Sunday 22 September 2013

The Official Ultimate Dock Rock Playlist

   "You think maybe I need help, no, I know I'm right..."
                                               -Hall and Oates

     *Before you get started, go pour yourself a beverage.  This blog bone's got some meat on it.  When you come back, fire up some comments and join the discussion.

       One of the interesting things about scribbling a blog like D6C is the reach.  Publish your meanderings on the WorldWideWeb and you will, as the network's name implies, attract regular readers WorldWide.

 (I hate the word "followers"- Cripes,  I'm scrawling a typo-ridden blog here, not starting a cult.)

 ((But I thank each and every one of you who is a follower, for following and reading regularly.))
     You will also electronically rub shoulders with other bloggers.  It's cool to be able to compare notes, share ideas, discuss plans and thoughts and share advice and opinions with somebody hundreds or thousands of miles away, in real time.

     Often the discussion is technical.

      Sometimes, it is not.

    This post was spawned by an ongoing discussion that falls squarely and firmly into the "not" category.

    I've mentioned fellow small boat sailor/casual racer/blogger Chip on these pages before.  Chip and I share, much to our spouses' occasional horror, the cheesiest of aural guilty pleasures- an endless fascination with "Yacht Rock."

    "Yacht Rock" was a term coined back in the early 90s to describe Jimmy Buffett's style.   In 2005, multi-platform film festival Channel 101 premiered "Yacht Rock", an ultra-low-budget "series" about the fictional behind-the scenes saga of the incestuous California music scene of the 1970s.

     "Incestuous?"  shocked Constant Reader exclaims.

    Let me explain.

    Did you ever notice how a lot of the Top 40 music from say, 1975- 1985 sounded pretty much the same?
     Here's why:
     The Doobie Brothers lead singer at the time was Michael McDonald.
     Michael McDonald wrote songs for Kenny Loggins.
     Kenny Loggins wrote songs for The Doobies.
     McDonald sang backup for Loggins.
     Loggins backed up The Doobies.
     Michael McDonald sang backup for Steely Dan.

   Whoa, hang on, let's back up a second...

    First, there was Steely Dan.
    Steely Dan's original guitarists were Denny Dias and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter.  Michael McDonald sang backup.
    Baxter left Steely Dan and joined The Doobie Brothers in 1975, bringing Michael McDonald along as lead singer.
    McDonald still sang backup with Steely Dan.
    Meanwhile, Steely Dan and Kenny Loggins and The Doobie Brothers were backed up in the recording studio by session musicians David Paich and Jeff Porcaro.
    Porcaro and Paich also backed Seals and Crofts and Boz Scaggs.
    Boz Scaggs' hits "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle" were co-written by Paich.
    Paich and Porcaro  went on to form the band Toto in 1977.
    Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins sang on Toto albums.
    Christopher Cross probably listened to Toto albums.
    McDonald sang backup on Christopher Cross's first album.
    Don Henley also sang on Cross's debut LP.
    So did J.D Souther.
    Don Henley is an original member of  The Eagles.

      Okay, hang on, hang on, hang on, let's start again...
      FIRST, really, there was The Eagles.

    J.D. Souther co-wrote hits with Henley and Glenn Frey for The Eagles.
    Souther also co-wrote songs for Dan Fogelberg...
    ...and James Taylor.
    Jimmy Buffett sang backup on the same James Taylor LP that features the hit Souther co-wrote.
    James Taylor wrote and recorded "Mexico", which Jimmy Buffett covers.
    Leland Sklar may very well have played bass on damn near everything...

     .... including Jimmy Buffett's 1992 album Boats, Beaches, Bars and Ballads...

    ... all of which brings us right back to the first time the term "Yacht Rock" is used, describing Jimmy Buffett's style.

    So, basically, most of the American Top 40 music recorded between 1975 and 1985 was written and performed by one band: The Steely BozToEagles Brothers.

    And Leland  Sklar.

     If you spend any time on the water, you have at least one or two dozen Yacht Rock tracks on your iPod, on board, or on your mind at any given time.

    It is generally acknowledged that Yacht Rock crashed and burned when Loggin's recorded "Danger Zone" for the Tom Cruise flick "Top Gun."  Just as he may very well have killed the cinematic career of Jack Reacher, it looks like Cruise may have made his bones by thrusting a stake through the heart of Yacht Rock almost three decades before.

     Dead.  Finished.  Gone.

     Or... is it?

