New Blog To Follow Our Adventures!

Wanted to announce the new blog, titled, “Sailing on Mahi,” where you can follow our adventures if you wish.  Basically, we retired early, bought a blue water capable boat, will move aboard and travel the world on board Mahi, our Taswell 43 cutter rigged sailboat.


I also have a Facebook page HERE, too, if you want to see where we are and follow our adventures.  Plan to seek out quilting arts as we travel and write about sewing projects to improve the interiors.  Will also sew on projects above deck, too.  Taking some beading supplies along, too.  You know I just have to create!

Also bringing along the Tablet PC and programs so I can continue to draw designs to be sold at Digitech Patterns.  This gal is going to try to piece and quilt with my industrial strength Sailrite machine.  🙂

I hope you will visit and follow the new blog and “like” my page on Facebook.  Hugs from Carla

Sailboat Quilt Project

One of the hardest things about going traveling by sailboat is missing your dear friends and family.  Barbara Kiehn is one friend I will especially miss.  She and I have collaborated on many award winning quilts over the years, long time blog readers may remember a few of them:

carlainthegarden41egypt6baby tulip2


I decided that Ethan needs a new quilt for his new cabin berth, but time is short, so I asked Barb to help me design and put it together.  Yesterday was our work day at her house, and we were able to finish the sailboat blocks.  Of course, there is more work to do on this scrappy, red, white and blue quilt, so I will work on it whenever I can get a free minute.

Here are a picture of the blocks only, today I cut and fuse the flags at the top of the mast like shown in the top left block:

Sailboat block in progress

Barb and decided to make these topsy turvy sailboats, plus there will be scrappy pieced sashings in between each block.  Here is a sample from Barb’s quilt for what topsy turvy setting looks like:


So that is my WIP sailboat project for the boat.  Thank you shout out to Barb for her help, lunch yesterday, and for being such a wonderful friend.   Regards, Carla

BVI and Back Home

Virgin Gorda Sound sunsetBack home from our wonderful vacation in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

We decided to introduce our grandson, Ethan, to the joys of bareboat chartering, which is when you charter a sailboat and crew it yourselves.

We had a wonderful time!  After two days of travel, we arrived at the catamaran we had chartered, a new Lagoon 40 named Tequila.  If you read my last post here, then you remember we were expecting a 38 Lagoon, but due to unforeseen circumstances, namely that the owner of the 38 foot boat ran it on a reef, so the company substituted a larger, newer catamaran.  Nice!

bvitequilaOnce we left the marina, we  headed to Virgin Gorda Sound to spend the first night at Leverick Bay before also visiting Saba Rock, The Bitter End, and Prickly Pear Island.  The photo, above, was taken in Virgin Gorda Sound at sunset.

Next stop, Marina Cay.  By this time, Ethan had discovered that there is a trampoline on the front of the catamaran that is perfect for 3 year old boys to bounce on.  Also, the cabin top is perfect for climbing, as shown in the pictures taken below:



We spent our time sailing, swimming, snorkeling, building sand castles on the beach and hiking.   We also had fun feeding fish off the back of the boat, too.  On one day’s sail, we had gusts over 40 knots, which was skill building.  Ethan’s favorite place on the trip was the hike to the Bubbling/ly Pool on Jost Van Dyke.  Here is a picture from an earlier trip:

bubblingpool Ethan loved to climb on the small rocks on the right, and play in the smaller pools.  This place is amazing, it feels like nature’s jacuzzi!

We met lots of fun, engaging people during our trip.  Some were bareboat chartering like us, some hired their own crew for their vacation, a few also had children, and a couple were staying on different island resorts.  When we returned Tequila back to the charter company, we had the pleasure to meet a lovely Canadian couple who were just getting ready to cruise the BVI and USVI for several months in their Lagoon 40, 40 Below.  A quick shout out to Ron and Barb:  Have a great trip, and thanks again for the ride to the ferry dock!

Colorful signs at Marina Cay, BVI

Colorful signs at Marina Cay, BVI

The trip home took two long days, and at San Francisco airport I lost a small carry on that I am hoping will be found.  In it was my iPhone, prescriptions, two pairs of prescription eyeglasses and my new underwater Canon camera, which also has all my vacation pictures and videos.  Everything can be replaced but the vacation pictures and videos, so keeping my fingers crossed that an honest person found my case and turned it in.  I filed a formal report last night and placed a message on my locked iPhone using a wonderful app called “Find my iPhone.”

