SV Why Knot- No plan, no schedule, no destination.

The passing of my life mate has ended the cruise of Why Knot. Thanks to those that followed her voyages. It gave us wonderful memories and a heck of a life

Dreams in Works

Who: Bear (Jo) and Bligh (Howell) Cooper and Scurv
Port: Port Aransas, Texas
Our greatest challenge was to actually bring in the dock lines at our home port and get going. Next came the actual act of living aboard which is way different than weekending or the occasional extended sail. This is life avoiding causing your mate to drop stuff or run into bulkheads. This is having so much stuff aboard that one has to inventory. This is life without land transportation in strange places. This is meeting folks and hating to say good bye, then looking forward to the time when courses cross again, to the surprise of seeing them at some unexpected place.
14 October 2015
16 February 2015 | Port Aransas
18 December 2014
02 December 2014 | Port Aransas, Texas
09 October 2014 | Port Aransas
28 September 2014 | City Marina, Port Aransas
04 September 2014 | Clear Lake, Texas
01 September 2014
24 August 2014
13 August 2014
09 August 2014 | Clear Lake Shores, Texas
01 August 2014
13 July 2014 | Clear Lake, Texas
29 June 2014 | Clear Lake/Canyon Lake
17 June 2014
15 June 2014 | Solomons, MD- same old slip- not moved
12 June 2014
28 May 2014

