Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. the Buddha

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SAT, back from the wet

Spent several hours on the lake saturday morning. Loaded in at 8, left around 1. Most of the time was spent paddling upwind so that I could test out my little sail rig.

Oh yeah, the rudder worked flawlessly, and is VERY authoritative, even when creeping along.

Sitting here on the porch writing this, with the afternoon breeze picking up, I am thinking I was on the water at entirely the wrong time. While out, I was getting 1-3mph breezes at best. I can say the sail works, but at those windspeeds, not much. My handheld GPS was clocking downwind between 1 and 2knots usually nearer to 1. I could only tell by watching the shoreline and that there was a ripple wake from the bow. A very small ripple, but it was there, and it wasnt from the wave pattern. The waves never really developed much, only once did I actually feel any, and that was when I was abeam the pattern.

Oh well, it did work, and I know i

t works. Admittedly, a lake isn’t truly open water, especially one nestled in Appalachia, so that was a consideration in my testing. I was able to do one little broadreach at 1.4knots. MSG Grumpy is right of course, (and I did agree with him in comments) that some center board or something will be needed for anything other than down wind. I did that broadreach using my paddle blade as a leeboard. Wasn’t the best as it is a contoured shape, rather like a shallow spoon, but it did help fight sideslip, and I was moving so slow, I probably could have used my hand held flat. So, I’ll be working on some leeboard setup. Probably not soon as there won’t be much demand for the sail on my part, not here anyways. Its won’t work on the river very well, and I’ll only get on the lakes when the river is up (like it is this weekend.) But there may come a day when I visit something coastal,,, maybe,


Who knows?

(Sorry, no pics of water time. My phone was in a watertight box and not exactly accessible. )

Side note: it might help performance if I didn’t pack a weekend camping trip into my holds everytime I go out.

Airing out gear n holds

(Above: the holds are watertight for the most part, but I open them all up, empty, and air out the space after each trip just to be sure. Usually all I see is some condensation. )

Call it prep or insurance, same difference, but I take it, and who’s to say I won’t decide to stay out all weekend on a whim.


Necessity = momma

You know the saying, “neccesity is the mother of invention “; I’d not be surprised to hear an axiom “poverty breeds creativity” or some such.

Most all of my more creative moments coming up with things have been of the “beyond frugal, I’m frickin broke ” types. For instance, just today, I settled the footcontrol issue and it cost me nothing. I pulled everything apart to get a good look at it and realized that the locks on yhe footrests were removable without destruction. I took ’em off, tethered the cables to the rest, re-installed, and voila! Foot controls. Water testing will commence this weekend, yes!

Some of you may be aware of a felloe by the name Dave Gingery (no longer with us but his son continues in his footsteps). One of his sayings was “I try to figure out how to do a $50 job for $.50, then the rest of the time finding the $.50.” He wrote a series of books back in the 80’s on how to make a machine shop from scrap/scratch. Currently, all of those books are now in one volume and well worth the money, even if you only glean it for nuggets. I’ve heard the arguments from dedicated machinists that Gingery machines are ‘f♤●ked’ or ‘ dangerous’ but from a guy living his dream and creating REAL tools out of the trash around him,,,

And there may be a day when that is all we have to work with.

Well, those books are what inspired me to really dig into things. They are the doorway that I opened into so many other disciplines, and the humbling I received when I realized that I can NEVER know all of it. I am a jack of all trades, master of none, and my nickname of late is ‘McGuyver’. My boss doesnt supervise me, he just points in a direction, says ‘this is what we need’ , and gets on with his day, leaving me to my resources. I get stumped; I just worry at it like a dog worries a bone, and something will bubble to the surface. Like these footcontrols, all it took was a full picture and the solution fell into place.

Neccesity helps, oodles. Lack of finances encourages work arounds. Those workarounds accumulate as experience, and experience will carry you through. Confidence in oneself provides support through the rough times. Since 2007, its been rough, and yet, I have never given up or fallen flat, and things just keep going; getting better even.