Losing a bag, while upsetting, cannot dim the wonderful memories of our trip.  How fortunate we are to be able to travel to exotic, tropical locations.  We are truly blessed!

Hugs from Carla

South Pacific Safety Lessons

I haven’t written too much about my sail training expedition aboard the Mahina in the Cook Islands and French Polynesia.  However, I thought today would be a good time to talk about safety at sea.

Crew Overboard:  This was a training expedition in the South Pacific, and you learn how to do important things like how to save your partner if they fall overboard.  This is an important skill especially for women, who may not have the upper body strength to lift their partner out of the water alone, especially if the husband is injured and cannot simply climb aboard..

I volunteered to be at the helm during our “crew overboard (COB)” drill, which is the newer term for “man overboard- or  MOB).”  We were at the French Polynesian Island of Huahine at the time and I believe crewmates Cody or Simon volunteered to jump over the side of the boat and be my “victim.”

As the helmsperson, I immediatedly followed the procedure as taught, turning the helm a half turn, walking back to let out the Life Sling, which is attached to the stern and looks like this:life sling

You then return to the helm to complete your steps for rescue.  If you do it correctly, which I did, it the lifesling line will move across the water right to the COB.  You also instruct the crew to place the lifesling under their arms and around the torso.

09c_2You then pull the COB in by hand towards the boat, or if too difficult, you use a winch to assist you.  Once alongside the boat, you use your halyard winch to lift them up and over the lifelines.  Here is an example of Cody playing the happy rescued victim partner.  Standing next to him is Simon.  It is important to practice your crew overboard skills frequently. I was happy to know I could do it successfully if Joe were to fall overboard.

Tether and Harness– Away from land, it is critical to always use your harness (yellow) and tether (blue), which is being modeled by Angela and I.  If you were on night watch alone, fell overboard and did not wear your harness and tether, it might be hours before someone realized you were missing.  Most likely, it would be a death sentence.   We also used a raised jacklines (lifelines) on the Mahina, for anyone who are into details like this.

mastclimbClimbing Harness– Speaking of harnesses, we also used climbing harness to climb the 65 ft. mast.  Sailors need to climb the mast on occasion for maintenance, repair, inspection, and other reasons.

My thumbs up and smile in the photo might have been taken before my climb- and am I trying to bravely hide my fear of heights?   Or was the photo taken after I successfully met my goal of touching the top of the mast and then getting back down to the deck safely in one piece?  Not sure, but I will guess the latter since the smile looks happy.

MaupitiTropical Medicine– While I am mentioning safety, you can see a large bandage on my right leg.  On the island of Maupiti (see photo, right), we decided to rent bikes and ride around the island.  I took a spill on a coral gravel road, and received a nasty road rash on my leg and elbow.

I cleaned and treated my injuries once I was back on the boat, but didn’t want to be a wimp and tell the team leaders that I had an injury.  However, the pain keep me awake, and by the next morning the leg was seriously infected, hot, and very painful.  Luckily, a fellow crew member was a doctor, who started me on antibiotics, and kept good watch on my leg over the next couple of days.  John, the captain, also did an excellent job tending my wounds, too, with medical ointments intended for tropical injuries.  Plus, I had a neighboring boat with a Tahitian doctor aboard, too, who checked on my leg.

I was surprised at how quickly the tropical wound became infected.  Moral of the story is if hurt in the tropics, especially injuries involving coral, do not try to be superwoman or superman and “suck it up” so to speak.  Tell someone and seek medical treatment asap.

Thanks to Cody and Angela, of the blog, Your Fins Are Showing, for letting me lift borrow some of the photos shown above.  Hugs from Carla

Sailing Trip Preparation

On my last post, I shared that I will be going on a  long anticipated sailing trip to the South Pacific, specifically, French Polynesia and The Cook Islands.  This will be an offshore sail training expedition so I may experience for myself what it is like to be out on a sailboat way far from land.


