Thursday 20 June 2013

Book Reviewsday Tuesday*: Boater's Pocket Reference: The Beer Bet Book.

     * I started  writing this post on Tuesday, so it counts.  pbbbth. 

  "There's no need for argument, there's no argument at all..."
                                                             - Van Morrison

           True story:

             Whiskeyjack  is in the slings, just about ready to get wet (which is not nearly as kinky as it sounds).                              Rod, the crew I had shanghai'd to help get her into her slip was busy gearing up,  inventorying and loading the boat, while I was hanging canvas or drinking beer or something equally vital, and asked me,
             "Where's your paddle?"
               "You need one aboard to be legal on a boat this length, don't you?"
               Hmmmm.  Good question, and frankly (to my chagrin)  I didn't have the answer off the top of my head.
                I thought back a few seasons:
                Whiskeyjack didn't have one when we bought her.
                 I'm pretty anal about making sure we meet the letter of the boat safety equipment law, and didn't add a paddle to her stores when we outfitted her for our first season, all those years ago.
                So, here we are today, paddle-less.  I was pretty sure we did not need a paddle to be legal.
                 Pretty sure.
                 But not positive.
                 And I couldn't explain why  I was pretty sure.
                 I said as much.
                 Rod jogged home and grabbed a paddle.
                 (Rod lives enviably close to the boat yard.)

                 Splash Day usually sees Whiskeyjack getting hull-wet in a pretty stripped down state.  minimum equipment, virtually zero stores.
                  No books other than manuals and logs.

                   If I had had my Boater's Pocket Reference  handy-  I could have saved Rod a trip:

                 We don't need a paddle, because we have an anchor.

                   Thomas McEwen  has compiled a clever little compendium of boating knowledge that should be aboard every boat.  While small in format, capable of fitting in a drinkholder,

   this mini-doorstop clocks in at 800ish pages of  valuable information.

      Everything you could want or need to know about recreational boating regulations, seamanship, boat handling, and boats, of both the wind and fossil powered species,  is in here.

      The difference between a ketch and a yawl?  It's in here.

      VHF channel frequencies and designations in the US and Canada?  It's in here.

       How to tie over a dozen knots?  It's in here.

                Customs and Immigration info for USA and Canada?  It's in here.

                 Pre-departure, maintenance and general winterizing checklists?  It;s in here.

                Anchor sizing charts and anchor options for bottom conditions?  Yep, it's in here.

                 This little book is a  Dock discussion go-to resource  and has settled numerous beer bets.

                 F'rinstance:  If a vessel is using signal flags, what does displaying the "M" flag indicate?
                                    Page 601 has the answer.

                All of it is written in a clear, easy-reading style that isn't  too jargon-heavy for the novice and also not too dumbed-down for the old salt - a rare feat.

                   First published in 2006, some of the information, such as web addresses and telephone numbers listed in the appendices,  is out of date.  It would be nice to see a revised edition, but the vast, vast majority of the info contained is still relevant.  If you really need a web address and the link in the book is dead, the publisher has an excellent website with updated links .  They also have downloadable versions of the checklists in the book, a great bonus.

                  Sure, lots of this info is available in a variety of other publications, as well as on the web, but never has this depth and breadth of info been available in a package this compact... that doesn't rely on an internet connection.

                  As the author writes in the forward:

                 "The book ended up containing all the info I would have liked to have had, all in one place...."

                  Available from all of the usual suspects, or  direct from the publisher .

  "Talk The Dock!"          

Tuesday 18 June 2013

SODA: State Of the Dock Address

   "All this debating goin' 'round..."
                      -Kim Mitchell

   The parking lot is almost empty of boats  and the docks are almost all full, so this is as good a time as any to take a look at how the season is shaping up.

   Good news:  The Dock is full.

   Booked up.

  No empty slips.

  The view from the deck of Whiskeyjack:

   Popularity is a double-edged sword- full slips mean more marina revenue which hopefully translates into steady rates and improved amenities.  But, increased demand also meant that, this year, the "balance -due" date was strictly enforced- if you didn't have your slip bill  paid in full by mid-May, you didn't get a slip.
   That has meant at least one change to this season's starting line-up.

  Dock Six isn't the only full capacity Dock this season.   Every dock in the Marina is fully booked, or near enough to it.

  More good news:  Water level is up.

  A wet May has helped ease some of the concerns sparked by low water earlier this spring.  Depth has increased by about 20 cm. in the last three weeks or so.   The Lake is still down from last year, but we're heading in the right direction.


