Sailing with Wings

The sometimes stories of sailing with Dee and Molly on SV Wings

29 September 2021 | Back home in St Pete
23 August 2021 | Treguier
31 July 2021 | Treguier
02 December 2020 | Anna Maria
09 November 2020 | Moab, UT
28 October 2020 | Bryce Canyon
24 October 2020 | Zion Nat Park
13 October 2020 | Grand Canyon
07 October 2020 | Carlsbad, NM
10 April 2020 | Anna Maria
22 March 2020 | Anna Maria
24 December 2019 | Anna Maria
21 November 2019 | Cayo Costa
27 October 2019 | Charleston, SC
28 September 2019 | Annapolis
09 September 2019 | Port Jefferson, NY
26 August 2019 | Snow Island, ME
18 August 2019 | Rockland, ME

A Summer in Brittany

29 September 2021 | Back home in St Pete
We were originally planning to take delivery of Wings in May of 2020, but Covid got in the way and things got complicated. The boat was then scheduled for completion in the fall but we decided to wait for delivery until spring of this year. The guys at Boreal then decided to stop work on her and she was eventually launched in March, 2021. By then it was impossible for us to get to France until June when the borders reopened for travel and we finally arrived in Treguier to meet Wings. She was at the dock and was beautiful. She was a work of art and we had all the artists sign their work.
We spent the first week or so unpacking and putting away all the supplies and equipment we had originally sent over and went through a rapid and brief orientation to the boat and her systems. I installed the SSB radio, and a few other pieces of electrical and electronic equipment. As a part of doing that and running cables through the boat, We discovered several items that were not done or not done correctly and began a several months long process of trying to get the boat right and all systems up to the invoice. Unfortunately, there were other boats there with the same idea and the team at Boreal was stretched thin by the circumstances of the times and it seemed to take forever to get anything done.
Our original plan was to leave for Norway as soon as the boat was commissioned, but getting such a late start scuttled those plans and then a plan to go to England and Scotland, got waylayed by the boat problems and the Covid issues. England was requiring a 7-10 day quarantine and our plans to winter the boat there changed due to the high cost and lack of available space. So we decided to spend our time in France, winter the boat there and try again next year.
We did manage to get a good deal of sailing in and spent several weeks exploring the coast of Brittany, getting used to the extreme tides, learning about drying out the boat (these boats are designed to take the ground and to be able to rest on the beach). The coast is full of granite rocks and islands and, while a bit intimidating at first, make all sorts of small harbors and anchorages which are delightful to visit. We had a great time learning the secrets of our new lady in terms of sailing and were able to make her go fast in heavy air and light zephyrs. She stands tall when going to windward in a breeze and keeps the crew comfortable. With her big red Furlstrum (a light air head sail by Elvestrom sails, our sailmaker), she can move well in the lightest air.
As we were getting used to the boat and learning her excentricities, we were enjoying Treguier and her people. The food and local produce was amazing. I'm not sure if it's the soil or climate or some combination, but everything tastes sweet and remarlable. It's also a center for seafood and we enjoyed that as well. This is called a Plateau de Fruits de Mer.
We started with some daysails out of Treguier, and then did a few overnight sails and finally a 3 week coastal cruise of Brittany.
Some of the highlights were, Bugeles, a port which at high tide is full of water and floating boats, , but at low tide the water goes away and leaves a giant beach. This is the same boat in one of the previous pictures. We took a walk around the countryside. Here's Wings in the distance.
Morlaix is a community further west. They built this fort, Le Chateau du Taureau in the 16th century to protect against English marauders. The French name all their aids to navigation. It's a very picturesque village. Even though it is summer, the weather is cool but it didn't stop the locals from enjoying the water.
Paimpol is a busy harbor and the anchorage is expansive when the tide is high but when the tide leaves miles of qyster farms are exposed and the workers come out to tend their crops. The approach to the marina dries at low tide, but the marina stays full because they close the locks.
Ile du Brehat is a vacation island we showed you before with wonderful trails to follow and discover.
Port Blanc is a delightful spot and made even better by the sailing school there. We had so much fun watching the kids in everything from Opti prams to hydrofoil wing boards and Moth class boats seeming to almost start flying.
Another favorite drying out spot was Ile de Er, right at the mouth of the Treguier River.
It was a summer filled with discovery and celebration. We saw the tour de France come through Treguier, and celebrated Bastille Day, and had a great time.
Now Wings is ashore and put to bed for the winter and we have promises that al the work wil be done when we return in the spring. We have made the long trip back to the US and are safe and sound, and now are getting ready for another road trip out west, so stay tuned for reports on that. I am going to be changing the URL for the blog to after this post so make a note for future reference.

