Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lots of Goings On

Today we shifted boats in the basin, installed a new cleat on the dock, put up a new line for the Herreshoff. Inside was business all over. Everyone working at a job for the MAID. New wiring, fiddles, fancy work, table height, companionway hatch, holes in the sole, covers for the propeller.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stream Model

Taught middle school most of today, Marine science class studied mollusc systems and the Littoral group made a model stream to test ideas about habitat and water flow. Went to my shop and mowed to pay rent, worked on SMAIDs sink.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


FISH STIX was tossed in the Delaware at high tide today! She floats, as expected, a bit low for being dried out over two years. Either that or we hugely miscalculated her waterline. MARION got a coat of sunny yellow on her decks tonight. Looks great with the chocolate and grey.Silent MAID is looking better and better with all Carolyn's ministrations. She got a waterline marked out today. Who are those shopworkers?

Monday, April 26, 2010


Paul sorted out all our staves and made labled bundles so next week we can make progress on finishing the rigs for STIX, and the tuck-ups. We glued up some scarfs on three staves.

STIX got chocks, centerboard pin and uphauling the board thingy, How's that for sailor talk. I am so tired it is amazing I can type. It's a good thing I did not have to drive. Ned spent the evening designing his gaff jaws. Pete got his mast sanded and sealed. Nice work on the steady-rest. Ed and Paul helped do things fro FISH STIX punch list, like making rivets, drilling holes, seating oarlocks. MARION had her troweling compound sanded.
For Doryman.
The steadyrest is in the photo above. It has to be reset for each job and takes a little time to get right. The masts have been about 20' long and only 4" in diameter. They are not radially aligned on the centerline because we want them to have a straight side for better sail shape. The steady rest keeps that 20' flexible hollow pole from whipping around on the lathe. It is a piece of PVC pipe with the mast centered and wedged in place in the middle. The PVC rides on two wheels adjusted for height on the benchtop and then bolted together with two more on top. That way when you apply pressure with the sandpaper, the whole thing feels more secure and the job goes faster. We sand starting with 60, 80, 100, then stop turning and sand with the grain 80, and put on two coats of sealer. Varnish after that sanding between coats. from the semi-dory girl.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Centerton Bridge

A favorite bridge crossing Rancocas Creek has been closed for a month now. In the past the county closes it every year for a few days to make welding repairs to the grating. This year however it has been closed off with concrete barricades. Pete & I were afraid they were removing it. It is one place where you can get close to the water (and sometimes in it at a high high tide). The views up and down creek are spectacular. Seasons are changing with alarming rapidity these days and crossing the creek here gives a person the daily weather, tide and season check besides being the shortest route between the points I go to most. You have to drive down hill through a tree tunnel made from overlapping branches of mature sycamores which suddenly open out onto the mudflats and the wide cedar water creek. The sky opens up.
It is a narrow thing. Novice drivers travel at a walking pace, while locals barrel across knowing that there is just room. Early this afternoon, Pete took me to see what was happening there. We were worried, since we had seen backhoes and lift trucks, more than just the odd welder & pick-up truck. Being Sunday, no one was around and we picked our way out to see what was up.
Relief was granted in seeing shiny new guard-rail going up and bridge decking being patched. I'd known that this was a movable span from the charts, but have never seen it open. Sure enough, on the bridge bipedally, the slow speed revealed some great details like the instructions for opening the bridge. Counterclockwise to open and the toelocks must be rotated the other way. A very large wrench is required. Amazing and simple. Empty grease containers let us know that it is not a thing of the past. There are no barricades for traffic, so the average boatman wishing passage, must have to set things in mothion with the powers that be in the two towns so no one attempts driving across while the bridge is open. The center span rotates. Nice bit of engineering that. Left us wondering if the county has a bridge repairman on staff. I'd like to meet him.

Guffaws and Chuckles

Robb White. A character and a wonder. I met him down in Cortez, Florida at a messabout run by Roger Allen and friends. Roger was still married then. Well, anyway Robb was the guest speaker at the picnic and yarned on into the night. A great storyteller, and as the threads diverged, and wound around their own path, all the roads converged again at the end. Denouement par excellance. Of course the stories all centered on small boats, the things that make my life a joy. Sadly, Robb crossed the bar that same year. I had collected his stories from Messing About in Boats and read and reread them. They became the impetus for my grad thesis work and recalling any one of them makes me smile. A book came my way this week via a friend and it is many more of Robb's stories. It is called Flotsam and Jetsam. Only two stories in and I've had to read parts aloud to those around me. Wishing I had time to set and read the whole thing, but eeked out it will be a likely companion for a while. When I can get it back from Pete that is.
RESCUE MINOR was at the messabout too.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

