Farewell to Nomad

Sep 10, 2016 by James in James' Blog

nomadii

Nomad, from the Greek, Nomas meaning, “a member of a people having no permanent abode, and who travel from place to place to find fresh pasture for their livestock…”

Not really apropos to our way of life being as though we do have a permanent abode, we have no livestock to feed in any pasture what-so-ever, it’s not only not apropos, it’s completely inappropriate!

But, you sure do see a whole lot of boats named Nomad out there, hell, there’s almost one at every dock, I (James) think that’s a little weird.

When we first moved aboard S/V Nomad at the beginning of 2009 we did it with every intention of changing her name but the painted lettering on her pretty little heart-shaped transom  put us off and of course there was the rapidly lengthening to-do list that put a re-naming party on the way-way back burner.

By the time we got to Baltimore in December of that same year we had a pretty good idea of what it was we were doing with this boat and being nomadic wasn’t it. At that point in our lives we were most definitely itinerant with nary a pasture in sight. We’d sailed this boat in snow storms with ice crunching against her hull  to get us to a job, Nomad, not so much.

But Itinerant didn’t really ring my bell either. The WIKI definition of Itinerant is freaking cool as shit and describes us and our adventures perfectly, but the word itself didn’t jump out at me as being anything but, well, small.

Our friend Kate told Dena that she thought the name Intrepid was perfect for us and our boat and I agree but I don’t think she knows how many boats are out there, as I write this, sinking at the dock, named Intrepid. It’s true, not so much on the east side but the left coast seems to have more than their share of dead Intrepids taking up T-heads. Sad really…

Anyway we went sailing one night and on our way out Dena, who was at the helm had to make an emergency hard-to-port. The tiller snapped off in her hands and she was tossed by momentum face first to the other side of the cockpit. I was about midships when it happened so I jumped down in the cockpit took the remains of the steering mechanism in both hands as Dena righted herself. She was uninjured so she took up the dock lines and rigged us for a slow approach back to our slip while I steered us back to the dock with Stumpy-the-Tiller in one hand and my 8-ball throttle in the other.

We put the spare emergency-tiller on and continued our sailing adventure 10 minutes later.

That tiller, as far as we know was hand carved by the original owner of the boat. I don’t know when that was but I’m thinking it was about 1963. The (totally unreliable source) guy who sold us the boat told me that he, the first owner, carved the figure head, sitting by his fire place over the winter after he ordered the boat for delivery, it was the very first thing the proud new owner-guy installed… It was a perfect racist stereo type, straight out of the mind of a rich white guy from up-state Michigan, of a desert roaming… wait for it… Nomad.

It drove us nuts from day one! Dena would look at it when I was at the helm, sailing along without a nomadic thought in my head, and just start seething,

I hate that thing!

So do I.

I’m going to try and carve some of the racist bullshit out of our figurehead!

Cool.

So in 2011 Dena sanded, carved, epoxied, painted and blogged the fuck out of that tiller but it still didn’t quite let the Nomad free, as a matter of fact, my friend in Cambridge, Mass told me it looked like “Beige Darth Vader” and offered to paint it black for us.

Deep down I didn’t want to, but I declined my friends offer.

…not a bad name for a band though, hmmm.

About two weeks before our tiller-explosion I sharpied the beard and eye patch on him just to see if Dena would notice. Nope, like me, she has long since stopped looking at the old figurehead so right before we left the dock on our adventure I pointed it out to her. We  both laughed at him and off we went.

It has been proved in a US court of law (if you believe any of that bullshit) that boats are legally more than the sum of their parts, hmmm…

Anyway, I went in to work the following Monday with the above heroic sailing adventure story in tow and my boss gave me a beautiful, brand new, hand made, laminated teak and holly tiller sans the Bearded Nomadic, Beige Darth Vader figurehead.

Check it out, a happy ending!

 

 


The Revolution is on!

Jul 01, 2016 by James in James' Blog

So we got rid of our aging Rutland 913 wind generator last year in hopes of “finding the funding” for a not-so-antiquated system of 12 volt wind generator power and after almost an entire year of searching for the proper replacement, we finally found it! Not only did we find that motherfucker, we finagled it and ultimately installed that bitch! Yeah! (I mean the Zeke, YEAH!!! not the Bumrush YEAH!!)

Today is revolution day, I mean for most mortals it’s just saturday, the dullass 25th of june or the first of july or whatever, in the hohum year of 2016… but for us, it is the 25th of June or some-shit in the year of our…(hahaha) REVOLUTION! We are making power like a motherfucker!