A Walk Around Ile de Brehat

23 August 2021 | Treguier
For the month of August we have been gunkholing around North Brittany, shaking the boat down and adding to our to do list and slowly working through it. We are getting really comfortable with the boat and it handles and sails as good as we had hoped. I’m still sorting through all the systems, but little by little things are coming together.
One of the places we’ve stopped along the way is Ile de Brehat, an island only a mile or so off the mainland, but is a favorite for the locals as a vacation and touring spot. Every day hundreds come over by ferry to enjoy the hiking, beaches and general ambiance of the island. I thought I’d take you on a walking tour of the island.
We’ll start at the south end in an anchorage called La Chambre, which can at times be crowded. The French like to congregate closely with their boats. This is also complicated by the Vendettes, which are ferries and tour boats which like to see how close they can come to the anchored boats. Wings anchored in La Chambre Sometimes crowded A Vendette
From the dinghy landing, we walk up through the trails, passed walled and hedged gardens, and open fields, always close to the ocean and the rocky coast.
As we walk along, we pass a profusion of flowers everywhere. Surprisingly there are palm trees and many tropical flowers, you may not expect, all because of the moderate climate afforded by the effects of the Gulf Stream.
We pass many trails leading this way and that and wonder where they lead, and what’s behind the green door.
As we continue north, we pass the drying harbor call La Corderie. The tides are extreme here, reaching 40 feet at the springs. Many boats here are built to dry out (Wings included) and can rest on the sand when the water leaves.
At the north end of the island we come to the light that guards this rocky coast, Paon. All French lights and marks have names, which greatly adds to the ambiance of the place.
As we head back south, we pass ruins of old chapels, indications of life here for hundreds or maybe thousands of years.
We pass modest cottages and grand estates as the path leads on.
Returning to the dinghy, we take a rest and etch these memories in our minds of this wonderful place.

