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inc. pasttimes, not puzzles or tricks

An oasis of civility in an increasingly uncivil world

Jesse‘s tagline does make one realize that perhaps, sometimes, it’s better, as JD used to say, to forget the vicissitudes out there and concentrate on more pleasant things.

To paraphrase Edmund Burke though – we can’t, otherwise the EU will never get brought down, the PTB would simply transpose it into something else.  Were it not for UKIP and other activists, across the board, this debate would never have arisen.

However, with the sun out and the boat beckoning, time for more pleasant thoughts:

Do you see an animal’s face here, by the way?

summer cairn

Long term plan

The thing which kills many people’s notion of buying a plot of land far away from it all is services. They need everything from medical to food supplies so there’d at least need to be a rudimentary track.

long term plan

But what if there were no track, it was miles from civilization, the small plot of land was dirt cheap because there were zero amenities, no wildlife, nothing to sustain life except for the grass?

Plus one pylon sunk into the earth and some machine rounded poles [rollers]. Plus the wood and thatch you see in the pic, bound up and pegged down to the ground or tied to the pylon.  Plus two pallettes.…

Das Boot

An immediate apology for the quality of these pics, they are the working drawings I’m directly building from, on the clipboards – I’ve no other electronic way of bringing the pics to the blog [click and click again].

Stern one small

Quietly elated just now as the figures have decided to add up on buoyancy and displacement. In short, the point where the bottom meets the sides [inches above] the waterline] would require 9383 lbs to press down to that point.…

Extraordinary scene downunder

Just checked the score for Friday evening’s game between Magpies and Hawks and saw this:


You most likely won’t know them but they had just played a match this evening [their time] for points in the AFL with no beg pardons [brown team snuck home] and now here were the two teams standing in the middle of the pitch, alternating clubs plus those other two are the two managers.…

Learning the ropes

As people do when they see something a friend is interested in, Amfortas sent along an item on sailing and I thank him.  If I was less than gracious about the item though, if I quietly growled out of earshot, I hope I’d be forgiven:

skippering promo

The promo puts me off immediately.  Never click on anything which has it all prepared and is enticing you to click in, especially something saying it’s free and will mete out info bit by bit as you get more deeply into it.

As for “skippering”, it’s something developed over time, it involves a sixth sense which can’t be taught, within a specific field in which you come up through the ranks – guys/gals like Franck Cammas and Laura Decker started as kids, have had experiences and developed experience along the way.

A young sailor starts perhaps on a paddleboard on which he hoists his towel, next year, his dad builds a rudder in and the following year a centreplate, then the youngster moves to a little Sabot or similar and learns the basics, capsizes and is frightened, he hangs around other sailors, some who are not too curmudgeonly to impart tricks but more importantly – basics.…

Telescope or binoculars?

pirate telescope

Haiku brought up this topic about telephoto and zooms and that made me think about binoculars or telescope on the boat.  I’d also like to use them from my window here over the valley.

This explained it to me in better detail:

Binoculars are identified by 2 numbers. The first is magnification power.

Example: 7 x 35 binoculars have a magnification power of 7.

A magnification power of 7 means that an object will appear 7 times closer than it would to your unassisted eye. For example, if you view a deer that stands 200 yards away from you through 7x binoculars, it will appear as though it were 28.6 yards away (200 divided by 7).

Be aware that binoculars with magnification powers greater than 10 amplify the movements of your hands, making steady viewing difficult.

Binocular Objective Lens Diameter

The second number used in binocular identification refers to the diameter (in millimeters) of the objective lenses (those farther from your eyes; those closer to the “object” being viewed).

The ark

An oldie but a goodie:

If Noah built the ark today!

The Lord spoke to Noah and said: “In six months I’m going to make it rain until the whole earth is covered with water and all the evil people are destroyed. But I want to save a few good people, and two of every kind of living thing on the planet. I am ordering you to build an Ark.”

And in a flash of lightning he delivered the specifications for an Ark. “OK,” said Noah, trembling in fear and fumbling with the blueprints.

“Six months, and it starts to rain,” thundered the Lord. “You’d better have my Ark completed, or learn how to swim for a very long time.”

And six months passed. The skies began to cloud up and rain began to fall.

The Lord saw that Noah was sitting in his front yard, weeping. And there was no Ark.…

There’s something about wimmin and rods, don’t you feel?

whipstaff girlThese should pass:



Finding I’m having to do boat things early morning and late evening – the yard is baking in the middle of the day, don’t know how long this heat will last. It’s drying out the core of the boat well except for the main parts under glass, e.g. deck, which are dry anyway. Will have to use the middle of the day better now, do my blogging then.

The extension to 42 feet has both solved and caused issues. The actual joinery was a piece of cake – possibly more solid than the original. The issue is that I now have a huge covered area of 12 feet by 5 feet into which almost everything must go without weighing down the stern and the centre hull had to stop at one point for the outboard to be mounted on a transom. I don’t want the o/b on the stern as it can be knocked off too easily and so we’re talking critical inches here on its placement.…

Ran it through the calculator

This might be of interest to a few.

With the lengthening from 38 feet to 42 feet, the calculations had to be redone and unfortunately, it did not actually improve some of the more unwelcome numbers.

There are factors increasing speed and at the same time, factors reducing speed.  For example, the deep V of the centre hull, at 3 feet wide and 42 feet long, has a double effect.  It sits the boat deeper in the water, giving stability of tracking but it also increases wetted area, which slows the boat but the overall lightness and length makes her respond more quickly to the water pressure, i.e. the hull is forced upwards by the Vs in both centre hull and pontoons, not unlike a hydrofoil, reducing waterplane or wetted area and increasing speed.

She’s rated at 8.68 knots and will do up to that on a pond, with no other factors involved other than wind.…

Of design, dithering and parallel lines


My design has always been about parallel lines, some full length, some part way, with a covered deck aft and different levels.  Straightsided was always the plan, not least for lateral stability. The windage on this launch is cleverly low through flow-through.  This pic has been my inspiration for my beloved ark.

It’s not a design for sailing craft, it’s for power vessels, plus the windows in the pic are too large for sailing. I’d like the stempost to be more vertical too.

With an ark, the necessity for curved lines diminishes and I can combine this look above, fine for a canal, with sail in a vessel which will not wallow but actually sail [lines below the waterline]. Long, narrow, low is a major factor in this.

My design has always been about wood and rope – even mast stays are rope – I just put more ropes in and to hell with windage.

Rump with hollandaise

It’s got to the stage now where a slight reduction in outgoings has meant I can afford a slightly better meal once a week.   Maybe you do this every evening but for me, once a week is my lot.

Plus I simply can’t eat full portions anymore.


The tatties, mushies and concasse were a piece of cake – they’re my staple, the rump was new, plus the hollandaise.…

Even the computer cooks a meal

If you think that a supercomputer can do a better job of inventing new meals than, say, Gordon Ramsey, then today’s your lucky day. IBM is opening up its Chef Watson web app to the world, enabling open-minded foodies to make outlandish food combinations for dinner parties with people you’re not fussed about pleasing.


Consider the ant …


The lowdown:

We will now consider what an ant can do. First, it can walk. If you think this is no great shucks, talk to a robotics engineer with a cable-connected supercomputer. Ask him how easy it is to make six legs with multiple joints each work together while climbing over things. If you think about the amount of sensory feedback necessary to know where these legs are at a given moment, and what the pressures and angles are, you will get dizzy. The ant does it effortlessly, with about as many brain cells as a congressman has IQ points. This would suggest perhaps three brain cells.

[H/T Chuckles]

Consider the Flying Ant:…