Expedition Supplies- You are provided a long list of what you need to bring with you.  Here are just a few supplies from the list:  Foul weather sailing jacket (photo above), chest harness and tether,  Headlight, alarm for standing watch, waterproof watch, polarized sailing glasses,   packtowels, flat sheets, pillowcases, backpack and duffel.  Optional items I am bringing include my GoPro camera, a small Kindle Fire for reading, and my snorkel and mask.  Btw, Love my watch- a Baby G:


Medical Supplies- You must partner with your physician and bring along antibiotics, anti-fungal pills, and of course, Rx for seasickness.  Plus any regular Rx, too.  This takes some pre-planning, but it helps if your doctor likes to sail, too.

Clothes- you are very limited by weight how many clothes you can bring.  I will be bringing 5 pairs of sport shorts or my favorite white and black petal skorts from Athleta:


Add on sports bras, swimsuits, shoes, and tops, plus we have to bring a long skirt or dress to be culturally sensitive and 3 hats, plus a long tech shirt for the sun.

Did I mention that the total weight for all items together must be lower than 30 pounds?  I freely admit that this is the hard part for me.  To that end, I have been searching out shorts and clothes that are very lightweight, so that I might be able to bring a few more clothes along.   My favorite shoe I am bringing is my Teva’s:


These shoes are lightweight, and comfy.   To help save weight when packing, I bought a bunch of Eagle Packing cubes to organize my supplies in.

Ok, you get the idea that I had to prepare way ahead of time for this trip.  Joe tells me it will be the trip of a lifetime, based on his experience sailing betweem Fiji and Vanautu last year.  I can’t wait!!!

Upcoming Trip

I thought I would shift gears from my quilting today to tell you about a trip I have been planning for… an offshore sailing trip in the South Pacific.

Last year, I wrote about Joe’s sailing adventure between Fiji and Vanautu here.  I stayed behind to care for darling Ethan, and once Joe returned home, he encouraged me to apply for an expedition leg in 2013.    I was accepted for  Leg 2 in 2013, which starts less than 2 weeks away!  I will join the sailboat in Papeete, Tahihi in French Polynesia and will leave the boat in Rarotonga in The Cook Islands.

This expedition will allow me to have an offshore, bluewater sailing experience, while learning about topics such as navigation, safety at sea, standing watch, weather, sail trim, etc.  While I have been on numerous yacht trips over the years- crewing on numerous luxury yacht delivery going from Maine to FL, or FL to Michigan, this time I will be on a sailboat AND will literally be in the middle of the Pacific far from land.  In sailing speak, this is called “bluewater” or “offshore” sailing.

368_4  ( expedition photo from Bluewater Sailing magazine)

Yes, I will be wearing a tether and harness like shown in the photo above.  My jacket will be bright pink, as I like being different, yet still girly.  🙂    I will also have a chance to snorkel in exotic locations in French Polynesia- many not accessible to tourists.  My plan is to bring along my GoPro camera with dive housing so I may post some beautiful videos/pictures of what I see.  Anyone willing to take bets whether I will capture any images of sharks?

While I am in French Polynesia and The Cook Islands, my goal is to seek out local fabrics and if possible, buy a small tifaifai (French Polynesia quilt) or tivaevae (Cook Island quilt).  I have been reading up on the style differences between these methods of quilting art.

Here is an image of a tifaifai:


Here are examples of Rarotongan tivaevae from the blog by John Charles Davies:


Can you tell I am getting very excited???   Regards, Carla

Joe’s Sailing Adventure

I thought I would mention that DH Joe went on a 2 week sailing trip from Fiji to Vanuatu recently. I stayed behind to care for baby Ethan, who is now 17 months and into everything.  Really. I turned my back for 1 minute and Ethan somehow reprogrammed my computer desktop.  Took me 30 minutes to unscramble his work.

One day, after Joe and I retire, we have grand plans to trade in our O’Day sailboat for a 40-45 ft. bluewater cruising sailboat, and sail in the Caribbean and South Pacific.  To that end, we have been taking sailing courses, bareboat chartering trips, and  sail whenever we can.

We both lacked deep bluewater sailing experience, so Joe signed up for an expedition trip sailing from Fiji to Vanuatu in the South Pacific.  He had an exciting adventure, meeting like-minded crew mates, who also were there to learn.    If you want to read more about this amazing trip, you can read the posts by crew-mate Roger and watch his terrific videos HERE.  Don’t miss the erupting volcano video from Tanna, Vanuatu.

