Thursday, July 19, 2012

Briar Patch Has A New Owner

Briar Patch (L) and OneEighty (R)
Looking like brother and sister
In June, 2012 BriarPatch got a new owner, Matt Fortner and family.  Matt came down to Gulf Shores one sunny weekend in June from Oxford, Mississippi with a list of boats to look at, hoping he would find "the" one and take it home.  We went out for one of those afternoon sails that, when you least expect it, becomes one of those memorable, perfect-day sails where you wonder why everyone isn't out doing this.  It was such the perfect day, that two things happened,  one, he decided he wanted to buy the boat (though he hadn't told me that yet) and two, I had about decided on that perfect day, that I didn't want to sell it. When we got back to the dock, however, and I saw my other boat tied up in the slip I was abruptly reminded why I must sell her.  Matt left, came back that evening and we struck a deal and shook on it.  Yeah, we "shook" on it.  I like doing that, it makes me feel like things are being done like my granddad did back in the 50's in the old south.  After all, Matt was from "Ole Miss" and although they may not have football perfectly figured out at the moment, I figured this guy knew how to shake on a deal.  He did.  It worked.  Transaction complete! (though later we did sign a bill-of-sale which is required in the state of Alabama).
We kept the boat at our dock until Matt could get his crew and time lined up, and on June 22, he departed Sailboat Bay in Gulf Shores for a ~500 mile maiden voyage  North up Mobile Bay then up the Tenn Tom waterway to Pickwick Lake.
Matt kept me posted via email and texts as the voyage progressed, and approximately 8 days later both he and I were releived that he had arrived safely, with no major breakages.  It is a boat you know.  I hope and trust that he and his family had a memorable cruise that they will long remember, and will serve as the first of many great times they have on Briar Patch. 

So I won't be posting any more on this BriarPatch blog, everything from now on will be on  Goin' South.
over and out: Charlie.

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Years and New Bottom

See the new bottom paint

Warm on the inside

Susie and I headed to Gulf Shores for New Years 2012 and wouldn't you know it, the cold front of the year pushed down South and chilled the Gulf.  Although it was cold outsied, we stayed warm inside.  We had just put BriarPatch back in the water after being out on the hard almost all of December.  While out for general bottom job paint and maintenance, we replaced the old thruhulls that didn't get replaced last time out.  We now have new thruhulls and hoses for the head and all it's plumbing. That's one of those things that you don't think about very much, unless you are at sea and discover 3 feet of water in your bilge.  This will make me sleep better knowing I have solid thruhulls even though I can't see them.  I much prefer spending money on things that make the boat look pretty, so I just have to pretend that the new fittings are pretty. 
Isn't this pretty?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Briar Patch Refurbished

After sailing BriarPatch in and about the Gulf of Mixico for over 25 years, and repairing things only as they broke, I figured it was time to undergo a major refurbishment project to make BriarPatch ready for the next 25 years. Here is a list of the projects that, finally, are finished. It was a labor of love, if you love money.

1. Engine has been upgraded to Volvo 2003 diesel 3 cylender 35 hp.

2. New fuel lines 2008

3. New packing gland2008

3. New 316 ss Strut, refurbished shaft and prop 2008

4. New bottom job, hull wax, 2008

5. New Garmin chartplotter, fishfinder, depthsounder, 2008

6. Mast, boom and standing rigging refurbish 2009

7. New SS heavy duty mast step, 2008

8. All new 316SS 1/4" Chainplates replaced 2008

9. Rebuilt Bomar top hatches with new plexi, new seals, and sandplast, paint frames 2009

10. New full batton main 2007

11. Kenyon 2 burner alcohol stove Factory rebuilt, 2010

12. New anchor washdown pump and system, 2010

13. Rebuilt fresh water diaphram pump with new seals kit, and new accumulator 2009

14. Rebuilt Wilcox, Crittendon Head valves, seals and pumps 2010

15. New L.E.D. cabin lights replacing old incandessent 2011

16. New Sunbrella canvas hatch covers and instrument panel cover 2011

Now that I have BriarPatch finally in beautiful shape to take her anywhere, I now have her for sale. We have bought a new (to us) Pearson 424 that attests that either I am crazy or that I really like the way these Pearsons are built and sail.

You can see the listing at:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Our New Pearson 424

Ladies and gentlemen...introducing our new boat....OneEighty. Well, it is really not new, but it is new to us. We recently purchased a Pearson 424 that is located on Lake Erie. The boat is up North, and our first venture is to bring her South, hence the name "OneEighty", which is due South on the compass. It might also be a moniker for a change in life.

