Phil Friedman

4 years ago · 4 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Life Aboard the Noka ― Part I

Life Aboard the Noka ― Part ILife Aboard Noka | |TALES OF LIVING AND CRUISING ABOARD THIS 18-TON CUTTER BUILT IN OUR BOATSHOP...


My wife Susan and I were crossing the Gulf Stream on the way back from Grand Bahama Island to Hillsborough Inlet, Lighthouse Point, Florida.

The weather had kicked up, with wind and seas coming from the northeast ― the worst possible scenario for that particular crossing of open waters. For with surface wind and seas opposing the Gulfstream current, which often ran at six or more knots in a northerly direction, really nasty and confused sea conditions were building up. And for the first time in a long while, we had a genuine concern for our personal safety.


Noka's cuarterdeck control station

As the seas built up, we began to realize that it was the Noka which had led us into danger.

But not for the reason you might suppose. As we were not at that time aboard our Noka, the stout 18-ton wheelhouse cutter shown in these photos. Rather, we were aboard our much smaller 28' twin-diesel Sportfishing yacht, the Noka II, which we had acquired after we had swallowed the anchor, moved ashore and sold the first Noka.

"Noka" in Ojibwe stands for the Bear (Clan), which is the symbol for strength and courage... And our Noka was every inch a bear of a boat...

I had designed, and we had built the first Noka ourselves in our Toronto-area boatshop. She was such a strong, stable, seaworthy and seakindly vessel that, in seven years of cruising on her, we had come to trust implicitly in her abilities in all manner of weather and seas. So much so that in the easier-going sub-tropical summer season, we paid little attention to the weather reports except, of course, for those of hurricanes that might be headed our way.

We had left Grand Bahama with the same devil-may-care attitude that we had developed when we were sailing in the first Noka. Unfortunately, the Noka II, in which we were now running in two- to three-meter seas, wasn't a tenth as tough or forgiving or watertight as the original Noka. And we were really in deep shit, so to speak.

In our beloved Noka, we could have run on a reach under a triple-reefed main and forestays'l only, with the engine ticking over slowly and us steering from the comfort and safety of her enclosed, self-bailing wheelhouse. But not now.

Now, we were exposed and vulnerable, with an open cockpit and precious little shelter from the weather. Not that the Noka II wasn't a great little vessel, for she was. But she was a good boat, for what she was. The Noka II was never intended to be out in the kind of wind and seas we were facing.


| “
Galley to port Port stateroom


Susan and I both thought, but didn't speak about Fort Lauderdale restaurateur Chuck Muer, his wife, and two friends who had been lost at sea a couple of years prior, crossing the Gulfstream in their 40-foot sailing yacht during a storm.

If you're goin' through hell keep on going ... Don't slow down, if you're scared don't show it ... You might get out before the devil even knows you're there ...

Rodney Atkins recording

Well, since I'm here to write the story, you may have guessed the outcome.

Fortunately, neither the weather nor the seas worsened. Although the Noka II was only 28 feet long, she had good, strong diesel engines, big reduction gears, and relatively large props ― all of which combined to enable us to power through that truly nasty seaway relatively quickly and emerge safely into the quieter waters west of the Gulfstream, before time, fatigue, and the odds caught up to us.


==

Before Writing Comes Thinking

The irony of the situation was that seven years experience living and cruising aboard the Noka had actually led us into danger, not because she was inadequate for offshore work, but precisely because she had been so superbly fit for it that we did not make the adjustment to a smaller, less capable vessel without first being taught a hard lesson by the Sea. 

  Phil Friedman


Postscript: Future installments of this series will further explore the joys and vicissitudes   including some more near-death experiences   of living and cruising aboard in Florida, Bahamian, and Caribbean waters. Here's hoping you will join me.

Fair winds and safe harbors.   PLF


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Author's Notes:  If you found this post interesting and worthwhile and would like to receive notifications of my writings on a regular basis, click the [FOLLOW] button on my beBee profile. Better yet, elect there to follow my blog by email. As a writer-friend of mine says, you can always change your mind later.

Should you be curious about some of my other writings, you might want to take a look at the following:

"Life Is Like a Monza Wall"

"Two Pizzas And a Shovel"

"Vending Machines Are People Too"

Please feel free to "like" and "share" this post and my other articles — whether on beBee, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, provided only that you credit me properly as the author, and include a live link to my original post.