Joe came back and said I must go on an expedition, too.  After reading the expedition website, I decided on Leg 2 in 2013 trip.  So my application was sent to the expedition organizers and I am awaiting back approval.  Where is Leg 2, you might ask?  The sailing trip will start in Tahiti, sail around Moorea, Wuahine, Bora Bora, a few other wonderful places and then sail to Rarotonga, Cook Islands.   Think of the snorkeling I will do!!

Just received word that my application was accepted!  Can’t wait, especially since I can learn about native textile art and quilting in The Societies and Cook Islands.

About Class, etc.

As many of you know, I am teaching my online class right now, on my own website, too, at www.Quilt

It is going very well, I will admit to working about 10 hours per day on the class.  Students are also working hard, so kudos to them as well.  It is a fun group and I am enjoying teaching the class.

Other News:  Been babysitting Jack, my grandson.  He spent the night last night, which is always fun!

I am also thinking about planning my vacations next year… we know we want to spend a few weeks on a yacht in a warm climate.  Perhaps the Bahamas?

Speaking of yachts, we have taken our O’Day boat out at least once per week since we bought her.  I just love to sail and spend time with Joe onboard!!

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!  Hugs, Carla



Boat Name

I love days off like this 3 day weekend holiday!  This means I get to spend quality time with Joe.

We have spent the first day getting our O’day boat ready, then the next day taking it out on the water.  We launched the boat out on Folsom Lake at Brown’s Ravine yesterday and spent over 6 hours sailing.  Winds were a bit fluky, but when they were blowing, it was fun.

I think we finally have the perfect name for our O’Day 23.  I wanted a name that was not too cutsey, and of course, not crude.  Here are just a few names that I would never consider in a million years: Aquaholic, Berth Control, Bad Kitty, Fish-n-Chicks, Knotty Buoy, Sea-duced, PMS Princess, and Sail Bad the Sinner.  Nope, just not me.

Finally, (drum roll, please…)  we have settled on….

S/V Sea Glass.”   S/V means sailing vessel for you non-sailors. This name is just right since you all know how much I love to sea glass hunt, plus it is an uncommon name not found on any boat lists.  It helps that Joe liked it.  It also passes the “easy to say over the radio test,”  too.

Changing a boat’s name is actually considered bad luck to sailors.  So we have to do a special de-naming ceremony before we can actually name our boat.  We also have to remove all traces of the boat’s former name, which was “No Tee Time.”    The naming ceremony can only take place after the de-naming ceremony.  Both involves bottles of good quality champange to appease the gods.  Sailors are a superstitious bunch, and have many rules such as “never leaving on a Friday,”to name just one.  Sounds silly, I know, but why mess with tradition?  LOL

The previous owner had carefully peeled off the old boat’s name.  The hull had faded around the letters, so I will need to refinish the hull to completely remove the name.   Besides, the hull has some oxidation, so I plan to refinish that, too.  I will order the new name, but will only affix them after both ceremonies.

How did YOU spend your weekend?

Hugs, Carla

New Sailboat!!

Joe and I wanted a nice little sailboat and trailer to sail whenever we wanted and keep those sailing skills up for chartering.  We have been watching  Craigslist for about 6 months to find just the right boat.  We finally found one yesterday, and arranged to meet the boat’s owner down at the lake marina today.

Here are the pictures from the Craigslist ad for this nice little 1984 O’Day 23:

Above, shown in the marina yard.

and on the water below.  The person taking the picture is standing on the bow (front) of the boat looking back to the cockpit:

No photos of the interior.  It is clean, but the cushions are original to the boat, so I will get them recovered.  Same goes for the forward V- berth.  The interior is very spacious for this size of boat.

After a detailed survey, we bought it!!  We plan to keep it for few years, then upgrade to a bluewater cruising boat.  Joe and I are excited!  The name of this boat used to be ‘Tee-Time,” so Joe and I started talking about potential names for our firstboat.  Picking a name for a boat is harder than you think.   I’m sure the right name will come to us, but if anyone has any ideas, bring them on!!

I started making a list of essentials to buy at West Marine.  New anchor & rode, fenders, some extra lines, depth finder, handheld radio,  and boat hook to start.   Now I need to hunt on craigslist for a used dingy, too.  Life is fun!!

Hugs, Carla