So, with the end of my little word spill, I raise a Glass to the real Mother; Neccesity.

More wet stuff

Just progress on rudder. Still need the foot controls: these are proving to be out of my current means of production, and purchasing is going to be much cheaper all round.(I could come with ‘something’ , but I want adaptability as well and that goes beyond my current means.)

I also changed how I’ll adjust the cables, now using allen keyed cable stops.

The blade is spring loaded to return to its lowered position. There is a retract wire ran to the cockpit to pull the blade completely up if things get froggie or I am beaching. There are four position location holes for angle of the rudder in the water. Its currently in its lowest most rearward as its forward locations impact the porch. The upper hole is also a travel lock for holding the blade full up while transporting.

None of this is original thinking. SeaLect makes a unit with all of these features, I just copied their ideas over to my unit, and made them using materials on hand (other than the rudder blade itself). I’d have prefered Nyglas or Stainless hardware, but didnt have such so its aluminum and steels. The likelihood of this thing seeing saltwater is pretty daggum slim, so it shouldnt be an issue. And since I am aware of the limitations, if it does see saltwater, I can be meticulous in maintenance. Being simple in nature, that shouldn’t be all that difficult. The weakest link is the shaft which is mild steel . The gudgeon pin (4″ bolt) is SS. And the rest is Aluminium or galvanized while the blade is Nyglas. (Admittedly, thats a ‘my term’ for glass filled plastics. The term will likely get stolen somewhere, but thats ok.)

My evening down times have been spent sewing up the sail. I’m doing it by hand so its slow going. Neither rudder nor sail hits water until I have the foot controls in place, so theres no rush as yet. (Other than my “wanna play” impatience. LOL)

Soon though, soon. Even scouted out the lake I’ll take it on for testing.

Sail it?

In my last post (one picture, one word, mega frickin hits! Go figure) you may have noticed sumpin ‘odd’ on the fore deck just aft of the forward hatch. That oddity is the mast step for the sail rig I have been working on. Its not huge; the mast only rises 5′ above the deck. The sail will only have about 14sqft of surface, but that should be more than enough to scoot this boat across water. It will be lanteen rigged so that its not specifically ‘downwind’ though I won’t be doing any close hauling without outriggers or leeboards. Broadreach shouldnt be an issue though. (for more info, read this)

Here is the rig, so far. Some of what you see is subject to change as I am not content with durability. It may not be a big piece of canvas, but it will be subject to forces. Most of my discontent is in hardware, specifically eyebolts.

Boom and spar raised.

Both lowered and stowed. The real trick here was making certain nothing would interfere with the paddling when lowered. Note, no canvas as yet. Heres where I need that sewing machine.

Its funny, the language one needs to learn, just to learn a new skill is probably one of the more interesting things to me. Sailing, like theater has a different name for things so common. Ropes are called sheets or lines, never ropes. And each sheet has a different name as well, some more complex as the size of the boat increases. Even ‘directions’ are different. In theater, direction is a matter of location, stage or house, and up is ‘out’, down is ‘in’, down stage is forward, upstage is back, and ropes are cables or broadly, rigging. On a boat, directions are fixed, but left/right doesn’t exist, its starboard/port,bow/stern, fore/aft etc etc. But if you don’t take the time to learn the ‘speak’, you’ll struggle with the details. (Gee, sounds like moving out of country. Learn the local language/dialect and while you may never ‘fit in’, you’ll at least get along.)