Making Power! The joke is not lost on me (James)… I’m a human being that gives up on wage slavery whenever I can, I run away from it every chance I get and I’m, anyway, making my own mother fucking power… Stealing it from the sun (a formidable foe) but I’m making it… I am Making it, (and I think I can give us both major props here)! Yeah!!!

As I’m sure you’ve guessed I’m not talking about being powerful, I’m talking about making your own god damn power… Being able to produce enough 12 volt electricity to be able to not extract one more drop of petroleum or one more granule of coal for combustion in my name ever again! That’s the goal (it is indeed very nice to have goals) but we must also live in the 21st century.

“So we do what we can with the tools at hand!” I don’t know who said that, I just know it’s apropos…

So,

On my third day of work at the chandlery I found a strange hidden pile of gems (not real gems but metaphorical, the kind that a person who doesn’t believe strip mining is a good idea would like) under a pile of sails in the very back of our top secret marine hardware wharehouse. I asked about it to a few people, I got shrugs… I asked about it to the right people, I got the wink-and-point, you know what I’m talking about!

Anyway, in this little pile of jewels was 2, 50 watt monocrystalline solar panels, an Air Breeze wind generator, a stack of mounting hardware, a blue sky MPPT charge controler and one hell-of-a well built mast.

All the mounting hardware was very specifically designed for another sailboat so I had to dig through several tons of discarded marine hardware at work to ultimately discover this…

TheBase

…A deck mount for a 9 cm pole, like the one we just got!

We cut a base out of a sheet of 2 cm azek, and mounted it to the fantail deck, all the way aft right between the two starboard, aft cleats.

Electric

We, completely rewired the mast and added two more stanchion supports above and below the two electrical cables.

OnTheBoat

After all the pre-production we laid it out on the dock and wired it to go live.

OntheDock

DownBelow

Down below I ran and rigged the charge controller to the battery, at this point we were getting very close!

Please keep in mind that we both had to work on this while somehow managing to hold down jobs, get and recover from a nasty unseasonable Cold of some kind, and the always unpredictable rapidly closing springtime weather windows, anyway we got the thing up and although there wasn’t even enough wind to move the wind generator the solar went right to work.

Aboard

It was beautiful, like some kind of  strange bird hovering over our transom, feeding us electricity from the world and protecting us from the evil Sunday-go-a-boat’n, plastic destroyer crowd!

…So lets go sailing!!!

DenaSailing

We couldn’t help ourselves, we had to take her out and see if we could put the system to the test and we did, on a Sunday? just before sunset?! ARE YOU CRAZY!?!?

SailingSquare

Okay, it wasn’t all that bad, hell, it wasn’t bad at all, it was a blast and we had a wonderful time. We went out to the mouth of the Severn River, turned 180 degrees on a tact and headed back in.

We really wanted to grind the new rig out with our “Living-at-Anchor” brutality test so we didn’t go back in to Dena’s Marina, we put the hook down in the Back Creek anchorage and felt right at home!

AtAnchor

I have finally discovered what it is I want to do when I grow up!!! After 52 years of searching for the right vocation I believe I have discovered what it is I want to do with “the rest of my life” !!!

I want to make power!

No really, I want to hang out on my boat, all fucking day, and manually track the sun with my solar panels!

There is no better vocation for me… Okay, back to work, this revolution is hungry for power.


I am…

May 15, 2016 by James in James' Blog

… A ship chandler, and I think that’s a pretty cool thing to be!

Back in the day, a ship chandler was the guy (I’m talking the “day” when not many women went to sea but I sure do think that’s a great idea for an adventure story! Hmmm) who was responsible for getting the stores filled up with the supplies that would ultimately saves the lives of every single member of the crew… Or kill them!  He was the guy that found the vitamin C when the ship was in an unknown port! That person had to find all kinds of shit before the locals very gently, or not, asked them to move on. The chandler was sometimes the only person that was aloud off the ship, especially if the ship was a boatload of disease infested, toothless starving dudes! Wow, then it was up to the chandler to convince the locals that he was healthy enough to go out and find the supplies they might need after they got that all important vitamin C.

… And that list of supplies, was Pynchonian in scale!

23-thomas-pynchon

Hemp, rosin, rope, turpentine, tar, pitch (resin), linseed oil, whale oil, tallow, lard, varnish, twine, cordage, oakum, tools such as hatchets, axes, hammers, chisels, planes, shit all the tools to build the boat that went overboard on the journey to… Wherever! Lanterns, nails, marlinespikes, boat hooks, caulking irons, hand pumps, brooms, mops, galley supplies, leather goods, paper, tobacco, RUM or whatever, and of course, water!

If you take the the Hemp, tobacco, rum and water out of the above list what you get is a list of the shit I sell and a huge percentage of that is recycled.

And that’s cool I think!