Spring Varnish


Brightwork is finiky work.   As an offshore sailor who is pretty rough and tumble, I consider my varnish protection first, perfection second. As a wooden boat owner I am aware not only of the movement of the wood on the boat but also the area’s that take the abuse. Therefor I do things like coat all rounds and surfaces that lay flat to the sun several times. A typical cabinside will get two or three coats on the waterways and eyebrows- to one coat on the horizontal grained cabin wood. Some places will get three cost while others will get one.

Here are a few tricks I have learned over the years that make it a but easier.

  • Clean your surface ( after Sanding ) 3 times. Once with a vacuum, then with a rag with spirits on it and lastly with a fresh tack rag.

I use to tell the people that worked with me doing brightwork in the tropics ” it is all about cleaning” and i would tell my clients “your paying for more then a seasonal coat. Your also getting a complete wash down to your openings including screens, tiles and walls. ”

  • Wait until the pollen has passed and there is no wind

Everyone is in a rush to get evrything knocked off there list for boat season. It pays to do your brightwork on the perfect day with no wind, early in the morning but not so early that dew is around.

  • Always buy and use a new brush.

I now charge one new brush to each job for the last coat. After someone has spent good money on sanding and cleaning they should not have a problem paying 12-18 bucks extra for a new brush, with no dust.


brightwork on an S- Class Boat


varnish hatch

varnish on an alden hatch

Keeping WOODEN BOATS alive.


Keeping wooden boats floating can be daunting. There is always a problem to address and more coats of varnish to apply. Always a race to get to in to short of a time. ( most of us still sail and do not have motors big enough to get us places with out the sail up) The pace of life on a wooden boat is slower but surely good for the soul.  We, wooden boat owners, certainly have an obsession. Wooden boats are a dream. You cant imagine the amount of work and craftsmenship that has gone into a wooden boat. The sound that resonates off a wooden hull while slipping thru the water is mesmerizing and will lull you to sleep. The creaks and groans of a wooden boat are of a primal comfort.

Next weekend is the Antique Boat Show in Kingston New York. It is put on by the Antique  Boat society . These guys are suckers for wooden boats and try to keep wooden boats showing, moving and remembered. www.acbs.org

Soon after starts the classic races on  Long Island Sound, part of the wooden boat series. www.woodenboat.com/community     These september and october regattas are when wooden boat owners get to show off our beauties and compete with each other. It is wonderful to see so many shapes and sizes of wooden boats out and about on these days. Wooden boats are few and far. American’s wooden boat scene is a drop in the ocean of wooden boats when  compared to Europe.

Tiger Maru- Polish Built Boat Tortola sloop David's boat has sailed the world its wood antigua classics Bahamas boat acorn skiff DSC_0261 woodie gutherie off bannermins sland eggimogin reach regatta- no wind at the start DSC_0971 DSC_1436_3 DSCF1350 before the start- Long Island Sound

We are wooden boat lovers. Ice boats made of wood on the ice of the Hudson River.

We are wooden boat lovers. Ice boats made of wood on the ice of the Hudson River.

Sailing Bahama’s Blue




We loved the Bahamas even with a sailboat that draws 6.5 feet. We had to be careful where we went but we sure loved everywhere we got into. After sailing and living in the west indies for so many years- we found these islands a delightful change. There is a happyness amoungst the local people and people are proud of there homeland.



local house in the bahamas

sunday walk in the abaco's BahamasGoatwater trailing behind

bahama's water

a cool shade tree

Bahama's water

before the family regatta

before the family regatta

Monhegan Island from the sea



monhegan maine pictures

monhegan maine pictures










We love sailing to Monhegan Island maine. Halyards and foghorns. Mist, Fog and Moss. Lobster boats, pine tree’s and ocean swells. The island is no larger then one square mile but has 19 artist studio’s that are open to the public, 12 miles of hiking trails and a great fish house on the beach. Monhegan is not to be missed!

I use to want


everything to be ship shape and perfectly coated- with no runs or sags. Mirror gloss shine. a locker filled with good food. a chain locker without rust. a night watch with out the self steering going mad. perfect un salted pillows. lockers that would open with out items pitching across the soul. But then I realized all thats impossible when you use your boat. Sail night and day for months.  looking at some pictures the other night of  classic old boats we sail against. Our Tiger does get places even if we look a bit ratty. I would not trade our travels for the perfect looking boat!