    Thus the foundation for the ongoing discussion between the erstwhile masters of Whiskeyjack and Fortuitous.
    If Boz Scagg's "Lowdown" is Yacht Rock, then surely Canadian content stalwart Ian  Thomas's "Pilot" deserves the label, as does "Clear Sailing."  Hell, he's earned entry in the club just based on  this album cover:

                                                                                                     -image courtesy WorldwideWax

       If a Canadian artist from the same era is allowed entry, smooth rock pioneers like Otis Redding and Booker T & The MGs deserve legacy status.

     If Booker T and the MGs  and "Memphis smooth" are in, then you gotta strongly consider some of the stuff backed by the Swampers, out of the Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama

     And if one is willing to expand the definition of Yacht Rock from one of geography and collaboration to one of sound and time, if Ian Thomas is in the club, then Hall and Oates makes the cut.

      If one argues that Philly Soul gets in, then you gotta allow entry to NYC based Pina Colada lover, Rupert Holmes.

     If you're gonna let New York solo artists past the velvet rope,  Paul Simon definitely has to get a seat in the VIP lounge.  If you're gonna let Simon and Holmes in, then James Taylor gets membership, and he can bring Carly  Simon along.
     If those guys are in, three time zones east,  what the hell, keep going- let's add Birmingham UKs Climax Blues Band to the roster, Manchester's Simply Red,  Bath's Naked Eyes  and the ultra-smooth Avalon- era Roxy Music

    Well,  okay, if you're gonna allow the Canadians and Brits in, then Australia's Little River Band deserves a regular table too.

     And with the inclusion of Hall and Oates representing blue-eyed Philly Soul and the UK Soul of Simply Red, then you gotta include the note-perfect retro soul of French duo Daft Punk, thanks to their latest album, Random Access Memories.
     So, if you are gonna include current artists in the ever-expanding Yacht Rock Club, then Maroon 5 deserves a nod...  and they are from Los Angeles, where Yacht Rock was born...

      ...Thus closing the circle, and keeping it turning.

     Riding that turning wheel are a number of Yacht Rock stars of yore, who are touring under the "Sail Rock"  banner:

     (Shameless local promotion:  the Sail Rock tour will be appearing at the Norfolk County Fair.  Tickets are still available, as I write this.)


     Since the genre has expanded so far beyond the original "Yacht Rock" concept in both time and space,  and since "Sail Rock" is taken,  I think it has earned a new moniker:

     "Dock Rock"

    (Might have to be "Boat Rock" in Canada, since the "Dock Rock" tag was been used for a K-Telesque compilation of Can-Con-weighted classic rock hits circa 2002-10.  Sigh.)

     So,  thus we build

     The first Official Ultimate Dock Rock Playlist v.1.0  (annotated)

      If I had a Boat- Lyle Lovett  (C'mon, any song with the lyrics, "Kiss my ass, I bought a boat" is worthy.)
     Southern Cross- Crosby, Stills and Nash
     Southern Breeze- Isley Brothers (Some prefer the Seals & Crofts original-  this cover is better.)
     Mexico- James Taylor
     Easy- Lionel Richie & Willie Nelson (Is it a cover if  the original writer/singer re-records it, better?)
     FM- Steely Dan  (No static, at all.)
     Green Onions- Booker T & The MGs
     Slip Slidin' Away- Paul Simon
     Beth- KISS  (Tell me I'm wrong.)
     Couldn't Get It Right- Climax Blues Band
     People Gotta Move- Gino Vannelli  (Boz Scaggs' DNA is all over this.)
     Sunday Morning- Maroon 5
     Pilot- Ian Thomas  (Another Boz-styled mumbler )
     Sittin' (On the Dock of The Bay)- Otis Redding
     I'll Be Around- The Spinners
     Ain't No Sunshine- Bill Withers
     Promises, Promises- Naked Eyes
     Good Times- Chic
     Get Lucky- Daft Punk  (Promises, Good Times and Get Lucky are best played as a three song arc to get the full Nile Rodgers guitar effect)
     Love On a Real Train- Tangerine Dream
     Eminence Front- The Who
     Fallen Angel- Robbie Robertson
     Heaven- Simply Red
     What a Fool Believes- The Doobie Brothers
     Escape (The Pina Colada Song) - Rupert Holmes
     Sail On- The Commodores
     Sara Smile- Hall & Oates
     Night Moves- Bob Seger ("...autumn closing in..." sends shivers down my spine.)
     Ain't Even Done With The Night- John Mellencamp
     Why Can't I Fall In Love- Ivan Neville
      Love the One You're With - Stephen Stills/ Isley Brothers/ Luther Vandross  (One original, two covers, three different feels, all great.)
     Forever Young- Bob Dylan
     Reflections- The Supremes
     You're So Vain- Carly Simon
     Chain of Fools- Aretha Franklin
     After the Love is Gone- Earth, Wind and Fire
     Little Wing- Stevie Ray Vaughan
     Wondering Where the Lions Are- Bruce Cockburn
     Games People Play- Alan Parsons Project
     How Long- Ace
     Low Spark of High Heeled Boys- Traffic
     Avalon- Roxy Music
     Woman in Chains- Tears For Fears ("Woman.."  and "Avalon" are another matched pair, best heard together.)
     Miss You- Everything But the Girl
     Cab Driver- Daryl Hall
     Birmingham- Amanda Marshall
     Tiny Dancer- Elton John
     Love is the Answer- England Dan and John Ford Coley
     Another Auld Lang Syne- Dan Fogelberg  ("Love..."  and "Another..." should be played back to            back to get the full soprano sax effect)
     That Girl- Stevie Wonder
     Take Five- Dave Brubeck

