Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Bucket For Every Boat

Homemade canvas bucket

"If it goes on the boat, it has to have more than one use." We have heard this saying more than once and took it to heart when trying to figure out what to take as a gift at the Carlyle Lake Rendezvous (CLR). A handy traditional item is a sluice bucket that is used to wash off the decks. We had heard people mention canvas buckets being used aboard sailboats for many other uses such as rigging bag, ditty bag and even as a beer bucket hung from the side of the boat. So we did a little research and figured they wouldn't be too hard to make. Perfect! Our friends at CLR would love one of these.

The fact is it turned out to be a fun project. We found a pattern in "The Big Book Of Boat Canvas" by Karen Lipe that we used for a rough idea of how to get started. Then it was off to JoAnn Fabrics with our 40% off coupon. We found the canvas that we wanted on sale along with the strapping for the bottom loop and reinforcer for the grommets. We already had the rope, grommets and thread at home. All we needed was Brenda's trusty Janome sewing machine and some free time.

We went into production mode. Mike traced and cut out all the fabric and strapping while Brenda figured out how to assemble and sew our projects together.

The first hurdle was to find something to use as a template for the circular bottom. Out came plates and bowls. We finally settled on the lid from our soup pot (now it has more than one use too so it can go on the boat). "Good thing I can sew, so I have more than one use aboard too," said Brenda.

Tracing the bucket bottoms

A little math was needed to figure out the length of the side piece. Remember the terms "radius", "circumference", "diameter" and "pi"? They all come together in a formula to determine how long to make the side piece. With the measurements in hand, Mike went about cutting those pieces as well. (D x pi + 1 inch for seam allowance.)

We went into production mode. Mike traced and cut out all the fabric and strapping while Brenda figured out how to assemble and sew our projects together.

The remaining steps are as follows:

*Take the side piece, create a circle and sew a side seam. On my machine I could go back and zig-zag the edge to keep it from fraying.

*Take a 5-6 inch piece of strapping and center it over the side seam about 2 inches from the bottom. This will be the bottom catch or handle to use when dumping the water. Sew a box tack on each end.

*Sew the side to the bottom. The easiest way is to work with the bucket inside out. Mark the circle and the side into quarters and then match. This helps to eliminate puckering while stitching this seam. Again, finish the edge with a zig-zag stitch.

*Next you need to make a casing that encloses some rope that adds strength to the lip of the bucket. Turn the top edge of the bucket 1/4 inch toward the inside and then fold again about 2 inches and pin. This will form the casing for the rope. Stitch close to the turned edge to be sure and enclose the rough edge. Sew all the way around until you get about 2 inches from your starting point. This is where you will thread the rope through and finish off sewing by hand.

*The grommets will need a backing, so place a 6 inch piece of strapping (remember to singe the edges first) parallel with the casing. If your side seam is 6 o'clock, the strapping pieces should be placed at 3 and 6 o'clock. Sew around the entire piece about an 1/8" from the edge.

*The brass grommets get installed near the ends of the strapping and then rope hadles are tied in. Thread a rope through the top casing of the bucket and joint it's ends together with a hot knife or flame. Stuff it fully inside the casing and hand stitch the opening shut. Remember to spray the canvas inside and out with water repellant such as "Camp-Dry".

Here is a picture of all fourteen that we made. Thirteen were given away and one went directly aboard our sailboat.

This was a fun project for us. We knew the CLR attendees would love them and it was fun to see several in use right away. We have used ours to grab lake water to wash down the cockpit and to clean off the bird poop that keeps appearing on our gunwales. It takes up almost no room and has multiple uses. In just about one hour you can make one for your boat too.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

CLR 2014

Our O'Day 25

Mike was a driving machine. He was wide awake and didn't want to stop. Brenda, on the other hand, couldn't stay awake. Around 1 a.m. we pulled into Hotel Interstate 39 by a Road Ranger (the Asphalt Suite no less) and cuddled into the v-berth.

The Asphalt Suite

At 6 a.m Brenda's cell phone alarm went off (Note to self: Turn off cell phone alarm on vacation) we climbed out and went into Woody's Restaurant for a hot breakfast. A nice lady sitting at a table with two gentlemen told us we could sit anywhere and where the restrooms were located. Brenda wanted decaffeinated hot tea, but the waitress told us they only had caffeinated teas. The nice lady overheard Brenda's request and asked if she wanted some decaf. Brenda said yes and the lady got up, walked by the counter, out the door and disappeared. A couple minutes later she walked in with the tea bags that she went to her car to get. There really are some nice people out there. When we paid our bill we returned the favor by giving the waitress $5 to put on the lady's tab when she left.

