Monday, July 28, 2014

Kickstarter anyone?

How the language we use is important, then again the word "accident" does seem somewhat inadequate of late, and I'll tell you I'm reading way too many stories like this these days...

Over the last couple of years I've been paying a lot of attention to the whole crowd funding thing and I've seen a lot of small companies in the film making gear business bring products to market that never would have happened without it. In my view, Kickstarter and other systems of the same ilk do make sense.

So, I have to ask myself why I have not seen much in the way of new products for sailors and cruisers coming to market via the crowd funding route?

It seems to me a near perfect venue for a designer of boats to do something creative outside the bounds of the same old same and attract a niche client base in the process but, despite the fact it seems tailor made for boat design, I don't see anyone doing it.

Why is it there's no one with clever and cunning products for sailing and cruising? I mean seriously it's not like there are not a plethora of things that could be done better on boats and since so many sailors are tinkerers and closet inventors, why are they not doing their thing on a venue that seems perfect for the enterprise?

What little stuff you do see from boat folk seems to be the "I want to go cruising please give me some money to do it with" sort which I tend to find a bit depressing and bothersome.

Personally, I've played with the idea of using Kickstarter to fund a project to study, develop, and evolve better rigs based on traditional overlooked sail designs in a real scientific manner. It seems to me that a lot more real science in sail would be no bad thing...

Maybe you just have a cool idea based on an Arduino that would improve the lot of cruisers everywhere or, just maybe, there's no one left with any good ideas anymore.

Listening to JB & the Moonshine Band

So it goes...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Not quite as demented as you might think...

You can tell a lot about a country from its pizzas, a rejoinder of note, and... it's not too late to do the right thing...

I'll confess it's not easy being too far ahead of fashion and for the most part it's depressing always being right years before something becomes hip.

Takes scows for instance...

Anyone who knows me and a great number of people who don't are painfully aware that I think scows as a cruising boat make a lot of sense. Of course, most people I've preached the gospel of scows to think I'm either demented, an idiot, stupid, or a cocktail of all three. Face it, being ahead of the curve is a lot like Rodney Dangerfield's famous catch line...

"I don't get no respect..."

But fashions do tend to catch up and sometimes you get lucky to see that all-of-a-sudden folks are taking something like scows seriously. Maybe a little late to the party and a few sandwiches short of a picnic but, it's a kinda nice to find yourself being able to say I told you so...

Two, count them, two maxi scow projects (you can read all about them here)...

Sure, they're silly expensive penis substitutes but it means that if uberwealthy folks are commissioning scows it's an idea that now has some serious traction and I'm not quite the drooling stupid demented idiot waxing on about scows in the corner...

Listening to Seasick Steve

So it goes..



Saturday, July 26, 2014

A quick reminder...

A tuna story, safety in the skies, and yep we're an advanced civilized nation...



Listening to The Brothers of Soul

So it goes...



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Of no interest to trust fund babies...

This should make some folks stand up and take notice, some needful reading, and  a wake up call...

Over at Attainable Adventure Cruising they have a post that is the consumerists wet dream about how to buy a boat. I'll sum it up for you as you need to be born rich, get a better job, and/or wait till you're too old to actually go cruising because you HAVE to have the expensive boat.

Just the other day I saw a CAL 34 for sale for $5K and yes, it needed some fixing up.

That said, there's nothing that a little sweat, some smarts, an additional $3-$5K, and an avoidance of consumerism dogma wouldn't fix.

Hey presto! A serious bluewater cruiser for around $10K and you don't have to wait around till you're too old and wrinkly to enjoy it.

There are lots of people cruising in boats that cost considerably less than some folks say you need to spend. Matter of fact, in the new Practical Boat Owner there's an excellent article  "Cruising on a Shoestring" by Jill Dicken Schinas of Mollymawk fame (you really should have the Mollymawk blog/website on your reading list) that just may open your eyes...


It's a good read.

Listening to Pink Turtle

So it goes..

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The cost of things...

A quick look in the crystal ball, a very interesting article about trout, and 31-days...

Yesterday while doing a little shopping I could not help but look at the lobsters for sale at $39 a pound and reflect that a simple lobster snare can be put together for two or three bucks and there are lobster pretty much everywhere down here.

Just saying...

Listening to St Paul & the Broken Bones (still the best album so far this year)

So it goes...



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Doing the drill..

Ebola still spreading, the good fight against big tobacco, and something worth watching...

Yep, it's that time of year again.


Even though TD2 does not look to be a real problem it still means I need to go through the whole Big-Storm-Soon-Come drill because, you know, shit happens...

Meanwhile on the weather front: sad news that due to flooding, the big rubber duckie has gone walkabout.


Listening to Marah

So it goes...

Monday, July 21, 2014

SNAFU city...

One small step, follow the money, and some laws not in boatfolks best interest (you might be surprised just how many people equate living on a boat with being homeless)...

Today my boat's a disaster area.