I am in no hurry to finish this project so posting about it will be intermittent. I still need to finish the rudder assembly and foot control, and while the assembly may be done in the next day or two, the foot part is at least a week out. The canvas I have, but it needs fitted, sewn and rigged, so until that is done,,,

But I am having fun, learning new stuff and who knows, it may even end up useful someday. Call it an escape pod from society if you want, LOL. There is quite a bit of storage in the fore and aft compartments and there are serious bulkheads built in that make them weatherproof. They act as flotation cells for when/if a capsize happens, but are still useful for gear and supplies. She is a general purpose ‘yak, rated for 300# capacity (with the water line where it is with my 190#, I’d bet closer to 400# but why push fate.) and will do most wet areas with little problems. Being 14.5′, she is just shy of ocean class. I can attest to her cutting through a 3’ swell with no problems, even if I ended up wet as hell (and why I’d like to make a spray skirt for her. Keep the water outta the boat!). Dunno about surf, but most coastal stuff she should handle pretty well, rivers are a breeze and lakes are easy, though a lot of work. (And part of why I’m working on the sail side of it, besides just wanting to have fun.) As for the rivers, she handles upstream better than down, and I think that is due to the knife like keel end, where the rest is near flat. The rudder should help with that as I can use it as a trim while paddling. It will be essential with the sail though.

Was a good day


A forgotten prep

Been playing with a kayak for a few, as insinuated in my last post. While outfitting said boat, I keep coming across a missing item in my preps.

A sewing machine.

I have the ability to do quick repairs as should anyone who has had to maintain a uniform or worked around cars, farms, or, well pretty much anything outside a city. But long seams, hems and whatnot are just flat tedious by hand. I have material for making some of the gear I am interested in (cockpit cover for storage, spray skirt for foul weather, etc. ) yet lack that one tool that would make things go that much better.

And yes, I have ran a sewing machine a time or two. Home ec was a great way to meet the shy girls in HS. And I actually learned a thing or four 🙄

I’m sure a reader or two is interested in the Yak so,,,

14.5′ GP kayak. Am adding a foot controlled rudder system for those times where I need a more agressive turn. Thats about 50% complete right now. It was actually cheaper for me to order a replacement rudder to fit to my gudgeon than make the whole assembly.

(The pins are tapered pins where the cables will go. I scraped a section 1/16″ wide on the upper part of the taper where the cables will ride. Its a crude, but effective way of adjusting cable length.)

Even so, I only have $50 tied up in it (including shipping that one part) whereas a new unit to install runs $200+ (most nearer $300)

As for how I came across that boat, lets just say that sometimes you have to be in the right spot and ask just the right question.

And I am considering a sail for the thing. A small one that can stow away easily, (like this) and yet another reason why I am thinking I need a sewing machine. Joel and I have a lot in common.

I’m looking and who knows, maybe I can find an old footpowered model. I still see ’em around but till now, never paid much attention to ’em.

A ‘why’ for my lack of posts.

I’m still here, ’round-a-bout, lurking, watching, thinking!

Over at Z-mans place, I reinforced why I am tired of it all. It isnt the article itself, its the commentary. Read both, one for a perspective that may or may not fit yours, the other for insight into the herd of cats.

And always there is at least one “its the Jooooossss”. Go figure, huh.

Heres my stance: I live in a tiny house on a hillside, I have a small garden, my own water source, and generate my own power for the few things I have that need such. I work outside of my little realm for the things I cant make myself, and to maintain that which I need to keep that ‘status’ ‘legal’ ie; car insurance and phone time.

I dont hurt anyone, I’m not dependent on anyone, and I,








So, like the rattlesnake, ya get a warning before the strike, and if you heed that warning, both sides go their ways content. If not, everybody loses. That herd of cats can prance, dance and talk shit about this that and the other, but until they stop playing the game as given to them, they are no better than the people they rale against. Get off the porch, make your own place on your own terms and stop giving these bastards ‘implicent consent’. Stop paying into a system that steals your lifeblood to pay for itself. If only half of the people in the red states did such, the system would implode. The cities would collapse into cannibal feeding grounds within weeks, and, ugly yes, but problem solved! (Well, mostly,,,)

I’m gonna go kayaking and enjoy the real world for a little while today. I’d suggest similar for all of you after you read that stuff, just to clear your head