Sunday 25 December 2011

Possible deal of the week

        "Yeah, I heard he got that hot new thing..."
                                            -Will Smith

         As I tear into Donorboat, I have made an effort to recycle anything that might be even remotely usable on the new boat.  Trim, bulkheads, hardware, it's all saved unless it is already trashed or can't be unscrewed, unbolted or cut free.  One item  beyond reclamation, though, is the electrical panel.  Too cracked, too small, too crude, just...too.

       So, I've figured that I was going to be looking at kicking out a couple hundred dollars for a decent 8-10 switch panel-  one item that is on our Boat Show shopping list this year.  It isn't a top priority,  since actual hull construction has to commence before wiring even appears over the punch-list horizon, but if a good deal comes along, then...

      Last week, I saw an ad on kijiji, and $15 later, brought this home:

    All the switches seem to work, there's no obvious signs of damage to the circuitry, so one night soon I'm going to poke and probe with my multimeter and see if I can get her to light up.
     It probably won't be nearly as fun, or as dirty, as that sounds.
     If it doesn't work, I'm only out $15.  If it does work, I've got bragging rights.
     Oh, and that "Beneteau" logo?  Nothing that a strip of electrical tape can't fix.

    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.

For my Brother. Merry Christmas!

        "When I stop to think back on everything..."
                                              -Dark New Day

         You want it, you got it, bro.

          More "The River" scribbles.  The page has been updated, and the excerpt bookended  with a couple more chapters.  Let me know if you'd like to read more.

       Merry Christmas.

Saturday 24 December 2011

Me and Mrs. Jones, a Decade On.

      "Holding hands, making all kinds of plans..."
                                             -Billy Paul

     SWMBO and I celebrate our tenth anniversary today.  Every day I am amazed that she continues to tolerate me- my barrel of luck is larger than most.

      Thanks for a wonderful decade, sweety, I love you.

    After a flurry of activity in the skunkworks earlier, I am taking the rest of the day off after writing this memo:

   Note to self-

Hanging  C-clamps from the overhead pipes is a great to get them out of the way, yet still have them close to hand.  With 7' of headroom in the skunkworks, and with a personal airdraft of 5'6", there is lots of clearance.

Forgetting you have  C-clamps hanging 7' overhead while carrying 78" long pieces of moulding vertically is an effective way of bouncing a C -clamp off your head.

CONTINUING to carry said lumber after the first clamp drops on your head is not recommended...
If there are 5 more still hanging.  For the moment.

I got every damn one.  And every one got me.

I am going to lay down now.

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 14 December 2011

Holiday Diversions

            "Here's your miracle...."
                       -Kenny Loggins

        Look, you can only watch the same reruns of Storage Wars so many times.

        (Not to go off on a tangerine, but, is it just me, or does Brandi look like a low-rent version of Jennifer Aniston, circa 2003?)

       Here's a great way to waste a few minutes in between turkey sandwiches this festive season:

     Yacht Rock   (click on it- it's a link),  the best musical comedy series on the web, is now in HD.  All 12 episodes, covering the rise and fall of that incenstuous smooth Southern California rock sound.  See how Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins sang on damn near every song released by every SoCal band... except The Eagles and Van Halen.  It even helps explain the inexplicable-  Christopher Cross.

    You're welcome.

   If you get a chance, check out the blog of Fortuitous, whose skipper, Chip, may be the president of the Yacht Rock Fan Club.  He belongs on the Dock.

    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 13 December 2011

One Month to The Toronto International Boat Show

       "If only there was a better way to go..."

      ....  Ah, but there is.

     The TIBS is a January staple for SWMBO and I.  It's great to get away from the post-Christmas blahs and wander around acres of boats and gear without having to wear a coat and wade through snow and slush.  There is always lots to look at, occasionally some good deals on gear, and lots of swag.

  The Sailing Sunderland Siblings will be in the house, and Duma the Wonderdawg will be back.

We make a weekend out of it, which really makes the show more enjoyable, because the clock isn't ticking.

   Right now there are some good deals on hotel rooms during the show:

   SWMBO and I stay at the Harbour Castle. Beautiful view of the Lake, cheap parking right next door, and a shuttle bus to the show each day so you don't need a coat.

     Buy your tickets online and save 3 clams.

   Anyone interested in a Dock Six pub night at the show?

   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 December 2011

Two-Burner Festive Favourites: The Cure for the Schmoopies

           "Just kickin' down the cobblestones..."
                                 -Simon and Garfunkel

   The crew on Ceol Mor has graciously allowed me to borrow one of their recipes.  This is perfect for winter snacking, holiday hors doov, hors derv,  appetizers, or just lunch.

   "Here's what you need: 2 apples, a big hunk of good brie, fresh baguette, fresh pressed apple cider, nutmeg, allspice and butter. Margarine is an abomination, use the good stuff.

