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COPD Can't Beat Me!

$1,540 of $2,000 goal

Raised by 28 people in 7 months
Hi! I’m Richard, a 75 year old sailor with COPD and I need your help to write my SECOND book.

THE BACK STORY

In my early working life I was a newspaper reporter, a magazine editor and published many freelance magazine articles. But I’d always dreamed of being on a boat. I never wanted to sail around the world, though. I wanted more attainable goals…like doing The Great Loop, a circumnavigation of the eastern half of the United States. Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean had been a childhood dream. 

A quote that changed my life came from Richard MacCullough’s book Viking’s Wake. He wrote: “And the bright horizon calls! Many a thing will keep till the world’s work is done, and youth is only a memory. When the old enchanter came to my door laden with dreams, I reached out with both hands. For I knew that he would not be lured with the gold that I might later offer, when age had come upon me.” So, at age thirty, I left a good-paying job as assistant PR Director at a large hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and became a minimum-wage deckhand on a dinner cruise boat I knew I could take up writing again at any age. I became a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain of yachts and small commercial craft and spent the rest of my working life on boats. I did The Loop. I sailed across the Atlantic. I transited the Panama Canal. I lived out the dreams of my childhood.

In 2009 I retired and moved to the mountains of western Panama where I wrote my first book: “Adversity’s Wake: The Calamitous Fourth Voyage of Christopher Columbus.” The book was translated into Spanish by two girls at the Universidad Latina in David (dahVEED). I combined both versions into a dual-language book  available at Amazon.com.

In April, 2017, with my lung capacity down to only 34% of normal, I repatriated to the U.S. In spite of struggling for breath after even simple chores like making my bed, I knew I couldn’t let the COPD dominate my life. (Yes! I gave up smoking about six years ago.)


THE PAST YEAR

Back in the states I bought a small, 22-foot sailboat
on the “One Easy Payment Plan,” and cruised from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, across the state and up the shallow waters of the state’s Gulf Coast. I made it to Carrabelle in the eastern panhandle when total renal shut down caused by severe dehydration put me in Tallahassee hospitals for nearly three weeks. When I recovered enough to return to my boat I made my way back down the coast to the anchorage at Bradenton Beach, FL, a little ways south of Tampa Bay. In all the trip was around 800 miles.

I blogged about the trip and posted updates on Facebook as I cruised, but, wintering here at anchor in Bradenton Beach, an idea for a non-fiction, book has been germinating. It has a working title of: Four Feet or Less: A cruising guide for gunkholers.” Gunkholing is a boater’s term for wandering from place to place in shallow water and spending nights at anchor rather than in a marina. The name comes from the gunk, or mud, in creeks, coves, marshes, and rivers. “Boondocking” is the term used by RVers for a similar “off the grid” experience on land. 

MOVING AHEAD

In order to finish researching the book I need to revisit many of the places I anchored before to gather more detailed information. To do this successfully I need some extra equipment. Subsisting entirely on Social Security alone it’s nearly impossible to put much aside after paying for dumb stuff like, oh, FOOD, meds, phone. What I need, in order of necessity, are: 1) a reliable, second outboard motor 2) a Go Pro-style action camera 3) a small drone so I can take aerial photos of many of the anchorages. 

I need the outboard because I can’t sail anymore. My hands are too painfully gnarled from arthritis to haul on halyards and wrestling with flapping sails leaves me on my hands and knees gasping for air. In the roughly 800 miles I traveled in the past year I only actually sailed the boat about 4 times. Either there was NO wind, there was TOO MUCH wind for a 22 foot boat, or the wind was on the nose and it would have taken too long to tack my way to the next anchorage. 

Since many of the places I need to return to are often out of cell phone range and far from the rescue services of Boat US or Sea Tow, a reliable second engine is a safety factor, not a luxury. I’m NOT looking to buy a NEW outboard. A second hand 6 to 9.9 hp two-stroke engine will do just fine. Good USED outboards run about $800 to $1,000. I already have a second outboard bracket on the transom. 

