Sunday 31 July 2011

Two-Burner Meal of the Week #2

     "They do it down on Camber Sands, they do it at Waikiki..."

     Beer -steamed mussels and shrimp, corn on the cob, and pan-toasted biscuits.  

     As always, thanks for checking us out.  Please feel free to "Talk the Dock!"  Link us, follow us, or just tell your friends.

Jordan's New Ride!

          "Looking for adventure..."

        Jordan and Andy splashed their just-finished D4 dinghy yesterday.  She is sweet!

       A D4 is a stitch-and-glue  and mahogany plywood constructed dinghy.  Free plans are available on the interweb, and thousands have been constructed around the world.  She is a light, stable, versatile little boat, which can be built to be rowed.sailed or motored, or all three, depending upon your preference

      Jordan was modest about his contribution to the build.  "I helped stitch the seams,'  he said.


     Check out the kid's game face!  Think he's having fun?

Powered by a Minn Kota trolling motor, the battery is stowed in a well in the center bench, ideally located for stability  I was impressed by how fast this dinghy would scoot.  There may very well be some dinghy races in the future on Dock Six..

       Nice work, Andy and Jordan!

      As always, thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Please feel free to "Talk the Dock!"  Link us, follow us, or just tell your friends!

Thursday 28 July 2011


     "Maybe I'm laughing my way to disaster..."
                                                 -Paul Simon

    For those of you wondering whether I ever actually leave the dock, or if I just spend  all of my time cooking and drinking and making improvements to our boat that require varnishing, painting, and/or redesign, documentation follows:

   Recently, Jack invited me for a sail on his O'Day Tempest, the unfortunately named Blew Orphan.  For those of you not in the know, the Tempest is about the same length and beam as our Georgian 23, but that is pretty much where the similarities end.  A Tempest has a cockpit that is about 110% of the length of the boat, a vestigial cabin suitable for gnomes, a tiller that feels about 7 feet long, about 6" of freeboard and the waterline of a Siren.  Even though  Whiskeyjack has more sail area and a longer waterline, the Tempest is 1000 lbs lighter, making her a faster boat.  The PHRF rating on a Georgian 23 is 291, a Tempest is 246-ish.  And she is a pretty boat.

     Whatever.  On Whiskeyjack our beer stays cold and you can stand up to pee.

     As we leave the marina, sane boaters are coming in.  The wind is gusty, 15-20 knots, and the waves are a choppy 4-6 feet.

     Did I mention that there is about  6" of freeboard?

     And no lifelines?

     And I was sailing with Jack?

     Jack advised me to put on a PFD.  I obliged.

    As we headed out through the mouth of the marina, I discovered that the Tempest is a wet boat.  Really wet.   I was perched about midship on the cockpit bench, and every roller we crashed through broke squarely on my face.  By contrast, Jack, sitting waaaaaayyyyy back, just ahead of the outboard well, above and behind the tiller, was high and dry.  

     Once clear of the traffic heading into the marina, Jack decided to get some sail up.  Primarily a single-hander, Jack is most comfortable hoisting and trimming sail himself, and he's obviously not used to having crew along which became clear when he communicated his plan for getting canvas up.

     Jack said, "Here."

     Then proceeded to leap over me and head to the mast.

     Apparently, "Here." means "You take the helm while I raise the sails."

     So I scramble back to the tiller to keep us in the wind while Jack does the foredeck dance.

     Which is a sight to behold.

      Jack is the most practical of practical sailors.  He doesn't fix it unless it's broken, fixes it only enough so that it is fixed, and he is not concerned with fashion, only function, and often fixes function for Jack far better than they have any right to.  Why am I blathering about fixes and function and fashion?  Why, because of Jack's feet.

     (Ignore the dog- look at the shoes)

     No fancy, fandangled, futuristic, super-grippy deck shoes for him.  Jack is happy if his shoes have no holes.  Any tread is a bonus.

   Remember those waves that crested on my glasses earlier?  They made the deck really slick.  Yeah, the deck had a non-skid pattern applied to the deck when it was built, but 40-odd years of wear have seriously decreased the "non" value.

    So, to sum up-  wet, slick deck, treadless shoes, 4-6' whitecaps...

