Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A trailer of note...

Dorworth on karma, a very interesting program on shipping containers, in the "This really sucks" department, and speaking of karma of the negative sort tRump adds to his balance sheet...

Something for the need to watch file.



Listening to Dizzy Sunfist (nothing puts me in a better mood than Japanese Skatepunk music)

So it goes...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

because good content and hard work will always be part of the mix...

Some musing of note from a boat blog, golf as an exercise in hypocrisy, and some interesting telescope stuff...

The other day I read somewhere how awful the whole doing videos about your cruising experiences and expecting people to support you by begging is the new thing and how it will destroy cruising as we know it.

Sigh...

Yesterday, I read somewhere else a fawning article about how awesome the ten best (spelled highest income producing) vlogs were.

Double sigh... I so hate film, video, and book reviews that think how much something earns has anything to do with its quality...

Personally my opinion of the whole idea of filming or writing about your cruising and getting paid for the resulting product is no bad thing. The list of cruisers who have written for magazines, written books, and even made films of their adventures is a very long list and I don't recall anyone taking issue with any of those folks. Face it, it's an already established means of supporting cruising and all the newbies are doing is taking advantage on new forms of financing and distribution.

That said, I'll defer to the great Theodore Sturgeon for a needful fact/rule...

"I repeat Sturgeon's Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud. Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. is crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other artforms."

Which boils down to Sturgeon's Law of 90% of everything is crap. Just between us I've always thought that Theodore was just a bit too optimistic.

Anyway... Regarding the new flood of viewer sponsored video production of the cruising variety, it is safe to say that Sturgeon's Law is in no danger of being found untrue and I don't find that problematic at all. There is a lot of good valid stuff in that non-crap (no-selfie-stick-in-sight) 10% that is well worth viewing. A few years from now, providing we have not succumbed to thermo-nuclear annihilation because tRump was pissed off at someone or other, we'll accept the current video cruising model as the norm.

Of course, 90% of it will be crap, but the 10% will continue to get better and better so what's the problem?

Listening to Rotana

So it goes...

Monday, March 27, 2017

a couple of small work benches...

This is interesting, a price tag on bigotry, and in the "Raising the bar on stupid" department...

Trying to do fiddly stuff on a boat without a proper workshop at best can be problematic. Made more so because no one really makes things that take in the scale of not having lots of storage space or even the space to set up a bench if you could stow it.

So here's a couple of small workbenches that you might actually be able to stow and use aboard a boat...








Listening to some more Chuck Berry covers

So it goes...





Sunday, March 26, 2017

a quick thought on compromise...

A cherry on the top for the "Can't organize a piss-up in a brewery" files, about those shark fins, and in a time where a little escapism is needful...

While pondering the various dinghies on the list I can't keep from thinking that you're on pretty safe ground with whatever seven to eleven foot dinghy you choose... There really is no BEST or ultimate dinghy that comes to the top of the pile. The fact is that they all work, cost about the same, and consume the same amount of labor to build.

Sure they're all going to include compromises but, then again, all boats are really just a bundle of compromises so that's not really a surprise. The question remains what are your most important needs?

If super light weight is important the Stasha is far and above the best boat on the list. On the other hand if doing a lot of diving from a dinghy is the all important need that needs to be filled the Stasha is close to the bottom of the list and you might find yourself looking at the Chameleon or Spindrift. Split the difference and the DUO starts looking like the dinghy of choice.

So, what the hell am I going to build this go-round?

Right now my current needs have me considering the Chameleon and DUO. The DUO appeals because it is a tad lighter and uses less plywood. The downside of the DUO is its nested height is just that little bit taller than the Chameleon and will obscure the view forward from the dodger even more than the Chameleon.

The Chameleon has greater displacement so can carry more and that's a factor as well.

I expect what I'll do is just buy a couple of sheets of plywood and then just flip a coin. Or, just maybe if I don't feel lucky on the day, I'll just build a sorta/kinda nesting Big Tortoise with some added flotation because, you know... Spontaneous whim.

The fact is, it really does not matter too much because whatever I build I can always sell for a small profit as there is always a greater demand for good dinghies than there are good dinghies available. Just something you should always keep in mind...

Listening to Fishbach

So it goes...

Friday, March 24, 2017

a couple of folding dinghies...

A comparison of note, a bit of needful information, and in the "it's tough living in tRumps America" department...

Folding boats, in general, make a lot of sense and they have been around since the 1800's. Just check out this Berthon Collapsible Lifeboat for an example.

The basic premise makes a lot of sense and what's not to like about having a dinghy you can store tied to the lifelines or similar location?

Like this one...


Makes all kinds of sense...

Which brings us to the Wooden Widget Fliptail and Origami.

First off, I have to admit that while I really like both of these designs but I do have some issues with light skin dinghies for cruising purposes. Partly because I row 99% of the time and neither of these boats is an optimal solution for any kind of serious commuting by oar and partly, because they are so light, that climbing out of the water become problematic without adding some sort of Rube Goldberg complication to the mix. That said, if you are like most people cruising you'd only occasionally row short distances and use an outboard 99% of the time.

The good news is they work great under sail or with a small outboard and, being so light, the sort of performance you'll get with a 3hp engine will surprise a lot of folks. If you want to row a little more I'd go with the Origami as the plywood sides offer more support and you can get your back into it.



