The Rum Barrel

Here ya be sitten o'round the rum barrel.  Tis where stories be told both big and tall.  Sos grab ye a mug o' ya favorite brew and come an share a tale or two.
Skipper Fred o' Muskegon wrote us:
Just bought  1987 22' Catalina, wing keel.
during inspection of Storage compartments I found what appears to be 50# of sand in the forward "V" birth compartment.
Is there an advantage of having weight in the bow?
The previous owner didn't know anything about it.
Arr, arr, arr!!!  Well now Freddy me boy, the Olde Captain here is ta thinken thars two possibilites aboot thart sand in ye bow.  Ithers the previous skipper was winnin too many races and the skippers o' the other ships decided to give em a little extra handicap, so to speak OR did ye happen to notice if he had long pointy wiskers and perhaps a tail???  I'd be careful scoopen out that there sand!!!  Arr, arr, arr!!! (also know as lol!!!)
As Recently Reported on Our Front Page

Last week our steel Tahiti Ketch (Sea Gypsy) rode out a F2 Tornado here in Leamington Ontario. Our wooden top mast snapped 2/3 of the way up and ended up on deck. Also we lost 2 wine glasses during the extreme heel against the dock. Other boats lost their masts at the spreaders, and a 22foot Catamaran flipped over onto the dock.. It will take some time to have the marina back to normal, and our top mast will be back up next week...
Captain Jamie

Well now Jamie-me-boy, that is one whale of a tail!!!  And wees glads you and the Sea Gypsy faired well but tis a cold heart thaat beats in the chest o yer friend Missy Dana!!! Arr,arr, arr

The Old Captain

Dana Wrote:
How unfortunate to have had your topmast snap Jamie, but to lose two wine glasses in the mayhem is absolutely devestating!! For the heavens to open up and snatach away two perfectly good wine glasses illustrates the cruel wrath of and angry god and a deeply lamentable twist of fate - something that belongs with the plagues and floods of the old testament...

Dana lol

My, my, Missy we twas ta wonderin' does ye eat yer own young too!!!  Arr, arr, arr.
A Tale o, Me Own 
Twas the Spring of 2009.  I had gone to the cottage to see how the Christopher-Jin had faired the Winter.
I pulled off the cover and gave her the once over.  To me horror a patch of orange peel had appered on her hull.  So I stowed the cover and headed for home ta figger ot what to do next.
Well now whilst I was o'bout figgeren how to repair the damage, Olde Mother Nature was up to some tricks of her own, she was.  Buds was to formen on the trees and droppen their grimy little leavens into the cock pit.  And the Spring showers was to wasen those leavens down the scuppers.
Well now, the Olde Skipper here returned to the Christopher-Jin, chock full of ideas on how to repairs the damage with me mate Dead Eye Rich.
Olde Dead Eye climbs up into the cockpit and I's throws him the keys to the cabin.  Olde Dead Eye pulls the crib boards and lets out a scream fitten for a banshee!!!  "Skipper," says he, "Is it right thar be a foot o' water in the cabin?"
"Well curses," says I.  Then I throws a bucket o' water into the cockpit and to me horror the water dutifully drains down the scuppers but not a spit drips out the drain under the boat.  "Twas the o' Davy Jones!!!" says I.
Olde Dead Eye swivels his one good eye over in my direction and says, "Well now Skipper, did you happen to close the galley drain last Fall?" says he.
"Well now, Dead Eye," says I, "Must ye be asken questions ye all ready knows the answers to???"
A clot o' tree leavens came gushing out the scupper drain when I coached them along wiff the working end o' a hose.
Well me mate, Dead Eye and I had a hearty laugh after spenden several hours bailen the cabin and samplen the rum!!!  Arr, Arr, Arr!!!
Dear Captain,

   I avidly read all I could comprehend (loved the pics, too) but this was before you added the Rum Barrel lore and other bounty.  So I am now delighted to take in the latest version :) and I continue to be amazed at the amount of energy, passion and humor you have poured into the site ... not to mention the primer points!  Where you have found the time for this I can't begin to imagine .... but the "following" your site has is testimony to how many folks delight in sharing the detail of sail and its spin-off.  What a treasure trove of inspiration, information, and tall tales! 

    I wish I could lay claim to being a character in Fair Jean the Red's tale but she is actually referring to Laura S and her husband Robbin.  They all terrorized the high seas around the Detroit Yacht Club a few years back, and only Susan and perhaps Maggie have survived as witnesses!


