How to b—er up a Sunday Lunch


All right, I completely bu–ered up the Sunday lunch, didn’t I?  Couldn’t be a—ed cooking so I cheated – took a tin of ratatouille and a tin of that horrible compressed chicken. Had some roasted taties left over from last night in the fridge and so it was all in the foil pan, mixed up and into a preheated oven.

Then I got embroiled in blog visiting and forgot all about it.  When I realized and ran for the oven, the top was all crispy and below was still moist so thought I’d try it.

Yum.  Superyum.  Must make that mistake again.  Now it’s time to go out and look at the autumn leaves.

The art of the sailmaker

tim_sailing_sDon’t get me wrong – the junk sail is a great sail for what it does.  It’s for people with not a lot of money, it reduces in storms beautifully and is so easy to use.

It’s problem though is its flatness.  Flat sails have no power, especially to windward because what a sail needs to go, just like an aircraft wing or a woman, is curves.

This is the sailmaker’s art.

If you look at the picture below right, what you see is a curve.  Not only that but the top is twisted away from the wind more than the foot and that is not a quirk – it has to be for efficiency, for flow over the whole sail.

In the Little America’s cup, they had great wingsails but what was lacking in a rigid wing was twist.  An aeroplane has it designed into the tips but sails are more dynamic.

sail-craig-merkSo the LAC boys spent thousands of dollars getting twist into the rig, something the soft sail does as a matter of course.


All sails hoping to go to windward need camber of a certain amount.  This is the curvature of the sail in its base position.

If you lay a sail on the floor, it should be a bit baggy, not lying flat.  This is because of the clever way the panels have been cut and “bunched up” a little in the sewing, a principle not unknown to dressmakers too.

It’s very precise, as you’ll see in this clip from the series: How to Draw the Camber of a Sail — powered by

Basically, the NACA tabulated precisely what sailmakers had known for centuries and came out with a seried of curves which are the most efficient in certain conditions and for certain foils. Here is an interesting article on foils, specifically those for keels and rudders but the principle is the same.

They discovered certain things about the position of maximum camber.


Mast and sail combined

If you have a flat[tish] wing mast of 20% of the length of sail and mast, it is less efficient than a 10% wing mast [and 90% sail].  It only gets more efficient at 35-40%.  Therefore, one either goes the whole hog with a wing or else sticks to the traditional mast sail.  That’s why the old sails will never die because, within a small angle of attack [the angle at which the wind makes the sail fill and operate], they are almost as efficient as a solid wing at its best.


The advantage of the solid wing is a wider angle of attack, meaning it will be efficient either let out or pulled in and is more forgiving that way.  On the other hand, it won’t de-power and every sailor knows there are moments every few seconds when one wishes to de-power to keep the boat upright.

So, it’s all a compromise.


Vertical is not horizontal

The greater the camber, the more the power and here another factor comes in.  A sailboat is always in the wing-effect zone close to the water whereas a horizontal aircraft wing is there for a second or two.  The top of the sail is meeting different wind patterns to the foot but that is not so with an aircraft.

Therefore, in the sail, the top must be cut flatter for less power and it must allow twist.

There have been attempts with the junk sail to design camber into it and it works well although adding to the cost and defeating much of the appeal of the traditional junk.

Again, it’s all a compromise.

Mark’s latest poll so far


Who is the least deserving Nobel Peace Prize winner?
Selection Votes
Henry Kissinger (1973) 6% 5
United States High Commissioner for Refugees (1981) 0% 0
United Nations Peacekeeping Forces (1988) 3% 2
Kofi Annan and the United Nations (2001) 3% 2
Al Gore and the IPCC (2007) 53% 41
Barack Obama (2009) 25% 19
Other (please specify) 10% 8
77 votes total

Vote here.

Men and women. Yes, I know, I know ….


Fran Lebowitz said, in Metropolitan Life, in 1978:

Being a woman is of special interest only to aspiring male transsexuals.  To actual women, it is merely a good excuse not to play football.

Women are endlessly fascinating to me and I’m certainly no transsexual.  They’re so complex and it’s so difficult to get a line on all their ways.  So I plead guilty to making the species my life study, quite apart from being honoured to be the mate of one [at a time].

This news report on seven out of eight cyclists killed in London being women is by no means some misanthropic treatise but an attempt to come to grips with why it should be so.  Xlbrl, a commenter at this and other sites, said:

I would not have predicted that. Women are certainly more cautious drivers than men. If caution does not help on a bike, that leaves two possibilities. One, that drivers subconsciously–and that is how we drive–may be even less prone to registering a woman than a man. Second, a woman may be be less quick to make the WTF perception and act on it.

