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

Port Townsend Sail Repair Class

I took time from my creative pursuits to fly up to Seattle and drive to Port Townsend, Washigton to attend a sail repair workshop with Carol Hasse and team.

Carol Hasse is sailmaker extraordinaire, owner of Port Townsend Sails, and I have always wanted to learn sail repair from her.   She is as nice as can be, plus her background in sails, sail making, and sailboats are quite extensive.   You may read about her impressive resume HERE.  I lifted borrowed this photo of Carol Hasse from her website:

Carol Hasse, Port Townsend Sails

Carol Hasse, Port Townsend Sails

Joining me on this adventure was the talented designer and fellow sailor, Amy Arroyo, who I met while taking part in my South Pacific sail training earlier this year.  Amy and her husband are the proud owners of the Millie J, a custom 36-foot aluminum sailboat berthed in Friday Harbor, WA.

The 2 full day workshop on sail repair featured separate classes in how to repair sails and reinforce existing sails using both machine and hand sewing.  The commercial sewing machines used in sailmaking are very similar to the commercial quilting machine that I work with, so I loved the machine sewing part of the class.  I know a new machine will be in my future.  In class, we used a sewing machine to:

  • Patch a hole
  • Install a chafe guard
  • Fix a torn seam
  • Apply a spreader patch
  • Reinforce a corner ring with webbing

The hand repair part of the class was also fun.  The students used  palm and needle to:

  • Sew in a ring or grommet
  • Seize a jib hank
  • Attach a mainsail slide
  • Mend a seam
  • Add a leather chafe guard
  • Make “Easy Reefs”

Port Townsend is a lovely place to visit.  Previously, I had been to Port Townsend several times for ArtFiberFest, an art retreat run by Tesha Moore. This time, I made sure to visit my favorite shop- which sells fabric, beads and yarn, which is a winning combination!

In closing, I highly recommend Carol Hasse’s Sail Repair Seminar to any sailboat owner who wants to be more self reliant and learn how to repair their sails.  She is a lovely person, and experienced in her field and craft.

Fair Winds, 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

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.

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

Bareboat Charter

Back now from our bareboat charter to the British Virgin Islands.  “Bareboat charter” means that Joe and I chartered a catamaran (Leopard 38) and operated it ourselves.   The opposite of this is chartering a yacht and then having  paid crew sail and  operate the boat.

Here is a map of the BVI’s:

This trip, we invited friends, Larry and Lori, to come along for the fun.  They were great fun; and we had many laughs together!

Getting to Tortola, specifically Wickhams Cay II, takes a bit of patience.  This trip involves a plane trip (or two) to Miami, then another plane trip (or two) to St. Thomas.  Then you grab a cab to the Ferry Dock, a Ferry ride from St. Thomas (in the US Virgin Islands) to Roadtown (which is in the British Virgin Islands). Exit the Ferry, then you grab another cab to the Charter company to pick up the boat.

Prepare to enjoy the concept of being on “island time.”  This is where you R-E-L-A-X and just go with the flow.  Feeling stressed from travel?  No problem…. just grab a cold drink, preferably one with rum and fruit juice involved and just chill.

The charter company, with a bit of pre-planning from you, will have your provisions all ready and unpacked on the boat.  Oops, turned out this was asking too much of our company, so I needed to inquire as to the snafu.  Finally, provisions arrived and put away; we were now one step closer to leaving base.

Joe and I came with our own boat checklist, and we made a list of questions and issues for the boat briefing the following morning.  Good thing we checked as our fresh water level was down a tank, so I grabbed a hose and topped it off.   By this point, you are eager to take off from base and start your charter.

Off we go!  First night was spent at Norman’s Islands, aka “The Bight.”  We love to moor on the left side of the mooring field and snorkel around the point.  We skipped snorkeling at the Caves this time.  Night time fun was at the William Thornton, called the “Willie T” for short.  The Willie T is a wild place, where Painkillers and Rum Punches flows and fun is all around.