    "Talk the Dock"










Friday 13 September 2013

The Wet Side of Friday the 13th

     "And in the lonely cool before dawn, you hear their engines roaring on..."
                                                                           -Bruce Springsteen

    Port Dover is a fishing port.
    Port Dover is a beach town.
    Port Dover is a retiree community.
    Port Dover is a bedroom community.

    And every Friday the 13th Port Dover becomes a motorcycle magnet.

     The legend is now well-known:  Thirty years or so ago, a bunch of buddies rode their bikes to a bar.  They had such a good time they vowed to do it every Friday the 13th, and invite their friends.

     Who in turn invited their friends.

      Now, Friday the 13th attracts thousands of motorcycles to Port Dover, and tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, of visitors.  The town becomes, for all intents and purposes, closed off to any vehicular traffic that rolls on more than two (or three) wheels.

      That means a lot of walking and shuttle buses and hassle, if you aren't two wheeling it into town.

      But, got a boat?  If you can find room to tie up or raft up on the wall, you're in.

      This year, the weather was...less than promising.


  If there's no room on the pier, you can always drop anchor inside off the beach...inside the marked swim area.

   Cool or uncool?  I dunno.  Nobody is swimming, or likely to be swimming, but.  it seems like it's a little like parking in a handicapped space.  Yeah, sure, nobody else is using it now...

  Pontoon boats, sport boats, new boats, old boats, big boats, small boats,  runabouts, bowriders, cabin cruisers, dinghies,  fishing boats, trawlers, tugs...


   ...all represented.  

    And one lone sailboat.

    Whiskeyjack, sailing deep to represent the blowboaters!


    I managed to nab the last open spot on the waterfront with enough keeldepth, right behind the shuttered Misener's fish processing plant. It's kinda eerie:


  One of the things that I really like about Friday the 13th is it's run-what-you-brung-it's-all-good vibe.  Showbikes, ratbikes, tourers, cruisers, cafe racers, crotch rockets, sidehacks, scooters, all are welcome. 
   The boats reflect the same vibe.  This shot sorta sums up the day for me:

    More boats:

    An impressive staircase on this Carver:  

   Normally found on the end of Dock 4.  The name is an acronym.  


    Looks like Lord Vader's Imperial Cruiser lurks in the distance:

   Thee was the de rigeur police presence, both at the Provincial level:

    and the Coasties had their BlackBoat out:

  The presence was obvious but largely good natured and not intrusive.

    And kinda picturesque:

  As we have learned over the last century, when one assaults a beachhead by both land and sea, it behooves one to have air cover. So it goes here.  
    Constantly overhead throughout the day, fixed wing:

   And rotor air support:

   In an effort to win the hearts and minds of the locals,    Canadian comedic gadabout Rick Mercer showed up. 
 "I'm going where?  For what?"

 When the CBC sends Mercer, you know you've arrived.
  (Actually this is the second time that Monsieur Mercer has moseyed down to our little burg: he was here in 2009 as the result of a tremendous fundraising effort by Port Dover students.)

   Okay, this guy...

 ...says I need to post some bike pics.



    Temporary campsite, at the former Doverwood Public School.  Hundreds of tents and trailers.


     The fun continues tonight, with more live music down behind Bridge Yachts.

     Come on and join us some time. 
     Bring your bike. 
     Bring your friends.  
     Bring earplugs.

      And don't forget to...
     "Talk the Dock!"

