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08 October 2016

Kiss o' the Sea

Dippin' a Toe

All beginnings are delightful;
The threshold is the place to pause.
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Kiss o' the Sea

We made it to the tideline!

Our host passed through between fishing trips, built a hospital grade muffler from scratch(!), repaired his excavator (a mighty beast... sorry, no pics), remodeled the approach to the beach and hauled us to within spitting distance of the water. Very humbling!

Tides are dropping for a few days, before springing back... we should be floating - skids and all - by the end of the week.

Our view - for so long congested to port and starboard - has opened into sweeping vistas. Our windows are now  full of beauty.

It's... it's... like reawakening!

Sailing is still a ways off. We've got sails sewn but no rig. Rudder (not installed) but no offcenter-boards. Galley but no stowage.

But we can almost taste it!


05 September 2016

Latest on WAYWARD

Sitting on Log Sled, awaiting Launch
OCB guards have been added since these photos

Latest on WAYWARD

Again, my apologies. Updates have been pretty scarce, this year, as internet hasn't been readily available.

We got back to Tyee in early May, and moved aboard. I know, I know. We swore on a stack of Kama Sutras that we'd never do that again. Slow learners = slow builders.

After a winter in the open, the exterior looked fine, aside from bleed-through the latex house paint. This is good news on the TiteBond III we used to lay our acrylic deck sheathing... still looking good as of this writing in spite of heavy, gravel tread traffic.

Aside from a spot or two, the cabin was dry and mildew free, including the new cushions, for which we were very thankful.

The holds were another matter.

Neither had been painted nor insulated. Water got in via the unfinished vent holes (thanks to a mis-communication on their temporary raingear), and the walls and panels were pretty much solid mold.

After elbow greasing ithe joint, we tried out an ozone generator.Ozone (O3) breaks down to O2 + O. That free oxygen atom, in large numbers lethally oxidizes living beings, including fungal spores. It's used to sterilize hospital operating rooms. I can't swear that it killed our mildew, but  the musty smell disappeared at once, and we've seen no spread.

Just for good measure, we stomped on its grave with a liberal coat of borates in glycol.

Only downside was, the borates react with TBIII (the glue we'd been using for insulation), curdling it on contact. So we switched to tar, and soldiered on. It is all successfully contained behind the inboard face of 1/4in plywood, but is a pain to apply.

Overall, we doubt we'd choose ply-foam-ply to insulate the hull walls (decks, yes; walls, no). Inch and a quarter, double ply walls were cozy on Andy Stoner's MARY ELISABETH, even without double pane windows, and built in a tenth the time. No internal framing necessary where fastening through (as at bulkheads) or mounting cleats or hardware. Ply-foam-ply - after our second try - counters a fair bit of the Triloboat quick-and-dirty advantage. Sigh.

We got our wood range in, recently, and are loving the warmth and cooking on a fire.

We're ready to launch when our host is available to do so. All that's left is last spring's final paint job, rigging and odds and ends. With luck, we'll be sailing in two months. Without luck? Well...

At this point, we figure we've got nine solid months in the build (albeit stretched over three seasons). That gives us three to go on our 'probable case scenario' of one year. Surprisingly, that puts us ahead, in project time. In fact - given that much more of the interior is finished than we'd initially planned for this year - we're a long ways ahead.

But, y'know, looking out at that water every day...

...It feels kinda draggy.

Not the best shot. But lovin it!

Fire on the beach every dry evening...
How we suffer!
New dory in the foreground.

24 December 2015

Update on WAYWARD

WAYWARD's first day under open sky

Update on WAYWARD

I've got to apologize for the abrupt break in this narrative. And just as things were getting exciting!

Our primary internet access went down, and we've only now cobbled together a work-around. Alas, it's still far from optimal for a number of reasons. Further posts will remain catch-as-catch-can.

So, an update for now, and I'll back-fill to catch up as I'm able.

WAYWARD has been made weather-tight (decks sheathed, hatches, paint and windows). The copper bottom plate is complete, with only the chine angle to go (more about a SNAFU re the angles, later).

In October, we were obligated to switch over from Tyee to Warmsprings Bay (about 12nm distant) for winter caretaking at the latter. Complicating the matter was a hydro power washout that leaves us with intermittent electrical and much compensatory wood-processing over the winter.

After much waffling, we decided not to launch and bring WAYWARD with us. Since she's yet unrigged, wed need a tow both directions, imposing on others for the favor. Given our duties, there's very little chance of working on the boat over the winter. Finally, WSB is a wet hole compared to Tyee, and mold and mildew of much greater concern.

