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Summer Get Aweigh 2003

Sun, Fun and Sailing at Lake Ouachita Arkansas  June 7 - 14 2003

Skipper   Gilligan and Mary Ann   Professor & Ginger   The Raiders

Oh Chute   Smokers   Storm   Afterglow   More Ouachita Memories   Disclaimer       E- Mail

Copy Write 7/31/2003 ©   Updated  1/4/2006


Now where did Gilligan put that chart????


Yours truely, also designated by default "Keeper of the Sacred Flame"


Gilligan and Mary Ann

Gilligan dreaming of a Coconut Cream Pie

Mary Ann making a Coconut Cream Pie for Gilligan

Christina and Salty Dog on watch against "Smokers"
Gilligan and Mary Ann aka John and Tammy Sailor along with daughter and Salty Dog brought
"Blew By You" from South East Texas.
Salty Dog provided security and rebuffed several attacks by "Smokers"
Videos by Family Sailor         Photos by Family Sailor

Blew By You

Is another Family Sailor creation! It seems John is good at finding a used sail boat for next to nothing then he and Tammy scramble like mad to get the boat ready for a sailing trip.

The South Coast 22 like all others just needs a bit of TLC to get her shipshape and ready to go. John is a tinkerer at heart and loves to come up with a variety of odd ball boat projects. His pride and joy of course is a mast top wind vane made out of a beer can. Originally crated in 2002 for another get together the "Beer Vane" has proven its metal.

John's odd ball project for Summer Get Aweigh 2003 is a bimini made out of PVC pipe. Covered with a light canvas it seemed to do the job for them. The big problem is boom end sheeting on the South Coast 22. Making it difficult to manage the main sheet and have the bimini up together.

Of course he solved that in a fashion, using the mainsheet block from his small 19' Oday. He attached the Oday mainsheet to his backstay where the pigtail for the boom connects. Using the Oday mainsheet allows John to sail broad reach to run and just maybe a loose beam reach. John projects a "Lazy Sailor" image so loafing along on a broad reach suits him just fine.

"Blew By You" did not come with a rudder and one was scavenged off an old McGregor. It has a high aspect rudder blade and seemed to do just fine. Actually I was impressed with the rudder. Many times I have wondered about re-designing mine. I was glad to find out it does just great.

Netting was installed along the lifelines for this cruise. I have mixed emotions about the netting. Under calm conditions all kinds of stuff can be stowed between the netting and cabin sides. I must admit it did look good.

Sailing "Blew By You" was a lot of fun the few times I had a chance with the bimini down and full sails. When I could I pushed her with full main and 110 jib. I did not find the handling that much different than my South Coast Eclipse 22 "Don't Ask".

Dearly wish I could have brought mine for side by side comparison.


Professor and Ginger

Walter and Alicia's Lake Ouachita home

Professor telling us how it is done

Ginger with the secret ingrediant to Coconut Cream Pies

"Get Aweigh" getting under way

Walter and Alicia aka Professor and Ginger proud owner of "Get Aweigh" a rare SC 25
Our host for the week , home port Brady Mountian, Lake Ouachita Arkansas

"Get Aweigh"

Crewing with Walter and Alicia on "Get Aweigh" was a real treat. Although I am unsure Alicia felt the same having me at the helm early in the week.
My swing keel pendant hums different pitches depending upon how fast the boat is going. Hence there is no need to worry about how fast the boat is moving there is a certain pitch at hull speed.
Aboard "Get Aweigh" a similar condition exists the faster the boat is pushed.
Wind pushes boat fast, boat heels over. Faster the boat goes the more she heels.
The more she heels over the wider Alicia's eyes get.
Of course there is a point of diminishing returns where optimum speed and heeling have been achieved. Pushing "Get Aweigh" further over does nothing to improve boat speed or the disposition of the first mate.

At first I didn't catch on to the situation. Manning the helm early in the week I kept pushing the boat, she kept saying give me more. So the main sheet was hauled in. Walter would ease it and I would tighten it back up.

After a few days when I learned enough about how "Get Aweigh" handles and how the heel-o-meter worked. I tried not to push her too hard. Not real sure if I was successful but the thought was there.

It is just my nature, get on a strange boat I want to see what she can do, all the while comparing everything to what I remember about "Don't Ask". Never know when you might learn a thing or two.

