Sailboat Art

For Christmas last year, my family did a group painting class….. They basically just set us loose with paint and a canvas. Joe, of course, created an amazing sailboat painting.

Apparently Joe is a talented artist – check out what he created…

Joe's Sailboat Art

Top 10 Sailing Movies

topIt’s early February, and here it’s a lot of ice, snow and frigid temps. With our new project boat about a month away from being here, what better way to melt away the winter blues than with some good sailing movies?

While there are many sailing documentaries we could recommend (Deep Water, Raw Faith,  and Morning Light, to name a few), the movies on this list are based on entertainment value, accuracy (or lack thereof) and most importantly, quotability when you are on the water.

So here they are… mostly in order:


deadcalmDead Calm – To be honest, I’ve never actually watched this movie, but according to all of my sailor friends, it is a must-see, if for nothing else than Nicole Kidman naked and on a sailboat.




crazysummerOne Crazy Summer – It’s Better off Dead on the water. Once again, starring John Cusack and Curtis “Booger” Anderson, as well as Bobcat Goldthwait and introducing a young Demi Moore. Underdogs win a sailing race that involves rowing, sailing and motoring (WTF) to save a girl.




wwWaterWorld –  I know that there are a lot of groans and sighs regarding Waterworld, but man, what screen presence from it’s biggest star (not Kevin Costner, but a 65 foot Jeanneau Trimaran). Also, keep an eye out for Kim Coates (aka Tig from Sons of Anarchy) who plays a water-worn mad-man.




windWind – See?!? Women can sail. Starring Matthew Modine and Jennifer Grey. No one puts baby on a port tack.




srentalSummer Rental – Best sailing etiquette tip EVER “The smaller boat always has the right of way”. Classic John Candy.




mcMaster and Commander: The Far Side of the World – The big-budget Academy-Award-winning epic based on Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey–Maturin series.




kontikiKon Tiki (2012 Movie)– Proof that you have to be a little bit insane to sail. Based on a true story, a raft with no motor sailed by people no sailing knowledge makes it from Chile to the Polynesians.




piratesPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl– The movie responsible for breathing life into the salt-encrusted, dried out corpse of pirate movies. While it’s easy to look back and see Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow as overdone, just remember, you loved it at the time. Hell, even Michael Bolton loves Pirates Of The Caribbean.



wsquallWhite Squall – Heart-wrenching drama, based on a true story of the Schooner Albatross which sank in 1961. Stars Jeff Bridges & directed by Ridley (Aliens)Scott




jawsJaws – This isn’t really a sailing movie (other than a brief encounter on a Sunfish), but don’t you love being afraid of sharks every time you’re in the water? Actually, according to John Williams, the composer of infamous score,  Jaws is more of a pirate movie than a horror movie, and what’s more sailboat than pirate?!?




cap_ron2Captain Ron – Wins the award for most quotable. “A diesel likes its oil the way a sailor likes its rum” “Why is that Captain Ron?” “Well, nobody knows”. “Dawn comes early on a boat. It happens every day, just about sunup.” I won’t spoil the rest. Kurt Russell should have won an Oscar.




Honorable Mentions

whataboutWhat About Bob –So there is only really one sailing scene, but it’s a good one. “Look at me! I’m Sailing!”. I’ll probably catch some heat in not putting this in the top ten, but to be honest it’s a gag that I hear from almost everyone I tell that we sail. But to be fair we have satisfied many guest requests to tie them to the mast and snap a pic.



swashSwashbuckler – Robert Shaw, James Earl Jones, Peter Boyle, pirates, and 1970’s camp. What’s not to love? PS – Horror movie fans: keep an eye out for Sid (Captain Spaulding) Haig as one of the pirates.




yesThe Voyage of the Yes – I have a special place in my heart for this movie.  A cheap, made-for-TV movie about 2 teenagers (played by Desi Arnaz Jr and Mike Evans (aka Lionel from All in the Family) sail from California to Hawaii on a Columbia 26 (which was Joe’s first big boat). How could you not be impressed?





5 Marina Games (for the drunken sailors)

Marina Drinking GamesJimmy Buffet Shots

Walk around the docks at the marina. Whenever someone from the group spots a boat named after a Jimmy Buffet song or quoting lyrics everyone else has to do a shot. Everyone does 2 shots if there is a boat named Margaritaville, because that’s just sad.

