Paul Calder

Navigating with OpenCPN on an Android Tablet

8 May

After well over a year of landlubbing where I could barely even find time to adjust my docklines I’m finally back on my boat! I’m writing this in Ft. Meyers Beach, FL, which we’ve reached in a couple long, busy passages. Unfortunately I couldn’t steal away for long so I’m doing what I hate to do which is sailing on a schedule. This means sailing in any wind that we can get, which in turns means unpredictable passage times. Well I say unpredictable but somehow we always seem to reach our destination at the same hour- 3am. I’m no stranger ...

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DIY Diesel Injector Maintenance

18 Mar
My disassembled diesel injector

Lately I’ve been having some issues with my inboard diesel, a trusty little one-cylinder Yanmar 1GM from the 1980’s, and since it’s such a small, light, and simple engine I decided to pull the whole thing and do a partial rebuild in my shop.

The black smoke and occasional knock I was getting told me I probably had injector issues so I taking the injector out. This was more difficult than expected as the injector is simply a press fit and was slightly rusted in place but a careful combination of PB Blaster, leverage and heat ...

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Dangers of Crevice Corrosion

11 Jan

Most sailors are familiar with the phenomenon of crevice corrosion in chainplates and rigging hardware and we all know it is good practice to make a thorough visual inspection of this gear at least once a year. That said, many of us are also on a budget and pinching pennies can sometimes lead to questionable decisions about the working life of hardware. That’s precisely the problem with crevice corrosion. It is difficult to detect and warning signs are often fairly minor; a severely compromised fitting may exhibit just a touch of rust staining or a very minor surface pitting and ...

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Tyvec Coverall Fashion Shoot

17 Dec
Even a sloppy amateur (see: early blog posts) can make strong and durable repairs on fiberglass with the magic of modern epoxy resins and fiberglass cloths. They’re great, right? Except the more I work with the stuff the more I daydream about learning how to slowly and painstakingly build boats out of wood. Fiberglass is just awful to work with, and especially to grind on. Still, a good safety and comfort regimen can go a long way and over time I’ve figured out just the right fiberglassin’ fashion to allow me to dive into a dusty boat with a grinder ...
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Monocoque Wood-fiber Boatbuilding (ie. How To Make a Paper Canoe!)

12 Dec
A paper boat built by the Free Seas collective in Brooklyn, NY (Photo credit: Free Seas/Mare Liberum)

The first paper boats were built by George and Elisha Waters of Troy, NY in the 1860’s, an idea born after George made himself a paper-mache mask for a fancy dress party. By the 1870’s the Waters’ paper boats were the weapon of choice for serious rowing racers due to their relatively great strength and light weight vs. the standard cedar construction of the day. Call it the carbon-fiber of the 1870’s. There were expedition models too, including one which a man named Natty Bishop ...

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Mast Step Repairs with the Telltales Sailing Collective (Part 2: What is the ‘correct’ repair?)

19 Sep
Mast step structure exposed

Well, we’ve got the mast step on the Telltales Sailing Collective’s first boat opened right up and now we’re deciding how to put it back together. Working on boats I often find this the hardest part of the repair- there are so many materials and approaches available that it can be overwhelming, especially in a case like this where there is no ‘standard approach.’

The fiberglass we cut away to expose the internal structure

Fortunately with a little critical thought we came up with the correct repair. In the first case, mild steel has no place ...

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Mast Step Repairs with the Telltales Sailing Collective

15 Sep
Yep folks, that’s forty-year-old mild steel holding up the mast!

I’ve written before about bizarre and highly questionable design elements in 1970’s Cape Dorys (Side note: I always hesitate when I pluralize Cape Dory, like I want to write ‘Cape Dories’ but I know that isn’t actually right). Now that the Telltales Sailing Collective  has been given a nearly identical Cape Dory 27 I’m getting a trip down memory lane. But I’m pleasantly surprised to find that this time around is a little different. That rebar and mild steel isn’t pretty and from a technical perspective it’s fairly artless but ...

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More about the boat collective

9 Aug

A little while back I mentioned that we’ve started a sailing collective here in New Orleans, but I haven’t said much about it yet other than to intoduce the boat, a Cape Dory 27 nearly identical to my CD28. It’s not yet in the water but it is inching its way in that direction as our newly minted collective learns about and embarks on the handful of repairs we need to make before launch day. The biggest task at the moment is a bottom job, one of the most miserable things on any diy sailor’s to-do list, but many ...
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The Outlaw Sea in NYTimes

30 Jul
Simon Ager/Sea Shepherd Global via NYTimes

Has anyone been following this series in the New York Times about the ‘Outlaw Ocean‘? It’s some of the best reporting I’ve ever read about the oceans by one of the last few papers which has the budget for this kind of reporting. The series reports on smuggling, illegal fishing, abusive working conditions and forced labor, even slavery and murder and paints a damning picture of wide scale abuses in shipping and fishing industries. It’s also full of riveting stories, like the chase of the Thunder, where a vigilante ...

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A Very Warm Welcome in Burtonport, Ireland

28 Jun
Nada at anchor outside of Burtonport Harbor

Let me tell you about Burtonport, a small fishing village on Ireland’s most hospitably inhospitable NW coast. The village is a small cluster of houses, big enough for a doctor’s office and a pub but not a grocers. This actually good-sized for the northwest of Ireland, where craggy cliffs jutting hundreds of feet up out of deep water and prevailing onshore winds make viable ports few and far between. That’s the inhospitable part: this couple hundred miles of storm-wracked coastline is so nautically infamous that you can pick up a map marking four-hundred-odd ...

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