Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Just get pragmatic...

EB Misfit gets it right, interesting, and in the "Has it really come to this" department...

I've noticed, through the ongoing cold/flu-from-hell I've been suffering (as well as my possible new addiction to Nyquil), that my sense of humor, apparently has taken off for parts unknown  (possibly Brazil?) and I miss it.

I mention this mostly because I generally enjoy the antics of folks searching for the perfect boat, discussions of what makes a perfect boat, and, especially, long diatribes on how important having a perfect boat is...

I suspect in an earlier time I would have enjoyed the "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin" debates as well.

The problem is, without an intact sense of humor, the whole searching for the perfect boat, discussions of what makes a perfect boat, and, especially, long diatribes on how important having a perfect boat is just really pisses me off. I even find myself hating the word p-e-r-f-e-c-t.

Houston we have a problem...

Truth be told, I've never ever thought that there was such a thing as a perfect boat. At best, boats can be perfect in a finite set of circumstances but those are rare as hen's teeth, the one true love, or honest politicians and, when they happen, it is a short time magical event to be savored.

There are lots and lots of better than good cruising boats out there and, in fact, there is such a glut of the damn things that the prices for a better than good to great cruising boat is cheaper than they have ever been.

Seriously, for $10K, in any major city with a coastline in the US of A you can find a turnkey ready to go boat thirty feet or under that will sail you pretty much anywhere you want to go in safety and no small amount of comfort. Spend a thousand or two more and you can have an even nicer more than good enough to boat that will fulfill your dreams.

If you need a bigger boat (as in you're not a single-hander or couple) because you have a family add  anther $5k for a 35-foot or under boat and if you still need bigger $20k will buy you something in the under 42-feet zone. Sure you'll still have to look to find the good ones but there are so many out there you won't have to look far or long to find a boat that will work for you.

Well, that is, if you're pragmatic about actually doing stuff and getting to someplace gone.

P-R-A-G-M-A-T-I-C, it's a very good word where cruising is concerned and, having been on and around boats since the early 70's I have yet to come across an unhappy pragmatic cruiser. Pragmatism works just fine, will never let you down, and will get you by when perfection fails.

Just something to consider...

Oh, and by the way, if you happen to come across my sense of humor on some southern beach please let it know that I miss it, all is forgiven, and I really miss being able to laugh at all the donuts trying to find perfection afloat...

Listening to Lily Meola

So it goes...

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

It all depends on what you want...

Uh duh, that guy with the signs, and in the "not so hard on some kinds of terrorism" department...

Some while back a guy I was working with on a film project sat down across from me at lunch and took notice of my watch.

"Is that the sort of watch a DP uses?"

To be honest, I was somewhat taken aback as my watch was of the cheap-as-shit-beat-to-hell-Casio sort of which I'm pretty sure I'd spent all of $14.95 for. Then again, the man asking the question was talent and one never really expects to have sensible conversations with talent unless, of course, the conversation was about the talent's life or a keen particular interest. So, I answered...

"It tells the time."

To which he then proceeded to show me his new $10K+ Rolex which led to his choice of cars, the HIP (but oh so very expensive) neighborhood he lived in, his designer running shoes, and...

I mention this on a boaty blog because I get a lot of emails of the "what sort of boat do I have/what sort of boat do you plan to build" sort that are really just folks trolling so they can enlighten/impress me with the fact that they have a better boat and if they were going to build one they'd build a better boats as well.

Which is OK as I've long known I am not as hip/cool/smart/rich/accomplished as most and I'm the first to admit that. Truth is, I have pretty much zero interest or need to be admired, be better than others, or being part of someone elses ego building exercise. I'm fairly content with who I am and don't feel I need to compare myself to others as the only person I'm in competition with that matters is myself.

What's more important is I really don't care whether you're cruising on a beat up old Catalina 25 or a Gunboat 62. Fact is, most other people on boats don't either and, as long as you don't T-bone them , wake them, or anchor too close, they'll think you are just fine.

Now I have some shelves to build so I can get back to the important project of a cat powered compost slinging trebuchet for the foredeck.

Listening to Halo Maud

So it goes...

Monday, February 27, 2017

On the current cost of yams...

An interesting read on oil, some seriously neat news from NASA, and in the "just how bag-of-hammers stupid do you need to be a Republican in Congress these days?" department...

Color me worried.

The other day while out shopping, I was appalled to see that yams/sweet potatoes were selling for $1.79 a pound. Which, I'm pretty sure you'll agree, is a whole lot of money for what I've always thought of as "poor-people food". Two years ago, I'd never even consider buying yams if they went over sixty-nine cents a pound.

The thing is, I can't recall hearing or reading about some awful yam blight or large scale infestation of sweet potato eating bugs that might account for such a steep price rise. It seems to be that someone just decided to raise the price.

What I have been reading in the news is that the powers-that-be keep threatening to send back the workforce that actually does the grunt work of harvesting the produce we eat and, if that comes to fruition, the added costs in labor with the impossible to avoid resulting scarcity of produce will make $1.79 yams start to look cheap.

Provisioning in "interesting times" is going to take some lateral thinking...

We'll be talking a lot more on the subject in the near future. But, in the meantime, check out this interesting bit of thought  from Shanty Boat Living and while you're at it you might want to download the PDF of "Sailing the Farm" as well.

Listening to the Pogues and Mekons

So it goes...

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A very cool boat for sale...

I expect we'll be seeing a lot of this sort thing in the foreseeable future, BadTux with some needful insight, and more in the "But shit like this can't happen in America" department...

Remember Yann Quenet? For those who don't he's the guy who designed my next boat project, an intrepid builder of boats, and generally interesting mind where boat stuff is concerned.

