Please visit our home site at www.TRILOBOATS.com.

Anke and I are building our next boat, and writing about it at ABargeInTheMaking.blogspot.com. Access to the net comes and goes, so I'll be writing in fits and spurts.

Please feel free to browse the archives, leave comments where you will and write, and I'll respond as I can.

Fair winds!

Dave and Anke
triloboats swirl gmail daughter com

Sunday, September 25, 2016

THE COMPLETE SAILOR: A Review

Splash page from The Complete Sailor, 1st Edition
Joshua Slocum on SPRAY by Mark Whitcombe


Long before a wheel rolled, some shaggy fellow straddled a log or sat on a raft and held up something to catch the wind.
-- From The Complete Sailor


The Complete Sailor: Learning the Art of Sailing 
By David Seidman
Art by Kelly Mulford, Mark Whitcombe (1st Edition) and Jan Adkins (2nd Edition)
Review by Dave Zeiger

I'm a modular kind of a guy. 

I like to have things broken down into bite-size, manageable pieces that can be combined and compounded every which way, adapted to whatever situation presents itself. It's the way I think.

So does David Seidman.

The Complete Sailor presents sailing knowledge and skills ranging from essential basics through solid intermediate level, and touches on more advanced topics. 

Wind and water, sailing and anchoring and docking, marlinespike skills, charts and navigation... it's a long list of things to know. Each topic is covered in an easily digested page or two.

Seidman's prose is at once spare and flowing, covering the ground with a sure and easy stride. Mulford's illustrations are as evocative as they are informative. Together, they speak volumes in simple terms. Simple though it be, each time I open these pages I learn something new. Connect new dots and deepen my understanding.

This is one of the two friendliest how-to books on sailing I know (Jan Adkins' The Craft of Sail is a similar but less ambitious introduction, and now he's on board for the second edition). If you - like me - struggle through the dense and endless prose of such tomes as (the admittedly encyclopedic) Chapman's Piloting & Seamanship, you'll appreciate the lighter touch.

Another point I appreciate immensely is that examples are drawn from across a wide spectrum of vessels and their rigs. Not only the latest extrusions, but traditional and even funky boats are well represented. From balsa rafts to clipper ships. From Jeanneaus to JESTER. One can almost smell the pine tar!

This isn't a book written solely for trendsetters, but also - even primarily - for those of us going to sea by the means at hand.

So many books on sailing somehow manage to lose sight of the romance - the dream - of sail. Reading them, it's easy to imagine that seamanship is little more than another exercise in consumerism. That, with informed purchases and proper use of appliances, the world is your Disney. Or the other hand, perhaps worse, that the learning curve before us is so steep and long that one is discouraged to begin.

Dreams are delicate things. They often don't survive the necessary, accumulation of nuts and bolts and know-how that empower them. They get lost in data, overwhelmed by 'practicality', bogged down in tedium, abandoned in despair.

This book pilots us safely. In its care, we circumvent shoals of ennui and reefs of detail, enticed ever forward, eyes lifted at every league to the horizon...

The Complete Sailor is a gift to all of us who dream of water.




*****




PS. The first edition features gorgeous chapter headers (such as that leading this post) by the late Mark Whitcombe. In the second edition, his artwork has been replaced by the work of Jan Adkins. 

While I'm a big fan of Jan's, I miss Mark's touch. The extra materials - GPS, Racing and Trailering - aren't on my need-to-know list. For these reasons, I favor the first edition. 

But both are excellent.

PSS. If nothing else, keeping a copy on board for guests is something I highly recommend. Sitting down with this book between us beats the oakum out of my own, unaccompanied words and doodles.





Friday, September 16, 2016

TriloBoat Styles: Fitting Form to Function



Real style is never right or wrong. It's a matter of being yourself on purpose.
-- G. Bruce Boyer

If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.
-- Katherine Hepburn


TriloBoat Styles: Fitting Form to Function

As kids, my brother and I got a lot of mileage out of empty cardboard boxes.

Anything from apple to refrigerator boxes got taken to the moon (space ships), to the bottom of the sea (submarines), across the Great Plains (conestoga wagons), over Niagra Falls (barrels rolling down the hill in our yard). We cut windows and gunports and portcullises into them as 'need' arose.

Something must'a stuck...

*****

I recently worked up StudyPLANS for a T20 side profile (MATCHBOX). By matching beam, super-structure, interior and gear to intended use, a builder can go in most any direction.

The above graphic, showing some approaches I favor for such a small vessel,  represents a pretty fair cross-section of the TriloBoat bestiary, to date.

Box barge hulls are exceptionally versatile foundations for tailoring to any nautical purpose. They carry loads well on stable footing, have lots of working deck and interior volume. Parallel sides ease construction (especially over the mid-ships deadflat) and make the most of their ends (think wide bunks, foredecks and cockpits).

