Sunday, April 19, 2020

Confessions of a Disabled Sailor

The world pandemic has found me under my own forced convalescence. As some of you know, I was near fatally injured in a car accident forty years ago. Prosthetics and orthotics have made it possible for me to live a full, eventful life regardless, some of which we've all shared here in these pages for almost thirteen years(!).

Two years ago I suffered a stoke, which impaired my balance enough that eventually a dramatic fall last October began an extended period of convalescence, from then until now. Growing old is not for the faint of heart.

But, determined to carry on, I fully intend to come out the other side stronger, despite being the target age of this debilitating world disease. With that in mind, I'd like to share with you some projects underway in the Doryman boatyard.
The last post found Doryman floundering under a capsize in the worthy faering, Saga. Although she saw service through the rest of last summer, she'd been abused and misused, much the same as her skipper. Some parts and pieces were lost in the capsize and her finishes suffered. Though no lasting damage resulted, she is in need of love, which comes apace. I love this little boat. We've been through a lot together, most of which was pure joy. She's a challenge to sail, the older I get, but I'm not ready to give up yet, we have more time to share.

Here's a shot of a debilitated Doryman at the helm, after the capsize last summer. That timid posture is the result of doing more than I should with a recent spinal injury from the fall I mentioned earlier. Hurts my back just to look at it.


Right now, there are no restrictions on sailing from the marina I live in so the plan is to launch Saga by May Day, in the Puget Sound, Salish Sea.

Travel is pretty restricted here, since the Canadian border to the north is closed to boaters and most marinas are closed. But for me it's all one ocean, as my friend Webb is wont to point out from time to time.

Restrictions imply impermanence, which brings us to some exciting news;


Back in 2009 I had the pleasure of a cruise in Chuck's self-built Chebacco Full Gallop. Nice boat.
About that time, I came upon the same design, but with lapstake planking. Unfortunately the price was too steep for me, which was a shame, since I'd come to love the boat by then.

Fast forward to last month. The same boat is still for sale. Well, no longer, because my friend, Doug and I went and picked it up. 

The Chebacco is a Phil Bolger design in a minimalist shallow water cruiser. Repairs are underway as we speak. When the Canadian border opens up, I know where I'm going. 

Disabilities be damned.

More anon...


Bursledon Blogger said...

Michael - good to hear from you, always liked the Chebbco and looks like you have a nice one (the clinker/lapstrake version was head and shoulders nicer than the original).

Much as I like dinghy sailing, having a small cabin for storage and shelter is a real plus

Good luck with the continued convalescence and improvement and keep safe.


Beth Caldwell Kerns said...

Thank you for the health update Michael, getting old and having chronic pain is def not for sissies.I am glad your continuing your passion dear friend. I have been dealing with metalosis in my hip from having multiple (6) surgeries and it is slowing failing and sometimes it gets pretty tiresome. I look forward to seeing your new adventures with the Chebbco. ✌🏼

EyeInHand said...

Go man, go!

Graham Neil said...

Hi Michael.
Love the Chebacco, I look forward to seeing it on the water.
Glad to see your spirit is bright in these difficult times.
Stay Safe.

Dabbler said...

Bolger said the Glouster Gull was his ticket to heaven, but I've always thought the Chebacco was the one. It's a beautiful boat! I'll look forward to hearing about your adventures with it.
Good luck on your continued recuperation, it helps to have a purpose.

doryman said...

Thank you, my friends. After years of posting here about building and sailing boats, it's unclear where we'll go next. But isn't that the state of the world today? First order of priorities is to regain personal health while, at the same time, healing our impact on the world at large. The first is strictly a personal quest, the second a global effort.

Bruce B said...

Welcome back to the blogosphere. I'm looking to see that Chebacco in the water again. Hope you're staying healthy. I'll be back up your way when the travel ban is lifted- maybe in June- and hope to see you aloat in one vessel or another.


doryman said...

We won't know for a while when and if it's healthy to travel and mingle. But in the meantime, the boat ramp here is open, and short trips seem to be allowed.

Dave Z said...

Hi Michael,

Well that old age... definitely beats the alternative. Glad to hear you're keeping ahead of it.

You might enjoy Shemaya's adventures on her Chebacco, AUKLET at

Looking forward to reading more of yours!

Dave Z