Friday, March 23, 2012

Matters of Detail: The Real Custom

This must be a stressful time for marketing professionals. It seems I keep reading about the demise of traditional avenues for advertising. From what I’m told, ever evolving “Social Media” seems to be the panacea , but it would appear that the constant shape-shifting makes it pretty hard to get a firm grip on that too. Likely the feeling of uncertainty about where this is all headed is the first indication that I am no longer an especially youthful member of the labor force. I remember watching how my parents’ awkward, stumbling, negotiations with various forms of “new technology” resulted in what I interpreted to be reluctance followed by resignation of their growing technological obsolescence (for carbon dating purposes those technologies included ATM machines and cordless phones) . It is no comfort to me that, at age 34, I may be approaching the same obsolescence, but I tell myself that this apparent inability to keep current has more to do with the amount of time spent cooking and cleaning up after kids than ossification of cerebral tissue. For the record, prior to my Father’s aforementioned resignation I had the opportunity to learn my first engineering axiom: violence and portable electronics do not mix.
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stripping Bottom Paint

Everyone knows that anti-fouling bottom paint is essential for the performance of a yacht. These paints contain heavy metals, biocides or photo-activated materials that discourage marine growth.

Bottom paint is always a hot topic among boat owners and boatyard workers alike. Recent environmental regulations concerning bottom paint have changed the way we do things at Rockport Marine. In 2010, we installed a catch basin to collect bottom wash water, which is filtered and then discharged into the town septic. This protects the delicate, intertidal zone in Rockport Harbor from the concentrated heavy metals found in the waste water discharged after a  boat bottom is washed in the fall. Although expensive to install, it is important that our coast line be protected by tighter regulations. Regulations such as these are 
also driving paint companies to come up with more environmentally friendly formulas for their bottom paints.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

After Nelson Zimmer: A Speedy Tender

Last week, I was doing a little digging around about William and John Atkins for my last post, and I came across a reference, actually a curious insult of sorts, used to describe the efforts of the two men. They were, at least according to some of their detractors, designers of character boats.  If you spend enough time in the pages of the boating press you’ve likely come across this term before. I think the first time I came across it the author was describing the Lyle Hess designed Falmouth cutter/pilot cutter type favored by Lin and Larrey Pardey and much heralded in their many books recounting their adventures.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Fife Mystique

When I was first getting into wooden boats, I rented a room from Alec Brainerd, the owner of Artisan Boatworks. At that time he was just getting his boatbuilding business up and running. That summer, not only was he my landlord, but we also worked together on the schooner Appledore. He taught me to drive a big schooner, and would also chide me about my unwashed dishes.

Living and working with Alec was my first introduction to the world of yachts, and one name that was often on the tip of Alec’s tongue was “Fife.” For Alec, and many, many others, the boats designed by William Fife III are…special somehow. I came to understand that perfectly rational people who loved boats (okay, maybe that’s a contradiction) would lose their heads over a transom that tapered down to almost nothing, or an interior so well-proportioned that to alter one detail was a call to arms for a certain kind of boat nut. And as I began to look at the designs and understand them, I started to appreciate why grown people’s eyes would grow moist of a Fife yacht under sail in the summer time.

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Designing DELILAH

In 1942 a man named William Atkin designed a 19’ skiff for the purpose of landing on far away beaches to collect American servicemen wounded in battle. The aim was to get in, load up, get out and do it quickly.  Atkin named the design RESCUE MINOR. Plans for his design are available here.
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