Posts Tagged 'messing about'

the solar fish (a frankenboat)

fellow blogger Earwigoagin posted this gem on his blog a few days ago.  he was attending the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival and stumbled upon a modified Sunfish sailboat (or maybe a Sunfish clone? – it’s hard to tell).

the boat has had major modifications: the normal lateen sail on a Sunfish with the upper and lower boom and a triangular sail has been replaced by a single furling sail.  the cockpit has been chopped up and totally rebuilt – I’m pretty sure the daggerboard slot has to have been removed, and the cockpit enlarged, so that the driver can sit down inside the new larger cockpit more comfortably.  as Earwigoagin mentioned, this appears to be “a sit-in, non-hiking day sailor with a small cabin.”  there is also, a little solar panel up on top, which powers a small trolling motor.

overall, a pretty neat little bit of creative work to make a unique little boat for messing about on the water.  I’m not sure that a Sunfish would have been my 1st choice to start with for a project like this, but he seems to have done a great job and I’m sure has a lot of fun with it.

be sure to check out Earwigoagin‘s blog for more small boat & dinghy sailing topics.

et ego in Arcadia – Monday

here is a summary of the second main day from our week vacation up at Camp Arcadia. on the weekdays during the Family Weeks at Camp Arcadia, each morning has a short Bible study for the adults, and classes for the children – split up into manageable age groups for the Camp staff – basically like a vacation Bible school, with some sports and games mixed in as well for the kids classes.  after Monday morning’s classes, my boys immediately wanted to head over to the archery range.

the Camp has a neat little archery range set up out in the woods: there is about 5 or 6 straw mats with paper bulls-eye targets attached to them, and then old garden hose spiked down to the ground to set different shooting distances.  the Camp has a varied selection of recurve wooden bows with different pull weights, so the kids (or adults) can choose a bow that they can shoot.  an instructor helps the kids get ready, and uses a whistle to give out commands – all in all, pretty well planned out.  my boys loved it, and went back to the archery range several more times the rest of the week.

after lunch, my brother-in-law and I went sailing again.  this time, the wind had picked up a bit – my Wind Meter app on my iPhone said it was about 13 knots. the waters of Lake Michigan were still fairly calm, though, so not too big of waves with the decent wind.  sailing was great, as we could move pretty quickly across the water.   it was a bit cooler and cloudy that day, so the rest of the kids were busy with other stuff around Camp, so it was just my brother-in-law and I messing about on the water.

I sailed for a while in my Sunfish, and he was in his Snark sailboat, and then we switched boats for a while as well.  here’s a screenshot from the video from my GoPro camera – my brother-in-law is sailing my Sunfish, and I’m horsing around in his Snark sailboat in the background… trying to keep my body completely flat stretched out across the 2 sides of the boats without my butt sitting down in the boat.

after sailing I took my 2 older boys and 2 of their cousins out into the woods for the Capture the Flag game. the game is held out in the back woods of the Camp’s property, where you can see rows and rows of pine trees,  planted by Michigan’s Civilian Conservation Corps that was created by Roosevelt during the Great Depression.

the Camp staff used blue or red paint to decorate the faces of the 2 teams, Braveheart style – all 4 of my crew were on the red team.

later on that evening, we had some time just milling around on the beach and the playgrounds.

Monday evening’s main event is the Square Dance, held out on the tennis courts.  the Camp staff instructs everyone on the steps for whatever dance we are doing, and calls out most of the steps during each song as well.  it helps that many campers have done these same dances for years – and it’s usually a good mix of experienced “pro’s” and the 1st-timers as well, plus always a bunch of children having fun learning the square dances, too.

there are some silly ones – the Chicken Dance and the Hokey Pokey, but also the Virginia Reel and the Two-Step as well.  they save the best 2 songs for last – the Amos Moses and the Prima Donna (but I’m not sure of the dance names).  I got this pretty cute video of my youngest son and one of his cousins dancing together while the rest of the campers were dancing to the Virginia Reel.

if you missed the post from Sunday at Camp, you can read it here.  more days to follow.

et ego in Arcadia – Sunday

here’s the first day from our week vacation up at Camp Arcadia.  most of the post will be about Sunday’s activities, but technically the family week vacations up at Camp Arcadia are usually Saturday afternoon to the following Saturday afternoon.  the first day thus usually involves some frantic last-minute packing to get on the road ASAP, then a roughly 4-hour drive to get up to camp. here’s my Sunfish rigged up for the road, with a couple of the boys’ bikes riding along with my Sunfish PVC dolly.

after the long drive to Camp, the rest of Saturday is spent settling into the cottage, eating our first dinner at camp, and then watching the Talent Show by the Camp staff – mostly introductions, a few legitimate talent exhibits like singing or playing an instrument, and a mix of silly skits.

Sunday starts with a buffet breakfast, and then a short walk out of Camp and into the small town of Arcadia to Trinity Lutheran Church, a great historic church at 130+ years old.  it’s been a family tradition while driving into Arcadia on Saturday afternoon to see who can be the first to spot the steeple poking above the trees.

after the church service, we walked back to our cottage, and I started getting my Sunfish ready to take to the beach.  I used my Sunfish PVC dolly to roll it down some sidewalks and then the sand to the beach, and lugged all the extra gear down on a 2nd trip, and then headed to the dining room to have some of the buffet lunch before heading out to sail.  my youngest son (4 yrs old) was pretty geeked as usual to sail – he had his little sailing outfit on and everything, and was hanging around trying to help get it ready to sail.

it was a cooler day, and the water temperature was pretty cold, so I had a few layers on to make sure I stayed warm if I was to fall out or tip over.  on a day like this, I like to wear my Ronstan long sleeve rashguard underneath my shorty wetsuit.  and this year my new piece of gear is some NRS wetsocks from REI.  I really like all 3 of these pieces of gear – the wetsocks are a nice addition, as I have to wade in the water a bit to get the final rigging done, and then get the Sunfish started sailing.  the only disadvantage is that I can often get pretty warm if it is sunny and I’m not getting splashed with water (or falling out of the boat!).

the wind was fairly calm out of the south/southwest that afternoon, and the water was pretty flat, so it was a nice and easy sail across the Lake Michigan water.  on my first tack back towards shore, I could see my 11-yr old son T2 wading out in the water towards me, so I swung close and picked him up (and then gave him my life jacket because he didn’t bring one with him!).

while sailing with him, I sat to one side, and gave him both the tiller extension and the mainsheet – so he was in full control of the sailboat.  it was neat to see him learning how little adjustments to one or the other would affect the course we were sailing.  he also LOVED to hook his feet under the hiking strap, and lean so far back that his head touched the water!

after sailing with him for a little bit, I then gave rides on the Sunfish to both of my other sons, as well as several of my nephews, and a little girl who had been watching from the beach.  my oldest son T2 had switched over to the stand-up paddleboard that the camp owns – he spent a TON of time out on that, and was able to stand and paddle way out into Lake Michigan, often with one of his cousins riding along.  I only have this picture of him kneeling on it, but most of the time he was standing up.

while we were sailing, other members of my family took out the ocean kayaks, the rowboat, and the stand-up paddleboard – both adults and kids taking turns on each of them.  all in all, a great afternoon of messing about on the waters of Lake Michigan.  a couple of the kids took turning burying themselves in the warm sand on the beach.

then, they all joined together to bury their newest uncle and decorate him with beach toys.

I did end up missing the wine tasting that afternoon that was presented by Left Foot Charley, a local winery that is run by a previous staff member from Camp Arcadia.  after the awesome afternoon on the beach, it was time for dinner on the patio – amazing pulled pork sandwiches.


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