Across the Great Divide

There is no love lost between sailors and powerboaters (forget jet skeeters). And so I know this post will be met with some derision by the purists. I get it, but how much sailing do they enjoy from their armchairs anyway?

UNA has been, and remains, my favorite boat. So little air moves her. Still, there are slick calm periods that can take the shine off a cruise. Long distances can become infinite when the wind quits. Perhaps my oars aren’t as optimal as they could be. I suspect I didn’t slim the shafts down for enough flex. That can be corrected. To date my average rowing speed for any length of time been sub 2 knots. UNA is a sailboat first. Most of those I sail with have motors, are determined to get to “point B” and relying on a cordial tow when the wind quits can try all involved. I either lose friends, find some pure sail-and-oar guys or find a compromise.

You see where this is going? Yep, I designed and built a motor mount for UNA. The plans showed a motor well. I elected not to build that early on. What started as a sketch melded into a plywood prototype that was adjusted and trimmed. A final piece was tooled in teak (I was confident in the solution).

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plans
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section

Last week’s test run worked flawlessly.

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prototype

 

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stowed under seat

Advantages: there’s no well taking up storage aft or creating turbulence to an otherwise  smooth bottom. This engine “strut” follows the curve of the hull and can be stored against it in the gap outboard of the side seat or under the seat itself. Also, the engine can remain on the strut when anchored without interfering with my tent. And, once removed the threaded inserts do not snag anything. Leather pads under the thread protect the gunnel finish.

Disadvantages: a well keeps the prop in the water at all times. A good wake can create enough roll to lift the prop out of the water with the strut. To be used primarily in light to no wind conditions, this rarely is a problem.

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engine on proto

Here’s the end result at 1/2 throttle and 5 knots. Nice and easy.

I’m happy with the results. Forgive me.

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Closer to Launch

Somewhere, some time ago, I read that an unused boat suffers more than one put to use. This is true.

Several weeks ago I began the process to get LUNA to water. We’ll try a mooring for her. That “official” process was a genuine pain. Too much government and all run poorly by design. Anyway, my little boat “suffered” 16 months under cover in our back yard. Despite occasional watering below the waist, a canvass shed with ground floor, her cedar planks had opened to the point where caulking separated from planks. This was in part due to the nature of the wood, but mostly from life out of water. I had reefed seams before, cotton caulked those needing it and payed all with Interlux brown seam compound three years ago. After talking to well known Maine boat builders Alec Brainerd and Doug Hyland, I determined to take a slightly different tack. Both recommended the same brown compound but split 50/50 with roofing tar. This should be more pliable and sticky.

Alec went further in giving better storage design:

“…  I would recommend adding walls and a roof to your shelter.  The side and back walls can be boards or plywood or whatever and should be spaced 4″ up off the ground for ventilation.  The roof needs to be insulated with something like 1″ blueboard, and then congregated metal would probably be least expensive.  Light color materials are best for both walls and roof.  Put vents in the gable ends of the roof but no windows anywhere.” 

Now I have impetus to start a boat barn.

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LUNA does have a new dress topsides, her name is crisply set, the battery monitor now works (missed a wire before. Ashamed to admit I stared at that wiring diagram too long) and she now has a bilge pump counter. That will be crucial as I plan to keep her on a mooring. In this push, many small details are getting don. As I get her back in shape, I remember why I fell in love with her. She is such a beautiful boat. Launch is in 10 days. Much to do, but all doable. More later-

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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.

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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.

Rowing Ruth

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.

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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.

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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

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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-