Monday, November 30, 2009


Don't know exactly what is happening here. MAID has jettisoned her binnacle, privacy window, part of her centerboard cap, etc.

Thanksgiving Turbulence

Rain, clouds, Atlantic Ocean waves.

Racing Stripes

Tiller finished with one coat of varnish.
Rub rails, drilled, sanded and backs primed.
Oak bungs made for rails.
Empty holes filled with peened rivets and painted.
Seat, floorboards, and stern sheets painted.
Sheerstrakes taped and painted.
Bare spots on garboard planks oiled.
Rudder faired (a little bit, because of drifts) and primed.

The four of us got quite a bit done.
Enjoy the party, guys.
Happy Christmas to everyone there tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Seattle Gray

Dave painted the tuck-up inside. I started the linseed oil on the floors and seat bottoms. John S. took over when school called.

John B. put up a collection of TORCH photos from when she moved back in the shop for the winter.

Stanchions. That's what the pieces connecting the carlin to the stringer are.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tuckup Rainy Night

TOP PRIORITY got floorboards sanded & primed by Ed, a dutchman in her sheer, one rubrail fitted and drilled for 1 1/2" #8 screws, Carl worked a bit on her tiller, Mike helped me drill and rivet the one fore floor that was loose, Carl & I riveted the aft frame splice after he fitted it & I drilled it. Carl held the buck while I peened over the burr.

URCHIN got another coat of varnish on her seats and sheerstrake (port), a coat of oil on her transom and port rail.

TORCH almost 200lbs lighter now, ready for new stuff.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Boy, Me and the Cat

The Boy, Me and the Cat are in the Chesapeake on Nov. 17th. Papa has oyster pie leftovers for breakfast, Henry stuffs griddles. (more to my liking I'll admit, the griddles I mean.)

"We are tearing at it as I write and yet it seems impossible down here in the cozy little cabin with a good fire going, sunlight pouring in through the open hatch and kitty, who has just eaten and then thrown up the leg of sea fowl, asleep in my lap. All the comforts of home in 24'7".Don't it beat all."
I think SILENT MAID must have room for a fireplace or at least a little woodstove. Auxiliary heater and cooker for when there is not enough juice for the glowplug, but we can leave out the regurgitating feline. One with more constitution would be ok. continuing...

"And just as I finished writing the above sizzle, it came butt-ends on and then some. We were overblown in no time so it was bring her to it and reef in a vicious chop of a sea. Put in the best reef yet and in ship shape style. H. is all right. Papa felt so good he tied down the leach earring himself. Away again in search of palm trees for this norther was cutting cold."
Whoa, almost a hundred years later and nothing has changed. We were still looking for palm trees while on a catboat in the Chesapeake (and found them too) and it was really cold in October no less. It also blew up gusty every afternoon and we would have to put another reef in. We never got to the fourth though. Their little launch was made from a semi-dory much like URCHIN but had a 'make-or-break" engine and a deeper skeg.

"There was some whipping to canvas with peak dropped today and a nasty batten poked thro' the sail and before it tore loose and went to leeward it ripped a foot or more of canvas. Also tore out lazy jack boom block, loosened poop deck irons, and split one of the boards. H. thinks we better lay up and repair while there is something left to repair, but they are all non-essentials toward making southing, so on we go with halliards flying and no down haul. Like Jorrocks, I feel like saying. "Yachting is the sport of kings, the essence of war with all the glory and only twenty-five per cent of the danger.""
That 25% looms large. The constant wear and tear on the MASCOT was amazing; earlier in the same day they had stripped off a big quarter cleat, lost and almost sunk their dinghy by returning for and ramming itafter it broke loose, and rolled the boat on her beam ends. That was only one day. I must say, I feel like I have had similar joys sailing with our crew. Our skipper has rousted us out before light to catch a favorable tide, even cooked for us. Thankfully though we were not living off the country and eating ducks - in or out of season.

Having sailed a several day cruise in a catboat a bit bigger than MASCOT really made this book a wonderful read. The author has a turn for words sprinkled with savory sailory bits, which even if you don't know what they mean, sound right for the occasion. This was a real adventure, with history, a wreck, and perseverance told in good humor and a positive outlook. A book to be re-enjoyed, by a fire would be good if you can work it in. Others for the sailing bookshelf would include, Erskin Childers' Riddle of the Sands, and the Swallows and Amazons series.


Sun... It has been really warm for Nov. The bees were out flying today. I put sugar out for them. Kept the door open all afternoon at the shop; faces south, wonderful sunny. Scraped forward midship inside planks, sanded and oiled them. Rubbed down port rail and oiled that, painted aft floorboards and garboard plank. Varnished bow and midship seat, cover arcs, and port sheerstrake.

Weekend Finishing

Sat. finished scraping port rail and transom. Put 1st coat tung oil on. She is syarting to look even less like a workboat and more yach-chet. Oh, well, can't be helped I guess. There is always paint. a coat of industrial gray oughta do it. or.. I could mix all the colors I have together...?

Friday, November 20, 2009


Spent a large chunk of time today taking more bronze screws and carriage bolts out of TORCH. These were extremely well put in, epoxy bunged in heavy oak floor boards. For those of you not familiar with A-cats, the cabin height is low even by my short statured thinking. TORCH's more traditional build (She is a John Brady built boat) is being redesigned for more stiffness. The oak floorboards, laminated knees, and studs? (I don't know what these short upright stuctural members are called, They connect the carlin to a stringer.) are coming out to be weighed and replaced with new structure. TORCH was the 2nd place boat in BBYRA racing for 2009. Picked out colors for the Tuckup with John.
Then I went to my shop and worked on URCHIN for a few more pleasurable hours. Still scraping. Got most of the inner transom and port rail completed. Put a coat of varnish on the starboard plank and another coat of oil on the rail.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Jeff's name for the sharpie. I like it and lettered it in jest on her stern. Here she is getting her centerboard case worked on.

