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Ken_Potts last won the day on February 3

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About Ken_Potts

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  • Birthday January 1

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    Perth Australia
  1. You should be able to get dacron line at West Marine or any similar store.
  2. In my day we didn't even HAVE zeroes - We had to write a one and then erase it!
  3. B and B may still be selling marine ply and they are quite reputable. It's a longer drive than Gibsonville, though. And (to echo PAR) I believe the standard calls for equal thickness veneers throughout before sanding so the outer veneers will often be thinner.
  4. Since we're trying to out-old each other, my first computer was an Apple II+ with 64k of ram and a cassette tape recorder. I was certain I could never write a program that would take up that much memory. We upgraded to a floppy drive and it was really nice not to have to adjust the tone and volume of the tape player in an effort to get it to work. I also remember the agony of having my painstakingly-typed program for the Imsai 8080a destroyed when the paper tape it was stored on got frayed. My Grandma used to end all the "I remember before" conversations by saying "I remember before there were zippers."
  5. Having successfully navigated the bridges we were in Fremantle harbour. I get nervous around bridges because of the way the wind and current swirl around at exactly the wrong time when I'm trying to get through, so I normally motor through like I did this time even if I've already been sailing. There were some ships being unloaded but there were none moving in the harbour. We had the VHF on channel 12 so we'd be able to hear if there was any big traffic to steer clear of but there was only a Rottnest Island ferry requesting clearance out of Rous Head Harbour. We transited the harbour uneventfully and set sail just after passing the lighthouse on the South Mole. Once the sails were up I made a mental note for the future: I need to put the sails up before passing that lighthouse because there are usually some waves rolling in from the South or Southeast and reflecting off the North mole, making for a lumpy and unpredictable ride (as there were this time). I expected the confused, reflected wave pattern but I didn't expect a dozen large powerboats and a ferry to pass us in both directions in only a minute or two. The outboard is mounted on a swing-down bracket that hangs off the transom so it is a little vulnerable to big, steep wakes and we suddenly had plenty of those. Witchcraft is a pretty nimble boat and can turn quite quickly so I turned towards the worst of the wakes and tried to keep the short-shaft motor from going under. My wife got the main up and I killed the motor and swung it up out of harm's way. Suddenly we were sailing along in a gentle breeze on a beautiful quiet day. The contrary current was gone and the traffic was more distant. It was time for snacks (9:15am) and a little music on the radio. The crossing to Rottnest was pleasant if slow and we arrived in Thomson Bay at 12:00. More later...
  6. Wvines - Your advice to "keep the project small" and "avoid a kit" worked nicely for me. I started with something similar to a 6-hour canoe but I modified it so it took longer to build and didn't work as well. I had a great time with this simple, quick project and I moved on to other things. If I had started with a kit for a much bigger (and more expensive) boat kit I think I would have been intimidated - I'd have worried about messing up the beautiful puzzle-pieces and not being able to finish.
  7. Cool! I can't wait to tell my wife that somebody mistook me for a rock star!
  8. "Michael" is so formal. Most people call me Ken
  9. We arrived at the boat ramp at 7am and as I was transferring gear from the truck to the dinghy I realized that I had forgotten to bring the oars. Normally the oars live in their locks on the dinghy which lives on its trailer out by the shed, but my brother-in-law recently borrowed the dinghy when they sailed out for a week at Rottnest with his wife and his ex and her something-or-other (that's a long and entertaining story but it's not the story I'm here to tell). When they returned the dinghy after their trip he sheepishly told me that they had broken an oar so he was giving me his. I tried to talk him out of it because the broken oar was kind of curly at the business end from a long hard life with not enough routine care and its mate was a bit longer so it took a conscious effort to not row in a circle and I had been intending to replace the pair anyway but I was just waiting for one to break (and we had gotten them for free, too, which is yet another story that I might write up later). In the end, he insisted and now we've got a lovely pair of oars that are not currently in the dinghy. I was momentarily dismayed when I realized that I had forgotten the oars because I don't like to rely too heavily on a motor for alternative propulsion. Small sailboats are great because you can use sails, motor, oars, paddles, etc. for lots of redundancy and I can get pretty paranoid sometimes, so I hesitated about going out without oars just long enough to remember that I always neglect to transfer the oars from the dinghy to the sailboat anyway so I always sail without oars (oops, I need to put a permanent paddle on board or something). Having solved our first dilemma for the day, we chucked the dinghy in the water, fired up the Honda 2 and motored