MARION Sanding & Filling

Spent part of today getting MARION prepped for Monday night so we can get her painted and back in the water. Filled the screw holes and scuff sanded her topsides and sheer strakes. Gave her rub rail a coat of light gray. She is looking natty. Meanwhile Gina gave TORCH a scuffing and bunged holes in SILENT MAID to move her table down a notch so the munchkins of the crew can chew without their chins hitting the table. Looking forward to sailing. The time is getting nearer.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Got my first row in URCHIN tonight! Yay! Enjoyed a lovely sunset on the river; the fish hawks have a nest on the new range marker downriver. My girl rows as sweet as ever. The railway gave me a bit of trouble. I'll have to find some grease for the wheels and I did find the old cable for hauling up the car. There was a newer line on the engine and it was too light. It kept doubling over itself instead of sliding.
Earlier in the day spent time with good friends. We shared George's homemade wine with cheese and crackers out on his deck. Great conversation and general camaraderie. Makes many things easier to bear. Came back to Don's new sculptures and studio. Then on to paying rent on my shop. Haven't seen the inside of it for about ten days now as the new quarter schedule has kept me hopping.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Cleaned up all the sawdust I have been making in the shop. Vacuumed off SILENT MAID so Carolyn could give her house a coat of varnish. Got FISH STIX presentable also and did a little work in her corner.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tropical Rainforest

Monday Night sanding FISH STIX mast was accomplished by Paul & Ed, I sealed it along with the gaffs. Pete's got sixteened by Ned. Work was done on the pennant, but mostly I removed rust from the tablesaw caused by the tropical environment ( aka rainforest) created by the fogger. The fogger was on to set the seam compound in TORCHs new caulked planks. MARION swathed in paper for the sake of art. Her paper double will be in a parade on Saturday.
SILENT MAIDs stereo is in. Wonderful sound. I am concerned we are loosing space for bedding, but we will have an anchor or two and chain, not on the cabin sole this year.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Tajines are Moroccan. Interesting flavors.
Another Wally combo, this one edited from a NY Times idea. start stove, oil pot, begin chicken skin side down,

2 T. olive oil
4 chicken Thighs
2 onions chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 pinch cumin seeds
1 heaping Tablespoon Recaito (Goya Cilantro cooking base)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 prunes chopped
1/2 cup cranberries and raisins
1 14oz can petite dice tomatoes
1 cup bunny Luvs
1 can 14 oz chickpeas with juice
1/2 cup Bulgar
salt & Pepper
1 cup chopped cilantro and parsley for garnish

Layer in that order. Steam 5 min at pressure. Toss in greens last right before serving. A bit juicy at start, bulks up when stored. Would have to serve in bowls at first.
Good. Changes, less Chickpea juice from can, more fresh green veg, Asparagus, green beans, cauliflower, etc. Apricots instead of prunes. No skin on chicken. Use fresh ginger more garlic and more ginger.


URCHIN takes her leave from being earthbound to buoyant via a hoist and railway. The head engineer at the dragon is a (newly) semiretired metal worker named Richie. He is a repository of marvelous skill and know-how. Being in his presence, one absorbs lore and legend both, along with practical geometry and the like.
I should say URCHIN usually takes to the water via the rails. This week they are out of service for welding and readjusting of the angle. Sounds like the ride in will be more dramatic. Its a good thing we look forward to exercise, since the old electric hoist burned out last year and the upriver davit has been fitted with a chain hoist. If four hoists lifted two tons of A-cat, this one will have no problem with the little girl at about 200lbs.
Hoping the rails will be back in service later this week. Right now there is about a 4' drop at low tide although at high you probably wouldn't notice.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Made four nice rat-tailed splices for my ditty bag.
Got a lovely new little catboat too. She's a beauty.
Never mind the conflagration the cake was very good.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Today started out with collecting photos of the many volunteers at the workshop. Amazing how many folks pass thru. Each day has its allotment and so varied flavors mix and blend for their own special attitude. My schedule changes, so I get to sample the knowledge of the various collections. Some become good friends. The boats come and go too bringing with and taking away myriad tasks and skills with them.
Two of us started the day with a plan to accomplish something, mine was to go for a row and make a pennant for FISH STIX centerboard. John had a boom crutch in mind but somethings else filled his plates to overflowing. URCHIN made it to the dragon, but the upriver rails ended about 15 feet short of the very low tide. She got parked on her trailer while I caught up with 6 other folks who all wanted to know how Max was. Did remember the locker combination, but never got the boat wet.
The line for the pennant is sitting in the boat. I salvaged some SILENT MAID cabin sole from the trash. It had been removed in sections and so was too short to replace. It was recut into three small ships as toys. Made Josiah smile big time when he arrived later at the shop "BOAT" is one of his many words. Then came more in-line sanding with those lovely longboards. Got TORCHs planking down to 80 grit I think. Last before leaving the shop with granson in tow, I recontoured a large divot in an earlier fiberglass repair on MARION. A paper artist from Fleischer want to use her as a mold so I wanted to make sure no subsequent art viewers would get the wrong impression of the sweet lines of a tuckup.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sanding Time

Spent an enjoyable morning rigging ISOBEL, a sharpie, and BOXKITE, the garvey. Just masts in the garvey, no sprits, but I did make a pigstick to fly the museum burgee. The sharpie got her whole rig, bent on the sail, and even went for a row after lunch. Got my row in! First of the season. JSBach did a yeoman huge amount of work. He scrubbed the waterlines of both boats, bailed out the rainwater, and carried spars to the dock. We are both bushed I am sure as our fearless leader requisitioned all the remaining time for sanding, two hours of 36 grit longboard sanding, fairing TORCH.
MARION is being loaned out as a mold for a paper pulp casting. Fancy that, a paper tuck-up. SILENT MAID has been recreated as a half-model by Nick

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I am chucking it all and going rowing tomorrow. Spring is here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Mast Making

This evening