URCHIN doings

Am still scrsaping and oiling URCHIN. Her rail is coming up nicely with three coats of tung oil. It's almost as shiny as the varnish on her sheerstrake. I try to put in a little of this each day. Every square inch finished is one closer to the end of the job.

TORCH undone

Taking floorboards out of TORCH. These were put in well, bronze screws through oak floorboards, into oak floors, bunged with epoxy set plugs. I spent a long time on one only to discover it was a machine screw with a washer & nut.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

TORCH arrives

TORCH on her cradle is backed into the seaport's alley, unhitched and then maneuvered into the shop. She sure seemed small and easy after SILENT MAID's behemoth move. Five feet shorter, 28' to her 33', and a lot less than half the mass. OK, now we ARE crowded.

Monday, November 16, 2009

TuckUp SpruceUp

Tonight the gang worked on a new tiller (Bob), bending a new oak frame(Mike), sanding the deck (me), finishing the floorboards (Ed) and Paul and Pete made a beautiful asymmetrical rubrail from the pieces that Newt glued up. We all cleaned up and thank WOW for the opportunity to work on the boat.
Remind me to ask where the router jig for making scarf joints is. Pete wants to see it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Still Scraping

I have almost finished the port sheerstrake. It is the inside that is really checked and blackened with varnish well down in the wood. The old pine has weathered extremely.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Scraping Still

URCHIN is getting a more thorough cleaning and spruce up than I had originally intended. I was only going to renew a little varnish and put her in the yard, but that one little spot grew to inclde all her brightwork and her insides too.
She is going back to the original oil finish on the inside and on the oak. More befitting the work boat that she is, not the yacht (pronounced yach-chet, ala Preston Sturgis' Palm Beach Story.) wanna be. I think I might even make her a pudding for her bow and aft quarters. Now the only varnish she will have is on her bright sheerstrakes.
Peter helped me pull her centerboard. Most of the barnacles have fallen off since I have had her in fresh water most of the time for the last two years. I scraped off the rest, but her board is really pitted by electrolysis from the ten or so years she spent out on Nauset marsh. The bottom corner she lost on the Tappan Zee bridge when the board slipped out of it's case and dragged. Aluminum filled epoxy and then EpoxyCop hard antifouling, non-ablative since she is a trailer sailor now.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Any Old Thing

I spent the day scraping, sharpening scrapers, sweeping and mudding. Mudding pays the rent. I was just cleaning up a small varnish free space, but the job grew to encompass the entire boat. The starboard sheerstrake is newly varnished, one coat so far. I've removed the seats. I've noted an odd occurrence, there is a lot more mahogany on this boat that I remembered. It has all bleached out and aged to be the same color as the oak and pine. With scraping, it's original purplish color returns. Knees, breasthook, transom, centerboard case, seats, and oarlock blocks are all the dark accents. Its almost the same color as the sail.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

From MAIBNov 2009

A Canoe Cruise in Ireland by E.T. Holding, from the Boys Own Paper 1892.

" In the morning, after a good swim, I cook breakfast, while Frank "washes-up" the supper things of the night before, for we can never summon up energy enough to "wash-up" supper things at night, but content ourselves by laying them to soak out under the stars. It is neither an easy nor pleasant job washing greasy plates and knives with cold water, grass, and mud. But it has to be done, and it is got over all the quicker by slipping into it with a will and not minding the grease. A good substantial root of grass with the earth and sand attached well soaked in the water is a grand thing for cleaning plates (we use small metal dishes) and for the rest plenty of river water and a thorough drying on a dish cloth answers admirably."

I do use the dishcloth after camp soap and hot water, but no mud and grass. Little or no grease for our modern no fat crew, just veggies, grains, and soup (Well, coffee too.) so the dishes clean up easier. Once when I tried to use river water to rinse, the tugboat wake just jumped right up and washed me. These 1892 guys lived long enough to write and publish their story, so they maybe just ate their pound of dirt sooner than we who live in the twenty first century, but theirs was likely not polluted by heavy metals and radioactive isotopes.

Philadelphia Again

Tuesday on the trailer, Thursday off the trailer. Many hands make the heavy work fun, still heavy. It is a good thing that the boatshop practices good karma and people want to come help. SILENT MAID arrives on her trailer, She is lifted with the two gantry cranes and lowered and blocked onto the three BIG dollies. She is winched and prodded into the shop by willing hands, electric winch and snatch block and a good old fashioned block and tackle. Boat yoga is practiced by all hands. Today is a lesson on how to move heavy stuff carefully. After she is in the shop, poppets hold her steady and all her ports, lockers and deck holes are opened for drying out. There is a huge amount of boat stuff. I make piles of like items: like lines, galley gear, bunting, safety stuff, PFDs and throwables, pillows, bunk cushions, and Mr. K's stuff. The boat costumes are segregated and placed in a hanging locker to keep the silk nice. The shop seems pretty full when we roll the other boats back in, but next week TORCH will be here too.

There is a book about Silent Maid that was published in 1903. I wonder if it was about a mermaid.