Showing posts from May, 2011

Explaining Postmodernism

I have just finished reading Explaining Postmodernism by Stephen Hicks.  One advantage of living on a boat is that you have a lot of time to read.  After an orgy of adventure, science fiction and fantasy novels I decided it was time for something with a little more meat.

Hicks describes three periods of philosophical thought: Pre-modernism (Medieval times); Modernism, and Postmodernism.  One would expect the book to be quite weighty but in fact it is straightforward and easy reading.  Hicks traces the points of view of the philosophers during the 18th through 20th centuries.  You will be familiar with many of the names: Locke, Adam Smith, Heidegger,Nietzsche, Marx ... But the cornerstone player was, in Hick's view, Immanuel Kant.

What struck me the most about Explaining Postmodernism was Hick's assertion that although philosophical thought is intended to be "pure" (whatever that actually means) the philosophers were driven by their need to service their emotional (or…

Memorial Day in New Bern

I have returned from Wisconsin and Arlington Heights, IL after a great graduation and visit with both of my sons.  It seems that I can't win when it comes to airplanes these days, my flight was cancelled and I had to stay over an extra day.  So I got a free overnight with Trevor which was great.

After being comfortably cool in Madison and Arlington Heights I returned to North Carolina heat with a vengeance.  It is in the mid-nineties and is expected to remain that way for the rest of the week.

I was surprised by the New Bern reaction to Memorial Day.  I was one of only two boats that dressed ship for the holiday.  I was unable to find a Memorial Day parade in town.  This was a big surprise for two reasons:  first, we are surrounded by military bases, and second, there is a National Cemetery in town.

I took advantage of the early morning semi-cool to lay out the new (used) jib that I had acquired in the Oriental marine consignment store.  As expected there were a couple of small ri…

Available on Amazon dot Com

The Mountain Three Wolf Tee Shirt
Sample review:
This item has wolves on it which makes it intrinsically sweet and worth 5 stars by itself, but once I tried it on, that's when the magic happened. After checking to ensure that the shirt would properly cover my girth, I walked from my trailer to Wal-mart with the shirt on and was immediately approached by women. The women knew from the wolves on my shirt that I, like a wolf, am a mysterious loner who knows how to 'howl at the moon' from time to time (if you catch my drift!). The women that approached me wanted to know if I would be their boyfriend and/or give them money for something they called mehth. I told them no, because they didn't have enough teeth, and frankly a man with a wolf-shirt shouldn't settle for the first thing that comes to him.

I arrived at Wal-mart, mounted my courtesy-scooter (walking is such a drag!) sitting side saddle so that my wolves would show. While I was browsing tube socks, I could hear ar…

Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides

I took advantage of visiting Spencer to see the new Pirates movie.  Frankly, it was a big disappointment.  Jack Sparrow is charming in the original series, but his character is starting to wear on me.  I realize more and more that "Captain" Jack Sparrow is totally self centered and without a shred of morality,.  What was once cute is now annoying.

The movie is visually beautiful.  The story, the search for the fountain of youth is a good backdrop.  My favorite characters were the Spaniards who provide something of  a twist at the end.

Like the Harry Potter series I find the later movies to be less and less appealing.  I doubt I will bother with Pirates #5.  I am sure there will be one.

Merlin, Lalla, Fun and Bacchant

I had a great conversation with Jerome "Jerry" Sullivan today to bring me up to speed on Merlin's future racing plans.  Merlin will campaign in the NOOD's in Chicago, the SSYC Queen's Cup, the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac and a number of other races in the Chicago area.

I also discovered that Merlin is such a famous race boat that Trisha Steele, a fourth generation racer in the Transpac yacht race has created a trophy called the MERLIN Trophy  The trophy is a scale model of Merlin.  How cool is that.

For the uninitiated Merlin was a ground breaking (water breaking) Bill "fast is fun" Lee design that dominated the Transpac for many years.  You can read some of the history of the design here.

The conversation shifted to Lalla, a 22 sq meter yacht also owned by Jerry.  This is a class I knew nothing about.  Designed by K. H. Reimers these are beautiful boats.  You can see some pictures at this facebook page but it helps if you speak Swedish.