About me, Phil FriedmanWith 30 some years background in the marine industry, I've worn numerous hats — as a yacht designer, boat builder, marine operations and business manager, marine industry consultant, marine marketing and communications specialist, yachting magazine writer and editor, yacht surveyor, and marine industry educator. I am also trained and experienced in interest-based negotiation and mediation.

In a previous life, I was formally trained as an academic philosopher and taught logic and philosophy at university.


Before writing comes thinking (the optional-to-read pitch):  

As a professional writer, editor, university educator, and speaker, with more than 1,000 print and digital publications, I've recently launched an online program for enhancing your expository writing: learn2engage — With Confidence. My mission is to help writers and would-be writers improve their thought and writing, master the logic of discussion, and strengthen their ability to deal with disagreement.


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For more information, click on the image immediately above. Or to schedule an appointment for a free 1/2-hour consult or to sit in on one of our online group sessions, email: info@learn2engage.org. I look forward to speaking with you soon.


Text Copyright 2017 by Phil Friedman  —  All Rights Reserved  

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#SAILING #YACHT #CRUISING #LIVEABOARD #SAILBOAT #BOATBUILDING #TRAVEL #BAHAMAS #GULFSTREAM

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Comments

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #47

#57
And still someone (including him) used to call him grumpy? Nah, man :)

#60
😃 Thank you Milos Djukic.

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #45

#56
#59 Wow Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, free courses in poetry :) Thanks!

#57
Donna-Luisa Eversley A good challenge sparks my motivation As I attempt to unfold my innovation My life rises above all vicissitude As I attempt a positive attitude By smothering my imperfections

#57
A good challenge sparks my motivation As I attempt to unfold my innovation My life rises above all vicissitude As I attempt a positive attitude By smothering my imperfections

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #42

#55
From the Postscript in this Post: "Future installments of this series will further explore the joys and vicissitudes ― including some more near-death experiences ― of living and cruising aboard in Florida, Bahamian, and Caribbean waters." Franci, I have to say that As a poet, you have little latitude In trying to use 'vicissitude'. And it may end in uttering a platitude Depending, of course, on your attitude. Cheers and thanks for reading and commenting.

#41
Donna-Luisa Eversley, vicissitudes is a new word for me too! It will be interesting trying to use it in a poem. 🌼

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #40

#52
And to #30.

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #39

#52
Phil, Please refer to #47. Have a great evening my friend.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #38

#46
Milos, I may be obtuse here, but I haven't a clue concerning the significance of that musical reference or the YouTube videos. Just getting dull in my dotage, I guess. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #37

#50
Nor did I Phil :) No, you are not! "Now that you're gone And you have left me I had to learn I had to learn how much it hurts To play those Vicious Games" - from Vicious Games Lyrics by Yello Link: http://www.metrolyrics.com/vicious-games-lyrics-yello.html It's more like a personal reminiscence Sorry for the interruption. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #36

#46
Milos, I may be obtuse, but I haven't a clue concerning the significance of that musical reference or the YouTube videos. Just getting dull in my dotage, I fuss. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #35

#47
What will I do with my vicissitudes of life without some precious people: Caribbean queen and Mr No-Muzak? Precious :)

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #34

#47
haha

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #33

#44
Phil, Vicious games are an integral part of vicissitudes of life, i guess :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COrHxDsaTJI

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #32

#44
:)

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #31

Donna-Luisa Eversley -- Definition of vicissitude ... 1) a) the quality or state of being changeable : mutability b) natural change or mutation visible in nature or in human affairs, 2) a) a favorable or unfavorable event or situation that occurs by chance b) a fluctuation of state or condition the vicissitudes of daily life c) a difficulty or hardship attendant on a way of life, a career, or a course of action and usually beyond one's control... (Merriam Webster Dictionary). Cheers!

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #30

#41
Donna-Luisa Eversley, It is all about the vicissitudes of life or the agony and the ecstasy :)

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #29

#39
Thank you, Paul, for reading and saying so. Coming from you, the compliment means a lot to me. And, yes, someday, I hope to sail to Bali. Cheers!

Paul Walters

4 years ago #28

Phil Friedman Next time sailing might get the salty sea dog friedman over here for the seas can be a challenge. Thanks , great piece

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #27

#37
There is nothing to be afraid of, Jerry, just hazards to respect. If you haven't already, start sailing a small boat, say a 16 or 18 footer. It's like becoming a pilot. You can do it without ever flying a small plane, but you'll become a much better pilot if you do. Cheers!

