Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Homemade boats

My daily blog has deteriorated to ...monthly? It's windsurfing season now, and my productivity, always low, has declined to near zero. Today is the first day of summer and there is no wind, but rather than working on something useful, there's a mighty vesicle next door that I had to post some pictures of.

Looks like someone found a sunken, dented and rusted push boat stern and decided to marry it to a new bow:

Human ingenuity! I will keep an eye on this important project.

Ah I being a neg-head downer again? That's the only thing keeping us from greatness -- my lack of a positive attitude. A couple of years ago while I was stomping around the office, wailing that a well known (but lesser) designer got a commission for yet another fabulous mega sailing yacht. An employee (who had previously worked for that lucky designer) noted that he never had anything bad to say about any boat (or any subject for that matter).

"And what inference should I draw from that!?", I asked the (now former) worker. Hence, my summer solstice resolution is "Never tell a man his wife is fat, his child is stupid or his boat is slow (because he already knows and doesn'w want to be reminded of it)". Starting now, a new positive me. So, to the proud owner of the vessel next door -- excellent concept, nice workmanship, and my sincere wishes for your prosperity and success!

Chuck and others have asked for an update on Cangarda. Looks like they're stuck here for at least the summer and back to a Skeletor crew. The owner had raised expectations (and here) it would get to New England for the summer yachting season, but ("positive, positive, try to stay positive...") was unable to meet that skedyool due to (my) weakness, bad posture and lack of belief.

As I wrote previously, Cangarda has raised steam. Chief Jordan was here for about six weeks and is a miracle worker. The main engine turns and shifts beautifully (amazingly rapidly). There was some problem with the air pump for a while, but now all the auxiliary engines work as well. Critically, Pete raised steam by hand. Of course, that's how they did it a hundred years ago...shovel in the coal, open the dampers and away it went. However, there's nothing simply about the operation of the renewed vessel. It is dependent on automatic combustion and boiler controls.

I don't think anyone, even the greatest neg-head downer (uh, that would be moi) anticipated that the process of automation would be so difficult. All the valves, sensors, switches, et cetera for the combustion process will be controlled remotely. As far as I can tell, not a single connection has yet been made between these devices and the controller.

During the last few weeks, Pete bypassed the automatic devices and fired the boiler by hand; however, the process is not sufficiently reliable or efficient to actually go anywhere. Also, because the valves are not really laid out for manual operation, it's possible to inadvertently have a furnace explosion when lighting a burner. Indeed, the owner himself caused one two weeks ago...luckily no one was hurt.

Hey, now that's positive!

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