New Boat Arrives

My new Tender arrived today. So of course I had to set it up in my living room. 😁

It’s easy inflate and it all fits in the provided bag. It’s the PHP-310 Air Floor Inflatable from West Marine.

Looking forward to many years of service from this great little boat.

The question has come up several times regarding what to call the little boat. Is it a tender, or a dinghy, a zodiac or a skiff?  Here’s a rough definition of each as I understand them:

  • Tender: Any craft serving as support for another ship.  For example, in the navy, our submarine was serviced by a Tender. Also, my little boat is a tender for the larger s/v Ten Year Plan, and helps get stuff/people to and from the boat.
  • Skiff: Generally a small, flat bottomed boat often with a simple single sail rig.
  • Dinghy: A small boat servicing a larger boat. A small sailboat for daysailing. My little boat could be called a Dinghy, but I still prefer the term Tender.
  • Zodiac: An area of the sky designated by the name of the animal or person represented. Also the brand name of some Tenders.

Comfort Without the Bulk

Froli System Brochure

When I was looking to redo the V-Berth on my boat, I researched mattress options, and ran across several ‘under-mattress’ systems and ended up going with the Froli Modular SleepSystems.

The big challenge is ventilation under the mattress.

The Pro’s:

  • Affordable and well made
  • Easy to follow instructions
  • Easy to assemble and use
  • Comfortable and adjustable
  • Great ventilation.

The  Con’s

  • As others have noted, it can be a wrestling match with the Froli to get to the lockers under the cushions in the V-Berth. What has worked for me so far is keeping the overall pieces small enough to handle, instead of creating one large connected piece, I have three smaller pieces: One on port, one for the bench starboard locker cushion, and one for the center key piece.
Froli System in V-Berth

It’s not like sleeping on a king sized Casper mattress, but it’s comfortable. I was able to keep the V-Berth cushions to 3″ and still have a relaxing berth and a good night sleep.

Boat Renovations

Since purchasing the boat, I’ve been focusing on internal renovations and minor updates.

The first big change was getting the v-berth updated. I took out a couple of small shelves, refinished the drawers, and made a key board and mounting rails. The biggest job was making the cushions.

The next big project was ripping out the cabinets on the starboard side of the main cabin and creating a pilot berth.

The big feature was creating a rail for the berth out of mahogany. Love the way it turned out. Cushion made, and hull insulated. It really opened up a lot of space.

I Replaced the throttle control and working with my diesel tech to replace the engine mounts and install a new sea water pump.

On the port side, I pulled out the shelves that were there, added some hull insulation, and will create a new set of shelves. Still a work in progress. I want to take my time and see what storage I really need before building anything. For now, I’ll just enjoy the open space.

Gallery of Ten Year Plan Photos

Here’s a running gallery of my Westsail 32, Ten Year Plan photos.

Amateur Radio – W4MTP

“It’s all part of the 10 year plan.”

So part of the plan, along with learning sewing and canvas work, sailing, diesel repair…and many other things, I decided to get my amateur radio certifications to improve my communications options on the boat.

Amateur Radio (ham radio) is a popular hobby and service that brings people, electronics and communication together. People use ham radio to talk across town, around the world, or even into space, all without the Internet or cell phones. It’s fun, social, educational, and can be a lifeline during times of need.

ARRL – The national association for amateur radio.

Amateur Radio is a fun hobby. Something for everyone. I’ve been digging into some of the great research around weak signal communications. The WSJT application is a great way to explore the air-waves and reach folks even during bad radio conditions.

If you are curious, I choose my vanity call sign, W4MTP, because I wanted something Ten Year Plan related (My Ten year Plan -> MTP), and the W4 because it’s easier to say phonetically…and also creates the phrase in my head:

Whiskey 4 My Ten year Plan

“Gods Go Begging” Jesse Pasadoble

Book Cover

Review written for by Bill

Gods Go Begging is a wonderful novel about Jesse Pasadoble, a Vietnam veteran, now working as a defense attorney in San Francisco. A couple of current cases draw Jesse into a remarkable world of coincidence and ties to the past.

