Sunday, September 14, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Dory and Duckworks

I’m a bit ahead of the blog with my projects. Most of my time has been spent crawling around on my hands and knees in excess of 2,400 sq. ft. of flower bed weeding, cleaning, trimming, spraying, and mulching in preparation for fall. It’s raining today---blessed rain---so I’m out of the flower, and it’s too humid for painting, so here I am.

The crazing and cracks, plus two concentric circles of damage
where the jaws of the boom have rubbed.  We'll try to correct this.
This is around the mast step tube on the foredeck.
James dropped his Cape Dory 14 off at the house Monday a week ago. I have dived into the project a bit, and called him right away with some good news. We had a couple spots where there was delamination in the cockpit sole. We didn’t know if it was fiberglass delaminating or what, but it turns out that the problem is nothing but cosmetic. A pigmented gel is sprayed inside the cockpit so the fiberglass isn’t translucent. Those of us in Kevlar boats are all too familiar with watching the waves pass by our hulls, but in fiberglass boats they like to project a more robust illusion, so work hard to keep light from shinning through the hull. The gel had cracked and separated from the fiberglass hull material, so it is nothing more than chipping and sanding all the loose material away and putting a new epoxy coat on the inside of the hull. It will then be primed, painted light blue, and have non-skid material applied between two coats of finishing paint.

There are other spots of crazing that will be routed and filled. That also is a common issue with older boats, and again is nothing more than cosmetic. The gel pools in low spots in the mold, making it thicker than appropriate in spots, and over time hardens and cracks, especially in stress areas. Once everything is touched up, the entire cockpit will be hand sanded and repainted to look like new. This is hull #55 of the 652 that were built, so it has been giving great service since about 1965.

The paint and non-skid additive have been ordered from Jamestown Distributors, as well as a new set of cleats, strap eyes, a block, and line for the brailing line from Duckworks. Installing the brailing line will take some time to get the angles just right, but I think he will find it to be a great upgrade to the boat’s handling. At least I hope so. There’s always a risk involved in trying to modify someone else’s boat. Oh, by the way. For all you lovers of small boats, if you are not familiar with Duckworks, it is a fine place to explore, admire, dream, and find those small pieces of gear you can’t get elsewhere. A good place to get lost for a day (or a whole winter) is in the plans section. There are 36 small boat designers there for vessels that row, paddle, sail, and putt-putt, and even a selection of free plans. Here’s the link:
A bit later:
The darned rain quit, so it was back to the flowerbeds, but still too damp to paint.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Ultimate "Paddling" Gear Guide

Cover credit:
You may get the impression from the title of the book, “The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide,” that this is not a paddling post. Nothing could be further from the truth. The logic behind getting this book was the comment I’ve heard frequently about paddling/camping being nothing more than backpacking on the water. Canoes, especially, allow for a few comfort items to be toted along, but some of us carry that a bit far. Actually, I never went overboard on comfort stuff as much as things that I felt might be needed in an emergency. Short of a nuclear blast, there has never been anything that anyone would need on an expedition trip that I wouldn’t have at least one of, or maybe several. The result has made my canoe vastly overweight.

The book, again, is “The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide,” by Andrew Skurka. (pub. by National Geographic, 2012, 217 pp. plus glossary and index) He describes his learning curve, where he started, and how he got where he is now. The list of things he describes as terrible mistakes reads like my packing list. He doesn’t advocate ultra-light, masochistic travel, but has turned packing and provisioning into a science. His full pack for an extended expedition, like the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail, weighs 15-pounds minus food and water. As evidence that this can be done, Larry Hoff, an experienced Kruger distance paddler and biker, carried a 7-pound pack when he biked the entire circumference of the United States. Having paddled the width of the U.S. and done many Watertribe events, he undoubtedly has carried his knowledge onto the water. Skurka says it comes down to weight being the inverse of pleasure. For us paddlers, that means the heavier we are, the more water we have to push aside, making every stroke harder, the boat slower, making and breaking camp harder, and making a portage something between agony and impossible.

Skurka knows his stuff. He has been named Adventurer of the Year by Outside Magazine and National Geographic Adventure Magazine, Person of the Year by Backpacker Magazine, has hiked over 30,000 miles over the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, 4,700 miles on an Alaska-Yukon Expedition, and many others. Each piece of gear is examined, compared with possible alternatives, giving pros and cons of each, and how to pack on a budget. He provides packing lists for various sample trips like desert Southwest, Eastern forest, Western mountains, rafting, and Northern winters. On You Tube, you can also find a number of his instructional videos.

I got the book through the library exchange program, and typed copious notes for my own use. Listed at retail for $19.95, it is also a book worth keeping for reference. At the very least, you will find it an eye-opening, informative, and enjoyable read.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Out and About

We see some things of interest because they are our destination, but some that are just as interesting are those we see by chance along the way. 
This beauty is a clemantis, which amazingly enough, is one of 300 species in the buttercup family.  They are of Chinese and Japanese origin, but have also found a welcome home in gardening clubs of Great Britain since 1862.  Besides being known as clemantis in England, they are also called traveler's joy, which we certainly found to be true.  They are a climbing vine that like cool, moist soil, which leaves us 0 for 2 here in Western Oklahoma.  Taken along a rural road near Carlyle, PA.

