Saturday, September 22, 2018

Rigging Modern Anchors

If you have read this blog for any length of time, the name Drew Frye will be familiar to you.  If not, then I will tell you that Drew is an individual that takes nothing for granted.  For Drew, rules of thumb are fine, being derived from long experience handed down over the centuries, but  conclusions and rules derived from hard data are better. And Drew goes out and collects that data.

Bearing this in mind, know that Drew has written a book, based on hard data, about anchors and anchoring techniques.  Here is what he says about it:
"Working with a bricks and mortar publisher to get this in print has been a lengthy process for me, but well worth it. It encouraged me to dive far more deeply into the technical side than I might have for my own needs, and the result is the most technically detailed book on yacht anchoring written. And I don't feel I'm bragging unfairly. I simply did the work. [...] I spent years with a load cell, digging around in the mud. Hardly glamorous, but science is mostly about diligent work."

Rigging Modern Anchors

First print edition, 2018, by Seaworthy Press. About 156 pages.
I've been setting and trusting anchors with my life (climbing) and my boat (sailing) for 35 years. I've been testing and documenting anchor testing for 5 years, and I've spent the last two sifting, collating, and analyzing all that I have learned. The result, I believe, is a complete description of what is actually going on below the waves, not just descriptively or as oral history from an old salt, but with numerical back-up everywhere I could provided it. I hope it helps. I know I sleep better. From the back cover of the book:
“Rigging Modern Anchors” demystifies anchoring with today’s modern anchors. Through years of systematic testing, Drew Frye has produced a new benchmark of understanding based on empirical data instead of anecdotal wisdom, passed down from one sailor to the next without proof or deep understanding. In “Rigging Modern Anchors” we dig deeply into the how and why of anchoring, using hard numbers as our foundation.

Included are in-depth discussions of anchoring basics, loads, scope, and the effects of cyclical loading, soil consolidation and bottom characteristics on holding power. Special attention is given to problem bottoms such as very soft mud and rock. There are anchor-specific observations, discussions of tandem anchors and rigging methods, plus an extensive appendix containing test data, open source designs for bridle plates and anchor turners, strength and toughness for various chain types, anchor connector recommendations, anchor sizing guides and more.

Proper anchoring technique, rigging, and gear selection is vital to the safety of ship and crew. Instead of hoping your anchor and rigging scheme will hold, read “Rigging Modern Anchors” and be sure.

This book would fit nicely on any yacht's bookshelf, and would provide good reading evenings when the wind is howling outside...

If you have Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited, the book is available for free for a limited time!  Here's the link.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

How To: Shuck Oysters 

It has come to my attention that not everyone knows how to shuck oysters.  Like many things, it is not hard, but it does require the right tools.  I like this Oxo oyster knife - it is sturdy and has a slight curve up toward the flat side, which you probably can't see in the picture.  Sorry.  The back side has a reinforcing rib which makes it quite stiff and sturdy.

Oxo Oyster Knife

So grab an oyster.  Hold it with the hinge end (the thick, usually pointy end) towards you, and with the flat, or flatter side up.

Your snack awaits

Now, where to insert the knife?  Examine the edge of the oyster and you will see a zone, approximately half way between top and bottom, where the layers of the shell are very close together.  If you are lucky, you may see a dark band near the center. This is the junction between the lower and upper shells, and is not actually sealed. Instead the oyster is mightily holding the two shells together with its big muscle.

Where does the knife go in?

Nolw here's where you could get hurt.  Professional oyster shuckers (at an oyster bar, for example), frequently wear a chain mail glove on their left hand - you probably won't have that, so be *very careful*!

The moment of truth
Touch the knife, flat side up, to the junction between the lower and upper shells, about halfway between the tip of the shell and the hinge. Apply some pressure and twist the knife a little to help it penetrate the joint. Don't worry if you don't get exactly on the junction... the twisting motion will guide the knife tip to the junction. DON'T POKE YOURSELF IN THE LEFT HAND! If you're pushing really hard, you're doing it wrong. Twist more; push less.

Once you get the tip between the shells, swing the knife side to side while slowly pushing it in further, keeping the tip against the inside of the upper shell.  What you are trying to do is to cut the muscle that is holding the shells together.   It will be about midway across the oyster.  You'll know when you cut the muscle - suddenly there will be nothing holding the shells clamped shut.  Open carefully by twisting the knife, being careful not to spill the liquor inside, and be sure to scrape any meat off the under side of the upper shell.

Enjoy in your favorite way!

*No oysters were harmed in making this post - this was a re-enaction.  We ate them last nite...

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