     And no lifelines.

     I survey the boat for MOB (Man OverBoard) retrieval devices and come up with bupkus.  If you hit the water, Jack,  I'm not getting you back.   No more, no more, no more, no more.  I focus on keeping us into the wind and try to ignore the acrobatic antics of the Flying Dutchman...

    ...And 2 minutes later Jack swings back into the cockpit  unscathed, leapfrogs me, kills the outboard, slams shut the hatch covering the outboard  and hops over me again to grab a Coke from the cooler in the cuddy.

    Apparently, I am still on the helm.  Any course, capt'n?

    With a breezy wave,  Jack leaves it to me. "Whatever."  Then he sprays Coke all over himself from an over-excited can that looks well past it's best before date.

    Sailing under storm jib and reefed main, Blew Orphan  was a joy to sail.  Well-balanced, she hardened up at about 10 degrees of heel and just went.   It had been a long time since I had sailed a tiller boat, and I found myself muttering the mantra "push starboard, go port, pull port, go starboard.."  In fact, everything on the Orphan was backwards to Whiskeyjack.  The mainsheet was behind the tiller rather than ahead of the wheel, and the jib sheets were ahead of the tiller, rather than behind the wheel.  As we scudded along, enjoying the fact that we largely had the lake to ourselves, the chop begins to die and  we spy sails on the horizon.

    Eric and After School  is out working the wind as well.

   You know what they say about two sailboats on the water inevitably falling to racing- Jack and I decide to reel Eric in.  I'd love to be able to spin a tale of hard fought tacking duel, but the reality is that the Orphan  simply ate up the distance.  Jack got pictures of them...

   ...While they got pictures of us, getting pictures of them...

    See the hat?  That right there is photo documentation that I do more than just cook.


Thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Please feel free to "Talk the Dock!" Link us, follow us or just tell your friends.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

The White-Trash Flotilla

     "Just shot a coat of primer, then he looked inside..."
                                                           -Steve Earle


    Sunday was a triple-H day- hot, hazy, humid.

     Gavin, Sylvia, Sunny and their new crew Don set off on Sunday for a little sailing, a little swimming and a LOT of sun.


     George Hamilton called. no, he doesn't want his look back, he just wanted to say, "Day-um!"

      Yes, that is a banana hammock.  Even the poodle looks sheepish.


   17 foot boat towing 15 feet of inflatables with an electric trolling motor.

      Dock Six:  Sometimes, this is how we roll.

      The best part of being shameless?  You're having a hell of a lot of fun while other people worry about what other people think.

     Thanks for showing us the way, Gavin and Sylvia!

     As usual, thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Please feel free to "Talk The Dock!"  Link us, follow us, or just tell your friends.

Sunday 24 July 2011

Weeknight Wonderland

      "...been spending most their lives living in a pastime paradise..."
                                                                   -Stevie Wonder

     I wish.

    Most of us bust our humps not to get ahead, but just to keep from being left behind.  We enjoy life's little pleasures because, all too often, those are the only pleasures we get.  We fight traffic, red tape, the system and The Man more hours than we should, more hours than we get paid for, all just to stay even.  "Rat race" is no longer an adequate descriptor, because a race implies that there is a winner, which just plain ain't the case for the vast majority of us who kiss more ass than we kick.

     And none of that matters when I step onto the Dock.    

     Especially during the week.

     Dock Six is, like most docks here, primarily a weekender dock.  Weekend skippers show up Friday night and leave Sunday night.  That means the Dock is largely a ghost town from Monday to Thursday.  Hell, the whole marina is pretty quiet for that matter.  That makes the Dock a perfect oasis in the desert of the modern middle-class maelstrom.  No people, no noise, no drama, no stress.

Look below, and just try to tell me I am wrong.

     As always, thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Feel free to "Talk the Dock!"  Link us, follow us or just tell your friends.

Monday 18 July 2011

A Shameless Plug for Some Cool Vids

     "...rewritten by machine and new technology..."
                                                       -The Buggles

     Ed and his wife have cut the ties and embarked on a new adventure, cruising on their aptly-named Endeavour, Freedom.  Ed is a skilled filmmaker who has done work for many of the big companies in Detroit.  Now he has put together a Facebook page for all of the films he shoots while aboard Freedom.  

