Saturday, December 29, 2012

John Z's new Moth

John Z has been busy over the winter building a modified Mistral design Classic Moth and with the hull stitched up he invited local sailors to come over for a natter.  Anytime beer and boats are involved, I'm there!

"A Mistral, like a good bit of beef benefits from a few days of hanging."  Those words come from the original building notes by designer Derek Chester.  Hanging a stitch and glue hull allows the panels to even out and the builder to gauge and eliminate twists in the hull before locking the shape down with epoxy.  This boat is a copy of Walt Collins' modified Mistral Y2K BUG which John currently races.  Walt eliminated the butt strip running from the transom to the aft end of the centerboard truck, which the original plans call for.  This permits the hull to be shaped more naturally and avoids the ugly knuckle which usually distorts the keel line of these boats.

Two temporary bulkheads.  The transom shown in the first photo is permanent but these two bulkheads will be removed as the hull shape is refined.  John is a very neat and careful builder.  He's in no hurry to complete the boat but hopefully will have her ready in time for the Brigantine regatta in mid June.

A photo of the bow of the hull showing the copper wires which temporarily hold the skin panels together and are part of "stitch and glue" building method.

Looking down on the bow.  More wires can be seen along the keel line.  These will eventually be covered by a 4 inch wide strip of fiber glass tape saturated with epoxy resin.

Builder John Z. explaining how he installed the inwales.

It was a fine December day so John P. motored to the gathering in this very nice Triumph TR4-A.

Top down in December!  That was so yesterday.  Today it's snowing. 

The TR's engine room.

A proper dash full of instruments.

Nine of us eventually assembled to drink beers and gawk at John's new boat.  We sometimes struggle to turn out this many for an actual race!  Happy New Year to all and to all Smooth Sailing in 2013!  (this photo courtesy of John Z; and yes, he builds boats in his basement).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jul Glögg--A Quick Lesson.

Jul without glögg is unthinkable.  For those unfortunates who know nothing of glögg I will share my mother-in-law Siv's recipe for making this tasty winter warmer.  As with Moth Boats, glögg making is subject to the whims of the maker and so readers are cautioned that although the basic framework of glögg is the same from one glöggmaster to the next, the finished product tends to reflect the personal tastes of its maker.

The Cast of Players:  (This recipe makes a 4 liter batch.  Not enough?  You can scale it up.)

1 liter of Vodka
3 liters of red wine, preferably a hearty red burgundy
Rum to taste ~perhaps a cup full
15 to 20 whole cardamom pods (remove the seeds from the pods--use the seeds)
10 to 12 whole cloves
4 to 5 cinnamon sticks
2 small pieces of dried ginger (you may have to go to an organic market or "health food" store for this ingredient)
1 good handful of raisins
The zest of one Clementine or small orange
~ 1 cup of sugar cubes (more about this later)

The First Reaction:

Mix the Vodka, wine, rum, spices, orange zest and raisins in a suitable pot; heat just to the simmering point and then remove from the heat.  Allow the hot alcohol to extract the goodness from the spices for at least an hour or two, but preferably overnight, as the alcohol slowly cools to room temperature.

A word about the liquid ingredients:

Glögg does NOT require top drawer Vodka, Rum or wine.  This is a situation where knowledgeable glöggmasters use reliable "bargain" brands and "lesser" vintages.  The Vodka and Rum I use are the low priced ones which come in plastic bottles ("Ruble" and "Castillo" spiced, respectively).  Likewise, the wine is nothing too distinguished (I've used Italian Swiss Colony red burgundy in the past; this year Livingston brand burgundy was on sale at my local bottle shop).

The Second Reaction:

This step requires the glöggmaster to pour the flaming batch of glögg over a metal strainer containing sugar cubes.  The batch MUST be reheated to the simmering point and then lit off before straining over the sugar cubes.  It is the burning (and attendant caramelization) of the sugar that gives the finished glögg its wonderful "smokey" flavour.

