Great Dismal Swamp Canal

On June 25, 2014, in Uncategorized, by Aaron

We recently transited the Great Dismal Swamp Canal and Locks and I’ve always wanted to experience this waterway of American history. However, boats over 50′ are not recommended to use the waterway, combined with a changing controlled depth and submerged logs are always a concern, in fact, we chopped up over five what I assume are branches or small logs resulting in no damage.

 

Arts from the swamp: In 1842 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem “The Slave In Dismal Swamp”. The poem uses six quintain stanzas to tell about the “hunted Negro”, mentioning the use of bloodhounds and describing the conditions as being “where hardly a human foot could pass, or a human heart would dare”. The poem may have inspired artist David Edward Cronin, who served as a Union officer in Virginia and witnessed the effect of slavery, to paint Fugitive Slaves in the Dismal Swamp, Virginia in 1888.

In 1856, Harriett Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, published her second anti-slavery novel, Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp. The title character is a maroon of the Great Dismal Swamp who preaches against slavery and incites slaves to escape

Situated on the N.C. and Virginia line was the 1830′s  hotel known as the Halfway House.    “A quality place for sleeping, matrimonial celebrations,  and of course, duelistical engagements for the settling of disagreements”.    Situated evenly on the North Carolina and Virginia state line,  it is the one place where the long arm of the law came up short as an outlaw simply hopped across the line to avoid arrest.   It’s the place where a newlyweds could hold hands from different states and occasionally meet in the middle for a kiss on the lips.  Between Gunfights, Marriages and occasional Lawlessness,  it is also rumored that Edgar Allen Poe wrote “The Raven” while staying at the Halfway House.

Some history: Scientists believe the Great Dismal Swamp was created upon the last major shift of the continental shelf. The origin of Lake Drummond, one of only two natural lakes in Virginia, is not entirely clear; Native American legends tell of a giant firebird that made a nest of fire in the swamp that later filled with rain.

Archaeological evidence suggests people have inhabited the swamp for 13,000 years. In 1650, Native Americans lived in the swamp; in 1665, William Drummond, the first governor of North Carolina, discovered the swamp’s lake, which was subsequently named for him. In 1728, William Byrd II, while leading a land survey to establish a boundary between the Virginia and North Carolina colonies, made many observations of the swamp, none of them favorable; he is credited with naming it the Dismal Swamp. In 1763, George Washington visited the area, and he and others founded the Dismal Swamp Company in a venture to drain the swamp and clear it for settlement, with the company later turning to the more profitable goal of timber harvesting.

Several African American maroon societies lived in the Great Dismal Swamp during early American history. These maroons consisted of black runaway slaves seeking safety and liberty. The swamp’s role in the history of slavery in the United States is reflected in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s second novel, Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp. The Underground Railroad Education Pavilion, an exhibit set up to educate visitors about the fugitive slaves who lived in the swamp, was opened February 24, 2012. 

The Dismal Swamp Canal was authorized by Virginia in 1787 and by North Carolina in 1790, with construction beginning in 1793 and completing in 1805. The canal, as well as a railroad constructed through part of the swamp in 1830, enabled the harvest of timber. The canal deteriorated after the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal was completed in 1858; however, in 1929, the U. S. Government bought the Dismal Swamp Canal and began to improve it. The canal is now the oldest operating artificial waterway in the country. Like the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canals, it is part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.

 

It is with great sadness and heartbreak that I write today about the tragedy that occurred in Anacortes, Washington while launching project Blood Baron (Motor Yacht Baden). My best wishes and thoughts go out to all those involved and injured in this accident.

It was to my utmost dismay that on Dec 15th 2013 when I was removed from control of this project. I was asked by the owner to step aside and allow Josh Gulbranson and Clive McCartney to finish the project as it was going to be listed for sale with Fraser Yachts.

I can say without ego or hubris that I feel if I had been still involved with this project in a leadership capacity, this launch accident would never have happened.

I hope everything works out for all parties involved and that the injured have a speedy recovery, may the US Coast Guard investigation provide some answers and closure for everyone affected by yesterday’s events.

 

YACHT CAPTAIN

On January 13, 2014, in Uncategorized, by Aaron

Florida Based Yacht Captain

Boat CAPTAIN FORT LAUDERDALE HIRE CREW YACHT

Click for more information

 

 

 
 

Building the “Fife”

On December 11, 2012, in Boat Building, Photos, Videos, by Aaron

Just finished building the Glen-L Designed rowboat “Fife” of stitch and glue construction. Here are some photos and video

 

Another video of Northern Marine yacht builder stacking our Fly Bridge atop Project Blood Baron.

