Saturday, December 4, 2010

The overpowering need to be near boats

My young friend (70+, Thanks for the correction Jamie.) Frank Cashin gave me a call the other day, he needed a hand rolling over his 15ft sailboat. Excited to show some of my non boat friends what kind of work Frank does I called up my boat roller veteran Travor Miller, his son Sebastian and my other buddy Bill Foote. I'm not sure what Frank expected for help but, well he got a complete crew when we showed up. Burly Bill and Trav's now trim mining muscles grabbed the rear of the boat, I held the front and the others were there for moral support. Frank counted the customary 1,2,3 and in a moment the boat was lifted and rolled as if it were  my 16ft canoe. It was kind of funny seeing the ease of its roll. The boat is only a hull so at most it weighed in at 200 lbs.
This shot was taken just after the roll and Trav in his customary shyness had to leave to bring his son to hockey. Heroes never sleep. Thanks Travor. Bill and Frank are near the stern admiring the work. His neighbors are near the right side.

 Frank (Left) now can see what shape the boat takes, after a year of being a series of frames, timbers and ribs.
 Of nothing but fine wood, Franks boat has some very cool features. such as the custom centerboard haulup. Which in a way is like mine. A flanged pipe with a screw on cap in stainless and Galvanized steel.
 The centerboard case is solid wood, there is no plywood on this boat, anywhere. All traditional construction when it comes to the style. The ribs were lovingly steamed in a steambox just outside the workshop. 6" spacing.
 The Transom was fine enough made from solid wood, but his knee shown here is made from a laminate of dozens of pieces of wood then cut to shape. It was bolted in place by silicon bronze bolts no less. On of my favorite parts of his boat so far. This done poorly can in my mind ruin the look of an otherwise fine craft, but Frank is no slouch. The transom and Stem will be trimmed at the time of adding the gunwales later on. My god thats beautiful!
 Frank picked up all his cast fittings right from England and they are works of art in my mind. The guys are admiring the box of fittings as I wander and snap a few shots.
 From left to right, Franks Neighbor, Chris the boat builder, Frank in the blue hat, and Maxwell Patten (my friend who built my mahogany tiller)
Frank was the most hospitable by having a big spread of food and drink for us after the roll. We spent several hours after just talking boats, my favorite topic. This was a great fall day and as the saying goes,
"There is nothing, absolutely Nothing, half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats"

As Frank progresses I'll post some more pictures of this fine craft. With luck both of us will be on the bay in the spring.

p.s. Thanks Jamie for correcting me on Franks age, I never had the nerve to ask him and young Max made an estimate, a poor one.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Under wraps

I moved the Pathfinder to a better location for the winter, out of the wind more. It will have less snow collect on it as well. It will stay here until spring or until I make up my mind on the whole cabin thing. That whole situation is still stewing in my brain.
 I made a trip to central Newfoundland a couple of weeks ago, likely my last before the cold grip of winter takes hold. I took this picture on the lawn of my brother in-laws house in Embree. His spot is only a stones throw from the beach and slipway and has a stunning view of the bay.
 The Pathfinder will visit there next year, for certain.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Winter is coming

A simple phrase from George R.R. Martins books (A Game of Thrones) with powerful meaning. Here though it just means the boats are out of the marina, and the leaves are falling. We had our first snow here yesterday, so its time to put the Pathfinder away for the season.
 I never got to do as much sailing as I would have liked this year mostly due to my vacation time being used up in my trip to Greece, but it was worth it. Each sailing gives me more confidence with my boat however and I get more comfortable with having people aboard and not be too concerned.
I wrapped the boat in the same fashion as last year since the beam and pole system worked so well.
If there are any more posts it will be on upcoming project for the Pathfinder and plans for next year. What projects you may ask?.... Well I have thought of this idea last year this time and now it has raised its ugly head again. Dangerous ideas so to speak. I have had it in my head for some time to modify the Pathfinder and install a cabin on the forward section as shown in optional plans that John Welsford sells. I have seen a couple like it and don't think it looks too bad. Below is a couple of pictures of these. 
Since I had drawn the pathfinder on the computer and used it to make all my parts etc. I have detailed a cabin to install and am working on some preliminary hatch details. This is still just an idea and may not come to be. The boat looks fine as it is and once I start modifications there's no turning back.
However! If I go this route and decide to put one on. I'll post my detail drawings, sketches and of course a full spread of how I do this modification. Feel free to talk me out of this folly. I'll be posting some discussions I have had with different folk on the matter and give the pros and cons of having a cabin on the Pathfinder. but that's for another time.
I apologise guys for not getting out in the boat enough this season and more so for not getting near enough pictures. That will be rectified next year with a more durable digital camera.

