Monday, January 26, 2015

about cherry picking...

A rather unsettling study, something that we should be proud of, and a very, very cool VW Bus...

Here's a quick bit of advice about advice: It's almost always counterproductive to augment, alter, or cherry pick good advice... Especially where boats are concerned. The best thing to do is to simply follow good advice to the letter because getting creative will, 99.99% of the time, turn around and bite you on the ass. Trust me I have the scars to prove it.

Really.

That said, we all do it and, since we do, I should point out that if you augment, alter, or cherry pick good advice you automaticly lose the option of blaming said giver of advice for the ensuing carnage.

Right?

Listening to Phosphorescent

So it goes...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Some cheapseats goodness...

A reflection of sorts on Liberty ships, in the "Oh Jesus" department, and a very short essay...

So, Sailing Anarchy got a letter and they printed it on the blog. Might not hurt to go over and read it.

That said, Boat Bits has been saying that the cheapseats are where it's at for going on for ten-years...

Listening to Paolo Nutini

So it goes...

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The power of negative input...

A little worthwhile reading, some stuff you need to know about, and something worth a listen to from Jay FitzGerald...

Way back when I was building our first Loose Moose (a Phil Bolger 'Jessie Cooper" design), I expected a certain amount of hassle of the negative input variety... Hey, it was an "Odd" boat and not what most people think a boat's supposed to be like.

The thing is what I did not expect is how easily seeds of doubts planted by others tend to take root and grow like Kudzu if you're not paying attention.

A good example of bad seeds growing out of control was the mainmast... The Jessie Cooper design has a free standing mainmast with a balanced lug rig and this seemed to bother a lot of the folks who visited the build site because...

  1. The mast did not have standing rigging
  2. The mast did not have a track
  3. The main halyard had a simple sheave at the masthead which was considered insufficient
  4.  It was wood
The seed of doubt that took hold and kept me up nights was the issue people had with the simple sheave ... People thought that since the sail had both a yard, a boom, and a chunk of sail area that I'd never be able to raise the sail without significant added mechanical advantage in the form of more blocks and a winch.

So as the seed grew into a bush of doubt, I found myself looking at winches and other various schemes to add a six-part purchase to the top of the mast. This, of course, slowed down the work effort and distracted me from stuff I should have been doing...

Worse, now that I had decided there just might be a problem with the halyard sheave all of a sudden anytime someone pointed out a possible problem/issue, which anyone who's ever built a boat knows happens daily, I found I was much more receptive to allowing it to take root.

One morning I woke up to find I thought the whole boat sucked... Not exactly the sort of mindset you want in the home stretch three weeks before you launch your boat.

Since I really had to finish the boat I put the doubts on hold with the resignation that "I'll just finish the sucker and then redo the mast after" .

Once on the water with the boat floating right side up I felt a lot better. So I stepped the mast, rigged up the sail, and, fully expecting disaster, proceeded to raise it. No problem at all and the sail, and yard zipped up the mast faster than the proverbial greased pig..

All that worry for an issue that never really existed.

That said, some of my friends who had issues with the weight of the sails, yard, and boom all had boats with masts that had tracks and even with big winches they had to huff, puff, and strain to get their mainsails up. In most cases, sail track adds an amazing amount of friction to the equation and that's why everyone thought my simple sheave arrangement would not work. They were used to all of that friction that the balanced lug simply does not have and I was stupid enough to listen...

Listening to the Rolling Stones

So it goes...

Friday, January 23, 2015

This is just neat...

Badtux makes a bombproof point, a passing of note, and today in the stupid-stupid-stupid department...

Anything that translates to better music on a boat gets my attention.



Really.

Listening to Le Vent du Nord



So it goes...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Something new from the Eco Sailing Project guys,,,

Hitting the nail squarely on the head, current trends in parenting, and a video you really should watch...



Listening to Tim Barry

So it goes...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Could I ask a favor?

A seriously problematic statistic, a quick reality check on that global warming myth, and something important you should be aware of...

I have a pet peeve about folks who write cruising blogs, hang out on cruising blogs, and folks who write up their cruising experiences in such places as the SSCA Bulletin and it's this...

If you're going to talk about cruising don't be coy about what stuff costs.