"Get Aweigh" has a bit too much weather helm (just my opinion). It is a boat you have to steer and pay attention to. I am not saying it is bad or the helm is hard, just needed to keep up with what is going on. Lots of factors could be the reason including the initial design as racing the SC 25's was part of the original parameters. Man she will get up and go, turn on a dime. Flying the roller furled 130 Genoa and mainsail just seemed to fit her style.

It would have been nice if some of the fellow Lake Ouachita sailing crowd came out to play. There was no real way to race against the South Coast 22's, I am sure if the PHRF ratings were known adjusting times might have worked, but that's not much fun compared to overtaking another sailboat and leaving them in your wake.

There were two situations that have stuck in my mind.

The solar shower went overboard one day as we were dinking about. Immediately I mentioned time for a MOB drill, whipped the boat around sailed back then stalled her long enough for Walter to recover the solar shower.

I am accustomed to my little 22' Eclipse with different handling characteristics. The fact I was able to adapt to the bigger boat & sails, get the boat turned around and get back to where we needed to be. Without having to stop and think about anything tells me a lot about the quality design of the South Coast 25.

The second sounds silly!

Here we are sailing around Lake Ouachita having fun. Alicia asks if anyone is hungry for lunch and proceeds to enter the cabin make sandwiches standing up at the galley.

Aboard "Don't Ask" that ain't gonna happen!!! Sandwich making time means parking "Don't Ask".

I could rave on and on but the bottom line is the boat is fast, nimble and fun to sail.
If you get a chance to go for a ride on one take it up.


The Raiders

Almost every episode of Gilligan's Island revolved around some "characters"
landing upon the isle and wrecking havoc with the castaways.
The intrepid crew of "Via Vento" where no different!

Note the "Cutter Rig " sails on this South Coast 22

This South Coast 22 was used for racing by the previous owner and boy does it have some toys. George bought this as his first entry boat into sailing from power boating. "Via Vento" carries the most complete set of good sails of any South Coast I know of and she is rigged to fly them all. From the Spinnaker all the way down to 70% jibs.

I spent a lot of time sailing with George and Steve along with their crew of two Scottish Terriers. So many questions were answered during this time. I am unsure who got the better of the bargain, George or I!

With no prior experience rigging a sail boat, all the up hauls, down hauls, side hauls, out hauls, thing-a-ma-jigs and do hickies get confusing enough. Add in spinnaker gear along with an inner stay it looks to the uninitiated just a tangle of lines pulleys and cleats.

Hey sometimes it don't look too much different to me.

"Via Vinto" had been modified from the original sloop to cutter by the previous owner. A small bow sprit along with an inner stay

The first step was to sort thru all the halyards and figure out what did what, next determining which mast cleat serviced which halyard keeping in mind the mainsail, staysail and jib halyard were set up to run back to the cockpit along with downhauls. This tangle of lines was sorted out over several days sailing.

Sailing her as a cutter with jib and staysail in modest winds was a dream. Initially the main and staysail were flying, just to get a feel for the boat. Then the jib was raised, "Via Vento" perked up and handled like a lady.

On another day we flew the larger Genoa without the staysail. Without a jib furler tacking a Cutter can be a pain as the larger Genoa sails tend to snag on the inner stay. Just part of the game.

After the big storm on Wednesday night the George and Steve pulled out and left for home.

Most everybody was excited to fly the spinnaker, maybe another time.

"Via Vento" lacked a rudder upon purchase; George made one based upon the original South Coast fixed rudder design. The original fixed rudder produced by South Coast Seacraft flexed way too much and was not popular. The home made rudder while good enough in mild weather was not strong enough to really push the boat to the limits. It was my hope to borrow the rudder off "Blew By You". Take "Via Vento" out with just myself and another crewmember (to keep weight down) and really push the boat as a cutter, as a sloop with the Genoa and possibly with the spinnaker. Alas it was not to be this trip.

For years I have been wondering how well the boats would sail with smaller jibs needed in heavy weather. My research into heavy weather sailing also indicated a need for an inner stay to fly the smaller jibs on to keep them close to the mast for optimum performance and management. All the information indicated an inner stay with a quick connect at the deck to keep it out of the way when not in use.

Via Vento's inner stay was not quick disconnect but could be unhooked and tied to the mast should George desire to use the bigger Genoa and not have to worry with the jib fouling on tacks.

So far I only know of one other South Coast 22 with a bowsprit. This boat has a much longer bowsprit than "Via Vento". I have spent time discussing with the owner about flying a big Genoa off the bowsprit. He assures me it works well.

