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Capt Suz & Tybee Rowe sail the SOBX of North Carolina~
Beaufort Bound..........
05/08/2016, Beaufort, NC Maritime Museum Wooden Boat Show & Plein Air Competition

What a rewarding way to end the week and spring semester. Today's special day began by arriving on the docks while my fellow sailor's were readying the sprits'l fleet for the day's schedule of races and boat rides for the Wooden Boat Show guests. Maybe it all played out this way so I could literally see a new perspective~

I had been preparing the s/v Sparrow and her sailing dinghy, Twinkle (little star) for the new season and had every intention to sail her down to Beaufort for the weekend. Fate had a different plan.
This past winter I purchased a kit 4x4 trailer to haul both the dinghy and/or my kayak from Harbor Freight. Having put it together with some help from my daughter and did a test run with Twinkle, it was clear that the trailer's tongue bar was too short. It would need a longer tongue bar to accommodate the length of the two boats. So having acquired a 10' steel squared bar from Gulfstream in Holly Ridge, I was excited to make the transfer. But as I grabbed the end of the bar I did not notice the ragged edge left from the cutting tool and as I unloaded it and the other end dropped off the trailer, the ragged edge sliced right into my left hand's fingers. After stopping the blood flow, cleaning up the wounds and bandaging them, I realized this had just put a kink in my weekend plans.
I had to decline skippering for the Museum sprits'l fleet and sailing the s/v Sparrow to Beaufort due to the injury and subsequent nerve damage.

Determined to not allow my weekend to be a total loss, I decided to just drive down to Beaufort and set up my easel on the dock I had tied the Sparrow to in previous years at the Wooden Boat Show.

As it turned out, it was the most wonderful morning of blending my two passions of art & sailing and feeling fate was forcing my hand to realize this was my bliss.....and all things were working for me~ TYL

As I nervously attempted to finish up my painting of the sprits'l fleet and submitted it to the judging and wet paint sale, I told myself, no big deal, the reward was in spending the morning at the office on the water anyway.
Having enjoyed the lunch the Arts Council had prepared for all the plein air artists from Clawson's, the Council staff announced it was time to put price tags on our paintings. Before I could even finish my lunch, I was being hailed. Someone was anxious to buy my sprits'l painting and needed a price. Wow!

A sweet local woman on her bicycle approached me and haggled over the price until I told her I had a floater frame to put it in and she agreed to pay more than what I was asking. How sweet! So I took her picture with the finished framed painting and before the judging was called, she had proudly put my morning work into her basket and was anxiously riding off to hang it in her home~ I headed back down to the docks to hang with the sprits'l skippers, taking a break between races~

small boat adventures
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Little Star goes Plein Air
Sunny but bitter cold wind
04/17/2016, New River, Jacksonville, NC

As we gear up for the 2016 season, my attentions turned to Sparrow's dink that was passed down from my parent's S/V ARIES.
I have decided to repurpose her to be a petite bateau atelier....a mini painting boat. Last year when we entered our first Plein Air Painting competition I ended up using my kayak, "Magic", a Native Watercraft vessel. But the kayak proved to have space limitations, and I could not set up an easel. Hence the move back to the Little Star. She had been stored beside the cottage for a while waiting for restoration energy to come her way. Seeing how I needed a break from the cockpit project going on Sparrow, and the plein air competitions always give me motivation, I pulled out Little Star and began the sanding and scraping and painting process...and viola....she has such beautiful lines for a sweet little dink.
I tested her out locally to see how she would fair with the extra painting gear aboard. She worked out fantastic! I have room to set up a complete French Easel and Pochade Box and alternate between them. It was so nice to have space to set the water, brushes and paints right there on the wooden thwart seat. I do plan to put down some type of rubber mat for stability. I do know that my pup had a hard time without slipping on the fiberglass.
So on the first day of the plein air competition, after a good many hours of painting, my hands and feet were getting a bit cold. The wind was picking up and I had turned to reach for my pochade box in the bow. As I leaned forward, the Little Star lurched to starboard and SPLASH, overboard went my French Easel, the Pochade Box and my paintings!! I am a firm believer in if I wasn't before. In my state of panic, bringing up the anchor and pulling out the oars as fast as I could, I had forgotten that because they are made of wood and the paintings stretched in wood, they were all floating down river waiting for me to come along side and pick them up. You can never forget your man-over-board maneuvers...they may turn into Art-Over-Board or Easel-Over-Board! Who knows what will happen next onboard the studio boat fleet~

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2016 New Horizons for le bateau atelier en Voyage ~ _/)

Scheduling plein air competitions, winter project check-offs and preparations for the new sailing season!
We continue to work on restoring the woodwork in Sparrow's cockpit and redesign of her bimini/boom tent configuration. We've been utilizing a Taylor-made bimini umbrella for two years now, but it does not suffice for rain and I believe aided the dry-rot situation. I'm thinking a nice dodger and bimini combo would be a better solution.

Looking forward to hitting more plein air events and to begin Sparrow's tour of duty chartering out Paint Out Adventures for the artistically inclined. Bringing along folks for an afternoon of creative challenge and cruise aspects seems like the perfect combo for a truly restorative experience~ The kind of day that makes for sound & well deserved sleep at the end of the day!

Proud to announce I'll be graduating from my first Diesel Mechanics class in May and am already utilizing some of the tricks I've learned on the Sparrow's iron jenny, "African Queen". Feeling confident to handle any of her issues that arise was my goal!

Tybee and I look forward to many sunrise & sunset events aboard our beloved Sparrow this season~

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The Cockpit Project
09/04/2015, MHC, NC

Had some help sent on a wing and a prayer! Sarah and Justin came down to spend the day aboard the SPARROW and helped rip up the cockpit for replacement. Of the many projects we've worked on over the past three years, the woodwork has been low on the priority list, so now, she is finally getting the face-lift she deserves.
We finally replaced the sail-cover so it matches the hull, the boom tent will be next.
While working on replacing the marine-ply bench seats in the cockpit and fiberglassing them, I'm also working on replacing the boom crutch. After much consideration between a crutch or a gallows, I've decided to go back to my roots. When I was a youngster and sailed on my father's John Alden, Malabar Jr. 32' sloop, she had a traditional crutch that looked like giant scissors that held the massive wooden, roller-reefing boom. Because the SPARROW, also has a very long boom, I figured it would work great for stability and ease of stowing while sailing. Gallows would be nice, but I'm afraid of the big smack on a wild jibe...nope, nope, nope. Especially while the boom hangs low until we can re-position the mast at a more vertical angle. So many issues with this boat that were caused by the previous owners...whew!
Some day I hope to sail her proper, as I know she deserves! For now, we take short trips and continue to work on her "issues". And yet, she is always inviting and carries herself humbly through the harbor getting warm smiles~

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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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