Jerry Fletcher

4 years ago #26

Phil, Even though your tale shivers me spine, I'm still attracted to some day spending a chunk of time under sail. And as I say that it scares the bejezus out of me. The only question is where and when.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #25

#34
Yes, Michael, the Sea is unforgiving, as are the mountains and deserts, etc. a brief lapse of attention or a fit of overconfidence can too easily and quickly lead to disaster. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #24

Fair communications and safe fractals :)

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #23

#31
Todd, I can answer based on 20 years sailing experience on the Great Lakes, which, if they were salt and not freshwater, would be designated "inland seas" because of their respective sizes. I've sailed Lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. And yes, the can be very treacherous at certain times of the year and depending on from which direction and for how long the winds blow. A "norther" blowing down the length of Lake Michigan has a fetch of some 300 miles, and a truly nasty, short, steep sea can build up that takes ocean sailors by surprise. (Ocean seas are often much higher, but just as often much longers. It's the ratio of height to length that is important.) A late fall storm on Lake Superior put the famed SS Edmund Fitzgerald (a 730-footer) under in 1975. I've sailed round trip across Lake Ontario in late November in a 45-foot steel ketch (school boat), and I can tell you it was a wild ride that my students of the day will likely never forget. Cold too. So I have no doubt or surprise concerning what your acquaintance experienced or said. The Great Lakes are underestimated only by those who have never sailed upon them. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #22

"Future installments of this series will further explore the joys and vicissitudes ― including some more near-death experiences" - Phil Friedman. Luckily, You're still alive to read this :) Nice one, thanks.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #21

#22
Oh wai, Gerald Hecht, the Navigator was Columbus ... I think.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #20

#27
Thank you, Franci, for reading and sharing. This one gave me the occasion to pull out some of the old photos, which not being digital, are far fewer than they would be today. Cheers!

I agree with Donna-Luisa, experience brought you into danger and also brought you out. If it wasn't for your experience you may not have fared as well as you did. Nice story Phil Friedman and I look forward to reading more in your series.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #18

#20
Yes, D-L, experience is a double edged razor, for God protects only fools and children... and sometimes not children. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #17

#22
Wasn't Ponce de Leon nicknamed "The Navigator"?

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #16

#21
The surface of the water is level., so whether measured at the bow or stern, it's the depth of water required to float the vessel without any part of it touching bottom. 😃

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #15

#18
Thank you Kata for saying so.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #14

#14
Yes, Gerry, although the lesson alternatively comes into focus then recedes. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #13

#12
Fascinating, Kevin. Please convey my greetings to your sister. Invite her to give me a call if she sails this way.. I have a dock to tie up to -- if her boat draws less tha 7 feet. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #12

#11
Yhanks, Don. But oceans are also for meditation. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #11

#10
Yes, Praveen, perhaps. The difference is Pirsig knew next to nothing about motorcycles, but I know a fair amount about boats. Actually, a lot. Someday, I'll complete my book, "The Portable Boatyard: Adventures In the Marine Trades" thanks for reading and cheers!

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #10

#1
Thanks for the tag Phil. In my family, we leave sailing to my kid sister... http://www.sailblogs.com/member/srvsaoirse/

don kerr

4 years ago #9

Phil Friedman Not for me my Beezer buddy. Oceans are for flying over or dipping toes in from a secure beach! Yikes.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #8

#6
Yes, ultimately Hong Kong Harbour rules prevail. The bigger vessel goes first. Thanks for reading and commenting. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #7

#5
Thanks, Gert. I hope still to get the opportunity to sail Cape waters sometime before the last anchorage. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #6

#4
Thanks, Pascal. Being left to one's own devices may not make one stronger, but it does teach you not to sweat the small stuff. Cheers!

Gert Scholtz

4 years ago #5

#2
Phil Friedman Thanks for tagging me . I am in the Cape as I write this comment! Enjoyed the trip with Noka the Bear - an experience of too much experience?

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #4

A very cool article I can see now where you have learned to navigate thru turbulent weathers :-)

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #3

Not sure, but I think Melissa Hughes is also a sailor and so might appreciate the story. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #2

Gert Scholtz. Cheers to all.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #1

This one is for my fellow sailor, Paul \. Cheers!

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