I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to help crew "Forgiveness", which is a 40' J-120, for the first day of SCYA 2018 Mid-Winter Regatta. For last years regatta, I traveled all the way to San Diego to crew a 10M Flying Tiger named "Ruckus". This year I only had to drive to Marina Del Rey.
The weather was gorgeous. Temperature was in the mid-to-upper 70's with clear skies. Wind was a steady 5-7 kts with occassional gusts to 10-12 kts. Seas were pretty calm, with little to no chop. All-in-all a beautiful day on the water.
I met the crew shortly after 10:30am. Skipper Scott manned the helm and had one of his most experienced crew, Lemy, assign positions. The Joe's were to handle the headsail, there was another crewman named Joe. Kiki did a bit of everything since she had a decent amount of experience but mainly focused on Pit. Lemy took on the bow while Rutter handled the main. We were a little short-handed so we all helped out where we were needed and got to experience a little of everything.
We motored out of the harbor towards the race area. As we went past the jetty into open ocean we raised our mainsail. Now motorsailing, we went over our plans for different procedures once more. All lines were flaked, winches had handles nearby, and the spinnaker sail was ready below. It's time to race!
We were supposed to have 2 or 3 races. Instead we had 4. Our boat wasn't 100% sure on why but we know there was some confusion due to an error by the race committee getting the times for the other 2 boats in our class during race 2. Fortunately, that is something that I don't have to worry about. I will leave that to the Organizing Authority.
I'm not 100% on how the scoring goes. These weren't 1 design races so adjustments to finish times are made depending on the rating of each boat. I also didn't go out for the second days races so am unsure how we finished overall. But, win or lose, it was a great time and I look forward to more as the sailing season gets into gear!
A big thanks goes out to Capt Scott of the Forgiveness for taking me aboard for the day and to Rutter for making the introduction. Another big thanks to the rest of the crew. Lemy, Kiki, and Joe were great to work with and they helped me out during race 4 as my pain was increasing making it tough to grind the winch. They did so without complaint and were very understanding. I wouldn't hesitate to sail with any of them again as they were great teammates.
I also want to give a huge thanks to the Warrior Sailing Program. Without the training they gave me at the Basic Sailing Camp of 2016 in San Diego I would not have had the skills or the confidence to hop on a boat and go racing. They have also been working to get more sailing opportunities on the west coast. Because of all of that hard work I and many others have been able to continue progressing as sailors. I have personally had the chance to go aboard a few different boats, experienced both racing (Ruckus/Bravura/Forgiveness) and cruising (S/V Happy Together) and have met some really amazing people.
While I definitely encourage and welcome donations to my Project through my GoFundMe page (Sorry, not tax-deductible), I hope you will also consider donating to the Warrior Sailing Program (Tax-Deductible!)! You can also show your support by purchasing Warrior Sailing Program apparel through Coral Reef Sailing Apparel. The incredible group of people at the Warrior Sailing Program are helping out other veterans like me and I can't thank them enough.
Waking up, it's cold and dark. I really want to just stay under the covers and go back to sleep. But that is impossible. My body sends me into a quiet rush to gather some clothes and carefully make my way down the dark hallway with my hands on the wall for balance. I barely make it before the pain in my head caused my stomach to heave up what little was in there. During a brief respite I take my medicine that dissolves under my tongue and use the pain relieving cream and hope they work. I have a few more short moments of "fun" but eventually things settle down. That's good as I have been able to stay out of the ER for years now and I don't want to break my streak.
This is not the first time this happened, nor will it be the last. Often I am surprised by these days, but not this time. Yesterday was a day where my pain just seemed to increase from the moment I awoke. So I am not at all surprised that it has been a rough morning today. Hopefully as the day goes on I will begin to feel better.
Physical labor will be postponed for the day, but I still have lots of computer and planning work that I can complete as I feel up to it. I hope to get back to work on the mantle soon, but in the meantime I will be working on the footage I have so far. One thing I know after living with a TBI for so long, days like this are temporary and i'll be back to it soon as long as I let myself recover.
Til next time, take care all!
Money woes, Pain and nausea, Transportation issues, and the planning I must undertake. These are some of the mine's that block my path from recreational activities normally. With my latest fall, another mine is added.
I have been wanting to get out on the Ocean and go fishing for months now. The failed boat partnership really did a number on my morale and opportunities for recreation. But I didn't let it stop me.
Shortly after the partnership dissolved I began to reach out to the Southern California fishing community through a popular Outdoor Forum and online Magazine, Bloody Decks aka BD Outdoors. The response from the community absolutely blew me away. I began to get invites for fishing excursions.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to actually go on any of these trips yet. Weather issues came up and caused the sea's to get nasty, so we ended up not going which was for the best. Plans with family and friends have also caused me to miss a few trips, though in this case I'm ok with it as I rather like my friends and most of my family. The hardest times are when my health issues are causing me to miss trips. Perhaps the scheduling was too close to another event, and for me would be too much so I have to pass. Or I have no way of getting to the harbor because I can't drive due to being on meds. Many times I've simply passed, knowing that the odds of a pain exacerbation are high and not wanting to risk being caught in a pain-nausea-pain loop which would shorten the trip for everyone and could even send me to the ER.
