Sunday, March 8, 2015

Woodsy Skiing, Off Center Harbor, Tom Pamperin

Well it's been a while, Intrepid Readers, and I think it's high time to discuss a small variety of issues that have accumulated over the winter.  There is a fair share of some shameless promotion, but it is all worthy, methinks.

So, let's get this out of the way right now:  I LOVE WINTER.  I LOVE SNOW.  I LOVE COLD.  I LOVE NORDIC SKIING. This has been a GREAT WINTER!

This winter I started delving into the ancient and wonderful art of pine-tarring, waxing, and using WOOD skis.  They ski as woodie as you can imagine: They are smooth and quiet, fast and classic. I have two pairs, and am looking for a particular third, with plans to maybe make my own pair this summer.  Lots of fun potential, here, I strongly recommend (duh) which is run by the ever passionate Greg in MN who is keeping unique traditions alive, something that we here at GISAmateur can keenly appreciate.  Wood and traditional boats, wood skis, making life difficult for ourselves, stinking up the house with ancient concoctions, etc. "It smells hectic down here!" My brother yelled from the top of the basement stairs as a lit the pine tire on fire...

Obviously, it is very important to look classically classy while in the deep woods all by yourself:

My lovely, wonderful, amazing, sumptuous Madshus touring skis from the late 1960s

Pushing the Madshus around
Smoooooth as butter
Lovely Wife and I went to Acadia National Park and did some skiing there.  I have never skied next to an ocean before, and I highly recommend it! It was certainly neat to look out onto the same water I sail in the summer but under the dim broken light of midwinter, swept with snow squalls and now a hypothermic menace. If you ever want to have an entire National Park at your disposal without the summer madness, I highly recommend this time of year for a visit to Acadia.  Weather prevented summiting the higher mountains (40kts+ wind and blowing snow), but we had a great time low off the ridges down on the historic carriage and shore roads.

#2: Back to SAILING!

In other news, some of you may have noticed that Sea Pearl SCOUT and I have been on a somewhat heavy cinematic rotation.  The Intrepid Readers will remember BCBCBFest, where we had a fortuitous meeting with the dynamic and cutting-edge guys over at OFF CENTER HARBOR which have amassed a more-than-impressive collection of videos that detail everything from building a Caledonia Yawl step-by-step to the meditative aspects of small boats sailing on lakes.  There is truly something at this website for everyone, the videos are well done, highly informative, and feature heavy-hitting-legendary narrators, such as ***Doug Hylan, Maynard Bray, Harry Bryan***...! This is not an amateurish effort (unlike...well...) and if you subscribe to any magazine on sailing, boating, wood boats, etc., this would be a perfect addition to your library.


Hamilton Marine sent out a recent email with the SCOUT video here... please watch our greatness (and then come join me for some sailing in Maine!) and after I whet your appetite, sign up at OCH if you are thinking about it for yourself, or a friend.


Tom Pamperin, skipper of JAGULAR the legendary Bolger Pirate Racer which has been festooning obscure small boat websites for many years has published a uniquely humorous book on their dynamic adventures in "Jagular Goes Everywhere: MisAdventures in a $300 Boat." I have a copy, and you should have a copy too.  If you are reading this blog, chances are you have built a 3-digit boat, want to build a boat, or have happily descended the path of small boat madness, lost all your friends, and are now living in semi-permanent status in some frigid garage arguing with recalcitrant epoxy while your coffee goes cold... again. I send you greetings you hapless hermit for YOU ARE NOT ALONE in a cold brutal world which does not understand this particular madness! YOU HAVE FRIENDS! Friends like Captain Callsign and Cap'n Jon, and Dan Noyes, and Tom Pamperin--who has never sailed with the three of us but who is of the same mind-- I know because I read his book!  Your bathroom is warmer than the garage, and this book will keep you good company for those quiet times.

Let's talk 3 digit boats. Build a Duck Punt for crying out loud.  Especially if you are in northeast MA, NH, or southern ME. Maybe we can get a racing series or something like that going on.

I know, I know, repeat picture but I so love MRS MUMBLES and she loves ME

My favorite wood-buying-place is Goose Bay Lumber in Chichester, NH.  Lie Nielsen had an event there recently, and I did not go, but I am sad about that, but this somewhat famous spoon carving fellow put up a very nice blog post about the event, and I share it here so you can see where I buy the wood for my projects and my boats.  Carl and Carl Jr. and team are very helpful and there is a wonderful variety of neat-O woods, and they have great marine plywood selection!

To hold you over until next time: Check out this great pic of SCOUT sailing Muscongus Bay last summer, taken by Green Mountain John of WAXWING fame!

I think that is all I have for now for you, you funny Intrepid Reader types who just keep coming back for more! You're all great!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Duck Punting: MOAR!

By popular demand, MRS MUMBLES went back to Plum Island Sound for some more punting!

Strapped to the roof of the car, we shot down to meet again with Dan Noyes and his idiosyncratic 12' punt, and were instead met with calamity-- Dan was dismasted at the bottom of the ramp. While he was sheeting in his dipping lug to fiddle, he wind, barreling down the river at a steady 15kts sent a higher and unanticipated gust which filled the lugsail and broke his burly spruce mastwhich in turn wrecked his mast thwart. His punt was on the hard, so it couldn't heel, applying full force to the mast and partner assembly.  

