Blocked Again

Yes, I’m still catching up……………

Two weeks after the 4th, we went to Block again. Since we are on a short leash for most of the summer, we can only go places within a 4-5 day reach, mostly alternating between Watch Hill and Block. I don’t love Block as much as I once did. I can’t believe I said that out loud – please don’t scream at me if you are a full-fledged BI Lover. It has changed over the past 10 years, becoming less friendly to boaters who do not want to stay at a dock or a town mooring. The anchorage has shrunk considerably as the field of private moorings has grown.  Now, this year, only half of the dinghy dock at the Boat Basin in front of The Oar is dedicated for dinghies. The “half” designated for tie-up is the low tide side, literally unusable at low tide. To avoid the low tide and climbing over dinghies 3-4 deep, many people now beach their dinghy over by Payne’s or onto other side of the Boat Basin. Because I must wear expensive compression stockings for my lymphedema, that isn’t really a viable option for me. Al has to let me off at a dock, then take the dinghy over himself. Consequently, we never went into the town on either of these trips.  Block Island really needs to build a dedicated town dinghy dock. We rarely have this problem on any other island or port and feel much more welcome.

Long distance pics of Al taking the dinghy over to the beach.

OK, the whining and moaning is done. Get over it, Michele.

Some things don’t change. The next generation of Aldo is out and about bringing treats and goodies to boaters in New Harbor.

We found a good location in the anchorage by Breezy Point this time, one of our favorite spots. This is where Al put the little Snark through her paces for the first time (Three Little Boats). FYI – The Snark has been named Petunia, consistent with the flower theme for our “little boat” fleet.  Here’s a thought, do you name dinghies and kayaks? I have seen dinghies with names, usually something cute and related to the “big boat”.

I love the way his leg hangs over the side. The toys are out and playtime begins!

Foggy mornings, but sunny days.

Whenever we are at Block, we survey the anchorage looking for boats we might know. We found Summer Sun with Bonnie and Austin onboard in their usual spot. We met them waaay back, about 20 years ago, through the Long Island Sound Catalina Association (aka LISCA) when we had our Catalina 34, the first Kindred Spirit. We made a lot of friends over those years and had some great sailing times. Come to think of it, we own a Catalina again — little Marigold, our Capri 14.2.

Bonnie and Austin are dedicated clammers, so of course we joined them. Well, Al joined them. I don’t clam, but I do take photos!

Clamming’ and jammin’

The four of us enjoyed a multi-course dinner of stuffed clams and clam chowder.

We also had a chance to see Sally and Ted on Amici, Connecticut folks we met cruising who were at Block as well.

While playing around in the kayak and Snark, I spied a familiar looking boat pass by — Spindrift, from Branford. We had met Marge and Bob at the Dismal Swamp Center in September, 2015 (Doin’ the Dismal).

Flashback to September 2015 — Spindrift and Kindred Spirit at the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center.

Clearly, there was only one thing to be done. We must have a Happy Hour gathering on Kindred Spirit with our collection of boating friends.

Happy Hour on the flybridge

We had a very enjoyable 4 days at Block, peaceful and playful, with plenty of camaraderie.







A Block Island Fourth of July

Still trying to catch up…………

Our summer was destined to be one of mostly short trips. Al’s six immunotherapy treatments began on June 23rd and continued through July 28th, every Friday. By Sunday of each week he was ready to get going so we squeezed in trips to Watch Hill and Block Island between medical appointments and other commitments.

Here we are, ready for summer boating and what do we get in late June??? HAIL!

We never intended to go to Block Island, for July 4th. Been here, done that, and no longer wanted to be part of that crazy happening.  The anchorage is insane and moorings are hard to come by during a holiday. But…………..Mary Jo and Dean said “come on over…..raft with us”   Well……OK! They really didn’t have to work very hard to convince us. So much for our aversion to a Block Island 4th.

There were boats EVERYTHWERE, but these photos couldn’t capture it all.

In contrast to the photos above, is this one below. Our friend snapped this from her boat in the mooring field. There we are, rafted to Jallao in the front row just off Champlins dock (plenty of loud music). You would never guess it is the same place. It looks so peaceful. I guess it is all about one’s perspective and angle. 😉

Jallao and Kindred Spirit rafted in Block Island

July 3rd was a day for the outdoors, especially on the water. Al got his clamming license ($10 for the season for senior citizens on the Block.) Such a deal!

Riding out to the clamming area by dinghy, towing the kayaks so that MJ and I could also have some fun.

The best clamming is always in the deepest water you can handle. That means different depths for different people, depending on one’s height. It gives Al a real advantage.

You could say that Dean is up to his neck in clams. For Dean, that makes him happy as a clam.

MJ and I hitch a ride to cross to the other side of the channel for more kayaking.

