Oystering Under Sail Photo Album

A few years back, several of us Alberg 30 sailors took an opportunity to dredge oysters on a skipjack. We'd met Wade Murphy, captain and owner of the Rebecca T. Ruark at Chesapeake Appreciation Days and Windjammers of the Chesapeake. He's an eloquent man when he starts telling tales.

One thing that that is abundantly clear when he speaks is how much he loves that boat and the way of life that he inherited from his father. Where many skippers have let their skipjacks languish to rot when the oysters harvest was decimated by disease, pollution and perhaps overharvesting, Wade has put more money into his boat; perhaps more than it ever can repay in oysters.

Offshore Sailing book cover Offshore Sailing by Bill Seifert with Daniel Spurr

We went to a Windjammers lecture to hear Bill Seifert and I was impressed enough to buy the book on the spot. I've heard a lot of people talk about ways to improve a boat, but I've never heard one person suggest so many good ideas that I hadn't considered. Part of the charm is the specificity of the suggestions. Everyone says you should secure your floorboards, hatchboards and batteries. Bill shows good suggestions on how to do so.

The suggestions are very practical for the do-it-yourselfer, too. Many show how to make or adapt inexpensive solutions. Tip #12 on closing the deck blower vents is one that will pay off for me without ever going offshore. I'll implement that one to stop the wintertime storms from finding their way belowdecks.

Besides modifications, the book also includes advice for operating offshore, cooking, boat selection, dealing with bureaucracy, and more.

Bill Seifert has worked at Tartan, TPI, and Alden Yachts. He's a veteran of many Marion-Bermuda races and now runs his own yacht management company. His tips are born of experience--not of book-learning--and it shows. He obviously knows his stuff.

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Last modified: Wednesday 05-Feb-2003