Book Review – “Storm Tactics” – Lin and Larry Pardey

Storm Tactics by Lin & Larry Pardey

Storm Tactics - By Lin and Larry Pardy (click for amazon link)

Storm Tactics - By Lin and Larry Pardy (click for amazon link)


My rating for this book is 5 out of 5 stars.  Very well written AND informative.

This is a fantastic book.  I was impressed by the thoroughness of how they approached the information.  It is just the right mix of  What, Why & How.  Another nice touch is the real-life stories of boats that came through storms (and some that didn’t)  I think I need to re-read it, but I have the jist of the info and will definitely re-read it in the future.  (Still working through my current pile of books)

Their main point is that BEFORE things get bad in a storm, you should put your boat in a “Heave-To” position.  Without getting too technical, it is basically a position where the wind blowing against the sails and rudder are counteracting each other to keep the boat drifting downwind and as steady into the waves as possible – all without requiring any action on the part of the crew.  The boat then drifts downwind and the turbulence in the wake of the boat disrupts the breaking waves that can do so much damage when they crash down on a boat.  This allows a tired crew to rest rather than be worn down by exhaustion trying to steer the boat up and down the waves.  I think they do a great job of explaining what it is and how it is done.  This is definitely one of those skills to practice before you need it!

It should be noted that there is some controversy over which to do.  Should you Heave-To or “Run before the wind”.  Basically turn your boat so the wind is behind and try to sail away from heart of the storm.  John Vigor,a knowledgeable sailor and author recently posted a blog entry on storm management  that advocating running with the storm.  I think I fall in with the Heave-To crowd, but not having any experience I really can’t say.  Just knowing about the options is a good start.

And yes, someday I expect to be caught in a storm at sea…


Sunday Sailing and a new boat

Wow, what a busy weekend.  I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday!

On Saturday I headed over to the boat club and prowled the docks.  I came across a nice lady washing her windows and introduced myself.  We had a very nice, very long talk – and by the end of it she offered me a Sunfish sailboat that wasn’t being used.

Sunfish sailboat (example only)

Sunfish sailboat (example only)

The one offered, of course, needs rehab.  I won’t know how much till I see it, and I hope to by next weekend. I ‘ve been told it needs tires and a sail.

Then  my lovely neighbor got me a parking spot for it in the condo where I’m at.  (For free!)  I’ll be able to sail right from the beach here.  Can’t wait!

On Sunday I headed back to the club and hung around, hoping I could catch a sailboat ride.  The boat school was scheduled to take students out and I at least wanted to see them head out.  I walked into the club room and introduced myself as I’m wont to do.  In a moment (without my prompting) I was asked if I wanted to sail!  I thought long and hard about it, and 2 milliseconds later I said yes.  A sail school student didn’t show up and there was an open spot.

The wind was blowing at about 15mph with gusts to 17.  I was told that’s the limit for the club boats to go out.  So for 3 hours we cruised back and forth across the bay.  The student practiced the manuever to circle back and pick up a man overboard.  I ran the jib sail (The little one in the front) most of the time, but I did get to man the tiller (The steering device) for part of it.  Fun, fun fun!

One thing I noticed afterwards, was that while out there, I didn’t think about any other crap going on in my life.  It was just the wind, sun, water, waves, and sailing.  It was SO relaxing.   I hope I get to do that a LOT more.

Also, tonight I finished week 3 (of 13)  in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Safe Boating course.  It was about terminology,  types of boats, and choosing the right power boat for your needs.  I think the lesson was a little lost on me.  I knew all the terms, it’s sails all the way for me, and I’m not about to buy a power boat.  Next week is boating equipment.  That should be better.

Things are looking up in the sailing department.  Job is going well too.


Fishing – round 2

A friend from work and I went fishing this evening near the Gulfport Marina.  It was a great evening, quite relaxing.  There is an inlet for the marina from the bay, and you can fish from the shore all along the inlet. One thing I like about the bay is that there is lots of wildlife around, especially birds.

2012-03-23 Great Blue Heron

2012-03-23 Great Blue Heron

Isn’t google wonderful?  I didn’t know before I uploaded it what kind of bird this was.

When we first got  there, we tried going on the Clam Bayou side of the inlet, but WOW, the no-see-ums were biting like crazy.  I borrowed some bug spray from another fisherman there, but it wasn’t enough.  We left pronto.

While there, I watched yet another beautiful sunset over Boca Ciaga Bay.

2012-03-23 Boca Ciega Bay Sunset

2012-03-23 Boca Ciega Bay Sunset

On the way to go fishing I stopped at Walmart and got a few things.  A bait bucket, an ice chest, beer for the ice chest and a CAST NET!  I’ve been wanting one of these for a while.  Can’t wait to use it.  Expect a post about that soon!