Oh and one more thing, Frank Cashins boat. I'll be visiting him soon and have a look at his work of art. you'll know what I mean when I post some pictures of it. Makes a boatbuilder drool.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sometimes its good to just have a nap

Myself and two friends made another short trip one Saturday with a nice breeze blowing from the northwest. The summer sun hits with more force and some of us need to cover more than others. It may look it but its not cold.
 We cruised out to Bacon cove and dropped sails for lunch near a swimming hole that ran into the sea. The lunch didn't survive long with us hovering over it and the sun was beaming down upon us. With the little crank radio playing some tunes we decided to have a nap. Bill and Adrian took the front floor area where there was lots of room to spread out, while I rolled up the life jackets and bunked down in the cockpit. Soon enough the snores were coming from the front of the boat, I was barely settled in when I first heard them. We spent a couple hours catching some rays and listening to the radio and finally growing restless we hauled anchor and moved on.
 The afternoon wind was quite light for  a change and was blowing only about 5-10 knots in little puffs. but we still made good time in skirting the coastline.
 Later on in the evening the wind just quieted to a whisper and as we neared the marina I dropped sails and started the motor. We cruised under motor power around the harbor for a bit and took a look at the salmon river on the other side of the point in Holyrood. The water is shallow but a lot of salmon run that way trying to jump the rapids that are near the shoreline.
 All in all another good run out the bay just having some fun. And a good nap will never hurt anyone either.
Another run I hope before winter draws near.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Igors wrath

The storm ended with one fatality, and there was a lot of damage to bridges and roads. 90+ towns were cut off from the rest of the island. Winds clocked at over 170 km/h and rainfall for the day at over 200 mm. The Canadian Military was called in to help repair roads and build temporary bridges.
We have had many storms in the past that have caused localized damage to one town or another, and it was taken in stride but this affected a very large area and it will take some time to repair everything. I would post pictures of the flooding in my area, but their so pitiful compared to what happened across the bay from me. I was lucky. I attached a link to someone who compiled a mass of pictures taken that day. that says it all.

It's been just over a week since the storm, and there is a fleet of trucks and heavy equipment working to repair the roads so supplies can be brought into the communities. Out of the 90 that were cut off, only 3 remain isolated.
I'd go sailing tomorrow but winds are to range from 20 to 35 knots.
another day.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hurricane Igor hits

Hurricane Igor has begun to make it's presence felt here on the East coast of Newfoundland. St. Lawrence has flooding, as do Come By Chance and Marystown. Here in St. Johns the rain is intensifying and the wind is now picking up. It's only a category 1 Hurricane, but it's enough to cause grief with flooded basements and property damage. These are some area pictures taken by locals and sent in.

Clarenville has declared a state of emergency,  as did Sunnyside. It's shaping up to be a wet day here. My hatches are battened down and gutters cleared. Wind gusts to hit 130 km/hr later today, certainly a windy day, but the Pathfinder is secured and covered.
washout of shed and road.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A quiet day to whale watch

Mid July weather cooperated very well, with warm southerly winds and less rain than June brought us. With conditions just right, I took my wife out to a secluded beach (which are very hard to find around here with our coastline) that was not facing the wind. We sailed most of the morning and came to this spot which incidentally was my first time here. The Beach was mostly made of small granite stones and easy to walk on.
 Dropping sails and drifting right to the shoreline was easy and with the winds light I just pulled the anchor up the beach with a length of line.
Our island shows an impressive amount of detail in its rock formations and a paradise for the geologists.
Lunch here was mostly of the cold sandwich and hot coffee variety. But the weather was in our favor today and too warm for a hot meal.

