Friday, April 22, 2016

Lazy day. So here are some videos to watch.

It was one of those days today. Nice autumn weather, lots of chores still outstanding but I figured that I had better things to do. Instead, Denny and I went out for a drive to explore an area that we’d not seen before,  walked our dogs in a marvellous patch of regenerating native forest that was full of songbirds and soaked the sore old bones in a geothermal hot pool.  The net result being that I’m so relaxed that I don’t feel like doing anything at all right now so am trawling through You Tube looking for nice videos.
So, heres a post dedicated to the work of others.   Particular thanks to those who made the videos.


For those interested in what Howard Rice is up to with his SCAMP "Southern Cross",  he's just posted an update on his blog, well worth a read!  You might have to cut and paste this url as I cant get it to copy across, sorry.

http://thepocketyaught.blogspot.co.nz

http://thepocketyacht.blogspot.co.nz

Have fun watching.
JW










Monday, April 18, 2016

Long Steps, the build is about to begin.

Time to get back to work, on the blog at least as I’ve been very busy on other things.  I got home from Chile to find a pile of work stacked up and waiting for my attention .The engineering work  that helps finance my lifestyle has grown due to one of the very few woodworking machinery engineers in this area no longer being available,  he was an older gent and some of this work being heavy it had just got past him.
I appreciate the work,  the income is very welcome as there is some financial catching up to do, but it does take me away from important things such as boats, design, blogging and so on.
 All that plus maintenance on my ship, a family member needing support and being honest, tired after a long and busy trip away in a country new to me meant that I’ve been a bit preoccupied.

So, I’m close to caught up, and its back to the drawing board, literally.  I’ve two major projects on right now, one is a custom junk rigged cruiser which will stay out of the public eye until the customer is ok with putting it out there  and the other is my own “Long Steps” project.  That’s ben mentioned here before,  but for those who missed it, the boat is a long range sail and oar expedition/adventure boat intended for a 3 month voyage which will be  in mostly open waters. 

My intention is to  get out there and have “the adventure of a lifetime” before the years catch up with me. They’ve been flickering past at a distressingly rapid rate of late and its high time I got on with it.
The idea is to have a boat that is about 70% sail, but which will row well enough to cover a few miles in dead calm, or to work into a narrow space up a river or in a harbour. It has to be able to cope with very bad conditions in open waters, so needs to be close to being fully blue water capable in spite of being an “open boat”, and needs to provide some shelter and comfort for my no longer as young as it once was body.

I’ve two designs which provided information for this design, one being SCAMP, astonishing capable for only 11 ft 11in long, with her ballast, self draining cockpit floor, easy righting from capsize and her little shelter.  Someone recently called that shelter a “Cuddly”,  I suspect that he was using a smartphone which translated “cuddy” into something that was in its lexicon but what a good name!

Anyway, SCAMP has a lot of the virtues that I wanted, but extra length gives speed under both sail and oar, so I looked at Walkabout which has been described by a very experienced sailor as “the fastest monohull I’ve ever sailed”.
It’s a long slim boat, especially on the waterline and moves very well under its modest sail area, as well as being nice to row.
She has other virtues in that she’s easy to roll back up after a capsize, can be sailed away without bailing, and has a particularly easy motion in a seaway.

Long Steps is a slightly larger “Walkabout” style hull, her shape massaged to give more form stability, ballasted with a big water tank under the self draining cockpit floor, with an offset centerboard like SCAMPs one which frees up the cockpit so making a nice space in which to lie down and sleep, she has the same “cuddly” and storage/high up bouyancy locker in the forward part of what looks like a mini cabin, and I’ve used some of the extra space at the after end to provide space in which to stand at the helm as well as a space for my favourite piece of small boat cruiser furniture which is a small swimming pool bean bag.
Yes I tie it in with a lanyard.

So I drew the first draft of the plans, did all the arithmetic, worked over the structure, and was ok with it,  mostly. I did though think that the space under the “cuddly” was a bit tight, and we have some interfereing beaureuocrats  in local governments who believe that dying is bad for you and have made up a rule that when out in boats under 6 metres long ( just under 20 ft) lifejackets ( PFDs) must be worn at all times.  This nonsense only applies in a few places but still, it can be avoided.

I promise, when I get the plans a little further along I'll get them scanned and put a pic up that will include the full sailplan and a bit more detail.
In the meantime, this will give you an idea as to what I'm up to here.

