14 September 2016

Block Island and My Friend Hank

The hustle and bustle of the mainland is behind us and the regular social engagements abruptly ceased after leaving Newport. Argon's hook is set in Great Salt Pond among only a handful of other boats in the anchorage.

Captain Linda Perry Riera

Block Island

Most people traveling to Block Island are familiar with the small, downtown inlet for ferry traffic. A short walk to the northwest leads to Great Salt Pond which is normally packed with hundreds of occupied moorings and a crowded anchorage where one, if arriving by boat, risks not finding space during a summer weekend. But upon Argon's arrival more than a week after the end of summer Labor Day Holiday, there are less than a dozen sailboats in this vast anchorage and the majority of moorings are off duty.

Keeping a close lookout in the narrow entrance channel of Great Salt Pond.
Entrance to Great Salt Pond is lined with people fishing. There is a sharp drop off in depth along the channel.

Snubbing the anchor chain. Winds were light on the first day but kicked up to 25+kts later in our stay. The anchor held tightly.

Sparse anchorage peering westward at dusk.

Off Shore Wind Farms

Off shore wind farms have stirred much controversy in the US with several projects in the northeast being stalled for years. Many New Englanders are familiar with the Cape Wind project that has been in the planning and permitting stage for 15 years finally to apparently die last year. Cape Wind aimed to build 170 (then decreased to 130) wind turbines in Nantucket Sound but had been blocked repeatedly due to opposition stating safety (heavy boating area) but also aesthetics. There were rich and famous among the outspoken opposition. Interestingly, in Europe, wind farms are quite plentiful (more than 25) with the UK boasting the two largest in the world: London Array (630 MW) and Gwynt y Môr (576 MW). Overall, Europe has more than 3,000 wind turbines across 84 farms producing electricity to power more than 7 million homes! Come on, America, get with the program.

Sailing southwest from Newport to Block Island one can see the five wind turbines from the first wind farm to be build in the US.

Block Island Wind Farm is the first wind farm in the US and will initially consist of only five turbines but may expand to 15 in the coming years. Each turbine is 270 feet and weights 440 tons. This pilot program is lead by the company Deepwater Wind. Construction began almost a year ago and the turbines will begin producing electricity for Block Island by end of this year.

View of the wind farm from the Southeast Lighthouse. Score is Europe: 3000, US: 5.

New Normal

I have fallen in to a routine of daily swims (even if for a just a quick swim and salt water bath followed by a fresh water cockpit rinse), practicing my stand up paddle board, and reading and writing in the cockpit. The warmer waters south of Cape Cod Bay are welcoming and I am hoping that as we travel more southward and explore the Chesapeake Bay in the coming weeks, the waters will remain inviting.

Getting the hang of the SUP in calm waters and light winds. I also ventured out the following morning in 15+kts of chop staying on the board but only barely being able to stay stationary against the wind and current; it was good balancing practice even though I made no geographical progress.

Morning swims remind me of 0500 meetings with Taisa at Miller's Pond.
We are enjoying the 70-75 degree waters.

A new toy that I brought along on this trip is an inflatable stand up paddle board (SUP). We have rented the hard / solid boards a couple of times in the past and were pleasantly surprised at how quickly we learned to balance and paddle in (smooth) waters. My inflatable, however, has proven to be more challenging. It is a little shorter and a bit squishy compared to the solid boards and I have experimented with estimating the appropriate pressure (15 psi) to stiffen it up enough as I have no gauge on my pump. After several attempts on the water I am getting acclimated and feeling more confident.

Exploring by Land

Block Island is wonderful for biking as long as one is prepared to handle some hills. We have enjoyed sailing to Block Island most summers for the past several years and I was sparked to looked up blog posts from prior visits here: July 2015 and August 2014

Scene from Southeast Lighthouse towards Mohegan Bluff.

The Oliver Hazzard Perry (aka The Perry) pulled in to Great Salt Pond. She is a civilian sailing school vessel named after the US Naval officer from Rhode Island. The building of this 196 foot long steel hulled ship was just completed two years ago.