The smaller bow sprit on "Via Vento" did not extend too far past the bow of the boat. Every time we sailed the boat she seemed balanced real well. May be sometime in the future I may look into building one for "Don't Ask"

I see sometime in the future the addition of an inner stay with quick release deck fitting. One of these days I will have new sails.

The bow sprit is an interesting concept. I would prefer a retractable one primarily designed to fly a "drifter" or "reacher" light wind sail.

The only hard thing about sailing "Via Vento" was taking tacking orders from the two Scottish Terriers. George, Steve and I were just ballast.


Oh Chute

Late in the week I was able to participate in a real treat.
"Get Aweigh" has an extensive sail inventory including a spinnaker.

I have never flown a spinnaker before, which both excited me and filled me with apprehension every time Walter mentioned it. All sail boats have an unseen "First Mate" aboard. I have been trying to find him for years and he always eludes me. Unfortunalty this "First Mate" is ALWAYS responsible for everything that could possibly go wrong on a sailing vessel.
Yes Mate Murphy is real sneaky.

Flying a chute with no prior experience is just begging for Mr. Murphy to stop by and lend a hand.
Amazingly enough the winds stayed rather calm even the puffs.
We got the chute up and flying.
Nothing broke!
What a rush watching that big ole thing flying free out in front of the boat.
Initially we used the spinnaker pole but the chute didn't seem to like it or the wind was light enough not to need it.
Either way the chute did better flying free.
The Windex Walter had atop the mast was a must to keep us dead down wind.
Especially due to all the high hills surrounding the lake affecting wind direction and speed.
I found the helm was a bit hard and needed attention.
All good things come to an end and eventually what goes up must come down.
They say flying a plane is easy, it's the take offs and landings that get you.
Fortunately we landed that spinnaker almost like we knew what we were doing.
Dennis Conner just might have been proud.
Now I gota dig out all my sailing manuals and read up on flying a spinnaker.



Brady Mountain at Lake Ouachita Arkansas has an extensive marina and facilities, house boats abound at the docks. I'm talking about BIG houseboats! Living here on the Florida Gulf Coast you don't see that many large house boats, as they don't do well offshore. Lake boaters have different conditions.

Starting on late Thursday or early Friday morning Lake Ouachita started filling up with power boaters. If you ever watched the movies "Water World" then you know what it looks like watching these monster houseboats lumber their way across the lake and around the islands

One loan house boat is chugging across the lake with maybe a dozen jet skies swarming around it like angry bees (well maybe not a dozen sure seemed like it ) often a ski boat followed ahead and bringing up rear guard many times either a small fishing boat or pleasure power boat.
On occasion two houseboats running together with attendant "smokers".
Quite an impressive sight!

Most unfortunate I was not aware of this spectacle prior to arrival. I failed to bring my supply of AOL ISP install CD's. They are great to whiz at passing PWC riders there by knocking them off their mounts like jousting knights of old.
At one time Gilligan talked about a potato cannon mounted upon his deck.
Wouldn't that have been grand!


The Perfect Storm

Early in the week Walter, Alicia and I were doing the Lake Ouachita sailing thing. They were showing me around, Hurricane Hole was mentioned along with how important it is for the local boaters. Storms can sweep in quickly and Hurricane Hole is the place to be if things get nasty on the lake.

We yachted in and looked around then back out. As is my habit I made a mental note of the lay of the land. Never seriously considering it may prove important later on.

Sometime Tuesday night as we were tucked in our cove at Gilligan's Island, fire crackling warmly, Salty Dog on patrol against smokers. A real life is good situation for the castaways; the wind started shifting and picked up just a bit. Every anchorage has a weak spot; you don't want to get caught on a lee shore in a blow. Especially on Lake Ouachita as the bottom is shale and Danforth anchors don't hold that well.

Around 10 pm it was obvious staying at Base Camp Alfa was not an option. The wind was blowing right into our cove. If things picked up it would get nasty in a hurry. What a pain, the fire and bed of coals that had been burning non stop needed dousing. As much of the camp as possible needed storing against rain and wind, grab what food we can and store back aboard the boats.

Eventually we were ready to head out. I decided to ride with John and Tammy as they did not know where Hurricane Hole was. Into the night we went, dark and breezy, with hills almost vertical and lots of trees Hurricane Hole is pitch black at night. Just finding the entrance is difficult.

The lake is way up and tying up a major challenge. "Get Aweigh" carries around 4" draft and needs to stand off a bit. "Blew By You" with her swing keel can get right on the shore. Eventually we get all the lines secure and settled back in for the night.