Yesterday, I got an invite to go fishing out of Marina Del Rey today with a gentleman named Robert, from the Bloody Decks forum, and his son and son's friend. With all of the trips missed, the time away from the water, and my recent fall I was ecstatic that I got an invite and decided that I had to risk it. I needed to get out on the water, and away from the house. Because of the fall I had already been taking it easy and I had no set plans in the way. It looked like I might be able to but should I risk it? Damn the torpedoes, Full speed ahead!
So last night I got all my fishing gear together. I found that I actually still had a lot of tackle on my brother's boat mixed in with everyone's stuff. So I had my niece take me to Dick's Sporting Goods where I purchased some hooks, weights, and a few other things that I would need. Of course my wife and niece had already been over there earlier in the day but I hadn't known of the trip at that time. Sure would have been handy to have gone with them earlier.
I also had to purchase my new fishing license since CA license's are good for the Calendar year, not from the date you purchase it. Of course, the terminal at Dick's Sporting Goods was down so we went to the Wal-Mart in the same shopping center. I knew we should have just gone to Big 5 as it took 45 minutes for someone to come help us. We would have left after 15 minutes but by then Big 5 was close to being closed and I needed the license that night. So we waited.
Once purchased, we went home. I reorganized my fishing gear and then had to prep my truck for the drive by checking fluids, tires, etc. Our truck has our camper on it and there was no way I was taking it off just for a day drive because getting it back on is a real chore. So I also had to prep the camper for travel by stowing all gear securely, unhooking the electricity, and checking all the tie-downs. I also checked the time it would take to get there, with little traffic would be about 45 minutes. I doubled it for traffic and thought that would be fine.
I woke up before 4AM as I have things that I have to do to ensure that I can make it through the drive and the day. After prepping myself I finally got on the road at a little after 5:30AM. I got gas, some snacks, and a cheap styrofoam cooler for the fish we hope to catch.
I began my drive a little before 6AM on the 14 south until I got out of the SCV. I transitioned onto the 5 south and found traffic going between 30-50. Not ideal but at least it wasn't stop an go. I continued on, traffic staying relatively the same. I passed the 210, no slow down. I transitioned onto the 405 southbound and almost immediately it became bumper to bumper stop and go traffic.
At this point it was 6:30 and I had about an hour to get there. Problem was, my GPS was telling me that it was going to take 1 hour and 3 minutes. I would cut it close but I think a few minutes shouldn't be a big deal. Though it would take an additional 15-20 minutes after I got there til we could leave the dock.
15 minutes later and had just passed the 118. I looked at my GPS and it said 1 hour 5 minutes. There was absolutely no way I was going to make it on time. I called Robert and let him know what was going on. At the rate I was going we would be lucky to leave the dock by 8:30, an hour after the agreed upon leave time. The nature of fishing is that you can miss the morning bite during the morning tide change if you're off by 15 minutes. I was not going to do that to them so I let him know that they could go as I wasn't even sure if I'd make it in an hour. He was very understanding and if it was likely I'd be there in an hour he would have waited but we'll try again another time.
All the scramble the night before. Little sleep. Over 2 hours in the car this morning. All of which i'm paying for in pain. And I didn't even get to fish.
Damn the torpedoes, they got me.
I really want to thank Robert for his invitation and his understanding. Now let's see if my pain will let me take a nap.
How does my building a boat and taking other's out for a day on the water help?
1. It’ll inspire others
Being disabled, there are a great many things that we are unable to do. That can leave us feeling useless. With so many limitations it's hard to imagine being able to complete huge projects. By any measure, the build I'm about to embark on is a huge project. I will prove that it can be done and hopefully inspire others that have a disability to not shy away from large plans and to follow their dreams.
2. Recreation for the disabled
Being unable to do things due to our health is a given, but those of us that are disabled also have a difficult challenge in making time and money available for recreation activities. The worst thing about that is recreation is incredibly important for keeping spirits up and dealing with the issues our maladies inflict on us. Being able to take others out, free of charge to them, is a goal worthy of being undertaken.
3. Comradery through Independence
Along with feelings of uselessness, we tend to also feel too dependent on others for our basic needs. Being able pass on the skills to catch and prepare our own food, maintain and handle a boat, and all the while doing that with other disabled veterans that share a common bond is a great thing.
4. Thank the Deserving
It's difficult to be so dependent on others and not always have a way to give back. I hope to not only take disabled veterans out on the water, but give them a chance to invite at least one person who has been instrumental in their rehabilitation. That will give them a chance to share a great time on the water and hopefully for a little bit, forget all about the trials and tribulations of being disabled.
This project is a long term project. The building of the boat alone could take 6-8 years. It seems incredibly daunting when you look at everything at once. However, when you take it a step at a time, it begins to become more manageable. There are a vast amount of smaller goals to shoot for that will make the build seem as though progress is always being made.
I wish I could do this all on my own. But I need help in many forms.
I hope everybody had a great time over the Holidays. I had a great time with family. But as always, all the driving has done a number on my pain. I've spent the last few days resting up and not doing much.
After the last few days I have been going a little stir crazy. Were it not for my niece getting me a cool little video drone, more on that another time, I would have likely gone more than a little crazy.
Now that i'm mostly rested up, I decided to get back to work on the DVD shelf
I'll be finishing up the DVD shelf in the next few days hopefully.
Work is still continuing on the boat project. Recently I posted a 3D walkthrough animation video to my new YouTube channel. I've also been cleaning up the website and receiving quotes for lumber as I hope to start cutting lumber for frames soon.