My Friend Hank

Turning abruptly on to the dirt patch by the ramshackle fishing hut, careful to avoid the three sleepy hounds of varying mixed breeds, I dismount my rickety rental bike. I asked the obviously approachable, heavily bearded man in the doorway "I stink at fishing... can you help me?" Hank kindly but sternly replied "Nobody stinks at fishin'. Ya just need some guidance, a few pieces of gear, and to get out there in the water." Hank's enthusiasm for fishing gushed immediately as we struck up a conversation and I agreed to return with my two poles for some advice, instruction, and of course, some tackle. My return visit with Hank later that evening was worth way more than the $92 of gear he sold me as he also examined and tweaked my rods, confirmed their lines were good, taught me how to feed the hook through the slugs for both weedless surface jigging and deeper casting. In addition, Hank walked me through how to catch squid at night to use as Striper bait or to clean it for calamari.

A true fishing enthusiast! Hank was generous with his time, knowledge and advice from this little side road fishing shack.

Hank showed me how to rig these common bubblegum slugs for both surface / weedless skimming and slightly deeper reeling. The small bright green piece on the combing is for jigging for squid. We also now have trolling lures for Stripers and, when further south and off shore, for Mahi. (By the way, I have no idea how we would clean a big fish out under sail should one be caught but will cross that bridge when/if we come to it.)

Stay tuned to see if any of the instruction pays off in the coming weeks. If any readers have fishing suggestions and feedback for me, please send along your comments - I need to make Hank proud.

Preparing for a Mini Off Shore to Cape May, New Jersey

New Jersey does not sound like a particularly sexy or adventurous destination. However, our next transit to the southern tip of the Garden State will mark our foray in to waters new to us and provide an opportunity for more off shore practice.

We have been keeping an eye out on the near and mid range forecast and have started to check in with our trusty weather router, Ken McKinley from Locus Weather, as we prepare for this relatively short off shore trip (~220 nm heading southwest south of Long Island Sound). If we average 5.5kts, the trip will take 40 hours; based on conditions I am optimistic that our average speed will be a bit faster.

Currently we are nearing the end of a couple days of moderate to high southwesterly winds and are waiting for the shift from the north and northeast. Departing while the winds were still out of the SW would make the transit both very uncomfortable and long (nose to wind in high chop and waves with lots of tacking adding to the distance and time). We will time our departure to be several hours after the shift from SW to N/NE likely providing for some moderate seas (3-5 feet) for our first few hours but steadily calming as day 1 progresses. The plan is maintain a broad reach port tack heading a bit south of the rumb line initially but pulling back to the line as the wind clocks from N to NE. We expect to have our hands full with active steering and moderate following seas especially the first 12-18 hours but safe conditions under clear skies with a full moon.

Preparing for a short two day (~40 hours) off shore passage with a pre-dawn departure Thursday 15 September. As we leave Block Island, we will be in waters that are naive to Argon and her crew as we venture further along our journey.

Off line until after we settle in at Cape May.
Until then...   we ARe GONe!

11 September 2016

we ARe GONe: The First Few Days

Sitting in the cockpit, sipping thick brown coffee softened with warmed milk, enjoying the tapering fog having just exited the Cape Cod Canal only 24 hours into our journey... wondrous. Sails are trimmed, autopilot is on, Bob is down below working. I can just think, listen, feel and write a bit.

Captain Linda Perry Riera

Buzzards Bay is uncharacteristically flat and welcoming - yes really. Normally when one exits the southern opening of this 7 mile long canal that connects Cape Cod Bay with Buzzards Bay there is a ferocious salutation of choppy waves and headstrong winds from the culmination of the vast volume of water in Rhode Island Sound and Buzzards Bay being forced northeast by the prevailing southwesterly winds. But today we benefit from the many days of more northerly winds from tropical storm Hermine and the bay is wonderfully serene. Argon is pointed 220T traveling at 5kts, in 11kts of a northwesterly breeze.
Healthy breakfast purring along Buzzards Bay.


We have transited this canal dozens of times and although one must motor (no sailing allowed regardless of wind direction) we always enjoy the scene of fishermen, cyclists, joggers, other boats, bridges, passing barges, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

There was a cheerful yet intimidating overlay of emotion as this canal transit is representing a gateway of sorts; a demarcation between the routine and novel, the familiar and mysterious, the safe and adventurous.