Western Village RV park near Carlyle, PA, is also a popular haven for full-time residents.  Many have done very nice yard gardens that I have used pictures from before.  I found this one so attractive that I waited out a whole week of rain just to get a picture of it.  This little rock garden is not only beautiful by day, but contains a number of unique solar lights that add interest into the night.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Wings of a Dove

Jean's young dove at feeding time.
“O that I had wings like a dove; for then would I flee away, and be at rest.” Psalm 55-6. For the last several weeks, this dove meant no rest to speak of at all. We’ve had two squirrels and this dove, all infants that came to us within a couple days of birth, and all found abandoned on the ground. Like any infant, that meant being up every three hours around the clock for feedings. At our ages, that left us as numb as zombies. Finally, for the last three nights, the night feedings have finally been cut to zero, and we have slept three nights through without the alarm going off at all hours.

The dove has developed a bit of personality and its own routine. Once the cage is opened, it jumps out and makes a couple flying laps around the bathroom, and then lands on the vanity. Either on its own, or with Jean’s help, it climbs onto a branch to perch as dinner is served from the curled lip of a spoon. It makes a coo to excitedly announce each incoming spoon of food, and turns into a siphon as it draws in the feed. Jean uses Kaytee Exact brand baby bird hand feeding formula, which she has found to be the best. It has also begun pecking at a dish of seed, but will still need at least a couple more weeks of hand care before being ready to rush out into the world.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

CD-14 Daysail

I finally got back on the water for a day, but in a sailboat rather than a canoe, and carrying oars rather than paddles. Unfortunately, while I had planned to take the camera as always, I somehow walked out of the house without it, so I’m sorry, but no pictures.

My son and I had put new bearings on his boat trailer a couple weeks ago. He had been told by the previous owner, when he bought the boat, that the bearings had just been done. I don’t know what was done to them, but inspecting, greasing, and replacing worn parts were none of the things that were done to the trailer. The bearings were shot. The races were pitted and gouged. One hub was all but destroyed, so we replaced it with a new hub, race, and bearing set. The right hub looked passable. Although when we finished, the new Bearing Buddy would not seat in the old hub, indicating that it was worn and would also need to be replaced.

We made an early start on the day, bought another replacement hub, race, and bearing set, and replaced the worn hub. We took a ride around town, stopping every couple miles to feel the hubs to make sure they were staying cool, meaning that we had gotten them properly greased. With that done, we headed for Kaw Lake with a lunch stop with the granddaughters in Ponca City.

The Cape Dory 14
Their boat is a Cape Dory 14. It is 14-ft 6-in overall, 51” beam, 6” draft board up, and 36” with the board down. It is gunter rigged, and one of 652 built between 1964 and 1973. My son was looking for a good pulling boat that could also be sailed. He loved the lines of the classic Whitehall, but with a $12,000 price tag on the Whitehall, decided the Cape Dory 14 much more within reach of his wallet.

When we arrived at Kaw Lake, we didn’t need a calendar to tell it was Labor Day Weekend. There were easily a hundred boats buzzing about and beached on the shorelines. We charged forward, however, and launched as planned. There was barely a breath of air even though we are in a state where a 20-mph wind is normally called a calm day. We sat becalmed in simulated ‘storm-at-sea” waves generated by the wakes from all the passing powerboats. No sooner would a zephyr attempt to caress the sail than a wake would flail the sail around and smack the zephyr in the face. We did move, however slowly, and got plenty of practice sitting on the leeward side to hold the boom off to the proper side. After a couple hours and a couple miles, we came about for the slow drift back to the ramp. We arrived at the ramp at 6 pm, and of course you know what that means. Everyone was wanting off the lake at the same time to make dinner, so it took us an hour of sitting in line waiting to gain access to the ramp.

This brailing line is on a gaff-rigged sloop, but nicely illustrates
how it works.  Credit:
In spite of all this, it was a wonderful day. The girls had a good time, as did we. We got on the water after being aground way too long, and planned a couple new projects for the boat to improve handling and convenience. I’m trying to talk my son into installing a brailing line. As the rig is now, when the halyard is eased, the boom and sail fall into the boat or overboard where it lies until the sprit is all the way down. You then pull all the sail, boom and sprit back aboard, where they are in the way of everyone and every thing. The only recourse then is to stand teetering in the bow while holding the boom and sail up while lashing it all to the mast. A simple line from an eye on one side of the mast would come down and through an eye on the bottom of the after part of the boom, then back up to a cheek block on the opposite side of the mast, and then down to a cleat. To pull into a pier, the beach, ramp, to have room to row, or just to stop and eat lunch adrift, all that would be needed would be brailing up the boom and sails, and everything would be out of the way and secured in place. When needing to get underway again, just throw off the brailing line, pull the sheet in, and off you go. Even one of the girls could brail the sail up when not needed.

So, we had lunch out on the way to the lake, and after the sail we had dinner out. I didn’t get home until 11-pm. All told, it was a nice change of pace and a chance to be on the water. What could be better? Well, maybe a breeze, but we need not get picky. Today, its blowing 25, gusting over 35, so unless a few folks have holed up in a creek somewhere, I doubt much of anyone has gotten on the lake today.