Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Google, blogger, comments and integration

Google has been working for some time to get blogger more closely integrated into the Google empire.  The most recent change in that vein came when Google +1 and Google comments were allowed on blog postings.

Unfortunately, however, the integration is incomplete.  Comments entered on blogger are moderatable (is that a word?) and each one generates an email message to me.  So I know when I have a comment to respond to, or to delete/mark as spam if that is  appropriate.

Unfortunately, none of this works with comments made via Google.  They just appear on the blog. No warning, no notice.

So I apologize in advance if you make a comment and I don't respond to it in a timely fashion - please bear with me: I am still learning.

(And the spammers must absolutely love this!)


Monday, August 26, 2013

How to: Mask a Handrail

Do you keep your teak handrails finished bright?  On Eolian we do, and so varnishing them is a part of the annual varnishing task.  Therefore masking off the loops where they meet the deck is a necessity.  We have 40 loops on Eolian - this is not a trivial task.  So then, how to do it?

There used to be available masking tape that was pre-cut to fit the curves at the ends of the loops, but I can't find it online anymore.  In any case, this was a very expensive solution - we've never used it.

Instead, here's how we mask off the loops, using just regular 1" tape.  To illustrate, I'll show the process on an end loop because there is increased visibility there.

The first step is to find a nice anchorage!  There is no need to do this at the dock.  Why stay at the dock when you could be at anchor in a quiet cove somewhere?  We are anchored in Eagle Harbor for these pictures.
The starting point

First, apply tape strips along the long sides.  As I have mentioned before, it is wise to hold the tape back from the loop by a tiny amount so that the varnish will help with sealing the loop to the deck.
Apply two strips to the sides

Next, apply strips at the ends of the loops.  The fit will be terrible of course, leaving triangular areas uncovered.
Add strips at the ends

Next, tear a 3" or so strip of tape down the middle, lengthwise.  If you are using 1" tape like us, this will give you two short lengths of 1/2" wide tape.
Tear some tape down the middle

Now you can tear off pieces of the narrow strips, making roughly 1/2" square pieces of tape with one straight edge.  These are too small to place accurately with your hands, so I stick them gently to the tip of a knife for ease of handling.

Using the knife as a handle, position the tape, and then press it down with a finger tip when it is correctly positioned.  The knife allows you to get at every corner. 

Apply overlapping pieces of tape to follow the curve.

The process sounds tedious, and well, it is.  But with practice, I do each one in under 2 minutes (and having 40 to do each year gives me lots of practice).
Ready for sanding and varnish

So we're talking about roughly an hour and a half to mask off all the handrails - that's not a terrible way to spend an afternoon at anchor, is it?

And a shoutout to the folks on the dark blue catamaran that said they read this blog as they motored out of Eagle Harbor Sunday morning!


Friday, August 23, 2013

Baby Chickens. Again.

Oh no... This is not good news.

I'm beginning to think that baby chickens are at least equivalent to kittens as internet image searches...


Monday, August 19, 2013

I may have GDD*

Can there be too much of a good thing?

This weekend we anchored in Port Madison, off the dock for the first time in weeks.  And I relaxed.  I mean I completely RELAXED.   I was so relaxed that I may actually have left the animal kingdom and become some kind of plant. 

Is this good?  

Once in a while I think it is. But I was so far gone that it was quite difficult for me to gather together enough energy (gumption?) even for the ten-minute job of greasing the heads.  I spent uncounted hours lazing in the cockpit, feeling the boat gliding slowly around the anchor and gazing at the water, the shoreline, the birds, the seals.  The insides of my eyelids. 

So what is this "energy", this "gumption"?  Is another word for this curiously slippery substance "ambition"?  Where does it one from?  How is it destroyed by the heat of a summer afternoon?  Can you get more of it with a proper diet?  Do certain strangely named supplements help your body to manufacture it? 

Investigators have found [citation needed] that subjects with low levels of gumption seem to have correspondingly elevated levels of a substance identified as β-lethargen. Is β-lethargen a gumption antagonist?  Or does it act independently to reduce the will to act? Is there a deeper homeostatic mechanism that is regulating both of these?  More research is needed. 