My life has had several demarcations (strangely that seem to occur approximately every decade or so) that I normally identify only in retrospect. Some of these demarcations have been punctuated by blessed events, and some have been marked by tragic events; each demarcation represented a meaningful transformation of sorts. I presuppose that this is both a prospective and spirited demarcation. A clear division between phases of life. What will lie ahead?

Good Bye Boston And Life as We Knew It

As we prepared to pull out of slip D17 at Constitution Marina for the last time, the Sluice Gates of the Charles River opened to our dismay. This brings an ugly sludge of algae byproducts down the marina fairway soiling the waterline of boats and, most relevant to us this morning, churning up quite an aggressive current in the opposite direction of our exit.

Because of the strong current from the release of the locks, instead of turning hard to starboard to pull forward out of the fairway, I did not fight the current and instead let it take the bow while helpful hands on the finger pier held in my stern to ensure we did not get pushed in to our neighbor. I then hard reversed out of the fairway pushing against the rushing water to make a final successful exit. Must admit it was a bit nerve-wracking to have such a challenging final departure.
Constitution Marina and Zachim Bridge as we pull away in the thinning fog.

Lifting clouds revealing the familiar and beautiful Boston skyline as we tack gently out of the harbor and up the small boat channel.

Ok, Linda... enough with the sentimental good bye pictures! Nix's Mate with the veiled, receding Boston skyline as we pull away.

Milestones and Deliverables No More

Our only time-dependent obligation currently is to be docked in Portsmouth or Norfolk Virginia by (about) mid October. Wow. After so many years of heavily scheduled lives with endless multi-tasking, we are unencumbered by deliverables, milestones, and schedules. Well, Bob still has 25-30% of a job so I guess he's not off the hook. Will this be an uncomfortable transition or effortless? I suspect the later. Of course there are various mini time considerations such as meeting up with friends, knowing when happy hour is, being aware of timing of wind shifts, tides and currents (btw... we missed in the Cape Cod Canal current Day 1 - but, hey, that was just fine with us; we are in cruising mode!).

Skies cleared as we pulled away from the Boston Harbor Islands. Approaching Minot light sailing close haul in 11kts of breeze on flat seas.
Enjoying easy sailing...

... while Bob gets some work done below.

Cape Cod Canal

We were being proudly purist sailors leaving Boston Harbor tacking in to light winds against a flooding tide, hence our initial couple of hours had a very lean velocity made good (VMG). But that was just fine. We are sailors, damn it!, and sailors sail, we do not motor (well, unless we have to, and boy that diesel comes in handy sometimes) and although we were planning to transit the Cape Cod Canal catching the progression of the water southward that evening, arriving late simply meant that we could drop anchor on the near side of the canal, get some sleep, and continue on in the morning when the flow was in our favor again.

We dropped anchor on the northern side of the Cape Cod Canal off Sagamore Beach at about 2030 the first night of our trip. The canal tide would be in our favor again in the morning. A scrumptious dinner of chili rellenos ended our evening. I think that look in Bob's eyes is famished sleepiness.

Another foggy morning as Bob directions me on where to steer Argon so we can haul up the anchor and continue on through the opening of the canal just a  mile or so away through the lifting fog.

The Cape Cod Canal is 500 foot wide, 7 mile long, 40 foot deep man-made waterway allowing mariners to avoid the often challenging waters around the outer eastern arm of Massachusetts's lovely Cape Cod and shortening the trade route from New York City to Boston by 100km. Interestingly, especially to my many genealogy-loving Perry family members, the idea of constructing a canal here was first discussed by our Perry great, great, great... grandfather, Miles Standish, in the early 1600's. Several waves of planning and evaluations took place over the ensuing 250 years until finally construction began in the early 1900's via a privately funded and owned effort. The initial canal was only one fifth the current width, more shallow, and had a slightly different southerly footprint through Phinney Harbor. The canal experienced several accidents during it's first several years of operation damaging its reputation and limiting revenue. Many boats chose to risk the longer, more difficult passage around Cape Cod until, during World War I, a tug boat with four barges was torpedoed by a German U Boat east of Cape Cod with several crew perishing. This triggered the US government to take control of the canal leading to a swift expansion of the width and depth and altering of the southern entrance by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Interestingly before the modifications in construction, engineers from MIT constructed a large scale model (one mile long!) to study the hydraulic effects of the tidal currents on the new design. The Cape Cod Canal was then able to provide more swift and safe transit north and southward in New England to all commercial and recreational boaters. Now it is very uncommon to travel around the outer Cape and only the largest vessels such as enormous cruise ships and tankers avoid the canal.

