On October 31, 2015 I sold my beloved Dessert First in Singapore after living and sailing on her since 1993 and unfortunately at my age (87) with a recent knee accident, sailing and living aboard was no longer an option and I moved to a second retirement in Hawaii.
The new owner, Alyssa Doyle, hopes to continue the tradition of cruising on her.
Fair winds and happy cruising!
19 February 2016
DessertFirst for Sale
03 November 2014 | Portland OR
I am still recovering from my knee surgery and subsequent problems. Presently I am in Portland but hope to be able to get back to Singapore within the "near" future to wind up my life there and my sailing retirement. Then I should head to Hawaii and another warm retirement. I found out that cold weather is no longer for me. If you are interested in my beloved DESSERT FIRST, please contact Al Dow!!!
I will keep the sailblog for the time being and will keep you up to date!
Update till 05/2014
07 May 2014 | Arlington, VA USA
As I told you in my last entry in April of 2013 I fell and injured my "good" knee. I was then fortunate to have good friends in Singapore who hosted me in their beautiful home for three months and also operated on the knee.
In August I returned to Switzerland to the spa where I had recovered from my other knee operation in 2007. Though I enjoyed the stay and the many hours spent in the thermal hot water spa, the knee did not cooperate and when I returned to Singapore an Xray revealed a new problem in the knee which could only be taken care of with another operation. Since I have full health care coverage in the USA I checked the Internet for the best orthopedic clinic and found it in New York ... the Hospital for Special Surgery. So on January 8th I left Singapore with Qatar Airline for Washington DC where my old friend Christine offered me a home before and after the operation.
She then took me to New York where I had a very complex knee surgery on February 18. After a week in the hospital I was transferred to a rehab center north of New York on the Hudson. I arrived there to meet up with one meter of snow and the accompanying cold weather. Thank goodness i had a full leg cast and was housebound for 6 weeks. Then the cast came off and since I have been in a full length brace which gets adjusted weekly to increase the degrees to which a I can bend the knee. (This week it will be 60.... still a bit to go to be able to bend it to a comfortable position. However the operation seems to have been a real success. But at my age, recovery is slower and more tedious but I am quite positive that it will ultimately work out.
For the time being I am still with Christine in Arlington, Virginia where I am involved in physical therapy and getting more mobil again. Now spring has finally arrived and the long harsh winter is gone. It is beautiful here with all the blooming trees, bushes and flowers. I hope that by the end of July I should be in shape again to return to my spa in Switzerland and finally back to Singapore to wind up my affairs there.
Then comes the next retirement home... the condo in Hawaii which I bought after selling my house in Mill Valley! Though I am sure I will miss the boat and Singapore, Hawaii is a warm multicultural place which I always liked and which is more easily accessible to my friends in California.
Though I will no longer be sailing, I still hope to be able to travel a bit and I will be keeping this blog site... so do not give up on me yet!
Handicapped in Paradise! (updated)
14 April 2013 | Singapore
Well my knees have always been a problem and old age does not change that.
A while ago I made a misstep and twisted my left knee (not the one with the replacement and then started a most amazing and beautiful story:
A while ago I met some very nice local people at the marina, both physicians (Drs. Kevin and Joanna Yip Lin) with three children, two of whom are also in or heading for medical school!
Anyway, since Kevin is an orthopedic surgeon he offered me his medical care... but not just that also a very nice temporary home, very close to the marina and my boat. I thought you might enjoy how I now live in paradise and therefore prepared the slideshow. Just hope the knee will heal soon so that I wont overstay my welcome!
On April 20th I had the operation which reattached my tendon to the patella and then I was put into a lightweight modern cast which is supposed to keep my leg stretched for 6-8 weeks and then comes the full rehab. Since then I have been recovering in my paradise and in spite of the stretched leg in a cast, I am starting to be more mobile again! All this is training an old horse new tricks: Accepting dependence! and patience gracefully!
