Several years ago, at the Small Reach Regatta in Maine, a friend, John, took this photo. He has recently completed a Vivier Jewel kit and named it Umami. He passed on this image about a month ago. In it, I’m lazing to leeward, backseat driving, as my middle son keeps UNA pressing to weather. I don’t recall the passage we’re slipping through here, but I do remember the day. We had fun giving chase to others in the fleet. Not to brag, but we eventually captured the lead and then turned back to do it all again. Ah, but it wasn’t a race! Just don’t tell UNA that.
A morning project: 2×12 cut offs and oak splines. 10.5” square x 21” tall. Stool or table? Maybe a drink stand! Got any finish recommendations? Thinking some oil based product (boat soup) with satin sheen results.
This clip was a stocking stuffer for my daughter. Met her in the PNW this past September. Finally put together some of the memories.
Old Sound, New Wood
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.
I contacted Dave Gentry last week about a skin-on-frame pulling boat he designed several years ago named Ruth after his grandmother, mother and now daughter (but at 2 1/2 yrs old you could argue his baby girl is named after the boat. Dave, what were you thinking?). It is a pretty name and fits this no-nonsense well proportioned shell. With a wine glass bum and glowing dress, her sheer is pleasant to gaze at. Weighing a trim 45 pounds, she’d welcome play on any river, lake or even beach.
Yes, Ruth could offer a little rowing exercise, but maybe better yet, the two of you could chill along a shady river bank where you might fancy a read, savor a picnic or simply doze in the warmth of the day.
Anyway, Dave was gracious enough to invite me to try out Ruth. We met at Walnut Creek Park in Albemarle County, about an hour from home. I loaned him my recently finished F-1 kayak and together we cruised the little lake talking along the way, mostly about … boats.
I’ll have to say I was impressed with the boat’s glide. Her lightness has many advantages and the fuse frame makes for a quick build (40 hrs?). Dave says he has been leaving the polyester skinned beauty turned over and outside for years. While she showed signs of weathering, there was no deformation of her shape and the varnish sealed skin remained tight and leak-free.
Here’s a quick clip. Slipping without strain. Longer oars could be of benefit.
Did I say I was impressed? Smitten may be more like it.
Walks with Huck
Tomorrow, our pup Huckleberry will be 1 year old. Already he’s added much to life. Still, after almost 20 years without dog, the expected routine by the “baby” took some adjustment. Yes, he can be demanding. He does wrong when you least expect it. The list is long of stuff he has eaten, chewed, torn or scraped. The floors and his favorite window sill are worse for the wear. However, its easy to forgive it all for the walks we take each morning. Most days I rise an hour before he “asks” to leave his bedside crate. Thats enough time for quick emails and a cup of Joe. After his breakfast, we jump in the truck and roll downhill to a park along the river. Neighborhood walks tethered by leash don’t allow him to burn off steam, but just after sunrise we can ignore the many “dogs must not run free” park signs . Then Huck leaps and bounds through the woods. I marvel at his energy and grace. A thing of beauty, he has forced me to pause, stretch the legs, air the brain and ponder next moves. “Huckadoo” has become my good buddy. Oh, and he likes to go sailing too. We’re a perfect match.
Here’s this morning’s scenery-
Sooty- Earl Craig
Dale Benham recently finished his Sooty Tern in, of all places, Nebraska. Somehow the local TV station got “wind” of his doings. Pretty cool. Notice how easily the boat moves with hardly a breath of air. Congrats Dale!
My Buddy Huckleberry
As the season closes, Huck and I stole a brief sail across Mobjack Bay and back yesterday. Believing he is still a lap dog, he made for a nice heater as we pushed to weather.
We’re still assessing the new sails. The stainless steel slides are not right for bronze or naval brass T track. They still snag slightly when raising and lowering. Either I need to file round edges on each slide or replace them with naval brass, if those can be found. Such is the challenge of ordering sails at a distance. Add it to the winter projects.
At 10:30 wind fluctuated between 5 mph or less. LUNA still moved along. Maybe the bottom isn’t as slimy as I thought.
By noon the breeze built to 12-15 and we really chunked along.
Short and sweet.
She Gets It
Created by my wonderful daughter. Last summer’s cruise in Maine. She gets it.