Chef Dean creates his famous clam linguine for dinner. Yum!

Clam diggers and conch horn aficionados. What talented guys!! Al and Dean announce the setting sun.

If you go to Block for the Fourth of July, you might as well go all in. So we did.

We donned our patriotic apparel and dinghied around for a bit. Happy 4th!

If you are there on the Block, you also have to go to the parade. My memories of past parades were of a somewhat alcohol-infused strut, but I am pleased to say that Block has cleaned that image up. The parade was a nice small town event with lots of participation. And not too long.

Sitting in front of Dead Eye Dick’s, we had a good view of the holiday attire.

The little ones were the best dressed.

Here are the obligatory pics of the parade —

The parade begins with the grand marshal strutting. The theme for the parade was “Block island Memories.”

Plenty of flag waving!

Family floats with assorted themes.

Floats representing Block Island businesses – Killer Donuts, The Oceanview, Yellow Kittens, Block Island Fitness.

These “lemonade stands” were just too darn cute.

Here is the bottom line for our BI 4th — I didn’t want to go and I am really glad we did.

The sun sets on a fine Block Island Fourth of July celebration.






Three Little Boats

This tale begins back in early July, 2016, only two months after we returned home from our second Bahamas trip.

You just can’t take the sail out of the man. It was Al’s decision to sell our Morgan 43 and transition to a trawler, but it would appear that he misses the wind. I didn’t realize that he was searching for a small sailboat until he announced that we might take a drive and stop to look at this little “penguin.” Penguin??? A pet? I thought we were sure our lifestyle didn’t include a pet. Ahh, no, this penguin was a small sailboat. “Small” was defined as “fits in our garage.”

We took a drive to Noank to look at an 11-foot Penguin sailboat in Noank.

Our first look at the Penguin. Why don’t people clean their boats when they put a for sale sign out??

SOLD.  A new project for Al! I am all in favor of new projects for him. There isn’t as much to do on Kindred Spirit anymore so I live in fear that he will sell her just to have another boat to reinvent and remodel.

The Penguin at home, getting a good and thorough cleaning.

We had the original bill of sale with the boat so we researched as much as we could about the boats. This one was Hull #7746, fiberglass, and originally sold to a man in Illinois in 1967 through McNair Marine in Higganum, CT. Many of the Penguins were wooden “kit boats” that you built yourself.

Some of the identifying marks on the little boat.

Al got right to work repairing dings and cracks, and painting the interior and exterior.

The Penguin needed a facelift. Dings and rough areas needed to be filled before the new coat of paint inside.

Her hull was faded, but I loved the yellow color. We repainted her “Fighting Lady Yellow” which Al cannot recall and always refers to as “bitchy lady yellow.” I named her “Buttercup.”

Even 2 year old Caleb enjoyed a little time in Buttercup, in the garage.

We took Buttercup for a test sail on Lake Beseck in Middlefield. It was fun to be sailing, but she was not very comfortable and difficult to move around in, especially for me.

Before September ended, Buttercup was sold to a very nice gentleman who would be sailing her on a lake in New Hampshire. So she did get a new life after all. You know what I miss most about Buttercup? The name and color. I really, really liked both.

Before the month was over, we were on our way to look at a Catalina Capri 14.2. Al was secretly researching small trailer-able sailboats that would be more comfortable and less tippy. He decided a Catalina Capri would do nicely. It was somewhat fitting since we had loved our Catalina 34 sailboat. It only took two possibilities to settle on one with a good price.

Our first look at the Capri 14.2 in Stamford (at least we are still looking at boats in the same state.)

A deal was made for the boat and the trailer so off we went. But not very far, I am sad to say. The wheel froze to the axel on the trailer, broke off, and the wheel went spinning across three lanes on I-95. Oh no! Oh no!  There was no way either one of us was going to cross three lanes of traffic to fetch that wheel sitting on the opposite side of the highway. Cars were whizzing past us. We had the trailer and boat towed to a garage in Stamford to be repaired. Cha-ching.

What a nice guy with the tow truck. He did a fine job of taking care of things. Not the best boating day for Al, as you can see from his expression as he sits on the guard rail. My thoughts — it was actually a good day. When that wheel went flying across I-95, it didn’t cause an accident and no one was hurt. That’s all that matters.

A freshly washed main sail hangs out to dry on our deck. This boat needed a name (I’m a fan of naming boats.) With the colorful sails, I decided to stay with the flower theme, so Marigold she is!

The Capri 14.2  fit in the garage, but the mast didn’t. When backing the trailer into the garage with the mast stored on its deck, it can’t be any longer than 17 feet to fit in our 18-foot long garage.

