Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Mystery of the German Anglers

I've mentioned before that behind the scenes at the blog, I am able to see a bunch of statistics about which pages are being looked at, referring URLs, and the like.  In perusing these stats the other day, I noticed a huge...and I mean huge...amount of traffic on one particular post.  As in five times as much traffic over the course of a week as it had previously seen in total! 

What could be going on?  I cross checked against the referring URLs and found that the traffic appeared to be coming from, I kid you not, a German fishing forum, in a thread called "Anglerboot selber bauen?!?", or "Fishing boat, build your own?!?"

Reading through the thread, the situation slowly became clear.  I worked through it non-chronologically and going back and forth with Google Translate but to ease reading, here are the highlights, in chronological order, Google Translated and mildly edited.

It all started innocently enough, with that age-old inquiry:

RKO9:  "Since I do not want to spend that much on a rowing boat for fishing, I had the idea to build a small rowing boat.  Is it worth it and do any of you have experience with this? Maybe one of you has a set of plans?"

Taxidermist:  "Google the terms 'stitch and glue', or 'dory'!" 

That sounds like good advice.

RKO9:  "Thank you for helping me, I will now do it.  I'll now build a Flatboat and when it is ready, I'll post photos."

Wow, that was quick.  The guy Googles stitch and glue and that quick, he's off!  Clearly others thought the same thing...

Taxidermist:  "... Will not you check maybe a few alternatives, and at least become familiar with the design? ...  But first, this is actually not that cheap, at least when the work included in the calculation!  Space and material must be added, not to mention specialized tools!"

After that there was the usual choruses of "good luck" and "I'd like to see the results."  A mere seven hours later, we get a status report:

RKO9:  "The frame is up already, but can not take a picture because my brother like the camera in the work has. (ed: I think Google lost something in the translation there) And taking a good photo with my phone is almost impossible. Picture will follow." 

Clearly there was reason to be perplexed, by the rapid progress...

hein mama"If the frames are there already ... I didn't realize that you were already so far."

Forum for German anglers, February 2013
RKO9:  "Thank you, but so far I have not progressed much because of my homework.  (Lecture and memorize poems with 30 stanzas learn) 
 And instructed the mother says only work before pleasure. "  ("instructed the mother"?...more lost-in-Google Translation there)

And now, a mere day after first contemplating the project, we get our first look at his progress:

Solitude III, May 2011

A round of congratulations poured forth:

Scorpian85: "... really cool ..."

zander nose: "Working for 2 days, this looks really quite nifty ... What design are you building? "

volkerma:  "Good clean work! ..."

Franky: "Not bad ..."

No kidding.  It took me months to get that far, and he did it in only two days!  Not only that, but he did it in my garage, thousands of miles from Germany.  With the same wood I did.  Now that's German efficiency!  Proud of his accomplishments, our intrepid boat builder opened up even more and was willing to divulge some insight into the cost and the origin of the design:

RKO9:  "I think my dad has paid 25-35 € for the wood so far.  No plans...only what's in my head."

Not only is the guy efficient, but frugal.  And a savant.  But then, a crack appeared:

Taxidermist: "It looks on the screen as if you've got installed a centerboard trunk! Or am I mistaken?  Is this to be a sailing dinghy?"

And just that quickly, the wheels came flying off:

atibandi:  "That's a fake!! Here is the link to the original builder of the boat:  http://leeboatworkspocketship.blogspot.com/2011/05/its-starting-to-look-boat.html
Just embarrassing!!!!"

Profound shock followed this startling revelation:

Taxidermist:  "Have I not seen correctly, a yawl and steal to boot (ie the image)!"

One6Zero3:  "Hahahaha.  Owned!"

derporto:  "very ungentlemanly! ... it is hard to think of a rational reason why one should waste time and energy, in a fishing forum, listing such a sophisticated fake ..." 

Taxidermist:  "...  Perhaps he is amused about our "stupidity"? ..."

Weird things happen on the web, and I can't say I ever thought that this blog would achieve this kind of international fame.  It is all just a little too out there to believe... Atibandi, you are my new hero.  How you saw through this elaborate deception and found the original owner of that picture, I can't even begin to guess.  Danke.