The next morning, Joe and I motored over to the Indians, which features the best snorkeling in the area.  Be sure to get there early  to pick up a mooring ball.  This is the place where schools of tropical fish swim all around you, contrasted to the colorful coral reef.  For me, there is nothing more soothing than snorkeling over a reef.  Here is a picture of Larry and Lori snorkeling:

Next stop, Diamond Cay on Jost Van Dyke, which is the location of Foxy’s Taboo and the Bubbling Pool.  We learned that the Bubbling Pool was not so bubbly in July, contrasted to this picture taken last November:

For first time visitors, just ask for directions at Foxy’s Taboo.  Expect roughly about a 3/4 of a mile hike to get here.  Go at high tide if you can.

Foxy’s Taboo features good food and nice staff.  The nice young man remembered us from last November, my encounter with the sea urchin in the Cay must have been memorable!  LOL  If you go here in the month of July, bring bug spray to help with the voracious mosquitoes.  Everyone but Joe got bitten, we even had a contest to see who had most bites on their legs or arms.

The next day, after anchoring at Sandy Cay, one of my favorite spots, Lori and I decided to explore the island trails.  We also spent time looking for shells and beach glass.  Success on both scores!  After this stop, we decided to search for the allusive sea horses in White Bay.

White Bay was shallower than expected, and after a rather boring snorkel whereby we all agreed the sea horses were a myth, this was a pretty spot to spend the night.  During our snorkel, it poured, but this didn’t deter the amorous couple on the beach doing certain shocking things that belong in private. Enough said.

Next stop is Marina Cay, where of course we had to search out the Web Cam on the end of the dock.  You stand in front of the British Phone booth and they upload an image every 15 seconds.  As soon as I find our pictures, I will upload it to show you.

Virgin Gorda Sound  is one of my favorite spots.  We moored at Leverick Bay,  and then took the dingy over to Mosquitos Island, which is owned by Sir Richard Branson.  We have our favorite quiet spot on a beach, plus nearby is my favorite place to hunt for beach glass and shells.

Btw, here are pictures of Joe and I on this trip.  In case you are curious, yes, I am a blonde:

Here is Captain Joe, aka my DH.  Notice how happy we are?

At this point in the trip, we needed to get Larry and Lori back to Wickhams Cay II so they could catch the taxi to the ferry home.  We stopped for one last night at Cooper’s Island and had a tasty dinner there.  The snorkeling is great there, too.

Here I caught Lori on her kindle:

We said goodbye to our friends and then turned around and sailed back to Virgin Gorda again for our final 3 days.  Lori ad Larry were troopers, but I could tell they were happy to see normal flushing toilets again (marine heads require a pump flush handle and switch) and regular showers again (instead of showering on the swim step).

Joe and I love to spend hours at various beaches, just relaxing, snorkeling and beach glass hunting.  I came home with lots of beach glass this trip.  We also visited Saba Rock, and also had a nice meal there.   Also visited the Bitter End Yacht club, Cane Garden Bay, and Cooper Island before sailing back to the base at the end of our trip.

It was a wonderful trip and I can’t wait to do it again!  Next trip planned is tenatively set for next spring in the Bahamas.

Back now to the land of quilting and arts!  It is good to be home.  Hugs, Carla


Did you know there are a fair number of quilters who also sail?   Last year, I even got to meet one (Harriet) when our paths  and boats crossed in the ICW.  Small world.  Well, I will be going off for a bareboat charter sail again, this time with my friend, Lori and our men to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) once again.

We plan to snorkel:

And drink painkillers:

and, of course, sail.  This trip, we are trying out a new boat- as you can see, a catamaran (Sunsail 384):

Also, I get to visit my sister, too, while we are in the Florida area.  Life is indeed good!

Plus, there is a chance our next trip in 2011 will be in the Bahamas.  Love the Caribbean and white sands beaches.  Which reminds me- I shall have to add to my collection this trip:

I promise to have lots of stories to tell you when we get back!    Of course, a big “Thank You,” to my friend, Mae, who is babysitting the house and pets!

