Friday, January 13, 2017

Just a little nervous...

Trump's new overlords checking their connections, about those frelling nazi wankers in Whitefish Montana (a place I hold dear and once called home), and, something (heart), that you won't be seeing in the foreseeable future in the White House...

I just had a couple of new sails built by a Chinese loft in Hong Kong and I have to row ashore and pick them up as they arrived yesterday. So, right now, I'll have to admit to a certain nervousness about just what they may be like.

Which is not that I did not research the loft, checked their reviews, and did the needful due diligence but, as the last sails we had made by a top USA loft (starting with an N and spelled e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e) which we paid a premium for because it was a US loft (only to find the sails were built in Malayasia) and had so many just plain stupid (as in did they even look at the information they'd asked for?) mistakes and issues, that I'll admit to being just a little gun shy where sailmakers are concerned these days.

In the so far so good department, the personal contact and interaction with the loft was both professional and detailed and they seemed very keen on getting all the information right to avoid any possible problems while actually seeming to care in the process.

So, hopefully I'll have some more news to report one way or another soonish!

Listening to Kelley McRae

So it goes...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The price of safety...

What some people might be thinking, about that seafood you might be buying, and the word for today is “preemption”...

Safety, maybe it's just me, but it bothers me that so much so-called safety gear is expensive. Not that I want or expect companies to lose money or forego a fair profit on safety gear but it does say something about some peoples moral compass when they gouge simply because they can.

Which is not to say that, from time to time, I am pleasantly surprised when a new bit of safety gear comes out that is both something that will actually add to the safety of folks aboard and comes with a reasonable price tag as well. Like this new product from Exposure Lights who are no stranger to safety and man overboard gear...

A watch sized "tag" that you can wear like a watch or put on your PFD or harness. Which communicates with a phone or tablet based app to alert those onboard that someone is no longer within its range.






The app then directs you towards the overboard crew.






Simple, needful and the sort of tech that will save lives... Right?

So, what's the price?

According to my information the app is actually free if you buy the "tag" and the listed price for a tag is 24.95 pounds or just about $30. At that price it makes sense to get four tags for the boat. In fact it's a no-brainer and the result is a safer boat. Plus an attaboy to the company for coming out with a needful piece of gear and not pricing it at an inflated price just to make that extra profit. Check it out! 

For a quick comparison you might want to check out the AutoTether at $249.95 which is really just a loud noisemaker (or motor kill switch) which goes off when it's sensor goes further than 100 feet from the receiver. Is it really worth 10 times the cost?

On the other hand, we should count ourselves lucky that the purveyors of marine safety gear who do gouge are not nearly as ruthless as the Big Pharma companies who think raising the price of a $13.50 pill  (which made a profit at $13.50) to $750 a pill is just good business no matter what the effects are on the users.

Listening to some Jim Croce covers

So it goes...



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Anyone with a good way to get bloodstains off a bulkhead?

Something everyone should read, demolition derby update, and, for a change, some positive news about a film I'm looking forward to seeing...

After digesting most of the news yesterday and awaiting the Trump press conference this morning I just can't seem to get my head around boats, boatbuilding, and other nautical pursuits other than lifeboats.

So, while I beat my head against a bulkhead and ponder the whole "How the frell have we come to this state of affairs" here's a great episode of a very interesting and entertaining video series I've been watching...



Listening to the Ramones and boy do I feel old

So it goes...

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

some advantages of simplicity...

The con artist getting conned, today in the "I'm not all that sure that being someone's bitch is what I'd call a good relationship" department, and the word for today (as well as the foreseeable future) is TRUMP'd...

Yesterday I was reading an excellent post by Webb Chiles which talked about being a certain age and sailing... A subject that I tend to ponder a lot more these days.

Meanwhile, I noticed that Cruisers forum has a thread on how to adapt to being an old fart but was disappointed by its content which seemed to be either get a trawler or to simply throw money at it. Well to be honest there was someone saying eating better might be the answer... Not much of the downsize and simplify anywhere to be seen.