The miles clicked off quickly as the ol' Toyota 4Runner pulled faithfully along. When we arrived at West Access Marina we rigged the O'Day for a week of sailing. We had to bury the truck to get Plan B off without the extension. Pull-out should be interesting. Since there was a gentle breeze blowing we decided to head out for a sail rather than put the boat in the slip and move the trailer over to the marina. You get free use of the ramps if you are staying at the marina. The Corp of Engineers people did not think this was such a good idea and left us a note telling us so. Fortunately it was just a warning. The winds were perfect for a beam reach and we comfortably glided down and back the entire length of the lake on one tack! Great start to the week.

When we finally returned to our slip, we called our hosts Steve and Sarah to let them know that we had arrived. They came and joined us for some time on the dock. It was wonderful to see our friends again and we easily fell into our usual fun conversations.

Wednesday morning we went scouting for a new breakfast place since the restaurant by the marina was transitioning between owners. We tried Home Plate and were glad we did. It was housed in what appeared to be a slightly remodeled gas station from the early 40's. We couldn't decide if this was a good thing or a bad thing. Fortunately the service and the food were excellent. We wouldn't recommend their electrician, (or whoever their building inspector is) but well worth the stop.

With full tummies we returned to the boat to finish getting organized. The absence of wind prompted us to motor around the corner and drop anchor just outside the swimming area. This was our first swim of the year! The wood steps that Mike added to our swim ladder made it much easier to climb, although Brenda had to do some experimenting to find a good way to get on the bottom step. While we were swimming, Mike found out that there are some disadvantages to a bigger boat. He is used to just setting his Kwik Trip mug on the coaming, but quickly found out that it is very hard to reach from the water now. We might have to find a new way to keep beverages available when we are in the water.

Brenda working the bow


That evening, Steve and Sarah offered to cook dinner for us and the other local sailing couple, Jason and Ginger. We had a great meal, some wine, beer and unfortunately Steve introduced Mike to Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey. Mike now has a new must have for the liquor locker.

Thursday morning Steve and Sarah launched their boat for a little sailing and swimming. Jason and Ginger joined us on their beautifully restored Com-Pac 19 Together Time. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon. Throughout the day, more boats pulled in and the marina started to look like a Com-Pac dealership! We piled into cars and headed to Keyesport for dinner.

The Cruise-n-Carry to the rescue


On Friday the other attendees began arriving with their Com-Pac 16's, 19’s and Suncats. We met some of the new crews and checked out their boats. One attendee drove all the way from New Jersey just to sail with us bunch of goofballs. Bob and Mike have shared a lot of laughs via the Com-Pac Yacht Owners Association forum. They hadn't met in person, but were already good friends. When they met on the dock it was as if they had been close friends for a long time. We sailed with Bob, and our friends Carl and Joanie in our O'Day and everyone had a fantastic time. Bob kept everyone laughing the entire day. Joanie took the tiller (Way to go Joanie!) We swam, bragged, lied, laughed and had a wonderful time despite the lack of good winds.

The famous Bob23


The crew

Saturday was the the day of the Big Race. An informal and casual race is held each year at the Carlyle Lake Rendezvous. Water cannon wars, stealing wind and haphazard starting signals are the norm. The race concludes at Cole's Creek which most of the racers can't find. We were lucky to have Bob sail along with us again. We got a really delayed start in the race as we ended up waiting at the starting point to render assistance to one singlehander who was having sail raising issues. We tried hard, but we ended up in fifth place.


That night we had a pirate-themed dinner at the marina which was a hoot. Lots of banter about the big race and good natured ribbing. We won the costume award trophy. We're not sure what that says about our sailing abilities if that is the only award we win at a sailing ceremony! The post party dock gathering was fun as usual, but our sides hurt from laughing so hard at Carl's stories. A full day of fun with a bunch of great people. This is what the CLR is all about.

A pirate and his pretty wench!

On Sunday the winds continued to be weak which didn't allow us to do very much sailing. The raft-up is always fun though. We float around with our beverages of choice as we admire each other's boats. We get a chance to relax and get to know the new attendees a little better as well. As the winds died down (haha) we pulled into our slips and ralleyed for abroad trip to St. Rose and Popeye's Chop House. Upon returning to the marina following our sumptuous dinner, we discovered a large fire pit filled with wood, just waiting for someone to light it. All remaining CLRer's pulled up a lawn chair and the conversations continued. Another late night!

Every night found us gathered on the dock with lawn chairs, coolers reminiscing and fabricating more tall tales.

We awoke Monday optimistic that the forecasted winds of 7-9 mph would show up and allow us to sail a bit more. Unfortunately the flags hung limp and we had to admit that it was time to load our boats back on their trailers and part ways for another year. Our O'Day easily made its way onto the trailer and the tear down went pretty smoothly.

Steve and Sarah brought some leftovers from our party which was a real treat. We got a quick shower in and sat down to one last meal with our good friends. It is always tough to say goodbye to these fine couples and this year seemed even harder. We miss all of you already. Thank you for another great CLR.