All this, and relatively fast and inexpensive to build!

The approaches shown are just the tip of an iceberg of imagination, possibility and compromise. Innovate; copy; modify; shake 'em up; put 'em in a blender!

What might you do, given an empty box?


*****

A few that got left out:

SCUTTLEFISH
(BIRDWATCHER style)

CARGO

SHANTY

Idea for a container boat...
They dont HAVE to be boxy!




Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Square Jig for Square Boats

Holes range from 1/4in to 1/2in
May add 7/8in and 3/4in, someday


We meet upon the level, and part upon the square.
 -- Masonic Proverb
 
A Square Jig for Square Boats

Can't say I'm a jig kindofa guy.

When building TRILOBYTE on the fly, a friend stopped by to see how we were doing. He's an ex-shopteacher/current bowyer... standards are high. 

The task at hand was drilling the side windows for screws all around their perimeters.

Our usual approach is divide-and-conquer. This case was an eight foot stretch and we wanted fasteners every six inches or so. Open spaces are divided by twos or threes as seems right by eye. If we're feeling persnickety, we might measure and mark it, using a chip of wood to inset it. But we don't often.

Eight, four, two, one, half-a-foot. Shazaam.

This was a little too quick and dirty for our friend. He gave us a passionate speech on the virtues of precise patterns - how it was the mark of a professional. That it went quickly and looked its best.

We hemmed. We hawed. To show us how easy and efficient it all is, he volunteered to make us a jig.

He did, too. A nice li'l number that worked like a charm. A rabbeted slide with guide holes precisely placed. A thing of beauty, form and efficiency.

Problem is, by the time it was done - a matter of a half hour or so - we'd already drilled AND mounted all the windows.

Looked fine, too. Even he admitted it.

*****

One more story...

When computer generated music first came out, it sounded flat. Robotic. Lifeless.

Why? The algorithms were perfect! Every note was precisely on pitch. Sounded for exactly the duration specified. Attack, reverb and fade were mathematically true to the nth decimal place.

Sucked.

Turns out, the human ear doesn't care for too much perfection. Finds it sterile and uninteresting. Got no soul. Turns out, introducing small errors of pitch, tone and timing brought it alive to us. Turns out, we prefer our imperfect, gritty, wonderful world with all its flaws. We insist on them.

I'm sure there's a lesson in there, somewhere.

*****

So I'm not a jig guy.

But one thing that does come in handy in a square boat is a hole bored square to a surface. Not only handy, but if it's not square, often enough it's gotta be plugged and drilled again. Otherwise a fastner might not pass through its hole in a metal plate. Or a fastner head, washer or nut won't sit flat and water intrudes. Or the durn thing comes out the side.

A square jig for a square boat helps us along.

Next time you're near a drill press, I recommend this:

Start with  a nice, rectangular chunk of stock - hardwood or aluminum work easily and hold up.

Inset a line of squared off holes of standard sizes along edges - just enough room for your drills when pressed against a wall.

To use, align a face of the jig with the reference face to which your hole will be square or parallel. Run your drill through, or at least far enough to continue square without the jig.

Unless the jig is clamped (seldom necessary), I find it helps to withdraw the jig with the bit, rather than the bit alone. If you get off line withdrawing a running power drill while still in the jig, it can get jumpy.

It helps if the jig is big enough to clamp a bit of stock to faces as a guide if a necessary to reach a reference face. For example, when drilling bolts for the handrails (whose upper face had been rounded) we used their sides as reference and drilled parallel to that face and square to the run of the upper face.

This jig - with some extra long bits - has given us quick and easy square holes, every time we've needed it.

Guess it's alright.


Anke drilling with our first, 1/4in jig
Note board clamped to side as guide along handrail sides
for square, plumb and level


Friday, August 26, 2016

Shanty-, House-, Boat: What's in a Name?


Think like a Bureaucrat...
Can you find all the things wrong in this picture?

(See end of post for answers!)
Blockprint by Harlan Hubbard

If ya can't hide it, decorate it.

-- Robin Hiersche, BBW

Shanty-, House-, Boat: What's in a Name?

Chances are that you, like me, look at the above scene and see a happy, thriving water community squeezed in the margins of the 'normal, productive society' topping the banks. When this was carved, that's exactly what it was.

But Concerned Citizens  and Bureaucrats (CC/Bs) see a sinister encroachment on their jurisdiction/privileges that is simply intolerable. They once thought of us merely as lazy ne'er-do-wells, but nowadays consider us to be full on parasites, criminals and detriments to property value. Maybe even Terrorists. Maybe, even...

Un-American.