A New Boat, A New Beginning

31 July 2021 | Treguier
Well it's been quite a while since our last post and a lot of water has past under the bridge for all of us. Our new boat, Wings, went into the water in March, roughly one year late, and sat until mid June when we could finally travel to France to join her. Our hopes for a quick commissioning and then a sail north have been tempered with a few hiccups on the boat and the continuing restrictions to travel with Covid, so we have been here in Tregueir for the past 6-7 weeks doing a little sailing locally and getting a few things done on the boat. It has been a process and here is the story.
One of the first tasks was to load the 2 pallets of gear onto the boat. Two Palletss of gearWe rented a van and loaded it all into the back and then spent 2 days transferring it all onto Wings. We managed to get it all onboard without sinking the waterline completely. Finding places for everything was the next task and is still ongoing, even as we speak, as we adjust things around.
Here is a tour of the boat. Helm station Stern with Wind Pilot and Watt and Sea hydrogenerator The pointy end Sail locker forward of a watertite bulkhead Windlass just forward of the mast Nav station in the doghouse Looking out the companionway Up into the doghouse Galley to starboard Main salon to port Starboard Quarter berth with freezer Port quarter berth Aft Head Forward cabin Forward Head Signatures of the creators of this work of art
We been out sailing some and visited a few of the local anchorages, all very spectacular. This, the Cotes d'Armor, a department in Brittany, and Cote de Granit Rose or pink granite coast, is protected by numerous granite rocks and islands forming wonderful anchorages. The real estate increases dramatically at low tide especially at springs when they can be as much as 40 feet. High tide Low tide One nice thing about the Boreals is that they can dry out on the beach with their centerboard up allowing more opportunities for gunkholing into places where others can't go.
We've also been spending a lot of time walking around the neighborhood and enjoying the ambiance, culture and sites of Treguier. The flowers here at this time of year are nothing short of magnificent. We never tire of wandering and looking. There i s a market every Wednesday and we have sampled some of the local cuisine, which is also incredible. I'm not sure if it's because the local produce is locally grown and very fresh or if the soil is that much better, but the fruits and veggies we buy are the best we've ever had. Cherry tomatoes so sweet and strawberries even sweeter.
The cathedral in town is a wonderful place as well. It was built in stages in the 11th, 13th and 14th centuries.
We were fortunate to have the Tour de France pass through town, apparently for the first time ever, and what a spectacle it was. We also were here for Bastille Day celebrated with lots of music and pageantry.Roasting a whole pig on Bastille DayCelebration in town on the square
We have gotten most of the bugs worked out of the systems on board and I've gotten more confident in understanding most of them. This is a very Hi-tech boat and the electronics and electrical setup was somewhat intimidating at first, but now that I'm a little more familiar with the systems I feel a little better about things. I installed the SSB radio and ran all the cables for that and that allowed (or required) me to crawl around in the bowels of the boat and thus became a little more familiar with where everything is and goes.
Next up for us is to go for a sail around to south Brittany and explore a bit of the coast and continue to test all the systems on board.

