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Friday, April 8, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Excerpts from the Log of Caribbee

I purchase this vessel in 1971 and we launched April 9, 1971. Forty years sure went by fast.
Shortly after the launch and after all the post launch duties were performed I took my family for a little sail. Everything went fine and it was a beautiful day. As we motored out I was congratulating myself on my seamanship and my excellent workmanship. That is when thick smoke filled the cabin. Diving below deck I soon discovered that the paint on the exhaust manifold was cooking off. What a dangerous trap the manufacturer had set up. I opened the forward hatch and let the smoke clear and ran the engine until it was all gone. A prudent man would have probably abandoned ship.
Not a very good start and there were more mistakes to come.
I found this photo at the bottom of a cardboard box I discovered a while back and as far as I know it is the only surviving picture of the good ship "Caribbee". It was taken in 1971 or 1972 with a cheap Kodak 110 camera. The location is Cat Harbor, Santa Catalina Island, Southern California. It is still my all time favorite Island. I could have spent the rest of my life there.
Built in 1970 and launched April 9, 1971. This was last production model of this yacht by Islander Yachts and it was love at first sight for me. There was never any doubts about this vessel from day one. Islander continued to manufacture it in kit form for the home builder.
These are images of the original brochure. Many good times were had aboard. Notice the real door leading to the forward cabin. It is opened back against another real door leading to the head. When the door forward was closed and the head door open it enlarged the head to a little more the half the width of the boat. Plenty of room to bathe in privacy not that we ever bothered about privacy while bathing.
It had a warm cozy interior and and was reliable in every way. That counter right next to the sink is where the cookies were in the "cookie tin" incident. The compass is mounted in the cockpit only inches away.
The "Cookie Tin Incident". On July 18, 1972 Katy and I had departed King Harbor in Redondo Beach, California for a little trip around some of the islands in Southern California. Anchoring the first night at Santa Barbara Island we went on the next day.

Excerpt from the log of Caribbee:
That tin can was a three pound coffee can full of cookies made by the woman that was going to be my mate for the rest of my life. Or so I thought. It threw the compass 30 degrees off. We had been beating our brains out trying to go where the wind was coming from. It was only when I realized that the reported wind direction was not the same as what I was observing that I started checking the compass and found the can. Of course we then eased off the wind a little and life got better. It was to late we were already beat to shit.

We spent the night in Albert's Anchorage on the south side of Santa Cruz Island but the surge there was too much so we went on the next day to Smugglers cove anchoring in 20 feet of water with a white sand bottom. It was sunny and warm and I did not have the sense to stay there so after the second night we headed up the north side of the island.

The log tells the tale. (Never mind that I had not yet learned how to spell Saturday.) It was rough, wet and windy. It made me grit my teeth and was not fun.

After it was over and sometime later lovely Katy summed it up at the bottom of the log page. The note says: Input; Thinking back on this trip all I remember is being tired and wanting more sun soo! not the worst-. She never knew how badly I felt when she was uncomfortable. I'm sure it made me grumpy and for that I am sorry. She was always good company.

The images below are of a launch card handmade by Tiare a boat lady born in Tahiti that lived on a boat of the same build as my prior boat. More about that at another time.
There are 15 individual cut out pieces on this card. How could I not keep it all these years.
Too many good memories but I suspect I'll have to document many more before I am through. The problem is that life keeps getting in the way. What with new computers, fixing someone elses computer, new phone, getting the AT&T knot from around my neck (that is a whole story in itself. Never think that AT&T is your friend) and, oh yeah, losing another tooth. I've had to work all that stuff in around morning coffee, breakfast, morning tea, lunch, nap, afternoon tea and happy hour. I don't know how I ever had time to hold a job.


L. F. Hawkins said...

My first comment seems to have run aground somewhere so I'll try again.
I'm enthralled, which in my book is a step above fascinated, and hope there will be more. Once in a while (often) I find myself wishing I was back in southern California, feeling the warm sand of Huntington Beach beneath my bare feet, or walking the docks in Balboa, looking at yachts, and the hazy/smoggy horizon (this was around 1960), and dreaming of white sand coves on forgotten islands. But you, you actually did it!

rlove2bike said...

Yes indeed, another interesting post.

tffnguy said...

A woman that lives down here was looking for land to put her parent's yacht on. They are tired of sailing the world's seas and figure it would be like having a motor home down here. Now that would be a sight to see.

Lord Wellbourne said...

Thanks for the journey! I can feel the breezes, and the cradle-rocking of the boat. Sun, sand, and surf....very nice.