Unless we're willing and able to spend our lives in hostile meetings and offices... unless we can live with frequent run-ins with Authority... unless we're willing to be moved along at (holstered) gun-point... unless we're willing to live with the chance of legal proceedings of condemnation and confiscation....

We've got to be wiley.

What follows, here, are some thoughts on strategies for avoiding pushing a Concerned Citizen's buttons. Setting in motion a Bureaucratic avalanche. Triggering the chase reflex of Busybodies and Authorities.

Musings, only. None of this is in the least intended to derogate anyone or their boats. Personally, my tastes run in almost perfect inverse to the 'standards' of Society! In those lovely backwaters where folks can still get away with being, in large part, themselves, I bid all power to the people.


Attitude

Despite the rather resentful flavor of this rant, I tend to like and get along with the persons I'm calling CC/Bs.

It helps to remember that they are just folks - often frustrated by dreams they've felt compelled to ditch along the way and lives they've chosen. Given a chance, they can very often be won over. Often, they become surprise allies!

Smile - A sincere smile goes a long way toward disarming a hostile approach.

Be relaxed and friendly - What have we got to lose? Belly bumping and shouting harden lines of opposition. Escalation isn't  in our interest.

Be hospitable - To offer a cup o' kindness - whether or not it is accepted, evokes a powerful, positive

Seek common ground
- Getting to 'yes' is our goal, and common ground helps us forward.

Don't volunteer problems - We may be concerned that they think thus-and-so, but let them raise the subject. No need to drop problems into their minds.

Don't show fear or submission - Both arouse the Bully within.

Bottom line, treat CC/Bs with friendly and consistent courtesy, regardless of their attitude, and don't sell yourself short. I've seen a LOT of the other kinds of interaction go south in short order. Most of those didn't go well for our side.


Looks Can Be Deceiving

CC/Bs seem prone to love- or hate-at-first sight. We want to tip the balance in our favor, insofar as possible, or at least prevent a capsize the other way.

Note that none of these strategies actually imply what they suggest. They're more like camouflage, really.

Tidiness suggests responsibility. The first thing to set a CC/B on the warpath is a mess of any description. Trash, clutter,  loose tarp. Anything. Keeping it tidy is an investment in conflict avoidance.

Paint and trim suggest pride. There's a fine line between 'run-down' and 'quaint'. Neither are ideal, as they both attract attention. But since attention can't be avoided, we hope for the latter.

Visible safety gear suggests sea-worthiness and responsibility. .Running lights, anchor gear, PFDs, etc. all telegraph that you won't have to be bailed out by the municipality.

A visible motor or sailing rig (propulsion) suggests movement and trancience. We aren't a fixture. At worst we represent a temporary problem. Maybe we'll move along on our own, with no action 'required'.


What's in a Name?

Is there a functional difference between a shantyboat, a houseboat and a (liveaboard) boat (aka vessel)?

The distinction is at best fuzzy, and to my mind moot. The name reflects the romantic relationship one has with their vessel, more than any fundamental difference. I think of our own homes as in all three terms,  depending on mood and context. At most, any distinctions involve very fuzzy thresholds.

But to the CC/B , the distinctions are stark and have legal and procedural teeth.

Shanties - whether by land or sea - are seen as dwellings on 'the wrong side of the tracks'. Derelict by definition. A problem to solve. (Con)Damnible.

Houses - whether by land or sea - have a measure of respectability. They have an address. Valuation. Standing. CC/Bs generally live in one themselves, and aspire to own one or more. Just changing the label on a structure can afford a false sense of affinity..

Houseboats are an actual legal category; a box on the registration form! If you have any choice, 'tis better to live aboard a boat than a houseboat. Houseboats suggest living aboard, a not always licit activity. They're often restricted in number and location, if not forbidden outright.

Note that CC/Bs are often hypocritically associated with shanty- and houseboats of their own. A retreat, if you will, from the rigors of eradicating vermin. If sufficiently quaint or kempt and floating properly in a marina or alongside sufficiently privileged private property, or even in selective, look-the-other-way playgrounds, no problem.

Boats
, too, are a legal category, but as yet the least encumbered. All kinds of boats are necessary to the comfort and reward of CC/Bs. In all the confusion, they haven't fully gotten around to sifting what they see as wheat from chaff. But they're working on it.
There is a gradient, merely in the name, as to the response you receive. Try it out in coffeshop conversation, some time. Talk about a water community using the different terms, and observe the body language. Do shoulders tighten? Faces flush? Nostrils flare? Breathing become shallow and uneven? Does using a different term sooth the beast?

Of course, there's nothing to stop us from using our favored term among ourselves. But in these troubled times, strategies of duck, weave and cover can help keep us on the water in the face of bureaucratic blight.


