Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Boy was I frosted this morning. Last Friday I went shopping for a new laptop. I went late in the morning to avoid the Door Buster crowds (I'm too old for that stuff.) Good thing that I did. I heard that people camped out for 48 hours at Best Buy to get the deals. Anyhow, I didn't find anything attractive, so I shopped online.
After several sights offering good deals said "out of stock", I found a nice reconditioned Toshiba computer at radioshack.com. It said, "in stock". I called and ordered it through their 800 phone number. I even paid extra for overnight shipping. Today, Tuesday, 4 days later, I got an email from Radio Shack. It said that my order was delayed and if they didn't ship it by January 1, 2011, that it would be cancelled. What bad sercvice. I called again to cancel the order and to give them a piece of my mind. Would you believe that the man I talked to admitted that Radio Shack doesn't have a real time inventory system. Boy, that's unforgivable for a technology company in this day and age. I'll never shop online at Radio Shack again.
So, what did I do. I went to Best Buy. There I found this Samsung netbook computer for $279. I bought it. I also bought an external DVD drive to use with it for $60. I also bought a 2 year extended warranty that provides repairs for all hazards, including spills (i.e. water) and screen cracking. That cost $140. My total bill was $500.
This new computer is sweet. It's so small and so light compared to my 4 year old Acer. Still better, it claims to have up to 9 hours of battery life, compared with up to 2 hours on the Acer. It should be much less power hungry when charging it up on the boat.
It only took me a few minutes back on the boat to get the new computer turned on, and connected to the Internet tethered to my Droid phone as a modem. Then I was in for a shock. Browsing the web was horribly slow. It was so slow, that I couldn't log in to my google account before the login page timed out. Did I make a horrible mistake? Could netbook computers be to slow compared to my 4 year old Acer?
To resolve it, I changed base. I'm at the local Publix store using their WIFI. The first thing I did was to download and install the Google Chrome browser and to use that instead of Microsoft's Intenet Explorer 10. Now the speed is just fine. I have two theories why. The netbook has only 1GB of memory; and perhaps IE10 needs more than 1GB to run. Theory 2: it is another one of the stupid browser wars. IE10 seemed to work fine going to a microsoft web site or to bing.com, but it was horrible trying to connect to anything Google. I suspect foul play. In any case, I'm fine now.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Libby is getting more and more inventive in her pine needle basketry. I suppose this is how artistry arises.
The hourglass shaped basket has a glass bottle inside. Like a ship in a bottle, this is a bottle in a basket. She intends it to become a flower vase.
The round basket is intended to become a wall hanging. She left the tail stocking out unfinished. That shows the construction technique and makes it a conservation piece for the owner.
Hats off to Libby.
p.s. I apologize for the poor editing of recent posts. Although I can create posts on my droid phone, advanced editing features are lacking; especially regarding pictures.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
It just happened that in all previous pot luck dinners, we were closer to the front of the line. I was spoiled, having never experienced a shortage before.
Today I told Libby that in the future she should get involved with the pot luck sign up to prevent unbalances. She, being wiser than I said, "No. That would be too anal. Plot luck dinners almost always have unbalances. That's why they call them pot luck." She should have added "dummy" to the end of that sentence.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Libby is preparing food for today's Thanksgiving pot luck dinner. I'm on shore shopping online for a laptop. Maybe now is a good time to answer a reader's question about running backstays.
First, a disclaimer. I've always been reluctant to write about the art of sailing. I don't consider myself an expert or even a good sailor when it comes to sail handling. In 40 years of sailing, I've never raced even once, and racing is where people learn a lot. So any advice below merely repeats what I've been told.
Tarwathie is a cutter rig, like the sailboat in the picture. It has two foresails (jibs). The big one is called the yankee, and the little one is called the staysail.
In force 5 winds (gale), with wind behind us, I've been using the (reefed) yankee only. I've been told that I should have sailed with a reefed main and staysail only. In still stronger winds use the staysail only. It is not just a question of sail area. The main/staysail combination moves the center of force lower and closer to the degree of gravity. In other words, the boat is better balanced and thus easier to handle.
Now consider the forces on the mast. The yankee pulls at the tip of the bowsprit and at the mast head. The back stay balances the force at the mast head. However, the staysail attaches part way up the mast. There is no stay there to balance the forces. That makes the mast bend. Eventually, it leads to metal fatigue and cracking.
The running back stays attach to the mast right behind the staysail attachment. Their purpose is to balance staysail forces. Because they get in the way and are inconvenient, running back stays are removed when they are not actually needed.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The picture shows group 2 of Libby's pine needle basket class. As you can see, she has 5 eager students working away at it. Now she has requests for even more, so she'll teach a third group next monday. Good for her.
For me that means another expedition to buy ferules for her students. I cleaned out the local hardware store of ferules last week.
While Libby taught I went to the beach for a swim. The water temperature was 74F; very pleasant.
At the suggestion of a blog reader, I bathed my laptop in WD40. I'll see tomorrow if it worked.
