Centerboard work

Finally got started on the centerboard.

Routed out both halves to enclose the 22 lb steel plate, then coated both surfaces with epoxy before installing the plate.

Then I glued both halves together with copious amounts of epoxy and clamps. Not too much pressure with the clamps, as I didn’t want to squeeze out all of the glue. Epoxy does better when not glue starved.

Note the sawdust from the previous routing session. I need more clamps. Really.

I bought the centerboard and rudder pre-cut and shaped, but the CNC machine didn’t raise the cutter up high enough when transversing across the foil, so I got to try out mixing epoxy with wood flour. This was smoothed over the trough, and didn’t run out.

I couldn’t leave the void as the fiberglass wouldn’t dip down there completely, leaving an air filled void – not good on something constantly underwater – that void will attract water, and then rot out the centerboard.

Finally (for now), I coated both exterior sides with a coat of epoxy. When I get back to this I’ll apply two layers of 6 oz. fiberglass and quite a few more layers of epoxy.

The Ditty Bag

From The Artful Sailor and Whole Earth Nautical Supply in Port Townsend, WA, a fantastic ditty bag kit.

n.b. the smell of the contents should be bottled as a cologne.

Now, I learned of this project reading Emiliano Marino’s column in Small Craft Advisor magazine – do subscribe – and also reading his book, The Sailmaker’s Apprentice.

Armed with the book, and the kit (which also includes the instructions from the book and two SCA articles), I’ll be starting on this project this weekend. The sewing skills acquired should cover my needs in making a sail for the SCAMP. That’s the idea, anyway. I’ve decided a crinkly dacron sail won’t be a good match for this boat.

If you too are interested in jumping into a similar adventure, check out their web site It is full of great information. Better yet, if you find yourself in the Port Townsend area, do make a pilgrimage to the store.


Alexis begrudgingly sharing the sofa with the boat plans.

Sail #443, once I have a sail, which will come after I have a boat, which will come after I start ordering parts. I have the centerboard weight. Next will be the centerboard and rudder pieces, and epoxy/fiberglass to glue them together. And graphite powder for the centerboard.

That will start later this Summer, and can be done here in the condo. The rest will be built elsewhere over the next few years.

Bread/Brick Baking

Brick shaped bread

Well, it’s one way to get rid of flour. This was the second batch of bread. The first batch never made it into the oven.  These loaves rose too much, and much too quickly, catching me off-guard. It still tastes good, just a little too tiny for sandwiches.

My first mistake

Note the inked in correction. The first rule of baking bread is to never measure by volume, only by weight.

I got cavalier. My King Arthur 200th anniversary cookbook only lists things by volumes, and everything I’ve baked from there has turned out just fine, regardless of the humidity or type of salt. I was going through those recipes, then grabbed this book of sprouted wheat flour recipes.  This is the simple recipe, with commercial yeast, not home nurtured wild beasts.

I had not tried this recipe before, and simply mixed the ingredients by volume. I poured in 3-1/4 cups of water (did I mention I’m not a morning person? Did I mention this was in the morning?) and noticed instantly that I had a bowl of flour soup. But “..the dough will thicken while it rests” – not that much.

I then went to the publisher’s site looking for an errata sheet for the book. Nope. Then I went to Amazon and read the reviews, and there it was, a review noting this very typo. I poured the dough into the trash can.

So, I tried again, with the corrected measurement. I weighed everything else, just to be safe.

Well, it worked this time, except it rose really well. Too well, and checking on it 10 minutes before I “needed to”, I found it already too high.

Well into the oven they went, and sure enough, they fell to less than half of their pre-oven size. Sigh.

Some days just aren’t for baking. But it tastes good.

NC Land – The Challenges: Landslides

Mountain lots afford spectacular views. The trick is keeping your house where you built it.

Sobering reading can be found here

From the above web site.

Now, we won’t be building on a debris fan like this apartment developer did. But will we be building in that yellow-bordered area? That’s no fun either.

To determine our fate, and if we should build, or cut our losses, the State of North Carolina, after 5 people were killed in a landslide in Macon County in 2004, ( ) ordered “landslide maps” to be created for 19 high risk counties in the state.

Four counties got maps before the NC legislature pulled the plug on the project, apparently due to howls from the real estate industry about lost sales from the information on the maps.

NC cut landslide hazard program, despite dangers

Caveat emptor!

Our home site(tm) is perched on a ridge, so as long as nobody removes dirt/rock from the base of the mountain, and as long as we don’t overload the land with water from sprinklers, driveway runoff, septic tank fields, or experience torrential rains, we should be okay.

Needless to say, we will be visiting the roads downhill from us, looking for old debris fans. We are also consulting the excellent maps for our county, one of the lucky four counties to get maps, though oddly, not available on the county’s web site anymore.

It appears our property is not in a risk area, but there’s a mountain west of us that is, and the debris field will run through the valley below us (which has houses and a church or two.)

The other option being we walk away from this and find some nice flat land without views. That seems to be the wiser thing to do. Not that I’m prone to wise decisions.

NC Land pt 1 – The Project

We have a little piece of land in Western North Carolina. It’s been a few years since we’ve been on it, and even longer since we worked on it.

Here are some “before” photos from 2003.

The land straddles a ridge, with most of it on the south side. The north side is full of ferns.

A year later we cut down some trees for the “home site”, and even got a septic permit (good for 5 years.)

I wonder what those logs look like now?
I wonder what this spot looks like now.

So we’ll be back later this year. We are waiting for a good freeze to kill the chiggers first.