Welcome (March 2017)

Our March events had an Irish theme,  a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” sail and a Feeling Lucky party.

Visit our website for information on upcoming events and sails.

This month we feature a story about one of our founding members, Captain James Bradford.

And for our Captains, Brian Brown has written a “How-To” on handling blackwater.

We are busy putting together the 2017 Pink Book. Please read the article for info on checking your Profile and submitting photos.

We welcome your constructive feedback and suggestions for ways we can improve the site. As well, we encourage you to submit for consideration any articles relating to sailing or topics that may be of interest to our fellow members. Please continue to email us photos you have taken at our events. Deadline 20th of each month. And we welcome your suggestions for articles.

Gillian O’Neill and Doug Noble,
The Mainsheet Team
Send photos to photos@sailingsingles.org

From the Helm (March 2017)

From The Helm

By Commodore Kelly Dobbs

Remember last month’s article I wrote, things break on board, report it? Well, after an eight hour, all-nighter, running the Intracoastal due to high winds, we anchor. When the first person used the head, the pump handle broke. Captain’s sail with lots of spare parts, but no pump handle on board. We rigged a solution and saved the weekend. Proof positive things break even at anchor or was it karma?

There isn’t a single powerboat, sailboat, ship, or yacht that does not need some sort of repairs. Captains/ Owners, do you have a project on board your boat, that needs another hand to get completed? Is there something that is keeping you at the dock on a nice day, when you should be sailing?  Ask your fellow club members, captains, owners, past owners, this club has a wealth of knowledge. Oil changes are faster and easier with help. Have a repair or rigging questions? Bring pictures to any meeting and ask for an opinion on how to fix. You might be surprised how other members have had a similar problem and how easy it was to repair or remedy.

Spring is almost here and in Florida summer cruising is just weeks away. Let’s get fixing, painting, varnishing, adjusting and repairing. Don’t get stuck at the dock, join in the fun with the club.


Meet Captain James Bradford (March 2017)

Meet Captain James Bradford

by Anne Ekstrom

Editors Note: SSSF Captains are a fascinating group. Coming from wildly different backgrounds, all with great experiences and stories to share. This month we feature James Bradford, one of our founding members.

Everyone knows James Bradford.  He’s the guy with the Texas drawl who charms all the ladies and dances so well.  He’s also a great captain and sailor.

James’ sailing career started out modestly enough when he bought a 22-foot sailboat back in the early 1970’s.  The salesman asked him whether he knew anything about sailing and he told him, “No.”   But he pointed up the street and said, “As soon as I buy the boat, I’m going to go up there and buy me a book.”  So he sailed a little, read a little, and then sailed some more.

He also ran into an 85-year old urologist who was committed to racing every Sunday, rain or shine, cold or stormy and he took James on as crew if he would commit to that kind of brutal schedule.  He learned a lot from him as well, eventually graduating to a 28-ft boat and joining the yacht club in Ft. Worth.

James was born and raised in Dallas.  When he was eighteen, he joined the Coast Guard and cruised around the Great Lakes on an ice breaker.  Two years later, he got a medical discharge because of a hearing loss caused by the pile drivers.

A natural born salesman, James says he’s sold everything from vacuum cleaners to used cars, lawn sprinkling systems and Great Books of the Western World.  His best stories come from his brief stint selling Pennyrich bras with his ex-wife through a pyramid scheme not unlike Tupperware’s.  Pennyrich trains its sales people to fit the “hard-to-fit” woman, but I’ll leave it to James to fill in those details.  His most unusual sales party seems to have taken place at a strip club where, he clams, the ladies took turns stripping out front and then getting fitted back stage.

The 2-way radio business was where he made his money, however, and James eventually bought a piece of his own company.  At the age of 45, he sold his business interests and took off for two or three months of skiing in Colorado.  It was at this point that he took a long hard look at his life and decided he had four expensive habits: skiing, sailing, diving, and… well, working.  Skiing and working were the first to go as he sailed out of Galveston and headed for Key West.  From there, he sailed to Ft. Lauderdale, New York City, New England and then back to Key West for the winter where he had fun living on his boat and driving a conch train in his spare time.

From Key West, he moved on to Miami where he drove a dive boat over to the Bahamas and back.  It was a 65-foot sailboat that held six crew and thirty passengers.  James said the passengers weren’t necessarily interested in diving or even being on the water, for that matter, and he never knew what to expect until after they’d left the shore.  Sometimes it was a gambling boat (these passengers would whip out cards, dice and roulette wheels), a nudist boat (also dubbed the love boat) or a glutton boat.  The gluttons never stopped eating.

