Posted by: Wayne | April 20, 2014

Too much of a good thing, follow up

Just a little follow up on the last post.  No new adventures, just the other perspective.  Sorry for the delay, but Holy Week and Easter tend to wreck havoc on free time and energy.

We were sailing at Portage Lakes, OH. The map below should give a clue (shamelessly borrowed from Google Maps).


Click to embiggen

We launched from the ramp at the top left of the image.  The wind was from the SW to SSW (North is up in the picture).  Launch was uneventful (other than the nuttiness due to the lack of cleats).  Things got a bit exciting going through the more open area at the top center of the image.  It was only when we cleared the point into Turkeyfoot Lake that things went rodeo.

The boat was REALLY moving under a reefed main.  I was having to dump sail and head up as soon as a gust would hit.  After two or three gusts, we headed up, sheeted the mizzen tight, furled the jib, and dropped the main completely.

The boat was a bit more controllable under just jib and mizzen.  Maria made the comment about shades of Sandusky.  At Sandusky the wind was blowing, but certainly controllable under jib and mizzen (honestly, I should have been running a reefed main more than I did at Sandusky).  The chop was worse at Sandusky.

This time out, the boat felt definitely overpowered under just jib and mizzen.  About two gusts after dropping the main, I looked at Maria and said we were going back.  She didn’t argue.

Fortunately, heading back was a broad reach under jib and jigger (no issues with pointing ability without the main).  Once we again cleared the point, the wind became more manageable and we continued toward the ramp at a bit lower pace.

As we got close to the ramp, we ended up heading almost directly into the wind.  Combined with the narrow channel, we furled the jib, sheeted the mizzen tight, and broke out the paddles.  The boat made a pretty good pace to windward, but it was a real workout.  Docking, loading on the trailer, and de-rigging were uneventful once we remembered to pull the centerboard up at the dock.  Otherwise, the boat will drift forwards until it touches, then it simply won’t go back for love or money.

All told, sobering and a good lesson, but no injuries or damage.  Ironically, considering the weather, we never dipped a rail.  I wasn’t willing to let the boat go that far given the conditions.

Posted by: Maria | April 13, 2014

Too much of a good thing

We came. We sailed. We ran for home.

After a sailing hiatus of far too long, we all got back on the water today. The forecast was mid-70s and breezy, an unseasonably lovely Palm Sunday for sailing. Portage Lakes is close to home and with 17 knots anticipated, we figured it would be a good day to introduce young master Lawrence, all of 9 months old, to the joys of being on the water. It would be a blustery day, but that’s the exciting part, right? Of course right.

4 Happy Kids and 1 Screamer

Honestly, Lawrence was far from thrilled to be in a life jacket, or temporarily out of Mommy’s arms, but after a while figured this sailing thing wasn’t worth yelling about and fell asleep on my lap. There wasn’t much time for sleep for anyone else on board. That 17 knots was a low estimate. Looking at data for the day, the wind was more like 25, gusting to 30. It was like shades of Sandusky Bay come again.

We’ve had our share of doldrums, but that much wind presents its own challenges.

Wind and waves in Portage Lakes

Getting the boat into the water was the first. Correction: It was easy getting the boat into the water. Getting it to stay at the dock while we got the kids loaded and the sails set was the tricky part. The dock had one cleat at the very end so I held onto the dock lines while Wayne tied a reef in the main. That proved to be a smart move. We wouldn’t have had time once we were underway.

Navigator can handle that sort of wind just fine. Her skipper, on the other hand, gets a little timid when being bounced like that.


Elaina the Fearless loved it. The boys were all happy as long as the trail mix was within reach.

Patrick, Gabriel and Blaise

Wayne and I looked at each other and had the unspoken agreement to cut the day short. He was concentrating on staying upright. I was figuring out a plan if we tipped over. (I’m the better swimmer of the two and I would take Lawrence and Blaise to the nearest shore. He would get Gabriel and the two older kids who know how to float/swim can follow along. That’s why we all wear life jackets. All. The. Time.) Fortunately we could simply rely on his plan A rather than needing my Plan B.

