Ben Lobaugh Online

I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I sail

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Winterized Minto Martha

Meet the Minto- Martha

It seems that each year I add a new boat to my growing fleet and 2017 is no exception. I am excited to announce the latest member of the fleet, a Minto that Alix has named Martha.

The Minto is a 9 foot (2.7 meters for my Canadian friend Robert) sailing/rowing dinghy. It was first produced in the 1960s by EDDON Boat Yard and is still in production today by Rich Passage. Over 1,000 Mintos have been built, making it one of the most populous dinghies in the Pacific Northwest. See more at Wikipedia.

I was first introduced to Mintos by dock mate Kemp. He has had several Mintos over the years. He had one he used as a row boat when we first met. He told me it could sail and several months later he got the sail rig out. The first time I saw the Minto under sail I was hooked! Any time Kemp went out after that I would sit on the end of the dock watching him zip around the lake with pure boat lust. I have a problem.

My wife already thinks I have some sort of boat hoarder dementia so in order to get Martha I got rid of an 11′ sailboat and a kayak.

Martha was built by the Ranger boat company and here is how I found her on Craiglist.


$600 for a Minto is a killer deal. The transom needed some work but it was a typical issue stemming from storing the boat upside down on the ground. Moisture from the grass is sucked up inside the wooden transom and since it is not a teak transom it rots out. The sail rig alone is worth $1,500!

I loaded the Minto on top of my wife’s Subaru Outback and away we went!

She had been sitting outside for a long time and needed quite the cleaning. She came out nicely though! After removing all the gunk Kemp said the hull was in far better shape than any Minto he had owned.


Rebuilding the transom was a relatively easy endeavor. Kemp has rebuilt Minto transoms on previous Mintos he has owned and guided the process. I scrapped the rotten wood from between the fiberglass, thoroughly dried the interior, applied System Three RotFix, and inserted some good new wood into the transom. My good buddy David free handed the transom cuts. The board had to be both cut to fit the sides and cut down the middle because it was too thick. David is a carpentry monster.


After the epoxy dried in the new transom David came over for the maiden voyage. David sailed Kemp’s Minto while I hopped out on Martha.


Alix and I have had a ton of fun with Martha this summer. She is tied onto the swim platform of our live aboard. We are able to quickly step into the boat and be off on an adventure!

Martha has joined S/V Billabong on longer sailing adventures as a ship-to-shore boat on several occasions.

And my buddy Robert (yes the Canadian mention previously….) even came down and raced Martha in the Duck Dodge. He did a pretty dang good job too!


This Minto may be the most fun boat I have owned to date. She rows like a champ, easily taking Alix, myself, and our two dogs miles with ease, and she sails beautifully. If you are looking for a rigid dinghy that can row, sail, and even handle a small outboard I highly recommend considering a Minto!

DISCLAIMER: I picked up Martha in April 2017. It took me till November 2017 to write this post! I was having too many adventures with Martha to have time to blog!

Uganda check-in

It has been a couple days since I posted. Sorry about that. We have been moving nonstop and I have passed out each day. In fact yesterday I fell asleep in the middle of typing a message to my wife. I have also been a bit sick and in the heat here sick is draining.

We are currently relaxing on a short safari but I wanted to update you on a couple things that happened over the last days.

At Destiny orphanage we saw the new girls dorm being built. All the money to build the building was raised by members of a prior team who have been here several times. The building should be ready for move in in the spring quarter!

The current team supplied all the beds with mattresses. The building is 2 stories with hundreds of new beds. It will be allow Destiny to bring in even more children! There are currently 1,200 kids there.

We also brought along shoes. We see many many kids at the medical clinic with feet issues from walking around the slums barefoot. Every couple years we supply new shoes to the students. They take great pride and care of their shoes. It is great to see some of them wearing shoes from previous trips. I helped kids try on shoes and find the right sizes. It was a humbling yet exciting experience. Each student got a pair of nice black shoes for school and sandals for after hours.

Alec has been our team photographer and he captured some amazing photos that I will get and post here when i get a good connection.

Slaying the monster of poverty mindset

Saints Gates church, where the medical clinic is being held, is a two level structure built into a hill. The front door is at the top of the hill. When you walk in it feels like a ground level room, then you notice a set of stair in the far corner leading down. Down to the lower level that is open air due to being lower on the hill. At the top of the stairs there is an iron gate to prevent people outside from coming up into the main floor and stealing any of the equipment. There is a heavily barred metal gate at the top of the stairs that shuts with a ringing clang of finality. People coming to the clinic started at the door on the main floor and eventually made their way to the clinic on the lower floor.

