Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Belated Earth Day Greetings

Yes I know earth day was almost week ago, that one day when a bunch of people head out to clean up the trash they dumped on our world in the previous 364 days. I have never really lived like that it has never occurred to me that tossing garbage anywhere other than the trash was acceptable, I still remember being shocked as a teenager when after spending 14 hours driving from Georgia back home to Canada when the friend I was travelling with after offering to clean up the car as we where arriving home proceeded to after putting all the trash in one bag to roll down the window and toss it out! About a mile from home where we where both aware there was garbage bags and pails it did not make any sense to me then and does not now.

Maybe our kids will learn from this one day we have set aside that they should take care of the world around them, I believe they are more likely to be concerned with caring for the planet if they spend some time out and about on it. The trips do not need to be long they do not need to involve great expense or lengths of time, if you can get away into those areas that in your mind make up the wilds then so much the better but if not just head to the park.

Take your time, get off the beaten path sit down on the grass and see what is lurking there, you may need in some places to take a second for a first check of the place where you choose to roost to ensure that all you are about to perch on is green, but find a spot and perch. Many towns run their trails along the waterfront if they have one watch the water, look up and check out the trees, at this time of year they are changing rapidly, today buds are beginning to appear, next week leaves. Check out the birds they are busy at this time of year building nests, please don't disturb them, just watch. Should you be able to get out in the evening pick a spot where you can see the sky, lie back and watch the stars come out, its magical even if you are surrounded by light and noise pollution. Imagine how much more grand the spectacle will be when you do get the chance to head off to those quiet places, in the mean time enjoy the green spaces you have.

Take the time to enjoy those spaces large or small and remember look around, at this time of year in the north you can watch all of nature being rejuvenated, see the new life springing up, feel the warmth in the air, the singing of birds, the running of the water in the streams and rivers. When you take the time to do that its more likely that you will also take the time to pick up that bit of trash you saw because you may just come to realise that everyday is earth day.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Seeking Lotto Moments

This week I was looking through Rapid Media’s Paddling Buyers Guide studying  the boats,  yes I admit it I buy these magazines just for the pictures, not the articles. As a result after months of  this magazine having  been in the house and the office I have just taken note of a short article by  publisher Scott MacGregor entitled Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, I know that a vast number of people when asked this question will answer immediately I DO!  The Lotto Corporation knows the same thing it’s what keeps them in business. The point of the article and the book the 4 Hour Work Week that inspired it was that what we really want is the lifestyle, the freedom to go and do interesting things. This caused me to do a little thinking (that’s all I can handle) one the first things that came to mind was a friend who each summer would take off to go sailing on the Great Lakes.

He was not a millionaire not even close he was a truck driver, but he had made the decision that while he was still young enough to do so he was going to get out and do not just work dreaming of a future that may never come. The boat he had was older and he invested a serious amount of sweat in making it ready but when summer came he would quit his job, that’s right he just packed it in and went sailing. If the company he had been working for would not take him back then he would look for a new job in September but he went and continued to do so for years. Today he is in his late sixties and no longer sails but when summer comes the bike comes out and he loads it up, his lady climbs into the side car and they hit the road. They did and continue to do so by living with a goal and they may have to live a little smaller the rest of the year saving and preparing for those times when they live the life most of us only dream of.

Quitting may not be an option for you that does not mean you can’t make getting away a priority, interesting places and adventures large and small are not that far away if you look for them.

I am also reminded as I write this of my grandfather  who told me repeatedly, we may not have much money but we are having a great time, they would each summer load up the trailer and spend 28 days ( the longest you could stay in a provincial park) in their favourite park. Fifty years later I still remember the chances we had to join them, nights around the campfires, the friends made and those things don’t happen in your dreams only if you go.

Scott’s goal and the purpose of the buyers guide is to sell you gear, you will not get far in the outdoors or on the water without it, we need gear to get to those places we love and to spend time there. But the fact is that a million dollars and the best gear will not matter unless you make it a priority to get out and use the gear you have. Whether you just bought the newest stuff on the market or it has been in the corner of the garage for the last few years, if it works grab it and go you can always buy new stuff next year or the one after that.

Spring has arrived and the ice is melting slowly, ever so slowly but it is melting, leaving just one question what will you be doing this summer, dreaming of that Lotto moment or grabbing the opportunity and going to explore your dreams?

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Rondane Revisited - Lets try this again

It has been nearly 10 months since I last posted, no I did not fall off the face of the earth as those who also follow me on Facebook know, but did find that time was a problem. Like many other designers of small boats I also have had to hold down a day job and so at times there is conflict between the two, paying the bills won over what I would rather be doing. Recently the company I was working for closed the facility I was employed at so once again I have more time available to dedicate to things like this blog.

The Rondane has made it to the water as the Facebook page pictures attest; we had opportunities to row the boat on occasion and a couple of chances to begin sorting out the sailing rig. The rig still needs a little refinement but it works, just need a few more opportunities to sail it, took the boat with us on vacation and ended up with it spending most of its time on the roof of the van as there never seemed to be any wind.
The plans are well underway and once we get the boat back in the water a couple of times we will be able to make them available.

The simplified building jig worked well with the boat coming out as intended, the interior was simple to install and if you are going to build one that does not require the sailing set up it will go more quickly as there will be no daggerboard trunk or mast step to install.

Currently we are working on three new boats for trials this summer two solo canoes one at 10’ and one at 12’ in length, the 12 is well under way these boat are being built using western red cedar strips. The hulls with be sheathed on the outside with fiberglass cloth set in epoxy and the inside of the hull will be sheathed in carbon fiber.

The third boat is a hybrid kayak with a stitch and glue hull and a cedar strip deck, the kit for the hull has been cut and as soon as the first canoe is complete the kayak will be started with the 10’ canoe to follow that.