     Additionally, Ed is a dealer for GoPro Cameras.

    This is a wearable,waterproof, HD camera system that can also be mounted virtually anywhere on a boat.
    Or a car.

    Or a motorcycle.

    Or a plane.

    Or on you.

     Or on the end of the boom and get footage like this:

    Wicked cool, and less than $300.  It's on my list of gadgets to get.

Thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Please feel free to "Talk the Dock!"  Link us, folow us, or just tell your friends.

Two-Burner Meal of the Week

     "...It sets my soul free..."
             -The Neville Brothers

 Jambalaya and Old Bay- dusted, pan toasted biscuits.


  As usual, thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Please feel free to "Talk the Dock!"  Link us, follow us, or just tell your friends.

Low-buck Project of the Week #3

          "And you say, 'What have I got to lose?' "

     Jack picked up another boat a couple of weeks back.  A Nordica 16.  Dragged it out of a backyard in Port Dover where it had been sitting for at least 5 years.  How do I know?  I had been keeping on eye on it, and if I ever saw it for sale, I was going to be all over it.
   Jack got proactive and beat me to it.

     Don't even ask what he paid for it.  That's not the low-buck part of the story, but it's damn close.



  The low-buck part of the story is the cockpit grate.  Jack built it from a discarded shipping pallet.  Total material cost: $0

    No it's not teak, and it won't last forever, but for a fresh-water trailered short-season daysailor  it'll work just fine.

Finnegan's New Threads

        "I'm too sexy for my shirt..."
                       -Right Said Fred

      Our dirt-friends like to give us nautical gifts. (Dock-friends just bring booze.)  One of the dogwalking group gave us a shirt for Finn.
"First I have to wear a bark collar, now this?  C'mon!  Really?"

   Bas looks bemused.

     "Can I take it off now?"

Sunday 17 July 2011

New Scribbles

    "But your thoughts will soon be wandering, the way they always do...|"
                                                                                       -Bob Seger

   I started writing this novel back in '96.  Every once in a while I dig into the back of the closet and drag the pile of paper into the light and try to figure out whether it's a story with legs, or whether it is a 250 word/page zombie.   Here's a bite.   Let me know what you think.


Detroit has been a Catholic mission, a battleground, a trading post, a battleground, a manufacturing behemoth and a battleground, in roughly that order.

     It has never been forgiving.

     Ask the strikers at Henry Ford’s River Rouge  factory- those that lived, never worked for old Henry again.
     Ask the working stiffs whose homes burned during the riots of ‘68-  those who still care are still waiting for promised rebuilding assistance that will never come.

     Ask any Big Three autoworker chronically “laid off” during the last decade and a half- it’s hard to feed a family on vague assurances of call-backs.

     Ask me.

     Just after seven in the morning I nudged Hecate toward home.  I’d searched the river for sleep and found none, so as the rising sun warmed the sharp angles of the skyline, I’d picked up my fishing rod and cast upon the waters.

     I should have searched harder for sleep.

     Fishing is a time-tested river distraction, but if the fish aren’t biting, you aren’t distracted much.

     They weren’t; I wasn’t.

     Conveniently, I gave up on both fish and sleep as the dredged ditch optimistically labeled “Riverview Marina” blighted the view off Hecate’s starboard bow.  The engines had barely warmed up before I hung fenders over  the gunwales and ran fore and aft lines to the sagging dock the marina rents me without conscience.

     This is home.

     Riverview wasn’t much of a marina when the pilings first punctured the riverbank thirty years ago, and eleven different regimes of ownership have brought no noticeable change, except for the worse.  Every year the docks inch closer to becoming rafts, and every year the slip rental climbs, an ascent invariably blamed on “improvements.”

     Probably to the owner-of - the moment’s home.

     Still, shaky architecture aside, it’s the only marina on the river that’s open year-round, the dock-end gas pump dispense almost affordable, reasonably combustible fuel, and the other tenants don’t bother, steal from, or even acknowledge Hecate and I.

     It’s as perfect as you get in Detroit.