It’s probably true that drivers are more prone to ignoring a good, quiet person who sticks to the side of the road than someone like me who makes his presence felt. Then there is the tendency for women to be less confident overall – almost all the films and advertising refer to women “empowering themselves” and cosmetic and soap ads speak of “giving you that confidence”. When women are ultra-confident, many fall into the trap of being brash. My girlfriend was one of those – driving like a maniac and thinking nothing could happen to her.

Finally, we come down to vision. Even with good peripheral vision, you need to be in the habit of looking two hundred metres all round, not just twenty metres and then you have to look into drivers’ eyes to determine if you have a problem on your hands. Usually, women aren’t really into that because they’re not as assertive. That can be a good or bad thing but it seems to be getting them killed in London.

It can also come into multi-tasking. Indeed women do it better, in general and that’s what they may be doing on the bike – sorting out all their issues while they go. I can’t do that – I’m not a multitasker and so I concentrate on one thing only – the road and surrounds.


Look at the photo of Bond and ladies.  The one on the left is the new, brash, modern woman who wants it all and knows all her rights.  The one on the right is the traditional woman in most men’s eyes though she’s confident in her own way.  The one in the middle is confident.  You can say it is because he’s achieved something but so have the other two.  Not only that – there are many men with that sort of confidence, irrespective of their achievements.

OK – introduce a threat.  How would you expect them to react?  Let’s not make that threat a lion or a tiger because all would run.  Make the threat, say, two hoodlums with knives.

Depends, doesn’t it?  Eva Greene might be a karate expert.  Catarina Murillo might be a boxing expert.  Odds on they aren’t though – look at men and women in gyms and what they’re really doing there.  Most men are building muscle and most women are getting in shape.

The question I’m asking is who will be the assertive one to take control?  Or would all three attack the hoodlums at the same time and overpower them?  I once taught a group of girls that.  Stay in a pack, I said and if threatened, immediately attack like wolves.  Knee to the groin, claws in the eyes and Bob’s your uncle.  They refined it to using the feminine charm to get close [men are always susceptible to this], then the knee to the groin etc.

Tom Paine maintains that women are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves and he’s no doubt right but still – women don’t mind the strong arms of a man and a man does like to be a man.  Look at Alison’s post on this, a person I call a “proper woman” in every way:

Strong, gathering, steeling embraces. The kind only a man can provide. Gathers me up and reassures. Making me feel safe. I can have a hundred discussions and put the world to rights. I can take care of me and assert enough presence to feel my way in this world with confidence. But at the end of the day, when the world feels such a strange place and in particular a curious one full of memories and deja vu at this point in my life, I find my mind centres on this one personal truth.

I really think both genders would do better playing to their strengths and letting the other cover for their weaknesses, rather than trying to come over as the omnipotent superhero.

What is needed within the next year


It was Woody Allen, in one of his skits who said he saw his life pass before his eyes and then realized it was someone else’s life. In a similar way, there’s a personal crisis I’m deeply involved in at the moment and it’s not mine. Even if it were, it’s not blog material.

What it is does do though is focus the mind on just how naively, politically incompetent most people are and just how evil a tiny minority are. That’s not an insult to anyone in particular – it’s just an observation.

Start with the U.S.A.. The country is in crisis over the actions of the banks over sub-primes and all the other greed, e.g. the hedge funds.  The bankers get all the blame, particularly from the traditional left, exonerating or paying lip-service to the role of the punter who went ahead and bought on credit. This was the politics of envy, where people saw other people with consumer items, in fine homes, jetsetting here and there and wanted the same lifestyle as some sort of “right”, without having to do anything towards that.

Living beyond their financial means.

So, with people bankrupting and losing their homes, what does Obama do? Propose a vision of trillions of dollars more debt to the American consumer, on top of what is already there! And this is supposed to be the leftist compassionate society? As for actual compassion, the rule is – we want you to be kind and altruistic and non-discriminatory and all-inclusive and we’re going to beat you down and lock you up until you do it.

Compassion is only available to those of a particular mindset but if you disagree with us, you get incarcerated. This is the rank hypocrisy I detest on that side of politics, this assumption that they are all lovely and working for good causes and invoking the state when it doesn’t work.

The State’s not interested in good causes. It’s under the control of Them and your accession to this panacea they’ve placed before your eyes simply plays into Their hands, just as the aspirations and envy of the ordinary person led the financial world to go the way it went. Where there’s no restraint by regulatory bodies, then there’ll be no restraint on the part of the ordinary person.

People respond far more to the vision in front of them than to Thous Shalt Not. The Serpent took Jesus to the top of a mountain and said all he surveyed could be his if he’d come over to the dark side, if he’d just sell his soul, a minor matter. The old Faustian bargain.