Blaise in Awe

We dropped the main halfway into the trip and sailing on jib and mizzen even got dicey. During the gusts we just pointed into the wind and hung on. After a short time, we figured even this was too exciting. Granted, we were able to realize this without getting a drop in the boat.

Back home, there were pepperoni rolls and strawberry milkshakes all around. The kids are still talking about the next time we go sailing. We’ll wait for a less windy day.



And one more gratuitous baby picture. Lawrence was much happier after we were back in the car. We’ll try again. He’ll learn.





Posted by: Wayne | March 23, 2014

Beer, part 1

Maria and I have started a new hobby: fermentation.  So far, we successfully concocted some hard apple cider and pear wine last fall.  We decided to try beer this time.  Unlike the first two attempts, we used a kit this time (MUCH easier than starting with raw grains; also a higher likelihood of success).

The process started simply, with a BIG kettle of water


After bringing about 3 gallons of water to a boil, we added about a half-gallon of grain extract (similar consistency to honey).  Unfortunately, there were not enough hands for pictures of that stage.  Then the concoction was brought back to a boil and kept there for about 45 minutes

Fun for the whole family

After boiling finished, we cooled it down in some cold water

Then we siphoned the lot into a bucket

And added water to get to 5 gallons

The wort ready to receive the yeast

The yeast came in a nice thin package.  Before use, you smack it to rupture an inner bag

After this, the package starts to swell

Until it is ready to add

Time to pitch the yeast (add it to the wort), giving this lovely creature

Finally, add a lid and top with an airlock (to let gasses out, but not let bacteria in)

Remember, the Vessel with the Pestle has the Brew that is True (with apologies to Danny Kaye)

Posted by: Wayne | May 27, 2013

Back on the water

Sorry for the complete lack of blog content recently.  We bought a house and getting it and the yard cleaned up have been taking up a LOT of time.

We finally got the boat out on the water again yesterday.  Unfortunately, cameras work better when you remember to charge the batteries, so the post will not have many pictures.

Anyway, we got the boat safely in the water and away from the dock on jib and mizzen (slower is a good thing around a dock).  After getting out into the lake a bit, it was time to raise the main.  Furled the jib, sheeted the mizzen in nice and tight, untangle lines, start to hoist on the main halyard and … skied halyard.  Fortunately, the location we picked for hoisting the main was a good spot to just float around for a bit while I stood on the foredeck, one arm around the mainmast, a paddle in my other hand retrieving it.

Retrieving a skied halyard.

Retrieving a skied halyard.

Note to self: be sure the main halyard shackle is actually secure before heaving on the line.

Once the main went up, we had a great day sailing.  Wind was 10-12 knots and fairly steady, so we were able to make good progress despite some rather steep chop (as is normal in a shallow lake).  A good time was had by all, and a good sunburn was had by me. Blaise was very excited about the “Boats! Water! Bubbles!”

We did make a few changes to the transportation arrangements on the boat for this run.  I moved the long sticks (mainmast, mizzen mast, main sprit and main yard) from the boat to the top of the van.  This increased visibility aft (no more big tall bracket in the front), as well as simplifying rigging (no more taking the spars OFF of the boat to get the cradles out of the way to put the spars IN the boat).

The spar cradles on the minivan

The spar cradles on the minivan

Long sticks on the minivan and boat in tow; almost ready to head for the water

Long sticks on the minivan and boat in tow; almost ready to head for the water

Finally, we also came up with a way to keep all the lines on the mainmast under control while the mast is out of the boat.  The solution is a very simple bag.

The bag for the lines on the mainmast.  Our daughter picked out the webbing.

The bag for the lines on the mainmast. Our daughter picked out the webbing.

Starting to stuff the lines into the bag.

Still stuffing lines.

Bag in place on mast. Notice that the parrel for the tack of the sail is captured between the two straps. The bag is kept closed by the upper strap.

This bag means that the lines are no longer flopping all over the place while stepping and striking the mainmast, nor are they banging on things and getting tangled during transit.  A very simple fix to a hassle.

Posted by: Wayne | January 3, 2013

Navigator rigging

Due to a few questions from my friend over on, I thought it might be a good time to show a few more details of how Good Enough is rigged.

