Wednesday, November 28, 2012

74 mph. Under sail. On water.

You gotta see this:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Singing the praises of aluminum tape

What keeps a tape from being permanent?  Two things:
  • The substrate does not survive contact with moisture or sunlight
  • The adhesive fails, usually due to exposure to sunlight, and dries out or crumbles
That should tell you why I like the aluminum tape you can buy at big-box home supply stores like Lowes or Home Depot. 

Look for it in the insulation aisle

The substrate is actually metal - it's aluminum - thin enough to stretch a little and to easily conform to almost any shape.  And because it is metal, no sunlight - zero sunlight - penetrates the substrate to attack the adhesive.  The metal is polished and apparently anodized - it survives years of exposure to sea air without a blemish.

And the acrylic adhesive they put on this tape is some of the most aggressive I have seen. And because it is protected, it is as easy to remove tape that has been in place for years as it is to remove newly-applied tape - the adhesive does not get hard.

Here are a couple of examples where this marvelous stuff is in use on Eolian:

  • Sealing the top of the mast boot. The tape adheres tenaciously to the mast, forming a permanent water-tite seal, and it conforms nicely in the task of overlapping the mast boot fabric. The hose clamp  serves to mechanically hold the boot in place - not to create a seal.
  • Sealing the joint where the two ends of the extrusion come together on our windows. When they came from the factory, there was an internal seal, but I had to destroy this to replace the glazing. The tape is a permanent cover for the joint.
  • Protecting the PVC used to make the new wind vane


Thursday, November 22, 2012

I am thankful

I am thankful that our whole family could be together for Thanksgiving


Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Today there was a most important convergence: It was not raining, and I was home while it was light. So I took another look at the mast boot.

Having given up on everything else, I cut a new one. Because I had the old one, I didn't have to go thru the patterning exercise - I just traced the old one onto the Naugahyde and cut it out. But first, of course, I had to pull the old one. It was instructive.

Here's the inside of the old one, showing clearly where water had been coming in. (Because of the way I laid it out in the cockpit, that's the bottom of the boot at the top of the picture.)  There are a couple of (dried) streams to the left in the picture, and one gigantic wet stream to the right of center in the picture.  When it was installed, this was at the back, where the sail track is on the mast - a tough place to seal.

The smoking gun
And look what I saw when I turned up the edge and looked closely at the boot where it went over the track.  Yep, the vinyl coating on the fabric had cracked, twice.

Some interesting gel-life growing inside the old boot

Looks like someone is running a hose
on the deck above, doesn't it?

And wouldn't you know?  Mother Nature delivers a test storm not long after I get the new boot installed.  Perfect timing... and it's not just any storm - in fact it is a deluge of Biblical proportions - any minute now I expect to see pairs of animals lining  up out there on the dock.  It's been going on now for 24 hours, and there is no end in sight.

So far?  One drop. 


Update #2:

Sunny and dry today (but cold).  This allowed me to inspect the new mast boot more closely than I was able to during and immediately after installation.  What I found was incomplete adhesion of the polysulphide I had used to seal the seam where the ends overlapped on the boot.

Drop explained.

And fixed.  (Replaced the polysulphide with 3M 5200.)

Previous post in this series.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gotcha - got me.

Sorry - I hit the wrong button.

This post is scheduled to appear Wednesday morning.


Monday, November 19, 2012

More meat mania

We continue to work our way thru the Low and Slow book - we're now at Lesson 4 out of 5.  And I have to say that not only have we passed all the quizzes, we've aced the lessons.  But each chapter has a long list of exercises left up to the student - things we will go back and investigate once we have made it thru all five lessons.  There is a lot of culinary exploration in those exercises!