This book has a great story, full of twists and turns, a cacophony of emotion. Amplifying these amazing images, Alfredo Vea’s writing style is strong, poetic, lyrical, and at times magical. The struggles of the main character and his dealing with extraordinary events in his past lead us into weaving, dreamlike worlds.

The author sets the stage in one of the most memorable book openings I’ve ever read:

For a time, they both held on to their lives, gasping softly, whispering feverishly, and bleeding profusely, their two minds far, far away from the cruel, burrowing bullets that had left them mere seconds away from death. Face to face, they spoke their last words in crimson-colored breaths. Theirs was a withering language, one for which there are no living speakers.

Then, like warriors abandoned on the field, they lay in unearthly calm as the things of life deserted them. They had seen the mad commotion boiling in the air above them. In bemused silence, they heard the alarms, the screams, and the growing wail of sirens. Pronounced dead on a cold city sidewalk, they held on to each other as the gurney rolled from the cement to asphalt and into a waiting ambulance for a long, anonymous ride. In the end it was clear to every onlooker that neither dying woman would ever let go of the other. Leaves of lemon grass had drifted to the ground from the dress pocket of one of the women, marking their trail to the ambulance. Some of the sprigs and blades were bloodstained, adding spice to the liquid life that had trickled away.

I was very intrigued by the books dramatic portrayal of people dealing with such complex and unforgettable pasts. It’s more than that, though. How do we incorporate the different lives we lead into the present? The Vietnam veteran whose mind is vividly separated by 30 years and thousands of miles. Dealing with living in both the present and living in a war, on a hill, so far in the past, but still very much part of the present.

To a lesser degree, I think many of us struggle with this. How many of us are partly stuck in some distant past? Are you still partly living in High School? That song on the radio that transports you back to the High School lunch room. Or an old car … or a smell in the air that suddenly takes you back to a particular beach in Puerto Rico.

And how often have we projected ourselves into the future … steadfastly stating that, ‘I will never be like my parents!’ – ‘I’ll not make those mistakes when I’m grown’. Then you hit 35 or 40 or 45 and suddenly, you see your father in the mirror, or your mother’s voice comes out of your mouth in a moment of frustration. Then it hits you … we are more than the sum of our corporal parts.

I think everyone, has the memory of a moment, where they knew for certain that there was more to them than just this body, this pile of chemicals, this present … this now.

Maybe standing on the beach, waiting for the sun to rise. Then that magical moment when the sun leaps from the horizon in an explosion of color – as we spread our arms to capture every amazing bit of that moment, we are also spreading our wings on an ethereal world, feeling the splendor of another sun.

Is that why we seek out books and movies and music that move us? Are we ‘pan-consciously’ feeling our way through multiple times? Multiple lives? Each with an array of ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’. Other souls that are also bound across distance and through years. Each of us linked to that same place, that same time.

Well, who knows. But occasionally finding a book that makes me stop and think about who I am and where I am … is why I read in the first place. If you are like me and seek out beautifully written, emotionally challenging books – don’t miss this one.

From the dedication page:

It is easy to know the beauty of inhuman things, sea, storm and
mountain; it is their soul and their meaning.
Humanity has its lesser beauty, impure and painful; we have to harden our hearts to bear it.
I have hardened my heart only a little; I have learned that happiness is important, but pain gives importance.
The use of tragedy: Lear becomes as tall as the storm he crawls in; and a tortured Jew became God.

Robinson Jeffers, The World’s Wonders

“Americas Boy: A Memoir” by Wade Rouse

Reviewer: linda

A small-town boy who dresses in his mothers bikini when he’s five so he
can be queen of the pageant has some issues to address in his life,
especially when that small town is in rural southwestern Missouri.