Meanwhile, life goes on. Nick got his wings from airborne school today. After Thanksgiving weekend home south his family, he reports to Fort Bragg.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Tarwathie is properly stayed again. No; not stay of execution. I mean her mast is properly supported with wires and tangs.
Bud Taplin sent the correct tangs and a new bolt and nut for the lower stays. We installed them today. This time the nylon lock nut is secured with Loktite and a safety wire.
We also retrieved our running backstays. We left them in Vermont last summer. Now we understand better why they're needed, we asked Jenny to send them. Those are installed and secured also.
We also have new tangs for the top of the mast. We'll install them the next time the mast is down.
No progress on the laptop. Michael suggested an alcohol bath. No difference. I'm suspecting the main on/off switch.
New family member today! My niece Kristi gave birth to Luke, her 2nd child. Congratulations to the proud parents.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Libby had a good day. She went to a picnic table on shore to teach two of her friends how to make pine needle baskets. Before long though, she had 5 students. Good for her. I think she had fun. She's going to do it again next Wednesday.
Not such a great day for me. It rained last night. One of the portholes wasn't dogged tight so it leaked. The leaks dribbled on my laptop. Now it won't power up. Oh no. I'm hooping it will revive when it dries out. Meanwhile I'm using the droid to write blogs.
P.s. On the economy post. Libby observed that many of the cruising boats that aren't here this year are the power boats. Given their higher operating costs and higher standard of living, it makes sense. Frugal is better in hard times.
Libby is also trying short bike rides each day. Since she is missing three disks in her back she really has to be careful. Still, even a short ride exercises muscles that haven't been used in years. It must be a good thing.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
- A Vero resident was overheard on the bus today. She said, "I can't tell the difference between the boaters and the homeless."
- The City of Vero Beach wants to tear down an apartment building because "it attracts transients." Well, we are transients.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
27 43.27 N 080 23.93 W
Everybody loves pretty sunsets. We also like pretty sunrises when we get a chance to see them. Mysteriously, sights of pretty sunsets seem to greatly outnumber pretty sunrises. Why is that?
Saturday, November 13, 2010
28 08.02 N 080 37.46 W
Thursday, November 11, 2010
28 08.02 N 080 37.46 W
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
I discovered this trick years ago while sailing my Tanzer 27 on Sacandaga Lake in New York. I did a lot of single handed sailing back then. I was also completely familiar with the lake and needed no charts.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Sunday, November 07, 2010
29 29.49 N 081 08.48 W
I've written several times about the veneer effect. That is how we boaters get to see so much of nature's beauty and so little of man's ugliness hidden behind a thin layer of trees.
|Click for full size|
Saturday, November 06, 2010
30 26.23 N 081 27.33 W
- We couldn't leave the dock at Fernandina Harbor Marina yesterday. The west wind blew from the side adding to the 2.3 knots of tidal current. We could not turn Tarwathie around in the limited corridor without running into another boat. We paid for another day. But there was a slilver lining in that cloud. Last night, our friends Charlie and Mary, from Fernandina, invited us out to dinner. They are selling their sailboat, so we invited them to come sail with us sometime.
- This morning we planed to sail south with the W32 Calypso with Jeff and Wendy on board. They dawdled at breakfast so we got a few minutes ahead of them. We passed through a railroad bridge. (RR bridges stand open all the time unless a train is coming.) After we passed the bridge closed and got stuck. Calypso was trapped behind the bridge. Oh well, time for them to forget the late breakfast and start an early brunch while waiting for the bridge mechanic.
- The Coast Guard on VHF said that there was a sailboat in distress offshore near Daytona. (That's where we wished we were today.) Anyhow, they said that the sailboat had blown out sails, a failed engine, and an injured person on board. Geez. That sounds like the start of a very bad day for those poor cruisers.
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
31 19.08 N 081 21.88 W
Today turned out to be cold and wet, tonight and tomorrow are supposed to be the same. Further, tomorrow's forecast flipped this morning. Instead of N 10-15 it now says S 10-15. Oh well, we'll get outside sometime.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
31 40.61 N 081 09.56 W
We're still holed up waiting for the opportunity to go offshore.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, sounds promising.
Well, we're past Savannah, past Fields Cut and Hell Gate (two of the
most troublesome shoaling spots on the ICW). Right now, we're
anchored near Saint Catherine Island GA. It is a beautiful island
with a nice sand beach and wild horses. Some years ago, we took our
dinghy ashore and walked those beaches. Not today though, it's cold
The extent of the salt marshes in Georgia is very impressive. They
penetrate many miles inward from the coast.
In addition to the weather, I've been trying to wait out a bum knee.
Two weeks ago I got a case of tendinitis in my left knee. It was like
the problem I had with my achilles tendon in my heel two years ago.
It got better last week in time for our trip to Benning, but now it
flared up again even worse. It seems better today though. I think
rest plus preemptive use of ibuprofen is the best treatment. I know
that the alternative is worse; but getting old still sucks.