Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Maybe it's just me being nervous...

L,G,& M pointing something out, some seriously scary numbers, and a little playing with the facts...

Not all that long ago a friend noticed that there was smoke coming out of the front seat locker in his Caribe dinghy. He told me that this was both irksome as well as confusing because, as far as he was concerned, there was nothing that should spontaneously combust in the locker. He also admitted he was a little off put because he had a fire extinguisher on the boat but, as luck would have it, it happened to be in the aforementioned seat locker that was now seriously smoking and it appeared that the top of lid was sorta/kinda melting...

Amazing what sort of mayhem three flares going off on their own can cause on a small dinghy while you're going home from work. For those who need details: the flares were in date, packaged/stowed appropriately, and the Caribe was a total loss.

Maybe it's just me but flares scare me... It's not about having to use flares but the fact that things designed to burn stored away on a boat just make me nervous.

As it happens, I need to buy some more flares because the ones I have are about to hit their expiry dates and this actually pisses me off for a variety of reasons...

For one, they're going out of date because when I bought them the only ones available to me in the USVI were older stock. Not only was I paying a highly inflated price for flares but I was paying that highly inflated price for flares that I'd have to replace sooner rather than later.

Another reason I'm not too happy about having to replace flares is that it is nearly impossible to dispose of them in a safe, sane, and ecologically sensible manner. Last time I tried, I dropped by the USCG station only to be told that I'd have to take them to the police. Of course, the police told me that I'd have to take them to the Fire station but the guy at the fire station told me that I'd have to take them to another fire station who then told me they don't do that anymore and suggested I try the USCG...

So, I actually have a lot of flares sitting around on my boat some with dates that I suspect actually came with the boat when it was new. Any of which could spontaneously combust at any moment...

Color me nervous.

The thing is, in the year 2014 with EPIRB's, PLB's, and modern communication technology you'd think we'd have a better safer flare system.You know something like this...



Listening to Leon Russell

So it goes...

Monday, September 29, 2014

add a wedge tent and go cruising...

I'm guessing our founding fathers never considered the coming idiot factor of 2014 America when they drafted the language of the 2nd amendment, David Simon talks (you might find it interesting),  and how NOT to instill a healthy respect for the law in kids...

This is really a small and simple design...


Now, some folks might say that small and simple are a negative thing but then again some people enjoy Barry Manilow as well, so draw whatever conclusions you feel needful. Me, I like it a lot.


Four berths and room on the bridgedeck for a two person dome tent actually makes this a pretty neat minimal envelope cruiser for a couple.

Maybe not for everyone but for those who "get it" it makes all the sense in the world...

Check out Eric Henseval's website for more information about plans for the Sardine Twin.

Listening to the Warren Haynes Band

So it goes...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

more for boat bound guitar players only...

Well worth reading, something that makes all kinds of sense, and Neil Young doing some good...

Some time ago I wrote about how enamoured I was with the Electro Harmonix 22 Caliber and 44 Magnum Power Amps for folks on boats who play electric guitar and I still think they make all kinds of sense.

That said, this amp by Quilter seriously knocked my socks off the other day...



Isn't it nice to have choices?

Listening to the Wailin' Jennys

So it goes...

Saturday, September 27, 2014

a new tool in my pocket...


This kinda rocked my world yesterday, do I detect a certain, shall we say, lack of honesty, and it's turning into the sort of day when covering Led Zeppelin (not Stairway) on a dulcimer makes all kinds of sense...

As a rule I'm not a big fan of multi-tools because they're (mostly) the wrong tool for every job and expensive...

This one's an exception to the rule.

Offhand I think it has a lot to do with the fact that they left the bad knife out of the equation...

Listening to Joe Jackson

So it goes...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Just a little fiscal common sense...

Some serious NRA ass-backwards thinking, some folks fighting the good fight, and how being number 1 is not always something to be proud of...

I'm in the process of adding two fifteen gallon water tanks in otherwise inaccessible places on the boat to supplement my super simple hose into a jerry can water system.

So, to keep things simple I needed to get a couple of y-valves. This being what I had in mind...


...and West had what I wanted. Well, at least I thought so until I checked out what a couple of them would cost.

So, what's a poor boy to do?

Well, as it happens, I needed to get some propane at the local hardware store so had the opportunity to peruse various plumbing stuff and found just the thing...