To design, negotiate and build your vessel with project management by

Captain Aaron D. Pufal, please send an email to: theyachtcaptain@yahoo.com

 

A quick time lapse video by YachtVid of our fly bridge being stacked atop Motor Yacht Blood Baron, a 85′ tri-deck expedition vessel built with Northern Marine.

To design, negotiate and build your vessel with project management by

Captain Aaron D. Pufal, please send an email to: theyachtcaptain@yahoo.com

 

Bridge deck gets stacked!

On September 20, 2012, in Expedition Yacht Building, Videos, by Aaron

Available in HD

It’s was a quite the milestone today having the bridge deck stacked and I am especially pleased that the complex shape of the hull extension was a perfect fit. Special credit is due to Ben Eddy, Northern Marine’s CAD departments lead, and everyone involved with its construction and flying.

Having this deck in place, allows us to better visualize and layout the Saloon, Dining, Galley and Master Cabin spaces. As in every custom build, “as drawn” and “as built” are two very different things no matter how many 3D renderings you have made.

To design, negotiate and build your vessel with project management by Captain Aaron D. Pufal,

please send an email to: theyachtcaptain@yahoo.com

 

Our 61′ Marlow is for sale!

On June 22, 2012, in 61 Marlow, Videos, by Aaron

Take a moment to watch this great video by Jason at YachtVid of our 61′ Marlow (M/Y Immunolin) that we have listied for sale.

You can contact me directly or the listing broker for more information.

 

Aaron Pufal: theyachtcaptain@yahoo.com

Broker: http://www.fraseryachts.com/Sale/sale_gallery.aspx?YachtID=Y70_SR_FL

Jason at YachtVid is available to produce your own Yacht Video

jason@yachtvid.com
866.784.8915

 

Hope Town Bahamas

On March 20, 2012, in 61 Marlow, Cruising Notes, Photos, Videos, by Aaron

Located in the Abaco chain of islands in the Bahamas, Hope Town is my favorite settlement in these cruising grounds. High tide is a must for boats that draw around 6 feet, but once your in the protected harbor, there is plenty of water. Mooring balls are available, reservations are impossible and unorganized, just tie up to any ball that is not marked private or with a boat’s name, the owner of the mooring will visit you in the morning to collect the fee of around $10-$20. Marina’s are on the leeward side of the bay along with the lighthouse and currently under expansion (2012).

“Hope Town was settled by British Loyalists who were seeking safe refuge after the American Revolution.  Many of the settlers came from the Carolinas, by way of East Florida, after that area was turned over to Spain in the Peace of Paris (1783).  The same treaty called for the evacuation of New York by the loyalists.  Many people moved back to England, Canada, or south to the British Caribbean.  The initial settlements were at Carleton (near the current Treasure Cay) and Marsh Harbour.  By 1785, there were over 1,000 refugees in Abaco who were distributed in five or six settlements.  The settlement at Hope Town was founded in 1785, in part, by a widow from South Carolina named Wyannie Malone.  Wyannie, along with her children, started a dynasty in Hope Town that spread the Malone name throughout the Bahamas, over to Florida, and outwards from there.”

 

Just off the coast of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, we noticed a little grey smoke coming from a vessel close to us, within 90 seconds it was fully ablaze. in the 2-3 minutes it took us to get to “Final Act” all the decks were engulfed with flames and the owner of the boat was on the fly bridge saving his dog, they both were in the water as the flames took the tender. I towed the life raft about 100 feet away from the fire and got everyone onboard. Only the captain suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation, besides the expected shock and exposure to all 5 people and the 2 dogs, shortly after we dropped them off at Skull Creek marina.

I never would have thought a fire could have taken the ship so vary fast, just goes to show how little time you have to get off the boat when there is a fire. Also a great example of how proper engine room fire systems could either save the ship or at minimum, slow the fire down.  Proper video surveillance, shutting down the ventilation, closing passive air vents, shutting off fuel and engines in addition to standard fire suppression systems would have made a difference in this shipboard emergency. Also, there was no viewing port in the engine room door, the captain noted this as he opened the door to see the scope of the fire, often these windows are not installed because of noise and cost concerns.

 

Chub Cay marina and airport (CCW)

On August 16, 2011, in Cruising Notes, Videos, by Aaron

Positioned between Nassau and Fort Lauderdale, Chub Cay Marina is situated perfectly for a stop along the way. Additionally, there is a landing strip with Bahamas customs on the island if you need to fly home for a break or fly in guests.