Now I’m not about to row Long Steps up a river against the tide on a hot windless day while wearing same,  and  when I built a mockup I found that that space under the shelter was a bit tight, so I’ve redrawn it.  I’d only built two components, so there is not much to discard, and the Mk 2 version is a little longer, same beam, has a little more freeboard, more headroom and length in the “cuddly” and a bit more volume in the ballast tank.

I’ve two engineering jobs on today so wont be able to do much with that, but the Tax man is sending me a refund this week, part of which will pay for enough plywood to get properly started on the project.  Watch this space!



Saturday, February 27, 2016

Punta Arenas

Its been a real scramble the last few days so I've not been able to post, but its catchup time.
So here is a short post and some pics from our days in Punta Arenas.

Punta Arenas, what a place.  The people here have been unfailingly friendly and helpful, that means that we’ve solutions to most of the logistical issues that we came to sort out, will be seeing the Regional Commander of the Armada De Chile tomorrow, and when we’re back in Santiago have contacts within the Chilean Tourism beaureau to go and see. 
So we’re able to take a few hours to see the scenery, talk to people, explore a little and relax.

The scenery is bleak but has a real beauty about it, the town has grown enormously in the past couple of decades and is now a tourist center with some industry as well as a lot of sheep and beef farming, its windy, cool, and the town itself has some wonderful architecture backed by the deep blue grey of the Straights of Magellan and the mountains.  Nice place, we enjoyed our time there, made friends, had a very successful meeting with the Armada de Chile, and are very much looking forward to our next visit when Howard pushes off and sets his course for the south.

I’m doing a lot of filming with the video camera, remember that part of the reason for the trip is to get background material for the full scale video that will be made of Howards adventure. This means that the still camera hasnt been in use as much so Im short on pics. But for those who were interested in the fishing boats, I've got some more from Porvenir on the other side of the Straights.

 Don’t forget that this will take more than a few bucks to produce this, so please consider supporting this, it’s a way of ensuring that you can both be a part of the experience.
Beyond40south.com 

 The Boot brothers have been doing a lot of walking, I go along with them of course, they have a real tendency to get into trouble if I don’t. But Lacey, ( he’s the lefty of the twins) told me yesterday that his brothers name was really “Toe”. When I asked why he said it was because their mother didn’t want people to think that he was a “heel”.  “Toe” told his brother to “hold your tongue”!

I've posted some pics below, and will do some more when I get a chance.  
 A superyacht at anchor beyond an abandoned jetty, the birds are all leaning hard into the stiff wind that prevails here.
 One of the old torpedo boats that used to patrol the southern area of Chiles coast, I imagine that life on board would have been very hard.  But look at the size of those propellors! There is serious horsepower in there.
 The wooden fishing boats are built very cheaply, absolutely no frills, this is the way that the "real" boats were built in the past rather than the way the seriously expensive replicas are built today. This one has come to the end of its life, its had the engine and refrigeration hold removed, and has begun returning to nature.  Its not an uncommon sight here.
 The post office, note the area covered by this office! 
 Derelict Cape Horners, they're being used as a breakwater, a sad end for proud ships.
 I love my little dog, he's my best friend and we go for a walk almost every day, in fact if we dont he makes sure I get reminded.  Forcefully! But I used to ride a bicycle for excersize, and this gent and his doggy friend have found a way to make it a team effort.  The dog is lying on a cushion strapped to the bike, has footrests for his back feet, and a safety belt.  He's a happy chappy, loves the ride.  Nice work team!
Lily from Chile, we met her in a bakery, her late husband came from Michigan where Howard lives and they had lived in California for a long time. She came back to Punta Arenas when he passed on, its her home town.  Lovely lady, we had a lot of fun talking to here and in a very few minutes we were friends.  This is a story that has happened to us over and over again here in Chile, they are very hospitable and friendly people.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A good day.

