It’s raining hard in Atlanta, and finally cold enough to get out the raingear. It smells of pine/arborvitae smoke from this summer in Canada. I miss it.
More thinking about our Northern Tier trip and why it went so well.
I can come up with two reasons:
- Involvement. Everyone was involved in planning and executing the plans. The scouts owned the trek and the adults owned parts of the preparation. In fact, other than some organizing and coordination, I did very little.
- Humor. Several of the scouts where cutups, in fact at times all of them were. Since things written on the internet have an indefinite (and possibly infinite) lifetime, I won’t mention them by name. Ranging from one who would say whatever passed through his mind (3 days in – “yo A-dog, where’s the ice?”), to quiet clowning, and finally to supplying humorous translations of a bi-lingual firstaid manual (“how to give a super wedgie” as translation for a 2-man lift) this clowning lessened the tension of a physically hard and sometimes rather cold trek.
This is sort of right out of the wood badge training book, but it really seems to have worked.
Another dawn view, showing one of the excellent Souris River 18.5 foot Quetico canoes (made locally in Atikokan).
Queuing to portage. The rock face in the background where the canoe is being lifted is pretty typical.
Paddling into a bay on the way to a tricky portage
I’ve been using an inflatable sailboat from sailboatstogo for about year and a half and it’s been pretty good. The only problem is what to do when there is wind and your hull has a leak. (besides waiting for the glue to cure ). The hull was actually opened up by a wren that was nesting in it. I was looking at the parts after finding that my patch needed a patch (which worked), and realized that I could jury rig the floating boat rig onto an old-town canoe. A similar tension rig would probably work on other boats that have seats and thwarts that aren’t injection molded. Pelican owners are probably out of luck with this.
The key trick is to use a 3-way lashing for the cross pieces. Have one lashing between the center of the cross piece and two shorter lashings tying the piece to the seat. (The pictures will make this clear). Extend the perpendicular struts that hold the leeboards and lash them to the yoke. The keel boards will have to be moved closer to the sail support. Since I used my bowline as one of the lashings I had an extra tie which was used to lash a spare paddle to the boat.
The important question is how well does it work?
Surprisingly well, although it could use some tuning and I suspect (hope) that the clamps for the company will help. The mast should be a little closer to the bow, which would help it tack. The arms that support the leeboards can shift, which is a little exciting when you are tacking in a strong wind. The steering oar was very useful as it could be used to swing you around when tacking, because the boat as trimmed didn’t head into the wind. (this probably would work better on something longer than a 14 foot canoe) Unfortunately due to the stern of the boat it was necessary to swap sides when tacking because it couldn’t rudder hard in both directions.
That said I was sailing in 5-15 MPH winds and didn’t tip over. Didn’t really come close to tipping over. I sat on the bottom with my back to the stern seat, which helped, and have just finished canoeing in stiffer water on Norther Tier – which helped even more. It handled very well. Only seats one though on my rather small canoe.
p.s. I had an email exchange with Jim Luckett from sailboatstogo and this is pretty much how the kit gets put onto a canoe, but with clamps rather than lashings. He suggests that moving the leeboards forward will improve the helm (I have a bit too much lee helm).
My department is actually revising the dissertation proposal process. It turns out that where logic and argument fail, money talks. Both the NSF and NIH have grant funding for graduate student dissertation work. So now the format will be to write an NSF proposal and if it is good enough submit it. Since this can only be done usefully early in the students career, it becomes a strong impetus to actually plan.