We decided to tackle the challenge of sailing around the outer Cape once (so far) a couple of years ago. We made it so I suppose it can be considered an achievement, but it nearly ended in disaster. Our experience is shared in a the blog post from August 2014 A Tale of Two Extremes: Argon Sails the Outer Cape. Suffice it to say we are very grateful for the safe (and swift) passage option offered by the Cape Cod Canal. And I like to think we are wiser sailors today for the experience.

The familiar entrance to the Cape Cod Canal with the fixed FL R 5s 43ft/15M "6" at the end of the breakwater to the right, and the R "4" at the entrance for clear guidance. The current rips strongly at here at peak ebbing and flooding.
Passing under the Sagamore Bridge. I have probably driven over this bridge only 4 or 5 times (very unusual for someone that has lived in New England so long given the popularity of the Cape) but I have transited under it with my sailboat (motoring) dozens of time. I much prefer by boat.
Bourne Bridge in the foreground congested with traffic. Rail road bridge in the background. One must keep an ear to the VHF and a watch on the RR bridge height to be alert for it dropping to allow a train to pass.
Our displays show the effects of the strong tidal current. The 9.0 is our speed over ground (SOG) while the 7.9 is our speed through water (STW). Argon is traveling faster over ground than through the water due to the approximately one and half kt current going in our direction helping to push us along.

The Cape Cod Canal has the largest tidal differential of all canals without the use of locks. The strong tidal flow results in up to a 5kt current. Most mariners will time canal transit as not to oppose this strong current for efficiency. Vessels with modest propulsion such as small power boats and sailboats (Argon has just a 55hp diesel) should always transit at slack or positive current.

Hello Rhode Island

Having fun sailing wing on wing down Buzzards Bay galloping towards the Rhode Island coast guarding the main sheet should I accidentally jybe as the enormous main sail teeters slightly on  the lee.

Our second evening welcomed one of our favorite anchorages: Third Beach in Newport. Many are familiar with First and Second Beach in Newport that are easily seen driving along 138A. However, opposite and northeast to Second Beach, opening in to the southern out pouring of the Sakonnet River is the more secluded and pristine Third Beach with warm water and soft welcoming sand.

Pleasing anchor at Third Beach for our second night of our briny wanderlust.

And then there is Newport with All of Her Boat Porn

We love Newport. She is cocky and opulent but the huge percentage and variety of sailboats and the ingrained mariner charm weaved everywhere is intoxicating. And as we become even saltier sailors, it is wonderful to anchor for free in a place that easily gets a premium price of $220 to park a boat of our size for just one night.

Newport will get increasingly busy in the coming days as she prepares for the annual Newport Boat Show (NBS). Argon was featured in the NBS show last year as part of the Tartan display. See the former post Argon Does NBS September 2015. We will likely stay here in Newport a few days as I have filled our social calendar once again.

Lovely Narraganset Bay approaching Newport, RI.
Many sailing vessels that dwarf Argon in size and opulence.

Look closely... a cutter with a solent rig. Very unusual but cool.
Chillin' at anchor in Newport Harbor after a nice, very short work day.

Media Attention and More Socializing for Argon

Our lifestyle, sailboat and sailing plans have gotten a bit of attention recently. A couple of months ago we were interviewed for and mentioned in a Sunday Boston Globe article featuring living aboard: What is it like to live aboard in Boston? Unfortunately (or fortunately) we were sailing the lovely coastline of Maine during the photo shoot so no pictures of Argon.

Earlier this week Argon was in a movie shoot for an upcoming independent film being shot at many Boston locations: Argon on the Big Screen.

