Monday, November 15, 2010

What did you do?

This weekend was a total rout, with very little having been accomplished. I did manage to get some of the improvements to the 3-pdr skids, which our event in Hyco were little more than through-bolted 2x4s. I was actually a little amazed that the improvements took a grand total of about 2 hours on Sunday, BS-ing with volunteers included. Now instead of 2x4s the assembly is made up of white oak, using about half the fasteners.

I also managed to get the sharpening arrangements all set up and all the chisels, plane and spokeshave blades nicely honed and sharpened. Simple as that sounds, getting the grinder, stones and oil in the same place at the same time had become something of a white elephant in the shop in recent weeks. And as much as daylight savings has been taking an inordinate amount of time to settle in with me, I hope to make it part of my regular "chillaxin" routine to enjoy my evening programming on the couch, sharpening stone, oil and blade in working dilligently on my coffee table.

But despite my best hopes, no, we didn't make it to our white oak supplier and no we STILL do not have materials. I have partial access to my budget - namely the cash the Finance Director withdrew for me - but my debit card is still 'in the mail'. Hopefully this week we can get back on the ball and get pumping with these critical parts. We have until December 15 - my goal deadline - to finish two complete sets of keels, stems and sternposts. We'll see. Many more delays like this one and we'll be repeating the same setbacks we saw on the Launch.


On a positive note, I did visit the Outer Banks for the first time this weekend. A friend of mine who stopped down is looking at beach houses, and so when most of the volunteers for Saturday either didnt show or called to cancel, I hung up the "gone fishin" sign and decided to take a one-day road trip with him.

Now, for those who weren't familiar with the sea state this weekend, abnormally high tidal surges and twenty foot rollers were thrashing the Outer Banks. Even in Norfolk we saw the tidal surge, but the waves crashing ashore were definately something to see. The road out to Hatteras Island was broken at intervals by the huge rollers pouring seawater directly onto the road, and tons of sand with it. At one point in Rodanthe, my SUV became stuck in the sand on the road - to the point where traction or lack thereof was a non-issue - the frame of the car was fast on the drifts, growing ever larger as seawater washed around it with every new huge wave. Luckily the locals came out with shovels to help dig out, and before long we had a chain made fast to a large truck that dragged me clear of the deepening drift.

We made it down to our destination in the town of Avon, had lunch and checked out the beach houses, then made a quick jaunt down to the cape to see the lighthouse - which until then I had only ever seen from ships at sea. The drive through the National Seashore is fantastic and I look forward to getting down there again as soon as possible.

I should note that there was much discussion looking out at the mountainous surf about taking our Monomoys out in such conditions. Life-threatening though the prospect is, we had completely envisioned a crew bedecked with crash helmets and mouth guards pulling like furies out into the crashing waves. Ultimately, those of us having the conversation safe in the vehicle, decided that wrecking a boat and injuring the crew (who would have to be crazy anyway) would only be worthwhile if we managed to get it all on film.

I hope you picked up on the irony and insanity of that conversation.


This week I hope to break this now week and a half long stretch of stagnation at the Dockyard. Tonight I'll be making the trip out to pick out the oak and get it back to the stickers (come hell or high water!) and begin setting up the lamination jig. Tuesday evening I hope to get folks back out to start the laminations with cutting and gluing the scarfs.

THURSDAY we have a unique opportunity. The local Boy Scout troop here has sponsored a preservation initiative to save a cannon unearthed at Fort Boykin. They've built a carriage for it, and will be displaying it here in Norfolk Thursday night before it makes the trip back to the Fort. We've been invited to bring our 3-pdr out to display it next to the Fort Boykin gun and talk about the functionality of the guns in historical application. Should be a fun time, hopefully with some good media coverage as well. I'll need some volunteers to help get the gun out there, so if you're free Thursday night, let me know.

Its going to be another busy week!


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