As it happens, his very interesting lug rigged sharpie "Bigornick" is up for sale at a great price... You should really check it out and don't miss the construction photos!

Offhand I can't think of a better way to visit France than on a a little boat... That said, I should warn you that we visited for a week and stayed for fourteen years.

Listening to a great music blog (now ten-years old!)

So it goes...

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A quick note on DIY composting toilets...

Chuck Wendig saying the needful, some nuclear insanity, something of interest to anyone with Garmin gear on their boats, and just another link in a chain...

The only difficult/pricey part of a DIY composting toilet being the urine diverting bowl as everything else can be put together for next to nothing. The two urine diverting options everyone tends to use are the Privy and the urine separator by Free Range Designs.I recently noticed that the Free Range Designs unit now ships free to anywhere in the world bringing the cost of the urine separator to somewhere around $36 (compared to the Privy at $129).

Good news. Now it's possible to build a better than commercial composting toilet for less than a hundred bucks total.



So, maybe it's time to get rid of that MSD, a couple of through hulls, and the nasty holding tank?

Listening to some excellent covers from 2016

So it goes...

Friday, February 24, 2017

A scow bow and foils...

L,G,&M with a bit of truth, something that had me in tears, and just some good people helping out...

Sweet!



Listening to Haley Bonar

So it goes...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Payback...

Something from the 'Pathetic Asterisk Of Condescension' department, a book to keep an eye out for, and a boat doing some good works...

Reading the news it appears that Trump and his stooges think that mass deportation of illegal aliens to Mexico is a good idea even if they are not from Mexico. It is not going to make Mexico a happy camper and, as is normal with politics at this level, if we do something to piss off Mexico it is normal for Mexico to retaliate in some way or other. All governments tend to take the tit for tat thing seriously and if the USA starts dumping non-Mexicans off at the border things will get interesting and not in a good way.

It has also not escaped my notice that the whole large-scale-round-up-immigrants-of a non-white-variety-and-send-them-home-two-step will also include lots of people from the Caribbean and other island nations where folks on boats like to visit.

Something to think about.

Any readers out there know anything about cruising in Russia?

Listening to Warren Zevon

So it goes...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Chicken soup and Nyquil...

Jackboots in the distance, something you need to read, untreated syphilis, and in the "really, if your only fanboy is David Duke & the KKK you're a loser" department...

I have a truly nasty cold of the "I really need a case of Nyquil but just too miserable to row into shore to get hooked up" variety. So, today I'm taking a sick day and for those in need of your daily fix of boatish mayhem you could do a lot worse than checking out DoryMan.

Now, if you'll excuse me I have to see a man about some chicken soup...

Listening to Thee Oh Sees

So it goes...

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Some thoughts on buying used stuff for boats...

Words, some bad (though much deserved) news for Utah, and a little depressing math...

OK, I'll admit it, at least once every week I check out eBay to see what's for sale in the boat gear category. Partly because you always need something for your boat and partly because it's good to know what stuff is worth.

That said, eBay is no longer the extended yard sale/swap meet it used to be and not really a good place to check prices because the greed has taken hold with a vengeance. Take self-steering gears for instance. You will often see used gears for silly prices. I suppose the fact that most new self-steering gears being stupidly expensive is a factor but still something used really should come with a price that reflects the fact that it used or, in far too many cases, used and abused.

Once upon a time I used to work in a consignment store selling boat gear. It was not a bad job as things go and it did teach me a lot about gear not to have on a boat and how the whole used gear thing actually works in practice. Being a consignment store it also taught a lot more on how not to sell things.

Which sorta/kinda brings us to the rule of half/half again... Let's say you have a self-steering gear on your new used boat you don't want and you want to sell it. Let's also say that you can buy the very same gear from its builder for $6K in spite of it having a retail price of $6.5K (face it everybody discounts). What would/should you price it at if you actually wanted to, you know, sell it?

Well, a guy on eBay today seems to think $5.5K which equals out to a $500 discount for a gear that predates his ownership of the boat, so it could be a decade or so old, possibly needs some work, and new bearings. At that price we'd never have been able to sell the beast in the store unless we lucked onto someone exceptionally stupid and drunk... Nope, at that price it would just sit in the corner and gather dust.

The fact is, used boat stuff really does not move until it hits the half off level rounded down to the nearest round with a kiss off that number... So, for the windvane in question, half of $6.5K is $3250 then rounded to $2999 is a price where it might actually sell for if it was in like-new condition, had all its bits, spares, and documentation. Truth be told, anything that was once bolted to a transom would fall into the half again rule where it might sell for $1500 at most.

Since one is predisposed to spend more in an actual brick & mortar store than from some dude on the internet selling off stuff he no longer wants, $1500 is actually way more than most people would fork out unless, of course, they were of the exceptionally stupid and/or drunk variety. A real world price is more likely to be under $1K.

As a consumer, you already know this to be true to one degree or another but there is a lot of pressure, both peer and otherwise, to forget the common sense you were born with and spend boat bucks like a drunken sailor (spelled exceptionally stupid and drunk) because... you know... you get what you pay for.

Working at the store taught me that the half/half again is just based on what good used stuff is really worth and nowhere near rocket science or voodoo. More importantly, it also taught me that there is always new old gear coming to the market all the time. If the guy selling that old funky winch for $500 or the $5.5K windvane won't come down to a real world price, someone else will have the same thing or a reasonable facsimile in the not too far distant future. All you have to do is keep looking and be patient...

Plus, the folks with the too-high gear will still be selling their gear next month or next year because it just ain't going to move anytime soon.

Listening to Barbagallo

So it goes...

Friday, February 17, 2017