After all that I hope to be able to return to my boat and make the next big decision about the future.
All this time I have found out how many very good friends I have acquired during my stay here. It is almost unbelievable! It will certainly make it difficult to leave when the time comes.
During my forced physical passivity I have done lots of reading, keeping up with the news, watercolor painting, exerising and again trying to study Mandarin.
While checking the news I found an interesting and pertinent article. For your amusement I am giving you the internet address of it. The movie was taken during the time when I had my accident and they had a big, fancy boat show at the marina which forced me to move the boat.
What am I doing in this fancy environment?????? But I must say during ordinary times it does not feel quite like this.
Al Jazeera English edition: The world's richest city.
How silly can one get: to charge students 61/2 % interest while banks get loans from the same federal agency for 1/2%.
It seems to me we are wrecking our future with an intensity that will not quit.
So I did my duty and signed a petition:
Subject: Tell Congress: Pass Elizabeth Warren's student loan bill!
I just signed Working Families' petition letting Congress know it should pass Senator Elizabeth Warren's student loan bill. Add your name now.
In the interest of our young people and ourselves, please think about doing the same!
Chiangmai, Thailand Nov.2012
09 December 2012 | Singapore
From the 20th of November through the 28th I went to ChIangmai, Thailand. The actual plan was for my friend Vickie and I to head to Laos. Unfortunately she got sick and was unable to go. However since my time was up to renew my visa, I decided to go to Chiangmai by myself. It seemed and actually was a more readily accessible place to explore alone at my age.
It turned out to be a beautiful trip for very little money! In Chiangmai I stayed at the nice, comfortable YMCA Hotel for $13 a night... how can you beat that? I visited all the various buddhist temples (wats) and took a class in thai cooking! Then I visited with the elephants and was impressed with their painting. It is unbelievable how they can manage that with their tusks and without any guidance from the attendant. The only thing he did was to dunk the brushes in the paint. Unfortunately it was hard to take good pictures of this activity but at least you can see the painting of the youngest member of the team on the video. Frankly I do not know how they manage. If you are interested you can see a professional presentation on YouTube ()
The last excursion was north to the Golden Triangle where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet and which used to be the famous opium growing and trading place during colonial times. (Now???)
There we took a short trip on the Mekong and I learned that one can take a three day boat trip to Luang Prabang in Laos. This sounds much more attractive than flying there and I will keep it in mind for that still planned trip to Laos.
Now I am back on the boat and ready to make my popular Xmas cookies and prepare for the holidays. To you all, a very happy holiday season.
PS: If you are interested in elephant painting at Maesa, please check this site out.... it is amazing! Copy the address and put into your search engine.
Though I am no longer sailing regularly I continue using this blog since I continue to live on my boat at One15Marina, Sentosa Cove, Singapore.
This allows me to keep in touch with my friends and sailing friends without too many disruptions.
As for my background:
I was born in Switzerland [...]
where I grew up, went to school, then travelled through Europe, returned and attended school of social work. In 1954 I emigrated to the San Francisco, California. Here I learned to sail and love it and made the decision to retire on a boat.
I then worked as a social worker and administrator for programs for immigrants, families and finally the frail elderly.
I retired at 65 in 1993, moved onto my boat Dessert First and started cruising. First down the coast through the Panama Canal to the Caribbean where I stayed for seven years. Then onward and back through the Canal to the Pacific and finally to Singapore.
Information about SV Dessert First:
Type of boat: Corbin 39
Built by: Corbin Les Bateaux, Quebec, Canada
Year launched: 1981
Construction: Fiberglass with Airex core
Length: 39 ft.
Width: 12 ft.
Draft: 5.5 ft.
Type of rig: Cutter
Main: Reef Rite, New Zealand
Auto Pilot: Alpha 3000
Solar panels and Wind Generator
Auxiliar Engine: Yanmar 58
Life raft: Viking and dinghy