There was a moment of collective hair grabbing and talk of what the wind was going to do to my bendy POPLAR DOWEL mast and accompanying spars, and what kind of hypothermia would set in after they were chewed up and sent overboard.

The damage is done.
HOWEVER, we are burly New England sailormen, and such trivial matters such as masts, strong winds, and 33F/1C air temperatures hardly register on our annoyance scale when the sun shines as bright as it does and the water beckons. It's only going to get colder, after all. We adjusted our plans and sailed to the flats instead, to do some clamming.  MRS MUMBLES secretly loves Dan, so I offered to sail her down and he could sail her back. This way, everyone got to go sailing, and MRS MUMBLES and Dan get to do their innate sailing thing, which almost sounds obscene but it's not, it's beautiful to watch.

Also, Dan got to take some FIRST EVAR pictures of ME sailing MRS MUMBLES. (just in case we forget).

The poise as we barrel downwinds. Note bendy mast.

Here, just at this moment, I break a thole pin.
I broke two thole pins today, making it three broken in two sailing days.
I need a new solution.
Downwind, under control, and check out the forestay! Bendy POPLAR mast at it's finest.

On the flats, and Dan clamming in the distance.



One of these nifty salt pans that remain full of water, above the waterline.

Dan getting ready to go.  I add this picture to show how she sits on her lines.
Disregard wrinkled sail.  Snotter stretched a bit.

I found ICE in Dan's bilges.

Dan working MRS MUMBLES upwind and back home. She cuts a fine figure.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Duck Punting: Introducing MRS MUMBLES

AHOY! A new boat joins this blog! We have seen a Goat Island Skiff, a Quick Canoe, a Sea Pearl 21, assorted other boats from friends, and now I present FLO-MO's stitch and glue interpretation of a West Mersea Duck Punt from southeast England!

At the end of September, I got a hankering to do something a little different than the coastal open-boat cruising.  A rainy solo evening at home got me reacquainted with Dylan Winter's duck punting videos from the UK.  For the intrepid reader who DOESN'T know anything about duck punting in traditional duck punts from West Mersea, England, have a look-see over at Ye Olde YouTubes.

I strongly suggest looking at Lurch's page, as he has some phenomenal videos of duck punting with his local duck punting group. I have spent hours watching his videos to glean sailing tips.  Dylan Winter, through his famous Keep Turning Left adventure has literally wrested this small traditional duck boat from SE England and plunked it on the world stage of sailing, where it has weaseled it's way into many sailor's hearts for it's simplicity that also demands high levels of technique.

Duck Punts have no rudders, or centerboards. They are sailed by sail and weight trim, and an oar. They sail in a few inches of water, and cost little to build.

Cap'n Jon pushed me over the edge, and I built a duck punt in one month, for a few hundred dollars.
I built my punt from FLO-MO's stitch and glue adaptation of John Milgate's classic West Mersea duck punt plans.  There were a few aesthetic and construction changes, but the scantlings and dimensions are true to FLO-MO's plans.  I did not play naval architect and I wanted to ensure I kept the West Mersea shape that FLO-MO put together. John Milgate requires a strongback and 10mm plywood, I wanted mine built out of 6mm ply and without the strongback.  Primarily, this was because I wanted to car top my punt, as I live somewhat landlocked.  Meranti ply and pine came from Goose Bay Lumber, leftover epoxy, some screws, and a few cans of Rust-O-Leum.  An optimist club sail came from Intensity Sails for a swell price.

Then, I called the legendary Dan Noyes, who built a solid wood 12' Yankee reimagination of John Milgate's punt, and we went punting!

Dan Noyes with his punt on a dolly, walking down to the water.
Dan's punt is constructed of solid pine boards and oak frames.

MRS MUMBLES and Dan's Punt getting ready to launch.  Note Dan's DIPPING LUG RIG.  SALTY!

Detail of Dan's Punt

MRS MUMBLES working through the grasses to a hidden creek in Plum Island Sound

Dan follows behind, snaking through the grass

Dan and his dipping lug, which he dips.

Working up another creek

We find small irrigation ditches and follow them deep into the flats.
Notice my super cheap-o boom jaws! The entire rig is made of poplar dowels.
Not ideal, but a quick fix for quick sailing. Forestay to keep mast from wobbling too much.
A more permanent mast is in the works for this winter.

Dan in his own irrigation ditch.

Dan's ditch comes to the end of the line. From here, we will drag the boats.

A salt pan, that remains full at low-tide, above the water line, in the middle of the flats.


Time for lunch! We are pleased with this beautiful day.

Dan sailing MRS MUMBLES
After these pictures, they ran away from me

MRS MUMBLES is very fast, which is why I have lots of stern pictures from a distance,
and very few up-close action shots.
Having a fast boat is not frustrating, unless you are trying to take pictures of it.

Heading home in round-about kind of way.

Hauling out in the muddiest canal we could find in the entire state of Massachusetts.
Please join in me in welcoming MRS MUMBLES to GISAmateur Style! HUZZAH!

There is an entire gallery, including construction, that you can peruse at this link.