Next weekend.

*GDD: Gumption Deficit Disorder


Friday, August 16, 2013

More than a month without a saltwater fix

June 28.

That was the date we returned to the dock from our previous little cruise.  And now it is August 16th.

Those intervening weeks were filled with travel, a family reunion, a wedding, and the Dude Drive - all wonderful fun and very fulfilling.  But no saltwater.

Ah, but this morning we woke up at anchor in Port Madison - woke up to the smell of the sea, absolute calm, and a fuzzy layer of fog that filtered in and out as I sat in the cockpit, drinking my Coast Guard-required latte.

It is so good to be home.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Searching for love, on twisty mountain roads

Not everything is about sailing; there are other things.

This weekend was the 2013 Dude Tour - where men of indeterminate age (I think I get the award for the oldest) take their (mostly) classic cars out and actually drive them (oh, the horror!).  And this is not just driving, but driving at (some would say ridiculous) speed thru twisty back mountain roads.  But we're not crazy - these must all be paved roads.  Nobody wants gravel rash on their baby.

And there is camping.  And adult beverages, of course (by now you must know me well enough to believe that I would give the event a pass if this were not true), campfires, and daily turn-by-turn recounts of the driving.

Here are this year's participants (from left to right):
  • VW Golf R32 (Phil)
  • 1966 Karman Ghia (Ken - my son-in-law)
  • 1969 TR6 (Adam - my son)
  • 1973 Riviera (50,000 original miles - Jeff)
  • 1968 GTO (me!)
  • Porsche Boxer (Kerry)
  • 1959 Austen Healy Sprite (with monster rotary engine, and a tiny 9 gallon gas tank - Brian)
  • 1969 Fiat 850 (Piotr)
  • Porsche Boxer (Kirk)
  • (Not shown:  late model Corvette - Brian's dad)
If you are noticing something strange about the Riviera - yes it is photoshopped in - it died along the road with a failed water pump.  We made a valiant effort to effect a roadside repair (yes, we all travel with tools...  of course), but when three of the bolts snapped off in the disassembly attempt, it became clear that this was the end of the line for the Riviera - it was going to have to go home on a trailer.   We split Jeff's stuff up amongst us (to be fair, I had the biggest remaining trunk in the GTO...) and Jeff finished the tour along with the rest of us.  As he should have.  But I lost my pace car - I have always relied on the fact that if Jeff can make it thru a corner, then I can too.  Now I was on my own.

The route - 514 miles, by Piotr's odometer
After leaving the Seattle/Tacoma metro area the route was the twistyest (sp?) road you could imagine, with lots of big suspension bottoming bumps hiding along the way.  Perhaps the most spectacular turn was the one where, with the sun in your eyes, the road made a sharp 15 MPH turn to the right (trust me, no one was going anywhere near that slow).  No guardrail (actually, no guardrails anywhere).  And straight ahead?  Empty space.  I have no idea how long the drop was I didn't have time to look), but the opposite side of the canyon had to be a couple of miles away. 

The route took us over Old Man Pass, where Adam made your correspondent pose under the sign.   Thankfully, I am assured that all copies of this photo have been destroyed.

It was a wonderful time.  All the cars except the Riviera completed the trip on their own wheels, and the GTO is parked comfortably in the garage once again. 

 We now return you to your regularly scheduled sailing blog.


Monday, August 5, 2013


When you have been away from home for a while, returning to home releases such wonderful feelings.  It's like they were trapped in there somewhere under pressure, and then the pressure is gone.

It is a release, a relief of kinds - the return of the familiar.  Familiar smells.  Familiar sights.  Familiar friends.  A nite in your own bed.

When we got out into the open air last nite after returning from a Cheyenne Wyoming wedding, Kaci expressed it like this: "My skin loves the air here!"  Now certainly a part of this was the wonderfully perfect humidity and temperature of a Seattle mid-summer evening.  But a part of it was surely the homecoming release as well, brought on by that perfect air.

And as for me?  Well, sitting in the cockpit at sunset with a long anticipated IPA pretty much says it all I think.

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