Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sailing on ISD

As busy as life can get, it sometimes is pretty easy for me to have excuses to put off some of my "fun goals." Last weekend, however, there was a "fun goal" that I've been eager to cross of my list. Not necessarily bucket list caliber, but definitely up there: My friend Randy and I---both still amateur sailors---sailed over to Catalina Island on his Cat-22 from Dana Point Harbor (some 40 miles out to sea and over 8 hours of sailing one way). We camped in what is called a primitive boat-in camping spot several miles north of Avalon. We had the entire cove to ourselves for snorkeling, hiking, fishing, etc.

The trip couldn't have been planned any better, and with the exception of our initial nervousness for dropping anchor in a deep, unknown cove, the trip turned into a very relaxing and enjoyable weekend sail.

So this is how I celebrated International Surfing Day this year. I just was enjoying the deeper blue of our oceans. Simply beautiful...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Wooden Biscuit

I applaud Al Merrick partnering with Grain Surfboards to introduce the Wooden Biscuit. The Channel Islands 6'2'' Biscuit has been a popular design, known for its short and stubby shape and great maneuverability in all kinds of surf. A friend of mine tells me the little extra girth of the board adds to its stability, and makes you wonder if you're really surfing 6'2''. I'm stoked to put in an order for the Wooden Biscuit. Not an immediate project, but certainly on my list now! Thanks Channel Islands and the guys at Grain. I hope this becomes more than just a pilot deal.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It's Toothy Out There!

Here's what I recently submitted to the Shark Research Committee. Don't let these shark encounters keep you out of the water though!

“On Sunday morning, June 7th, my wife and I were on the beach walking toward the north end of the Solimar Beach Colony in Ventura County. We eventually noticed some unusual birds in the sky, which appeared to be vultures. Sure enough, there were several vultures eating the carcasses of two different marine animals washed ashore. One was an unidentified juvenile shark, and the other was an adult sea lion. As we walked toward the carcasses, the vultures flew away so we could get a closer look. Based on the jagged teeth marks near the right pectoral fin and gills of the juvenile shark, this suggests the shark could have been attacked by a larger shark. The circular wound on the sea lion’s belly also looks like it was attacked from the same predator. Both the small shark and the sea lion washed ashore in the same area, about 20 yards from each other.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Grain Fish: Blocking the Nose

So while gluing the rail strips to the frame, I've noticed the challenge of getting the rail strips to bend at the nose and lay flush with the shape of the frame at the nose. This is less of an issue at the mid section of the frame and tail, but as the shape of the frame narrows at the nose, the kit rail strips will tend to lay more vertically rather than curving with the shape of the frame. This happens because there’s no change in thickness of the rails from the nose to mid point and tail areas. So if you want thinner rails based on the design of the frame at the nose, you may have to get creative and think of different building solutions for this. The Grain builder's manual briefly mentions blocking for this step, but with no specific instructions. So based on what's been said over at the Tree to Sea Builder's Forum, I'm taking Rich's advice...keep building, then cut off a portion of the rail strips at the nose, and block it once I finish gluing down all the rail strips.

To illustrate this better, here's a picture showing the thinness at the nose of the board and a cross-section sketch of the rail strips at the mid area of the board. The planks being glued down at the nose will cover more surface area. This also means the rail strips and/or blocks at the nose will be sanded down more compared to the mid section and tail area of the rails. The cross-section sketch shows how this should form at the mid section of the board. Imagine the same for the nose area as you are forced to rely less on a thick frame structure for gluing. For this reason, the option to use blocks at the nose makes sense. Maybe over time and with more experience I'll stick to the manual for this step, but if you're building your first kit, don't stress out if you later decide to block the nose. As a beginner builder, you may find that getting the rails to bend just right at the nose is just not worth it. Besides, if you block the nose, you'll always have more surface area to work with while shaping and defining the nose.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Oil on the Beach

A beautiful, magical day of surfing and enjoying the beaches in Ventura County is of course not complete without scrapping tar off your feet at the end of the day. Tar in the oceans and on the beaches directly a result of local offshore drilling. Take action and tell the Secretary of Interior Salazar to limit new drilling on the outer continental shelf, support ocean conservation and alternative energy development.