All I had for bait was some frozen fish pieces I kept from the last fishing adventure to Fort Desoto.  I’ve heard the fish are going for greenbacks now (Whatever they are) and live shrimp.  Not having either of those, I went with the frozen fish.  And I caught 3 fish.  I’m wondering if they were all the same catfish that kept coming back.

2012-03-23 Caught a fish!

2012-03-23 Caught a fish!

I don’t know if you can eat salt-water catfish, but I tossed all these back.

On a side note, the guy with me didn’t catch a thing – not that I’m competitive at all.


BCYC Sailing – round two

After work I called up a member of the BCYC club and asked him to take me out sailing. He said yes!  So I high-tailed it over there, grabbed a PFD and we headed out.

It was quite an adventure just getting out of the marina.   There is almost no breeze in there because it’s so well protected.  He let me steer the boat from the get-go, soI tacked three times and wound up back where I started!  A second start with a bigger push and a little bit of paddling got us around the pier and out into the channel.

I had to tack a few more times to get out past the end of the channel and into the bay.  After that it was cruising time.

We also did a heave-to for a while.   It does sort of work, but I think we’re doing something not quite right.  I’m going to read up on it a bit.

We did a few long reaches to get to the other side of the bay, then I turned around and we sailed with the wind at our backs all the way back.   With the wind behind it didn’t seem like it was blowing very hard, but we were moving at a good clip and got across the bay in 30 minutes.

2012-03-22 CapnRehab goes Sailing

2012-03-22 CapnRehab goes Sailing

I took my phone with me in a zip lock, so was able to get this shot.

We came in before sundown.  Getting back to the slip was pretty easy.  Then I zipped home to watch another sunset.  The picture was blurry so I deleted it.

I also found out Tuesday night racing starts April 10.  You know where I’ll be.

Kayak adventure

I went kayaking today.  Until I get a waterproof camera, I’ll not be able to post any action pictures.  I did take a picture of the kayak though.



It has a nice feature.  There is a rudder at the back of the boat that drops down into the water (it’s in the up position in the picture) and helps stabilize the direction the kayak goes.  It keeps you from doing that wobbly back and forth motion as you paddle.

I went out for a couple of hours and visited Clam Bayou right near my condo.   It turns out that Clam Bayou has LOTS of clams.  Pretty unexpected huh?

It was very peaceful.  I’m definitely going to have to go back with fishing gear.  For my first time in a Kayak I didn’t want to overload myself.  I had all sorts of worries.  Like, “If the wind starts blowing too hard, will I be able to get back?”, and “If the tide goes out and the water gets too low, will I have to walk back and drag the kayak across the mud in my bare feet?”.   It’s tough doing something new by yourself.  Fortunately, I used to teach canoeing at Boy Scout camp, so paddling was not an issue.

I floated out in the bay and watched the sun drop towards the horizon until I could see the sun was about to set.   It was a nice excursion.

2012-03-20 sunset

2012-03-20 sunset

I’m in a boating safety class

Last night I went to the USCG Auxiliary over in Tampa.   They offer a 13 week course on boating safety that will qualify me for a Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card.  The course is taught every week and starts over at the beginning when it gets to the last chapter.  Last night we studied weather so next week is Radio.  Topics that will be covered in the course are

  1. Choosing a boat
  2. Equipment for your boat
  3. Trailering your boat
  4. Handling your boat
  5. Navigation signs
  6. Rules of the road
  7. Inland boating
  8. Boating Safety
  9. Navigation
  10. Powering your boat
  11. lines and knots
  12. Weather
  13. Radio


As usual, I met a lot of nice folks interested in boating.  The auxiliary crew were pushing pretty hard for joining up.  I will say I’m interested but not yet, I have way too many other things to do.

CapnRehab goes sailing!

Yesterday CapnRehab was hanging out at Boca Ceiga Yacht Club (BCYC) hoping to find a club member to take him out sailing.  Being able to go out on his own is a complicated, not really clear and totally undocumented process – but he WILL get through it at some point.  Not being a full member yet is certainly a big disadvantage too!

Finally, a club member agreed to go and they were off for about a half hour of sailing right before sunset.

BCYC Club Sailboat - Catalina 16.5

BCYC Club Sailboat - Catalina 16.5

Note that action pictures are not available since CapnRehab didn’t take his phone with him on the water.  A GoPro Hero-2 Surf Edition camera is on the wishlist, but not in the near future.

Winds were light but variable and they had a nice sail with a few tacks, a couple of beam reaches, and even hove to for a bit to see how that worked, and then sailed back in.  The marina was situated so that with the wind coming from the west they had to sail directly into it to get back.  No problem.  They whipped out the paddles and brought her right in.  The club member said that he didn’t think CapnRehab would have any problem getting certified to take the boat out on his own.  Great news!

CapnRehab is really loving living in Saint Petersburg!

CapnRehab is also considering going back to writing in first person.  It turns out it is very difficult to write third person consistently when writing about oneself.