Brian Schulz has summarized in video format the building of my favorite kayak. This one I built for my wife in hopes she’ll use it this Spring. More than any of “our” boats, it has provided the easiest path to appreciating what’s simple and real along the water’s edge. Indeed, so much so, that I’m tempted to build the stretched LPB version. Here’s a wonderful record demonstrating the beautiful art in constructing this elegant craft. The F1 (with a greenland paddle) has made this diversion pure pleasure.
Perhaps it is nostalgia or maybe a tight wallet, but I’ve taken a small interest in “vintage” stereo equipment. It is surprising how fast we cast off technology. “But it doesn’t have WiFi, Bluetooth, etc”. I know, and I do like the depth of music Spotify has given me (I trust the artists are justly compensation. They signed on, so I assume so). However, I do feel I’m somewhat of a hold out. I remain unconvinced that digital sounds better. There is a harshness to my ear. As evidence, I offer Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. Despite the occasional hiss or pop, vinyl simply sounds fuller on vinyl than CD. While playing Rock, this may be a difference without distinction.
Anyway, a couple weeks ago I picked up some vintage Fisher XP-55B speakers. They were packaged with a Harman Kardon “One Thirty” receiver which had a hum in the left speaker channel, but not the headphones. Nonetheless, I wanted the speakers and $15 seemed more than fair. Maybe the stereo can be easily fixed. I’m guessing it is a ground problem.
Back in the ’60’s, before the mass production of stereo equipment, Fisher produced quality speakers in line with KLH or Wharefdale. The company was sold to Emerson in 1969 and later to Sanyo.
This pair was made in Long Island City, NY and in good mechanical condition, nothing blown and good woofer foam. Some use was evident in the roughed up faux wood veneer edges. I liked their easy clear midrange sound and decided to dress them up. The “veneer” was readily peeled off to reveal the particle board cabinets. Easing the cabinet edges with a rounding over bit removed barked up corners. Four coats of polyurethane, brass finish washers to hold on the grilles and I had “new” retro speakers. Wood pegs made good speaker stand offs. In combination with some Baby Advents for the highs, these speakers are a joy to listen to. Pat Metheney’s Watercolors and Bright Size Life rotated in the CD player (now more old school) and these speakers have proved themselves. Now I just need to get a fire going and kick back.
Everyone has been saying that the year has flown by. Isn’t that the common refrain every November? Either way, regretfully, the sailing season is drawing to an end.
So knowing, last Thursday, Bob with “Molly” and I with “UNA” and Huckleberry met at Mathews’ Town Point Ramp at 0800. The sky was brilliant, winds steady at 8-10 from the WNW and the air would warm to a crisp 60 degrees. The water, chilled. Could it get any better? By 0900 we were on the water.
Our boats traded leads as we jibed down the East River. Passing the old Tide Mill at Todds Point we rolled over to Mobjack and checked on a friend’s house addition project. Back in the boats, we crossed over to Tabbs Creek, tied to a piling and rafted for lunch. A short beer and I was inclined to nap under the gentle sun in the cockpit . However, Bob helped me shrug off the drowsiness and we had the best sailing back up the river’s western branch to Woodas Point. Our return sail to Mobjack was nearly all downwind and easy. A neighbor intercepted us in his Nacra catamaran and followed us back to Mobjack where we set our boats to stern anchors for the night.
Good conversation and cocktails accompanied a changing scene on the river’s eastern shore in the setting sun. Dinner was Indian food and beans and rice. By 2030 we called it quits.
Day two started 10 degrees cooler. Hot coffee, corned beef hash and scrambled eggs were required to brave the chill of wading out to the floating boats. Now we were awake. Winds began to gust in the upper teens. We each put reefs in and had a marvelous beat back up the river to haul out. Surf Scoters and Loons kept their distance along the route.
Bob, thanks for being a buddy so late in the season. The opportunity could have easily slipped away. I’m more than happy we went.
