Making Bread on the Boat

At home I make a lot of the bread we eat, I use a very simple recipe and unbleached floor from Upper Canada Village. It turns out nicely, but I always make a mess in the kitchen and the clean up is as much work as making the bread.  Clearly a new method is called for.  In-Leng, a running friend from Ottawa recommended a no-knead approach and I have decided to give it a go.  I roughly based what I did on this recipe no-knead dutch oven bread  The basic idea is that you mix up a sticky dough and let it rise for 8-18 hours, knock it back, proof for 30 minutes and then put it in to a preheated dutch oven/large covered pan or casserole for 45 minutes covered and 15 with the lid off at 450F/230C.

To minimize the mess I used a plastic box to mix the dough and just put the cover on the box to let it raise and mature.

 I  used a proofing basket to proof the dough and just tipped it into the pot.  This seemed to go badly, but the results where good.


The bread turned out nicely, the bottom was a bit burnt as the pot was in direct contact with bottom of the oven, I have picked up a trivet to prevent this the next time. 


The crumb was great at the edges, but the centre was a little dense.  This was due to my lack of planning, I gave it 5 hours to raise, 8 or more will solve the problem.


Overall, a great success, for our first attempt, we did not have much of a mess to clean up and a few tweaks will make this easy to do on-board, even at sea.

My proportions were:

600g white unbleached “Super Fine” from Upper Canada Village

Large teaspoon Instant Yeast

Teaspoon Salt

 450-500ml warm water

I will play with adding in wholewheat and granary floors and see how it works. 

Dinghy Chaps, part 1

As Matthew pointed out in his July post A Different Family Car, a dinghy is an important link to the shore and to other boats.  We will use it for shopping, social calls and sightseeing ashore.  Much as you use your family car on land, the dinghy has a very similar function when out cruising.  And, just like home, reliability is really important as this might be your only way to get back to the big boat. So to protect it, our dinghy really should have some chaps. Dinghy Chaps, you say? What the heck are those ? They are a fabric cover to protect the inflatable tubes from harmful UV rays and chafe from lines and docks. OK, well I do love a good sewing project, so I offered to make them. But I really had no idea what I was taking on! In fact, I am beginning to wonder if it actually even qualifies as a sewing project, since I am three days into it, and haven’t taken the sewing machine out of its case yet.

Kinship is in the yard at Zahniser’s Marina for a bottom paint job and a pre-departure checkup and I am slaving away in a heat wave, on my biggest project ever. I decided it needs to be recorded here for posterity (and to remind myself never to try this again 🙂

Day 1 Patterning:  It took me about 5 hours to make and fit the pattern. I used sheets of clear plastic, laid it over the dinghy in sections, then marked where the seams, hems, and cut-outs should go. This was hard work, on hands and knees, crawling about inside and out of the dinghy, on a hot patio. But I was glad for all the space, and the ability to have the dinghy up on dry land while working on it. This would have been twice as hard to do on board.


Day 2 Cutting: I needed to lay out 8 metres of light grey sunbrella fabric, so I needed a big flat clean surface.The marina let me use their upstairs balcony with a canopy over it. I just had to move a few patio tables and chairs and voila! Instant cutting board. Again, on my hands and knees, using the hot-knife to cut the fabric so the edges would not fray, I spent 4 or 5 hours on this hot, smelly job. Fortunately my patterning was good, so very few adjustments were required when I fit the pieces back on the dinghy.


Day 3 Making the vinyl anti-chafing patches: This was the biggest part of the job yet! 8 full hours measuring, marking, cutting out, fitting, starting over…but at least I could work in the comfort of the air-conditioned laundry room, on a good size table. I had 19 cut-outs to do, and was almost done when I ran out of masking tape (essential for holding the patches in place once they are cut and fitted), and my kitchen scissors had gone so dull from cutting the vinyl that they needed to be replaced in order to cut the remaining patches. A trip to the hardware store is required.


Day 4 more patches: 2 more hours of cutting and fitting patches. I must be getting tired, because the starboard side needed more fitting than the port side had. I had to take a break from the project for the boat launching, but tomorrow I will finally get to start sewing, in my cockpit sewing-room! Can’t wait!

