Posts Tagged With: advocacy

What We’ve Been Up To

The Story Sailboat has been busy this winter so here’s an update on some things we’ve been up to:

1. We’re working on our incorporation and 501c3 application. Once we have this status, we’ll be able to do fundraisers and allow for donors to write off their contributions.

2. We’re fine-tuning our mission statement to include working on literacy and library advocacy.

3. We sailed with friends and supporters in a lighted boat parade around the Peninsula for the holidays.

4. Joey got her tips on moving aboard published by Sail Magazine.

5. Patrick was elected Rear Commodore of the Peninsula Yacht Club.

6. Patrick fixed a couple small leaks we found in the first big storm of December – and bought a nice new dehumidifier to keep the boat nice and dry.

7. We’re actively planning a few fun events for 2013 – stay tuned!

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Sailing to Monterey for Internet Librarian

Well, I’m excited to announce that one of the boats in the Story Sailboat fleet is sailing to Monterey for Internet Librarian!

This boat is a Catalina 27 that is currently docked in Santa Cruz that Joey uses while she taking her PHD classes at UCSC. This is one of our smaller boats because we couldn’t get our new larger boat up and ready for the extended trip in time. Its also not the original Story Sailboat from the Fundraising project on IndieGoGo because that one is WAY too small to make it to Santa Cruz from where it is now.

Because the boat belongs to Joey she will be in charge and John Chrastka and I are going to be her crew to Monterey. It’s a pretty boat and very functional and ready to go and we’re going to have a great crew. It looks like the weather is going to be perfect for the sail and it should take us between 6 and 8 hours to get there since its about 25 miles. If you’re going to be in Monterey for Internet Librarian, we might be able to take some people for a ride! Ask me about it if you see me.

I do have some bad news… Because my doctor left off his phone number on the medical form for my USCG captain’s license, I won’t be an official captain in time for the trip. That means I can’t do the fundraising that I was excited about doing at in Monterey for both EveryLibrary and the Story Sailboat. But thats ok, we’re excited to have a sailboat for a trip to Monterey no matter what!

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Best Olympic Commentary OF ALL TIME!!

As you can guess, we really loved sailing at the Olympics. In fact, we really love the Olympics all together. In spirit of our wishing the 2012 olympics were still going on, I bring you this gem that is probably a bit old at this point, but we can’t help it. Everytime we watch it, we giggle even though we knows its fake. I think what’s really funny about it is that if you are new to the sport, this is just about what your own commentary of olympic sailing would be like.

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Expanding the Project: w00t for Guerilla Storytimes!

While we are excited about all of the book seeding that we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks, we’d love to expand a bit into some Guerrilla Storytimes. I think that we could do this as a kind of fundraiser for the whole project if we wanted to go that route. I don’t know if that kind of fundraising is really something that I want to do though. Before I start thinking about all of that, let me explain my idea more.

I attribute the idea of Guerrilla Storytimes to one of the crew members of the Story Sailboat, Katie Brothers, who has been my friend since highschool and is now an aspiring librarian! For the last couple of years, Katie has been volunteering as a storyteller at Roseville Public Library. In fact, I’ve seen her give her storytime and she’s pretty good. So, I thought about how we could combine her love of doing storytimes with the project itself. We talked about it for a while and she said she could give storytimes in parks or other places out in the community.

To be fair, I’ve also thought about doing storytimes in the community. Here’s the problem. I’m a man. Can you imagine what would happen if I showed up at your kid’s park and started gathering children for a storytime? Only slightly creepy. It’s a sad bias in our country, but that’s ok, I’m over it. Katie is going to do the storytime and I’ll get to help out and supply the boat.

If you’ve been following this blog or project, you know that we typically sail into Pier 39 in San Francisco as the port for the distribution of books in San Francisco. What’s great about this area is that there is so much going on that there are literally hundreds or thousands of people walking around the area. There are a ton of street entertainers and other people out there already. Why not hold our storytimes there? In fact, if we wanted to raise some money, we could just put out a hat!

So, hopefully, the next time we sail up to San Francisco we’ll be hosting our very own storytimes as well as books seeding around the area. If you see us, stop by and say hey. We’d love to give you a book!

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Thanks! You Made it Possible

Thanks to your generous donations, we were able to reach our goal of new sails. Some of you might remember that we raised money on IndieGoGo for our project. We had the chance to send out our polos to those of you who donated at that level and we are working through our giant pile of postcards that we need to get out to the rest of you.

But here is what you might not know… A couple of people continued to give outside of the Indiegogo project and we were able to do even more to make the boat very safe for our crew. Some of this was just some generous donations of some parts and pieces that we needed and some of it was money. The boat is now rigged with some new lines and equipment that will help us out a lot.