A word about the amount of sugar:

Glöggmasters should avoid the temptation of using too much sugar.  Too much sugar makes a drink that only your great aunt Tilly will be able to swallow.  Siv's original recipe calls for a pound of sugar cubes but diaristwoman and I have reduced that to between 3/4 of a cup to about 1 full cup of sugar cubes.  I don't know what that translates into weight.  Be aware that sugar cubes come in at least two sizes: 4 grams/cube and 2.5 grams/cube.  My 3/4 cup (diaristwoman's full cup) assumes the larger 4 gram cubes.

A word about the burning process:

Lighting off and pouring the burning batch through the metal strainer, positioned over a second suitable sized metal pot, is HAZARDOUS!  Place the pot with the strainer of sugar cubes in the kitchen sink and have good pot holders to protect your hands and arms.  Take care not to set the kitchen curtains on fire and don't burn the house down.  As soon as the batch has gone through the strainer extinguish the flames with a pot lid--continued burning is wasteful of alcohol.  The spices and raisins retained by the strainer should be put in a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator.  They are good for a couple of batches.  After the burn I add back some more spiced Rum, to taste, to make up for the alcohol lost during the burning step.


Put raisins and slivered almonds in small glögg cups.  Pour glögg, warmed over the stove or in a microwave to drinking temperature, over the raisins and nuts.  Place a small spoon in each cup to get at the raisins and nuts.  Swedish gingersnaps pairs well with glögg.  Good Luck, and Good Glögg!  What follows is a pictorial account of this year's glögg making at Diarist HQ.

The newly mixed batch heating on the stove during the first reaction.  Smells wonderful!

The next day.  While the batch is heating for the second time I've measured out 3/4 of a cup of sugar cubes.  After tasting batch Nr 1, diaristwoman said it needed just a touch more sugar.  She was right.  I thought it needed a little more rum.  I was right too.  The second batch got about 1 cup of cubes and "some" more rum.

These pot holders have been to several glögg wars.

Time to light off the batch.

Pouring the batch over the sugar cubes.  Note the flames under the strainer.  Be prepared for a bit of flare-up around your knuckles as you are pouring.  If in doubt go back and take a second look at the pot holders photo.

As the flaming batch goes through the strainer, the cubes get smaller and plump raisins and spice bits accumulate.

Keep pouring.  When finished straining, put out the fire ASAP.  Add back rum to satisfaction.

After things cool a bit, move the finished glögg to the empty wine bottle.

Ave Maria, the new batch of glögg is here!
We took some glögg over to diaristwoman's mother.

Glögg requires slivered almonds and raisins in each cup.  Pepparkakor (gingersnaps) and Lussekatter (saffron buns) are appropriate accompaniments.

Raisins are carefully transferred to the cups.

As are the nuts.

Warm glögg follows.  Allow the raisins to soften in the glögg.  Stir them with your spoon.

The critical taste test.  Will my best efforts pass this demanding judge and stickler for tradition?

I'll take mother-in-law's response as a "yes".  Jul is saved!

So, there it is then.  Glögg demystified.  God Jul and Good Glögg!  Pardon me while I go have some!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jan Gougeon; over the bar

Yesterday amateur boat builders lost friend even though most of us had never personally met the man.  For wood butchers with poor joinery skills (like your diarist) the gap filling properties of thickened West System epoxy, dispensed via easy to use metered pumps, played a huge part in our ability to restore old boats and build (in my case "slap together") new boats that not only didn't leak but miraculously stayed intact long enough to not only get around the race course but also win an occasional race.  If you've ever used West System epoxy products you might want to pause for a moment of silence.  What follows was posted in today's Scuttlebutt.  RIP Jan Gougeon.  Your company's products and excellent tech support made countless home-built boats possible.

Jan Clover Gougeon, of Bay City, Michigan, died Tuesday, December 18, 2012
in Ann Arbor, Michigan at age 67.

In 1969, Jan founded Gougeon Brothers, Inc. with his brothers Meade and
Joel. The company began building boats and iceboats, and found great
success in formulating, manufacturing and marketing WEST SYSTEM and PRO-SET
epoxies for boat construction and repair.