Canyons of the Ancients, Hovenweep, and Mesa Verde

13 December 2020 | Anna Maria
Up to now we have been marveling over the natural beauty of the parks in Arizona and Southern Utah. Next on the list are several sites that have to do with the original people that inhabited this area and who are the ancestors of the indigenous tribes that were here when the first European settlers arrived. We had heard a lot about Mesa Verde and the collection of cliff dwellings there, but as we were traveling through Utah, we began to learn about some other National Monuments that were also preserving remnants of the indigenous culture. These are Canyon of the Ancients, Hovenweep, and Bears Ears National Monuments.
There are antiquities spread all over SE Utah, SW Colorado, and New Mexico, which were originally inhabited by the pueblo culture sometimes known as the Anasazi (a Navaho word for "ancient foreigner), but now described more accurately as the Ancestral Pueblo People. They arrived here from the west, replacing the original hunter gatherers who left as the climate changed and their way of life required moving to a new location. The Ancestral Pueblo People inhabited this area from 4-500 AD until 1300 AD. The original people lived in Pit Houses dug into the ground and covered with wood and adobe walls and roofs, designed to help them tolerate the climate. An excavated pit houseAs the culture continued they developed more sophisticated communities with pueblos built of stone and adobe, with multiple levels and many round Kivas or ceremonial spaces. Lowery PuebloThe later people developed the elaborate cliff dwellings seen in Mesa Verde, Canyon De Chelley, and Chaco Canyon. It is unclear why this evolution occurred, maybe cultural or defensive, and also why they left them to move south down to the Rio Grande area, possibly related to climate change, or conflict. They are considered the ancestors of the Navaho, Hopi, and Zuni people who inhabit the area today.
We were interested to see as much as we could, although many places were limited or closed due to the covid pandemic. We drove down from Canyonlands, heading towards Canyon of the Ancients not really knowing what to expect. We found the Visitor's Center closed, but they had kindly left info about the monument out for people to collect. We spent the day seeing the Lowry Pueblo and the sites at the Painted Hand Pueblo. It seems that there are many sites in the area and at Bears Ears that are being protected, but have not been excavated or fully archeologically explored. The sites at Lowry and Painted Hand have been restored a bit and some attempts at preservation have been done. It was a joy to see them and imagine what life must have been like for the people who lived there.
We had also heard about Hovenweep National Monument, one that I had never heard of before this trip. Even though we were not aware of it, it has been around awhile, established in the 1920's. We knew there was a campground there, and we found it to be very nice with plenty of spaces available. The monument itself is around a canyon with many dwellings and towers built on the rim and canyon walls. They were constructed round 1200 AD and are considered to be some of the finest examples of pueblo construction. Hovenweep is a Ute/Paiute word for "deserted valley", and accurately describes this place. Walking around the rim now is very peaceful and quiet, but one can imagine the voices of the people living and working and the children playing when it was inhabited.
We were off to Mesa Verde the next day with a lot of anticipation. We found the campground closed and the ranger led visits to the cliff dwellings as well as the road to Wetherill Mesa and the Longhouse and Stephouse where all shut down due to the covid pandemic. We were able to find a boondocking spot on BLM land for a free camping site so that worked out really well. We also were able to get to Chapin Mesa which has a lot of the cliff dwelling sites as well as mesa top pueblos which are available to view.
The mesa top sites are scattered around and are built over ancestral sites, so it is possible to see evidence of much earlier dwellings at the same locations as the later pueblos. Several of these sites and the cliff sites have been excavated, archeologically investigated and restored and the process is ongoing even to this day. It seems as the culture evolved the population moved from the mesa tops to the cliffs. Most of the cliff sites were built where there are natural water sources from weeps in the cliffs or springs, and are relatively inaccessible without intimate local knowledge. They seem easily defensible, leading to the conjecture that they were built because of hostility with other groups. Then they were all abandoned abruptly, and the population moved further south to the Rio Grande area. Again, conjecture leads one to assume hostility or environmental reasons for the move, but no one knows for sure. One thing for sure is that they left us a grand site to see, with intricate architecture and design. Even though we didn't get to physically visit the sites, it was a pleasure to see them from afar and imagine the people making a life for themselves in this harsh environment.
We headed back east to North Carolina to check the property without the leaves on the trees and walk it with the designer. We were excited by the potential and have decided to move forward with a home design and will see where it all goes. We did a little hiking and had a nice Thanksgiving steak dinner by the fire in the campground.
Somewhat reluctantly we headed home after one of our best adventures. For anybody who's stumbled onto this blog and is interested in a similar trip, I would heartily recommend it. I had a senior pass which is highly useful as it gets you into the parks at no charge and half price at the campgrounds. If you are not over 65 you can get an annual pass which will still save a bundle. Doing the trip in the fall was great, and we had wonderful weather. We found some parks crowded (Zion was the worst) and some relatively empty, although this year may have been atypical due to the crowds trying to get outside and enjoy safe activity. Remember that this is high desert and the elevation makes things cooler that you might expect. Our routine was to spend several days camping and then hit a motel. The longest we spent between motels was about 10 days, but it was usually more like 5 days. Camping on BLM land was new for me, but is very common out west. It's free, but with no amenities. We enjoyed it very much. There are apps available (campendium is one) that can help find suitable sites. Most of these areas have been camped in over and over so there are sites already there. The Forest Service and BLM asks that when you use this land that you try to use existing sites and pack out all trash, i.e."leave no trace". Look for more pictures in the gallery.

Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

02 December 2020 | Anna Maria
Our plan was to get into the campground at Arches, but we found it full and the park was crowded, so we bailed and found a boondocking spot north of the park and near Canyonlands.
Both of these parks are close to each other and Moab, UT and great little town based on tourism and outdoor activity. If you like doing things outside, they have it here. It is a center for hiking, biking, climbing, rafting, and generally connecting with nature. Canyonlands is separated into three sections and the most visited is called Islands in the Sky. It is formed by the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers, which are also responsible for the wonderful canyons here. We spent several days hiking the trails in the area, and looking at the amazing vistas overlooking the canyons. The perspective is from above, as this section is on the rim of the canyons and looking down into them. We climbed several buttes and visited several historical sites of the original people to live here. Many left their art work on the canyon walls.These structures were used to stored food and water for travelers to use. They were well hidden to avoid pilfering.This is the remains of a dwelling at the top of Aztec ButteTheir viewQuite a climb to get up there
We took a ride down the Shaffer Trail, originally a trail used to move livestock from summer grazing areas on the canyon rim down into the valley. In the late 50's and early 60's, it was expanded to a roadway when Uranium mining was going on. Now it is used only for tourist travel and sightseeing. We checked it out and it seemed in good shape and spoke to a ranger who also said it was in good shape. We thought the truck would be up to it so off we went. It is a dramatic route down the canyon wall in a single lane dirt road with 1500 foot drops off the precipice requiring careful attention. The views are incredible. Once down in the canyon floor, we traveled along the Colorado River with the road becoming very rough in spots. We started up there at the topEventually, we made it back to a paved road and then onto Moab.
The camping spot we were in north of town was a typical dispersed camping spot with desert environment and a few juniper trees. On our third night we were expecting a cold front with a breeze and possibly some rain and snow. What we got was rain with 30 mph winds and gusts to 50 mph. Our tent wasn't up to the winds and collapsed with one of the supports bending. This, despite my attempts to stabilize it with lines to the trees around us. We pulled our sleeping bags into the truck and spent a restless but dry and comfortable night in the truck. We had planned the next couple of nights at a motel in town and this just made it more welcome.
We were able to get an early start and grab a spot at the campground in Arches National Park and spent three days hiking to the arches and seeing the sites. The geology of the place is fascinating. The uplift that occurred millions of years ago caused parallel rifts to form in the sandstone which then eroded forming what are known as fins, which then with further erosion form arches. If you like them, this is the place. They come in all shapes and sizes and are all beautiful.
We hiked to the most famous one, Delicate Arch, and the largest, Landscape Arch,and many more. Lots of photos in the gallery.
We were then off to the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park. It is south of Moab and the drive into the park is though a collection of mesas and buttes standing straight up from the canyon floor. The perspective from this area of the park is from the floor looking up. The needles are sandstone spires formed during the uplift by rifts in the sandstone and then gradual erosion over the years. The result is an amazing variety of sandstone natural sculptures. We wandered among them on several hikes, taking us through several slot canyons and caves, and walking across the slickrock on trails marked with cairnes. The campground here was not so busy, so we enjoyed a spot there for several nights.
We continue to be amazed by the parks and their natural beauty. Each one is a bit different and even though we have had a lot of time to spend, we would have liked more. There will be plenty more for us to see in the future. Next we are off to Canyon of the Ancients, Hovenweep and Mesa Verde.

