Sunday, May 10, 2009

May 2009 update

It's been a while. I went sailing April 18-19, trying again for the night sail. Yet again I failed to accomplish the stumbling-around-in-the-dark objective, though I did have an interesting trailer sailor adventure that involved various large farm animals. I wrote it up, and submitted it to Small Craft Advisor magazine.Incredibly, they bought it, and it will probably appear in the Sept issue. I cannot believe they are sullying their fine magazine with the likes of me.

But I digress. If you want to read about that particular adventure, please buy the magazine. Better yet, get a subscription! They deserve the support of all small boat sailors. And it's a really good magazine, too.

Boat projects planned

I'm thinking it's time to devote a couple of weekends to working on the boat. Felicidade is nearly 4 years old now, and could use a good scrubbing, inside & out.

The companionway door is a pathetic slab of peeling varnish-- I'm going to paint the outside white (none of this brightwork crap for me!).

I am thinking of replacing the daggerboard cable with synthetic line, and making the whole thing detach from the lowered daggerboard in order to open up the interior.

I still haven't repaired the hole the mast punched into the hatch on Felicidade's second voyage with #1 Daughter. I'm thinking of drilling it out and installing a solar-powered vent fan, rather than just patching the hole. Stay tuned.

Time For Air Conditioning?

Now that we are entering the ridiculously hot time of year here in Aridzona, any sailing over the next 4 months or so will be like sailing a tiny boat on a deep fat fryer, with a heat lamp shining down on you from 3 inches away. Which isn't that bad, once you get used to it, but it makes for sticky and uncomfortable sleeping inside the little fiberglass oven that the Potter turns into. So Once again my thoughts turn to some way to cool the interior when it's 2000F outside.

It's gotta be cheap. Preferably funky. And practical to run. Out on Instructibles I found an interesting little ice-powered A/C unit that uses a cooler full of ice to provide a blast of cold air. Interesting. The Potter came with a large cooler that fits under the port V-berth; I don't think I have ever used it, and am considering turning it into an ice-powered A/C. I'll let you know if anything comes out of that.

Another idea is sucking lake water from 30 or so feet under the surface with a long tube and a pump, and running it through a heat exchanger in front of a fan. When the boys & I went swimming in the lake last year, it was remarkable how cool the water was just a few feet below the surface. If I could cobble something together that picks up the cold water while we're snuggled in some weed-filled backwater, that might be a cheap & efficient A/C option.

Of course, this all assumes that there actually is cooler water in said backwater. For all I know the shallow water might be simmering hot there as well. I need to experiment; I think I'll take a hose, a pump, and the tiny Honda Generator my parents gave me on the boat next time I go sailing, and see if I can pick up some water from the unseen depths. If the water in the middle of the lake turns out to be cool enough, I'll try again while in some of my favorite nooks and crannies. If that water is cool too then I may go with that aproach instead of the one that requires me to lug 40 lbs of ice around.

Dylan Winter is back on the water

After some R&R on the hard, Dylan Winter has resumed his circumnavigation of the UK mainland. He's closing in on the North Sea, and should be performing heroic feats of seamanship as soon as he finishes exploring every centimeter of every last muddy tributary along the way. Here's the latest video.

Dylan and I have been corresponding sporadically by email. He's a great guy and full of interesting thoughts. He sent me some links to small craft adventurers, such as Charles Stock, pretty much the ultimate UK gunkholer who sailed his boat Shoal Waters all over the Thames estuary for some 55 years. Another sailor I had never heard of was Shane Acton who sailed a tiny twin-keeler named Shrimpy around the world. You can download his book here. Many thanks to Dylan for his links.

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