Posted by: Maria | June 2, 2012

God Bless Mr. Welsford

Our nighttime prayers have begun to reflect our family outings. Elaina thanks God for making lakes close to our house and for Mr. Welsford who designed our boat. Patrick prays for the other boat creator who was so honest to say that his boat wouldn’t be best for our family (Michael Storer and his Goat Island Skiff). Gabriel just wants to pray for our boat. And for Daddy who sails us places.

And so, Mr. Welsford, if you end up reading this at some point, you are being lifted up in prayer by three thankful kids who are grateful for your sense of design and capable planning. And by their thankful parents as well.

By the way, if any reader has a spare prayer lying around that they want to offer up for us, Wayne could use it. He was playing on the floor with the kids on Wednesday and when he stood up he heard something pop. Turns out it’s a torn meniscus in his right knee. He’s due for an MRI on Thursday to see how extensive the damage is. Right now he’s hopping and hobbling to stay off his game leg and commandeering most of the pillows in the house. And I’m realizing just how helpful he usually is. I’ve had to actually do dishes every night since Wednesday, and go find the phone myself when it rings. Poor, poor me!

Posted by: Wayne | May 28, 2012

Reefing a sprit-boomed lug yawl

As mentioned by my lovely wife, the conditions this past weekend got rather exciting.  As a result, I had to tie a reef in the mainsail while out on the water.  Since we had a video camera running, I thought it might be helpful to show the procedure I used to tie in the reef.

Please note that it is quite possible to do things more efficiently that in the video.

The video has annotations of what steps I am taking to reef the main.  If they don’t show up, click the “Show Annotations” button.

I was very glad I had the mainsail set up for reefing before leaving the dock, and that I was familiar with the reefing procedure.

Doing this for the first time under these conditions would have been a bit too exciting.

Additionally, bringing the halyards and main downhaul through the deck makes reefing on the water much easier and safer.

Posted by: Maria | May 26, 2012

Sandusky Bay or “Well THAT was exciting”

Short post today, longer post tomorrow.

7.7 miles in 2:45. Max speed was 7.5 mph!

After two weekends in a row of blowing into our own sheets to compensate for the lack of wind, we took advantage of the forcasted 11 mph breeze to visit Sandusky Bay, on Lake Erie. It was sporting, to say the least. The boat bounced in the chop and the wind rose to about 17 mph, gusting to over 20. We went roaring along, and I think Elaina giggled for about 10 minutes without stopping. Patrick’s grin couldn’t get any wider when he said, “I think we might need to bail.” Finally, we had water splashing over the deck. Gabriel and Blaise watched the water rush past and applauded our speed. It got a bit dicey, though, and we reefed the main, and then dropped it completely. I think the kids got a little spooked by the swells and wind: Elaina stopped giggling and tried to curl up in a any dry spot she could find. Patrick started asking questions about whether we would capsize. After things settled down (the wind dropped back down to about 7 mph), we put the reefed main back up and came back to the ramp. All in all, it was a rather exciting day! We’ll have pictures and video in another post.









Posted by: Maria | May 17, 2012

Cultivating a Spirit of Adventure

Caveat Lector: This post has (almost) nothing to do with boats.

We had an adventure today exploring the woods behind our house. It was a pint-sized adventure, since there were many pint-sized people. But oh to hear the stories that came back with the kids, you would have thought we went to farthest Mongolia and back. We went wandering through a glade of phlox. Finding and climbing large rocks. Picking fallen tulip flowers from a tulip tree. Searching under May apples for fruit. Getting stuck in a trap of fallen branches. Fording a tiny, trickling, giant, raging creek and falling in because a particular boy had no flint ax with which to stabilize a fallen tree-turned-bridge. Climbing a spreading tree. Finding a butterfly and lily pads on a pond. Squirming under a wooden fence back towards civilization. (At least, the kids squirmed; I went twenty yards further to a gap and went around.) In short, the afternoon was a slice of heaven.

It sounds like small potatoes in print, but as the adventure progressed I could see a bit more determination in Patrick’s eyes to go to the next branch, the next hill, or “Further up and Further In,” as C.S. Lewis put it. Granted, this new determination is tempered by a native caution. “It would be fun, but it might be dangerous,” was a regular refrain. Now, the words are, “Next time, I’ll remember how I fell in and stabilize my bridge with rope. And a flint ax.” Attaboy. Caution and Adventure combined!

