Sunday, November 14, 2010

tall masts and short stories, the big oyster and a very small boat

There is the top of my birds mouth mast. I completed the first stage of refinishing it today with a coat of clear epoxy. It's a nice sunny day, great to be outdoors. And just working on the mast in the front yard - where I get the most sun and warmth - brought over a couple of neighbors for a visit. I had forgotten how many people used to drop by the garage while I was building Spartina. Any sort of woodworking just seems to draw visitors. I really do miss that social aspect of building the boat.

The WEST system epoxy is a few years old now and the hardner has oxidized giving it that nice red (amber??) tint. I like the looks of that. More importantly, the oxidized epoxy retains the ability to bond and seal wood.

The mast is baking in the sun right now. The epoxy should be dry to the touch in an hour or two. It will cure overnight. Next weekend I hope to start on the next phase - the applying and wet sanding of seven coats of a good, hard varnish.

Before starting the mast work I was reading the paper and came across a review of a book that will be high on my reading list - Edible Stories, A Novel in Sixteen Parts by Mark Kurlansky. Kurlansky has written some excellent books about food, history and culture. And this book, a series of sixteen short stories, sounds like my kind of book. To quote the NY Times review.....

Every page of this book reflects the depth of Kurlansky’s eclectic knowledge, and almost every page features his wit and charm. He writes warmly and authoritatively on subjects as diverse as menudo (the Mexican tripe stew), indigenous peoples of the South Pacific and Alaska, wine, baseball, love, sex, oysters, French politics and Orangina.

Kurlansky has written a couple of my favorite history books - though they don't read at all like histories. Among his titles are The Big Oyster, History on the Half Shell; Cod, The Biography of the Fish that Changed The World; and Salt, A World History.
Plus he has written several other books about baseball, culture, nonviolence, the 60's and the list goes on and on. He is prolific to say the least.

In The Big Oyster ( a play on the phrase "The Big Apple") Kurlansky looks at both the history of New York City and the role oysters play in our culture. (For example, he points out in the book that oysters are the only animals that we eat alive. Hmm, never quite thought of it like that when slurping a raw oyster.) His books sound a little odd, I know, but his view of history through the prism of food - from codfish to salt - is fascinating. I can't wait to read this book of short stories.

And as I work on my John Welsford-designed Pathfinder it looks like John has done it again and come up with another great design - the Scamp. This looks to be John's response to a suggestion from the editors of Small Craft Advisor. I read a little bit about it on Duckworks awhile ago.....

"Ten feet long," they e-mailed. "Sleep on board for a weekend. Something that would daysail an adult and a couple of children. Really easy to build in a garage, and small enough to not need an expensive trailer or a big car to tow it."

Here is a report from Josh Colvin, of Small Craft Advisor, describing the launch of the first Scamp. Sounds like a great little boat. Knowing a little about John's design history I've got to believe that this is one very capable under-10-foot cruiser.
(Don't get me wrong here, his best boat from my point of view will always be the Pathfinder. But Scamp has certainly caught my eye and imagination.)

It looks like the design is meant for sailing but can also be rowed. Sounds ideal for an Everglades Challenge event. I don't think I'll ever take part in an EC (I enjoy watching them from a distance), but if I did I it would be in a Scamp.


PS - just found this report on a Scamp at the DoryMan blog. It shows a Scamp out in some pretty good wind. Thanks DoryMan.

1 comment:

doryman said...

I thought you might like this one Steve. Be sure to follow my friend Andrew Linn during the EC in a "Scamp". Promises to be good fun.

If you want to handle some weather in a small boat, ask John Welsford.