Wednesday night proved much more unpredictable!

It started again like all the nights before. Tucked in cozy at Gilligan's Island, fire rekindled. Good food and fellowship after a day's sailing.

Salty Dog once released back on the island earlier in the day spent a great deal of time roaming. We felt confident there were no smokers waiting to ambush us.

Around 9 pm the wind picked up and the floor show started. Lightning popping the hills surrounding Lake Ouachita. The wind was hitting us broad side from the south edge of the cove. At this time it was not blowing into our cove. The weather radio forecasted storms but nothing too bad. It seemed the storm would skirt past us. Looking out over the water into the distant hills pounded by lightning was most impressive.

Of course the debate over what to do raged on. The general consensus was to stay as the wind had not shifted also we did not find the idea of being on the lake in a severe lightning storm appealing.

Mean while the lightning flashed on.

The crew of "Blew By You" decided to pack it in for the night and retired to their boat.

Walter, Alicia and I enjoyed the show, the cool breeze most refreshing after the day's heat.

Looking to the south watching the big storm cloud and lightning a particularly bright flash lit up the sky like day. Then just like the horror shows on TV the sky around the strike glowed an eerie blue green for several seconds then slowly faded to black.

WOW was about all we could say.

The weather radio cycled thru all the reports from different local stations. When it came to the report for Hot Springs Arkansas (near Lake Ouachita) "not available" was all the announcer had to say.

Needless to say the debate to bug out or stay arose again. Deferring to Walter's judgment (he is the Professor for a reason) we decided to hold off. Around 11:30 the storm warnings increased all the way to Oklahoma with reports of hail and 80 mph winds.

That report meant two things neither good.

First the storm was coming from the South to South West and the Oklahoma forecast meant more bad stuff on the way.

Two we needed someplace safer "if" the 80 mph winds were a possibility.

By the time we got packed up once again, woke up John and Tammy, weighed anchor the worst of the lightning seemed to have passed. Tuesday night it was just a bit breezy, tonight downright windy. With all the islands breaking up the fetch the chop on the lake was not comfortable but bearable.

Once in the "hole" things calmed life was good once again

In the morning John reported his rigging was singing. My rigging on "Don't Ask" sings around 25-30 mph winds/gusts. The wind had to blow over the top of the high hills surrounding our anchorage then down to play in John's rigging. Glad we were tucked in safe and sound.

On the following Friday we learned the storm broke loose a few of the floating docks and damaged some house boats.

Thursday the thought of another midnight run to Hurricane Hole did not set well with us. The decision was made to secure Base Camp Alpha, carry food and supplies, go have fun and meet at the "hole" come evening. It was one of those better safe than sorry things. The weather was just fine all night.

Friday night was beautiful tied up at the Sailboat Dock of Brady Mountain Resort



After Glow is where I try to tie up lose ends and round out the adventures. With a week of sailing it is impossible to cover everything so here goes.
The next time a Skippers Meeting is needed to cover bad weather contingencies in advance.
Due to draft constraints "Get Aweigh" needed to park out a bit. Walter had a small rubber raft to ferry important stuff ashore hopefully dry. I am of the delusion the First Mate qualifies as important.
The raft was rather small, the one time I tried using it the whole thing flipped. A bigger dingy would have been nice. That said the last time we got together sailing was on Perdido Bay Alabama. I towed a nice flat dingy, we never used it.
I have never lived on an island for a week. Getting wet every day swimming in the lake I failed to keep clothes drying, late in the week along with the evening storms every thing was either wet or damp.
The restaurant at Brady Mountian Resort was reasonable and has good food.
Parking your truck and trailer for a week of sailing is a sure fire way to guarantee the trailer lights working upon arrival, no longer light up.
If you get a chance to go sailing at Lake Ouachita Arkansas, don't pass it up.
The frozen cooked crawfish (mudbugs) available at the Wal-Mart in Hot Springs Arkansas are really hot.
My biggest disappointment: Not dragging "Don't Ask" up for the fun. I just know she would have enjoyed herself. Some stalled boat repairs and lack of a tow vehicle killed any possibility.


An Island With a View

That's All Folks



The information on this page is not intended as a "definitive" guide to sailing .
Rather it is a collection of things that work for me also ideas I have learned from other sources.
The information is specific to my 22' swing keel South Coast Seacraft Eclipse.
The sailing area is local bays and ICW
Use at your own risk
Any good sailing resource book should provide a comprehensive review of sailing theory.

Do you know how you got here?

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