The good news about that is that the boat has never been in salt water, which is good for wear and tear. The bad news is that the boat is 1000 miles from home. We will try and make the best of that and use it as a vehicle for adventure. The plan is to sail her home on her own bottom. More on that later as plans develop. Meanwhile we have just pulled the boat out of the water at Sandusky Harbor Marina, put her on jack-stands, and winterized her. That is all new to us; we don't have to worry about the Gulf of Mexico freezing, but we are told that Lake Erie gets solid enough to drive a truck over. Next spring in the April-May timeframe we will start thawing things out for the trip home. Meanwhile, the winter will give us time to get some additions and maintenance by the professionals. Follow us at
click here for pictures:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

In Memorium

In memory of dad...
This is in memorium to my dad, Quinn Lewis Stewart, Jr., who at the age of 94, August 28, 2009, went on to be with the Lord. He never was one to miss out on a good trip. He would often tell of how he and mom, along with aunt Sara and Haywood had visited all 48 contiguous states and would have gone to Hawaii if someone had built a bridge.
I don't think he would have been opposed to sailing there.
Even in his 90's he went down to the beach and sailed with my brother and I on Briar Patch. Any time from now on when I am out sailing, a piece of him will always be with me.
The following poem is in memory of dad, my ship.
The Ship
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she is only a speck of white cloud just where the sea and the sky meet and mingle with each other. Then someone at my side exclaims, “There, she’s gone!”
Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in hull and mast and spar as she was when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of her destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “She’s gone,” there are other eyes watching for her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “There, she comes!”
And that is dying

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sailing in and around the Chesapeake Bay

Mid-August, 2009 Susie and I went to White Stone, VA, in the subburbs of Kilmarnok, to visit a dear old friend of ours that lives on the Northern Neck penunsula of the Cheasapeake Bay. Jim Hatch actually lives on Carters Creek, which is off the Rappahannock River, which feeds into the Cheasapeake Bay. If you are looking at a chart, the Rappahannock is the river just south of the Potomac. It is a beautiful place to live, mostly because it is a beautiful place to sail. On Saturday we went sailing with Jim's neighbor, Carl and Debi on their new Hunter 45 along with two other friends, John and Sammie. It was a very light-air day, but we didn't care. Any time you are sailing (in comfort) with friends, old and new, it's a good day. The next evening we took JAZZ, Jim's Pearson True North, up the Rappahannock to the quaint little town of Urbanna where we casually walked from the harbor one block into town and had a great dinner at the Cafe' MoJo restaurant. What's neat about the Chesapeake Bay is that there is so much waterman history and all of the quaintly named towns and bays live up to their charming expressions. Another day we took JAZZ on an extended cruise down the Rappahannack into the Chesapeake Bay and
burned some of Jim's diesel fuel. It was great, and would have taken a week on a sailboat in light air. Somewhere I have heard, "there is a boat for all seasons". Susie and I treated Jim to a birthday dinner at the Tide's Inn in Carter's Creek. The Tide's Inn is an old historic hotel that looks like it was part of the days of the film, "Dirty Dancing". It has such character.
After we left Jim's, we drove to Newport News, VA and had a great tour of the Mariner's Muesuem and then headed further south down to the port town of New Burn, NC. We stayed the night in a riverfront hotel and had the chance to visit some of the historical buildings, eat great seafood and, of course, walk the docks and look at boats. The next day we headed out to Charleston to attend a wedding of an old family friend. We flew Chase, our son, into Charleston to participate in the festivities, and of course we ate lots of seafood, walked the docks and looked at boats. Are you seeing a pattern here?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sailboat Bay to Apalachicola, FL

On June 14th through the 20th, 2009 Jim Jones, Quinn Stewart and Charlie (that's me) sailed Briar Patch from Gulf Shores to Apalachicola FL and back. We left Sunday morning on the 14th and went East to Pensacola. From there we went out the ship channel into the Gulf, and at about 20 miles out, set our course at 107 degrees. With the wind off our starbord quarter at about 15-20 kts, we were able to beam reach all day, all night and make landfall at about 10:00 the next morning at Port St. Joe. We cruised about the St. Joseph Bay a while and then cut up the ICW through the swamp to Apalach. When we got to Apalachicola, we tied up at the Waterstreet Inn and went ashore and immediately ate several dozen raw oysters. That's the only place on the planet that I will eat raw oysters. We eased out to the edge of Apalachicola Bay, and after assessing the shallow water and the Govt. Cut in St. George Island, we headed back through the ICW to Panama City and anchored up in St. Andrews Bay, just off Shell Island. That sunset, the emerald water, and the pristine white sand dotted with palms and pines was as pretty as any in the whole Gulf of Mexico, including the Keys. At 0600 the next morning we headed out the PC ship channel about 10 miles and then set our course on 283 degrees toward Destin pass. We were pointing close to the wind all day, but had a terrific sail with the wind SW at 14 knots. At 1645 that evening we entered the "rocking and rolling" Destin pass. Not a pass that I would recommend for tender hearts, and never, never, never would I attempt landfall there after nightfall. We came in at low tide, and were able to get under the Destin bridge, by just inches. Our mast is about 48 feet with light, windex and antenna. From there we went on in to Fort Walton and anchored off the municipal park pier. Once we reached Pensacola, we anchored up in Big Lagoon and listened to the surf of the gulf across the spit of beach. The good thing about anchoring off Pensacola is that you get a really nice wake-up call when the F-14's from NAS take off and scream over your head. Of course the trip wouldn't be complete without a stop at Pirates Cove at Perdido Bay back in Alabama. All in all, we traveled 470 miles, and burned 27 gallons of diesel for the whole trip; in a 6 ton boat. Normally we should not have run the engine so much, but the entire trip back, heading West, we were into the wind, and as it turned out, we would have had to have waited two weeks for it to eventually turn favorable. We didn't have time for that. That's a difference in the sailors of today and those of yesteryear.