Peel and core the apples, then slice into rings. Put apples in a pan and cover with cider(about a cup or so) add 1/2 tablespoon each of nutmeg and allspice and simmer until the apples are soft. Drain the apples. Save the liquid to make some wonderful cider and whisky cocktail to you know, take off the chill) Slice the baguette, slap the apples and a big hunk of brie on it. Butter that puppy up and toast them in a hot pan until the bread is golden brown and the brie is a warm, gooey mass of unavailable in Mexico loveliness. This sandwich goes better with cold weather.
NOW you can look at your friends photos of their boat anchored in a gorgeously warm location and not feel quite so schmoopy. And yes, I just acted as if I was telling you some marvelously complex epicurean secret and not just how we make grilled cheese sandwiches in cold weather. Enjoy."

    C'mon, do these kids look schmoopy?  I think not.

   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.

Catamaran Character Compromise Conundrum

     "She's a combination- Anita Ekberg, Mamie Van Doren..."
                                                            -Rough Trade

      In my dreams,  I draw a Venn diagram where the intersection of "Brian's design skills" and "Brian's boatbuilding skills"  is a nice big fat ellipse of  "Beautiful catamaran, a design tour de force, comfortable, seakindly,  swift and a joy to sail."

     In my nightmares there are screams, snickers, some vomiting and only a few feet of mast above the surface.

    As always, reality will hover somewhere in the big void in the middle.

    With some input from the WLYDO I am redesigning the redesign of my latest redesigned redesign.

    Here's the challenge- controlling the compromises.

     If money, time, skill and space were infinite, I could, and likely would build something like this:

Alas, money, time, space and skill are NOT  infinite;  in my case, more often infinitesimal.  My workspace is small, my budget is small, and my self-imposed schedule for this build is small.
SWMBO and I keep refining our needs and wants as regards this new boat,  clarifying what is a non-compromise point and what aspects are open to new ideas.

  A head with elbowroom.
  A galley with an oven.
  A master berth big enough for two.
  A cockpit two can stretch out in.
  Enough cabin  space for two to lounge with two dogs out of the weather.
  Easy passage forward.
  Hard bimini.
  Wheel steering.
   5'10" + headroom. At least in the hulls.
    Dock Six size  25'-ish LOA max.
    Reasonably handsome.
     500-600 hours build time to sailability.
    Sails as well as, or better than, Whiskeyjack.

    Shower, or provisions for shower to be added.
    Hot water.
    Accomodations for 4.
    80 watts of solar power.
    Stunning magazine cover beauty.
    No slamming, 12 knot cruise, excellent performance to windward.
Posted Image

  It may very well be  a perfectly fine sailing boat, but with the slabsided construction and the colour scheme, it looks like it should be commanded by Rommel.

Posted Image

  The challenge of the designs I have crafted to date is the curves.  The bendy- swoopy roofline and cabin sides and the curve of the hull all add up to one thing- hours and hours of fairing.  For mom those unfamiliar with the jargon,  "fairing " is the black art of filling all the dents, dings, gouges, bruises, pits, joints, imperfections and other unsightlies to create a smooth flowing shape which is both pleasing to the eye and travels easily through the water.
  This is one big advantage to fiberglass as a commercial boatbuilding material, fewer man-hours invested in finish.  Once you get your mold perfect, every piece that comes out needs minimal clean-up and fairing.

  Another advantage of fiberglass is that it is much easier to form complex shapes.  Working with plywood and dimensional lumber, one CAN make the nice bendy- swoopy shapes seen on this fiberglass catamaran:

 (Image courtesy of
... by cutting the lumber into strips and moulding it into shape, then planing and filling and sanding and fairing and...
... it will be a very beautiful boat that will take the rest of my life to build.

   So, how do we end up with a boat that won't be a floating embarrassment?

   Accept that we (er, I,) don't have the skillset and the patience and the budget required to build a bendy, swoopy, fiberglassy looking boat out of wood. Further accept that we (er, I,) do not have the budget, space and time to build in fiberglass.
   But that doesn't mean I have to build a floating Panzer.

Let's celebrate and showcase the material instead of trying to make it something it's not.

   I'm content with the dory hulls. Seems like a good hullform for this purpose,  and  relatively straightforward to construct.  It is everything above and between the hulls that I am constantly rethinking.

   Looking for design inspiration, I found this:

(images courtesy of Woodwind Yachts

Yes, I know it is not a catamaran, humour me for a second, willya?

Ignore the hull and look at the house.  Clean, handsome,  looks like it might still be handsome if widened to 10-12' in width. Simple curves, simple ports.   Maybe break up the big expanse of overhead with a pair of butterfly hatches, outboard and aft of the mast on port and starboard.

Finish the transoms and the rudders bright. Yeah, it means more maintenance, but not much.  Besides, when was the last time you saw a catamaran with a varnished rear end?

    Round and oval ports instead of more complex sliding windows for ventilation.

 Rather than attempt to slit my wrists on the cutting edge of design, I'm gonna embrace my inner curmudgeon and go retro.