I need an action camera because they’re waterproof. I took a lot of photos on my last trip but used it sparingly so it wouldn’t get it wet and be ruined. Again, I’m NOT looking for a top of the line model, just one that will take reasonably sharp photos under all conditions. These cost around $250.

A drone that can carry that action camera aloft for photos of the anchorages would be fantastic! I have photo editing programs I can use to mark routes to the anchorages. A decent drone would cost about $250.

ADDING IT UP

Altogether I should be able to purchase the equipment I need for around $2,000. 

Donations of $25 or more will receive a free electronic edition of Adversity’s Wake: The Calamitous Fourth Voyage of Christopher Columbus.

Donations received above and beyond what is needed for buying the equipment will be donated to the American Lung Association.
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Well, I did it. I just ordered an SJ6 Legend actions camera as I said I wanted to do in the campaign. I said I wasn't going to buy the Rolls Royce of action cameras, the GoPro. The SJ6 package I ordered is about a third of the price of the GoPro but is supposed to do almost the same things.

I've spent hours and hours poring over various cameras and the reviews on them and comparing one against the other. I finally decided the SJ6 was the one I'm going to go with.

The cruising guide I'm going to try and put together will be an interactive e-book. Of course it will contain still photos of the anchorages as well as downloaded marine charts of them but I'll also set up the camera and take videos as I enter an anchorage to give people a better, sort of real-time idea of what they're getting into.

I don't think I'm going to get a drone just yet. I think the money might better be spent getting hauled out of the water, scraping the growth away and applying antifouling paint.

Again, thank you to everyone who generously contributed to my campaign. I'm really excited and anxious to get going. It will be warming up in a month and I intend on getting under way then.
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Okay, Chitlins,,,I got a post this afternoon that put me over the 3/4 mark for the goal I'd set on my Go Fund Me campaign. I'm truly touched by the generosity of so many people to help me achieve this goal.
My friend, Vicki, came to the dock and picked me up this morning and took me out to Home Depot to get my new generator and a couple of other things I had ordered. . .like furniture-grade PVC pipe to built a new mast gallows. I didn't use large enough diameter pipe on original one. This stuff is much thicker. I'm going to put a bit of a shelf on the back of it that hangs over the transom and fasten my solar panel to it.
On Tuesday my new, to me anyway, outboard motor will be delivered! It is a 9.9 two-stroke Mercury LONG SHAFT. The one I picked up in Stuart last May is a short shaft and always caused problems with cavitation from wakes and waves over two feet. Now I won't have that problem (fingers crossed) and an extra margin of safety and piece of mind. Not only that, but if one of them breaks down I will be able to scavenge parts from the other to keep going. I'm no super mechanic, but when my friend Stephen and I had our repair business we rebuilt a ton of Mercruiser I/Os and I learned a lot from him. Enough so I won't be afraid to tackle a job if necessary.
Tomorrow I'll be crawling down under the starboard cockpit seat to beef up the transom to accept the new engine. What fun!
Next is to look for an action camera and then aim to pull up anchor early in April and start gunkholing around to write my guide: "Four Feet or Less: A gunkholer's guide to Florida's Gulf Coast."
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I grew up in the small town of Orleans where Cape Cod makes its eastern-most thrust into the ice cold Atlantic. For thirty five years my dad and my brother, Jeff , ran Philbrick's Snack Shack out on Nauset Beach. I worked at "The Shack" for eight summers when I was in high school and the first couple of years in college. After getting out of the Navy I ran Nauset Beach Rides.

This weekend there was an ultra-nasty nor'easter that tore away at the beach and is bringing an end to an era. My dad built the Snack Shack with his own two hands in 1954. It has withstood nor-east storms and hurricanes for 64 years but this week it's finished.
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I mention in my story that anyone who donates at least $25 will get an electronic version of my first book: "Adversity's Wake: The Calamitous Fourth Voyage of Christopher Columbus." It was translated into Spanish by two students at the Universidad Latina in David (dahVEED) Panama. I combined the two versions into a dual language books. I think the format I devises makes reading the subject language, whether English or Spanish, depending on the version, easy. For instance, in the following excerpt a Spanish speaking reader who is studying English can instantly check to see if their comprehension is correct.