My favo…

"Daisy" Transit

"There I was, no sh*(, thought I was going to die"
A sea story

 After my dental appointment on Tuesday morning we gathered up the crew and headed to the airport to pick up the rental car.  I drove into the rental car return lane and asked where I could park while we signed the paperwork.  A nice man gave us a parking place after which we were accosted by woman who told me that I should not have been in the rental return lane.  (Under my breath I suggested that next time I would rent from a competitor so as not to disturb her sensibilities.) We picked up a Tahoe and headed back to David's to load the car.  This was quite a trick but after tying a bunch of stuff on the roof we manged to get it all in (except for the fenders - which of course became a critical decision later.)  We then had a pleasant 8 hour drive to Charlevoix which included watching The King's Speech as the Tahoe had a built in DVD player.  After the first showing the front and back seats changed place…

1970 Sabre 34

I am off with old sailing buddies Ed and Dave from my Chicago - Mac and Bayview - Mac days to bring David's new Sabre back from Charlevoix Michigan to Milwaukee Wisconsin.  Winds are predicted from the Northeast at 10 to 15 with waves 1 to 3 feet.  Sounds like a great downwind run, doesn't it?  But then again, the current mid-lake water temperature is 38 degrees.  It is going to be a cold one!

Here is a link to a description of the boat

Fair winds and following seas.

Anchoring in the BVI

How to hit 6 boats in less then 6 minutes.  Ah, the joy of incompetent bareboat charterers.

What you don't know while traveling

Assailants killed at least 29 people — decapitating most of the victims — on a ranch in a part of northern Guatemala plagued by drug cartels, national police said Sunday. The massacre took place early Sunday in the town of Caserio La Bomba in Peten province near the Mexico border, according to National Civil Police spokesman Donald Gonzalez. Among the 29 dead were two children and two women.

Read more:

This is in the general area of Tikal, the Mayan ruin that I visited a couple of months ago while on the Rio Dulce in Guatemala.  It sure gives one pause.

Graduation Day

Today is Spencer's graduation from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. That makes me two for two.  Both of my sons have now graduated.  I am the classic proud parent.  Spencer will be starting a job with Sentry Insurance here in Madison so I don't even need to be concerned with the whole move out and move into a new place routine.His brother Trevor, his mom Diane (#2 for those who know me well) and I have been celebrating for the last couple of days.  Friday night we went to Essen Haus where they sell beer by the boot.  I was the designated driver so I didn't participate in the imbibing part but the rest of the group (including some of Spencer's friends) sure made up for my lack.   We then went back to his apartment and continued to party.  (OK, its true.  Even cold sober I drove the Avalanche down the railroad tracks instead of the street.  It was a shortcut.)  We woke with wicked hangovers only to decide to go to see Thor.  What a plan - raging headaches - go see …

The frustration of "I agree"

One of the most useful reasons for being in port is access to the Internet.  Not only is a great time waster but it also is a great source of free marine information.  (See the page link on the right to "free internet sources.")  Usually I can get access for the entire network of devices on Reboot.  But the one I haven't figured out how to beat is "I agree."  These are web sites that have a disclaimer page requiring you to agree to the terms and conditions of the site before you are switched to an Internet connection.  Of course my web browser can do that easily enough.  My phone and game console can't.  The end result is that most of the network stays down.


The EVIL! Opinion Journal (Wall Street Journal)

Alas the slippery slope...

For some years I have had James Taranto, the author of the Best of the Web Today column of the Wall Street Journal nee Opinion Journal as a friend.  I enjoy his column and have had the pleasure of his company sailing.  James dropped a note in Facebook that he was to appear on "Hannity" a couple of days ago.  Since I wanted to see him I hooked up the TV on Reboot for the first time in about 2 years.  I did get to see him, I thought he did well but deserved more air time.

With the TV hooked up and my exceptional abilities at procrastination it was but a moment before I found myself avoiding getting Reboot ready for the Fall trip to the Eastern Caribbean.  Instead I found myself channel surfing.  This worked for about two days before I concluded that pretty much all of what is on TV is miserable entertainment.  It looked like I was going to have to go back to working on the boat.

Fortunately I was required to make a "sin run" to the Marine C…

Sail Purchase Frustration

I recently had my Genoa split in two. It was an old sail and not worthy of the expense to repair so I am in the market for new sails (My main is of the same age and likely to fail soon too.)

My frustrations:

1. I have a very standard boat - a Catalina 42 - over 1,000 in use. Why does it seem to take two or three weeks for sail lofts to get back to me with a quote? At this level of customer service why should I expect that they will deliver on time as promised?

2. I have been unable to find a single source of a side by side comparison of sails by major manufacturers. Lots of testimonials - "I bought a sail from xyz loft and it is great." How do they know its great? What other loft's sails did they try? None of the major magazines seem to have ever published comparisons. What I am looking for is something like the multitude of anchor comparisons that one finds in various publications. Is the reality that all lofts are pretty much the same?