Its been a very good day today.
One of the jobs that we’d come here to Punta Arenas to do was to contact the appropriate people in the  Armada de Chile, ( navy) and discuss with them the upcoming voyage by Howard in his modified SCAMP.
Another job was to find storage for the boats shipping crate plus scope out the town to find the resources we’d need while staying here during the pre voyage testing and provisioning.
Well, today was the day of the appointment with the zone commander for the Armada. While we were reasonably confident of a good reception there were a few nerves as we were ushered into the “boss’s “ office together with two of his senior staff.
At first our impression was that they were wondering what this was all about, a tiny boat, singlehanded in that region is a vefry high risk venture and it would be their resources that would be at risk to pull anyone in trouble back out to safety so they’re rightfully sceptical of anything outside of a properly equipped expedition ship.
But as the interview proceeded and a series of “Gosh moments” came and went, the atmosphere warmed, there was recognition of the work that has gone into the boat and its gear, the thought and preparation, the experience from Howards previous trip, the courtesy and respect shown in our having come here 6 months ahead of the voyage to make contact and discuss with them what would be needed from their point of view.
Howard had put together a short power point presentation, during which his Cape Horn certificate came up, and Captain Herrera instantly smiled, said “I’ve got one of those” and there was an instant connection, that’s the second time that’s been an icebreaker ( metaphorically speaking, its not that cold here, in the summer at least) for us.
Another moment, those who’ve attended Howards presentations on his voyage around Cape Horn in his 15 ft Klepper folding kayak may recall his tale of walking through a minefield following the lighthouse keepers dogs.  Some have been skeptical of that part of the story, but Captain Herrera confirmed that the mine field was indeed there, and still “alive” at that time.  Since removed by Chliean special forces though. Much hilarity!

There were some suggestions as to communications equipment and agreement on their part that the planning on Howards part was comprehensive and for the most part well executed.  There are a few small things to consider, and their experience in that area  means that their input has real value.
So the interview went very well, and it was with cordial handshakes that we parted, all of us looking forward to meeting again in September next.

The other issue, that of storage and generally having friends upon whom we can call when needed has been solved, oddly enough by a rainstorm overcoming a rusty roof and the ceiling in a restaurant collapsing while we were mulling over where to start looking while having coffee.
Mauricio and his staff coped with the problem calmly, moving us and a couple of tables away from the deluge.  We made jokes about serving towels and shampoo with the coffee, there was much laughter, some conversation and from that friendships have grown.
Proprietor Mauricio has offered his backyard for storage of the shipping crate, knows the area well and may be able to suggest accommodation when we’re down here next and has proven to be a most cordial and interesting friend.
We have been eating regularly at “El Bodegon”, half a block from the city centre, it’s a great place, we get a warm reception  when we go in, not only smiles but there is a big wood stove heating the dining area so its shirt sleeves when outside is distinctly cool.
Our friendship has grown to the point where we can ask for Tony the chef, and tell him that we’d like him to cook a meal, whatever he’d like to cook, and to surprise us.
We’ve had some great food, and strongly recommend the place to anyone coming here! 
El Bodegon restaurant and bar, you’ll like it!




Sunday, February 21, 2016

Punta Arenas, a fable for most people.

Punta Arenas, when we read cruising stories, or those tales from the round the world yacht races, or old Joshua Slocums book it seems a place of mystery and  dreams.  But now we're here, its very real. What a place.  The people here have been unfailingly friendly and helpful, that means that we’ve solutions to most of the logistical issues that we came to sort out, will be seeing the Regional Commander of the Armada De Chile tomorrow, and when we’re back in Santiago have contacts within the Chilean Tourism beaureau to go and see. 
So we’re able to take a few hours to see the scenery, talk to people, explore a little and relax.


Avenas Costanera Del Estrecho De Magellanes, the Straights of Magellan.  A place steeped in sailing ship history,  here's the sign indicating the coast road past the city just to prove we're really here.

I’m doing a lot of filming with the video camera, remember that part of the reason for the trip is to get background material for the full scale video that will be made of Howards adventure.  Don’t forget that this will take more than a few bucks to produce this, so please consider supporting this, it’s a way of ensuring that you can both be a part of the experience. Heres the website link.
www.below 40south. com


Chile is big on memorials and statuary, this, as far as I can tell, is a memorial to the first settlers. Huge, elaborate and interesting.  The water behind is the straights between the mainland and Tierra del Fuego, the land of fires.  
This pic was taken from the doorway of the warehouse for the Antarctic supply ships, thats a real live dogsled up there. 
The city is full of wonderful old buildings, this one has a historical rating. But consider how far south we are, and how the building has been adapted to the conditions here. Big and designed as a mass to conserve heat but the big conservatory there to gather sunlight and direct the warmth back into the building.  Solar gain is not a new thing, its been well understood for many generations.

The Boot brothers have been doing a lot of walking, I go along with them of course, they have a real tendency to get into trouble if I don’t. But Lacey, ( he’s the lefty of the twins) told me yesterday that his brothers name was really “Toe”. When I asked why he said it was because their mother didn’t want people to think that he was a “heel”.  “Toe” told his brother to “hold your tongue”!