For What it is Worth

23 July 2012
July 19, 2012
Almost three years ago, we finally dropped the dock lines and started living our dream. Leading up to that moment we did a great deal of planning, questioning and boat renovation, not that she needed it. One of the top questions was how to outfit her for the effort. Among our cruising friends were ocean crossers (as in Atlantic and Pacific), coastal cruisers and what we now call island hoppers. All seemed to have a "must have" list. As it turned out, we sort of evolved into coastal cruisers, not for fear of the sea or lack of motivation but simply because we like it. Simply put: there is so much we have not seen in this country that we could find little reason to go elsewhere. We no longer formally race hence the ARC or other efforts at ocean crossing does not appeal to us at our age. True, it did seem like part of the dream twenty years ago. Then again, we've found that semi-foreign lands may be obtained for these Texans by simply sailing to the Keys and hanging a left. That said, there are some things we discovered which we readily admit may be unique to our particular style. No attempt is made to suggest these are the right or wrong way to cruise.
Necessities, the things we think we need to make it fun, safe and comfortable:
• A back scratcher- sounds crude but in the absence of one's mate at 1500 hrs whilst at the wheel, there are places that can't be reached without one.
• Fly swatters- several scattered about the cabin. Don't bother to have one topside since one will never "get 'em all".
• Liquid soap- ever try to grab a bar of soap whilst in a pitching sea? Besides that, liquid soaps like dish soaps work well in fresh and salt water.
• Velcro™ straps (various sizes)- a grand 20th century invention to keep stuff coiled, in place or simply attached temporarily. Get them at a hardware store not a marine supply place and get a lot of them
• Ziploc™ type bags- all sizes for not only foods but as a keeper for charging cords, loose parts while inverted under the engine, and charts. Ziploc™ had a wide range of bags including some biggies that tame a chart in the cockpit during a squall. Try this: put something to be heated in one and lay it in the sun. Once used for food, they can be converted to hold stuff like batteries, dirty socks if one has to have them and even yucky stuff like grease guns or spare parts. Get lots of them.
• A small, hand held garden sprayer dedicated to fresh water only. You can use it to sprits your tee shirt on a hot day or harass flies in the cockpit. It can be fun to keep 'em flying. We have found it useful to dilute spills and wash them into the scupper underway. It is a good way to keep the salt on the dodger under control.
• Rubberized cabinet shelf liner which doubles to keep stuff in place and mute stuff rolling around.
• Moisture tight salt and pepper shakers-
• Sun screen panel for the bimini- one does not need a full set but one to move around is great. It can make a hot day tolerable and it can double as sort of a privacy screen.
• Mesh type laundry bags not just for laundry but for stuff like spare lines of all sizes.
• Spa type bromide tablets for lockers that ship water intentionally or for the strainers to hold down cootie growth.
• Lanocote™-a smelly goat grease that keeps thing from corroding. It is good for coating fasteners to keep from seizing when dissimilar metals are involved, and for electrical connections. One tub will last forever and it might attract some cabrito on the hoof in a pinch.
• A heavy bucket or two with lanyards for reaching the water without bending over. Never can tell when some seagull might pick your deck for his necessities or that anchor chain that doubles as a mud retriever.
• A floating handheld VHF- key word "floating".
• Floating dock/mop pole- we have a really salty looking brass boat hook with some cutie marlinspike decorations that sinks quicker than a drunk mouse. We are on our second one. Now we use the floater most of the time.
• Detachable chart plotter- while we are impressed with the large instrument pods, particularly those that are so tall they block forward view, we have decided that a modest sized screen on a detachable mount at the cockpit works just fine. We power it from a 12volt plug at the helm. When in port, we remove it so it does not block the sun. It is self contained with its own antenna thus no need to have a bunch of wires attaching it to the boat.
• AIS is nice and since it is our duty to stay out of the way of the bigger stuff, there is little need for them to see us. I was told by a tow boat captain that they tune out Class B signals anyway so the transmitter part of the system is not really required. The "receive only" AIS unit give one what is necessary to stay out of the food chain and is way cheaper.
• A headset type flashlight with night light capability is invaluable and it removes the need to light up the entire cockpit just to locate the missing sandwich.
• A small Swiss Army pocket knife of the type easily lost in the pocket. I never carried a pocket knife before the cruise but I find the thing invaluable to keep screws tight, cut line, scrape stuff and remove my fingertips whilst underway in a lively sea. Who knows when some tentacle might come over the transom and grab me some night and I can use it to get loose.
• Little Mag Lite™ type flashlights placed everywhere on small lanyards. There is nothing like trying to find a light to open a combination lock in the dark. We must have four or five hanging about the boat to cut down in broken toes from roaming about the cabin in the dark.
• Ding-Ez ™ has been an absolute wonderful addition to our dink. It allows almost graceful boarding and unboarding with a greatly enhanced safety. My mate's back surgery made us try it but we can't describe the added convenience it offers. Ever see the flools standing up Ben Hur style in their dink whilst skipping along at 30 knots? This thing allows one to stand up safely.
• Cockpit cushions for the whole thing. We have a set of C Cushions™ from a company by the same name from Rockport, Texas. They are now over nine years old and have been in the sun for five years. They make that area, stern friendly and definitely cut down on the bruises. One word of caution is that if one decided to wash up whilst sitting on them, at least sit on a towel as Joy soap and bare hide make for the world's most frictionless surface. Thy that in 14 feet seas.
• A big first aid kit with plenty adhesive strips, aspirin, sun tan lotion.
• Mace for the obvious. We also have wasp spray for defense since it will incapacitate an intruder at fairly long range.
• A product that works well to keep bugs away is sold by Avon (I think) called Skin So Soft. A very similar product is available at CVS by a different name. Said stuff does not melt plastic, does not smell like petroleum and is not greasy. We learned this from watermen along the Low Country. Even those horseflies and "green heads" won't be so aggressive with this stuff. Caution: prolonged use may result in baby soft hide.
• Latest electronic and paper charts.
• A good pair of binoculars.
• Lots of sun glasses since Neptune really likes to collect them, especially the expensive type.
• Backpacks, canteens and something to hold cold stuff such as a small collapsible bag that will fit the backpack.
• Folding bicycles are a great way to extend range on land.
- Wide brim floppy hats are a must.

