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smallCraft NC
Capt Suz & Tybee Rowe sail the SOBX of North Carolina~
Summer Break~Solstice Celebration~
Hot, Humid, Sunny
06/21/2015, Crystal Coast - NC

Looking forward to the kick off of my 'Summer Break' to spend some quality time with the Sparrow~
Sparrow got a beautiful face-lift by dressing her in a new green tweed sail cover. She had been needing an upgrade for a while. An advantage of having art teacher friends...they have 'skills' beyond the classroom. While she was sewing the sail cover canvas, I've been sewing and repairing the cockpit cover and cushions. It has been so extremely HOT here on the Carolina coast, that the air conditioning is a welcome friend. But we've been spending way too much time indoors due to teaching & taking online summer courses. So it is a welcome break to get outside and out on the water~
Sparrow has been patiently awaiting our return, keeping her bilges dry and her engine start turn-over to a couple seconds. YEAH!

Tybee, my new sea-dog has been gaining more & more confidence in his 'sea-legs'. Yesterday he actually walked up to the bow, underway-making way and took his rightful place as the Sparrow's new figure head/hood ornament! He still doesn't like the water and getting on/off the boat is still a fear-factor I'm slowly approaching the day we attempt the off the deck, into the dinghy maneuver. Oh boy, he has grown from a 25 lb weakling into a 50+lb chunk of muscle and his claws can be rough. What is truly unique about this cabin-boy is that he seems to love it even though he fears I have confidence that with enough exposure, he will become a first-rate sea-dog!

Sunday Sanctuaries
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en Plein Air enVoyage~
04/21/2015, New River, Jacksonville, NC

Very FIRST en Plein Air event attempt by the 'Sparrow' and crew. Sadly the 'Sparrow' was held up on her passage down the ICW in Swansboro by an alignment issue in the engine compartment. So the Sparrow's dinghy, the kayak 'Magic' took on the challenge. Paddling between the two bridges across the New River was peaceful but wet, good thing I brought acrylics for painting en plein air. Had been warned about acrylics drying too fast for plein air, but on such a rainy, humid day, it was the perfect choice, as I dipped my paint brush into the dark river water. I was attracted to the 'wild' landscape beyond the two bridges and the cloudy skies contrasted by the dark water. When I painted the last layer consisting of the bridge and street lights, the metaphor became real. The 'wild' nature being muzzled by the urban traffic. It was a wonderful experience meeting all the other painters scattered out across the downtown area of Jacksonville, NC, especially those over at the War Memorials.
Hoping the next plein events will be as fun and my experiences and confidence will grow! Three more events along the Carolina Coast, all in the coming weeks!! : D Thanks goes to the Onslow Arts Council, the Onslow Outdoor Painting Society and the North Carolina Plein Air Painters for sponsoring this first annual event.CLICK HERE FOR ANIMOTO LINK

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Studio Boat S/V SPARROW sails PLEIN AIR
04/07/2015, envoyage from MHC to Jacksonville, NC

SPARROW's original mission included Art venues along the coast and it is all coming to fruition! A studio boat is meant to travel up rivers, bays and coastal regions to capture it's beauty en plein air, yes, just like the impressionist, Claude Monet.
We set sail this weekend, heading for the New River ART BLOCK FESTIVAL & PLEIN AIR COMPETITION.
It is an old stomping ground sailing through the Camp Lejeune Marine Base where I once directed the sailing program, but it will be new sailing the SPARROW up river this time.
She still has many projects underway and will continue to be a work in progress, but this opportunity to bring her to her very first PLEIN AIR event was just too inspiring to miss~
Float Plan: 2-3 day voyage down the coast and up the New River
Dock either on base or in downtown marina for the week.
Participate in the PLEIN AIR competition April 16, 17 & 18

small boat adventures
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studio boat SPARROW swims again
steamy summer
08/20/2014, Morehead City, North Carolina

