Showing posts from April, 2018


They parked a nice looking Westsail 32 right next to Emma and me last week. Today a marine surveyor showed up to do an inspection for the new owner's insurance.

“I don’t know if they set it right there to inspire me or to taunt me,” I said.

“Well, yes, she’s a pretty boat,” he replied, “She’s a Westsail 32.”

“Yeah,” I smiled, gesturing toward Emma, “ … same hull.”

“Oh my goodness! Would you look at that.”

Emma was neglected enough that I could afford her and lately I've been sanding 3 or 4 mysterious
layers of paint off her hull. I don’t blame him for not recognizing her. He went on to tell me what a solid ocean-capable design I had - very rugged boats he said. I explained that I had found her in Miami with no engine and brought her here because I knew the marina and the people who ran it.

“How did you get her up here,” he asked.

“We sailed her -- about 120 miles; overnight. It was a glorious sail.”

“With no engine! Gosh, that’s brave,” he exclaimed, “You’ve got to have a ce…

The venerable Perkins 4.108

Frank Perkins and Charles Chapman were working on a high speed, lightweight diesel engine at Aveling and Porter, a British agricultural engine and steamroller manufacturer when the company went out of business. The two engineers were convinced of the potential for diesel engines - a new technology in the early 1930s -- and started F. Perkins Limited in June 1932. The company became Perkins Engine Company Limited, is still producing diesel engines today and is now a subsidiary of Caterpillar.

After World War II, Perkins found they needed to make smaller engines to fit the smaller post-war cars of Great Britain. They successfully began a period of development and technical advancements in the 1950s that led to their engines running a variety of cars and delivery vans; even an Alfa Romeo. The venerable 4.108 engine came along in the latter part of that decade and found success in the agricultural equipment sector. At one point, a 4.108 was installed in a VW Transporter leading to a thre…

Positive Friction

My former self would just not understand. I used to be a Live Music Addict. My life was coordinated for maximum enjoyment of watching good people play good music. Many times, my pursuit of that rush of watching music made came at the expense of most everything else in my life -- budget, health, etc. I don’t regret any of it; it was almost always fantastic.

I had a ticket to see Donna the Buffalo last Friday night but decided not to go. DtB is on my see-before-you-die list, but I chose to go to bed early in order to get up Saturday morning and get back to my boatwork. My former self would be pissed.

The money I spent on the ticket was long gone; didn’t matter. I actually bought it months ago when the show was first announced (It was a band on my list playing just 45 minutes away). Yet, I had work to do and decided to keep at it. Surely, I didn’t need to spend more money on drinks and food at the venue.

Boatwork on Saturday was a little frustrating as I knew it would be. Part of my mot…

Better Than Homeless

Riverside Marina is really a boatyard. That sentence could have ended -- ‘really just a boatyard,’ but boatyards are important to sailors. For a vagabond like me, Riverside is an inexpensive place where I can do my own work. Often at a capital-M marina, there is only a small category of work that a skipper can do on his own. Most boatwork must be done by hiring marina staff or approved contractors.

There are a couple hundred boats here. Many are here for major refits like my Emma. Some, on a schedule, are here for a few short weeks of intense work and then go right back in the water. Many Canadians spend winters in the Bahamas and store their boats here each year for the summer hurricane season. The property used to be a cement plant and boats languish in the back of the lot, in the gravel, with fading For Sale signs swinging hopelessly from the lifelines. Many more poor, neglected boats here will never get back into the water. Some are literally rotting into the ground.

The “marina”…