    May the warm sailing winds begin to blow in your direction soon,





Well now Laura I sees ye be denighen any involvesment in that there Wild Goose Tale sent in by Fair Jean the Red!!!  Arr, Arr, Arr!!!  Wink, Wink, Nod, Nod!!!  Iffen ye says ye wasn’t thar, ye wasn’t thar!!!  Wink, Wink, Nod, Nod!!!  No worries, the Olde Captain here isn’t about to tell any tales ons ya iffen ye doesn’t want any tales to be told!!!  Wink, Wink, Nod, Nod!!!  Arr, Arr, Arr!!! 
Canadian Side O' Lake St. Clair

Steve L, an old mate o' mine sent us this link that he thought might be worthy o' the Rum Barrel.  I'll let ye be the judge!!!  Arr, Arr, Arr!!!
This is pretty funny - what people will do for a beer!
Well Steve L, all I can says is that I'm all for clothen drives if'n anybody wants to sponsor one!!!  Arr, Arr, Arr!!
Me Olde Mate Mark tis always a haven ideas and notions o'bout this an dat.  He wrote reciently haven this to say:
Hey Zig,
This is a short movie of Michigan 60 years ago.
Sleeping Bear Dunes,Traverse City,and more!
Movie was made in 1949 -- pre-Mackinaw bridge and I-75 days....very interesting.
Thank ye MOMM!!! (Me Olde Mate Mark) Arr, Arr, Arr!!!
Tis a truely interesten movie and I's always amazed at the wonders o; modren technology ta be able to present such fine work!!!
I's, however tis a little more olde fashioned, I's likes ta get out and experience these things meself wif one hand on the helm an a cup o' rum in ta nother!  Arr, Arr, Arr!!!
I must say though thart olde chap with the bears reminds me o' a girl I once dated...maybe it twas the hair...or perhaps the bears...but tharts ta nother story!!!  Arr, Arr, Arr,!!!
Sos, no one has to works too hard, from this here line in the sand, I'll be adden new stories to the Rum Barrel at the top o' the page!
One Too Many Me Thinks
Me first tale comes from a slip of a sailor named Fair Jean the Red.  Twas talken to Fair Jean the Red, twas I.  And I'd made mention of the Rum Barrel.  Well now, betwix you and me, me thinks that Fair Jean the Red twas partaken of too much beverage, if ye know what I means.  Sos I says to Fair Jean the Red, "Have ye any ideas which might be poppen into y'r head?"
Well Fair Jean, she thinks on it a might an' before long she says to me, says she, "The trouble w'th sailing tis we're stuck o'round this barrel all winter."
Now, I knows that Fair Jean the Red is complainin' a might bit mor'n she normally would be.
Sos I says to her says I, "Fair Jean, what be on y'r mind?"
Well now Fair Jean the Red she takes another swig from her mug and w'th one eye on the barrel an' tother turned towards me she says, "Why don't we slap some rails on the Christopher-Jin and do us some ice-boaten?" says she.
Well nows I knows there's somethin' amiss as me eyes are poppen out me head, I's looks at Fair Jean the Red, barrely able to speak,
am I.  I says to her says I, "Fair Jean, have you lost leave of y'r senses!!!  You have this crazy idea and...and...tis only
now you go and share it!!!  Why we might o' been sailing these last few months if only ye had given it up sooner!!!" says I. 
Soon after things got a bit fussy.



Now this tale comes from an old friend o’ Mrs. Mumphy 

Pete B here.  Got wind of your new website.  I did not know that you guys had a sailboat.

Patty B and I moved to North Carolina to be on warmer waters and a year long sailing season.  We have a 28 ft Rhades sloop. 

Years ago Frank G had a Catalina 22, which he kept on Lake Carlyle down near the Carbondale area.  The AHA.  

If I had my druthers I would trade down.  Our boat is not trailerable and we have to keep it in a slip.  I would rather have it here in my yard. 

The biggest mistake that older folks make is to buy a 42 footer.  Its kind of like their house-- they have to sleep six in case the grandkids come down.  They never do.  Then when the couple ages the wife doesn’t want to go out and the guy can't handle the sails by himself.  So the 40 footers owned by the 65 year olds sit at the dock and go on the market each year.  They would all be better off with a 22 ft Catalina sitting on a trailer in their back yard. 

The Catalina was one of the best boats I have sailed.  Inspiring too.  In 1979 Frank G, another friend, Mr. D, and I hatched a plot to go around the world backpacking from No Name Lake in Blasé Illinois from the cockpit of the AHA. (editors note:  Twould be quite the adventure in a Catalina 22!!! Arr, Arr, Arr (same as LOL))


Tomorrow my duties include patching a small leak in the hull under the cockpit next to the tiller.  Tunnel ratting is what I call it.  (editors note:  Tis a romping good time tis what I call it!!! Arr, Arr, Arr)




Well thanks Pete B for sharin' y'r story with us.  Personally I think the whole world would be a better place if everyone owned a Catalina 22 instead of fighten, making war and cheaten their fellow neighbor...but that's another story. 