Perhaps the best summary is expressed in the immortal words of Taxidermist, "Ich habe den Verdacht,dass sich da ein ganz armes W├╝rstchen hinter verbirgt, der einem eigentlich leid tun sollte,"  or, as lost-in-translation by Google, "I suspect that as a very poor sausage hides behind that one should do really sorry!

That probably makes more sense in German, but I think we know what he means.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Satiny Spars Shakedown

Varnish is dangerous.  When you undertake a varnishing project, how do you know when to stop?  Three coats is enough.  But, five looks better.  And wouldn't you love to be able to point out the 10 coats of varnish on you boat?  A musing by blogger John Vigor really provide illumination on the dangers of varnish.

I don't know how many total coats of varnish now ensconce Solitude III's spars, but enough.  The final coat was satin-sheen, to help mask the bumps and bruises that are a spar's lot in life.

Reinstalling the spars
Upon declaring varnish victory, it was time to restore the boat to operational status.  The sticks and sails made their way back out to the boat, and about an hour of re-rigging followed.  In the course of things, the fix to the previously sticky tabernacle way tried out for the first time, with much success. 

On the water again
The early winter darkness was approaching fast, but since it wasn't raining and the boat was back together, I couldn't resist dropping her in the water.  The cruise was short.  The wind was actually cooperating, and the plan was to actually use the sails for the first time in many moons, but in the rush to re-rig, I had got the manis'l halyards fouled.  So, the first leg of my shakedown cruise ended after a three minute motor over to Jetty Island, where I tied up to sort out the halyards. 
By the time the halyard situation was resolved, the wind had dropped off, and any remaining cruising was going to have to be under power.  They are currently in the process of dredging the river channel, so I circumnavigated the dredging barge and then, on account of the fading daylight and my lack of navigation lights, I turned back home. 

Dredging Rig

In all, I doubt I was on the water for more than 30 minutes, but 30 minutes on the water is better than nothing.  Hopefully, there will be a confluence of free time and good weather in the tolerably near future that will permit a longer excursion.  Maybe even sailing.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Still a Boat Building Blog After All

Yes, this is still a boat building blog. Since stripping Solitude III of her sticks, I have slowly been making progress on the items that I had...umm...postponed...in the rush to launch.  Once again, I'm sawing wood, mixing epoxy,  slathering on varnish, and yes, SANDING! 

One of the first things I decided to tackle my overly-snug tabernacle.  When I installed my "load reacters", I fit them snugly up against mast-less tabernacle.  Well, turns out I may have fit them a little too snugly, making it a minor battle to raise the mast.  Some work with a saw and chisel helped out with this. 

My new, temporary boom gallows

Re-shaping the "load reacters"
  Another unfinished item that has been driving me crazy forever has been my boom gallows.  The gallows was originally cut out the day of Solitude III's maiden voyage and was raw, unfinished wood at the Wooden Boat Festival.  At some later date I was able to get one coat of epoxy on it, but then...well, that was it.  So, finally, I whipped up a temporary gallows (mainly to hold up the ridge pole for the boat cover), and set to work with the real gallows, including making modifications to mount the stern navigation light, adding more coats of epoxy, and for the first time in months, sanding.  More sanding and a zillion coats of varnish will be coming soon.

Speaking of varnish, the spars now have so many coats on them that you can see your reflection in them.  Ironically, now that they gleam, I am pondering whether to apply a topcoat of satin varnish.  The spars get beat up a lot and a satin sheen will help mask all the minor dings and divots of a spar's life. 

While not explicitly a boat-building project, after the hydrolock incident, I decided it was time to stop fooling around and start storing my outboard in the full upright and locked position.  It only took about five minutes to whip up a wall mount for the little noisemaker...much less than the amount of time that I spent clearing out oil from the cylinder!

So the projects resume.  I still have quite a bit of work I'd like to do on Solitude's interior, and I still have to make a set of permanent drop boards.  Actually, the drop boards will be more difficult than I thought.  A search of the shop revealed that I do not have any bits of 1/4" marine plywood remaining that will be large enough to construct the drop boards from.  What to do?  'Tis a quandary.