Wednesday 26 September 2012

Hot Off The Presses!

     "...our minds won't really be blown..."
                                     -Dr. Hook

         The front page of the current issue of  The Silo .



        To read the article online:

       "Talk the Dock!"

Two Burner Tastiness: A Handful of Sammies

"I've got more spice than the Frugal Gourmet..."
                                          -Beastie Boys

     The upside of handheld, bread-wrapped food is that less time and water is spent washing dishes.

     The downside of handheld, bread-wrapped food is hands, wrists and arms covered in drippings.

     I'm okay with the trade-off.  A good messy sandwich is a wonderful thing.  We have had a few aboard recently:

    A vampire slayer:  carved roast pork loin served on a garlic toasted vienna stick, topped with fried onions and peppers, garlic mayo, and a side of  cucumber salad.

    Pork souvlaki, served with tzatziki, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, all wrapped in naan:

    Pot roast and gravy, served on a sliced baguette, topped with fried onions:

The "Dock Six" Burger:  Angus beef served on a thin whole wheat bun, topped with onion, brie, country pate, mustard and mayo.

"Talk the Dock!"

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Mid-Buck Project: More Power!

"Mr. Wizard can't perform no godlike hocus-pocus..."

  After several seasons of stalwart service,  all-weather exposure, and an occasional dunking, Whiskeyjack's  little 15 watt solar panel had finally tapped out.  We had been planning to install a second 15 watt panel and a charge controller this winter,  but the demise of panel #1 altered our energy management plan, our timetable and our budget.

It's time to explore the options.

Fellow blogger Dan Kim has written an excellent overview of solar options here:
Sailing Dog's Solar School

So, since he has done all of the heavy lifting, research-wise, I don't have to.  Cool.

After weighing all of the options, including power output, weight, dimensions, delivery time and budget, we purchased a 40 watt amorphous panel/charge controller kit from our  local Canadian Tire Store .  It was on sale for $149.99 (50% of the regular $299 price tag), putting  it over the "Low-Buck" threshold, but still inside our solar power budget.

Opening the box, I unpack sufficient cabling, an aluminum-framed panel approximately 3' x 2', a sufficient assortment of connectors, and a rudimentary (but sufficient) charge controller, and sufficient installation instructions.

  Nothing impressive, nothing that screams "secret awesome deal!"  Sufficient value at a hundred- and- a- half bucks, but not worth twice that price.

Installing the wiring and the charge controller took about 20 minutes.  Figuring out why the battery wasn't getting a charge took twice that time.  Turns out one of the sufficient number of connectors was insufficiently soldered.  With that problem solved, the panel took up temporary residence atop the bimini while a permanent location was pondered.

Last week, I finally had the necessary convergence of available time, available parts, flat water and an empty neighbouring slip to finish  the job.  Earlier than I am normally ambitious, I cast off lines and warped Whiskeyjack out, around and back.  Below, you can see the panel lounging on the bimini, and also it's new home- atop the davits.

    First, another tie bar had to be installed, but only after carefully scattering an assortment of tools on the Dock, largely out of the way of the work area....

       A few minutes of cutting and caulking and drilling and screwing had the additional tie bar in place.

  After some measuring and remeasuring and some more drilling, this time into the frame of the panel, u -bolts were installed and nuts snugged down  and the panel was firmly attached to it's new home. The panel can be removed along with the tie bars for winter storage by simply undoing four machine screws and disconnecting the cabling.

   The wiring was routed and secured and a shakedown cruise was taken.

      Nothing fell off.  Mission accomplished!

    So far I am satisfied by the result.  I'll keep you updated on performance over the next few seasons.


     Total cost, including tie bar materials: $194.37
     Total time:  3.5 hours.
     Total tools sacrificed to lake:  1 hex key.

      "Talk the Dock!'

Friday 14 September 2012

A Little Help From My Friends

     "Yes, I'm certain that it happens all the time...."
                                                        -The Beatles

     Our friends Chip and Jen sail out of the Jersey Shore aboard their Catalina 22, Fortuitous.  They blog their adventures at Sailing Fortuitous .  SWMBO and I had the opportunity to break bread with this fun couple last winter, and, trust me, they are in person exactly like they appear on screen.  Intelligent, dry, fun, interesting, all of which is apparent in an encounter most Docksters can relate to, related here:

Another Sunny Day in New Jersey

If you don't frogging snort laughter out of your fuzzy nose, you ain't right.

"Talk The Dock!"

Thursday 13 September 2012

Playin' Catchup.

    "Is it any wonder I'm  sane at all?"

Folks, listen up, because I do not say this often, or lightly:

  I am sorry.

  I have fallen behind in my blogscribblin’ duties, leaving you hanging for more than a fortnight without new electronic virtual fishwrapping and birdcage lining to clog your hard drives.

  "Paralysis of plenty" is my defense.

  Hey, look, when I got nuthin’ but a big ol’ case of blogger’s block, I can always write up a low-buck project or cook something  and snap some pictures, and that sates the voracious appetite of you, Constant Reader…
… or at least buys me a few days of traffic and a respite from “WTF, where’s the new post?” emails.  Either way, D6C is topped up for a little while.

Lately, I’ve had the opposite problem.  Lots to write about, lots of ideas, but how?  And, in what order?  And, is this a blog post or a potential column in The Silo?  Faced with all of the options, I opted to pour another drink and/or go sailing and deal with it tomorrow.

With sunsets like this, what would YOU do?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

(I don’t do choice well.  My brain locks up at Baskin-Robbins  and I end up in a drooling stupour in front of the ice cream case.  It ain’t pretty.
And I always end up with burgundy cherry anyway.)

((And why make a choice anyway, when you can sail?  We have had some truly spectacular sailing weather lately))

Anyscoop, I finally sat myself down and got organized and prioritized . I have two-burner meals to write up, low-buck projects and gear to review, one year on,  navelgazing to parse, daysailing to document, crew to critique,  new gear to evaluate  and gossip to disseminate.

So, it’s gonna be a busy few days.

Thanks for sticking with me.

And thanks for taking the time to

“Talk the dock!”

Wednesday 12 September 2012

The Wound is Still Raw, 11 Years On.

       "Sky of glory and sadness..."
                  -Bruce Springsteen

      *Parental discretion advised. Potty-mouthed anti-nutbar rant follows*

      Eleven years later, we remember:

      We saw it.

       We were horrified.

       We were galvanized.

        We were agog.


         We were activated.

         There is a subset of underintelligent, overtolerated, underachieving, overconnected shitcells who perpetuate theories that the attacks on 9/11 were either coordinated, condoned or instigated by the government of the day.....

And those assholes will gleefully point to dozens of underachieving failures who will desperately tap on their Pentium 3 laptops and run Lotus-based simulations built on the stale-dated modelling software they stole from the last job they were fired from to provide "proof".

To whom, and which, I offer three simple words:

Fuck.  Right.  Off..

Penn and Teller may have said it best here:

Or maybe my favourite cheesehead scientist, Steven Dutch, has effectively eviscerated the idiocy of the "Truthers" here:

In any fucked-up event,. here's the end result:

The boatlift brought tears to my eyes, and I am proud of the actions of my wetfoot comrades.

This is who we are.
This is what we do.
In the best of times.
In the worst of times.
We sail.

"Talk the Dock!"