     With the old witch as secure as she was going to get, and sleep continuing  it’s refusal to tap on my shoulder, I triaged the galley, hoping for breakfast.  Cleaning out the icebox and food locker, I gorged myself on a box of stale animal crackers and a can of Vernor’s, and wished I’d caught a fish.

     Groceries moved up to second position on my priority list.

     Paying for them continued its record streak at number one.

     As I chewed the last baked elephant, I reviewed my economic options.

     Chewing the cracker took longer.

     I didn’t bother opening my wallet; I knew the contents by heart.  Driver’s license, two dog-eared snapshots, social security card.  No cash, no checks, no credit cards, no bank-machine card.  Examining my saving and checking account balances was not an option.

     I had neither.

     In the v-berth locker in Hecate’s forward cabin was a can of spare change, collected during the months of my waterborne residence, that constituted my emergency fund.  My current situation didn’t qualify.

     Being flat broke wasn’t an emergency;  it was normal.

     Time to go to work.

     I crushed the empty Vernor’s can and tossed it toward the bag where it’s five discarded siblings resided.  I’d return them later.  Cans were gas money.  I offered a silent salute to deposit laws and stepped onto the swaybacked dock.


     Time to dance.....  

     (Continued on the "New Scribble" Page)


     As always, thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Please feel free to "Talk the Dock!"  Link us, follow us, or just tell your friends.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Cheapskate Chandlery

      "I'm in too far, I'm in way too deep over you..."
                                                     -Cheap Trick

    ...and it is always waaaaayyy too easy.

    You have the best of fiscal intentions when you budget your boat needs every year, and every year you make the same promise:

    "This year, I am going to stick to the budget!"

    It never, ever happens.

   Either something unexpected comes up that blows the budget, or nothing unexpected comes up, so you max out your budget, and THEN something comes up, which blows the budget.

    Murphy is a sailor.
   In any event, you always spend more than you expect.  This is why most of us no longer keep track of our marine expenditures.  After you have invested more than $15 000 in a boat with a high retail market value of $7750,  it's best for your health if you just stop counting.

   Boating is expensive-  the six magic letters M, A. R, I , N, E  in the description of any shiny object automatically increases the ticket.  Often, this makes sense:  electrical components designed for saltwater and high humidity environments and ABYC rated are built to a higher standard than unrated bits and pieces, and priced accordingly.

  But, sometimes, there are alternatives.  We here on Dock Six, being the cheapskates that we are, are always eager to find cheap more economical solutions.   Best place to start for cheap more economical stuff?

   The dollar store.

   Here's the deal-   SWMBO and I will play crash test dummies and test boat -related items we purchase at the dollar store, and tell you what we think.  If you have suggestions of your own, fire us the 411 and  we'll add them to the list.  We'll test items ofr a month, and give you our experience.  If it is worth keeping, it stays on the boat.  If it was a lousy investment, even at a buck or two, it goes in the trash.  Life is too short to live with equipment that doesn't do what you need it to do.

Cheapskate Chandlery Choice #1: 12 LED "UFO" Light.  $2+ tax

   LED lights seem to get cheaper every day, but they also seem to get cheaper every day. At a toonie price point, my expectations were pretty low, but I thought this light offered an interesting feature- it was the first light I had every seen that could be split open to clamp around a patio umbrella pole, tent pole, or the mainsheet of a boat.  I tossed it in the cart, brought it to the boat, cracked the clamshell packaging, punched in 4 damn-near -dead AA batteries  and hit the switch:

   Even with weak batteries the light output was enough to do Sudoku.  Three weeks later I replaced the batteries with fresh ones and the light illuminates the whole salon or the whole cockpit.  The only minor negative is that the batteries are housed in four separate battery bays, with four separate plastic bay covers with flimsy plastic leaf spring latches- three out of the four didn't survive the first battery change.  They covers still stay in place, but they no longer "snap" into place.  However, I am cool with that for $2.

   Verdict: It is staying on the boat.

Cheapskate Chandlery Choice #2: Collapsible Canvas Bucket- $2

    With storage space at a premium on our 23 foot sailboat, I have long coveted the collapsible buckets I have seen in chandleries and at boat shows, but have balked at the $12-$20 price tag.  For  a couple of bucks, it was a no-brainer.  It even has a boat on the package! One month in, here is how it's worked out.
1.  It is collapsible.
2.  It doesn't leak.
3.  It was $2.