Most recently, we were visited and interviewed by the owner of Black Rock Sailing School, Brenton Lochridge. Black Rock is an award winning sailing school based in Boston MA, Warwick RI, and Tortola British Virgin Islands (BVI). Black Rock provided critical instruction for us including docking skills, ASA 104 Coastal Cruising in the BVI, and the especially highly recommended ASA 105 Navigation course.  

Flashback photo from March 2012 when I took ASA104 in the BVI with Brenton and three other students. Brenton's ASA 104 course was intense with constant sailing, drills, theory, and quizzing as we darted among beautiful islands. The live man overboard drills as well as all manual navigation (no electronics) were particularly instructive.
Brenton conducted a brief interview with Bob and I as part of his video profiling of Black Rock Sailing School graduates: Video interview by Brenton Lochridge from Black Rock Sailing School

Great visit and fun interview with Brenton and Paul of Black Rock Sailing School.

Brenton and Paul of Black Rock Sailing School visiting on Argon. We hope to meet up with them in Bermuda in November and the BVI in the winter as they lead more ASA 104 classes among the lovely Caribbean Islands.

We were able to get our final canvas project completed while anchored in Newport. Phil Kinder of Kinder Industries came aboard to finalize the screen to our companionway. Kinder Industries crafted all of Argon's canvas work including the dodger, bimini, solar panel attachments, side panel cockpit enclosures, etc.
Phil Kinder installing the snaps for our new companionway screen.  Bob calls this our "Zika Screen"

Bob's NY hometown friend has become quite the passionate sailor over the past several years. Bob and Greg Ruf enjoy exchanging sailing projects and stories. Greg documents his experiences sailing his O'Day 23 at s/v Piao and Ruf Seas sailing blog. .

Bob shuttling more guests to Argon.

Argon at her anchorage with Newport Bridge in the background.

Now it is time to communicate with our trusty weather router, Ken McKinley from Locus Weather, as we start to look for a good weather window for the ~240nm off shore passage to the southern tip of New Jersey, Cape May, marking our entrance in to new waters as we point southward. In the meantime, we are enjoying the absence of schedules!

Until next time.... we AReGONe!

10 September 2016

Sailboat Project: Adjustable Clewboard

For sailing geeks of all kinds:  An innovative way to maximize jib trim while underway with a self-tacking jib

Bob Damiano


Argon has a self-tacking jib

We had always considered a self-tacking jib to be a bit of a sissy feature as we've always had "real" rigs with jib tracks that required lots of winch grinding when tacking.

While we have since come to really appreciate the simplicity and ease of a self-tacking jib, it does have a few disadvantages:
  1. Sail Shape: When sailing very far off the wind, the shape of the jib is really not so great.  This is normally not that big of a deal because this is when we would deploy the "reacher" (our 150% genoa) which is sheeted from good old fashioned tracks and cars.
  2. Heaving To: It is a bit tricky to "heave to".  Since you want the jib on the "wrong side", and with this rig, it always goes to the "right side".  We mitigate this by having pinned stops on the traveler so we can pin the sail to one side of the boat or the other.  But, it does mean going up on deck to do this and generally when needing to heave to, the conditions are not exactly safe for deck work.
  3. Sheeting Angle: In a traditional setup, you can move a fairlead forward or aft to adjust the angle at which the sail is sheeted,  This critical adjustment tweaks the twist of the sail - the idea of which is to keep an optimal angle to the wind at all elevations of the sail (wind speed is usually higher aloft and so the apparent wind angle is different).  In those setups, if you move the car forward, you're pulling more "down" which tightens the leech and spills less aloft.  Move the car back and you're pulling more "back" along the foot and letting more wind spill aloft.  In our self-tacking setup, the only adjustment for this is a series of holes on the clewboard which offer different attachment points for the sheet.  Choosing a lower hole is like moving your jib car aft, while choosing an upper hole is like moving it forward.
As for #3 above, the trick with this rig is to guess ahead of time which hole to attach the sheet to based on the conditions. This is of course fraught with error, and we often find ourselves sailing with way too much or way too little twist and are either way under or over powered.

Argon's self-tacking jib traveler with car pins.

Can you adjust it while sailing?  