Starting with the forward cockpit (click to embiggen):

The main downhaul and the forward halyards

The main downhaul and the forward halyards







How the main downhaul and forward halyards penetrate the deck

How the main downhaul and forward halyards penetrate the deck

Moving aft to the port side deck (starboard is simply a mirror image):

Port side deck rigging.

Port side deck rigging.

Finally, we come to the after deck:

After deck rigging

After deck rigging

I make no claims as to this setup being superior to any other.  This is simply the layout I have arrived at.

A couple of observations based on my (admittedly limited) experience with this boat:

  • The mizzen sheet really doesn’t need a block at the aft end of the bumpkin.  If I were to do it over again, I would go with just a fairlead.
  • The mizzen sheet is easily reached from either side, and is within a few inches of the center of the boat.
  • I originally set up the mainsheet with a single and becket on the boom and a ratchet fiddle on the rear deck.  If I were doing it again, I would probably use a single on the boom, and a single and becket on the rear deck.  With the ratchet the sheet never really gets too heavy to handle.
  • I originally used 9mm double braid for the jib sheets.  That was WAY too thick/heavy.  I have a small metal fairlead on the forward side of each jib camcleat to facilitate cleating, and the original sheets were not running freely.  I am now using 8mm single braid.  It runs much better and is just as easy to handle.
  • Originally I put the main downhaul on the deck and the main and jib halyards on the mast.  The new setup, with the halyards going through turning blocks and the downhaul below the deck is much more convenient and safer (less leaning out of a boat to deal with the downhaul).
  • The current setup only gives about 8″ (200 mm) of adjustment for the main downhaul.  This works just fine as long as you sweat the main halyard tight, then take up the final slack with the downhaul.  It also allows me to get the tack of the mainsail much closer to the deck.
  • The midships mooring cleats are very useful for mooring and/or man-handling the boat around the dock.
  • There are 3 little fender hooks on each side.  These make it very easy to simply hang the fenders by a loop of light line, and also to retrieve them.  Highly recommended.
  • There are also a pair of mooring cleats on each side of the aft deck, and a single large one forward.  As long as they don’t foul your sheets, having this many cleats is very convenient.

Feel free to ask any other questions that come to mind in the comments.  Obviously, take my opinions with a grain of salt.  If you think there is a good reason not to do things my way, you may well be right!


Posted by: Wayne | January 1, 2013

A bit of a tale…

As a follow up to the “pop quiz” of a few days ago, I thought I would go into the story that accompanied that little project.

The (model) car in the picture is an MG TC midget.

Now for the backstory.

My father has a 1951 MG TD midget that is his pride and joy.  He built it up from a pile of boxes long before I was around.  That car is also yellow, with a burgandy interior.  It also has seat belts, scavenged from the back seat of an old Peugeot.

Anyway, some years back, he decided he wanted a hobby, so bought a model kit of an MG TC with a die cast body.  Due to life’s little challenges (more work than time), he never had the opportunity to finish it.  A month or two back, I took a look on Ebay and, lo and behold, found an unbuilt copy of the very same model kit from the 1970’s.  I purchased it and built it, painting it to match his actual car, then sent it up for Christmas.

And now you know the rest of the story.

The MG TC model with the top down

The MG TC model with the top down

Dad's car is a left hand drive.  This was a bit tricky to paint.

Dad’s car is a left hand drive. This was a bit tricky to paint.

Posted by: Wayne | December 29, 2012

Pop quiz

It has been a very busy couple of months here.  After changing jobs and moving to a new city in March, we have been looking at houses and are most of the way through the process of purchasing one.

To change the subject a bit, I thought I would put up a little bit of a quiz.

Identify the following vehicle:

What car is this?

What kind of car is this?

I will follow up with a little bit of back story in a few days.

Posted by: Maria | July 24, 2012

Pirate Days at Portage Lakes

Well shiver my timbers, Good Enough is back on the water! After weeks of living room boating, this past Sunday the family went down to Portage Lakes for their annual Pirate Regatta. Regretfully, we didn’t dress in piratical costume, though Wayne could have passed as seafood afterwards. Just dip him in garlic and butter and call him a British Regular– he’s a lobsterback!