Besides the new sails, the big new acquisition was a set of cleats, lines, and pulleys that allow the boat to be single-handed. This means that I can sail the boat all by myself for those weekends when I can’t seem to find any crew. I can go out on my own and seed San Francisco and the bay area communities with just myself. It also means that if we have an incident or accident where my one other crew member falls overboard, I can easily rescue them. Don’t worry though, we’ve only rarely come back with less crew than we started with :-) .

So once again, I’d like to thank everyone who helped and contributed to our goals! You are all amazing for helping me make this possible. In fact, you can now check out our donors page to see who has given to our great project.

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Labor Day Sail

Ok, I know it’s really late to be writing about this, but so much has been going on that I didn’t get the chance to post earlier (more on that later). Over the Labor Day weekend, I took out a couple of my friends to help me crew the Story Sailboat to give out a bunch of books at Pier 39 in San Francisco. In fact, this was one of the better book seeding experiences yet as we got a great response from everyone who found the books.

In case you don’t know the geography of the San Francisco Bay, let me describe the route to you a little bit. We sailed from the Story Sailboat’s home port of Redwood City. Redwood City is pretty far south in the lower part of the bay and it takes about 8 hours of motoring to get to San Francisco because the wind comes from the North. Typically when we do a project we leave on Friday night and just sail to a place called Coyote Point about three hours north. In the morning we motor the rest of the way to San Francisco and Pier 39.

Once we got to San Francisco we started labeling books with our stickers and labels and packed up a couple of bags. This time, we had a whole bunch of children’s books that had been donated and not many adult books but it turned out to work in our favor. As we walked around Pier 39 and placed the books on the benches and different places we watched as parents sat down with their kids and just started reading to them! It was really amazing to watch this serendipitous parent/child storytime occurring amidst the commotion of a touristy area like Pier 39. Needless to say we had a lot of fun watching people interact with the books. This is why we do this.

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A Weekend of Work

The Story Sailboat has been trapped in the slip for the last two weeks for some repairs. It wasn’t anything too major, just some things that I thought needed to get done. It’s going to come out better on the other side. As you know, we were able to buy our new Jib and roller furling thanks to your help and we’ll be buying the new Mainsail soon! But, because it’s a boat there’s still a hundred little things that need to be done.

New mast support
One of the things that has been driving me crazy since I bought this boat about a year ago is the support that was under mast. Whoever had it before installed a kind of metal pole under the mast that blocked the easy access to the v-berth. The problem with that, is that the v-berth can be used for a bunch of stuff and I couldn’t get into it. Already we store the extra sails in there and it would be great to also be able to sleep in that area on the longer trips, or at least store more supplies up there to keep us going. So, last weekend I recruited some folks who helped me remove that post and install a better support system that allowed us to get into the v-berth easily.

Some of the crew!

Moving the Roller Furling Lines
When I originally installed the lines for the roller furling, I placed the blocks to far forward and when I was single-handing the boat I could never reach them. We took those blocks and line and moved them further aft and now I can single hand the boat much better. I won’t have to rely on finding crew for every campaign I try to do.

A Compass
The boat hasn’t had a compass on it this whole time. Not having a compass is typically fine because I can see just about everything I need to in the bay to keep up my point of reference when navigating. The problem is that I’m always worried about getting fogged in and lost because I can’t see anything. With a compass I can basically navigate blind.

New lines
Another problem has been that the lines were getting old and worn and while they probably wouldn’t have failed anytime soon, its best to replace them before they do. So, we spent the weekend replacing the Mainsheet, the Boom Vang Line, the docklines, and we’re about to replace the halyards. I’m excited about everything running so smoothly through the blocks.

At the end of the weekend of working on the boat in the perfect weather with good friends and cold beers, I have to say that the boat is looking fantastic and it’s almost like sailing a whole new vehicle! Now I all I need are more folks to crew it. Who wants in?!

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A Night Well Spent and You Can Too

Last night I went to the story sailboat to fix up our new lines for the new roller furling. The problem with the lines is that they didn’t have the whipping at the end. Basically, this means that the lines come undone and fray and unravel. Of course, because they’re brand new I didn’t want that to happen. Plus, it was a gorgeous night for sitting around and puttering about the boat. If you want to know how to whip the bitter end of the lines on your boat, there is a great video that shows you how to do it here-

The best thing about owning a boat though, is that after all that is done you can just go out and play. Because it was a perfectly cool summer night I decided to single hand the boat out into the channel for a little while. Once I got out there, the view was perfect for the sunset and the wind was just enough to move me with just a little bit of speed. It was extremely relaxing and wonderful. I really love this life.

Now here is the part where you can come in and enjoy it too! If anyone wants to crew the Story Sailboat for a day or two, we’d love to hear from you. We typically sail to Coyote Point on Friday night from Redwood City at around 6:30pm and have drinks at the Yacht Club when we get there. On Saturday, it’s a trip up to SF, Berkeley, or Alameda. We get into the marina at around 2 or 3pm and then we start delivering the books. We drop them off everywhere we find a space and you can help with that part too. On Sunday, if we have time we drop off some more books in the morning. Then, around 9ish in the morning we start an almost always beautiful sail downwind to Redwood City. You can jump on for any leg of the journey! If you’re interested in joining us for this, you can like our Facebook Page and let me know. I’d love to take you sailing.

