Tips and Tricks for Bottom Painting

If you haven’t painted your boat’s bottom yet – this might be your big weekend to get it done. We thought this video from sage shipwright, Louis Sauzedde, might help get you started and finished with little or no drama. Lou’s tips are helpful for proper mixing and preparation of not only the surface, but of the can and the little details. His explanations on coverage and coats, brush work and roller tricks are easy to understand and very handy!

Something else that might help you is our TotalBoat Bottom Paint SALE – where all TotalBoat bottom paints ship FREE! And only for another week! (Sale ends May 31). Jamestown Distributors has been selling and testing bottom paints for years and if you’re not ready to order today online (open 24/7 at then you can wait until Tuesday when we reopen after the holiday and check in with our Tech Help Hotline. They can advise you on paint, brushes. application and much more.

Happy painting! Or (if you’re amongst the lucky ones) Happy BOATING! And Happy Memorial Day, too.




Meet the Waterfire Fleet of Boats

In honor of the first WaterFire of the 2015 season (TONIGHT!),  we give you this cool video and a little intro to one of the coolest waterfront activities in RI.

If you’re not from Rhody (shame! Poor you!!) or nearby Mass or CT. areas, maybe you have never heard of this amazing Rhode Island phenomenon called WaterFire. The state has embraced this “art installation” by Brown U and RISD (RI School of Design) graduate, Barnaby Evans, since 1994.

The Waterfire website puts it so perfectly I, I need to share directly their description of the amazing event that goes on about 10-15 times throughout the summer months, lining 3 rivers in Providence with 100 fire pits lit and fed by official volunteers in boats.

WaterFire® is a work of art that involves movement, participation and surprise. When visitors encounter WaterFire, they cannot absorb the sculpture from just their sense of sight or even from a single vantage point—they must walk through the installation and they must use all five of their senses. WaterFire is full of motion—throughout the night the firetenders stoke the fires, the boats glide past the flames, the rivers flow quietly beneath the braziers, the sparks whirl through the night air, and the flickering flames reflect off the dark surface of the water, animating the architectural fabric of the city.

With a serious fleet of boats to support the work that needs to be done to create/ maintain and feed the fires, Waterfire made the cool video above to give some insight into this watery operation. Other cities have invited Evans to bring his installation to town. But here in Rhode Island we consider it our own! Come check it out. First fires are lit at sunset. A full schedule for the season can be found here. Or maybe we’ll just see you there tonight!


360 Degree Video of Team SCA

It’s Friday so we thought we’d put the controls in your hands and give you the 360* Experience aboard a Volvo 65 doing upwards of 15knots. How cool is that? VERY cool if you have Google Chrome as your browser and/ or an Android device. The rest of you will have to beg, borrow or steal to watch this. But it’s worth it.

You can actually control what you’re looking at in this video of Team SCA as they fly through the ocean, taking on waves and water and avoiding a heinous death roll. You can see and feel how hairy it is to drive in these conditions, and now you can decide which hairy view you want to look at by dragging your mouse in the video to alter the viewing angle. AWESOME! Check it out!

From Team SCA: This ground-breaking technique, puts you into the center of the sailing experience! You can look around in 360*, using the arrows or click & drag with your mouse / drag the screen on mobile. NOTE: The 360 experience is so far only enabled for Chrome browsers & Android mobile devices

Boat Docking Contest

Docking your boat in front of a crowd can be nerve wracking. But this crowd came for the docking show – and a show it is!  Usually a captain’s skill and nerve gets tested with bad weather or strong wind or current where you are trying to dock. And I recall a few cases as a youthful dock girl at the Block Island Boat Basin, where bad docking definitely broke up a few relationships! You can practice all summer and nail your own docking job at your home berth, but take that show on the road and it can go to pieces pretty fast.

These Chesapeake boaters certainly have their maneuvering down, though. Like the 11 year old nail his docking job at nearly full throttle. The video is a bit long but there are some gems in here – proving not everyone is a master of docking their own vessel.

I wish they had entered a few sailboats in this competition – to really challenge the dockers. Or maybe have everyone swap boats. Or require the use of a certain spring line, entry technique or better yet – for the ultimate challenge – add an inexperienced crew to handle lines. No matter what though, as good as you are at docking your own boat – it can all go to hell when weather gets involved.

Whatever your case may be – practice makes perfect and by the end of the season you can tell that the dude next to your slip in the 50′ Sea Ray has nailed his technique – maybe in time to spare your neighboring boat from damage that typically ensues with a few bounces during docking entry… I think that’s called “fending off…”

I am pushing hard around Narragansett Bay for a local competition of this sort. I would love to see different boat types (Sail and power), different age groups and a male/female division. And let’s see who can put their docking job where their mouth is. I think it might encourage more dockside assistance and less divorce. Or at least be a really good show.