Stuff we seldom use:
• At the risk of great debate, we purchased and installed a very expensive SSB radio which we very seldom use and really do not need for our type of cruising. It is great to tune into the latest long range conversations about the nature of the waterway, the next island harbor or even weather but there are many other ways to get that done. Fact is that the VHF and cell phones work in the first world just fine. Unless one is planning on being in the second or third worlds very long or being way out in the blue, it is hard to justify one.
• Crew headsets otherwise known as marriage savers- we have developed very useful hand signals that work without stressing our relationship and they really work. Our headsets have been aboard now almost two years and we have yet to use them.
• Lifeline hangers for fenders- we have some that use two ears to hold the fender on the life line. The problem is that they are plastic and over a few hours, they will simply let go. We tie the fenders on anyway and that means that we did not really need to spend the money on them. Storage then becomes the problem.
• We put two very high intensity Q-Beam™ type lights aboard. Never used them since we do not approach anchorages after dark. Then again we'll keep one in case we do.
• Towels and clothes. We must have acquired a few dozen towels. About three per is about right. Clothes: much is written about this but if one is in the warmer climates, one only need shorts and tees. Leave the blazers and long pants home. But we have learned that deck shoes are unfit for hiking and we definitely recommend a good pair of hiking shoes. Water shoes are recommended for those coral beaches.

Things we wish we had:
• Deck/Anchor wash down system
• Dinghy davits
• Larger fuel tanks
• Even larger holding tanks
Things overdone:
• Too many spare parts if there is such a thing. Given the fact that we did not, nor do we plan to spend a great deal of time in the second and third worlds, parts are easily obtained where we sail. That said, spare parts take up a great deal of room and it may not be necessary to lay in redundant parts beyond say one extra. The exception to that are filters. Diesel filters are a necessary and can clog when that nest of cooties gets into the lines during or after a rough passage.
• Dinghy engine size is debatable and before we left, we spoke with dozens of long distance cruisers on the subject. We have an AB rigid inflatable about 10 feet long. The consensus was that we needed a fifteen horsepower to get through those pounding surf events and "get somewhere". Fact is that at our age and inclination, we won't do that. Like sailing, a slower and very much lighter motor is better. It is rare when we have encountered the need for speed. It is even more rare that conditions would allow us to zip around some place or crash through breaking surf. We cannot take the beating as we have been beaten over the years. We definitely do like the rigid dink but it is way comfortable at six horsepower speed. At half the weight of the 15, a six or smaller is much easier to handle when lifting to the boat. On top of that, it will run about an hour and a half on a pint or three of fuel.
• Expensive wax for hulls and decks. We once spent a small fortune on some glitzy wax made in the Hawaiian Islands. Bottom line is that not only did it not work as advertized; it captured stuff on deck that has now been three years in the removal. We had a friend that went to a wax seminar where various types were mentioned. There is no such thing as pure carnuba because it would be in block form and unspreadable. Supposedly, it does not layer up because the new layer removes in part the old layer. We have found a product called Nu Finish™ works very well. It is about $9 at auto supply store and comes in an orange bottle.

These are the things we have noticed along the way. They represent the learning curve for us and could have saved significant cruising bucks and stowage space had we known them at the first.

Vessel Name: Why Knot
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau 411 #24 built in Marion, SC
Hailing Port: Port Aransas, Texas
Crew: Bear (Jo) and Bligh (Howell) Cooper and Scurv
Each other's only date in life. 30 years sailing Texas waters and now on the cruise of dreams (even though there are days when it is hard to believe). About Why Knot Why Knot survived Hurricane Katrina whilst in New Orleans. Year Built: 1998 L.O.A.: 41'-8" Hull Length: 40'-5" L.W.L. [...]
Extra: Scurv (ABSD= able bodied sea dog) signed on in October 2012. Scurv is a toy Schnauzer

Dreams in Works

Who: Bear (Jo) and Bligh (Howell) Cooper and Scurv
Port: Port Aransas, Texas
Our greatest challenge was to actually bring in the dock lines at our home port and get going. Next came the actual act of living aboard which is way different than weekending or the occasional extended sail. This is life avoiding causing your mate to drop stuff or run into bulkheads. This is having so much stuff aboard that one has to inventory. This is life without land transportation in strange places. This is meeting folks and hating to say good bye, then looking forward to the time when courses cross again, to the surprise of seeing them at some unexpected place.
Why Knot left Texas in January of 2010 bound for no particular harbor. We made ports of call all around the Gulf Coast to the Keys then north up the Atlantic Coast and to the Abacos.