Various navigational challenges suit Spawn ill in making the narrow, twisty track up the St. Marys.
Nor is the 22-foot sloop suited to being pushed or pulled by human labor for the 40-mile walk between the St. Marys and the Suwannee Rivers.
A canoe, they reckoned, can be pretty heavily laden. And both fellas feel relatively comfortable with the inevitable overturnment they can expect in the course of a week or more of adventure on wild rivers.
A canoe felt right.
*I just love these nautical double-entendres. (Oh, subconscious, you slay me with the triple!)
As an adjective, tender refers to how liable a boat is to heeling over. As a noun, it's that small, accompanying vessel often used to transport people and things from shore to an anchored boat.
The canoe has proven to be fairly stable, comfortable, and easy to move by land or by water. From-the-factory weight was a bare 42 lbs, and Jeff and I easily cruised at 4.5 knots.
And after approximately 20 seconds of consideration, the canoe was christened in honor of our beloved matriarch.
The Miss Patsie then underwent her first Dr. Frankenstein modifications: the addition of parts harvested in the dead of night from the boneyard of broken dreams...
Okay, maybe not in the dead of night.
A former windsurfing mast -- cut down and settled into a custom mast-step -- forms both a short mast for a sail (less than 2 square meters per WaterTribe rules) as well as a pull-handle for the long portage.
The old-fashioned, newfangled lee-board comes from an Opti, which gave of its centerboard for the cause. It slips over the gunnel and proves remarkably efficient against a cross-wind. In about 18 knots of sidewind, the lee-board kept Miss Patsie on the straight if not narrow.
The rudder once graced the stern of an A-cat catamaran. Steering with the rudder is worth another blog.
One of the most daunting legs of the Ultimate Florida Challenge is that 40-mile portage along a country highway. Because our boys will sail and then switch boats, they are not permitted to tow their barky with a bicycle. (Folks who paddle all the way around are allowed to peddle. Bless their callused hearts!)
Instead, Moresailesed and TwoBeers must ride shank's mare along the side of the road. Pushing or pulling or carrying Miss Patsie as they go.
Which segues right into the most extreme Frankensteinization of Miss Patsie: wheels.
The last thing anyone expects to do with a brand-spanking-new boat fresh off the factory assembly line is to jab a hole into it. Never mind two holes. But that's how things roll around TwoBeers' laboratory.
He looped Ed Ruark (who desperately needs a WaterTribe name) into the program to consult on the most efficient bike wheels and axel. 27.5 inch road wheels on a 20 mm hub. Because metric plays well with imperial, she said, counting hex wrenches...
TwoBeers loaded Miss Patsie onto his van and conveyed her to OH Rodger's boat playground. OH and TwoBeers installed a carbon-fiber tube to hold said axel.
With a littleJTR Enterprises millwork, the whole thing rolls pretty smoothly...
In 2015, I stuck a couple of pear trees into the ground without knowing my land very well.
As it happens, the soil is thin just there, with bedrock only a short root away. And the wind whistles up and over the little bluff. I imagine it's as bitterly cold a spot in the winter as any I could have found had I been looking for it.
At the end of the summer of 2020, I decided I'd probably cull them come spring. So much of farming is editing, come to think of it: tearing things out and moving them around or having to put them into the discard pile. Sigh.
I didn't say anything to the trees –– after all, winter does a lot of my hatchet-work for me.
Come spring, however, I pushed a shovel into the dirt around the littler of the two, apologizing as I tussled it from its shallow home. I held the truncated rootball in my hand for a long moment next to the neighboring pear tree. "Look, buddy," I told the tree. "I don't enjoy doing this. I'm going to give you another summer. Think about it, okay?"
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