Thursday, December 11, 2014

Limbo...sort of...mostly impatience.

I have never wanted to travel and explore the world more than I do now. Part of it is the collective national fairy story that we keep lying, er...telling, ourselves about racism. Another is the pack/tribe blindness we have regarding income inequity in this country. It's also hard not to notice the mass resistance, heels being dug in, about sexism and race culture in this country with talking head after talking head (many of them women working for the Man and therefore dependent on the regular paycheck and monetary validation) pretending it isn't a real problem. Then there are the very unsurprising and long long awaited report that this country tortured many people in our zealous headlong rush to revenge for 9/11.

Among the many many blind voices, constantly crying, "America is Awesome!," I can't help but imagine a very large, unattractive pig in a very muddy dress, eating everything in sight while others starve, proclaiming they are beautiful -- all evidence to the contrary. To see it, all you have to do is take off your America sunglasses for just one moment. Just one moment.

I'll not delude myself by imagining that other places are 'better'. The grass won't be greener elsewhere -- it will be different.

I want to see that grass. Different. Maybe better in ways significant. Maybe.

It's this seeming limbo, in the midst of a plan called The Freedom Project. It's not really limbo. We have a plan that is in execution and, to be honest, executing well.

With deliberate and singular focus, we are eliminating debt. We are maintaining and building Brigadoon, with even more plans to upgrade her, make her more seaworthy, make us more seaworthy, so we can execute the last steps of the plan.

I have never wanted to travel and explore the world more than I do now.

Biding my time, executing the plan, looking towards distant horizons, new places, and people other than this.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hold Fast -- a promise.

My lovely first mate and I have talked for quite a while about getting a tattoo together. Some say that doing so is poison to a relationship. As soon as you do something so permanent, then the relationship will be temporary. 

Well, life is temporary my friends. Whatever we have, whatever we become, this is a reminder of our commitment to teach other -- in the here and now.

We talked about this design for a couple years. It started out with a sketch or two:

This was a good start, but I wasn't happy with the fluke, It was turned the wrong direction. So, I told Kerry I'd work on it and get the design better. We were staying in Poulsbo shortly after I announced that I knew what we needed and the design was done. Stepping into the door of "Thor's Hammer and Needle" we talked to Zak. After showing him some pictures he agreed to send us a sketch. He also made some good suggestions on the orientation and placement. He did an excellent job.

We are very happy with the final result.

As Kerry put it just recently, "It means Hold Fast to each other, Hold Fast to our plans, Hold fast to our dreams."

And that is what it means to me too. She put it better than I had ever hoped. 

These words have been promise, prayer, and commitment to not give up for as long as sailors have been at sea.

It will also be true for us.

A Stitch in Time...

One of the goals of being a "Self Sufficient Sailor" as Lin and Larry Pardey speak of in their book of the same name, is to be able to support yourself and your boat without having to rely on others. It's a noble ambition, attainable to some degree (depends on your willingness to invest in self-sufficiency), and worth doing.

Your boat is built, maintained and spares-provisioned in such a way that you need not turn to others to solve your problems.

We took one such step a couple weeks ago when we purchased a Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ-1 PREMIUM Walking Foot Sewing Machine direct from Sailrite. This provides us with capabilities that we need; the ability to make or repair any canvas/fabric on Brigadoon.

My first project, after unpacking this 70lb monster, was a cover for our stern tie reel we purchased last year from Quickline. This is the same company that manufactures our Ultra Anchor.

Up until now, all my sewing was by hand. Yes, one can hand sew anything. That's how clipper ship sails were made; by hand, on deck, with care. The problem with hand sewing is that it's tedious, not as necessarily as strong as machine sewing, takes a lot of work to be consistent, and is sometimes hard.

Here are some examples of my hand work, repairing some chafe holes in the binnacle/wheel cover.

 I've also replaced some stitching on an older sail cover. The fabric is fine but the stitching degrades in UV so the thing is just coming apart.

So, my repair work isn't bad. It could do for making new items but, for the reason I stated above, I wanted a powerful machine.

With a day to myself, I decided to tackle the cover for the reel. The reel is stainless but the webbing it encases is polypropylene which, while treated for UV resistance, could use a cover to help extend it's life. I'm already noticing some fading on the edges of the webbing after almost a year.

With some quick measurements out of the way, and some thinking on the shape I needed to create, I dug out some surplus Sunbrella and webbing left over from our "no sewing machine necessary" bimini project.

I barely took any measurements and just decided to dive in. "It's a practice piece," I tell myself as I do a bunch of steps out of order, making the job a little harder than it should be but, I did it.

Not all the stitching is straight and I had a couple tangles but, as you can see, it's serviceable. I'm not ready to charge people exorbitant prices for canvas work just yet (never plan to actually) but, I can envision and make something we need. Maybe with enough practice and my machine on board as we cruise, I'll be able to supplement our income with repairing or making canvas stuff for others.

The almost finished product. As I did not get the edges right, they have to be hand stitched to hold the edges of the webbing down but, overall I'm happy.

Here's to another step in being a self-sufficient sailor.