So it's a seven month break from building, for us. We brought sailmaking tools and material, and hope to complete them by our return in May.

Meanwhile, we hear from Tyee that WAYWARD's decks appear to be looking fine after a very wet few months in the open. This is good early news for the experimental sheathing – acrylic cloth set in TiteBond III. It was inexpensive, easy on our health, easy to apply, even under marginal conditions (persistently high humidity) and water clean up. But more on that, later.

Happy Holidays to one and all!

29 June 2015

Hand/Toe Rails from 2x Stock

Flash forward to the finished rail.

And when I eat bananas,
I won't peel them with my feet,
'Cuz I will be a man-cub, too,
And learn some et-i-keet!
- King Louis, from Disney's Jungle Book

Hand/Toe Rails from 2x Stock

A tall, solid toerail is a fine thing on a plunging deck. when you like deck crown as high as we do, it's a positive must!

And, we figure, if we're building such a thing, why not shape it like a handrail?

Handrails give a place to get a good positive grip from anywhere along the sides. If we go swimming - intentionally or not, this is handy. If we stand on the guard for any reason (and there are many), it's handy. If we wish to tie a line anywhere along its length, it's handy. AND they drain water just fine.

They're just plain handy!

2x stock works just great. It's thick enough for good strength, and (carriage) bolt holes don't take too big a bite. It's a wide enough base for good stability without further ado. For reasons unclear to me, a couple of 2x4s have been cheaper than a single 2x8, which is why you'll see us working around the clamps.

We like to cut stock to 3in, with half grip/half hole. That's enough to fit mittened hands with a comfortable grip. Being a bit shorter than 2x4, it doesn't stress the bolts with as much leverage, and we've felt 1/4in galvanized (hot dip) has been plenty. They could easily take up to 1/2in, however, if you prefer beefier.

We prefer to mount ours perpendicular to the deck, so our offcut is square edged... makes a good early cut from CVG for use as batten stock. Later it can be recycled as shelf railing, lattice stock and the like.

NOTE: We splurge on CVG with good grain since it may have to bear a heavy load, and is our 'window dressing trim'. We usually leave it unfinished, letting the red cedar silver out. But any solid lumber would do.

We like 6in minimum ends and give them two or more bolts. We use a 9in opening, which we think of as 'paired' with a 3in post for 12in/pair. Only consideration is that that last post is part of an end.

To figure layout, we use the following approach:

Let LENGTH be the total length of rail.
Let N be the number of open/post pairs (feet) 
    [Or total length of open/post pairs if using other numbers.]
Let P be the post width.


Start layout at one end.

For the rest, I'll let pictures do the talking.

Each rectangle borders two, mirrored openings.
We find the rectangle helps keep us oriented, since the holes space evenly...
Otherwise easy to lose track in the middle.

Here we've started holes from one side...
will flip to finish.

This 'armbuster' half inch drill lives up to its name...
We quickly learned to do most of the cutting with it,
but finish off with a more docile 3/8in drill.

Here we're beginning the plunge-cut/handsaw pass
connecting the half-hole at each end of an opening
(we see full holes since the pieces are mirrored).

Edges routed with round-over bit and hand sanded.
A bit of rasp-work, here and there, to clean up any rough bits.

Clamps off and done.

06 June 2015

S/V WAYWARD... A Name for the Way


           1. Toward the Way.
           2. Questions authority; insubordinate. 
           3. Difficult to control or predict.
           4. Neither entirely conventional nor respectable.

      Technically from ME away-ward

S/V WAYWARD... A Name for the Way

A long time ago, before I first set foot on board a sailing vessel, before Anke, I drew a picture of a Curvy Dog and wrote: I shall build a boat and name her WAYWARD, and we shall sail away.

Yeah, yeah. Sappy, I know. But it was a promise to myself that helped see me through a dark time.

As we built our various homes, I kept that name in the running, though it didn't appeal to Anke.

But one day, as the new boat began taking on enough shape to really feel her spirit, Anke idled over the list of names scrawled in the margins of the plan, and this time WAYWARD caught her eye, prompting What a great name!

We gave it a month of fair trial to be sure. And now we are.

Looking it up, one finds some less-than-complimentary meanings. But they all pretty much paraphrase as the meanings listed above. These much better match resonances to which we attune.