Well, yes but it's a pain.  I've manged to do it in light air while sailing by attaching a "temporary sheet" (our boom preventor) while I un- and re-attach the clew. In higher wind conditions, the only way is to furl in the sail to completely unload, and do it then.  In either case, it's only a matter of time before we drop a critical pin or shackle overboard in the process.

What does google say?

Well, not much.  I've searched quite a bit to see if anyone makes any sort of contraption to make adjusting the sheeting angle underway easier. I thought for sure that like most boat problems, solving this would mean just typing in a credit card number. In this case, I really could not find anything. (I look forward to the comments to this post that will surely include about 17 off-the-shelf solutions).

A couple times over the summer, I tried to design some sort of continuous adjustment scheme using various blocks, lines and cleats.  I even bought a $92 block/cleat combo to experiment with. I was careful not to remove it from the shelf card so I could return it if if didn't work.  I ended up returning it.  The main thing I didn't like was that I just ended up with lots of dangling hardware flinging around behind the sail.

Then, last week I was looking at this again and it occurred to me that there was lots of room on this  big fat strong aluminum clewboard to mount a cam cleat directly to it.  I started fooling around with some soft shackles and other pieces of dyneema I had laying around and came up with something much simpler.

The Prototype (V 1.0)

So, here it is.  The main attachment point is made with a soft shackle (the gray one) between the block shackle and the main shackle on the clewboard.  It is attached to the lowest (max twist/max spillage) position.  Another soft shackle (green) goes through the block and a  dyneema line with a Brummel Splice attached to that up through the highest hole and is cleated by a cam cleat mounted right on the clewboard.  The cam cleat is through-bolted with some 10-24 screws with nylock nuts.  I used tef-gel all over everything since it would be stainless and aluminum sandwiched together.

The prototype adjusted about half way.  Two soft shackles, a Brummel Splice and the cleat.
By pulling down on that adjustment line, the block is raised which give the same sheeting angle as if we moved the main attachment to the upper holes.

Now, time to test out the contraption under sail.

Beta Testing

We did not get a chance to test this out until Day 1 of the cruise. It worked great as far as adjusting the sail, but I did learn a few things to inform the next version.
  1. It is still not possible to adjust the angle higher when the sail is really loaded up.  But it was very easy to do during tacking or by just turning the boat up into the wind enough to let it luff a little.  No big deal.
  2. I actually got way more adjustment than I needed.  When the sail is sheeted in tight, the distance to the traveler is very short (like 1 foot) so very tiny changes in this make a big difference in angle.
  3. Because of that, the soft shackle between the block and the main attachment point at the bottom is not even needed.


Part of the design of this is that should the adjuster fail, I wanted the sail to revert to it's lowest (max twist) position so that the sail would be de-powered.  Well, we got to test that pretty soon.

The adjustment line is 5/16" dyneema and while that is certainly strong enough, it is not quite fat enough to stay securely in the cleat. With the winds at about 11kts, the cleat suddenly let loose of the adjustment line. It made quite a racket, but unlike many unexpected sailboat noises, we both knew exactly what it was immediately.  This was also a great test of the fail-safe design which let the sail resolve to it's lowest attachment angle and de-power. The other thing that became very apparent, is that when adjusted up say to 50%, this adjustment line is carrying half of the sheet tension.

Back to the drawing board

On Day 2, we were running mostly on a broad reach down Buzzards Bay (thanks to remnants of Hermine) using the genoa, so I pulled the whole rig back into the cockpit to rework.


The main changes I made were to lose both soft shackles.  The block would now attach directly to the sail like it always did.  And the adjustment line would now be 1/2" dyneema line Brummel Spliced directly to the block.  I buried the tail of the splice almost to the end of the adjuster so it is a nice big fat line now that goes through the cleat.

The adjustment line also tucks back through another hole in the clew so it comes out on the port side.  This helps sink the line into the cleat better.

Working on the revised version while under sail in the uncharacteristically flat Buzzards Bay. Making the splice for the upgraded version.

Now with the new, thicker adjustment line spliced into the block.

Real world test

On Day 3, we found ourselves sailing high down buzzards bay (wind direction more back to the normal W/SW).  The air was light, so this was exactly the conditions to try it on.

Close-up of the clew with V1.5 sailing close-reaching in about 9kts with the sheeting angle adjusted up.

