Since childhood I’ve been a sailing and boating enthusiast. I grew up in Florida and had the great blessing to live on lake-front property. It seems as though a great deal of my growing-up years were spent on or in the water. I swam, dove, skied, sailed, fished, skim-boarded, and played ten months a year. The other two months were a little too cool for being in the water, but I often fished then. My dad and I went on fishing trips to Key West, Marathon, Homosassa, East Lake, St. Johns River, Haulover Canal, Titusville, Mosquito Lagoon – and of course, on our own lake at home. When near the Gulf or Intracoastal Waterway, I saw cruising sailboats and they inflamed my imagination. When I wasn’t on or in the water, I was reading adventure books set on the water. Sailing and water sports were in my waking dreams and contributed to poor grades in school – too busy day-dreaming.

My adult life arrived. Years of study, work, family and responsibility flowed by. Almost on a whim, I bought an 18 foot day sailor – and I was hooked. We’ve had several boats since then – including a ski boat when my boys were more interested in speed than going slowly. We now have a Watkins 27 coastal cruiser (though she’s pretty hefty for a coastal boat) that we’ve owned for 13 years. We sailed her in Jacksonville, FL, then trucked her up to Maryland when I got stationed in Washington DC.

We love sailing the Chesapeake, and we love time spent on the boat. I happen to like all the maintenance aspects of boat ownership as well, so owning an old boat fits me: lots to repair and maintain! Now retired from the Navy, I have a lot more time to tinker with the boat and sail the Bay.

  1. I am really enjoying your blog. I am a new owner of a Watkins 23 and am also sanding off the many layers of paint from the bottom among other projects. I replaced the centerboard in early January and will replace all the exterior teak with mahagony this spring. I live on the north side of Baltimore and hope to sail around the Chesapeake this summer.

    • Nice to meet you, ecstatic dance. I’m doing more work today and will post the results later. Thanks for looking in!


  2. Debby said:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I share your enthusiasm for the water though I’m not skilled at any of the water sports. Raising our children in FL made them little fish and both were lifeguards for a time. We do enjoy boating and walking the beach. I turn my camera towards the outdoor life here in S. Florida as often as I can.

    Hope to see you on my blog again.
    God’s grace to you,

  3. Donn said:

    I am the proud owner of a Watkin’s 27 built in ’79 and just ran across your blog looking for Watkins Owners.
    I live in SW FL. and sail her (Namaste) on the Gulf in and around Sanibel. Look forward to reading more of your adventures with yours.


    • Thanks for the visit, Donn. We are eagerly anticipating this year’s sailing season on Chesapeake Bay.

      I see that you’ve found the users’ group on yahoo, and have been very active. I assume you are photodonn?

      I also found your website, I think. Nice job on the website. Looks like you use your boat a lot. I love the area of Florida where you are sailing, and hope to cruise there some day.

      If you visit the yahoo site, I’m rick_rew, and the boat’s name is Cay of Sea.

      Thanks for stopping by, and I’m looking forward to reading more adventures on your website.


      • I have a Watkins 27 Shoal Draft to Crib and Ship any chance You could share with Me the Length and Height of the Keel and a few Photos of the Lofting Shape of the Hull Immediate for and aft of the Keel ? Please …..

  4. I hear what you mean about upkeep on an old boat. I own a 1975 Trojan Tri-Cabin, which requires non-stop maintenance and TLC. I now mainly use her as a “dockside condo” since operating her has become very expensive (Twin Chrysler 400s). Sailing is looking a lot more desireable these days!! Thanks for following my blog. I definitely will be following yours.

    • Thanks for the comment, RC. The Trojan Tri-Cabins are wonderful, comfortable old boats – and well-made too. Hopefully those twin Chryslers aren’t too thirsty when operating at “trawler speeds.” That gets you on the water, going a long way in a long time (a sailboater’s motto!)

      I love the maintenance/project aspect of old boats, and the measure of self-sufficiencey attained by installing and maintaining simple systems.

      Having your own piece of “waterfront property” is 85 percent of the pleasure of boating. It’s just great, satisfying fun.

      I really enjoyed the photos on your blog also. I’m a neophyte picture-taker (not enough skills to qualify as a photographer), and so enjoy viewing the work of someone like you who is really accomplished.

  5. Thanks for the compliment. I just enjoy taking pics, and once in a while get a “keeper”. And yes, whenever both of my engines are running at the same time, I cruise a trawler speed only. When I’m on the water, I’m in no hurry.

