Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Boat Upon Which to Float My Story!

I’ve been under the weather this week, and so what better way to spend idle time than to learn about sailing in New Orleans and pick out a sailboat! I mentioned in my last post that there will be sailing in this novel, the third in the Portrait series (title still to be determined). I sail a little, that is, I have little sailing experience other than tooling around on a few lakes and, yes, that little bit on Chesapeake Bay (well, Todd did most of the work). Our Bock sailboat is pretty in her own way, but she’s fiberglass and was manufactured by a laundry manufacturer in Ohio—not particularly romantic.

I do however come from a short line of boat builders. My grandfather and uncle built a lovely little wooden boat, and my dad builds some beautiful models. I grew up on the Great South Bay and sailed occasionally with my dad in our little Seaford skiff. So, I guess I come by my interest in boats somewhat honestly, but having taken all that for granted growing up, I never paid attention to the particulars of boats or sailing. Yes, I was taught the difference between port and starboard, stern and bow, but other than that, not so much.

My sad lack of technical knowledge didn’t keep me from writing Uncharted: Story for a Shipwright, which I think I pulled off without any glaring errors, thanks to my nautical-savvy beta readers. If only I could have retained half of what I researched! So, now that I’m undertaking another sailing adventure, one with a whole lot more actual sailing, I find myself in deep water.

So, what’s a novelist to do? Happily, I have a writing buddy who sails expertly, but I can’t just throw a sloppy, unresearched mass at her! So, for my initial phases of fact-finding, I have two terrific resources—the WoodenBoat Forum, and Cruisers Forum, both have been extremely helpful. I posted a thread, “Need a Boat for a Work of Fiction,” and received wonderful, and often comprehensive, responses. Consequently, I have picked a boat upon which to float the nautical part of Portraits III! In real life, her name is Infanta and she is a 47’ Bermuda yawl located overseas with the added perk of being designed by Philip Rhodes, one of my favorites.

Some may recall that in Uncharted, old Buck built a replica of Rhode’s Pavana, a 46’ yawl.

Anyway, my yet-unnamed boat will be sailing out of New Orleans to the Cayman Islands, which means my research has only just begun—more on New Orleans later…

If you are curious about Infanta's interior and specs, here's her listing from before her new owners acquired her. And a special thanks to the owners for answering my "left-field" question about the fo'ward head! No detail is too small to research!
[Note to self: Never be afraid to click "Contact" on a website.]


  1. Lovely boat. In person research in New Orleans and the Caymans sounds like it would help the story unfurl...pun intended...

    1. Hehe! There's a pretty good chance I could get to New Orleans, and even a chance I could visit the Caymans--the trick would be getting 47' Burmuda yawl to sail me there!

  2. amazing,,,it will be a great adventure. Makes me wonder if I could get the energy to finish "Lady McQuay" (Weekender by Steve Stevenson) 1/2 - 2/3 finished, in my barn. I am proud that you are keeping on "keeping-on"... gogitum...reckon? OC

    1. The Weekender is a lovely little sloop! Sounds like you are making good progress, reckon?