James felt like he’d been on a three or four year vacation.  He knew he was too young to retire, so he made the decision to become a freelance captain.  In other words, he chose to manage, repair and maintain boats for other people.  He was also available to captain a boat and take the owners to different places like Key West, Nassau or the Dry Tortugas.  He currently manages three boats, although the year of Hurricane Wilma he had four– all of which were safe and sound throughout the storm.

James has lived on his own boat, a 35-foot Pearson named “The Viking Princess,” for 22 years. He is also one of the original founders of Single Sailors of South Florida.  In the late 1980’s, Nancy Wolcott ran an ad in the paper to see whether there was any interest in the area for such a club.  James, along with 21 other people, answered the ad.  He had already been involved with four other single sailing clubs in Texas.  They met at a barbecue joint, plunked down $20 each to provide seed money, and the club was born.  He recalls that in those days, they were able to get a dozen boats to go out for a day sail or even to Bimini for a 4-day weekend.

What does the future hold?  Although he sometimes thinks about sailing along the coast of Central America, James loves what he does and would find it hard just to walk away from his current situation.

Afterword:  The above article was originally published in The Mainsheet in 2007. Not much has to be updated from the original, but of course James has been living on his boat for over 30 years at this point, not 22.  He has continued to be involved in boat management and is now responsible for a 70 foot Hatteras motoryacht.  He was planning to take it to Cuba with his clients the end of March, but he still thinks that sailing the coast of Central America would be fun.

Sailing News (March 2017)

Sailing News

by Sheila O’Neil, Sailing Director

Kiss Me I’m Irish Sail and Raft Up on March 11 was a beautiful day on the water after the beating we took attending the HISC Circle Raftup the previous weekend.  21 SSSF Sailors signed up for this event and they were on the water crewing on one of our 4 club boats:
•    Escape – Capt. Jim McBrayer
•    Ryan’s Place – Capt. Debi Hallmark
•    The Grand – Capt. Kelly Dobbs
•    Val Hal – Capt. Jay Thomsen
Crew learned about knots and where to use them on the boat. The raft-up was a whale of a celebration of St.Patrick’s day with the award for “Best Irish Drink” going to the crew of Val Hal.   Capt Jay served Kelly Green Margaritas from his famous Margarita-Machine and the crew’s Irish Green Tea Brew put these contestants over the top.

HISC Circle Raft Up

By Sheila O’Neil

Circle Raftup weekend of March 4-5 was for the ardent sailors. Winds kicked up to 25 knots with challenging seas. All boats participating took to the Intracoastal. The Circle Raftup was canceled at 15 knots but the party went on throughout the weekend. Small groups of boats rafted up, and HISC visited each group to welcome them to the festivities. At 5:00 the New Sailing Flag was revealed and the famous “Dink, Drink, and Drift” party began at 6:00. SSSF participants included:
Andy Jay – Capt Brian Brown and Crew Joan Van Skike
Ryan’s Place – Capt Debi Hallmark and Crew Stan Dekiel, Gillian O’Neill, Lynette Beal, and Bill Roberts
The Grand – Capt Kelly Dobbs and Crew Sheila O’Neil, Wendy Awes, and Theresa Boston
The boats in the SSSF Raftup rocked and rolled all night, and I don’t mean to music. Crew bundled in layers, but partied the night away in spite of the blistery winds and cold temperatures.

The best sailors’ story came from The Grand. Sailing down from Palm Beach Gardens we had an encounter with the USCG guarding the Mar-a-Lago Presidential Retreat. The USCG gunboat escorted our vessel between the two bridges on the west side of the President’s property. It’s a serious issue and the fines are substantial.  The security zone applies to boaters as well as pilots. Boaters should take note and check for updates.


Spring Egg Hunt ~~ Saturday, April 8
SSSF Day Sail and Raftup -Registration Opens April 2

Sailing Objective:  Safety Equipment
•    Leave dock early to enjoy a day sail,then join the raftup wearing your Bunny Ears and ready to hunt.
•    Join the raftup at 3:30pm. Anchorage to be announced  and will be posted in the calendar
•    Bring your favorite Deviled Eggs to share and compete.

SSSF Captains & Crew register online.  Expect surprises!

Extended Sail (overnight) in Palm Beach in May, more details to come.

Social News (March 2017)

Social News

The Feeling Lucky Party was held March 18 at Dot Castell’s condo party room.

In addition to a variety of appetizers and deserts, 70 lbs of corned beef and 30 lbs of cabbage  were served at our St.Patrick’s Day party – and all of this for 76 members and guests.  Can you imagine getting on the scales the following morning?  During dinner, Rich played Irish music which was very special for this writer, though after dinner we danced to a different beat!

Best Costume:
1st prize: Bill Roberts
2nd Prize:  Greg Womack



Prize for Irish Boating Prayer:
Funniest:  Terry Boston
Closest to the original: Ben Nahabedian



Many thanks to the more than twenty club volunteers who worked hard decorating, cooking, setting up for the party and cleaning up afterwards.  And thanks to all who donated items.