Which sorta/kinda brings me around to the next boat and why it's so small A big part of the reasoning is a small boat is less expensive to build, outfit, and cruise with. Then there's the fact that a small shoal draft boat can pretty much always find a spot to anchor where bigger boats fear to tread. Lastly, another part of the equation is a smaller boat is just easier to sail and maintain.

All the needful in a small package


The phrase "Small boat, small problems" really is true.

On the other hand, a small complicated boat winds up being expensive (which I could live with) as well as becoming prone to the sort of problems that electric/hydraulic systems without a manual option tend to engender (which I just don't want to deal with).

The fact is, while I can deal with a 66-pound anchor now with a manual windlass I'm not so sure that I'll be able to do so 10 (or even 5) years from now. Getting older sorta/kinda sucks but if you keep it in mind while making decisions you can make the most of it... Color me embracing the reality and just being proactive. Which, I hope, makes me that opinionated old dude ten years from now who still anchors under sail and not "That guy" who can't leave an anchorage because of an electrical fault in his windlass.

Just saying...

Listening to the Marcus King Band

So it goes...

Monday, January 09, 2017

and a sorta/kinda answer to the derelict boat problem...

Something that makes sense, something that does not (unless they are trying to keep you in the dark), and in the "someone is making someone rich" department...


RESURRECTION - Rescue of a VW 1955 panelvan - Forest find ! from AirMapp on Vimeo.

Listening to Tift Merritt

So it goes...

Saturday, January 07, 2017

about that E-begging thang...

The stupidity, it burns, nothing of any importance here unless you have an IQ above room temperature, and a question of note (if your IQ is above room temperature)...

The other day I was watching a video series online that, at the end of each episode, asked for people to support their efforts via Patreon which. to my mind is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. Apparently not a view shared by all...

Scanning the comments to the episode I saw several viewers who took exception to the idea and termed it E- begging and worse. The phrase "Go get a job" was repeated by several. That said, the phrase that leaped to my mind reading the comments was...

"Frelling assholes"

The thing is, making a video program, writing, making music, and other creative pursuits IS WORK and it is really not too much to ask for someone to pay for the product of such work. The fact that the folks in question make their product available for free and use the pay for it if you want to support our efforts model is both admirable and generous. As someone whose day job was being a camera operator, I can tell you that making a film or video is, at best, hard work and the logistics of cruising or boat work and making a film of it as you do is anything but easy. It's very hard work.

To call such an enterprise "begging" or "E-begging" does the folk who work so hard to entertain and educate you a great disservice.

Of course, there will always be hyper-critical-mean-spirited-Monday-morning-quarterback-assholes who will, because they don't have any real talent themselves, criticize and bully others who do. Which, in my purview, alone is more than reason enough to support folks working hard to show us a bigger world in an entertaining manner.

Show some love and do the right thing...

Listening to Eric Clapton who, I expect, used to hear the "Go get a job" phrase on a regular basis way back when.

So it goes...

Friday, January 06, 2017

Just a simple compass will do just fine...

A bit of good news, a cat who surfs, and, just maybe, the best 2017 resolution I've come across...

Not so long ago I came across a guy who does not use a compass on his boat his reasoning is that his cockpit mounted GPS chart plotter is all he needs. He went on to say that he much preferred the you-are-here-arcade-like-display to the tiring act of trying to keep focused on some number on a spinning ball that won't stand still.

This is where you'd expect me to go all Luddite rant on your ass I expect...

You'd be wrong.

First of all, it's his boat and he can navigate it any way he wants to because, you know... freedom.

Secondly, well he's sorta/kinda right. Steering a compass course is often tiring because you have to keep an eye on some magic number and just like white lines on a highway the act of watching them tends to put you to sleep. There really has to be a better way...

Of course the GPS arcade display is one way to go but, me being phobic and all about anything that depends on electrons working on a boat the way they were designed to on a regular basis, I'll leave that solution to more adventurous and foolish folk. Which is why my compass of preference is a simple cheap grid compass...






The beauty of the grid compass is you just set the course you want to steer (let's say 184 degrees) by turning the bezel and then all you have to do is keep the needle between the lines. Simple as all get out.