A two way hose adapter with dual shut offs in the garden center for about $2 each. The downside is I needed to add three 3/4" thread to 1/2" hose barbs for $1.99 each so the total damage was right around $16. They're tough, bombproof, and affordable... What's not to love?

Which, when all is said and done, that's about a $94 savings (more if you factor in the cost of having a pair of y valves shipped down to the Caribbean). I don't know about you but I can always use and extra $94 or so.

The only disadvantage I see is that dealing with four shutoff valves is slightly more complicated than two valves to deal with but nothing like a deal breaker and, once I stared thinking about it, having four separate shutoffs is actually advantageous in my installation. Something of a win/win as far as I can see.

Listening to the Wailin' Jennys

So it goes...


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

OK, it's a given I'm not big on change...

A little needful historical perspective, some depressing reading, and something you may want to keep in mind...

On a food blog I read on a regular basis they were pimping some products in the guise of a contest and, being both cheap and enamoured of good food, I thought I'd enter. Of course, there was a hitch (isn't there always?) in that you had to have a Facebook account and you had to "Like" the company to enter.

I don't do Facebook...

But, I'm sure that the company in question will get a lot of "Likes" for their products from people who have never ever actually used or tasted them and down the line folks will buy the products on the basis of how many people "like" the products even though those "likes" are not really based on any sort of merit.

Kind of depressing really when you think about it...

I'm actually mentioning this because one reader regularly writes in complaining that I don't use twitter and how it would be in my best interest to morph Boat Bits into a Facebook page because blogging is no longer hip and all the cool kids are on Facebook.

Let me just check and see how I feel about that...




What can I say... I've just never been "cool kids" material.

Listening to Joe Jackson

So it goes...

Monday, September 22, 2014

an office with a view...

Looking for John Coltrane and finding Kenny G, heartbreaking on so many levels, and some seriously ass-backwards shit...

Webb Chiles and his Moore 24 safe and sound in New Zealand with maybe the best quote ever to use when comparing tiller pilots and windvane self-steering...

"I was hand steering because all four of my tiller pilots had died.  One had been repaired and died twice, so that really makes five."
I'm pretty sure I can see a trend...

Listening to Joe Bonamassa

So it goes...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tempting...

A well deserved award, a good point, and help if you can...

Now here's the sort of race I could seriously get behind.


R2AK - Are you ready? from Pink House on Vimeo.

Listening to Renaud

So it goes...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

those pesky electrons on boats

A couple getting hassled for helping folks, music to drown out the hate, and sometimes it's good to be reminded there are still some good folks around...

My Kindle seems to be having some issues and for the last few nights my bedtime reading has been something of a problematic affair.

I plan to buy a new Kindle Monday...

Now, I expect, I'll be able to sort out whatever problem is causing the issue (at the moment I think it may have something to do with a demon and might require a blood sacrifice) but being that said Kindle lives on a boat and involves electricity to make it work, it's hardly surprising that it's not going to work from time to time.

Face it, anything electronic or powered by electricity on a boat is going to be a problem at some point in time. More importantly, whenever it does fail it will be at the most awkward and inopportune time possible thanks to the ever present law of perversity. Like when you're in the middle of "Heart Shaped Box" (which is a really good read) or you're dragging anchor towards a reef and you go to turn on your electric windlass...

Of course, I can always wait a day or two to read the next chapter so I can live with my Kindle taking a sorta/kinda day off once in a while. As for an electric windlass (or winches, which are just your choice of Deity telling you A. your boat is too big for you or, B. that you need to take a course with Mr Apollo) I don't have one so I don't have to worry about when it's going to fail or malfunction...

Listening to San Fermin

So it goes...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Some blogs worth reading...

C&L makes a very valid reference to scripture, can't point this out enough, and some very needful reading...

The other day someone asked me what blogs I follow...

Well, I really like Graduating to a Smaller Boat because it just nails the minimalist vibe so perfectly and always puts things into perspective.

Small Boat Projects is another site I keep an eye on because it republishes great posts from some blog I'd never find on my own... For instance, the current article about "Dock Box Carpentry" is truly excellent and one anyone who works on their boat should devour.

I'm not really big on cruising blogs as a rule but a few I keep my eye on are Yacht Mollymawk, Cruising with the Zartman Family, and Sailing Totem because they're excellent and not the same old same...

Jeff Master's weather blog is always the first feed I check and the last one I look at before I turn off my computer...

Listening to St Paul & the Broken Bones

So it goes...