Dirty Minds Boat Names

Everyone comes up with the dirtiest (but clever) boat name. The dirtiest name wins. Everyone else does a shot.

Don’t Say It!!!

Every time someone says boat, water, line, or nautical words of your choosing they have to drink.

Who Named Your Boat?

When you see boats with ridiculous names (there is one in our marina called Snuggle Bug) each player, creates their own back-story of how the name was created. Someone from the group strikes up a conversation and discovers the actual story of where the name came from. Everyone buys a drink for the person who guessed correctly.

 The Cat 30 Drinking Game.

Every time you pass a Cat 30 you have to do a shot….. oh wait, that will lead to cirrhosis….. PS. We kid because we love. We own one. Drink up.

Watch For Us at the Mid-America Boat Show

Mid-America Boat Show 2014 in Cleveland Ohio

That’s right! Nailing Sailing will be at the Mid-America Boat Show in Cleveland Ohio. We’ll be finding the best accessories, new products, tricks, tips and hacks and sharing them with you here.

PLUS, we’ll be launching our VIDEO segments. We’ll be recording LIVE from the boat show — interviewing experts (or at least people who think they are experts), bringing you product demos and showing you the best that the boat show has to offer.

This is a great break from the winter blues!  Stay tuned for more!

Skipper Buds – A Great Sailboat Purchase Experience

Skipper Buds LogoWe purchased our recent project boat, a Catalina 30 from Skipper Buds in Bay City Michigan. In the past, working with dealerships has been hit or miss for us – some have been terrible to deal with, but Skipper Buds was great. Possibly because they are a large chain of dealerships, they have great service, clear processes and were a pleasure to deal with.

First, we initially inquired about a Hunter 33, which actually sold before we even had a chance to think about it. The sales rep asked about what we were looking for, and called back a few weeks later with another boat that we might be interested in.

Since we were looking for a project boat, we were definitely on the low-end price-point wise of what they sell, so we weren’t necessarily expecting great service. What we received was tremendous service. The boat that we purchased was about 6 hours from where we live, so we only had the opportunity to look at it once before making the purchase.

A few of the things that Skipper Bud’s did that really went above and beyond include:

  • Provide us with recommendations for other services we needed, like shipping.
  • Take photos of specific parts of the boat that we forgot to take pictures of when we first viewed it.
  • Test the electrical systems (and they even sent us a video to verify that they worked).
  • We took possession of the boat in the middle of the winter in Michigan; they hooked the boat up to shore power for us so that we could work on the boat and use space heaters.
  • The sales rep, John, was extremely knowledgeable and friendly and very communicative. He got back to us quickly and we were never having to chase him for answers.

Everybody from the sales staff, to the receptionist to the guy handling the paperwork were all very knowledgeable and friendly.

As a large dealership, they really seemed to be well organized, helpful and they all really went out of their way to find us the boat we wanted and make it happen. If you are in the market for a boat, definitely consider dealerships like Skipper Buds. Working with the sales rep saved us a lot of time – since he knew what we were looking for, he was able to keep us up-to-date on their inventory.

 Where have you purchased from? What was your experience like?

10 Things to Consider When Planning An Extended Cruise

10 Things to Consider When Planning an Extended Cruise

When enjoying an extended cruise, you’ll want to be sure that you are prepared for any worst case scenarios.  Here are some things that you’ll want to double check before heading out.

1)   Engine Maintenance.

Check all of the fluid levels on your engine. You don’t want to run into an issue when you are far from shore. Checking levels regularly is a good habit to get into.

2)   Check Sails for Signs of Wear or Damage.

Inspect your sails carefully before departing. If you notice wear on specific parts of the sails, it may be rubbing against a part of the boat. Use rigging tape to reduce the friction on the parts of the boat that are hitting the sail as a way to protect the sail.

3)   Speaking of Rigs, Check the Condition and Tension of your Shrouds and Stays.

The last thing that you want to have happen is for your boat to lose the rig. Be sure that there is no fraying and that there is proper tension.

4)   Check the Bilge and All Inlets and SeaCocks for Leaks.

Even a slow leak can mean big trouble on longer sails and in rougher waters.

5)   Perform Radio Check.

Be sure that your radio is working correctly and can send and receive messages. It isn’t a bad idea to have a secondary hand-held incase your primary radio fails in the event of an emergency.