Special thanks to Kelly Dobbs for bringing the photo booth from Palm Beach and setting it up. Some people took photos outside the booth against a backdrop of the green decorations, and other took photos inside the booth. Those have been emailed to the members. You can see some of them below.

Also, special thank you to Bill Roberts for managing the guest parking so efficiently, and so helpfully. It’s not an easy task to find parking for 70+ people, especially in a condo complex.  Although some received the text to carpool, not everyone did in time.  We will do better for the next party.

Download the Photo Booth Gallery

Pink Book (March 2017)

Submitting Photos for the Pink Book.

We are working on the 2017 Pink Book, which is the printed Directory of members.

Step 1. Please login to http://www.sailingsingles.org and verify that the information we have for you is accurate.

If you have problems logging in use the Forgot Password link in login area to get a password reset link emailed to you.  Once you get the email click the link and it will allow you to enter a new password. Note the fields are BELOW the Reset password text.




Then once logged in click Members Only link under Members.

And then View Profile. Your information will be displayed.

If you STILL have problems accessing the site

contact Doug Noble itdirSSSF@sailingsingles.org.

Email me if the info online needs to be updated. We will show your address, home and cell numbers and email in the Pink Book. Birthday month/day. And boat information if you are a captain and have a boat in the club. If you do not want any or certain info listed let me know.

Step 2. Send us a photo. If sending a pic taken on your phone save it as Medium Quality.  The photo in your Avatar (the tiny image on the website) is likely too small for a quality printed image. Send a headshot or a higher resolution photo that can be cropped to photos@sailingsingles.org

Deadline for updates/photos April 9th 2017.


Doug Noble
IT Director, Sailing Singles

Of Interest to Captains (March)

Blackwater Tanks

by Brian Brown

Let’s get this on the table, this is NOT the most exciting article that
will be published in The Mainsheet, but it’s a necessary evil.
Maintaining black water systems is critical…and while we all want to
steer away from this stinky mess, you just gotta do it.  Why?  Keeping
the holding tank and system clean:

  • Extends life of Your System
  • Helps Control Odors
  • Prevents Costly Repairs


Here are some “How To” Ideas:

After emptying your holding tank, really clean and rise (hydroflush)
your tank.  Fill it up at least three or four times.  Use of tank wands
also work well.  Getting a device like the tank wand will help move the
sludge off the tank walls.  Tank wands are designed to be extremely
flexible and can navigate virtually any twist or bend. They have special
nozzles that shoot out in all directions. Hydroflush kits use high power
to clean tanks and are effective as well.

After you’ve cleaned it, remember its best to keep a little water in
your blackwater tank afterwards.

There are several products you can use that aid in the cleaning of
holding tanks:  RV Toilet Treatment; Headchem KO; ExterminOdor; Aqua
Kem; Head Lube; Pure Oceans; CP Marine Toilet Bowl & Drain Cleaner;
OrdorLos; Sealand Head treatment and more.

But interestingly one product NOT on this list is simple old cheap
Liquid Water Softener.  What?  Liquid Water Softener?  Yes.

After cleaning the tank pour in at least a quart of Calgon Liquid Water
Softener with at least a gallon of water.  Best to sail the boat and let
the water swish around after that to coat all the blackwater tank walls
before using, so tell everyone to use the land potty before venturing
out.  But you can also use the tank wand to disperse the Calgon…just
put the Calgon in first and then fill with about one gallon of water.

The water softener will keep the solids from binding to the tank walls
making subsequent flushes much easier and faster.  And the smell will be
greatly reduced.

Keep Your Pipes Clean

Smells also come from dirty pipes.  Leaks in the pipes going to and from
the blackwater system usually occur when the blackwater sits in the
pipes and when that happens there’s always a mess and the fluids can
travel from the head into the bilge.  Now that’s really nasty and it
could take weeks for the smell to exit your boat.  So careful cleaning
is critical and helps keep the pipes from decaying.  Once every couple
of months:  Do a major cleaning, but after each trip try to clean out the
tank with water, replacing the Calgon every time.

Last, respect our waterways.  Don’t clean out your tanks in the
Intracoastal or local lakes.  We swim in the local lakes and the
Intracoastal is dirty enough as it is.  Go out two or three miles offshore if you have to discharge your waste water and use a macerator (if
you have one), or go to a pump out.  Most Florida cities have free pump
outs.  Many fuel depots also.

It might be good for you to build your own pump out nozzle, which is
possible for under $50.  Most of the public pump outs don’t have the
connecting nozzle but the hoses are the same diameter.  EVERY public
dock in Ft. Lauderdale has an easy access pump out.