Friday 30 September 2011

Sailing on Borrowed Time

                  "...and the sky is grey..."
                        -The Mamas and the Papas

          With Labour Day in our wake,  northern sailors can feel the end of the season looming just over the horizon.  The scent of burning leaves that hallmarks the return of autumn smells a whole lot like desperation to a sailor.  No more "Ah, the wind is too light (or heavy, or the waves are too choppy, or it's too humid, or I've got a project to finish), I'll go out tomorrow."

           After Labour Day, there ain't a whole lot of  tomorrows left, so best take advantage of today.

           Come to think of it, that's not a bad way to live every day.

        Last Wednesday afternoon was blustery, with a strong wind and waterspout warning.  The sky was somber and the wind was boxing the compass, making the Dock hobbyhorse.

       The only boats heading out were the Wednesday Night Beer Can fleet, and many of the racers quickly retreated once they were out of the relative calm of the marina.

      And Hillary.

     For the last month or so, Hillary had been making  up for lost time.  He had missed half the season, what with gallivanting across Canada on his excellent fly-fishing adventure, so he hadn't logged as much sea time as he would have liked. Since his return he had been getting as much tiller time as he could, usually solo.  Today he had crew and foul weather gear, so he decided to give it a shot.  I was on my way to see a client, so we exchanged waves, he as he motored past me, me as I strolled down the Dock.  As I drove up the street to the top of the bluff overlooking the marina, I decided to see how he and his crew were fairing.

     Hillary's Tempest is to the right, below.

   I have no idea what he is pointing toward.

     They returned to Dock shortly after these pics were taken, the rationale being that less beer would be spilled at the Dock.  Kudos for the attempt, Hillary!

    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 25 September 2011

Two-Burner Meal of the Week #5... and 6

     "Take one bite now, come back for more..."

A twofer this week!

   Pan-seared tuna, vegetable rice and Tuscan sausage with balsamic-steamed broccoli and cauliflower:

    Grilled tzatziki- marinated chicken with fresh local corn and "North of the Border" beans and rice:

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

Thursday 22 September 2011

A Waypoint Marked

     "Oh won't you stay, stay a while with your own ones..."
                                                      -Van Morrison

       Father, husband, author, poet, angler, sailor, ad man, editor, editor emeritus, and, now, octogenarian.
       My father -in- law,  and Editor Emeritus of  Long Island Boating World, George Nammack, has just celebrated his 80th birthday.

     Happy Birthday, George!


     Well done!

Saturday 17 September 2011

Tying Up Loose Ends, Volume One- Cidnie Needs Us, Again!

              "Just want to make it real- good, bad or indifferent..."
                                                              -John Mellencamp

        The most basic difference between fiction and non-fiction writing is that fiction has a plot.

        That is what makes it interesting, which can very rarely be said of non-fiction, blogs included.

        (Hold your hatemail, fellow bloggers- I include myself in the above bald generalization.  If we're all gonna be honest here, some like how-to and what-we-did-last-weekend tales, some don't.)

        However, sometimes, with a little effort, you can force a plot onto real life.  Bring back a popular character,  tie up a story arc,  publish posts out of sequence to create suspense....

       ...Okay, it ain't gonna make this trainwreck into Wuthering Heights, but it's not like you're paying for it.

     Anyflashback, let's take a look at where one of our most popular characters is now:

     Remember Cidnie, of Ceol Mor and cute kids and cool photography and Dyneema Experience fame?

     Well, thanks in no small part to the efforts of you, beloved readers, she is currently holding the top spot in the Dyneema Experience!!!!

    But, it is close... really, really close.  Cidnie has 37 points- the loser  skipper behind her has 36.  It all comes down to this final Challenge.  Each skipper had to make a video summarizing their experience with the Dyneema Experience.

Cidnie's is here:

  It's really simple- the skipper with the largest number of warm bodies on their team and the largest number of views of their video wins.  So, follow Cidnie, watch the video, and tell your friends to watch the video.  Better yet, just email the link to everybody in your address book.

  Come on, it's not like you haven't forwarded them worse stuff.


Friday 16 September 2011

State of the Blog Address: Seven Months On.

                   "I'm on my way, I'm making it..."
                                           -Peter Gabriel

     22,000+ page views.

    That is pretty (unprintable) amazing.

    Seriously.  Our small time, small town, small boat adventures have been viewed over  TWENTY-TWO THOUSAND TIMES.

   Even deducting the thousands of times SWMBO amd my mom have clicked through looking for dog pictures, that's still a pretty awesome number.

    27 followers is a damned awesome number too.

     Thank you.