6)   Check and Prepare for the Weather.

This may sound obvious, but weather conditions can change (especially if you are on the great lakes). If you have a barometer check for quick drops in pressure (which usually indicates a storm may be approaching). Be prepared for bad weather. Always bring clothes for bad weather – if you are improperly dressed during a storm, you could potentially suffer from hypothermia.

7)   Have Emergency Equipment On-Board.

When planning for a cruise, always think about the worst case scenario. We once had to take apart our engine while underway, and having the manual and equipment on-board allowed us to take the engine apart, and fix it. Also consider a boat-plug incase of seacock failure or other problems.

8)   For Extended Cruising, File a Float Plan.

A float plan is a form that can be downloaded from the US Coastguard website, that details the plans of your cruise. A float plan is then filed with the Coastguard or your marina. As you check-in to different ports or return to your home port, you’ll check in based on your float plan. This is a way to let the Coastguard know where you are. If you fail to check in after a set amount of time, the coastguard will know that there may be a problem. Don’t forget to check-in, or the coastguard may deploy resources to look for you.

9)   Provision Properly – It is Better to Have Too Much vs. Not Enough.

Provisioning can be tricky, but with bad weather, weak winds or other issues, you may find yourself out for longer than expected. Bring lots of provisions, and especially make sure that you have lots of hydration. And rum.

10) Double-check Safety Equipment (and make sure that everyone knows where it is).

Be sure to check on your fire extinguisher, flares, signaling tools (mirrors, dye-packs, horns, etc) and confirm that you have the right number of floatation devices. Remember that inflatables only count if they are worn.

What would you add? What do you do to prepare for longer cruisers? Share in the comments!

9 Things to Always Keep OnBoard Your Sailboat

OK, so safety equipment is a give-in. But there are some things that you’ll want to keep on-board to make for comfortable sailing, for you and your guests….

1) Sunblock

We both have pale skin, so for us it is a give-in, but it is surprising how many of our guests also forget sunblock. We keep 3 – 4 different bottles on-board for ourselves and our guests.

2) Water

This is probably obvious, but nothing is more annoying than running out of water – especially since it is often hot when you are sailing. In a sailboat, journeys often take longer than expected, so keeping a significant water supply on-board ensures that you never run out.

3) Ginger Pills and Motion Sickness Relief

Many people don’t even know that they suffer from motion sickness, and we’ve given this to countless guests. Ginger pills are a natural remedy for motion sickness, but OTC motion sickness relief works quickly and effectively.

4) Snacks

Sailboats don’t move quickly, so getting from point A to point B can take longer than expected. Make sure you have plenty of snacks on board to increase your comfort during longer journeys.

5) First-aid Kit

Because you never know…..

6) Rain Gear/Warm Gear

Even if you track the weather forecast, once you’re out on the water moving, the temperature drops. We keep extra warm sweaters and rain gear on the boat for ourselves and our guests, as many are unprepared for the cooler evening weather or how cool it can get while sailing.

7) Extra hats

Many sailing excursions last at least a half-day, and that can be a long time to be out in the sun. We always have extra hats on-board for ourselves (incase we forget or lose one) and guests…. many of our guests forget hats or don’t think of them….

8) Wire cutters or utility knife

If you have a dis-masting (where your mast falls off) you may need to cut your rig loose. Always have wire cutters on hand and a good utility knife that is capable of cutting a line if needed.

9) Ziplock Bags

We once had an iphone die after being in the rain during a storm on the boat. Now, when it is looking like rain, we put our phones in ziplock bags – this keeps them dry but you can still use the touch-screen. WIN.

(they are also good for storing leftovers)

9 Things to Keep Onboard Your Sailboat

5 Things EVERYONE Onboard a Sailboat Should Be Able to Locate

5 Things Every Boat Passenger Should Know How to FindOne of the joys of sailing (especially on larger vessels) is sharing the experience with family and friends.

When brining guests onboard, it is helpful to give them a quick orientation so that they can locate key safety equipment quickly in the event of an emergency. Similar to how airlines have those annoying safety videos before takeoff, it is helpful to make sure that your passengers know where your safety equipment is incase they need it.

Often when there is an issue onboard, the captain is at the helm (or perhaps the captain has fallen overboard).

Make sure that all of your guests know the location of key equipment including….