Wee took a hot lunch in town (the lobster bisque was fantastic), wished each other a Happy Thanksgiving and headed down the road. I began a list of “to-dos” for UNA’s winter wait. Our number of sails this year were limited, but those taken will be remembered. It has been a very good year. I’ve got some gold.
We had a record number of boats at the Old Bay Club’s, now annual, Fall cruise on the James River, thanks to hosts Barbara and Harris. This event is a fair weather sailor’s dream. Honestly, the accommodations surpass any bed and breakfast, … and lunch, … and dinner. We ate more than slept or sailed. Both nights’ dinners were by fire and with cocktails on the beach. Both raw and steamed oysters were followed by Pennsylvania brats Friday night. A now infamous frogmore stew was served Saturday evening. The recipe is a guarded secret, but hiding the cobs of sweet corn, thumb sized shrimp, and sausage is impossible.
Eleven boats showed up for some easy sailing between the mouth of the Chickahominy River and Jamestown. We chased and taunted each other, all claiming to be getting the better of the other. Despite the razzing, some new friends were made. As always, we had a good time.
Last Thursday with daughter and UNA, we drove to Belle Island State Park on the north bank of the Rappahannock River to met Kevin and Little T.
By 11:00 that morning we we’re sailing downriver with the tide for the evening. Winds were westerly, light and predominantly downwind. To gain some breeze, we tacked toward Urbanna on the south bank. As the breeze had all but died we took a swim at the small beach just to starboard of Urbanna’s creek entry. Water, sun and beer were just perfect as we lay on the water’s edge. Kevin, opposed to bathing, motored on in to tour the creek.
The breeze returned from the east and we took the opportunity to sail across the river to Whitehouse Creek in the mouth of the Corrotoman. That was a 15 mile day. Dinner was Indian spread over rice.
We broke our raft up around 7:30 and by 8:00 were bunked and out. UNA is more of a 1 man boat for overnighting. All the gear I typically shove to port had to be stowed for additional floor space. The evening was just cool enough and we were sufficiently in a breeze to keep the bugs at bay. Regardless, it was a restless night arresting odd sounds from a bumping tiller to a rocking mizzen mast. Morning started at 06:00, cool and bright.
A NW breeze would make the sail back up river comfortable. We enjoyed the scenes along the banks.
We met several of the OBC crew and their boats along the way.
That night’s dinner menu included camp grilled brats from PA (thanks Peter), pasta salad, mellon, pineapple and deadly brownies (thanks Francie).
Saturday’s sail was more local as a girl needed to head home. Before that however, we had another enjoyable beach picnic. The water temp was fantastic and the sun just warm enough.
I said goodbye to my little girl and headed back out to chase the other boats. Racing back into the close quarters of the creek was my favorite part of sailing for the weekend. With a piped breeze and full sail, hiking out was needed. Reminded me of Moth and Laser sailing.
Dinner that night was out at the Lancaster Tavern. Too much to eat, but that is usually the case. Slept hard. Departed after breakfast Sunday morning. Some stayed behind to sail (Barry and Dennis). Wish I had too. Fun few days. Good friends.
My daughter has notions of building a rowboat. I wonder where she got that idea? In an effort to help her find a simple and effective build, “Dynamite” Payson’s Gloucester Light Dory came to mind. I’ve seen the design several times in Maine and have been impressed with its docile qualities, simple construction, functional details and elegance. My daughter read the Payson’s “How to Build …” booklet yesterday. However, she didn’t know I’d decided to make her a model as a gift. No push is intended, but maybe it will remind the girl to follow her dream compass.
Doug Hylan has a number of beautiful designs. Not the smallest, but certainly one of the prettiest, is this little 15′ plywood constructed skiff. Off Center Harbor featured the boat awhile back here. I built a 1/2 model … Go figure. This would be an excellent boat for teaching how to “simply mess about in boats”. I think I will. Get it?