Dockage $2/foot

Power $0.65/kw

Water $0.45 gal

Airport buss $5 pp

Landing Fee $20 (single)

In this fun little video I get dropped by my flight instructor to complete my voyage back to FL.

Available in HD

 

Glen-L Lo-Voltage build finished!

On July 14, 2011, in Boat Building, Photos, by Aaron

FOR SALE!

Here are my photos of my recent build from your Lo-Voltage plans. I am happy to say the build went well and I had to make only a few changes for my build and use.

I used 40 solid ¾” X 16′ teak strips for the cap rail and rub rails as it was so much easier to laminate and worked well with the teak and rubber decks that are finished only with teak oil.

Updating the propulsion I am using a Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 R with 4 gell battries that I well mounted and added my own electric tilt for beaching. I would recommend the Torqeedo Cruise 2.0 R as I never use more then 1800 watts to achieve maximum hull speed with a run time of over 10 hours! There are 2 onboard gell battery chargers for the 48V and 12V house system with a shore power cable outlet for easy changing. Separate 12v gell batteries run the marine stereo, marine amp, Raymarine depth sounder, Northstar VHF radio, LED deck lights, LED retro fitted nav lights, work lights under for and aft deck, linear actuators that pop up 2 electronics panels and motor tilt.

I’ve used “ez-stick”steering, it works great and frees up the deck.

I have discovered a new product that from West System called “Six10” that makes stitch and glue quick, strong and less messy, however, only after I built the hull the old fashion way.
As a note, the Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 R motor for some reason burned up the motor and control unit just after 3 uses, I’ve sent it to the warranty service center in the US and will update this posting with that experience and let you all know how the motor performs over time.

 

 

Wardwick Wells Bahamas

On June 8, 2011, in 61 Marlow, Cruising Notes, Videos, by Aaron

This is a time laps film shows how sometimes the most narrow fairways can sometimes be very easy to navigate. We have all done it, we have looked at a chart or cruising guide sketch and immediately written off an anchorage or an entire area because of how intimidating it looks sitting at your desk. Compounding this issue are the old sailors at the yacht club bar droning on about how hard it was to get in to that bay in 1976! Well, in today’s world it’s the blog posting by a bean counter pontificating for a paragraphs about strong currents and coral heads.

Relax! I run this little 61 motor yacht alone and have a friend or guest help out when needed, like in this video. Furthermore, on this day the winds were 20kts and a ebbing tide of about 3 knots, no problem.

My point is, don’t pass up that anchorage just because it looks crazy on paper, sometime the more insane it looks on paper the easier it is to navigate, this is a good example of that.

 

 

 

Almost every yacht that transits this inside reef channel to Harbour Island uses a Pilot, and for good reason. Many props and shafts have been lost in this apply named channel spanning from Spanish Wells to Harbour Island.

This video is shot in time laps and shows some of the many corral heads and how close to the beach you must sail to avoid running aground.

 

In the short video below, G&G Marine was pushed on to the beach at the new small ship channel entrance to Bimini in the Bahamas. I found it interesting that the captain was able to keep the power on in ahead gear until the tide was high and she made it out safe.

As a note, 2 other yachts touched bottom on the way in just after us on our little 61′ Morlow. There are times the channel markers are not in the advertised position or not even there from my experience.

AVAILABLE IN HD

 

Teak and Rubber

On January 10, 2011, in Boat Building, Photos, by Aaron

I’ve finished planking the for and aft deck of my little build.  This post shows two methods of adding the rubber between 1/2″ teak planks.

As you can see in the photo below, the method I have used here involves a great deal of sanding.  There is no reason to spend the time masking perfect lines (as in this case)  when there is a great deal of sanding to be done. You simply inject the “Teak Decking Systems” rubber into the gap filling as deep as possible, and then allow it to overfill. Finally, you trowel close to flat.

The more civilized method is to carefully mask each gap, inject until overfilling, trowel flat, allow to dry for 2 days. Use 100 grit sand paper on a random orbit sander until the tape starts to sand off also, then remove it.

As a note, I use an electric caulking gun to inject the rubber.  The teak and rubber decking is pre-assembled on the workbench using a jig and sanded using a table-top sander before it is installed in the boat.

In both cases, I like to sand first with a belt sander (120 grit) and then follow up with a random orbit sander (100 grit.)  If the teak is not for walking on, then finish with 220 grit.

Here is the finished laminates from the former post entitled “Clamps” and the sanded teak and rubber.

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