Lesson 4 is Spare Ribs - more difficult than Baby Back Ribs because the meat is tougher and must therefore be cooked longer.  Here you see three gigantic racks of ribs just as they were when I put them in the smoker.  Each has been rinsed with vinegar, slathered with yellow mustard, and heavily annointed with a special rub (the mustard serves mostly as glue to keep the rub in place).  I purposely left the red Solo cup (yes, adult beverage from my kegerator) in the picture to give some scale.  Those are huge slabs of meat.

And here are those same slabs of meat after spending five hours in the smoker.  Oh. My. Gosh.  Are they delicious!  I couldn't take the same picture of them, on the grill in the smoker, because it was dark by the time they were done.

I'll point out that, tho we tried mightily, Jane and I were only able to polish off one half of one of the racks.  Our freezer is is getting full of smoked meat. 

What a terrible problem...

We're having everybody and their dogs up to the cabin for Thanksgiving, so we will be doing smoked ribs for the Friday dinner (no, I don't trust myself to do a turkey... yet.)


Wednesday, November 14, 2012


It was grey, with lowering clouds this morning when Jane and I walked down the ramp to G Dock.  But it was one of those rare times in this season when there was no wind and Puget Sound was calm.  There was some light mist in the air from those low clouds, adding depth to the view across the Sound.  The sandy hook at Point Monroe was visible - it was a picture in shades of grey.

And we both agreed that it would be absolutely wonderful to be resting at anchor in Port Madison this afternoon.  And then we were both silent as we walked the 1000 feet out to Eolian, absorbed in our imaginations.

It was a compelling vision.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The changing of the beverages

It's currently 43° out there, and raining.

This is not the kind of day where you think to yourself, "Boy, a nice cold beer would be refreshing right about now."  No siree.

Like all the other changes that happen when the days get short and the sun rides low in the sky, beverage choices change too.  This season calls for:
  • Hot mulled wine
  • Hot spiced cider (perhaps with a little Captain Morgan's? )
  • Peppermint Patties
  • Hot buttered rum (is that a hot toddy?)
  • Jack on the rocks (pure antifreeze)
Any other favorites out there?


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Unmistakable signs

Humans evolved on this planet.

One inevitable consequence of this is a that we each have several internal clocks, timed to the rhythms of the Earth:
  • Daily
  • Monthly
  • Seasonal
Yes, we do have internal clocks that tick over with the seasons.  How else to explain that we inherently know when summer is over.  We think we are superior, above all that, but we are no different than the trees that shed their leaves even before the first frost because, well because it is just time

Instead of dropping leaves, people living aboard flag the end of season in different ways:
  • Dock lines get doubled up
  • Extra fenders get hung
  • If the boat has full canvas, the whole enclosure is put up and zipped tight
  • Whole-boat canvas covers appear
  • Sails may disappear into storage
  • Dinghies get picked up and stored out of the water in various ways
  • Long neglected, once again, attention returns to deck leaks, and solving them
  • We never see our neighbors - there is no one sitting on their bow or stern (perhaps with an adult beverage) to say "Hi" to or to get a quick update on their status - where were they last weekend, where are they going the coming weekend, what projects are they working on.   Instead people walk down the dock, huddled against the rain and cold and and waste no time in getting down below into their own little bubbles of warmth and light.  
And on Eolian, perhaps the last leaf to fall is the disappearance of my ratty $15 commuter bicycle into storage.

When it goes, winter is surely close at hand.

It goes this weekend.


Monday, November 5, 2012

The resurrection plant

I must confess.

While Jane was back in Indiana for a month with her mother, I may not have been the most reliable plant-sitter.  More than once, Jane's sink-side basil nursery came to look like this (or worse...) when I forgot to keep the water level up.

But weak as basil is outside here in the PNW, it is simply amazing in a beer glass by the sink.  Each time it looked like it had passed into that green jungle in the sky, simply providing it with water resurrected it completely, in all of its spicy glory.  When Jane returned, she was blissfully unaware of my horticultural incompetence.

But I am smiling with relief.  I was not on plant-sitting duty this weekend.   

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