1.  It is collapsible.  That means that this bucket  will decide to go from three dimensions to it's best impression of two  with a) no warning and b) usually with a full load of liquid and c) usually at the most inopportune time and d) in the least favourable location, like when you are using it for rinse water while doing dishes( because the fresh water pump is on strike) and it decides to dump the water all over the cockpit floor, soaking Wookiee dawg's bed and Wookiee dawg as well.   However, with that caveat, for quick hit -and- run jobs like hoisting deck and anchor rinse water onboard,  it is a great choice.

  Verdict:  It is staying on the boat.

  Thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Please feel fre to "Talk the Dock!"  Link us, follow us, or just tell your friends.

Monday 11 July 2011

More Two-Burner Meals

    "Now I wish I could write you a melody so plain..."
                                                             -Bob Dylan

   Saturday night-  Simple rustic penne:

     On burner 1, brown some Italian sausage cut into chunks.  Set aside sausage when browned.  In sausage pan cook 6 pieces of bacon.  When crispy, set aside and cut up.  On burner 2, boil water for pasta.  Back on burner one, saute a bulb of garlic (chopped) a white onion (chopped) and a red pepper (chopped) with a little EVOO in the sausage/bacon pan. Season to taste with rosemary, thyme and oregano, if you've got it, and a dash of balsamic vinegar When the pasta is done, strain and put pasta in a serving bowl.  Add the sausage and bacon to the pan of veggies just before removing from heat, and stir into the  pasta. Serve with a baguette.

   Sunday morning- Blueberry pancakes with blueberries and bacon.  No recipe needed.

   Note dog's paws in background, poised for a strafing run on the bacon if I even think about turning my attention elsewhere.

   Thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Please feel free to "Talk the Dock!"  Link us, follow us or just tell your friends.

Low-buck Project of the Week #2

     "All men are brothers, until the day they die."
                                           -Randy Newman

     I am short.

     The cabin house on Whiskeyjack  is not.

     This presents a challenge if I want to see over the house and sit while steering.   The weather cloths of the dodger provide excellent spray protection and shade, but  unless rolled up, they make it impossible to see around the house while steering, unless one leans wayyyy out over the coaming...
     ... which means I can no longer reach the wheel.  Because I am short.

     So, in short  (*rimshot*), I can see while steering, or sit while steering, but not both.  This presents a problem for one as fundamentally lazy as I.

      However, problems usually have solutions.  Being fundamentally cheap in addition to fundamentally lazy, I figured there had to be a low-buck solution.

      This is what I came up with:

      The solution would be a  removable raised helm-seat.  I thought about buying a ready- made fishing boat seat and pedestal, and simply installing a socket in the cockpit sole, but rejected the idea due to a) lack of storage on board for when the bulky seat is not in use and b) lack of room in the cockpit- adding a big honking seat would do us no favours.  So I did some measuring and figuring and headscratching and decided to hang a seat from the transom.  I built the seat itself during my low-buck frenzy documented a couple of months ago in these august pages-  now I have to tackle how to install it.
   The seat needs to be removable, but it also needs to be able to support my fat ass husky self.  I thought about fabricating folding wooden brackets, cutting slots, installing sockets, but rejected each idea.  I decided to browse the catalogue of one of my favourite chandleries, Lee Valley Tools (  ),  and espied my solution-  shelf brackets!

     These ain't your wimpy bookshelf brackets, though- these are for racking lumber.Each bracket has a capacity of 240 lbs.  More than ample, even for one as ample as I.  One warning- they are powder coated steel, but not stainless- in a salt-water environment they will rust when scratched or nicked, but I figured that in our seasonal sailing, freshwater environment they should hold their finish for a few seasons.  If not, it's not a big deal to paint them from time to time.  At less than $16 for two brackets and two standards, it's not a big gamble.

    Of course, to through-bolt the standards that the brackets hook to, I need to install backing plates. I'm no engineer, but, taking a wide wild-ass guess, simply screwing screws into the fiberglass  isn't going to be strong enough.  Bolts are the way to go.  I soaked six 2" x4" x1/2" pieces of plywood with epoxy, laid fiberglass cloth on front and back, then installed tee-nuts.  Plenty strong.