out to the mooring 100 meters from the ramp. We transferred the gear to Witchcraft, our 6 meter sloop (that's 20 feet to you folks in Merka ) and switched the Honda from one transom to another because for once we were going to seriously burn some fuel. I was chomping at the bit and the plan was to motor down the river and through the harbour so we could get the miles behind us and only set sail once we were out in the ocean. Don't get me wrong, I like to short-tack down the river but we had to cover some ground (water, really) so as soon as the motor was on the transom I told Anthea I was going to fire it up and drop the mooring line. She casually asked me if I'd like to hang the rudder first and I said something like "well, yeah, that's another way to do it..." A few minutes later we were underway with a fully functional rudder. Off we went down the river, motor chugging along, while the gear was stowed, the cabin top, deck and cockpit washed down and the sails bent on (but not yet set). It was a pretty morning and there wasn't much traffic. The forecast for the day was a light South breeze in the morning swinging to SSW in the afternoon and picking up to 20 knots or so. This is a fairly typical pattern for summer since we've got the Indian ocean to the West of us and a vast desert to the East. As the day heats up inland, the air rises and sucks cool air in from offshore so we get a nice, reliable (and relatively cool) onshore breeze in the afternoon that is known as the "Fremantle Doctor". Fremantle is the port town here - It's where we lost the America's cup (Yes, I'm an American). The nice thing about this pattern is that the gentle morning zephyr from the south allows us to sail our course of 295 to Rottnest on a broad reach and in the afternoon when the wind shifts SSW we can sail the reciprocal course back to the harbour with the wind on or just a little forward of the beam. I'm smart enough to refrain from predicting the speed of the current on our tidal Swan River so I wasn't sure how long it would take to get to the ocean. Although I refuse to try to predict the speed of the current I've lived here for almost five years so when I predict the direction of the current I can be almost 100% certain that my prediction will be... Wrong. We had to buck not only the light headwind, but the current that was flowing up the river, so our progress was as slow as the morning was pleasant. Anthea disappeared into the hold for a well-deserved nap while I watched as the scenery tried very hard to not slide by. Eventually someone (I can't remember who) decided to go from 1/4 to 1/3 throttle and the pace picked up a bit. There are lots of very impressive boats on the Swan River, some have 4 decks and a squadron of PWCs hidden behind the transom, some have mostly-undressed young ladies and DJ's aboard, I'm sure more than one has a helipad, but our boat has something the finest mega yacht could only dream of - An air-draft of less than 7 meters (with the mast up!) That means we don't have to go through the normal ritual of lowering our mast to get through the bridges (while wringing our hands and gnashing our teeth about boat wakes trying to destroy our suddenly very wobbly rig) - We can just cruise on through. The photo shows our approach to the second and lowest of the three bridges. In the photo it appears that the right-most of the three spans is the lowest. That's because it is the lowest. Until last year the middle and right spans were reserved for down-river traffic. These days the middle span is closed to all traffic so we are forced to use only the right (lowest) span for our travel downriver. our boat was designed in the 1970s to clear this bridge but I don't know if it was designed to manage the lowest clearance or just the middle span so I always hold my breath when I go through the right span when the tide is high. Fortunately this morning the tide was just past low so instead of holding my breath I took pictures. Made it again! More to come...
  10. A boom tent can be any height you want with a sprit-boom rig (assuming you have halyards). If the booms are too short, alternative 3 might be to use oars as a ridgepole between the masts. Unstepping the mizzen mast when there are any waves about will likely be an uncomfortable experience. I moved the mizzen on my CS17 to the reefing step while on the water a number of times (which was not the designer's intent) and it was always a bit iffy. Think carefully about how long it will take to set up any given tent design. The harder it is to do, the more likely you'll end up sleeping in a bivy bag instead
  11. Does it have anything to do with porpoising? And was the dead man's throttle really to protect the driver or was it to protect the motor from running inverted in salt water? A dead man doesn't care much if his motor is toast but a live one surely does
  12. What? You just "happen" to have aluminium spars lying around just before the holidays? It's a Festivus Miracle!! Chick - The song was the Eagles singing about Robert's Core Sound ("Ol' 55").
  13. Old?!? Belafonte was built in like 1984! She's a new boat! She's only... Oh. Now I feel old. Every time you mention your Core Sound, the song starts playing in my head:
  14. Every time you get one spot smooth you'll see three more bad spots until you just can't stand it anymore and then you'll start building boats from sticks and cloth again
  15. I epoxied mine in with the hope the boat could be lifted by it if necessary. Wait - Now that I'm thinking about it I'm not sure whether I epoxied it in or not. Nevermind...