Quite a few folk have pointed out to me that skin boats are not as tough as a hard dinghy which, in my opinion is not true at all. I'd expect a Fliptail or Origami done right should last just as long as a plywood/glass boat if not longer as modern fabrics and adhesives are a whole lot better than they used to be and flexible materials tend to hold up better to the things that destroy dinghies better than rigid ones. The downside of skin boats (as with inflatables) is UV exposure.

Building a folding boat is quite a bit more fiddly than stitch and glue hard dinghies and there is something of a steep learning curve to the process. On the plus side Wooden Widget takes that into account and provide super detailed plans with lots and lots of detail so, as long as you bother to read and follow the directions, it's not hard to avoid insanity and find yourself with a practical nice looking dinghy. On the other hand, if you can't be bothered to follow the plans you'll find yourself drooling while beating your head against the wall and thinking that Donald Trump makes sense...

Need I say more?

Seriously, JUST FOLLOW THE PLANS!

More dinghies on Monday...

Listening to a plethora of Chuck Berry covers

So it goes...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

and yet more dinghies...

What real voter fraud looks like, some not exactly surprising news, and in the "You'd really think that the President of the frelling US of A would have more important issues to deal with than a cute kitten website" department...

So yeah, more nesting dinghies.

The FishBote is too big for my purposes nesting at just a kiss less than six-feet. That said, it is an easy build, rows well, and the only thing I'd change is to add some enclosed flotation. Over at the Adventure Adrift youtube channel they are doing a three-part series of building just such a beast in Mexico to replace their stolen Walker Bay which is worth checking out.

The Woods Designs Duo is another nesting dinghy that nests into a 5' 6" X 3' 3" footprint with a nested height of 22". With a beam of only 3' 3" some may express concern with stability but I've never had any issues with stability in any of our Bolger Tortoises with a beam of 3' 2" so I'd discount that issue from the start. I should also add that for sailing (and general safety) purposes Woods has added two inflatable tubes that make a lot of sense in the whole hard dinghy does not play well with other boats thing and do make the boat unsinkable as well.



There is a huge amount of information on the Woods website you should check out but the bottom line is it is a pretty neat boat that is quick/easy/cheap to build.

Some different approaches to the dinghy stowage issue next...

Listening to Ryo Fukui

So it goes...


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Some more on dinghies...

Ugly Americans (or how not to endear yourself to the natives), some fact checking, and Latitude 38 asks the 14% question...

Yep, the PT11 is as close to a perfect tender as I've come across but, the snag is, it is just that little bit too big to stow on my available deck space. If plans were available (they're not) I'd just scale them down a kiss but as they are not one needs to look elsewhere.


Which brings us to Danny Greene's Chameleon. Danny Greene has been designing and building nesting dinghies as long as I can remember and the Chameleon, while now a somewhat long-in-the-tooth plan is actually quite evolved.  It does the job and rows, sails, and motors well.  It's also stable enough to fly fish from and a 210 pound guy will have no issues pulling himself aboard from the water when needed. The problem for me with this dinghy is its nested space requirements is 5'4" X 4'2".

While nested length and width are crucial to stowage so is the nested height is just as important and the Chameleon comes in at twenty inches.

All in all a very nice design.

The B&B  Spindrift S11-N is another nice design.which nests in a 5'7" X 4' 7" space and has a nested height of 24". 


With a nested length of 5' 7" it is too long for my space and to be honest the 24" nested height is just too high and I really should have bought the S10-N design which is 5' 2" X 4' 3" with a nested height of 21 1/2 inches.

The Spindrifts sail well, row well, and  motor well. Designed with more sail area than most nesting dinghies if sailing with some attitude is your thing you might want to check them out.

Another B&B design is the Two Paws 8 or 9 pram dinghies. The TP-8 nested size is 4'X 4' 1" and the TP-9 nested size is 4' 8" X 4' 4" with both having a nested height of 20". The Two Paws are a little less fiddly to build and, to my mind, a bit better suited to life as a tender.

More from the list later...

Listening to Robbery Inc

So it goes...

Monday, March 20, 2017

The current benchmark...

Donkey Mountain (who posts far too seldom) nails it, so does  Crooks & Liars, and EB Misfit scores as well...

If there was one dinghy I'd be interested in buying it's the PT11 kit designed by Paul Bieker and built by Port Townsend Watercraft.


You really should check it out as it, until someone comes up with something even better, is going to be the benchmark that all nesting dinghies are compared to.

Check it out.

More on the subject tomorrow...

Listening to Red Baraat

So it goes...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

another affordable windvane self-steering gear...

Meals on Wheels, some folks who don't have our best interests at heart, Chuck Berry is no longer with us, and just plain interesting...

I've always admired  the Mr Vee self-steering gears which were an evolution/offshoot of the Walt Murray DIY pvc pipe and copper tubing design ethos. I also like the fact that the Mr Vee self-steering gears are the most inexpensive windvanes around in spite of being more advanced than most of their competitors.

It gets better...


WoodenB, the first flatpack self steering system.

Made from CNC routed plywood, based on the design of Y&B.The kit comes with some cnc made plastic parts where wood is not suitable and fasteners are included. Material for the unique Mister Vee windvane are also supplied.

 Now is that neat or what?

While still in development (so no pricing available as of yet)I expect that it will bring the cost of self-steering down to the point where you can actually use windvane and affordable in the same sentence. For anyone considering a you should drop Mr Vee a note and let them know.

Listening to Good Graeff

So it goes...

Friday, March 17, 2017