     Now, because these are backing plates, I have to find a way to install them on the back.  I am going to have to create a hole in the aft end of the cockpit large enough to get my backing plates, and my arm, in to anchor everything.  Then I need to find a way to make that hole either disappear or look like it has always been there.
   Ta-da!  Deck plate to the rescue!

   Okay, that covers the purty part, how do I handle the dirty part?  I have to make a six inch hole.  In a boat.  On the dock.  The unserviced, no water and power dock.  I don't own a fancy set of cordless tools- you know, the six piece makita kit with a cordless drill and circular saw and reciprocating saw and driver that would be perfect for household projects and boatwork, and it's only a few months until Christmas, so I'm just putting this out there, y'know, if anybody was wondering what to get me...
(shameless hinting ends now)
   I DO have a cordless drill.  Looks like I have to turn my drill into a saw.  Luckily, I know how, thanks to Don Casey.   In his great book, "This Old Boat"  he explains how to build a jig for creating large round holes with a drill.

So, I make a jig out of a piece of scrap, carefully measuring the radius of my deck plate so that the hole is straight-up Goldilocks- not too big, not too small, but juuust right.

     I find center, conveniently marked by a reflector, whose lack of purpose makes me suspicious that it covers a hole already existing.

  I install my jig, install a drill stop on a drill bit (so I don't drill into any wiring or hoses,) and start drilling.  Or sawing.  Or whatever.

   A half-hour later,

   I had a hole, into which the deck plate fit perfectly!  Yay, me!

   (For those smart- alecks pondering why I didn't simply buy a 6" hole saw for my 6" deck plate, and chuck it up to my drill, here's why- a 6" saw is too small for the diameter of the flange, and a 6 1/2" is too big, and a 6 1/4", if you can find one, is big bucks, and only available off the shelf at the closest big box store, which is 45 minutes away, plus the five minute walk down the dock- so, I could spend almost 2 hours in time, $15 in gas and $60 to buy a tool I might only use once for 5 minutes, or I could accomplish the same task in less time for free.)

  Ten minutes later I had the standards installed and the seat mounted.

 It fits, it works, and, as an added bonus, it gives us one more table in the cockpit.  We sea-tested the seat on Sunday afternoon, pounding through confused chop, and it worked great as a seat, and as a leaning post and as a table when the chop calmed and we served crudite in the cockpit.   Now we just need to make a cushion for it, to match the cockpit cushions.  We have the material, but not a sewing machine that can handle it.

Total cost, including cushion materials:  $48.

 (Purists, old salts, those whose sensibilities are offended by solutions that do not come from a chandlery, please take note of this disclaimer- Don't try this at home.  This solution works for us- your results may vary.  No stainless tube, teak or carbon fiber was hurt in the execution of this project.)

   Thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Please feel free to "Talk the Dock!"  Link us, follow us, or just tell your friends.

Thursday 7 July 2011

Conversations About Coffee

     "The stain on my notebook remains all that's left..."

    On the hard, I am a bit of a coffee snob. I like good coffee.  Not expensive coffee, not dramatic coffee, not bells and whistles and froth coffee, good coffee.

     Real coffee.
     True coffee.

     How do you know if you are drinking real, true coffee?

     1.  It is served by a woman of indeterminate age dressed in a polyester uniform with a plastic nametag, not a "barista" with multiple piercings and desperate facial hair.  If I wanted to be served by sullen teenagers who want to be someplace else, I would stay home on Father's Day.

    2.  Getting a cup of caffeine in hand doesn't require answering several questions relating to size, strength, blend, "flavour shots", "foam."  I am not real sociable before my first download of caffeine. Interrogation does not improve my disposition.

     3.  Real true coffee has one flavour:  coffee.  If you have to add caramel and milk and ice and chocolate it is no longer coffee, it is now a milkshake.

    4.  It costs less than $1.60.  For a large.

    5.  A large is, well, large.  Not vente.  Not grande.  Large.

    6.  When it is "to go", you get it in a paper cup with a sensible lid.  When it is "for here", they trust you enough to give you a real, damn near indestructible, weapon-grade, china mug.