PS - re #2 - perhaps there is a s…

Chart quality data

The International Hydrographic Organization is requesting comments on the understanding and use of quality indicators for chart data.  You can read about it here:.  There is also a hot link to let you take the survey.  After my experiences in Central America with outdated and erroneous charts I am glad to see this initiative. I filled out the survey, I suggest you do too.

Fair winds and following seas.

Kindle and Sailing

I finally broke down and purchased a Kindle (link to the particular version at left.)  I have been reading Kindle books on my PC but that is a bit of a pain plus it uses a lot of power.  Positives: Its lightweight, very compact and very easy to read even in the brightest sunlight. Negatives, there is no back lighting making it impossible to read at night or in low light.  One has to purchase some form of light for illumination at night. Amazon sells a variety of covers that have built in lights.  Also it comes without any case.  Next time my retirement check comes in I will have to invest in a case.
OK, so I bought a Kindle. What is the big deal?  One of the major drawbacks in sailing are chart notes.  As you navigate you cross large areas of red crosshatch with notations such as "restricted area 334.430 see note 'A'".  So you go to note "A."  It says: "Navigation regulations are published in Chapter 2, U.S. Coast Pilot 4, Additions or revisions to Chap…

Engine Overhaul

As part of my overhaul and refit I wanted an expert to look at the Yanmar engine.  It has about 2600 hours on it and as far as I could tell was working OK.  I am so dependent on it working properly, particularly entering a port in bad weather at night, that I wanted to make sure that it was in good shape.

I was directed by the local cruising community to Harvey Smith. (phone 252-637-3874, email: Apparently Harvey and his wife ran a marine engine business in Annapolis, MD for many years.  They were highly respected, but they decided to retire to New Bern, NC.  Harvey said "that lasted about 2 weeks."  His customers caught up with him.

Harvey came down to Reboot.  What a great guy.  Not only did he check out the engine but he explained step by step what he was doing and looking for.  Not only did I get expert advice but I got an expert's education at the same time.

The bad news is that my exhaust riser is rotting out.  The good news is that the rest of t…

Great Post on the Bahamas at Trawler Beach House

Chuck over at the Trawler Beach House blog has done a great article on cruising in the Bahamas.  Tthe link is  Thanks Chuck.

Yvonne Strahovski #6

As I was working on my blog it dawned on me that I have not given you the Yvonne Strahovski update.  Alas, Miss Strahovski missed Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala.  She also missed Key West, Miami, and points north,.  I am sure this was nothing personal, but rather a function of her career success.

Of course I have been waiting the prerequisite time period as established in My Date with Drew for the powers that be to deliver my invitation to Miss Strahovski and for her to accept.  It would appear that my totally passive approach is not working.  On the other hand (aside: "Why are there no one armed economists?" Answer: "Because they couldn't say 'on the other hand.'") apathy is my strongest emotion so I doubt I will be pursuing this with any additional vigor.  I did get one strange telephone call from a female in southern California some time back but when I called back I always got a machine and no return call.  Perhaps a drunk dial but one can dream.


A Cruisers Kind of Day

Ed (Door into Summer) and I have turned over a new leaf.  No beer before 11:30 AM.  This is a major change from our previous commitment of no beer before 11:00 AM.  After coffee this morning we needed to do something to keep our mind off beer so we went to Walmart and West Marine.  I browsed the videos at Walmart once again taking note that I don't know what I own so I didn't purchase anything.  We then went to West Marine where I bought two florescent tubes for $11.00 that cost me $3.00 when I was an associate.

As we were driving around we got a call from Leigh (Bomba Shack) asking if we could come over and help David put in a new heat exchanger on the engine.  We of course said "sure" and headed over to the Blackbeard Yacht Club.  We arrived only to find out that the uninstaller of the old heat exchanger had slit all the hoses so we needed to get new hoses to complete the job.  David (Bomba Shack) said he would pick up the hoses tomorrow morning.

On the way off the…

Fairfield Harbor Yacht Club Commissioning

Yesterday we (Door into Summer) and I went over to David and Leigh's home (Bomba Shack.)  We were invited to participate in the annual commissioning ceremony for their local yacht club.

The event started with a parade of boats and blessing of the fleet.  We sat on the bridge deck of the of their new trawler while the fleet paraded by and was blessed by multiple members of the local religious establishment.  This was followed by the commissioning ceremony itself including reading of the roll and ringing the bell for those current and former members who had passed in the previous year.

We then went back to the house for a wonderful brunch.

In the evening we got to watch David do one of his favorite things, sing barbershop at a local concert.

All in all a fun day.