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Our First Real Book Seeding Sail and a Librarian Meetup

Since we reached our goal we got excited and ordered our new Jib Sail and our roller furling. Of course, we couldn’t wait to use it and really get this project started so we took off for the weekend on a two night and three day cruise out to Berkeley Marina for our first extended book seeding project. Here is the whole story that you made possible with your funding!

The first night of our sail is usually the most uneventful. That was not the case this time! We left Redwood City Marina at about 6:30 and we were really excited to get our sails up and cruise to Coyote Point Yacht Club where we get a free overnight berth about 2-3 hours away. Unfortunately the wind was around 20 knots (Nautical Miles per hour) with gusts up to 30 and it was coming directly from CPYC. Not only that, but the waves were huge. The boat went up some large waves and crashed down in the trough spraying us with water driven by the high winds. By the time we bashed our little boat all the way there under power of outboard engine we were drenched in salt water and ready for some hot food and a drink at the club.

Our three leg course to Berkeley and back

The next morning after drying out what we could we started the sail to Berkeley. But this time, instead of huge wind and waves, there was neither. We had to motor almost the entire way to the Bay Bridge and we were disgusted that we didn’t get to use our new Jib yet. But that was ok because it gave us the time to sticker all the books for the books seeding. Luckily, once we hit the bridge the wind picked up and we were able to put out our sail. It worked perfectly! The boat cruised along a hull speed (around 6 knots) and we sailed around some of the barges that blocked the way to Berkeley Marina. We thought it was going to be an easy sail in, but we were wrong.

If you aren’t familiar with the Bay Area, there is an old dilapidated Ferry Wharf that jets out from Berkeley about two miles and is seriously dangerous. I thought we made out far enough to go around, but once we rounded the last barge we realized that we had about 100 yards to go to get around it and the wind was not coming from a direction to help us out. In fact, just as we rounded the last barge we were about a half a mile away from running directly into the wharf and the wind suddenly jumped to MUCH MUCH more than our full sails could handle. This is where that roller furling comes in.

The waves grew and the wind picked up and we were able to safely take in the jib with the roller furling with just a few mishaps with only about 50 yards to spare before we ran into the wharf. We kicked in the motor just in time and bashed directly into the wind to make it around by just a couple yards. Our hearts were definitely racing and we made it past the wharf watching the waves crashing against it knowing we would have been tangled in the old cement pier if we were still using our old non-furling jib system. Thank you all for basically saving our lives with the indiegogo donations!

We made it into Berkeley at around 2:30 and we were exhausted so after checking in with the harbor master we made some sandwiches and took a quick nap before we began book seeding. When we woke up, I packed our bag with 25ish books and we headed for the laundry to dry out our clothes leaving a trail of books on park benches, tables, and the laundry room waiting area as we did. We were really excited that we actually saw people pick them up, read the stickers and take the books with them!

After we dried our clothes we were out of the books in the bag I had with me so we went back to the boat to refill the bag and head out to the Information Amateurs Social Club meetup at the bowling alley in San Francisco. Along the way we left another 25-30 books in the Bart areas and all along the walk from the Bart Station through the Mission District to the bowling alley and once again we were excited to see people picking them up and reading them. Of course the meetup was great, the bowling alley was amazing, we met some awesome folks, and hung out with a lot of great librarians!

That night we crashed early and slept through the night on the boat completely passed out and exhausted. We got an early start and had one of the best sails I’ve ever had back to Redwood City perfect wind conditions for our boat nearly the entire way. It took us just 5 hours to make it all the way home running with the wind and the waves coming from behind. When this happens the boat actually surfs down the waves and we can speed along very quickly with the sails completely out!

We haven’t planned our next trip but we’re really excited to see where else we can go now with the new sails. Next time though, we are definitely going to bring a whole lot more books, more coffee and caffeinated things and more foul weather gear for when we have to bash into the waves again. Other than that, all we really needed were those new sails to make the trip possible at all. Thanks again for everything!

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We’ve Reached our Goal!

Thanks to everyone who contributed! We’ve reached our goal in just two weeks. You guys are all just too awesome. Thanks to your help, we’ve already bought our Rolling Furling Jib and installed it and we’re taking a three day sail this weekend to drop off books in San Francisco. You can follow that journey on our FB page. We’ll be buying our new main in a couple of weeks.

If you haven’t donated, there is still a whole lot to do and we could continue to use your help. We can increase the scope of our project and we would love to buy niver advocacy stickers for the books, purchase new books instead of using donations, stay longer in marinas (staying overnight costs money), and of course there always the improvements and maintenance of the boat. If you’d like to see us surpass our goal, we’d love to make more awesome advocacy stuff happen. If you can’t help with money, you can show your support by sharing the project with your friends.

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