Sunday 8 September 2013

A Blast from the Past on The Bay

       "And it's a fair wind, blowin' warm...."
                           Crosby, Stills and Nash

         This summer has been a bit of a bust, weather-wise, down here on the Dock.  Either cold and wet, or hot and humid, no wind or too much wind, often all on the same day.

        The Labour Day weekend was no exception.

         Thanks to some strategic vacation day planning, SWMBO and I extended our Labour Day weekend through to Wednesday.

        We were glad we did.

         Friday was overcast, but that didn't stop Mark and Kathy from taking their Corvette, Meisje, out for a sail.   The Dock's short fingers didn't prevent them from stopping in for a cocktail.  Yes, a 30 footer will fit on the Dock:

   More on this great example of a classic plastic design in an upcoming OPB post.

       Saturday and Sunday SWMBO and I were both engaged in gainful employment, leaving time for little besides breakfast research for an upcoming Behind The Beach post....  and watching boats heading out for the yacht club Christmas(?!?) Boat Parade.

       Monday, we both did nothing but enjoy the fact that we were not working.

       Tuesday was a lounge day- a day to get caught up on boat projects, curl up in the cockpit with a book and just enjoy the solitude of a near-deserted marina.

        Mid-afternoon, I climbed onto Whiskeyjack's cabin to get a picture of the overcast and our new skyline for...

     ... Yes,  you guessed it...

    .... An upcoming blog post .


        Panning south to see what I could see, contemplating whether to finish another chapter in my read or whether to give SWMBO a nudge, light up the chugger,  drop the docklines and get on the water, something low on the horizon caught my eye:

     I pushed the zoom, steadied myself against the mast, and got hit smack in the eyeballs by an image from another century:

      You don't see a whole lot of square rigged ships on Lake Erie any more.   Throughout the afternoon, the ghost ship drew closer, becoming less ghostly:

    You know that this is gonna require a closer look-see, don't you?  Besides, the house battery was getting low, thanks to heavy use and a couple of low-sunlight days hampering solar panel performance,  so a good hour- long run under power was needed.

      As we clear the Marina breakwall and round buoy ED6, I start snapping shots:

    I realize,
    a)  She's big.
    b)  Because she's  big, she is also farther out than she looks.
    c)  Our house battery is REALLY drawn down, and is apparently  really due for replacement.

        With chartplotter, VHF radio and depthfinder  all pulling power, the house battery was quickly depleted below half and dropping like a stone.
     "Okay,"  thinks I, " it doesn't affect the drivetrain, so it's non-critical, figure it out back at the Dock , but in the meantime we're gonna need running lights soon, so it might be a good idea to conserve the juice we've got.     Turn off fixed mount VHF, turn on handheld, kill chartplotter and depthsounder, and hey! now we're navigating out to a big ol' square-rigger just like big ol' square riggers used to, via compass and charts and Human Eyeball, Mk I."




     As the sun started to set, our goal became clearer:

   Besides Hilary scooting about in his C&C, this was the only other boat within view:

    Just as the sun dropped below the horizon, we got our close-up...

 and could finally get a name:   Sørlandet

    Here's some sense of  Sorlandet's size, measured in Whiskeyjacks*.

    She is 9 Whiskeyjacks long.

    She is 1.25 Whiskeyjacks wide.

    Her bowsprit is a Whiskeyjack...  including davits.

   She displaces 50 Whiskeyjacks.

   Her draft is 5 times Whiskeyjack's 3.5' draft.

   She has 13.5 Whiskeyjacks  worth of sails- 27 flappy things in total.

   With 13 304 square feet of sail area, Sorlandet is rocking about 53 Whiskeyjacks  of canvas.

  *A Whiskeyjack = 23 feet.

    Yeah.  She's big.  We're not.

     (* IN your best Jeremy Clarkson voice*) In fact, Sorlandet  is the largest and oldest Tall Ship...

...  in the world.

    And, she is Norwegian.

      This fact excited half-Norwegian SWMBO, who emailed the details to her wholly Norwegian mother, thus enabling bestemor  to share in our serendipitous discovery.

     Sorlandet was on the way downLake, returning from the last stop on the Tall Ships Challenge which was commemorating the War of 1812 this year, with stops at various historic locations throughout the Great Lakes,  on both sides of the border.

        Wednesday, she remained anchored, providing for some beautiful photo ops,

and a great backdrop to the Wednesday evening race.

    Thursday, like a faint memory of better times,  she was gone.

     We were privileged to have seen her.

   "Talk the Dock!"