But I think all of us sailors have had a similar dream or two.  I know that I never go out on the Christopher-Jin without thinking about the fact that just across the lake and down the river could begin an adventure around the world.  But it doesn't matter what lake or ocean you are on, the wind and the water speaks to us all, conjuring up the ghosts of all the sailors before us, their dreams, legends, myths, and adventures.  Their spirits live on in each of us.  Thanks again PeteB.



Letter from the skipper of the AHA 

Hi Don,

FrankG here.

I fear you have the “bug”. I started in 1974 with a Catalina 22, hull number 312 which is an antique by current standards, and loved that boat. But no, I couldn’t be happy sailing my little vessel, named “Aha” (Mary can tell you the background on that) and moved up to a cal 25, then to a Pearson 30 and then a Comar 13 meter, and now to my present boat, a J 120.  (Editor’s Note:  Mary’s me wife, aka Mrs. Mumphy and as ya ken see, Franks a little enthusiastic about sailing!!!  Arr, Arr, Arr…aka, LOL!)


I loved the pictures taken, they reminded me of doing the Super Mac last year coming into Port Huron at 4 am and then following that up with the Bayview Mac a few days later. Great fun!


She looks like a great boat and you a knowledgeable skipper.


Take care,



Well now thank ye FrankG.  That was a mighty inspiring tale.  If you remember in the previous tale from PeteB it was FrankG’s Catalina 22, the AHA, from which they had planned to sail around the world.


Fer those of you who haven’t heard of Bayview Yacht Club, it has been around Detroit for many a year and is the founder and sponsor of the Port Huron to Mackinaw Race.  Me good buddy Bob is a member.


A Question 'bout Jeans

Hi Don,

So this is what retirement can do for you.   I think yours is the most thorough website I have ever been too –– a virtual primmer for anyone who doesn't know what they are doing and needs counsel (like me if I ever bought a boat).    I can't wait to visit you folks and have a ride on the Christopher-Jin.   I come from a long line of whaling folk but somehow didn't get the 'longing-for-the-ocean' gene.   I have been a land lubber for the most part but I always enjoy a good sale.

Thanks for sending me the link.


Well now Rob, me matie, land lubbers are always welcome aboard the Christopher-Jin!  You knows, that “longin’ fer the ocean” and stuff about Jean begs the age old question, “Is it Nature or Nurture.”   Meself, me thinks ya was coddled too much.  Ye should o’ be weaned and tossed in the drink.  Iffen ya came back, ye be ready for the good life, iffen not, well, just one less land lubber!!!  Arr, Arr, Arr!!!  Just kiddin’ Rob, just kiddin’!!!  But seriously me thinks ye should be stayin’ away from that Jean stuff cus Fair Jean the Red doesn’t take too kindly t' folks ta blamin’ stuff on herself.

More on Jeans 

Well now, one o’ ye skally wags jus’ wrote the old captain and told me  I twas thinkin’ ‘bout the wrong type of jeans.  As ye land lubbers like to say, “My Bad!”  Arr, Arr, Arr!!!

So I’ll be amendin’ my advice to Rob and suggest his jeans might be fittin’ to tight.  Iffen he were to get a looser pair he might find that “Longing for the ocean” that his kin folks had.

Speakin’ of the land lubbers sayin’, “My Bad,” we sailors don’t use that excuse.  When someone screws up aboard ship, wes just chuck ‘em overboard and says, “Your Bad!!!”  Arr, Arr, Arr!!!  I jus crack meself up!!!

 Ship's Bell
Hi Zig,

I was checking the site and noticed a ref to a ships bell.  I don't remember seeing one.  If you do not have one I was looking on e-bay and found the following.

The price is right  NOT !!!!!  $89.95

Arr, Arr, Arr!!!  Now to fer the rest of ye I'll explain the lill' joke here.  Me mate, Mark, is always teasin' me that everything I's buys fer the Christopher-Jin is at least $89.98!!!  Any by the daughters of Neptune, he's usually right!!!
Well me maties, just to set the record straight, of cours the Christopher-Jin has a ship's bell...and it's a sittin' on me dresser to prove it...Arr, Arr, Arr!!!...and...sadly, may I be struck by lightenin' if it isn't true, I's paid $89.95 fer it!!!  Arr, Arr, Arr!!!

Denny B. Here,

Thought you might want to have a look at what these fellows are up to.

YouTube Video


Well Thank ye Denny B.

