Mother’s Day Reprise

So much of the “now” is fake, demanding attention, here today, gone tomorrow. As I’ve wrestled to get Luna water ready, furtive thoughts pry, “Is she worth it?” This morning I brushed on a second coat of Petit Trinidad ($250/ gallon paint. Only 1 needed). Yesterday’s coat was rolled and tipped. Got to get that extra fraction of a knot? No, but darn if it doesn’t look better. Wetting the cooking driveway hopefully delays the planks drying. So much to learn about true wooden boats. Loading the mast and installing road supports for tomorrow’s trip east takes no small effort, a two-man job. Glad I have sons to help. Conceptually many simple task s have taken a week of days. In this hurry-up world, is she worth it? There’s varnish yet to be spruced. Yet, she is going back better.

IMG_3519.jpg

“Worth” for me all comes down to passion. Not the task to get there, but the reward for the effort. In two nights I plan on enjoying the evening with Luna … somewhere … at anchor, dreaming about distant horizons. Nothing is more divorced from our hectic world than floating in a loved boat. For that joy, I owe so much to my mother. She allowed me to spend so many hours in a boat as a child. I was hooked at an early age. My soul is rooted to the bottom of a boat. I can’t shake it. Don’t want to. This is real. Thanks Momma. I love you-

Advertisements

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.

IMG_4281

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-

IMG_4284

The F-1 Kayak Explained

Brian Schulz has given an in debt run down of his excellent all around kayak. I confess I have neither surfed nor rolled this boat. Perhaps this summer? However, it remains my favorite boat for getting to the water quickly and travelling with efficiency. Paired with a Greenland paddle, this light little ship is a joy to play in. I highly recommended it from this end.

Passing his video along:

Building an F1, Hour by Hour

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.

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.

IMG_3801

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’ve Got the Gold …

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.

IMG_3712.JPG
UNA and Molly

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.