It happens... trying to manage multiple projects will leave you in a serious SNAFU zone. As it happens right now the entire contents of my starbord cockpit locker is strewn hither and yon. There's a surplus-to-requirements stove and sink in the cockpit well and to top it off a mainsail I need to cut down and recut...

I won't even begin go into the current state of the clusterfuck that is the interior...

Of course, tomorrow it will be all sorted out (yeah sure) and we'll have a livable boat but today it's crazy making...

Got to get cracking.

Listening to Mr Big

So it goes...



Saturday, July 19, 2014

A book is the answer to most questions...

This pretty much says it all, something to be aware of, and a safe bet formula wise...

Almost everything you need to know about boats can be found in a half-dozen or so books... It's as simple as that.

I mention this because the last couple of weeks I have been pondering why there is so much misinformation floating around. The possible conclusion I've come to are that folks don't really read anymore and prefer their information in dumbed down sound bites or forum posts. If they did read a book or article they skim/glance at pictures and use the internet as a sorta/kinda Cliff's Notes.

Last night while looking at some "reader" reviews of a few books I hold in high esteem made me wonder if the reviewers had actually in fact read the books...

For instance, this about Fred Bingham's "Boat Joinery & Cabinetmaking Simplified"
"The book is outdated as far as technique. I was expecting to learn the how and why of boat cabinetry, not just basic cabinetry that you would find in an ordinary house."  
Now, personally I simply do not see his point as cabinetry, whether for a boat or a house, is pretty much the same thing and Bingham gives you everything you need to know for where there actually is a difference. Face it, building an interior in a boat is simply building a lot of irregular sized boxes with odd angles here and there.

I have quite a lot of boatbuilding books and read and re-read them on a regular basis because they "talk" to me and, considering what project I'm currently working on, I get different insights. For instance, just the other day planning out a new boom for "So It Goes", I reread the relevent sections in Bingham's book as well as Reuel Parker's "The New Cold-Molded Boatbuilding" and "Buehler's Backyard Boatbuilding". Those, with a re-read of Russel Brown's "Epoxy Basics: Working with Epoxy Cleanly & Efficiently", have pretty much set the stage for what I hope to be a much improved and affordable boom that will do exactly what I need it to do.

Then again, I could have put the question to various forums and got a ton of verbage with very little veracity or practical content...

Books work for me.


Listening to Los Texmaniacs

So it goes...

Friday, July 18, 2014

taking things for granted...

How not to sell cookies, on modern policing methods, and, just maybe, the most appropriate headline of the week...

I suspect that, for most of us at least, the most dangerous thing we do on boats is to take things for granted. Truth be told, I do it all the time and, more often than not, I tend to find that it bites me on the ass when I do.

Not too long ago there were all those folks in Mexico who had their boats impounded and reading a lot of the reactions to the situation the recurring themes seemed to be "How could this happen?" and "How could the Mexican authorities be so stupid?". When maybe they should have been asking themselves "Why did I take it for granted that shit wouldn't happen?"

Now, call me paranoiac but I pretty much always expect stuff to get funky on a regular basis and, as it happens I am sadly seldom disappointed... Over the last few years I've mentioned that the USVI government keeps floating some new silly expensive fees for folks on boats as well as some draconian rules that, while not enacted yet, would make the USVI something of a no go place for most cruisers.

I expect when such rules and regulations come into play it will be a huge surprise to most who expect the same old same to remain in perpetuity. You'll be able to hear them screaming "How could this happen?" halfway across the Pacific...

Note to self: must get some earplugs

Listening to C,S,& N

So it goes...



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Now that's some log...

An app that just might come in handy, a very scary picture, and where are the perp walks...

I need to get a new log for the boat as the current bidata speed/depth unit I have is more a mono-data sort of thing and in the nearly ten-years we've had it I don't think the log/speed function has worked more than 24 hours total. Which when you consider it's built by Raymarine is more than I actually expected. That said, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the sounder side of things works just great...



Now, what I'd really like to replace it with is the old model of the VDO Sumlog, a mechanical unit with a tiny little hard to foul prop turning an automotive cable that from my experience is bombproof, simple, and as a result, it simply does what it needs to do which is let you know your speed through the water and the distance covered. Which, by and large, is just the sort of information you need to know.

Being mechanical there is very little to go wrong and the weakest link, the cables, seem to last for a decade or so and replacement cables are a standard automotive part so non-problematic to pick up a spare. I suppose the downside is that it won't interface with your chart plotter or toaster oven... but, then again, my Raymarine does not talk to my chartplotter and I don't have a toaster oven so I don't exactly see the problem..

These days most everyone I know tends to use their chart plotters and the GPS derived speed over ground but speed over ground and speed through water are two very different beasts and they tell you very different things. Personally I'd like to know both but if I had to choose just one it would be speed through water.

So if you happen to come across the old style VDO Sumlog in your local yachtgrot maybe you could drop me a line?

Listening to Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul

So it goes...