I could make a snarky comment about “Those who can’t sail, row” but I’m not going to do that. He’s too cute for that.

We met up with new-found friends at the lake and sailed together for the afternoon. They have their own homebuilt boat- a very nice 12 foot skiff that kept everyone afloat and dry. It was a boat on a budget, and Scott did a terrific job building her, especially when it came to scrounging things that would work. He has a very creative eye for materials, and is quite the sailor for having only been out three other times.


I didn’t check the camera settings. All we have from the day are fuzzygraphs. But here’s the general gist of his boat.

The wind was calm but still noticeable. It was not as bad as the last time we were on Portage Lakes; I would say that this is the first time we sailed here. Last time we bobbed and drifted and paddled. Average speed was less than 2 knots, but we were propelled by the wind rather than our own oomph. All in all, an improvement.

Speaking of improvement, there’s lots of room for it regarding our performance on the race course that afternoon. We joined in on one race just trying to run the course. We were left in the dust (er, wake) and lapped, and while being spotted a full lap, we still came in last. Pathetic, I know. But on the upside, there is lots of room for getting better. I noticed we are having trouble in light-air tacking, generally getting bogged down and losing all forward momentum. The centerboard stalls and we just flounder. I figure it will get better with practice, and I think I’ll try my hand at it to see if I can learn. I don’t think I could do much worse than we’re already doing.

We saw some interesting boats on the water that day (and according to one gentleman, we were one of ’em- who knew?) There was a huge trimaran, Scott’s balance lug, two (!) pink (!!) dragon boats, and a pirate pontoon boat with real pirate-y looking fellows on it.

Not much to say about the trimaran. It was big. It was fast. It had three hulls and a square-topped Bermuda rig. And did I mention it was fast?

We were like a puppy dog chasing a mac truck. Or maybe it was the other way around…we were being chased by a mac truck.

Scott’s balance lug was impressive, but the real draw was the people on the boat. If the multiple hours of conversation with him and his wife while de-rigging were any indication, we may have found friends here in our new town.

Our sailing buddies

The dragon boats were interesting. We were sailing back to the dock when we saw them, and the kids were floored. Elaina commented, “That’s what a Viking boat would look like!” Yes, Vikings. But who am I to argue? Vikings may indeed look like that, if Viking women wore pink life jackets and rowed in a pink dragon boat. I think Elaina caught the drumbeat and the synchronous rowing, and the dragon figurehead on the prow and filled in the rest with imagination.


I love the little boy peeking out from amidst all the pink.

But the pirates on the pontoon boat really took the cake. We sailed close by when they hailed us, and they threw over some pirate booty- green and gold necklaces which were immediately parceled out to the young crew. You never know where the pirate treasure comes from. These may be a prize from furthest India or were scavanged from a boarded treasure vessel, or maybe were left over from rum-sodden gentlemen of fortune in that wild port of New Orleans during the feast of Mardi Gras.


Pirate treasure it may be, but if they start singing “Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest,” I’ll keelhaul ’em.

It was a great day on the water. Heck, any day on the water is a great day. I’m so glad to be sailing again!


Posted by: Wayne | July 15, 2012

Old hobbies revisited…

Unfortunately, the past couple of weeks have not been kind medically.  I managed to pick up some form of infection in my left elbow.  It was not phased by the oral antibiotics initially prescribed, so I ended up spending about 36 hours in a hospital on IV antibiotics.  Thankfully, I seem to be pretty much back to normal now.

On a lighter note, I have revisited a hobby from many years ago: plastic model building.  I built a little 1/72 scale F4U Corsair model with Patrick (WW2 American Navy fighter).  The past couple of days, I put together a 1/48 scale SBD Dauntless model (WW2 American dive bomber) and thought I would share a picture or two.

The Dauntless model on our (cluttered) mantle.

A frontal shot of the Dauntless model.

Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I will be able to go sailing and resume posts of that nature.  We shall see.

Posted by: Wayne | June 27, 2012

Back up (sort-of)

It turns out I tore the meniscus in my right knee.  I just got out of surgery; now I just need to work on getting back to normal.  Hopefully I can be on the water by the end of July.  Only time will tell.


Older Posts »