Jesus took the point of view that it was an illusion and that the Serpent didn’t actually have the power to provide all that was promised, that it was a lie, painted in brilliant colours and appealing to Man’s deepest desires, bereft of reason. This was then presented as Reason.

As for Brown – do you honestly see him leading you to the Promised Land? When you look about you and sneak out to your wheelie bin to slip a bag of refuse in the wrong place, do you cast your eyes about to see no one’s watching? When you’re speaking with someone you meet, are you supercareful you don’t say what you feel, for fear that person will shop you and the thought police will charge you with a hate crime?
If so, then you’re living in a police state, appropriately called the UKSSR. And this is the panacea Brown and his predecessor hold up for all Brits to admire? And the bloated Elfansafetee with their bizarre rulings on what could hurt us – tell me the truth – do you enjoy being overregulated like that? Do you enjoy having to meet some KPIs to go to the toilet properly?

Do you need instructions on a packet of crisps: “Open pack at top, put fingers in and withdraw crisp, place in mouth and munch. Keep out of the hands of children who don’t know when to stop”?


Or are you bewildered how all this managed to come about?

In America, it’s easy – you voted in a Skull and Cross Bones and then you turned around and voted in a known communist. In the UK, you repeatedly voted in a government which all the while was pumping legislation through parliament to take away your freedoms, in line with the EU, which itslef is in line with the very malcontents Churchill referred to:

“and now at last this band of extraordinary personalities from the underworld of the great cities of Europe and America have gripped the Russian people by the hair of their heads, and have become practically the undisputed masters of that enormous empire”

Just substitute the UK for Russia and it’s up to date. And the stupid Irish go and vote this in, given everything that’s been written, all the warnings, all the anti-EU sites out there? Simple – they never read the warnings. They were off doing something else, watching tele, reading other sorts of things.

It gets me so angry. It’s like watching someone beside you, whom you know is acting a right prat, incurring the inevitable consequences of his/her foolishness and dragging you along for the punishment as well when you told him/her until you were blue in the face that it was wrong and you even showed, in point form, why that was so.

So, the inevitable retribution comes and you are swept away too.

This is what is so badly needed:

1. In the short term, get Obama and Brown out;

2. Begin the tightening of the belts for all and starve the credit agencies of funds;

3. Begin to reintroduce the old sane code of sustainable values, which will involve retraining or replacing the teachers who are currently imparting this mindless pap of how hard done by everyone is, oppressed by men and anyone white.

Which values? Why not start by reteaching the heritage of the land we live in and the Judaeo-Christian principles it rested on. The values of hard work being the only way to produce sustainable growth, along with loyalty, decency and pride in one’s nation, as it was traditionally defined.

That’s a start.

There are enough educators out there, currently shut out of the system, who can step in and do that. We’re not talking religion here – just the social principles;

4. Repeal the thousands of mindless laws brought in [in the UK] by the socialists and get back to some sort of “adultizing” of the population, getting them to stand on their own feet rather than being an obese mother pig on which you are provided with one teat to suck on until the milk dries up.

5. Bring the perpetrators of the iniquities to justice, including the traitor masquerading as the President of the EU.

6. In the UK, withdrawing from the bulk of the EU constraints and renegotiating our place as a nation trading bilaterally with European nations but also forging even stronger ties with the U.S. and the Commonwealth nations of our ethnic stock plus those of other ethnic stock who were born here but then placing limitations on who else comes in.

Those measures are a start. I can’t see anyone doing what they really should do and immediately cut out all CBs, the Treasury taking over the functions of these private corporations and issuing debt-free notes, rather than debt-laden banker bonds.

That will probably come in the phase after that, even though that simple expedient would kill off the stranglehold on us which is keeping us in this constant cycle of misery.


And while we’re at it, Wat Tyler lists these as the current hot buttons:

  1. Gordo – unelected, incompetent, despised – “he has to go” (I paraphrase – it was generally expressed rather more colourfully)
  2. Immigration – “completely out of control… I don’t care what the EU says – it must be stopped”
  3. Welfare scroungers – “like all these girls who keep having kids to stay on benefits and get council houses”
  4. EU referendum – “we’ve been lied to” (nobody mentioned the Lisbon Treaty – they want a referendum on the entire deal)

Late evening listening – not for everyone

rainy dayRainy day, sunshine girl [Faust 1972]

The original of this first song was from a couple of Brit DJs – this is made a bit snazzier here by Paul Oakenfold:

Gregorian chant and all that:

Sounds electronic but Can played it all themselves:

Simple rhythms overlaid, Faust surprise for 1972:

Hope you made it so far …