At age 14 Jan began building boats as an apprentice to master boatbuilder
Victor Carpenter, and went on to become an accomplished multihull designer
and builder. Over the course of his lifetime he designed Wee Three, Flicka,
Splinter, Ollie and Pocket Rocket. In 2012 he launched his groundbreaking
40' multihull, Strings. He was also a key builder on the multihulls Adagio,
Rogue Wave, Slingshot and Adrenalin, as well as several monohulls including
the 1975 Canada's Cup winner, Golden Dazy.

Racing iceboats and multihull sailboats were Jan's passions, and he
particularly loved sailing solo. His first sailboat race was in 1955 at age
10, and he competed in Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinaw aboard the newly
launched Strings in July, 2012. In 1980 during qualification trials for the
OSTAR challenge, Jan's trimaran Flicka capsized in the Atlantic Ocean. He
spent four long days floating in Flicka's disabled hull before he was
rescued by a passing freighter. The next boat Jan designed, Splinter, was
self-rescuing, as was every boat he's designed since.

Jan placed first in the single-handed Port Huron to Mackinac race in 1981,
1982 and 1983 aboard Splinter. Racing his trimaran Ollie, he won the
singlehanded Supermac in 1987 and the Great Lakes Singlehanded Society
Peter Fisher Memorial Award in 1989. He won the DN Iceboat World Gold Cup
Championships four times, the North American DN Iceboat Championship eight
times, and won the DN Great Cup of Siberia Race in Russia in 1989. He
competed annually in the Bayview Yacht Club's Port Huron to Mackinac Race,
the Chicago Yacht Club's Race to Mackinaw and the 300-mile Florida
Everglades Challenge.

Burial at sea will take place privately with the family at a future date.

TRIBUTE: "There is no group of sailors that compares to iceboaters and Jan
Gougeon was one of the reasons why," shared Eric Lind of Suttons Bay, MI.
"He had no secrets as he readily shared his vast knowledge and experience
with everyone. This interview with Jan by Ron Sherry back in '95 - - ends with a story that is
classic Jan Gougeon."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Annapolis Lighted Boat Parade

This past Saturday marked the Eastport Yacht Club's 30th annual Holiday Boat Parade.  Those with a short attention span can quickly look at the photos I took from the middle of the Spa Creek Bridge.  Others wanting a fuller experience can get a beverage and a comfy chair and settle in to watch this video:  here.

Santa's sleigh, complete with reindeer, made an early appearance.
Martinis anyone?  Of course there were more traditional themes...

such as snow flakes

and Christmas trees

Even a tree with a marriage proposal.

The young lady apparently was also on the Spa Creek bridge and when she texted her acceptance the wedding rings with the word "Yes!" lit up and the dogs wagged their electronic tails. 

Santa apparently likes to go fishing.  Who knew?  I thought he just sat around eating cookies.

Not sure how Nessie ties in with the holidays.

This guy is a Ravens football fan.  Maybe Santa will bring them a play off berth.

Cheers!  This display is looking forward to the new year. 

Lighthouse off.

Lighthouse on.

Another sleigh with reindeer complete with Rudolph. 

I think this is an igloo but I could be wrong.

The red Choo-choo won best overall.  It made impressive steam locomotive sounds.

After the show ended we headed back into town and passed this nicely decorated home at the foot of the bridge.

The City of Annapolis had their tree up.

I heard a roar of approval and turned around to see that the Champagne boat had tied up in Ego Alley.  Brilliant!

It was an unusually warm evening for December and so the streets were heaving with people going to the bars and restaurants. 

The State House was open to the public so we headed up the hill.  The warm, damp weather soon generated a bit of fog and mist which shrouded the State House dome.

The lamp light was inviting.

Once inside we admired the tree loaded with ornaments made by school children from through out the state of Maryland.

The view from the State House steps looking west, down Rowe Boulevard.

At this point it was half gone eight and Diaristwoman was growing peckish.  We repaired to Harry Brown's for steamed mussels and rock fish.

The hour grew late and fog grew thicker.  This photo of St. Anne's church is almost spooky.  Can you say "Werewolves of London"?