Wednesday, September 30, 2020

a film I'm looking forward to...

About sharks and Covid vaccines, the cost of opening too early, and some Caribbean history...

Speaking of films as opposed to YouTube channels


Just the thing to put your head in a positive space! More info on where/how to see it here.

Listening to Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires

So it goes...

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

an interesting dinghy design...

Scalzi puts it all together, a dire situation, and more input on why FaceBook is not in your best interests...

So, here's a dinghy that makes a lot of sense.


It's Harry Bryan's Ladybug design and does double duty as a wheel barrow. It's also kind of handy if you find yourself in areas with a lot of tidal range.

As it happens, Off Center Harbor has a great little film about the Ladybug you might want to check out.

Listening to Larkin Poe

So it goes...

Monday, September 28, 2020

a bit more thought...

I'd be surprised if anyone reading this pays less tax than $750, pygmy bunnies, and in the “We’d expect nothing less from Donald Trump, who pissed away the chance to protect the lives of 200K Americans when he didn’t make a plan to stop COVID-19.” department...

Ah yes, another day living in interesting times.

Today's mailbag included a fair bit of positive pushback on the idea of my getting a boat in some out of the way bit of middle America and then going to Alaska with it while filming the process.

On the other hand, a couple of folks pointed out that the last thing needed in the world is yet another YouTube sailing channel. A point I heartily subscribe to and I'd rather gargle razor blades than do anything of the sort. That said, making a film would be no bad thing.

The problem, as with any sailing based project, always revolves around logistics, weather, and budget. Add the extra complication of making a film at the same time creates a fair bit of complication and mental gymnastics to the process.

In this case it's only an early passing idea and will, more than likely, morph into something completely different if anything at all.

Rest assured that I'll keep you all apprised of the process such as it is.

Listening to Flatbush Zombies

So it goes...

Sunday, September 27, 2020

a thought inspiring boat for sale...

A video you might want to watch, something regarding the working world, and some seriously scary shit in Texas...

So, I saw what looks like a very good deal on a Westerly Centaur with a trailer in Illinois (Lake Shelbyville).

For those who don't remember it's a very popular twin-keel design by Laurent Giles.


Considering the low asking price I'm very tempted to buy it, convert it to junk rig, and spend a bit of time doing some lake cruising on Lake Shelbyville which looks like a neat place. Than tow the sucker to Seattle and sail it up to Alaska to hang out with Dave Z for a bit of salmon and halibut fishing. 

Might even make a good film?

Listening to yesterday's quiz answers

So it goes...

Saturday, September 26, 2020

A galley fix...

What the smart money is thinking, on clarity in language, and in the "What's a fish worth?" department...

For the last couple of weeks, our fridge (an Alpicool CX50) has not been a happy camper. It's been running too much, pulling too many amps, as well as, to my mind, been running hotter than it should be. An obvious addition to the must sort out and fix list.

Yesterday it pretty much quit working as normal and kept kicking into its various trouble codes on the LCD screen. The problem got worse just before bedtime when it gave five furtive beeps and shut down completely. When we tried to turn it back on there was, apparently, no power to the fridge with no lights, and no LCD screen.

Bummer. So I went to bed with images of fixing the fridge today running around my head which is not an asset to a good night's rest.

This morning we plugged the fridge back in only to find we again had power but the compressor would not do its thing. It just went from trying to start and then getting one of the various problem codes. Worse yet, in my opinion, was that we had an apparent intermittent fault (the power going out) somewhere in the mix which always adds to the fun and frolic level of a job.

Researching possible fixes on the web was problematic to the the max as the Alpicool site had no real info and everyone else tended to suggest that when encountering problems with inexpensive Chinese-made fridges that the best course of action is to throw it away and buy a more expensive Chinese-made fridge to replace it.

My main problem was that the error code was for low battery voltage but that seemed wrong as our batteries have a good charge and all of the lights and LCD were bright so we obviously had enoough voltage. Everything else seemed in good shape so we seemed to have a conundrum of sorts...

I'd checked everything, well almost everything. I had not checked the internal in-line fuse because we obviously had power. Well, except for when we didn't have any power last night.

Yeah, it had to be the fuse. The fuse was the intermittent fault.

A few minutes later I had the fuse out and it most certainly had issues. It was not blown but it was not passing all the juice through to the compressor though still passing enough to make the lights and LCD screen operate, except last night when it was not working at all.