Here, then, is the first chapter of my first book: But since the site won't print in bold I'm just going to give you the English version after the first couple of paragraphs...

CHAPTER 1
The Old Man
CAPÍTULO 1
El viejo

I don’t remember how the old man, Juan, came to live with my mother and me. It seemed he had always been there. He was no blood relation of ours. Not that I knew of, anyway. He was simply there.

No recuerdo cómo el viejo, Juan, vino a vivir con mi madre y conmigo. Parecía que siempre había estado allí. Él no tenía ningún parentesco con nosotros. No que yo supiera, de todos modos. Él simplemente estaba ‘allí.’

As a young child he scared me. It wasn’t anything he did. It was just him. Short of stature, tiny almost, his sun-weathered skin was wrinkled like a piece of dried up discarded fruit. He was forever hunched over. Even standing and leaning on the old piece of tree limb he carried with him everywhere he was never straight. His back was always bent as if he’d just spotted something on the ground and had stopped for a second to get a better look at it. When he’d been drinking he wasn’t just bent forward, he leaned to one side or the other, too. You could tell, looking at his arms, that he had once been very strong. The muscles still rippled under the faded designs permanently inked into his skin

De niño él me asustaba. No era nada por lo que él hiciese. Era sólo él. Corto de estatura, casi diminuto, su piel quemada por el sol estaba arrugada como una pieza de fruta seca. Siempre estaba encorvado. Aún de pie y apoyado en el viejo pedazo de rama de árbol que llevaba consigo a todas partes, él nunca estuvo erguido. Su espalda siempre estuvo doblada como si hubiera visto algo en el suelo y se había detenido por un segundo para obtener una mejor visión de ella. Cuando él había estado bebiendo no solamente se inclinaba ligeramente hacia adelante también se inclinaba de un lado al otro. Viendo sus brazos podrías decir, que alguna vez él había sido muy fuerte. Todavía se veían los músculos fornidos debajo de los diseños de tinta permanente en su piel.

He never combed or brushed his hair. It was blindingly white and what little there was of it grew in isolated spots on his head. It was as light and fine as dandelion fuzz and the slightest suggestion of a breeze would cause it to flutter nervously.

His eyes were the darkest blue; like the color of the sea where the straight line of the horizon meets the lighter blue of the sky and it often seemed that he was staring intently at that distant line where whatever a seaman is looking for will first appear. And his large, hawk-like nose cleaved the sea of his face like a shark’s fin slicing through the calm waters inside a reef.

He scared me, old Juan did, but that was when I was young. As I got older and he slowly revealed his story to me I grew to love the man and marveled at the adventure of his life.

Juan would spend his afternoons at one or another of the taverns on the waterfront in the port of Cadiz below our house. I don’t know where he got the money to buy his wine but the old sailors, merchants and dock hands who worked along the waterfront always paid him some deference and bought him a cup every now and then. I had also seen him, once or twice, pouring the leftovers from someone else’s cup into his own when they left their tables to answer a call of nature. If he moved from one bar to another during an afternoon he was usually able to cage enough so he would be staggering as he climbed the small hill to our house in the evening.

It was a rainy, early spring evening when my mother insisted I go down to the docks and fetch Juan back to the house for dinner. He and I stood in the doorway of the tavern looking out at the rain-soaked street and the caravels anchored in the river dreading the idea of having to leave the cozy warmth of the bar to journey into the cold night air when Juan mumbled, “It was just like this on the night I first met them.”

“Met who?” I asked.“

“My friend Ferdinand and his father, the Admiral.”“

We stepped out into the rain, our chins tucked deep into our soggy cloaks in a vain attempt at keeping out the cold, and trudged back to the house. Juan didn’t utter another word the rest of the evening.


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Raised by 28 people in 7 months
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LR
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