  6. I’m not one to do these Award things, but there are some blog sites like yours I enjoy so much, I wanted to recognize you as others have recognized me. I know you’ve been recognized with awards, but I’m recognizing you again on my blog with the Reader Appreciation Award. Your site is definitely one of my favorites. You can view the award at No need to follow the silly rules — it’s the recognition that’s important. — Rob

    • Rob, that is very thoughtful of you. Thank you very much. Honestly, my blog has such a limited scope (sailing and boating issues) that I don’t think it has very wide appeal, but I’m glad you enjoy it.

    • I didn’t appreciate how good my life was until I became an adult. Now, as I look at homes located on the water and imagine what a wonderful time the kids have with all the water-borne activity, I realize afresh the luxury I enjoyed as a kid. But back then I took it for granted. Now as we live on the waterfront again in our later years, I understand what a favored life we enjoy, and I hope to never take it for granted again. My adult years were filled pursuing a career that I absolutely loved – what could be better than that? In consideration of my family and career, God has poured out His goodness and kindness on us.

  7. I have a Watkins 27 Shoal Draft to Crib and Ship any chance You could share with Me the Length and Height of the Keel and a few Photos of the Lofting Shape of the Hull Immediate fore and aft of the Keel ? Please …..

    • Judson,

      I can provide you links from my blog for images of the shape of the hull, but I don’t know the measurements for the keel. I can estimate the length. . . about 7-8′ fore and aft. . . and the published depth below the waterline is 3’8″. I can tell you that the keel is fairly flat and level fore & aft, so if the keel is resting on timbers on the ground, or on a trailer/cradle, it will be fairly level.

      Here are some links:

      These are all images you can find by simply trolling my blog. Feel free to use them or provide them to a hauler if you need to.


  8. gary said:

    Enjoy the site
    and links


    I would like to know if it is possible to connect with your friend that owns a Nor’sea 27?

    Norsea 27

    • Gary, he sold the boat and left the country. I’m not really in touch with him now. Sorry.

  9. Hi, I just ran across your post.I publish a website on life around the Chesapeake Bay. It just got going this month. I enjoyed your blogging. Can I re-publish some of your blog entries on – cynthia

  10. Rick, I have just discovered your blog and have checked out a few posts, especially of interest was the Head winterization, and will be reading the head failure one very soon. I was wondering if you would be interested in connecting via Skype for a podcast interview sometime soon. I run a Sailing Podcast called Shooting the Breeze Sailing Podcast available on ITunes or at my website It is a Chesapeake Bay Centric sailing podcast, up until now centered mostly around my boat club on the North East River, and more recently expanding further into the depths of the bay. I would love to talk with you sometime. I prefer doing such interviews in person, however my work schedule is pretty hectic, so I’ve turned to Skype, since it’s free and the audio quality is pretty good. If you are running a wordpress blog, I’m sure you have either skyped before or can figure it out quite easily.

    Let me know your thoughts and if you would like to connect. You can also listen to my interview with another, broader reaching Sailing Podcaster and Sail Magazine Journalist Andy Schell, over at, episodes 63 and 64 I think.

    I also have a facebook page for the Shooting the Breeze Sailing Podcast, if you want to check it out.

    Anyway, cheers, and probst on the Chesapeake Sailing Blog you are running! I like the look of your boat as well. I sail a Paceship PY26, so similar creature comforts.
    Thanks Much
    Jeffrey S. Wettig

  11. Just found your Hydrocoat review, wondering if it held up to an acid wash at the waterline?

    • Bill, I’ve used On-Off on the waterline to clean the brown water stain, and it seemed to have no effect on the Hydrocoat. On-Off is pretty caustic stuff – I’m presuming it’s acid-based. So, that’s all I know about its resistance to acid. But I’m sure you can look it up on the manufacturer’s website for more information regarding that. It’s made by Pettit.

  12. What kind of little sailing dinghy do you have? Ours is a 10′ Pennant and it’s so much fun to take out when it’s even slightly windy. We have an outboard for practical use but it’s much more fun to put up the sail!

  13. Todd said:

    I want to thank you for your info on the Rudder Stock replacement. I am about to do this myself on my Watkins 27. I was hoping I could ask you a few questions first. I’m leaving my email below. Thanks again!

    • Sorry Todd, didn’t see an email address. Try again?

  14. Kevin Furbee said:

    Rick, Any chance I could get a private email from you for the forward hatch details you hand built? It’s fantastic along with the Main Cabin hatch that appears you have enclosed in altogether.. I have acquired one of the original 1988 Watkins 29’s that’s actually a W30 with the reverse upgraded transom in really great condition. I want to copy your Hatch replacement and giver her style….. actually I would be willing to pay you to build both of them for me… either way please reach out!! KF in Satellite Beach, F L O R I D A !!

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