Fixing a Cracked Tiller

Tiller Repair

A log bobbed along the surface of the water, dead ahead. I quickly unhooked the auto-pilot, grabbed the tiller and yanked it up to comfortable steering level. *crack* I looked down to see a small gap between the laminates near the base, where it connects to the rudder. We limped home and I was extra gentle with the tiller, lest it break off and leave us stranded without any ability to steer the boat. Luckily is was a calm day. I replaced the tiller earlier…

Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 9

Two Goons

Day 15, Saturday 9/13/14 The weather up here has been ridiculously great. It’s only rained once, blew hard twice, and no sign of fog. I awoke to another blue-bird day. After morning coffee, we loaded up Izak’s belongings into the dingy and dropped him off at the Aquila as Andy and I made our way to the farmers market in Ganges of Salt Sprint Island. What an awesome market! They had the most beautiful fruits and vegetables I’d ever seen and art of all kinds….

Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 4


Day 5, Wednesday, 9/3/14 Has it really been five days? My typical alarm clock schedule has faded and I feel like we’re all getting into a travelling routine. However, I’m trying my darndest to be present in each moment. Yesterday it rained cats and dogs, and at night the wind blew fiercely at 17 mph from the northwest. We decided to hunker down and make it a movie day. We also made good use of the pub at Thetis Marina. Because there was a lot…

The Cusp of Consumption

Sailing Selfie

Consumption is the key to everything. For anyone who wants to craft a message for the general public, be it a piece of political propaganda, a viral facebook post, or a call to arms by an environmental activist, you can’t tell people they have to consume less. No one wants to hear that. It’s popular suicide. Everyone wants to heal the earth, everyone wants the American Dream of social mobility, everyone wants the consumption lifestyle we had in the 90’s, but the harder we try…

We’re Taking On Water!

Fog in Rosario Strait

The day dawned glorious and bright, with the densely wooded hillside of Cypress Island for a backdrop, and good friends rafted to either side of Solace. But as so often happens this time of year, Rosario Strait, a mere quarter mile away, was completely socked in with fog. My friends and I had met up the night before for an impromptu rendezvous at Cypress Island. I planned to head back to the mainland this morning to get some work done on Solace in preparation for…

My Off-Grid Power System

US Yacht at anchor

This article describes the off-grid power system that I have implemented on the boat. I believe it’s a good template for those wanting to build their own simple off-grid power system for a cabin, tiny-house, van, RV, or boat. I used to work as an electrical engineer planning out twelve volt electrical systems for semi-trucks, so I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about how to build a robust, but simple, electrical system. I participate regularly on the Van-Dweller and Low-Cost-Voyaging mailing lists, and…

Crabbing with Family

Bayliner 288

After years of cheerleading and encouragement directed at my parents to get a four-season boat so that they could join me on adventures, they finally got one. No-one in my family but me has any sailing experience, despite three generations of avid boating, so it was no surprise when they purchased a Bayliner 288. The four-day trip we took last weekend was months in the planning, yet only considered a ‘trial run’ for the three-week trip we’ll be taking in September. If it wasn’t for…

Summer Sailstice

I’m pointed north with two sheets to the wind. The breeze this morning is coming from the southeast and I’m on a downwind run heading northeast from Watmough Bay on Lopez Island, to Eagle Harbor on Cypress Island. It’s Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. As I write this I’ve got my Genoa jib up trying to grab as much of this 10 mph wind as possible. I’m averaging 4-5 mph and haven’t had to tack once in the last 10 miles. I’m…

Self-Watering Garden Bed

I ran across this article on treehugger a couple weeks ago and I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s rare to come across an idea that so completely blows my mind that it leaves me reeling from the implications days later. This is one such idea. And so, I felt compelled to share it. Not only does this raised flower bed only have to be watered once every two to four weeks, it can be assembled almost completely out of salvaged material. Even using all-new,…

Boat Curtains

DIY Boat Curtains

The best time to buy a stock is when the price is low, the best time to buy fruit is when it’s in season, and the best time to prepare for winter is in the summer. That last tip is the focus of this post. I plan to continue to live aboard Solace this winter. In addition to insulating the hull, I have also had the plan to create curtains for all the windows and hatches. When it was cold out, I would routinely hold…

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