For instance, if you say you stayed at a marina, hauled out, or stocked up on provisions somewhere don't say it was expensive, inexpensive, or a "little pricey" because unless we know you personally, none of those descriptions actually mean anything to us. So, if you're going to mention you filled up your fuel tanks it wouldn't hurt to throw in a "at $3.77 a gallon" to give us an idea what the current cost of fuel is in Saint Somewhere.

I've lost track of the number of times I've called a boat yard for a haulout I'd heard was inexpensive, a marina for rates because they had been termed "affordable", or walked into a "Great cheap place to provision" only to find the places in question were not only not inexpensive/affordable/cheap but downright pyratical with a capital P.

I won't even get into what eateries and beach bars cost but if you think a $4 Coors and a $14 plain burger that looked like something from a Jr high school cafeteria is a bargain, I just may have a great deal on a hardly used cast iron tower in Paris you might be interested in buying...

So, about that favor...

Since I know a lot of folks cruising read Boat Bits from time to time, I'd really appreciate it if the next time you haulout, do a serious provision, or spend a chunk of money while cruising someplace interesting maybe you could drop a note about what it all costs. It would be especially helpful if you could include cruising fees and suchlike as well.

The idea at the moment is to work up a reality based database of just what the basic cost to cruise in places is and dispel a lot of the misinformation floating about what stuff costs and, hopefully, maybe we can lose a certain amount of the old WTF factor in the cost department.

I realize that this is asking a lot... So, thanks in advance.

Listening to PHOX

So it goes

Sunday, January 18, 2015

progress of a sort...

Badtux getting it right, a rising tide of homelessness in Seattle, and something we should all be paying attention to...

So, I've been hearing how foils are going to be the new big thing and it's only a matter of time till all the hip kids will be cruising at 20 knots...



Sure they will...

Listening to the Clash

So it goes...

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A good deal on a boat...

Just to let you know we're all on the same page, the stupidity it burns, and reason #1057 why you should not be getting your news from FOX...

For readers in Maple Leaf Land there's a seriously good deal on a great boat you might want to take a look at.

Just saying...

Listening to some Jill Sobule covers

So it goes...

Friday, January 16, 2015

So, I'm at the list making stage...

L,G,&M has an important reminder, G&T wth some thoughts on the current definition of "Good", and some lucid thoughts on why some folks are stupid...

Of late, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the next boat and how I'd fit it out because I need a budget to work with and I need it soonish.

The funny thing is the fit out list in my head is actually pretty short and, as a result, so is the monetary outlay. Partly due to the fact that good marine electronics have actually become quite cheap since the last time I built a boat, partly because I have a much better understanding of the whole need/want thing than I did before, but mostly because having been on boats for so long I've developed an appreciation for simplicity and an aversion for anything on a boat that adds unneedful complexity.

My categories for list triage is pretty basic...

  1. It has to be needful.
  2. I have to be able to fix and maintain it myself or cheap enough that I can afford to back it up.
  3. It's something I don't have to make up reasons or improbable possibilities to justify needing it.
Pretty simple and a lot more effective than you might actually suspect.

Listening to some Country Fried Rock

So it goes...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

all or nothing...

Gin & Tacos on bailing out the Titanic with a bucket, some Druid perspective, and in the "If Darwin was right we wouldn't be here" department...

One thing that makes me bang my head against the bulkhead on a regular basis is the current prevalent mindset of All or Nothing...

There's a lot of it going around.

Where boats are concerned it manifests itself like this: Our would be cruiser wants to go cruising but does not have the resources to afford what he (or someone else has told him) is the "perfect"  or "best" boat and, while he can afford a perfectly adequate boat for his needs and aspirations, the all or nothing mindset kicks in and throws common sense/logic right out the window.

It's not just boats but boat stuff as well... A couple of years back someone I'm acquainted with needed a self-steering for his boat because he had a trans-Pacific voyage slated. Because he could not afford one of the three vane gears he had decided were "Best", his All or Nothing mindset kicked into high gear. So, instead of building a perfectly adequate vane for a couple of hundred dollars or buying an excellent vane for a bit more, he decided to go without. Of course, he did wind up getting across the Pacific but it was on the freighter that rescued him since hand steering 24/7 was found to be a wholly unacceptable option. I expect his boat (if still visible beneath the guano) is quite happily floating around the Pacific as a popular rest stop for tired birds.

Listening to Chris Forsyth & the Solar Motel Band

So it goes...