Sailing into Old Age

I have really missed sailing since we sold SunShower.  So this spring, Gretchen and I decided to buy a centerboard to sail on Smith Mountain Lake.  I began searching for an old person's boat, one that was relatively comfortable, easy to sail and stable.  We settled on a Catalina Expo and picked it up from Avon Sailboats in Rochester Hills, MI, in late June.

As the wind returned to the Lake this fall, we've been able to get out sailing and put her through her paces...and we are very happy with our purchase! The catboat rig with one sail attached to the Hoyt boom is easy to handle. The boom is high enough to allow easy tacking/jibing without bending too much or fear of hitting one's head. Unfurling and furling the sail from around the mast is easy and allows for the quick reduction of sail area if needed.  I was surprised that standing with the tiller between my knees and the boom off center is the best position to unfurl and furl the sail.  I think it is a more natural position for pulling the control lines than the crew has up front.  The rigging on the boat is excellent.  All of the controls are where they should be.  It's the first boat I've owned in 40 years of sailing that every control is where it should be; I can't think of anything to change!  The seats and the rails are wide and provide comfortable seating positions.  The boat is very stable for a 14 footer, a big surprise for Gretchen and me.  It even handles motor boat waves quite well! Finally, we love the blue sail!

Conclusion: The Expo is a great old person's boat!  We have found her comfortable and easy to sail in winds up to 15 mph.  We wanted a boat we could sail into our seventies on SML and we think the Expo fits that bill. 

The one caveat is simple.  It is a cat rig and does not point as high as a sloop rig.  So if you plan to race, buy the Catalina 14.4, the sloop rigged mother of the Expo. 

Fall Break and the Beach

Sunday, September 25th

Off to Hillsborough to pick up Henry so we can spoil him on his fall break. It is obvious from the ride home, that Grandpa is going to have to download Pokémon Go to his iPhone!


This morning we went to see the Unity project at Randolph College.  It portrays the fact that people of different colors, shapes, orientations, cultures and interests can weave a strong fabric IF they work together! And we found quite a few Pokémon stops!

Next we went to the recently installed labyrinth, a replica of a 13th century one at the cathedral in Chartres, France.  We were surprised that Henry really liked walking around the maze.


A day at the lake.  We put the Key West in the water and went to Henry's favorite restaurant for lunch...Moosie's.  Why is that his favorite you ask?  It's not the food,  rather it's the chance to feed the carp after the meal!


Today we continued our tradition of going on bike rides with Henry. Today he was dressed in his new LIGHTNING bicycle shorts when we rode the Virginia Blue Ridge Rail Trail in Piney River.  He rode 13.2 miles, 3.2 miles more than on his last ride with us!  You're the man, Henry!


Kelley and Katie get together every year for some beach time and this year they invited us to join them.  So today we are headed to Murrell's Inlet.  We arrived in time to visit with Kelley, Seth and Maggie and to have dinner with them.  Katie and Audrey will arrive later because they are traveling after Katie gets off of work. We're heading back to the campground so we will not see them until tomorrow.


We took the kids to Savannah's Playground at Market Common. It is a wonderful playground which is ADA-approved with equipment designed to provide children of all abilities the opportunity for social interaction. The kids loved it! After eating lunch at the playground, we headed to the military plane exhibit next to the airport.  We had to search for Pokéman!


It was a perfect day at the beach.  The kids loved playing in the sand and the waves were just right for the girls to ride...armed with their life jackets!

Plus there were opportunities at Huntington SP to capture Pokémon!  Who is this dude, Henry?

The kids were dying to have a pajama party and sleep together.  It appears from the photo the plan started well, but I'm told it only lasted about 10 minutes!


We went for a stroll on the boardwalk in Murrell's Inlet and of course, searched for some more Pokémon!  After lunch, Katie, Henry and Audrey left for home.

We hung out with Kelley and Maggie this afternoon, visiting The Hammock Shop and several other local venues.  After dinner, we said our good byes and headed back to the camper.  We'll leave for home in the morning. We had a great beach visit and thank Seth and Kelley for their hospitality!

What did I like best during Henry's fall break?  READING his books with him that had the CAPITAL letters!

Class Reunion

Wednesday, September 21st

Gretchen and I are heading north, to Schuylkill Haven for our 50th high school class reunion! How is that possible? First, we'll spend a few days with Priscilla and Phil.


It's a Thursday and Priscilla has off so we are all heading to Conshohocken to eat lunch with Stephanie and Natalie.  Natalie is adorable and Stephanie is enjoying motherhood!  And of course, Priscilla and Phil are quite taken with grandparenthood!

After lunch we went for a walk on the Wissahickon Creek Trail,  a beautiful natural path along the creek, right in the middle of the city!

Returning to Orwigsburg, we decided to pick up cheese steaks (minus one cheese) and eat diner at the beautiful Olmes' property.  Priscilla and Phil had hoped to break ground for their new house this fall but the sale of their current house is moving slowly and builders are slow to render bids.  It's a frustrating process and we wish you guys well in getting this building project underway!


On our way to their property to take a hike and let Maggie run, Phil took us by their realtor's house. Can you tell in what field her husband was very successful?

Yep, you guessed it, he was into cell phone communications! After our hike, Gretchen and I got ready and headed to the class reunion.

Our 50th reunion was held at the Schuylkill Country Club and it was a delightful affair.  Hats off to the planning committee for a job well done. Thirty eight class members attended the reunion; that is 44% of our classmates that are still alive.  So it was a very good turnout, so much so that it was difficult to get to chat with everyone.  The drinks flowed, the food was good and it was fun to learn about the current activities of our classmates.  Being a real introvert, I dread these types of affairs, but Gretchen drags me along.  I'm glad she does because I really enjoyed the evening.  It is evident from the class photo below that our classmates are more healthy and aging more gracefully than previous generations. We are so lucky to have been born in the USA!


Class reunions have always been held the weekend of Schuylkill Haven's Borough Day and today is the day of the event.  However, we must skip it and hit the road to Virginia since we have to pick up Henry tomorrow in NC.  He is on fall break and will be spending the week with us!

On the way home, we stopped at Orr's Farm Market in Martinsburg, WV, to buy vegetables.  To our surprise, it was the weekend of their fall festival....lucky for us!

Thanks for you hospitality Priscilla and Phil.  As always we enjoy being with you guys and appreciate your kindness.