Rouse tells wonderful tales of a family that may not have understood
him, but loved him nonetheless. The family tales are the best part of
this memoir; I kept seeing my family in his tales, even though our
families have different oddities. The stories of Rouses schooling will
strike a chord with anyone who was picked on in school for any reason
(at least Rouse had the female half of the school that liked him).

I think the heart of this memoir was supposed to be his rediscovery of
who he really is, but it never made it. I’m glad he’s become better
adjusted, but the stories of his childhood are the heart of the book to
me. An exceptional read. And no, that has nothing to do with the fact
that he works for Washington University!

“The Town and the City” Jack Kerouac

Book Cover

Jack Kerouac’s first published novel, The Town and the City is a story of monumental scope and great emotional depth. The book’s jacket cover talks about Kerouac’s idolization of Thomas Wolfe and this book reflects that interest. The story is about choices and regrets. It’s also about a generation robbed of choices and left wondering and apathetic and lost. The book tells the story of a family growing up in a small New Hampshire town pre-World War II and follows the family through war and loss.

The book is written in 3rd person. I realized soon after starting The Town and the City that most of what I’ve read recently is 1st person or some variation of 1st person. Which is fine; 1st person is very intimate. However, in Kerouac’s book, the choice of style really opens up the story. Instead of the reader having a close relationship with one or two people, the environment opens up and we form relationships with several people and feel part of the town. To say that in a different way, if the book were written 1st person, we would be looking through the eyes of the key character or characters. We would see the town and the rooms and the other characters, but more in a ‘Being John Malkovich’ way. Kerouac gives the reader room to appreciate the size and space of the story. We’re drawn in to the town, the sounds of the river, and late-night mournful calls of a passing freight train.

The following quote from the book reflects one of the son’s feelings while riding a troop train from one part of America to the other. He’s just finished a letter from his mother.

This is the pitiful way it was: and all the eerie feelings that young men were having in some strange part of the country far away from the places that had always been familiar in their lives, which were become unreal and fantastic now as a dream, and maddening and sorrowful too; and all the night-dreams woven out of three thousand miles of continental traveling and ten thousand miles of earth-traveling that were so gray and strange and pitiably enacted upon some deranged little map of the mind that was supposed to represent the continent of America and the earth itself. Sailors dreaming of the sea as some poignant little lake, or of their movements north and south, east and west on the terrific seas, as on some gray little canal or river, with life teeming on the banks; soldiers dreaming of America as some packed little place with mysterious fields and roads leading directly within walking dream-distance from state to state, or of islands in the Pacific as little puddle-jumps in the sweet small lake of the mind-all the vast and oceanic and terrific distances compressed by human necessity into something no bigger than a field, and a lake, or the palm of a hand.

And then the bugle blowing in some Dakota army camp, and the rawboned, windburnt boys waking up again to the clear cold mornings and great snow-distances and distant hills, to drafty barracks and rough khaki trousers and the heavy G.I. boots clomping, waking up to steaming breakfasts, hot coffee, a cigarette, and then the windswept range and the peppery chatter of rifles firing in the frozen air, the broken cry of a sergeant, a puff of smoke, and someone rubbing his raw chapped hands together and grinning steamily in the morning air.

Or the Cost Guardsmen on some heaving little cutter off Labrador waking up to the violent squeak of the ship, the pitching and flopping on the waves, the wild dawn-light over the seething field of waters, and the cook’s slop bucket flying garbage into the sea, the acrid nauseous smell of cigarette smoke in the mess, the big red-faced gunner’s mate from Iowa slopping catsup all over his eggs, the little mascot-pups yapping broken cries in the North Atlantic wind, the rigging by the afterdeck squeaking and straining and the flag cracking in the wind, and the wide mournful spread of slow, smoking merchant ships crawling in formation around the horizon all dark and low-slung and cumbrous in the sea. It seemed as though a whole nation of men and women were beginning to wander with the war.

The Town and the City is a beautiful, large and expansive novel that carries great emotional depth. I highly recommend everyone read this book.