SailBlogs
Bookmark and Share
Kaimusailing
Winter Break
Capn Andy/winter
11 February 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
The winter weather did not let up. A few warm spells were just raw rainy spells. We could see that up north they were getting plastered with lots of snow. Many storms skirted us and we have to be thankful for that. It looks like a normal winter and a time to hunker down
.
One thing that came along to occupy us was the PCA website with PDF issues of the Sailorman newsletter and the Sea People magazine. There is a ton of information there and lots of history of Wharram catamarans from the late 60's up to only a few years ago.
.
I had time to reflect on my disappointment with the proa model. The winter weather kept me away from trying any more tests on the water, but I'm sure it will warm up sooner or later. One aspect of the problem was the lack of volume in the outrigger float. The print out from the computer was way off scale, so the 12 foot float came out 10 feet or a bit less. I could make a new float and then have the 250 lbs of flotation that I had calculated, plus having the original structure, instead of a single outrigger boom.
.
The theory of origin of the proa is that it was developed from the sailing dugout canoe and the outrigger and float were there to prevent the “teabag” dunking of the skipper who was hiked out to hold up the sail. Our little model was not preventing the dunking. There is a relationship between sail area, crew weight, and outrigger floatation. Imagine a full size proa with too much sail area, the boat flips over in a gust of wind, catapulting the skipper into the drink. If the float hasn't enough flotation, the skipper gets dunked when he is out on the outrigger, counteracting the gust, and then the gust abruptly stops, in you go.
.
The original idea for the design of the outrigger float was for a 9 foot long float for an 18 foot proa. This is just a rule of thumb dimension that varies in actual pacific proas. There is a lot of local variation. Unfortunately the main hull of our design has bulkheads, suitable for the crossbeams, 9 feet apart, so the float has to be longer.
.
The winter syndrome took a turn for the worse when the temperature plummeted to 20 below normal. As we struggled to cope with this change, outside the snow began to pile up. It was depressing in a way, but in another way, it released us from our tasks outside and we could hunker inside the cottage and take care of those pressing tasks of reading, and more importantly, cooking.
.
When one is in a small cottage in a barren landscape of winter, and oxygen is being depleted by fellow citizens, the best revenge is to cook something odious, something even the imperious local cat won't eat. We have sometimes gone down this path with concoctions that in times past were remarkable, but we survived, and amazingly, the cat survived too.
.
The cooking routine is predicated on cooking like you could cook on a boat. No oven, no perishable ingredients, cook like you are at sea for a week. In this vein I did what any ship's cook would do with chicken that is “going off” and fry it on the stove top in butter, that was also at it's end. I added one minced garlic clove per piece of chicken and turned them about every ten minutes. I only added the garlic after the chicken had been browned all around. Then I had a lot of lemon juice which was dowsed on the sizzling chicken and browned garlic. After about a half hour, some shrimp were thrown into the pan, along with “Frank's Wing Sauce”. This wing sauce can be made up with hot chili oil, butter, and cayenne pepper. It's very spicy
.
The technique was to fry it uncovered while browning, then simmer covered, then reduce uncovered for a total cooking time of about ¾ hour. It doesn't matter how long it cooks, the main thing is to get the sauce reduced to a thickness like catsup. Baste the chicken pieces and if the sauce doesn't drip down off the chicken pieces, it's done.
.
It goes well with beer and chips, or with salad and blue cheese.
.
The other recipe is an asian soup, made with low sodium chicken broth and instant tom yum paste. About 2 tablespoons of paste per quart of stock, add 4 tablespoons of vinegar, use rice and wine vinegar, about a tablespoon of brown sugar, thicken with heaping tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in cold water, bring to boil with thin sliced mushrooms and shrimp, drop one or two beaten eggs slowly into the swirling soup. Top with one or two teaspoons of hot sesame oil, hot as in chili. Add some soy to taste.
.
If we thought the weather would let up, it surprised us by going even colder and the wind came up one day and dashed little boatie, the dinghy I had hand made and rescued so many times, dashed it off into the inlet. Now I couldn't find it. It was missing and it's space left on the dock really meant something to all the work and plans I had made for that little boat. Goodby litlle boatie.
.
I had to keep an eye on any problems that might suddenly crop up due to the icy weather and strong winds that were unusual. The fellows who normally were down on the dock were nowhere to be seen, either busy at their jobs or reluctant to face the weather. I was despondent and trying to escape by reading about sailors who, in a right minded way, escaped the winter and sailed down to the warm Caribbean or down the West Coast to the Gulf of California. Some of the stories were in England and they went down to the Algarve in Portugal or to Madiera or to the Canaries. All the time I was reading this, I was sitting in a little cottage and hiding from the cold weather, but also hiding from the activity that would take me away.
.
My daughter wanted to visit Hawaii in a couple of months, so plans had to be made. We ended up going to St. Maarten in the meantime and we were away from winter, for a week. Even then, I continued reading about other sailors and their escapades, while I was sitting and sometimes reclining with a computer or kindle. The kindle was surprising in that it can access email and websites, albeit slowly, even when you can't log into a wifi network. We were able to confirm our flight and check in, but we couldn't print our boarding passes.
.
I read a lot of sailing stories. In one case, the sailor I was reading was a model of DIY, get friends to help, rock out on the accordion, and slowly but surely get his sailing dream into the water and underway. I found out later he died of altzheimer's or dementia. His glorious project did get to sea, but he did not. He could not escape the problem. Are we really sane when we go about these things? What about when we go over the line and end up dashed on the rocks.
.
I always notice that my demeanor while sailing is different than when I'm going to the grocery store. I may be careful driving the car to get tomatoes, but when I'm sailing, I go into another gear. I become very serious and deliberate, not my usual self. When I'm on someone else's boat, they will sometimes go down below while I'm on the helm. Maybe they detect something. Like Moby Dick. I'm serious on the helm. Sailing is, I think, a serious thing. It might be all fun and games on the Hobie Cat romping around in the waves, but a big boat has a way of compelling a serious nature, a contemplation of consequences. A Hobie Cat can cartwheel on the beach and raise a cheer or even get a free drink. The big cat can get a lawsuit the same way.
.
If I hadn't had so many calamities such as running aground and living on a reef for a few days in a nor'easter, then I might be less serious about it.
.
When we got back to Annapolis, I checked on conditions down on the dock and found Captain Kris there seriously contemplating moving aboard his big full keeled ketch. He is good at working with metal and I asked him to look at a broken aluminum side piece from a Hobie Cat that I had looked at before we went to St. Maarten. The boat had been broken in a wind storm and the owner probably would have paid someone to take it off his property, but I was willing to buy it from him. The side piece came right off the boat. It was broken in two. It's a design flaw, the shroud is not attached to a chainplate on the hull, it's attached to the side piece of the trampoline.
.
The picture is from the infinity pool at Divi Little Bay in St. Maarten. It is not necessary to take a vacation when you're retired, but it's nice to get away from winter.
SailBlogs Groups
Cat Cruisers •