   A TRADITIONAL catamaran, rather than the traditional contemporary catamaran.

    THIS, I can build.


  I'll post some drawings soon.  Meanwhile, it's back to stripping DonorBoat.  The clock is now ticking, but that's another post.


     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 7 December 2011

Shameless Self -Promotion

        "I just wanted you to know..."
                                -Billy Joel

          I am, most emphatically, NOT a Christmas person.
          I don't like shopping.
          I don't like the mall.
          I don't like the crowds,
          Or  the carols,
          Or the lack of parking,
          No, not at all.

          The trinkets,
          The baubles,
          The four-figure budget.
          Black Friday at Wal-Mart?
          Oh, hell no, fudge that!

          SWMBO draws the line at cutting cheques and dispensing cash,
          So for some on my list, I do something rash.
          I make my own presents for under the tree,
          Some wood, some stain, a beer...or three.
          I build boatshelves in two sizes,

          ... and small...

          ... "Big" sits in the corner, "Small" hangs on the wall.
           The boatshelves get compliments, some think they are grand,
           So I have decided to see if there is demand,
           Out here in the wide world of discerning consumers,
           From Generation Why? to "Get off My Damn Lawn!"  Boomers.
          For, you my blog readers, I'll make them to order,
          And ship anywhere, even south of the border.
          Your choice of finish and number of shelves,
           Built with my own two hands,
           No help from no steenkin' elves.

           "Enough with the rhyming!" you say, "and all that jive,"
          "How much do I gotta pay?"
          Just Canadian, Ninety-Five,
          Will get you size small,
          While only $140 will get you a tall.
           Plus the cost of shipping to wherever you reside,
          Or I'll deliver, no charge, if less than a two hour ride.
          Ontario followers order by Friday, and you will receive,
          Your big or small boatshelf,
           By Christmas Eve.

            Send me an email or comment if you'd like one for you,
            Hell, get one for mom, and your cousin, and for dad,
            Buy a few!
            It'll help keep me in beer and epoxy,
            And wood and all that,
            Other stuff I require,
            To build our new cat.


Monday 5 December 2011

Low-Buck Tools: Mitre Saw Stand Upgrades

                  "  I won't cry, no, I won't shed a tear..."
                                               -Ben E. King

            Building a bigger boat means building up my tool inventory, and in some cases, building the tools.

              So while it rains outside, making DonorBoat stripping an unattractive proposition, I decide to improve the functionality of my mitre saw, Low-Buck style.

            Mitre saws are handy tools for boat projects. Measure twice, lay the wood on the table, pull the trigger, pull the saw down, wood gets cut, done.   Easy peasy.

          But mitre saws have limitations.   One of the drawbacks to the typical 8-10" mitre saw is the small table size- any stock longer than 12" is longer than the table is wide, so extensions or supports are needed, which can lead to frustrating attempts to get work stands or sawhorses or stacks of books  adjusted to just the right height to support the work.  Been there, done that, got the unintentionally beveled offcuts to show for it.


       The saw in question is an old Delta 10" saw, which travels on a repurposed rolling crate cabinet, which used to support my old radial arm saw, which was after it was used as a shipping crate for...something.

   I wanted to add table and fence extensions to both sides of the saw, allowing stock up to 8' in length to be supported.  In the interest of space conservation, I also wanted the extensions to be stowable when not in use.   I did some quick sketching and figuring and measuring...

... and then gave up and as usual, winged it.

Requisite headscratching and pensive posing out of the way, I dug into the stack o' scrap which hides in the deepest darkest corner of the skunkworks deep beneath stately Jones manor and pulled out the disassembled carcass of an IKEA cabinet.   For those of you playing along at home, the damaged and dismembered donor for this project was a Robin three drawer dresser.  RIP Robin.

   And then I did indeed proceed to rip Robin, and crosscut Robin, and generally reduce Robin to a small pile of lumber of approximately the correct shape and size.

     For those of you without the preferred Scandinavian flatpack donor scrap, one may substitute the 3/4" -1" plywood of their choice- a 4' x 4' piece will do.
    I found a couple of old piano hinges, grabbed a fistful of screws and a bottle of glue and got busy.  An hour later...

The wings fold back, and are secured against flapping with a hook and eye catch on each side.  When deployed, they are held true with bolts screwed into tee-nuts installed in the walls of the cabinet.  No wobble, no sag, no droop...

naw, sometimes it's too easy.

    First order of business on the new saw wings was to dissect more of Robin to build a new fence for my radial arm saw.


   I kinda like the matching colour motif.

    Total time invested between initial brainfart and "mission accomplished" beer:  2 hours.
    Total cost:  $0   (Even if you had to buy a piano hinge, screws, tee-nuts, bolts and the necessary wood brand spankin' new, you'd be hard pressed to spend more than $40 on this project.)

    Next up- a Low-Buck adjustable fence stop for the new fancy fences.

     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.