Day 5 Sewing (finally): Like with house-painting, the longest part is the prep work. In 5 hours I had 90% of the patches sewn into place. I started out working in my cockpit, but soon found that the wind and weather, along with the bulkiness of the fabric made it much more difficult to work aboard, so I went back to the laundry room. Fortunately most people using the room for its intended purpose were curious enough about what I was doing not to object too much at my apparent hostile take-over of the facility!


Day 6: Sewing and fitting: Once the patches were all on, I sewed the pieces together and conducted the final fitting. Only one small adjustment to the first two patches I had done, and all was well. After a total of 30 hours, I really felt like I had something to show for my efforts.


The project is not finished yet. I estimate another 10 hours or so to finish it – add a rub-rail, a few more anti-chafe patches, hems, casings and snaps to hold the whole thing onto the boat – but for now it’s put away. Time to get out on the water. Kinship passed her pre-departure check-up, and we are heading for Portsmouth VA to meet up with the Rally next week!



Kinship and Matthew are still in Annapolis while Kathleen spends a few days in Ottawa visiting a friend who is sick.

Annapolis is a good place to hang out, the mooring ball is cheap – $35 a night and there is a lot going on.  The city is full of well preserved 18th and 19th century buildings. Annapolis was the temporary capital of the US following the Treaty of Paris in 1783.  Today Annapolis is capital of Maryland.  There has been a concerted effort to maintain the look of the city, modern buildings use brick and design cues to mirror the architecture of the existing buildings.

Our time at the sailboat show was productive and we got a lot done.  We have our new cockpit cushions, navigation lights for the dinghy, sorted out and ordered the parts for the lifelines,  ordered AIS SARTs for our life jackets, visited with Viking to take a look at our life-raft inflated – hopefully the only place we will see this.  We talked to lots of suppliers and found a lot of new products, but we stayed focused on our list and we stayed on budget.

The cruising community is quite small and the authors and film makers that fuel the dream that turns wannabes to cruisers are enthusiastic and keen to meet and chat.  We talked to the Shards of the Distant Shores TV show, about the process of designing their new boat – Distant Shores III and their plans for the next year while they are boat-less.

We found Lin Pardey, selling her latest boat and we talked about our idea of sail the Pacific on our third trip, she was, as expected, very encouraging and she invited us for her cruisers Thanksgiving dinner when we get to New Zealand.  Kathleen was impressed enough to buy the book, but perhaps not the Pacific trip just yet.

During our passage down the New Jersey coast Kathleen was assaulted by a collection of Nigel Calder books we forgot to secure.  I told her to give Nigel a hard time when we see him. Well, standing at the wine area at a World Cruising Club event, who should turn up but Nigel himself.  We got to have a good chat, a laugh about the attack of the books.  He is a fan of the Saga 43 and he had Allan Poole stories.  He was attending the show with Sail magazine so he had a handler by the name of Ali. Poor Ali was just about dying with embarrassment as Nigel told us stories about Allan and others that will never make the magazine.


During the boat show the dinghy dock moves from the end of Ego Ally to the police dock on Prince George Street.  The capacity is a lot less, and this leads to a certain amount of congestion at the dock.  Crawling over dinghies to get to shore becomes the norm.


No trip to Annapolis is complete without a visit to Bacon Sails.  Bacons is an Annapolis institution, focusing on reselling and consigning used sails and other equipement  We made a trip last week and found a few little gems, a star finder for $20, a pin wrench for $10.  I took my bike over later and bought line for a new main sheet and the main traveler.  As I got to the store I spotted 2 more Bromptons, these ones belonging to Jean and Yolène on Caffe Latte, they are also on the Caribbean 1500.  We are starting to meet more crews as we go to events, it will be great to arrive in the Caribbean already knowing lots of boats.


The sailboat show last weekend is followed by the power boat show on now.  The transformation as the docks are dismantled to let the sailboats leave and then reassembled around the power boats, all happening over less than 2 days is really impressive.  Lots of boat traffic and the sailboats gave us our own parade as they did a run down the harbour before leaving or anchoring in the bay.


img_20161010_180707 img_20161010_180538

We are off to Solomon’s Island next week for a haul and paint, but more on that later.