Better yet, since they are so "last century" that you can buy them for cheap and, as it happens I just bought one for the not-yet-built-next-boat for just $32 bucks...

What's not to like?


Listening to Gov't Mule kick some ass

So it goes...

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Avoiding stasis...

Something you may want to check out,  a conversation with Bruce Springsteen, and in the "technically and economically feasible" department...

Back in the late 80's when we were preparing to retire and sail away to the Caribbean things were different and not in a bad way.

For instance, there was not a lot of choice like we have today in boats and boat stuff. Today, by comparison, there is such a plethora of "stuff you have to have" that just choosing a boat and outfitting is a lot harder than actually doing the sailing/cruising gig.While choice is a good thing, too much choice tends to induce stasis and stress. Made worse, of course, by the fact that the pressure to consume mixed with the need to have the very best (something that really only exists in myth) and shaken with a liberal application of false information is a cocktail that will make your head spin.

I mention this because as I'm budgeting out the new boat build I've been spending a fair amount of time thinking of the outfitting as I'd really like to future proof my investment and insure as trouble free system as possible. A couple of weeks looking at state-of-the-art electronics systems made me wonder just how anyone can actually outfit a boat these days and not lose their mind in the process.

My job became a lot easier once I'd applied the Need/Want process to the mix and did the math which vectored me right back to a reality based system...

Which means I'm going old school. Truth be told, I've always preferred simple and, as a bonus, if you want simple you're back in the not a lot of choice world.

So, right now my shopping list for the next boat is a grid compass, a mechanical (not electronic) speed/ log, an inexpensive fishfinder/chart plotter, and a vhf with AIS. Since I'm a belts and braces kind of guy I'll also add a couple of cheap (under $100) pocket GPS units, a handheld VHFs, and a trailing log. All told not a lot of investment and far, far short of that magic $1K number.

Next up we'll talk about why I prefer a grid compass and suchlike...

Listening to Wyclef Jean

So it goes...

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

The cost of stuff and a restatement of purpose for 2017...

A bit of a conundrum, some seriously scary shit, and a test that stands up to scrutiny...

A reader to this blog recently sent me a link to someone's posted budget to prove to me that it really costs at least $2500+ a month to cruise or live on a boat. I won't bore you with the details of the budget because it is really something of an apples/oranges kind of thing. Well, unless you absolutely need a fifty-foot boat, have to spend most of your time in marinas, are unable to do your own work, and can't live without spending over $800 a month eating out, I doubt if it applies to anyone reading BoatBits.

That said, in 2017 things are really too expensive and the portents are that things are going to get a whole lot more costly in the near future. Which pretty much means that folks of a frugal nature are going to have to be just that more creative to make the whole boatbuilding/boat repair/cruising on a budget thang actually work.

Not only do we need to get creative and inventive to do stuff affordably but we need to network or share to make it happen.

Which brings me back to the reader who sent me that link...

Over the years, BoatBits has received a plethora of emails of the negative "It Can't Be Done" variety and almost none of the "It Can Be Done and This Is How I DID IT" or "Here's a link to guy with a great way to save money on boat stuff" ilk. Maybe it's the creative folk doing stuff on a budget are just too busy saving money and living well in the process that they just don't have time to write. On the other hand, it's just possible that the negative naysayers are so busy not boatbuilding/repairing boats/cruising that they get to spend all their time finding reasons they can't build or repair boats and cruise.

Seriously, I'm about up to here with negativity these days.

So...

If you have a great link to someone who is doing something positive drop me a line...

Know of a good way to save money on a boat project I want to hear about it...

If you're cruising on a budget please share your tips and tricks that work or cunning plans that didn't...

I'm pretty sure you get the idea.

On my part, I'll be doing more detailed  "How to" projects rather than my just pointing to ideas and letting folks add their own creativity to the mix. This goes for VolksCruiser as well so if you're not a regular reader to the cheapseats you might want to look in from time to time.

Listening to Mr Zevon

So it goes...

Monday, January 02, 2017

Simple...

Sense being made, over in the "he should know" department, and some more thoughts on reality...

Simple and easily DIYable.



Listening to Ziggy Marley

So it Goes...