Sunday 1 September 2013

Dinghy Dalliance Digest

          "Everybody's got a story..."
                      -Amanda Marshall

          If you can click past the endless played-out cat memes, genealogy sites, facebook, and you don't get sucked into YouTube for hours on end, you discover that there are actually some interesting places to visit out there in the WorldWideWeb.  Like one I stumbled over recently, Humans of New York .

        The concept is genius.  It's nothing more, and nothing less, than stripped-down photojournalism:  One man, one city, one camera, one subject, one interview, one question, one story, repeat. Every day.

        One interview struck home with me last week.

                            "I’m a philosophy professor."
"If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?"
"Never make an exception of yourself."
"What does that mean?"
"People like to make exceptions of themselves. They hold other people to moral codes that they aren’t willing to follow themselves. For example, people tend to think that if they tell a lie, it’s because it was absolutely necessary. But if someone else tells a lie, it means they’re dishonest. So never make an exception of yourself. If you're a thief, don't complain about being robbed.


       I have made an exception of myself.

       Boat projects, even small boat projects, are usually labour-intensive.  Because I have done a bunch of them, and because I am more than happy to share my opinion (solicited or otherwise), fellow boaters occasionally ask how to do something...
    ...before I am able to tell them how to do it anyway.

     Usually, halfway through explaining, for example, that the only way to finish brightwork is a  multi-coat repeatedly sanded varnish schedule, the enquirer interjects, "Isn't there an easier, cheaper, quicker way to do it?"

     Which earns my standard response, "If you haven't got the time or money to do it right, when will you have the time and money to do it again?"

      My inflatable adventures over the last couple of seasons demonstrate how I have made myself an exception.

      Last year, Quack  needed a floor.  So, I quickly laminated some ply, slapped some epoxy on the exposed on all the surfaces, sloshed some varnish over it, screwed it in place, and, as the french say, Vwuh-Lah, I had me a new floor.

      Five months later, I needed another new floor:

   So, I spent the time and the money to do it...again.

    I figured out that part of the issue was that the floor was screwed into place, an issue created because I was determined to work with scraps on hand.  For Floor 2.0, I decided to make a full floor that would be freefloating, heldp in place by the tubes.  So I measured, and cut, and sheathed it in fiberglass cloth and wetted it out and filled it...

.....and sealed the edges with thickened epoxy and sanded it, and then painted it and painted it and painted it again, applied a couple of big swaths of grip-tape and I had...

   ...a durable and practical floor.

   Next item on the punchlist was a tiller extension for Quack's doughty little outboard.

 I repurposed a piece of scrap aluminum tube, formed the ends to fit the flat stock tiller, drilled and riveted the new extension into place, and ...

     It works great, and allows stand-up piloting, very nice when one has a load of dogs and water jugs.

   So, one dinghy, two projects, two successes.  What of the newest member of the growing fleet?

     This demonic deflating dinghy is proving to be my Moriarty.

     Look at her up there!  Plump. Firm. Ready for action, no?

     Hours later:

Not Honk's fault, really.  I have no one and no boat to blame for my making an exception of myself.

 See, I found the leak.
 And I patched it.
With a patch that was too small.
Unable to withstand the pressure, the patch leaked.
So, I patched the patch.
The patched patch leaked.
So I slathered it in sealant and covered it in duct tape for a few hours and pulled off the tape and...
...It leaked.

So I tore off the patch over the patch and then tore off the original patch and sanded and cleaned and repatched...
...and instead of waiting the necessary 24 hours for the patch to fully cure and harden, I reinflated to full pressure after 6 hours.

   And it leaked.

    So I deflated the offending chamber, slathered sealant on, covered it in duct tape, let it cure for 24 hours, uncovered it, reinflated and ...

    It looks like hell and it leaks, albeit more slowly.

    The patch is still too small, and the adhesive area inadequate.

     (Small and inadequate- welcome to the story of my life.)

     Tomorrow I will have to make the time and find the money to do it again.  

     This time, it is obvious I need to pull the "Zodiac" label off the tube, as the leak is actually a previously patched puncture just off the lower right corner of the label that was inadequately patched originally.   With a bigger patch, a properly prepared surface, the  patch firmly affixed to the tube with no air bubbles, longer cure time for the adhesive, and no inflation until fully cured,  I expect that I will have an inflatable that remains inflated.


    So, have I learned anything from being exceptional?


     I am not special.  I don't get any luckier than anyone else.  If there aren't shortcuts for anyone else, I don't have a Thruway either.

     And I guarandamntee I will be tempted, repeatedly, in the future to make an exception of myself.

     Once in a while, I will likely give in.

     You'll probably hear about it.

"Talk the Dock!"