 While we were eating the winds dropped out completely and it made for a very peaceful bay for a while.
Lunch ate, a short nap, and we were ready to head out to look for some whales. No rush with the winds still very light.
 We coasted south west back into the main bay near Holyrood and started to spot some whales also going in our direction.
 The winds eventually picked up to a comfortable 10-15 knots and we made good progress, we were averaging about 6-7 knots and enjoying the view.
 The tell tales are helping me set the sails better than I have been, I tend to sheet too tightly, RELAX.
 A perfect day.
 Many sailors came out in the afternoon to enjoy the winds and there was talk of caplin (A small fish similar to a sardine) in the bay.
 We entered the harbor in Holyrood as the sun was setting and beached Pikake, sure enough the whales were chasing the caplin near shore and the town folk were out in the hundreds collecting them with their cast nets.
 Slowly but surely, the whales would make passes and herd the caplin near the beach to where there was no escape.
 While we collected the caplin as they came close.
 The picture don't do the scene justice, there are millions filling the harbor and breaking the surface. The seagulls get in on the action too, waiting for them to come near.
 The caplin is a sweet meat when fried fresh and pretty good eating when dried or smoked. even the ones that die on the beach are used for fertilizer on the many gardens in the area. The humble caplin, a very practical fish for many purposes. These little events really drive home my pleasure in building this boat, getting a chance to see this from several perspectives.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Side tracked

This blog is supposed to be about the original building of my John Welsford Pathfinder and the trips I make after. Well today I'm running a little off track. I picked up a 16ft cedar strip canoe 12 or so years ago and have done a fair bit of camping and fishing with it, but I never had much of a chance to have it on the water since I moved back to Newfoundland some 9 years ago. Anyhow with my buddy Bill back in Newfoundland and eager to get back to nature, it made for a good excuse to take the canoe out for a day of fishing and a "boil up".
We loaded up the car and canoe on the rack at 6:30am on A Saturday morning. The goal was to catch one fish and not get eaten by the flies. The pond I scouted on the map was only about a 15 minute ride from the house, so even if things got real bad with the flies or if it rained, we would be home in no time. It may be close to home, but once you paddle from the shore, all civilization evaporates. Very quiet, peaceful and... no flies! I won't complain but was mystified to why there were none. It might have been due to the cool weather but I've been eaten in cooler weather than this. but I won't dwell on it, it was a fine morning and about to get much better.
We paddled across the pond trolling as we drifted, getting a bite here and there. I would paddle over to areas where I see the trout jumping and Bill would cast. Sure enough in a short time there were fish in the canoe.
In short order we had conjured up enough fish for a nice meal. bill caught the most and the largest trout of the morning. If nothing else this was a successful day. We were not prepared for such success, I had left the salt, pepper, and flour as well as other nice fish cooking items back at the house. We'll have to improvise. I got my little one burner stove going and cooked our bacon and eggs for breakfast, and got a kettle of water on the boil on the open fire near the beach.
But how to cook the fish...   Bacon grease!  This is my stomach not yours. With a sizzle and splash we had a fish fry in progress. And the smell, heavenly.
The fire of course was leftover lumber from the boat build from a year ago, I'm still burning scraps. Besides, nothing in this area would burn on this day, not after the rains that we have had. A cup of tea to chase it all down, this was one of those trips not soon forgotten, quickly planned and perfectly executed, this don't happen like this all the time.
The weather couldn't be better and the food was terrific! 
Some fine fish indeed. But to be honest, the smallest trout tasted the best.
We'll be back here for sure.