All but the first, we like to think, are secondary descriptors of ourselves. We question authority at many's the turn, and evade it where we can. We can be hard to pin down, and can't predict our own path from one day to the next. We're dots toward the thin end of any bell curve. We're no paragon of propriety.

But our favorite meaning indicates the WAY... the Road, the Tao, the Watercourse Way. Toward the Way.


16 May 2015

Finished with Finish... For a While

Starting to feel like home...
Walls will fill, eventually, with artwork, pictures and maps

to break up that stark, raving white.

Anke on the settee... sitting room and bunk form an open, social space.

Dinette makes down into a snug double bunk or generous single.
Table was prep-o torched before finish, a technique shown us by friend JC Thomas.

Finished with Finish... For a While

One of the things you should never, never do is move into a construction site. Dust gets everywhere, tools mingle with the cutlery, stuff gets moved again and again, and, and, and...

So of course we did.

Not our first time, either. LUNA was only roughed in when we moved aboard at launch at the end of one November... neither paint nor heat as winter came on.

Now, it's summer coming on. Boat only partially decked and coppered. Plenty of sawdust yet to permeate our belongings.

Slow learners.

But ya do the necessary, and roll with the world as it surprises you. And it ain't so bad, after all. Mostly.

Last night we spent our first night in our new bunk. Lit a candle and sipped a little wine in celebration. Slept like babes and woke to that lovely feeling of being in our own home.

We can only imagine the movement of water beneath and around us. The darkling world silhouetted beyond our windows. The promise of a woodfire to blunt the morning's chill. But our imagination is alive and well...

And, now, we need a little bit less of it.

A quick video tour of the interior, to date

10 May 2015


It'll never be this spiff again!
Hatches should be ready in a few days.
Bookshelves will fill that big white patch on the bunk wall.


Progress of late seems to have slowed to a crawl.

Spring is picking up with construction personnel and the chores surrounding them. The last big tides of the year had us out beach logging. The garden has to be gotten going, no small task.
Also, the new owners of SLACKTIDE were on their way (now arrived), so much of this last month was given over to getting her ready for them.

And that means getting the new boat ready for ourselves. With people coming and going, and SLACKTIDE no longer ours, we'll want a space with a little separation... a little privacy. A place of our own.

When I was a boy, a favorite TV show was Branded, with Chuck Conners. Unjustly accused by the Army of cowardice, his hat is knocked off, epaulets torn from him, his buttons cut of, his sword broken.

I may get my Quick and Dirty insignia trampled for this...

The problem began when Orrie - our friend/employer/host - introduced us to PRISM, a water-based, clear finish. The floors of the cabin were finished with it, and they look beautiful some five years down the road, despite the grit and gravel from the beach out the front door.

Just wipe it on with a rag, he says. No sanding between coats, he says. Nothing to it, he says. True enough. Application is a piece of cake.

But any clear finish means a LOT of finnicky prep work!

Sanding, caulking and trimming exess, tweaky filling of gaps with sawdust-thickened glue, sand some more. Elbow grease, and fingers abraded to the pink.


But the result is - by our standards - awesome. No one would mistake it for a yacht finish, but neither is it our usual slap-dash.

The ceilings, and soon the hatches and table, gleam with warm tones ambered by the finish. Best of all, the gorgeous cedar framing, which we had painted over in LUNA, is gleaming in plain sight. Gloss white paint sets it off and makes for light, easy to clean lockers and lower surfaces.

Over time, paint tends to take over more of our boats. A woodstove is hard on clear finishes, and we're not the kind to refinish. At least I don't think we are. Didn't think we were varnishy types, either, but seems we was wrong. Creeping vanity.

Guess it's worth it.

Adding a bead of cedar-dust thickened Titebond III to cover 'unsightly', trimmed LPU glue.
Mix in Ziplock and take a snip from one corner... squeeze out like cake frosting.

In some cases, we'll swipe along with a finger to make a small fillet.


About Me

My photo
Anke and I live aboard SLACKTIDE, our T26x7 ketch. We sail by wind, tide and muscle in the waters of mid- to northern Southeast Alaska. We try to maximize the joys of life, and minimize the chores. ........ We live between the communities of SE Alaska, but drop in to visit with friends. Lately, we've worked, every other winter, care-taking Baranof Wilderness Lodge in Warmsprings Bay. This has given us a window on Web. ........ We're working toward a subsistence lifestyle, somewhat impeded by addictions to coffee, chocolate and cheese. ........ We think TEOTWAWKI is looming, and while we won't be ready, we'd at least like comfortable seats.