  For the week ending:  10/06/2013


 Last daily mean available
    183.25     176.03      174.95       174.19     74.99       6.64

 Latest weekly mean
    183.23     176.05      174.95       174.17     74.99       6.53

 Highest water level during the week
    183.30     176.16      174.99       174.25     75.04       6.67

 Lowest water level during the week
    183.14     175.93      174.90       174.08     74.91       6.35

 Latest weekly mean relative to chart datum
    + 0.03     + 0.05      + 0.55       + 0.67    + 0.79     + 0.97

 Change from previous weekly mean
    + 0.02     + 0.03      + 0.05       + 0.02    + 0.07     - 0.38

 Change from last year's weekly mean
    + 0.08     - 0.05      - 0.03       - 0.08    + 0.12     + 0.62

Dock conveniences can still be captured in a single photo:

    But, there is now a bike rack in the picture.

    We also have a new porta-potty...

 which appears to be a two-storey model, according to the pictograph on the door:

   Men, unfortunately, are confined to the ground floor, apparently.

   Redshirts were busy last week installing solar lights on the Dock, a nice touch.

Got an email earlier this week:

   "Marina Management Services, Inc. has been hired by Norfolk County to develop a Marina Sustainability, Development Strategy and Business Plan for Port Dover Harbour Marina.

Please join representatives from Norfolk County, Port Dover Habour Marina, and Marina Management Services, Inc. on Saturday, June 22nd from 8:30am to 10:30am.  This will be an informal "meet & greet" with the staff and the consultant as well as an opportunity to sign up to participate in the process.  The meeting will be held in the Pavilion at Port Dover Harbour Marina."

   Those of you who have skin in this game, those with boats on the Dock, or any of the lesser docks, please attend this meeting, or email Tim Keough at to let him know you are interested in being part of the solution.

   *insert clever segue here*
   *if clever segue fails to appear, revert to default workmanlike style, below*
  Right then, with the business side of things out of the way, who does have skin in the game this year?

  Many of the usual suspects are back for another season:

   Jim and Mariann  have both boats in the water, looking as perfect as ever.

  Gordon and his lovely wife have returned with Quidi Vidi  .

   Rick has docked 20th Hole- rumour has it that his boat has left the Dock more than once so far this season.  This shot is from last year- no one can verify it has actually happened this year...

   Ivan and Rick and Grant and the rest of the serious fishermen are back.
   Jordan has docked  Saphira in the shallows.
   Cholita returns with Len at the helm.
Ralph and Julie are back beside Rick...

 and beside them Mark and Erica have returned.
Hilary is back, and his boat still doesn't have a name.  This may become a contest.  More on that later.
Eric has splashed After School, and Bruce has brought Prolific back for another season, but moved farther down the Dock,

  Other Jim has classed up the joint by slipping his Bluenose, Carpe Diem:

   Brent has slipped Lady Dee,

      Cocobliss and most of the other bowriders and pontoon boats are back and of course Jack is in, with Blew Orphan:

   JD and Wheelin' & Dealin' are MIA.
   Bryan and his Siren are not in.
   Will's Tanzer is on the hard.
   Ed decided to trailer sail his Siren this year, looking to get more time on the water in more places.

   For the first time in years, there is not a single Siren on the Dock.

   Marco and Dee have moved back to Sarnia, which opened up a slip, which means we have new neighbours:

   Frank and Lorraine  have moved in next door with their Northern 24,

  Beside them is another new good old boat, a Tanzer 7.5,  in the hands of returning boaters,  Randy and Monique.  Welcome aboard!

                Down toward the end of the dock is another newcomer, another Jordan, and his go-fast boat,
        Boss Nova,

     The sailboat count is higher than in any previous year, Siren absence notwithstanding; Team Tanzer is certainly making up the difference.

   In short: Some old friends, some new friends, some old characters, some new, some wild cards, some old favourites, and some gone, but not forgotten.

    There will be new stories told, adventures shared, lies swapped, rum consumed, food eaten,  songs sung and laughter laughed.

Forget the hokey-pokey.  That's  what it's all about.  Come on along.

"Talk the Dock!"


Sunday 9 June 2013

From the "This Has to Sting" files- 2013 Edition

"And we took off with a gust..."
                  -The Playmates

      The Dock Six Sail Rescue Squad's  newest members strut their stuff.

Frank And Lorraine, aboard their Northern 24, towed in a hapless and helpless Bayliner.  

      Bonus points for completing a portion of the tow under sail.

       The Sailpast of Shame is humiliating enough for most be  at the end of a sailboat-tugged string is  just  lemon juice in the dead-in-the-water wound.

Yep- looking happy,


Nice work, Frank and Lorraine- welcome to the Dock!

"Talk the Dock!"