     All of you.

    What's been really cool is the number of times this season boats have sailed past Whiskeyjack and skippers and/or crew have yelled out "I like the blog!"  Or "We saw the pictures on the blog!"

    NICE boats.

    With cute crew.

     Clearly, the Chronicles have found the right demographic.

   Of course, the increased notoriety means that a) we have to keep Whiskeyjack looking good and b) we keep getting asked "Where's Legacy?"

    More on Legacy soon.


    Some have inquired about what I am going to do with the wealth I have acquired from the advertising revenue generated by the Chronicles.  Are SWMBO and I going to quit our day jobs and blog full time, and maybe flog merchandise and low-buck advice at boat shows, spin off a cookbook and magazine column?

     Total ad revenue to date:

   Yeah,  I'm a regular multi-media mogul.

   Look, I know what I like to write about, and what I think is important and interesting, but I am ME, and you are YOU, and I don't have to read this drivel because i am the guy writing it, and you don't have to read it because you can go to any of  the other uncountabajillion boat blogs out there, so YOU are important to ME.
  I like you guys.  I like your feedback.  Even the mean stuff.  So let me know what you want to see covered in the Chronicles.
Here's what is in the works:

Book reviews.
Tool reviews
Real-world Dock Six Boat Reviews.  Power and Sail.  Small boats, big pictures.
More food.  Y'all seem to like food.
More low-buck projects.  There are always more low-buck projects.
I've got more installments of The River and more short fiction if anyone is interested.

What else do you want to see?

Thanks for hanging with us. And, as always, thanks for passing the word.  Please keep Talking the Dock!



Low-buck Project of the Week #3

            "She'll give you every penny's worth...'
                                             -The Tubes

Coozies, Cozies, Koozies, whatver you call 'em, these things:

    ... are a boat show gimme-bag staple. Every boat show I end up with a couple more.  They're handy for keeping the wobbly-pops cold, but they end up all over the damn boat.  After picking them up off the cockpit sole, cabin sole, and retrieving them from the sink for the eleventy-seventh time, I decided to solve the problem.  I built a koozie catcher.

1 10 ft length of 4"  PVC pipe.  (Or less.  A lot less.  See below)
1 scrap of wood at least 5" x 5"
Paint (if desired)
5  #8 x 1/2" screws
     Mandatory Tools:
 Hole saw
 Marker or pencil for marking.  Or penciling
    Optional Tools:
  Mitre saw
  Radial Arm saw
  CNC Machine

  Step 1:  Determine how many koozies you need to corral- that determines the length to cut your pipe.  Sewer pipe usually comes in 10' lengths and koozies are about 4" tall, so you're gonna be doing some cutting.  Okay so the downside is you have to buy a crapload of pipe.  the upside is it's cheap- less than $12/ length.  The other upside is when all of your friends are awestruckingly amazed at your new boat improvement, you can make back your investment by selling them their own koozie korral.  While you're cutting, also cut yourself a 1" piece to use as a circle template for step 3.

   Step 2:   Once cut to length, grab your hole saw and drill a hole at what will become the bottom end of the catcher/korral.

Step 3:  You need to build a bottom to keep the koozies from falling out.  Using the  1" band you cut earlier, trace a circle on the scrap of wood and carefully cut it out.

     Step 4: Sand the bottom plate you just cut into something more closely resembling a circle, and install in bottom of koozie katcher.  Fasten with screws.

     Step 5:  Mark two parallel lines running the length of the koozie tube from the hole at the bottom end to the top end.  Then cut along these lines  with your saw, and use your sand paper to clean up the edges and corners.

   Step 5:  Paint, if so desired.

   Step 6: Install, and toss all of your koozies into your new koozie catcher.  Once you realize you miscalculated on the height, give away any koozies that don't fit.  You will always find more koozies than you think you had, and you always have twice as many as you need.  Trust me on this.

Total cost:  Under $15
Total Time:  Under 1 hour.

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.

Saturday 10 September 2011

Dock Ponderings

      "Things that make you go hmmmm..."
                               - C&C Music Factory

    Discussion points and musings from the cockpit of Whiskeyjack

1.     In our marina, the big money boats dock on Dock Five.  There are 38 boats slipped on Dock Five, of which 9 are sporting “For Sale” signs.  At the opposite end of the spectrum is us.

     The ghetto dock.

     Dock Six.

    65 boats hang over here, and only two are actively for sale.  One because his wife said he had to, and the other is James’  this-one-is-a-keeper-uh-make-me-an-offer boat of the moment.


