Before we moved out of the SF Bay area, we went for one last sail on our friend’s boat, which we learned was called the Sailor Bird. We got some really nice winds, peaking at 22 knots apparent wind sailing at 90. We got up to a 7.1 knots maximum water speed which feels like flying on the water. There is something special about a monohull boat heeling over past 45 and rolling in the waves. I’m going to have to make sure that we keep sailing in the future.
We were down in LA visiting Jasmine’s brother and his girlfriend and, as they live in Hollywood, we had to go to the closest awesome tourist location – the La Brea Tar Pits. It is a set of natural lakes and ponds that are filled with water and asphalt (the “tar”) that has been collecting fossils from creatures unfortunate enough to get stuck in the tar for the last 50,000 years. So a large collection of animals, including thousands of dire wolves and saber-tooted cats as well as ancient horses who, as I just learned, originated in the Americas. And the tar preserves the bone so there are some very good specimens on display.
If you are in LA, I would highly recommend a visit; it is very cool. Just don’t breathe too deep as it smells pretty strongly of tar outside.
Occasionally, Jasmine’s lab makes fun of us for our house being a summer camp and occasionally I can see their point. I have been doing pen and ink drawings for a while and on Brooks’s (Jasmine’s brother who is an artist) recommendation, we started doing watercolors.
It is actually a lot of fun and some evenings we sit around and draw pictures; the only problem I have with it is that it is a big time suck. Before you know it, 3 hours have flown by.and you really need to cook dinner. So go buy a couple of brushes, a watercolor pan set, and some paper (Paper for watercolor is much better than standard printer paper.) and go have a fun time.
These are some of my paintings. I have mostly just been filling in pen and ink drawings for a comic type style.
A friend of ours just got an older sailing yacht and took us out for a day on the bay. He is new to the boat, so we stayed south of the Bay Bridge where the waves and tides are fairly benign. We got a good day for sailing: the winds we a fairly constant 12 knots after 2 pm and, thus, we enjoyed ourselves quite a lot. It is a much different feeling being on a 36 ft yacht than an 8 ft dinghy, but other than needing 2 or 3 people to run the rigging and the tiller, most of the sailing and pointing is about the same.
Usually we post about projects that we have built and used to at least some level of success. But we also have a fair number failed projects that never see the light of day. I thought I would share the most recent failure when I tried to build a largish kite.
I successfully built a kite a while ago and posted on it here with directions, so I have built a kite successfully, and this time I tried to make it bigger with nicer materials. I think my biggest failure was that the beams were fiberglass and not stiff enough and the frame lines were not tight enough. Also, the first time I tried to fly it, the tow line knot failed, so it required some field repair. I recommend bowline knots for the future.
Every time I tried to fly it, the kite it flipped inside out or upside down, and it was both sad and amusing. Back to the drawing board.