Locals keep your eye out for the TotalBoat Docking Contest… I’m working on it.

A Legacy of Boating

“I don’t think we’ve ever had a bad day on the boat,” is how this video begins. “Being on the boat is the destination.” So many great little quotes in this short movie that make us realize, in the midst of bottom painting, varnishing and engine preparation, that slaving and obsessing about our boats and living any part of our lives on the water – is well worth the springtime aggravation!

My kids would rather be on the water than anywhere else. And In Rhode Island where the boating season is a short 5ish month season, we hustle each spring to get the boat ready and safe and afloat to launch a summer of memories. Our cameras and hearts finish each season overflowing with cool moments we spent together on the boat in our many afternoon and weekend outings. Each one offering something a bit different than the other to the memory bank. Fishing, paddling, swimming, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, motoring, racing, floating – any or all of it – special enough to all of us to warrant a spring and fall shoulder season of paint and barnacles and scraping and sanding and varnishing. All for a few short months of the best times of our lives.

Yup. Boats = a hole in the water where we empty our pockets and fill our lives with love for the water. Whether it’s salt or freshwater, a river or a lake, a bay or an open ocean – please share below what makes it worth the work and sweat for you and your family. Because that’s exactly what TotalBoat is all about. Real people using products on our boats that cost less, go on easier and faster and work great – to get us out on the water making memories sooner and for longer than last season.

Thanks to Discover Boating for this reminder.

The Essex River Race – He Did It!

Richard Honan has been hard at work all winter long in his boat building workshop (a TotalBoat Shop!) building this beautiful Adirondack Guide Boat. We have been following his build and have a page dedicated to Richard’s latest masterpiece building endeavor here.

We are so proud of Richard and his hard work and hope you will check out the full gallery of photos and his updates on our TotalBoat Shop page and here.

His update – sent Sunday evening – presumably after a tiring but exhilarating day, was as follows:

RH: What a wonderful day yesterday at the Essex River Row, six mile race starting across from Woodman’s Seafood Restaurant, down the Essex River, to the back side of Cranes Beach and then back up the river to the finish line. It was extra special because after six months of constructing of my Adirondack Guide Boat, this was the baptism, the first day in the water. Joining me on the water were my brother Bill Honan and nephew Matthew W Honan rowing in my 15’00” Duck Trap Wherry, the “William & Anthony”. Continue reading

Newport Pulls Out All the Stops for the Volvo Ocean Race

To say it was a successful stopover is an understatement. It exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic forecasters and was a pleasant surprise for the sailors who call this port home. When the America’s Cup rolled out of town in 1986 bound for Australia, Newport went into suspended animation. A town that had lined its miles of shoreline with spectators and its shores with a fleet of boats would have to wait for more than 25 years to relive the excitement and spectacle that a major sailing event, like the Volvo Ocean Race would bring to the area. The TotalBoat team was on the water and onshore for all the fun and gathered this little stopover roundup for you!

Continue reading

Worth Watching: The Important Places

If you have 10 minutes to spare, please watch this very cool and moving film. It’s a great way to start off the week. We hope you spent plenty of time this weekend in your own important places. Probably not the Colorado River, but the water and noise and smell of what makes that place important is easily translated to the ocean. The noise of seagulls, the shoreline, floating in a hand built wooden boat or kayak, the smell of salt air and the feel of crusty salt on your face – all of it contributes to what makes us feel great when we are out there. And in New England where the saltwater season is so short, getting out there becomes important.  It’s up to us to pass on our appreciation for our own important places.

Good Karma Race Team on Track for 2016 Paralympics

Of course with a name for a sailing race team like “Good Karma Racing“, the positive attitude and can-do character of the skipper and crew cannot be overlooked. Sarah Skeels and her crew Cindy Walker are both physically challenged but they attack life and paralympic sailing with a smile and determination that is truly World Class. Team Good Karma is ranked #1 on the US Sailing Team and all of their positive energy is being put towards getting to the Paralympic Games in 2016.

We recently featured Sarah in our summer 2015 catalog (page 21) and on TotalBoat Show in our GoDeeper section. We are so proud of the work Sarah and Cindy are doing. It is so fun to follow their Good Karma campaign and it is such an honor to have them as Ambassadors for TotalBoat.

Check out our story about Sarah and Cindy and GoDeeper into their awesome campaign and soak up some of the Good Karma!


Patterning A New Stem for a 12 1/2

“Tips from a Shipwright” master, Lou Sauzedde, digs into the rotten stem of a sweet Herreshoff 12 1/2 to make a pattern for a new stem. Using his years of expertise, Lou makes it look so easy and of course makes a perfect pattern.  Watch and learn from Lou, he is full of great tricks for perfect execution of jobs that leave most of us scratching our heads trying to figure out how to best get it done!