a lot of things but nothing in particular

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Location: port townsend, Washington, United States

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Sheet to tiller

Last fall I got a call from a good friend who said he was about to sail singlehanded from Petersburg, AK to Port Townsend, WA taking the "outside" route non-stop. A few days later I was on a plane with my foulies and a sea anchor in my bag for what was to become one of the most gorgeous trips I've ever taken.

The boat is a beautiful wooden gaff ketch, but we were just two crew and headed offshore without a wind vane, but luckily, we had splurged on ten feet of surgical tubing just before we left, and before we'd put the islands of Haida gwai in our wake we had the tubing set up to stear the boat:
(Video of sheet to tiller in action using jib sheet)

Upon return we celebrated with a little water skiing. My parents always bragged about pulling a water skier behind their M-scow, so with a good fresh breeze we had to give it a try. 

After scheming and dreaming a bit this winter we have a new(?) idea.

The big problem with sheet to tiller is all the lines strewn through the cockpit and all the added friction from the blocks that we use to reverse the pull.

So, with some input from a shipwrights and a naval architect, the new idea is to build an extension of the tiller behind the rudder post possibly with a horizontal member that runs athwartships. This would allow for not only a fair lead and a clear cockpit but also the ability to adjust the leverage by moving your point of attachment to the lever arm - not to mention, this should cost about $40, instead of 4000.  I haven't seen this done before, though it seems like such a simple idea I'm sure someone has.

Here are some sketches of the old method and the new method that may or may not aid in the description:

The challenge now is to build it gracefully

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

I came, I sailed, I grounded

There's a saying about sailors: there are those who have grounded, those who will, and those who won't leave the dock [sic]. This photo is my bit of humility - a result of utter carelessness. Thankfully, it's been almost 10 yrs since doing anything like that, though I admit I've come close. I remember a gale and a lee shore and no engine the winter before last. I nearly took out the warf at penn cove (and a restaurant and a museum) before I could get the anchor aboard and the sails up. Lessons learned about setting a sentinel/kellet, but that's another story. 

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

a man's best friend

I don't like dogs.  I never have.  They smell.  They slobber.  And there's nothing so perpetually needy as a dog.  They can't even take a shit without help.  Chloe was different.

It never bugged me when Chloe came aboard by boat and left her hair behind.  She was the sweetest and most docile dog I've ever known, which speaks more than anything to her owner, who cared for her with more attention than most people pay to their babies.
Chloe was always happy to see me, whether I wanted to be seen or not.  Chloe was always up for anything.  She never asked why, or how long.  You can pay a lot of money for therapists and psychiatric medications, but Chloe was more than prozac, zoloft, and adirol combined.  She was a true friend.
So sorry for your loss, Alan.

 Chloe helping Alan and my wife and I sail out of the harbor.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Shaving - cheaper and greener

I became tired of spending 3 or 4 dollars per blade for my gillette mach 4. On the advice of a friend I acquired my grandpa's old safety razor. Not only do the blades cost only about 15 cents, but they last for 5-10 shaves, and don't create the unnecessary waiste of the plastic cartriges. I did end up with a few minor cuts on my neck when first trying it out, but I feel like I actually get a better shave. I used to get little bumps on my chin and neck from ingrown hairs (a result of the multiple blade - lift & cut system), but with the single blade I take two or three passes to get closer and no longer have the problem.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Why do I do the things I do...?

This is going to be an evolving little blog about my lifestyle and the choices I make. It's more for my own sake than for others to read, but I thought I'd include this little caveat, just in case someone had the bad idea of reading it.

It has been my goal for quite some time to live differently - to escape the consumerist lifestyle that has unfortunately become the norm in the western world. Marketers have told us that we'll be happy if we just have this or that, but I don't want to be a part of the wasteful world, buying more than I can afford and feeling unhappy because I can't have that other thing. I want to live well below my means and enjoy the freedom from the burden of desire. I'm sure there are many who live more simply than I, but over the years I've whittled away some of the unnecessary. Today I live on a twenty six foot sailboat with oil lamps for lighting and a bucket for a toilet. I sold my car about two years and get around almost as well by bicycle and public transportation.

My commute is about 30 miles, and it takes me about an hour each way, as opposed to the 35 minutes it used to take by car, but I think I'm healthier and happier in my present circumstances. I tend to sleep in a little bit every morning, so I was always stressed on my way to work. I would rush to throw some close on, rush to stuff my face with a few eggs, and then get in my car and road rage for a half hour. I was totally stressed out before I even got to work. Without the car I still rush to get dressed and eat, then race my little bicycle across town to the bus stop. Once I get on the bus, I take a deep breath, open up a book, and let someone else drive. I don't know what I did without it. After reading a chapter or two, I have a short walk to my office where I keep my other bike, and I'm ready to start my day. It's a miraculous buffer between home and work. Since I work in a number of locations, I get short moderate workouts throughout the day, and I always energized and a little more alive after I get off my bike.

The bike itself is a old peugeot. I got it awhile back for $40 bucks. It's been through a lot of changes since then. Almost everything has been replaced since this picture was taken. Over the years it's also turned blue, silver, and now green. I end up repainting every few years, because it's never had a proper finish. I've always just used rattle cans. It doesn't look quite as nice, but then, if it looked too nice, someone else might want it, and then I'd have to worry about it getting stolen.

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