1) Lifejackets

2) VHF

3) Throwable

4) Fire Extinguisher

5) First-Aid Kit

The fact is, you never know what will happen on a boat… better safe than sorry.


Easy Buffalo Chicken Sailing Recipe

buffalo chicken sandwich sailboat recipeOne of the biggest challenges when sailing is finding food that is easy to store, prepare and eat on a boat. We find that we are always short on refrigeration space, so recipes that don’t require refrigeration are a huge bonus.

This is one of our favorites for a quick lunch.

What You’ll Need:

  • Canned chicken breast meat
  • Buffalo  sauce
  • Bread or wraps
  • Lettuce and tomatoes (optional)

How to Make It:

  1. Open the canned chicken and pour it into a bowl.
  2. Add the buffalo sauce – as much or as little based on your taste preferences.
  3. Put the mixture on bread or in a wrap.
  4. Add lettuce and tomatoes.
  5. ENJOY!!!


We actually keep cans of chicken and buffalo sauce on-board for when we need a quick meal. This is high protein, low fat and quick to prepare.

10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Marina for Your Sailboat

Sailboat marinaChoosing a marina is one of the most important decisions that any sailboat owner will make, and should not be taken lightly. Many marinas try to lure sailors with their amenities and beautiful photos, but there is a lot more to consider. When choosing a marina, look beyond the obvious, and be sure that you are selecting somewhere that you will really be comfortable.

Here are 10 things to consider when choosing a marina:

1) Depth

The depth of the marina and any surrounding channels is very important, especially if you have a deep draft. You’ll want to consider seasonal changes in water levels for lakes or rivers, or tides if you are on the ocean. In our marina, the water level drops towards the end of the season and in storms (as much as 3 -4 feet). Boats in shallower slips sometimes find their season cut-short or that they’ve become grounded when water levels decline. Be sure to ask about current water levels, as well as variations.

2) Quiet Hours

Whether you are a night-owl or you prefer to retire early, finding a marina with quiet hours that matches your preferences is key. While most marinas claim to have some sort of quiet hours, the enforcement of these hours varies dramatically. Make the effort to check out the marina on a busy weekend evening, to observe the noise level on a typical night.

3) Amenities

Consider the amenities that are important to you, and avoid being drawn in by things that you won’t really use. Look for amenities including:

  • Pool
  • Fire-pit
  • Cooking areas (grill)
  • Common rooms
  • Bathhouses
  • Yacht club
  • Beaches/swimming areas
  • Shop or general store
  • Boat store
  • Availability of ice
  • Restaurants
  • Wifi (and how reliable it is)

4) Cleanliness of Bathhouses

If you plan to spend a lot of time at the marina, a well-maintained bathhouse is a must. Check out the bathhouses, and ask about the cleaning schedule. Nothing can make your stay more uncomfortable than dirty showers, or restrooms that smell badly.

5) What are the People Like?

One of the best things about having a sailboat in a marina is meeting other sailors and making new friends. Finding a marina with people that you like is important. Spend some time at the marina, and try to talk to a few people to get a feel for who your boat neighbors might be.

6) Distance from Vehicle to Boat

While it might not seem like a big deal, every time you are on your boat you’ll be bringing things with you, and a long walk can be a huge pain. Look at the layout of the marina and ask about slips available closest to the parking. We had a slip in a marina that was almost a half a mile from the parking lot – it was quite the hike!

7) Distance from Islands or other Attractions

Let’s face it. Sailboats move slowly. This means that distance to the things you want to sail to is key. Be sure to look at how far the marina is from key attractions – islands, beaches, fishing, etc. Also, ask about the depth of the waterways that bring you to the attractions from your marina.

8) Diesel and Pump-out

Any reasonably sized marina should have diesel and pump-out…. double check that yours does, or ask about how far away they are.

9) On-Site Service and Storage

On-site service makes getting repairs and maintenance for your boat easy and convenient. Ask about on-site service and storage, and don’t hesitate to look online for reviews.

10) Cost

Finally, cost will always be a factor in choosing a marina. Carefully weigh the factors above and compare them to the cost. When looking at costs ask about:

  • Cost for a slip based on the size of your boat
  • Additional fees or add-ons
  • Service fees if additional (electric, water, cable)
  • Launch and haul-out fees
  • Memberships required