    7.  It isn't an "experience."  It is a cup of coffee.

    8.  If you are making it at home,  real true coffee comes in a bag or a can, requires a filter (clean underwear will do, in a pinch) and makes a full pot of 12 cups, not in a little creamer-sized single serving cup.  No real, true coffee drinker drinks that little coffee.

    9.  Real, true coffee does not require a french press, a $400 coffee maker, a foamer, a whisk, a gold mesh filter, filtered water and precise temperature.  It requires caffeine and hot water. Now.  That's it.

    Others may disagree.  They're wrong.  Nice people, mostly, generally pretty intelligent, but wrong.

    Real, true coffee is like pizza, or sex:  When it is good, it is great.  When it is bad...'s still pretty good.

    On the boat, I cheat.  We cannot afford to lose valuable galley space to filters and a coffee pot, so I serve Nescafe instant coffee.  In a plastic mug.  Which never leaves the boat. Which is also used for Dark n Stormies and other rum -fueled concoctions. Which is never washed, only rinsed.

    I'm okay with that.  A cup of cheap instant coffee onboard always tastes a hell of a lot better than a cup of anything ingested at work.

  Go on, tell me I'm wrong.

Thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Please feel free to "Talk the Dock!"  Link us, follow us, or just tell your friends.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Why Do We Sail?

     "We all want something beautiful."
                              -Counting Crows

     This is why:

Sunday night we decided to cast off and enjoy a sunset cruise. Not much wind, but enough to fill the sails....

 No chop.  Even the waves seemed to be winding down from a busy weekend

  The sunset was spectacular...

THIS is why we sail.

Thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Please feel free to "Talk the Dock!"  Link us, follow us or just tell your friends.

The Newest New Crew

        "We were young, and we were improvin'!"
                                        -John Mellencamp

       Sunday dawned, hot, sunny and humid.  No plan, no schedule and no wind, so no hurry to leave the dock.  We enjoyed a lazy breakfast with Gavin and Sylvia, and SWMBO had just set off in Quack, our inflatable, on a water refill mission, so I decided to take a walk down the dock.  I heard a familiar voice call my name, I turn, and there's my brother, Brent!

     Apparently, I need to check my email more often.  He had fired off a signal that he was going to come down to see us.
     I hadn't read it.

     So my pleasant surprise visit was his announced plan.

     That pretty much describes the difference between the two of us in a nutshell.

     Turns out that my favourite sister-in-law, Anne, and my niece and nephew were also here.  Yay!  New Crew!

    REALLY new crew.

   My niece and nephew, Danica and Preston  (Don't even think about calling them Dani and Presto.  Or Nicky and Tony.  I tried that.  Damn near got my godfather card pulled.)  are about a year and a half old, with all of the wobbly curiosity that entails.

   We've never had toddlers on board.  How baby -safe is our boat?  How baby- safe is the weather?  I did a quick scan of the bay outside the breakwall- looks relatively calm.  A few whitecaps, but not bad.

Wait- do we have PFDs that will fit toddlers???
Never mind, Brent and Anne had picked up Roots toddler PFDs.  Great, the newest crew has the shiniest, trendiest lifejackets on the boat

   We get everybody loaded up and decide that a tour up the river will be the best course of action- we get on the water, but there will be enough visual stimulation on shore to keep the twins occupied while being out of the waves, and it's a quick return to the dock if anybody starts kicking and screaming.

     We needn't have worried.

   Upon leaving the marina, Danica promptly fell asleep in SWMBO's arms...

     ... While Preston kept watch and gave directions...

   and Danica continued to snooze...

   ...while Preston checked the compass...

     ...and Danica napped some more...

    ...while Preston helped steer...

      ...and Danica slumbered...

     .while Preston steered the other way.

     No seasickness, no screaming, no crying, no tantrums...

   I was really proud of Brent.

     The kids were great, too!

   To top off a great afternoon, we all went out for dinner.  Thanks for treating to a great meal at the Arbor, Brent and Ann!

    We hope to go sailing with you again soon!

   Thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Feel free to "Talk the Dock!"  Link us, follow us, or just tell your friends!