 2.    We have spent more money this season on holding tank pump-outs than we have on fuel.

     We have spent more on rum than we have on fuel.

     We have, however, spent more on dog food than on rum, pump-outs or fuel.

    3.  A racer acquaintance of mine  invested $10 000 in a new sail this year.  His boat is roughly twice as fast as mine.

      He will do it again two years from now.  His boat will still only be twice as fast as mine.

       For that kind of cheddar, I  could buy a brand new RIB with a brand new 25 hp outboard and be three times as fast as him, and still have enough money left over for fuel, pump outs and rum.
      And not have to do it again two years from now.

   4.   My kids don’t like me. 
     I’m okay with that. 
     They are both in college.
     Not in jail.
     I’m okay with that, too.
    Maybe one day they will see the correlation.

5.      I went to the grocery store the other night to buy bread.  I selected a bag of 6 kaiser rolls.  A shelf stocker rolled a rack of bagged “day old” buns past.
A dozen buns.Half the price of a half dozen. 
 The best before date on the “day old” was the same as the date on the buns I held in my hand.  I asked the store employee what the difference was.
 “I haven’t gotten to the ones in your hand yet with a price gun.’
  I bought the day-olds.  Bread must be like wine; within reason it tastes better with age.

6.      I know you shouldn’t wear white pants after Labour Day, but when the hell do you have to start tucking your shirt and wearing socks?

7.      You know you have the right boat for you when, no matter how hard you try, you can’t find a boat worth trading up.

8.      And you can’t find anybody willing to pay what you think is a fair price for yours.

9.      And your wife isn’t harping on you to sell it.

10.  Rain pattering on a bimini is enchanting.  Rain pattering on a patio umbrella is just depressing.

Boats have biminis.  Golf clubs have umbrellas. 

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.

Friday 9 September 2011

'Round Midnight

       "When there's no one else around..."
                                   -Wilson Pickett

     Some pretty scenes were captured from the Dock recently, and I have been remiss in not posting them sooner. No real context, no exposition or explanation, just pictures too pretty or too cool not to share.

      Sunset, shot by Sylvia from the cockpit of Whiskeyjack:

   Melanie decided to experiment with aperture, shutter speeds, available light and film speed settings, and came up with some hits and maybe some misses.  You decide.

    Personally, I am really digging this one:

     Get your mind out of the gutter.  It's Jack's slip number.  Okay, so, Jack's last name is Gutter, that doesn't mean...oh, never mind.


    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.

Summer's Last Dance

        "Don't look back, you can never look back..."
                                                       -Don Henley

       Labour Day Weekend: the official end of summer in Ontario.
       But, that doesn't mean the end of boating season- it just means that the water starts to get cooler.  After Labour Day, swimming weather is on borrowed time. So, we figured we'd take advantage of the hot, humid, windless weather by heading to the beach.

     Sylvia prepares to depart Whiskeyjack while her tube awaits.  Hillary's Tempest, Solway, is in the background.

  This is Christmas Card material right here:

   And Jack's Tempest, Blew Orphan:

Jack and Baasje swim into the sunset:

  The Dock Six Sailing Club and Rum Drinking Society:  From left to right;
Baasje, Jack, Gavin, Sylvia, Finn, Inky and Sonny (On board), Melanie and Hillary.
Missing Notables- Steve, Rae Ann, SWMBO, Jim and Marianne, and Jim and Jill.
Maybe we can get a complete photo at Thanksgiving?

    Saturday night, SWMBO and I hung with the Power (Drinking) Squadron for a barbecue.  This was a bittersweet event, as James was scheduled for knee surgery the next day.  The good news is that he is recovering well, and his boat hasn't sunk...
    And the food was yummy!
     Hats off to Katey and Erica and Mark and JD and Nate and Jamesand Brooke for laying on a solid spread.

     The next day, like a broken spell, was cold, rainy and miserable, a harbinger of the autumn weather to come, with Old Man Winter chuckling and beckoning with a crooked frostbitten finger.

    Not so fast, old dude- as long as the boats still float we're not ready to give up or give in.  This is Dock Six:  our season doesn't end until the gates are locked.

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.

A Raucous Reunion

     "Guess who just got back today..."
                                    -Thin Lizzy

     (Insert your best "Jaws" theme impression here:)





       Garnet is back!
        For those of you who lost your copy of the roster, Garnet is Gavin's brother.  We had the enjoyable opportunity to sail with Garnet last season, and were pleased to see him return to our lovely little burg again as he seeks respite from his high-pressure career in our nation's capitol....
      (Alright,  so he's really just killing some "use it or lose it" vacation days, but come on, he works for the gubmint in Ottawa- if I don't inflate the importance of his slacktime, I might get audited.  Or subjected to a CSIS background check.  Or SWMBO might get deported.  Hey, I might be over-reacting, but better safe than sorry.  You never know with these government types with vague job titles.)
      ... and not just because he came strapped, bearing a bottle of fine small-batch Kentucky bourbon and smoked salmon,
      but because he is always good fun, with great stories, a cranial vault full of obscure trivia and a laid-back attitude.