So, a new twenty-cent blade fuse later and the compressor is purring away quietly, making things cold again.

Listening to The War and Treaty

So it goes...

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Stuff you need to know...

EBM says it like it is, L,G,&M has a good point, and a cartoon that pretty much says it all...

Regarding voting in the US of A.

Listening to Brandy Clark

So it goes...

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A bit of fiscal common sense...

Some skewed logic on over 202,000 deaths being 'virtually nobody', a better coffin as it seems we'll need some more, and a plethora of Ocean Cruising Club lectures to take your mind off things...

A whole bunch of years ago I was working on a day sailor in St Thomas as a replacement for a crew member who'd gone walkabout. Apparently, the job was a bit too much like work for his liking and he considered the tips to be paltry. The owner of the boat had pointed out that if he wanted better tips he might want to consider losing the $5K Rolex on his wrist and replace it with a cheap Casio during day sails because people seldom tip folks exhibiting possesions they cannot afford themselves.

I mention this because I was recently privy to a conversation concerning how someone with a sixty-foot catamaran felt ill-used because he needed some work done and no one was willing to give him the sort of deal or discount he felt he deserved.

To be honest, I don't know if the cat owner was wearing a Rolex when he was trying to negociate a better deal but having a Million-plus dollar yacht pretty much establishes that said yacht owner does not need a discount no matter how poor he might say he is.

I'll also add that in decades of experience working around boats, I've learned that the more expensive the boat or flashier the Rolex adds greatly to the chance that getting paid for agreed upon work is, at best, going to be problematic. Just about every yard or marine tradesmen I know in the Caribbean has a list of rich and famous folk who skipped out on their yard and marina bills.

Which is a roundabout way of saying that if you want a discount lose the Rolex.

Listening to the Bonzo Dog Band

So it goes...

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

A very good deal on a sextant...

EBM makes a valid point, a  book on my need to-read list, and something from the "The lips keep moving and the lies pour out" files...

I happened to be checking out the Celestaire website last night and happened to notice they had the Davis Mark 3 sextant on sale.

Sure, it's a simple sextant and, as sextants go, as cheap as they come but the important thing to keep in mind is that it's a simple, light, cheap, and capable sextant that will allow you to navigate pretty much anywhere you need to go. Which, for $39, just might be the best deal I've seen in years.

If you're considering getting into celestial navigation the Davis Mark 3 is just the thing to do it with and you might check out Starpath's GPS Backup Kit as a guide for the other bits you'll need to make it all work.

Listening to Sylvie Simmons

So it goes...

Monday, September 21, 2020

a heads up...

Hardly surprising but seriously fucked up, EBM points out something incomprehensible, and coming to a polling place near you...

So, yeah, about Boat Bits. It would seem that I've been doing this Boat Bits thing for over fifteen years which, considering I'm no fan of social media, is a fairly surprising accomplishment of longevity. More importantly, it has been a mostly positive exercise and allowed me to meet and become friends with a lot of exceptional people. Sure, there were the folks who wrote in and hate pretty much everything I say but they're a fairly small minority and, I suspect, they just need to sort out their meds.

Still, fifteen years is a long time to be doing the same old thing and it's more than time to shake things up and stir things around a bit.

You might say I have a cunning plan.


This revolves, mostly, around giving me the freedom to do more long-form writing on the subjects of Boats, boat design, boat building, sailing, and cruising in the dystopian world we currently find ourselves in during these far too exciting times.

In the meantime, Boat Bits will continue for a while as normal until I have all the ducklings in a row but, as no one likes surprises these days, I'd thought I'd let you know that change is afoot.

Listening to El Chicano

So it goes...

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Three years on...

Some interesting news about that tRump/Russia thing, more on the subject of that asshat & Puerto Rico, and enough with the tRump crap how about some tree climbing goats...

I just realized that it's been three years since the USVI and Puerto Rico got way-to-up-close-and-personal with hurricane Maria.  As it happens, Daily Kos has an excellent post today that's well worth reading on the aftermath.

The current "H" season has been particularly stressful with no real place to run this year, the ever-present spectre of COVID-19, and my countries inaction and inability to do the right thing in fighting it has taken a toll.

Hopefully, we'll make it through the rest of the season on the hurricane front but I'll wager serious money that, as the pandemic plays out, it will get a lot worse before it gets any better.

On a brighter note, I have a dinghy to build which is a good way to chill out.

Listening to the Iron Leg Radio Show

So it goes...