It wasn’t just Patrick who came back with new-found enthusiasm. Elaina stayed right at my heels until she was tempted to pick “just one flower,” and came back with her pockets stuffed with treasures: buttercups and bluebells and beech leaves and yes, a purple phlox. She explored the flowers all by herself and they grew as tall as she was. Gabriel saw the stream and wanted to turn around and go home right there. But even he detatched from my knees to go exploring once we passed that obstacle. And Blaise even came back with something new– a scratch over his eye where a branch thwapped him. Oops. Sometimes adventures hurt.

We’ll have to do this more often. Life is too short to spend it holed up in a safe and sanitized virtual world, either on the computer or in a book, when the real world is there to savor. Maybe that’s why we have a boat.

Posted by: Wayne | May 14, 2012

Four generations in a boat

This weekend several members of my extended family were visiting for my younger brother’s college graduation. Fortunately, we were able to meet with them for a short sail at Atwood Lake.  Unfortunately, the weather barely cooperated (light rain before and after sailing, and light winds throughout). We also got to try out the new video camera we acquired. It is a small HD camera in a waterproof case designed to be clamped or strapped to a person or vehicle.  In our case, we clamped it to the base of the mizzen mast. Due to the wind, most of the video was a bit less than exciting.

We did edit and upload the least boring bit of video.  In the boat are Wayne, Wayne’s parents, his grandmother, and our two older children.

Now for a few photos:

Mommy doesn’t notice I’m chewing on gravel!

Closing on the dock

Almost to the dock

Four generations of Johnsons:
From left to right:
Dad, Blaise, Gabriel, Elaina, Patrick, Grandma, Wayne

The boat is ready to roll with the new spar cradles. They deserve their own post, but the picture will suffice for now. This should work better than just tying things into the boat willy-nilly.


Posted by: Wayne | April 29, 2012

Rigging check

I have been doing a bit of rearranging the rigging on Good Enough this winter.  Most of the changes have involved the mainsail.  Changes have been:

  • Removing the cleats from the mainmast and plugged the holes with epoxy.
  • Removing the downhaul blocks and cleat from the deck and plugged the holes with epoxy.
  • Painting over all previously mentioned epoxy.
  • Drilling holes and installing stainless lined through-deck bushes for main halyard, jib halyard, and main downhaul.
  • Installing turning blocks and cleats for main and jib halyards onto the front seat under the deck.
  • Installing main downhaul blocks and cleat onto the front seat under the deck.
  • Splicing a short length of dyneema onto the upper downhaul block.
  • Leading the aforementioned length of dyneema through the bush and splicing in a thimble above the deck.

This afternoon we pulled the boat out onto the street in front of the house for a rigging test.  A few pictures might help explain some of the above changes.

New deck configuration.


Blue line is main halyard

Green line is jib halyard

Grey line is main downhaul

Whitish line on deck is jib sheet

Yellow-green line is jib furling line







Blue line is main halyard

Green line is jib halyard

Black line is main downhaul

Grey line is spliced to upper main downhaul block

White line is centerboard uphaul line


Head of sail with halyard and parrel arrangement.

Throat of sail / bottom of yard.


Details of the halyard and parrel arrangement on the main yard.

You can just see the halyard wrapped around the yard and secured with a spool shackle.

The grey line has a spliced loop in the end, and is wrapped around the yard just above the halyard and run through the spliced eye.

The grey line is then led around the mast and tied to a quick-release shackle which is clipped to the saddle at the bottom end of the yard.

This line serves as a parrel to keep the yard against the mast.

It also keeps the halyard from sliding up the yard under tension.






All three sails set, with the main being reefed.










It seems like the new setup will work better than the previous setup.  Time will tell.  And now for some gratuitous cuteness:

Our youngest two in the boat. Can you say "double trouble"?

Blaise trying his hand at the tiller.

Posted by: Wayne | April 21, 2012

Tug of War

We are safely moved, mostly unpacked, and Wayne is really enjoying the new job. Time to get back to boatbuilding. After the mishaps of last year, the centerboard needed a bit of work. Wayne thinned it down almost a 1/4 inch, added the last bits of leftover lead, and then repainted it. Today we reinstalled it in the centercase. Removing the board was a bit of a challenge, as Good Enough is a rather heavy dame, and she has to come well off the trailer to allow access to the centercase hole. When we took it out, we had the help of Mark the Amazing. We don’t yet know our neighbors well enough to ask for muscular favors, so it seemed like a good time to substitute brain for brawn.