After a six-month haul out, the studio boat SPARROW is finally back in the water and gearing up for the best season of wind, weather and color!
The SPARROW has moved her port of departure to Morehead City, North Carolina so as she could easily access the down east region where the Bogue Sound meets the Lookout Bight and further northeast into the Core Sound and Outer Banks.
Although she has undergone some major restoration, she is eager to provide an on-going platform for creative and environmental studies. Her Volvo one-cyclinder diesel engine has been totally re-built and starts instantly with the turn of the key!! WoW! : D
The investment made in the Sparrow's restoration as a studio boat has been a struggle, but her original mission of providing a comfortable, safe space for creative adventure on the water is unwavering~

Look for us in an anchorage near you!
the SPARROW crew

small boat adventures
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Sparrow's Face Lift
2014 Haul-Out
05/30/2014, Morehead City, NC

Closing in on a 6 month haul-out. The list keeps getting longer, but are all jobs that the SPARROW desperately needed. She is a fine lass and deserves the attention she is getting....
It gave us new enthusiasm to finally move to put her namesake on the stern, I had been working on a hand-carved transom board, but felt compelled to go ahead with vinyl for now. She is still in the process of getting a complete new coat of paint, from the bottom to top.
After the prop was replaced with a dripless shaft and a new automated bilge pump re-installed with accessible lifting rig in case that computer chip goes out again.....the day we dropped her back in....her engine wouldn't start.
So back out again she went, what was it this time? She had lost her ability to turn over, so after replacing the batteries, freeing up the fly-wheel by soaking in oil, trying fresh fuel, even a little ether and testing her injector, we had to call in a professional diesel mechanic for a re-build. He believed she was not able to reach enough here we are, more time in the boat yard.
Funny, but the other fellas working on their boats were joking about my being the first to go back in the water and weren't there some other things I needed to do so I wouldn't be leaving them behind~
Looks like we'll be there for at least another couple of weeks...ah well, there are LOTS of other smaller jobs to do, thankful I have the time to focus on it!

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03/28/2014, Russel's Boat Yard, MHC-NC

It has surely been a cold, wet, snowy, icey winter here in the Carolinas. We sailed down to Morehead City on a blustery New Year's Day with gloves, caps, mittens and layers to keep warm. Thankfully the partly cloudy day didn't dampen our spirits, what with a newlywed couple onboard, homemade pumpkin bread, homemade beef jerky and lively conversation, we clipped right along~

Having left after 9:30, we arrived into the Morehead City waterfront by mid-afternoon. Russel the Yard owner was waiting for us, guiding us into the 'lift' berth, surprised maybe to see we actually came through with our sail plan. We closed her up and felt assured that we left her in good hands, you see she was in desperate need of being hauled. She had a slow leak from the engine shaft bolts that at this point were dribbling and causing the bilge pump to run every few minutes. That was all fine until over the Christmas holiday while I was out of town, the automated bilge pump chip decided to die. Even with someone onboard to push the button every 10 minutes, she was gaining water weight, especially loaded with crew and the engine screw running full bore.

Russel could easily see what was in store for his winter project onboard SPARROW. Thankfully, he was exactly the right person to bring her to. He ended up having to totally excavate the entire prop shaft and replace everything with a dripless system. It took some time and a lot of extra change, but soon, SPARROW'S bottom was looking so much better and so many issues had been solved. This bilge pump was non accessible, due to being placed under the engine, so he devised a liftable shelf plate for the new pump. The engine itself had wore out it's foot pads and he extended the shaft to make room for replacing zinc collars now and then. I am ecstatic about the repairs and how he solved all the dilemmas....paying for it was a hard swallow~

Now we're just hoping for a warming trend, last night it was back in the 20's, but we are promised into the 70's for the weekend...but more rain. I am still searching for the right dock space for this season though, we will not be returning to our previous dock due to shoaling at low tide and strong currents causing limited access. The Nancy Lee Fishing Charter docks were convenient but were not working out for us. The docks were also in the process of being sold to the town for public park access and we didn't feel comfortable with SPARROW being open to public access 24-7 with no security. It was nice digs for a season~

Better things to come-

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