Tuesday, July 27, 2010


With my Goat Island Skiff, I can tuck in three different reefs.  Below is full sail vs. "Reef #1" and "Reef #2" and "Handkerchief reef" for the days when it's blowing 30+ and I'm by myself (this hopefully doesn't happen on a regular basis).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Side-bar scales, Fun Factor and Money Spent are totalled and explained

So on the left of the blog I have the "Fun Factor" and the "Money Spent" list.

I have totaled them up today in a completely unscientific fashion that will mystify some if they attempt to replicate my results, annoy others, or make others feel really really good about themselves.

First up, the Fun Factor.

Out of a possible of 240 points, building the Goat Island Skiff got 175 points, leaving it in the exclamation point (!) zone, but not as high as I would have liked to see it.  Overall the entire process was immensely satisfying, as it was emotional and frustrating.  On the whole since it averaged out in the 7! zone, it was fun.  But not FUN!  That's OK.  Stuff doesn't have to be fun all the time to be rewarding, and the fun I'm going to get out of this boat over the next few years will far overshadow any kind of frustration from the past year.  The learning curve aspect is also not included in the Fun Factor, and this is a shame, because I went into this project knowing absolutely nothing at all about boat building, and came out actually a lot more knowledgeable than I thought I would have.  This is a good thing.  Learning is good.  Look at some of my previous posts like this one to see how far I've really come.  I mean, wow.  So in summary, the boat was fun to build, but it was fun like going to college was fun, the sex and the beer but also the exams and the papers and the thesis, but then feeling good afterwards!  So fun.

Second up, Money Spent.

Ok, this list is fraught with conservatism that does not reflect my situation in the least.  It was my honest attempt to track every penny I spent on this boat, but that went out the window fairly quickly.  I have compiled, therefor, a list of the materials as I mostly originally spent on them.  For instance, I got three deckplates for relatively cheap.  Well, they were cheap.  So they got upgraded to more expensive deckplates.  This upgrade is not reflected in the list.  There are other products like this also in place.

I'm sorry about that, but the list in "Money Spent" is probably, by far, the LOWEST you could possibly spend, buying crappy deckplates and such.  I've already upgraded much of the line in the boat, bought useless line, bought tons of hardware that mysteriously didn't get used, amongst other issues.  Therefor, a more realistic target for me, is the $3500+ number.

I will say:  The glue is accurate, the lumber is accurate, the paint, primer, varnish are accurate, as well as the sail (minus modifications).

So there you have it for comparison purposes on your own Goat Island Skiff project. 

Hazey Summer Daze continues...

There's a double meaning in the title for the intrepid reader...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rigging woes and possible solutions?

Again, if you're a regular reader or are interested in the handling and rigging characteristics of the Goat Island Skiff, and some problems I have been encountering, I strongly urge you to read this thread.

Also, in order to solve some of my problems I have decided to go loose footed with my sail instead of laced.  I have an album set up with before and after pics for those that would like to peruse them.  They highlight some of the problems I've been having with the rigging, and how I hope loose footed will help.

There are other great threads too, such as this one.

Tomorrow will be the loose footed experiment day, stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bad back

Well I went ahead and blew out my back again and now I'm on some fun pain medications that make me feel quite fuzzy.

So I went ahead in my haze actually tied (marlin style lacing, scroll down here to see) my sail to the yard and boom as opposed to using plastic zip-ties, though those worked really well.  I optimized my downhaul a little better and most importantly, added a cleat on the boom to give me one level of outhaul purchase.  The outhaul runs from the clew to a loop at the end of the boom, then forward to a cleat.  Only one purchase, but already a marked improvement.  I re-tied the block tiedowns, re-sat the haylard block in the yard, jimmied things nice and straight and she's ready to rock now. 

Hopefully all this will take care of wrinkles, gaps, and inefficient sail shapes that have hindered speed and progress so far.  Time will tell.

Back, heal thyself!  Wind bring your forces to me!  Zinea, Pterodactylus, fly!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A good read on drowning.

I pulled the following directly from this website.  It's a good interesting read, and pertains directly to those who spend time on the water, alone, with friends, with children.

My advice is to wear your lifejacket, everyday, everytime you are out on the boat.  I have a comfy life jacket that has pockets, doesn't get hot, but breaks the wind on cool days too.  It never gets in the way.  It only works when I wear it.  Anyway, read on:

Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning

The new captain jumped from the cockpit, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the owners who were swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. ”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”
How did this captain know, from fifty feet away, what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten? Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew knows what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life.
The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D.,  is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water.  And it does not look like most people expect.  There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind.  To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this:  It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult.  In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC).  Drowning does not look like drowning – Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:
  1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. Th e respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.
(Source: On Scene Magazine: Fall 2006)
This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble – they are experience aquatic distress. Not always present before the instinctive drowning response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long – but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in there own rescue.  They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.
Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are n the water:
  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs – Vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Ladder climb, rarely out of the water.
So if a crew member falls overboard and every looks O.K. – don’t be too sure.  Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning.  They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck.  One  way to be sure?  Ask them: “Are you alright?” If they can answer at all – they probably are.  If they return  a blank stare – you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them.  And parents: children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.
If you have any questions at all – please post them in the gCaptain forums under “maritime safety”
disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of the Department of Homeland Security or the U.S. Coast Guard.