      Within minutes the stove was warming up and Jack had joined the festivities.

      Of course, Garnet is not above questioning what the hell he is drinking...
But he is also willing to overlook the plebeian quality of the beers served on Whiskeyjack, and enjoy the antics of Jack and Gavin while SWMBO looks askance.

   Mildly amusing Garnet story:

    The day after the above photos were taken, the weather forecast was hot humid and wind-free. The decision was made to  set out for a "shake and bake" afternoon, anchoring off the beach and swimming.  However, while provisioning for said adventure, it was discovered that we were out of rum.
   This, of course,  will not do.  
   The brothers Smith were dispatched posthaste to our local liquor store, with instructions to return with a bottle of Sailor Jerry, the semi-official rum of Dock Six this season.
    They returned.  We anchored off the beach.  The swim ladder splashed, and the refreshment stand was open.
   Garnet had never tried Sailor Jerry.  
   Garnet is not a rum drinker.   
   Garnet said "I'll try it.  I'm not a big rum drinker, but I'll give it a shot.'
   Half a bottle later he was still not fully convinced.
   "I'll need to do more reshearchsh.  I'm shtill not sure I like it."

    This week I get a "thank you" email from Garnet
    (which is a refreshing change from some of the emails I get, which involve the letters "k" and "you" but the rest is unprintable in a PG-rated blog)
   and at the end...
     "ps. There is a bottle of Sailor Jerry now sitting on the Whiskey Shelf! "

    Dock Six:  Making a difference, one person at a time.
    Next week could be your turn!

    (Hey, there might be a contest in this!)

    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.

Monday 5 September 2011

Dock Six Animal Rescue

     "Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood..."
                                                      -The Animals

     (What, you were expecting lyrics from  Flock of Seagulls?)

     (Okay, those of you scratching your heads, just read on and all will become clear.)

     (Can I stop talking in brackets now?)
      ( Thanks.)

     Sometimes this place feels like the friggin' Mickey Mouse Club.  Yesterday was Maintenance Day.  Today was Tree-Hugger-Animal-Rescue-Save-The-Planet-Clean-Up-Somebody-Else's- Crap-Day.

     In other words, we didn't leave the dock.


     But, we did do some good.

     Early Sunday morning a squall blew through the marina, leaving a mess in it's wake.  Boats rocked, boats rolled, and inevitably anything left on deck or on the dock became flotsam.  This morning I decided to clean up the detritus that had collected on the lee side of the dock.  Finn helped.

    While searching for more empty beer bottles, playing cards and trashed beer cases, I spotted a gull hunkered down on the breakwall with a decidedly non-stock day-glo orange addition to it's wing:  Talking to the staff, I found out that the bird had been spotted  near the Travelift  recently and they had  noted that it was unable to fly and had trouble swimming.

    Finn and I returned to the Dock to grab a pillow case, gloves, first aid supplies and my handy Benchmark Flip-Grip Multi-Tool, then we leaped back into Quack and in full-on hero and sidekick style we were off to rescue a fowl in distress.

   However, as we approached, the fowl in question was not so distressed that it did not  escape our grasp on our initial approach.

  But, with Inky providing a little vocal canine coaxing from the Dock , the recalcitrant rodent-of-the-sky submitted to our ministrations.

     But not without putting up token resistance.

     "You get that I'm just trying to help, right?  Right?"

    "You think SWMBO is laughing at me for talking to a damn bird?"

Upon closer examination, the gull was in more distress than it first appeared.  Fishing line was wrapped around the gull's wing, neck and right leg.  Every time the gull  flapped it's wings it both strangled itself and bent it's knee, and if it tried to swim, it strangled itself and bent it's wing.

No, I am not tickling it's belly.  There was more than a foot of  line, a shackle and a sinker wrapped around this bird's appendages.  The only way to remove it was to cut it free, where my Flip-grip came in handy.

  A few minutes later, a fishing tackle-free gull set off to join it's peers on the pier...


     ... and Finn and I returned to Whiskeyjack.

     One tool, one mess of line, one bird with one more chance.

     Maybe by helping out one gull, the others will be less inclined to poop on our deck.

     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.