Wayne hitched the boat trailer to the old minivan and parked in the street. All well and good so far for the Green Team. Next we tied a rope from the lower rudder gudgeon to the roof rack of the new minivan and stuffed a blanket under the lines for padding. With that Team Catherine was ready. With one ever-so-gingerly inching the van forward while the other eased out the trailer winch, we left the boat suspended from the trailer and van. It really was a delicately balanced game of Tug of War with lots of horsepower on each side. Let me say it was a bit dicey to see so much of the boat hanging off the trailer. With the centercase exposed, it was short work to put the board in. I pulled on the up haul line strung through a bunch of blocks and Wayne lined everything up underneath. Easy-Peasy!

We have a little bit more paint touch up to do before we take it out for the first launch of the year– May 13. In the meantime, we’re reading Swallows and Amazons out loud to get in the spirit for this summer’s adventures.

Now Pulling for the Green Team.... Chevy Astro!

Prepping for the Pull with Catherine the Sienna

Here she comes

Time to take our Lord's words to heart: "Friend, do what you have come for" and quickly!


Granted, some of us can't wait until the evening to find out what happens next.

Posted by: Wayne | March 6, 2012

North to the Future

We interrupt this already aenemic posting rate to say we’ll be a little busy in the next few weeks. Wayne is starting a terrific new job at Avatar Management Services near Cleveland, OH and we’ll be moving in a little over a week. We’re excited about the new prospects, but sad to leave good friends and neighbors we’ve known for the last 12 years. Plus, the ordinary threshold of crazy is getting a little crazier. How can we own so much stuff? Boat projects are the least of our concerns right now, but we still have a couple little ones to get done before moving to a new neighborhood: melting extra lead into the centerboard, getting the boat ready for travel and figuring out which wood to move and which to pitch. Little things.

A definite plus is that we’ll find a good (or great?) lake to sail on nearby. We’re excited and looking forward to the new house and job. North to the future!

Posted by: Wayne | February 6, 2012

Living Room Boating

My goodness; long time no blog-y. Granted, there’s not much to say or do in the winter. Even still, we boat as we can.

Blaise received a saucer/doughnut/sit-in-toy this past Christmas from a lovely aunt. Being too young to speak, and only just starting to crawl, he had trouble both expressing and enforcing the concept of “mine.” Without such aforementioned enforcement, Gabriel commandeered said toy as “My New Boat!” He hitches it up to a small car, packs along line and takes Elaina’s dollies and Blaise for boating trips on Lake Living Room. Fortunately, Blaise doesn’t seem to mind sharing.

Also fortunately, they haven’t yet thought of going down the “waterfall stairs” in their vessel.

Riding the wild waterfall stairs is safer in a blanket

Now, I just need to get a video of Elaina dancing around the house singing “Sixteen Men on a Dead Man’s Chest, Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of Rum.” and we’ll be all set until spring.

Posted by: Wayne | November 30, 2011

Buckeye Lake Pictures

The day at Buckeye Lake was lovely. Here are some of our pictures from it.

A good stiff breeze

Three generations in a boat.

Tying a reef in was very prudent.

Mom was quick releasing the jib sheets and pulling them in when necessary. I guess some things just aren’t forgotten, even after a couple decades surrounded by landlubbers.

Starboard Spray! One of only a couple times we got wet that day.

Plowing through chop, or Patrick's spoonerism: "We were really chopping through the plow."

Striking the Main without the benefit of Lazy Jacks

Down She Comes-- heads up, Mom!

Gather it in

Coming into the Dock

Just a quick note on lifejackets. Gabriel is in an old vest, but it’s still quite functional. The crotchstrap is a must with small kids. We keep them in vests if they’re going onto a dock, or going near the water. With only two hands among four kids, I’m outnumbered if someone decides to go swimming accidentally. Keeping them vested saves on gray hair moments for me and gives me an extra moment to grab them before I go swimming.

A few whitecaps while sailing with Dad and Rose

Docking with Jib and Jigger. This will be a standard practice from here out.

Walking the balance beam from the car out to the boat

Mom was quite a help keeping the boat lined up with the trailer.

Gratuitous Cuteness

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