to maintain my focus on work. I love my job and the folks I work with, but every time I spend a few hours on the boat I think about moving my timeline up and starting the trip this year.....hurricane season ends this month, and now would be a great time to finish getting the boat prepped and start The Trip (a Figure 8 - clockwise circumnavigation of the Caribbean followed by a Great Loop) after Thanks giving.

For now I can't bring myself to bail out on the commitments I made to finish a pair of projects, though, and the sound of my work cell phone ringing brought me out of my reverie and back to the real world. Tacking around, I enjoyed a great beam reach back to the channel before dropping the sails and motoring down the creek and back to the marina.

Here's a short and sort of shaky cell phone video from the sail back...thanks for reading this, and I hope all is well in your world!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

S/V Vixen - sailing family story

Voyage of S/V Vixen

Ran across this in my morning muddle today and thought I would share......

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Wanted to share some photos and a short video from some adventures the last few weeks:

Sailed from Key largo up to Fort Lauderdale the weekend of the 11th....left early Friday morning and sailed all the way to Fort Lauderdale. This turned out to be an 80-mile broad reach with ESE winds in the 15-20 knot range most of the way, and one of the most enjoyable sails I've ever experienced.

Sailing on Moon 2 from Andrew Allen on Vimeo.

(The video might take a while to load, so be patient. I'm also learning about shooting and editing video, so the overall quality isn't that great......hopefully it will convey some of the feeling of being on the boat, though.)

There was one "oh shit!" moment when I went below and heard the bilge pump running about an hour into the trip. I had hit bottom on the rock at the end of the channel a few weeks ago, and although the gel coat at the front of the keel got cracked I didn't see any signs of water coming in after the incident - until I was about 10 miles offshore on the way to Fort Lauderdale. After opening all of the floor hatches and looking to see where the water was coming from, and tasting the water in the bilge to see if it was salty, I realized that it had to be coming from the fresh water tank overflow, and not through the hull. I had filled the tank for the trip and with the way the boat had been heeling about 10 gallons had run out through the vent and into the  bilge. It was quite a relief to know I wasn't sinking!

I had taken the sails down while checking the leak, and since the wind had piped up a bit I left the main down and just rolled out the jib. Managed to average almost 6 knots over the whole 80 miles. Got into Port Everglades as the ....spent the night at anchor in the ICW a few miles south of Port Everglades, then spent all day Saturday and most of Sunday hanging out on the boat with some friends, mostly anchored out in Lake Sylvia. Had another WTF moment in the afternoon when the engine refused to start - no response at all when I tried the start  button. After checking the batteries, the switches, and all of the connections, I discovered that I had pinched the wire that leads from the starter to the ignition switch in the air cleaner cover at some point, and it had finally chafed through and shorted itself out. The fix was pretty easy, but it involved removing the start battery, starter, alternator, and breather in order to get to the damaged wire and splice in a repair. The whole incident took about an hour or so start to finish.

Leaving Sunday afternoon the wind was still coming from the SE, so instead of slogging into the wind on the outside I elected to motor down the ICW, and got into the anchorage on the west side of Biscayne Bay about an hour after sunset.

Monday morning the winds were still right on the nose, so I motored down Biscayne Bay and went out at Angelfish Creek. By that time the wind had moved around to the east, so I was able to enjoy about 20 miles of broad reach under the jib alone back to Key Largo. A lovely trip all in all.

I also had a nice trip out to Arizona with some good friends the past are a few pictures and a link to more on flickr:

This picture was taken on the road into the Roger's Canyon Trailhead in the Superstitions, and it doesn't come close to reflecting just how beautiful that area is.

This one was was taken by my friend Mark at a campground off the old Route 66 in Two Guns, AZ. We met two interesting travelers there - a bright young woman named Katrin from Switzerland on a several months long bicycle tour of the American West from Phoenix to Oregon, and an creative and adventurous kid from Texas named Ryan who took a few days off from his job waiting tables to go see the Grand Canyon. We shared stories and a feast of hotdogs  over our communal campfire that night.

And these are my travel buds......Mark on the right, his nephew Josiah (aka Josey wales) in the middle, and Charlie on the left. Good guys all around.

We mostly car camped along the way, and enjoyed some day hikes in the Superstitions and in the Coconino National Forest, visited Winslow, Flagstaff and Sedona, and even saw a movie - the Water Diviner - along the way.

There are a few more pictures here:  Arizona trip photos

Gotta scoot now to start getting ready for work tomorrow. Will try to post more pics and stories later this week.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Issy Emeney Appalachian Flatfooting

So, this doesn't have anything, at all, to do with sailing or construction or old VWs, but it sure did put a smile on my face when I saw it.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday boat time

Today was one of those picture perfect Keys fall days.......80 degrees, a spotlessly blue sky, and a gentle westerly breeze......and a great day to skip work and go play on the boat.

After sailing for a few hours I found myself near Molasses Reef, so I picked up a mooring buoy and snorkeled for a bit. No current, awesome visibility, and tons of fish to check out. I even saw a few sea turtles swim by, which was really cool. They move faster than you would think, and are much more graceful moving through the water than the name turtle might suggest.

On the way back to KL I stopped off at Dixie Shoal and practiced my anchoring technique. The bottom is hard sand and it took a few tries to get the hook to set, but eventually it did and I took the opportunity to lunch on some watermelon, pineapple, and Oreos. Heavenly!

After lunch I climbed the mast to enjoy the view, and got a nice pic of Moon and her shadow......

I hope all y'all are having a great weekend, too.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Quick notes from the voyage south......

 Hey friends - wanted to share a few quick notes about our recent voyage south from Port Canaveral to Key Largo on Everlasting Moon ...... we exited Port Canaveral around noon on Monday and got the boat tucked into her slip at Koblick's on Saturday morning. Along the way we experienced a wide range of conditions and experiences, including:
......calm winds and seas;
......having to reef the main a couple of times when the wind was up;
......bashing through a mixed up mess of confused seas as the wind clocked around from north to SE;
......awesome food;
......sundowners at anchor in West Palm;
......running aground, twice, in the anchorage at West Palm, making the sundowners all that much more enjoyable;
......a trip to the emergency room;
......some minor equipment failures;
......a few tense moments as I came within a couple of boat-lengths of running the boat into the breakwater at Government Cut in Miami at hull speed, at midnight, with the wind and swell raging at our backs;
......a few beautiful sunrises and sunsets;
......having the good sense not to try to squeeze in a hop across the Gulf Stream to visit West End;

All in all this was an excellent voyage, and props to Dad and Brother Pat for their seamanship, good humor, and great company that made this trip much more than just a couple of days on the boat. Thanks!

Here are a few pics....more stories and pics to follow.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sailing south!

Hey Friends....time to cast off the dock lines and sail south! Zeke and Bro Pat will fly into FLL tomorrow and we'll drive up to Merritt Island, provision the boat, and hopefully be out through the lock at Port Canaveral by shortly after noon on Sunday. The plan is to sail south to about West Palm, cross over the West End, and spend a day there. After that, weather permitting, we'll sail south to Bimini, check out Alice Town, and then head for the Keys. I wasn't able to get slip space lined up here in Fort Lauderdale - long story, and no, I don't really want to talk about it - but I was able to get a slip in the same marina in Key Largo where I kept Moon years ago. I'll be happy to be able to spend time in the keys again.......

So, hears the projected route. Will try to post some pics along the way.