That mast is too tall for our garage. Al had a solution, of course. He decided to cut off the top of the mast. The mast track was damaged at the top two feet. Lo and behold, that is exactly what needed to come off. 19 ft – 2 feet = 17 feet and it will fit in the garage!

But now the sail is too tall. Decision time – cut from the bottom or the top?

Cutting time! Al carefully trimmed the top of the sail.

The new shorter mast and sail. With less sail area, we won’t sail as fast, but the boat will be less tippy. We aren’t racing this little flower so I am just fine with that.

Our first sail on Marigold was October 19th, a gorgeous day. We both agreed that the Capri 14.2 was much more comfortable to sail than the Penguin.

October sailing in New England – maiden voyage for the new and improved Marigold.

Colorful sails, colorful foliage!

The sail shape is good. 🙂 Smiles all around!

This is hard to believe, but we managed to go sailing on Marigold again, on NOVEMBER 2nd!! Please note that I color coordinated my outfit with Marigold’s sails.

And then it was time for winter hibernation. Marigold can’t stay in the garage for the winter, the truck needs the garage.

Shrink wrap and off to Avon to be stored behind our son’s shed.

Just to wrap this tale up, we did take Marigold for sailing this summer. I am starting to feel more comfortable with a little boat. Sure is different than a 43-footer!!

There is a third boat in this tale. In February, while I was visiting my parents in Pennsylvania, Al sent me photos of a new acquisition. It was such a deal, how could he resist it??? He bought a Super Snark , an 11-foot simple sailboat.


Here is the photo that Al sent to me. It was February, but he was thinking sailing, even in the snow. I really can’t leave him home alone.

A two-car garage becomes a 2-car/2-boat garage.

The amusing part of this purchase wasn’t the price (very, very inexpensive), but the reason why the seller was parting with his Snark. He told Al that he was moving to a “55 and older” community and just didn’t have space to store the boat. Hmmmmm….. and where do we live?? In a “55 and older” community. I just had to laugh. LOL.



Al sent this photo to prove to me that we did have space for the little boat. There it is tucked on top of the inflatable dinghy that hangs from the garage ceiling during the winter.






Snark is one of the largest sailboat manufacturers. Over 500,000 Snark sailboats have been made since 1958 and are still in production. They were even sold through Sears and Penney’s catalogs.  The Snark is an 11-foot solid expanded polystyrene foam hull covered with a thin layer of ABS polymer (plastic). A new one sells for $1221 now.

In 1971, Kool cigarettes initiated an advertising campaign where consumers could mail order a Snark with the Kool logo on the sail – for  $99 along with one KOOL carton flap –  including delivery. Guess who acquired a used one of those??? I refer you to our 50+ Years of Boats page in this blog where you will see the one Al had. Here it is again, below.

From “50+ Years of Boats” Look in the background – Al is in the KOOL boat, bought second-hand.

This little Snark only needed new lines, some varnish and cleaning.

The sails are soaking in a bath of OxiClean and detergent. Worked pretty well.

On our first trip to Block Island this summer, the Snark was added to the “fleet”, joining the two kayaks on the sides of the flybridge.

Our fleet hanging off the transom of Kindred Spirit. Enough toys??

Ready for his maiden voyage in the little Snark.

Al had a blast, snarking around Salt Pond. He was all over the place.

Click on the video below for an 8 seconds of Snark in action —

Here is my dilemma. I don’t mind that Al has another sailboat, especially since this one can be carried along on the trawler for a little sailing while we are out and about. He is having so much fun with it. But, I can’t think of a name for this one. It’s called a “snark.” Seriously, what can you do with that? The only definitions for snark are:

  • A snide, sarcastic, or disrespectful attitude  To be snarky is to be cranky or irritable.
  • It’s origin is said to be from Lewis Carroll (as in Alice in Wonderful) in his nonsense poem, The Hunting of the Snark, 1876 The snark was a fanciful creature he created. The long poem did involve a boat and its crew, but it makes very little, if any sense…
                “We have sailed many weeks, we have sailed many days,
                           (Seven days to the week I allow),
                    But a Snark, on the which we might lovingly gaze,
                             We have never beheld till now!”

I hope that the Snark sailboat company was leaning more towards the silly poem rather than the actual definition. Soooo, what can I name this little boat?  The hull is a rusty red, the sails are blues, white, and red. I would like to keep the flower theme going, but I am at a loss. Any suggestions???? Chrysanthemum? Rosey? Zinnia? Poppy?

Taking a page out of Bob Marley’s songbook, with just a little twist on one word …..

“Rise up this mornin’
Smiled with the risin’ sun
Three little boats
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true
Saying’, (this is my message to you)

Singing’ don’t worry ’bout a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright
Singing’ don’t worry  ’bout a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright”

‘Cause you can’t have too many boats