Today I was stationed at the top of the stairs to help usher them down to the triage area and onto medical personnel. I had two Ugandans helping translate both language and culturally. One of them was the boy (man) I sponsor Nathan Mukisa (I am so proud of him!). My role really was relaying how many could go down to the clinic and managing opening and closing the door.

Katwe, the area we are serving, is a big slum. Everyone there lives in abject poverty. Poverty breeds chaos and belief that there is not enough. That in turn affects how a person perceives and acts on life. Before getting to the final waiting area I was at the people were told over and over that they would all have a chance to see the medical team and that everyone would receive medications and help they needed and yet when they were released to come to my area there was a stampede every time. People running and jostling to be closer to the front. We had them sit and brought people in starting from the front right most person. After the people were sent to the clinic everyone else shifted over. That ensured fair access to all and yet every time the door opened people not in the front would push forward and try to sneak in and others would jump seats. That is the poverty mindset. We have more than enough to ensure everyone gets what they need.

I am not about the poverty mindset at all. In fact I (and dear friend David) are all about eliminating the poverty mindset from the planet earth.

Every time I had to shut that clanging gate in the face of one of those beautiful people my heart broke a bit. I wanted so badly to welcome them all but we could not handle them all at once and this was the best way to help them all. I wanted to shake them and say, “HEY YOU! Why are you doing this? There is plenty for all and there always will be.”

But you know what? I believe in a big God and the people today got to hear about my big God. God is not a god of chaos, he is God of love and order. He is always providing and the ultimate healer.

Poverty mindset is a monster that seeks to steal, kill, and destroy the lives of those it touches.

I want to kill the poverty mindset monster!
Kill it dead dead.

We are here to give the people living in Katwe a sense of future and hope.
We are here to show them opportunity.
We are here to unlock the potential hidden inside them that has be beaten down and told to him.

We are winning.

Through programs such as this and Freedom Project we are literally changing the lives of those we come in contact with here.

We are winning!
When people walked out of the clinic they had a new hope and a new joy.
We ARE winning!

Uganda has a re newed since of hope that has been exciting to watch.

Nathan was my translator today and it was amazing being able to spend a full day with him. I spoke at the church Nathan’s parents are pastors in during my first trip. It was in a remote village several hours from our house. They showed me the school they were building and took me to their home for lunch. I met Nathan there playing guitar. I quickly fell in love with their family. I made sure when Nathan joined Freedom Projects I was his sponsor for college.

Nathan is 21 now studying architecture. He has grown into an amazing young man. Watching him lead the people today and even playing guitar made my heart leap for joy. To us Americans Ugandan college is cheap but to most Ugandans it is so far out of reach that they do not even dream of attending. Nathan gushed about how much he appreciated me and took his hat off. Taking off the hat is a sign of high respect and honor. I was pleased beyond words to spend an amazing day with this fine young man. Nathan is a man who has moved beyond the poverty mindset and taken control of his future.


Medical clinic opening day

Hello out there!

What an amazing and wonderful day! Today was the first day of the medical clinic.

We split into two teams. The first team welcomed people coming to the clinic. They were prepped on what to do and expect. There were prayer stations and I was part of the band on stage. I played the Djembe drum. It is an amazing instrument. I had not played the djembe I think since 2012. It was just like riding a bicycle. I really need to get myself one.

The medical clinic is completely free to anyone who shows up. Everyone leaves with medication and basic hygiene packets. There is even an education portion for mothers and children.

The medical team consisted of 8 Americans and 8 Ugandans. Both doctors and nurses with varying skill sets. We even have a fully functioning pharmacy.

Today the 16 person medical team saw 488 people! Ailments ranged from hunger to seeds stuck in ear canals, skin fungus, vision and dental problems, even a case of syphillus. The Ugandan doctors are able to provide more critical immediate care and ongoing care.

We had an amazing addition this trip of medical students that came to help triage and translate for us. These students are extra special because they are Freedom Projects students. These students were largely orphans from the slums of Kampala with no family able to support them after graduating from the highschool program. Freedom Projects came into existence to continue sponsoring the students through university. The students that came today are from the original group that graduated from Destiny. They were amazing. I am so proud of them. That is the impact you and I can have on the future of Uganda. These kids are changing the future of this nation. This is why I keep coming back here. There is a hunger in Uganda for something better and it starts with the youth. Changing their hearts and minds, providing education and getting them off the streets, giving them the tools they need to be successful. It is so good.

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