The bigger picture of the adjuster in action.

The only thing left is to use my hot knife on the cut end of the adjuster.  I will do that next time we can plug into shore power! And to test again in light, mid and high winds.

08 September 2016

Argon on the Big Screen

Argon and crew were completely ready to depart on our long awaited one year sailing adventure. But wait, the bright lights call... Argon was asked to be in a movie!

Captain Linda Perry Riera

Isaac Alongi is a photographer, cinematographer and Emmy award winning director based in Kansas City, New York City and Chicago. Isaac partnered with his wife, Sandra Martin, to release their first independent full length film, Trust Fund earlier this year. Their newest project, a romantic comedy entitled How to Pick Your Second Husband First, was also written by Sandra and will be filming at many Boston locations throughout September.

Isaac desired a classic looking sailboat for a brief scene in the movie out in Boston Harbor and found our company, All Hands Sailing Charters, via Google search as most of our charter clients do.  However, he was not looking for our standard Boston Harbor or Island Loop package. After a couple of conversations, Argon and Isaac seemed like a good match for his movie.

Argon was spotted from our charter website, All Hands Sailing Charters. We started this company in 2013 hosting private charters in and around Boston Harbor.

We settled on Tuesday 6 September for the date of the filming adjusting the initiation of our one year cruise by a few days to accommodate. This worked out just fine given that we had tropical storm Hermine meandering up the east coast confounding the conditions for the final holiday weekend of the summer. Hermine also interfered with the plans for the shoot as conditions were still poor on the scheduled date with intermittent rain and brisk winds in the harbor. Isaac and Sandra skillfully shifted gears by adjusting some of the dialogue to situate the scene as if the crew had just arrived on the docks to escape impending bad weather.

In addition to Isaac and Sandra (director/producer/writer) there were three actors as well as a Film Crew consisting of Camera, Sound, Lighting and Makeup people.  There was also a lot of really cool gear.

Some of the crew. Notice the cool harness with the floating camera

Isaac adjusting the camera preparing for the shoot to begin.

The Sound guy carrying a bunch of wireless mic receivers, a mixer and a shotgun mic covered with a windscreen (known as a "dead rat")

Staying on the dock made the work for Bob and I much simpler compared with taking passengers (with lots of expensive filming equipment) out in to the windy harbor. We ensured the boat was clean and orderly, adjusted a few items on Argon to be out of the way, and showed the actors how to coil lines and otherwise move around.

Director and producer, Isaac and Sandra; and the three actors playing Jill, grandmother, and grandfather.

The main character in the film, Jill, is played by an Argentinian American actress Julie Gonzalo. The shoot opens with Jill returning from a sail with her grandparents. Jill is a marriage counselor going through a divorce and receiving some relationship advice from her grandmother for this particular scene. 

Main character, Jill (played by Julie Gonzalo), conversing with her grandfather on the bow of Argon to prepare for the scene.

Bob teaching the grandfather how to look sailor-like coiling lines on the bow. Linda trained the actress playing the grandmother on some basic line handling in the cockpit.

The three actors playing the grandmother, grandfather, and their granddaughter. The grandmother is getting her microphone attached.

Isaac and Sandra liked the look of the boats lined down the dock and decided to have most of the conversation with Jill and her grandmother walking down D Dock, hence many D dock boats will be spotted in the scene. There are some other shots from along C dock as they sought to have the mass of masts and city skyline in another view.

Adjusting and tweaking how the scene will proceed with main character, Jill, and grandmother conversing as they walk down D dock.
Bob and I mostly try to stay out of the way. After about six takes, it's a wrap.

Although more simple than originally planned since we stayed dockside, it was fascinating to see the planning and coordination. We enjoyed chatting with the crew and actors and Bob drooled over all of the gear.

After Isaac and crew left, we got Argon back in order and turned our attention to getting ready to depart on our big trip the next morning! Another post will be forthcoming soon to update all on the initial days of our BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).

A wonderful visit and dinner with my son, Christian, was a perfect way to end our last day at Constitution Marina and to mark the start of a new chapter.

Farewell dinner with my son, Christian, was a perfect way to not only end this day, but to emotionally prepare to truly cast off the lines.
And, I think we are ready to go now!