I promptly forwarded it on to me mate, Mark, he’s good in the ideas department and sure nuff, I gots me a quick reply.


Mark from the Ideas Dept. wrote:

“30 FRIGGIN KNOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!      I say we lash a couple of 55 gal drums to the Christopher-Jin and try that.”


Well now ye might be on to sompten, Mark…how about this!!!

 Arr, Arr, Arr!!! (same as lol)  All kidding aside the Old Skipper here would ner do nothin' to harm the beautiful waters o' the Great Lakes or any tother body o' water.  By Neptune's Dotters wes all be stuarts of this fine planet, sos lives ups to yer responsibilitys!

The Story of Nasty Nate, Mrs. Mumphy, Davy Jones

O’Round the Christopher-Jin I’m known as Davy Jones.  Me doter’s know as Nasty Nate, and me wife as Mrs. Mumphy.

Now tis an intresten story how we came about those names and if ye pull up a seat I’ll fill your mug and tell me tale.

Twas a while back, me doter twas only a little tyke, 3 or 4 years o’ age.  She twas on her way to meet up with one o’ her little buddies.  Well this little buddy, Johnny, had just gotten himself a a mysterious package from his Uncle Ned who lived in Australia.  Well now, Johnny was a might bit excited to hear from his uncle as he ain’t heard from him in a while.  Ned, he was always a travelen the world and in each port he would send the young lad a package, usually something exotic.

Little Johnny couldn’t wait to see what Uncle Ned had in store for him this time.  Openen one o’ Uncle Neds packages was like be’en part o’ the adventure.  Johnny opened the package and inside were all these curled up brown vines.  He dove in with both hands and began ta searchen to see what Uncle Ned had sent.

Suddenly Johnny felt somethin’ hard and flat.  He moved his fingers carefully around the object.  It was curved, about 12 inches long, and had rounded corners.  Johnny’s excitement began to rise.  He knew what it was!  He extracted his treasure, shaking the dried vines everywhere.  He squealed with excitement as his brand new boomerang came into view!

Johnny couldn’t believe his eyes, Uncle Ned had set him a boomerang!  He ran out the back door to try it out.

Now as the fates would have it, me doter was running up the path to Johnny’s backyard just as Johnny was tryen’ out his new boomerang and dang if that boomerang didn’t find its way straight to me doter’s left eye.

Twas a good thing Mrs. Mumphy was a few feet away as she grabbed up me doter and rushed her to the emergency room.  A nasty injury it was.  Me doter had to see the doctor every day fer a week, getten special eye drops and such.  It was because’ o’ that injury that they discovered that her eye was weak and need trainen.  So me little flounder was to wear a patch on the opposite eye to strengthen ta other eye.

Now It’s a rough go tryen to get a little one to wear an eye patch for many months sos I invented a game!  I made eye patches fer us all and that’s when I became Davy Jones,  me darling doter became Nasty Nate and me precious wife became Mrs. Mumphy!!!

We would make up stories of our adventures and oddly enough it always seem poor old Mrs. Mumphy was comen out on the wrong end of things.  If there was a plank to the walked, it was Mrs. Mumphy.  If there were someone to be thrown to the sharks, it was Mrs. Mumphy!  If thar were a sword fight and someone died, it was Mrs. Mumphy!!!

Mrs. Mumphy was a wreak ta boot!  She had one eye, one hooked hand, one pegged leg, foul breath, teeth like a pumpkin, half missen, and patches of her hair twas a missen.

She was a sight was Mrs. Mumphy!!!  Arr, Arr, Arr!!!  And it seemed that Nasty Nate and I were always ta maken her worse with every tale!!!

So that’s the tale of how Nasty Nate, Mrs. Mumphy and Davy Jones got their names!!!

Fair Jean the Red's Near Fatal Encounter
 I have another funny yarn for ya, Don.  While sailing into Belle River in Canada on the Robbin's Nest with Robbin and Laura, making our way down the long canal to the harbor we heard shots, almost sonic booms, when Fair Jean the Red yells out those crazy Canadians are shooting at ducks, all hands hit the deck, we could be shot!   Well, once safely moored (after I was knocked by the boom and bleeding like crazy) we realized it was some kind of machine to scare the Canadian geese know about that poop!  Hard to clean off the decks.
Well, after that we did hit the Rum Barrel and laughed ourselves silly, and I have the scar to prove the crazy event!!!
Thank ye Fair Jean the Red for sharen yer story wif us, but I hates to be the one to break it to ye but this is what was really going on, Arr, Arr, Arr!!!   
Perhaps next time you can tell us the story behind some o' your tattoos!!!  Arr, Arr, Arr!!!



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