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Capital Reef National Park

20 November 2020 | Albuquerque
We had gotten a lead on a dispersed camping (also known as Boondocking) site in the Escalante at a place called Devil’s Garden. It is down Hole in the Rock Road just outside of the town of Escalante. Hole in the rock is a trail originally established by Mormon settlers as a way to get their wagons through this area. They had to blast a path through the buttes blocking their way, hence hole in the rock. Now it is a 50 mile, gravel, teeth rattling, bone jarring road to nowhere on BLM land.
The national monument is named for the stairsteps of various geologic layers that are crossed when traversing the land. As you progress north from the Grand Canyon, you move up the layers and pass by cliffs of different colors you are gaining elevation in the geologic layers. The bottom of the canyons in the Escalante/ Capital Reef area are the top layers down at the Grand Canyon. All this is because of geologic uplift and then erosion over millions of years.
We traveled 20 miles down the road to Devil’s Garden and found a delightful place to set up camp. Our main interest in visiting Escalante was to explore several of the many slot canyons in the area. Devil’s Garden is also worthwhile exploring, as it is a collection of whimsical sandstone rocks and buttes, carved by nature in a Daliesque fashion.
We set up our site and after a good night’s sleep, we headed another 15 miles down the road to explore Peek-a-boo and Spooky slot canyons. Ironically it was Halloween (10-31) that day for Spooky slot. After parking we walked a couple of miles into the desert along the trail to Spooky Gulch and down into the wash and then found the entrance to the canyon. It require a bit of a climb to get up into the slot but we prevailed and in we went.
These canyons are formed by erosion and running water from the monsoonal storms which occur on occasion in the summer. It is also very important not to go into one when there is any rain forecasted in the area due to rapid flash flooding that occurs. Once in the canyons, there is no easy way out. They are extremely narrow and require some contortion to maneuver through, but are very beautiful. We went through Peek-a-boo and then Spooky (named because it’s so narrow that it’s fairly dark inside). Honestly, if I hadn’t known people had been through before, I would have turned back. At one point I had to get on hands and knees to get through. It’s narrow enough that you are squeezing through sideways with both front and back scrapping the rocky sides of the canyon. We also went though Dry Fork Canyon, another beautiful slot, but wider and much easier to traverse.
The next day we went to see Zebra and Tunnel slots. Zebra, named for the striations of different colored rock in the walls, was filled with water, and we didn’t make it to the end, because the water was very cold and began to get deeper as we progressed inward. Another interesting fact regarding Zebra slot is the Moqui marble inclusions that are there. These are sandstone balls 1-3 inches in diameter and are surrounded by Hemetite, an iron oxide. You can see them imbedded in the walls of the canyon and when we were hiking over the slickrock to tunnel slot, we found literally thousands of them laying all over the ground. We did get into Tunnel slot, but were blocked by water once again.
After another night at Devil’s Garden we headed up Utah highway 12 toward the Capital Reef National Park. This has to be one of the most scenic drives in the country. We passed up from the desert environment through all levels to alpine as we crossed the ridge at around 9600 feet in elevation. Then the road leads down and to the Capital Reef National Park.
This park is named for the 100 mile long formation known as the Waterpocket Fold, a mountainous ridge of buttes and mesa’s, which were a huge impediment to westward migration. The Morman settlers passing this way called it a reef in reference to the coral barrier reefs in the sea and it was named Capital for a Navaho sandstone butte that reminded them of the national capital in Washington. We settled into the campground in the park at a place called Fruita. It is an original Morman settlement and has many orchards in the area, including, apples, peaches, plums and pears. Apparently in season, you can pick fruit to eat and buy pies made from the orchard’s bounty. Unfortunately, we were a bit late for that.
We explored the park and magnificent buttes and canyons in the area. The Capitol Gorge was one of the only passes though the reef for many years and still had petroglyphs and inscriptions from those that passed by. The Fremont River goes though the reef has been a traditional passageway with attendant petroglyphs left for posterity by the original people, and the road (Hwy 12) was built through that gorge and is now the main thoroughfare.
We loved this place, but now we’re off to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. More pictures will be found in the gallery.
Vessel Name: Allegria
Vessel Make/Model: Whitby 42
Hailing Port: Tampa
Crew: Dee and Molly Strickland
Dee grew up in central Florida and was sailing if the wind was blowing and skiing if it was flat. During his residency for oral and maxillofacial surgery in Cleveland he met the love of his life, Molly working as a nurse in the E.R. [...]
Extra: Dee, Molly and daughter Lisa left Tampa Bay in 1994 and sailed to Trinidad and Venezuela, and then back up the US east coast. Lisa was home schooled and then we returned to Tampa Bay where she skipped 4th grade and moved to 5th. She is now studying for her PhD in Art History at SUNY at Stoney Brook.
Allegria's Photos - Ile de Brehat
Photos 1 to 33 of 33 | Main
Wings in the anchorage
Sometimes crowded
The Vendettes