In case you stumbled across this post, my husband and I love to bareboat charter, which is a term that means we rent a sailboat in exotic locations and sail the boats ourselves.  We act as Captain and crew.  There are yacht businesses all over the world to charter from, but you do have to prove that you can actually sail.

This trip, we are taking our friends, Larry and Lori, who have never sailed before.  We plan to introduce them to sailing in a stunning location and see if they like it.

That’s all for now.  I will keep a journal of the trip and a sketch pad to draw what I see.  Cheers and fair weather!!  Carla

Cool Finds for Mixed Media Artists!

I have long been a fan of metal artist, Susan Lenart Kazmer.  Her work with metal, resin and found objects are simply unique with a high “cool” factor!  Here is a picture of a classic SLK charm bracelet from the cover of her book, which I own:

Now, you can create her look yourself with many charms, pendants and findings found at your local Michaels Craft Store under the label, Industrial Chic.  Here is a sampling of products:

If you are into this look, now it can be yours for a low price!  I bought about 20 pieces from the collection at 50% off last week, so look for when Michaels runs another sale.  I paid $4 per charm pack or pendant.

Other News:  The countdown has started for my next sailing adventure.  This time, Joe and I are bareboat chartering with talented mixed media artist, Lori Seavey-Christian and her husband, Larry Christian.  Lori and I have been close friends for several decades.  You might recall my past “Carla & Lori’s Creative Adventure Weeks” where Lori and I get together, take over her Living Room, and just create!

Lori & Larry do not sail, so Joe and I are planning to make sailors out of them.  We thought heading back to the BVI would be an excellent place to introduce them to chartering.  Besides, I love the snorkeling there, and visiting all our favorite places again.

I will make a report after we come back.  For obvious reasons, I do not want to advertise the dates we will be gone, even though I have someone to come house sit and babysit the pets when we do this.

Knowing that I needed to find my 1)snorkeling gear, 2)sailing gloves, 3)swimsuits, and other gear;  I decided to clean out my closet.  I don’t know about you, but my house is really clean, EXCEPT for my closets.  You know it becomes bad when your master walk-in closet is no longer a walk-in.  So, fueled with coffee, I decided to tackle it.

Hours later, I had about 6 bags of giveaway or throwaways.  I did find all the items on my list above.  Now my closet is a clean and tidy again, just waiting to slowly revert into its former state.  It is inevitable, so I just learn to appreciate order while it lasts.

I challenge all my readers to think about cleaning out a pantry, drawer or closet.  Nah…. on second hand, I challenge you to just create something.  It’s a lot more fun!  Cheers, Carla

New Kindle!

My birthday will happen while we are on our trip, so I hit Joe up a bit early for a new Kindle.  It arrived yesterday, and I have already loaded it with my previous books, plus a dozen new ones.  Now I can carry 70+ books with me everywhere I go.

Before receiving the new Kindle for my birthday, I previously had downloaded the Kindle App for my iphone, and didn’t mind the small screen.  I finally converted to the larger Kindle when I saw they had one now that can work in the US and internationally when you travel.  I will actually download a book while on the boat, so that I can see how it works, and report back.

I love all my techno-gadgets!!!  My iphone, my kindle, my digital camera, video DVD recorder, several computers, I wonder how I lived without them all!  LOL

I am NOT, I repeat, not going to bring any of my computers with me on vacation.  I am unplugging from technology, well, except for my kindle and my camera.  As soon as I get out of the US, I will also put my iphone on airplane mode.  You do this to avoid some serious roaming charges.

When I get back from my trip, the countdown is on for my new class.  I will do some trial video uploads, and some file uploads to make sure everything run smoothly.  My online class is actually going to be slightly different than my “in-person” class, so I can’t wait to see how the students like the expanded class.  Probably the biggest honor I have been given is that several people who have seen me “live and in person” for this class have signed up for the online version.  How cool is that?

Off to get my driver’s license renewed, and pre-pack!  Hugs, Carla