A rose is a rose is a rose, and by any other name smells as sweet.



What the Concerned Citizen / Bureaucrat See

Monday, August 15, 2016

Easy Insurance for Ply Boats: Doubler Plate / Horizontal Butt-Strap

Hole-in-the-Wall... *GULP*!
from PaddleHeaven.com



Prevention is better than cure.
- Desiderius Erasmus


Easy Insurance for Ply Boats: Doubler Plate / Horizontal  Butt-Strap

In TriloBoat StudyPLANs (for square boats built of plywood), I suggest installing doubler plates.

Judging by questions I field, this isn't a self-explanatory concept, so I elaborate. But first, a yarnlet...

*****

We occasionally get a wild hair to do something really... well... ill-advised.

This time, it was to shoot Hole-in-the-Wall, a narrow break in the levee separating an estuary from a passage between islands, in ZOON, our ex-Bolger LONG MICRO. At 19ft6in x 6ft6in, it was a tight squeeze. We wanted to do it just before max ebb, too, which generated a three foot water drop gushing through the heaped stone wall. This left us plenty of water, both beneath ZOON's flat bottom and to propel us with adrenal force. We thought of it as a training mission.

To our credit, we'd scoped it well, and were counting on a sand flare on the down side of the gap; if we overshot the sharp right turn necessary to clear to deeper water, we'd fetch harmlessly up on sand for a tide cycle. Fail-safer.

As we approached, however, we could see someone in a power skiff, doing something-or-other near that sand-bank. We hovered on standby, but didn't abort (as we should have) to see what he was up to. Once he zoomed off, we decided the increasing water flow was still manageable, and to go for it (without further reconnaisance!).

Well... it was satisfyingly gripping, and all went according to plan. Except. Except, the skiff guy had parked a log on our fail-safe, awaiting the turn of the tide!

We were not able to make the turn, and bumped the log, rather than the bank. But we skid along it, under force of water flow, and shot past into the clear.

Anchored and congratulating ourselves on surviving our foolishness, however, Anke discovered a drippy leak at the edge of our bunk. Turns out we'd encountered a (mercifully) short branch spike just above the waterline, and had punctured our 1/2in (12mm) side.

A bit of scavenging and jury rig later, the hole was patched and we went  on our merry way, not as sad as we might've been, but wiser.

*****

Since that time, we've been installing what I call doubler plates - an extra layer of plywood installed along the lower hull, at least doubling hull thickness to well above the waterline.

Their weight is low, contributing to ballast stability, their volume more than floats themselves and being outboard, contribute to form stability. The fact that they overlap the bottom edges means it protects then and its glue join is considerably improved. We view them as more or less sacrificial... while they are constructed as hull proper, being add-ons, any scrapes or dings in them can be easily repaired or filled with little concern for the hull's integrity.

TIPS:

Twenty-four inch (1/2 sheet) and sixteen inch (1/3 sheet) are convenient heights given plywood's 48in sheet width.
Doubler plates of 3/4in or thicker provide good 'bury' for any fasteners used while gluing them in place.


For square boats built from plywood, another feature soon became apparent.

Many hull sides are taller than a single sheet of plywood, and must be extended upward via a run of full or partial width ply. These strakes are often joined with a horizontal buttstrap (narrow strip of plywood straddling the seam where they butt together), but these must be notched into bulkheads requiring careful placement and carpentry, and they interrupt the smooth interior wall... vertical joinery must be further notched around them.

By placing the narrow strake low along the chine and using doubler plates which are taller than the lower sides, a longships rabbet (notch) is formed. The upper strake can be lowered into this notch and glued and fastened in place along it.  All this without any notching, and a smooth inner wall results. In my opinion, this feature alone pays for the increased cost/effort of installing doubler plates.

EXAMPLE:

We're building WAYWARD with 5ft sides, calling for 4ft plus 1ft. The 1ft strake is run low, and our 2ft doubler plates form a very deep notch. Given draft designed to range from 12 to 16 inches, the top of the doublers will rise 12 to 8 inches above the waterline. In our case, we've chosen to copper plate the bottom and sides to the top of the doublers, for excellent combined protection.


A further perk: Since the doubled lower hull is quite low, it facilitates the option of completing the lower hull upside-down, flipping it, and building upward from there. Temporary frames may be used, or clever types can divide their bulkheads into upper/lower portions.

This simple upgrade improves puncture resistance, simplifies construction and makes the inverted build option more attractive and manageable.



Not bad for a coupla extra sheets of ply!

Monday, August 8, 2016

More than One Way to Sheath a Boat



https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/08/Borden's_logo.jpg
Better Living along the Milky Way

Hell has an entire level devoted to... wrapping.
- From the Internet, Somewhere


More Than One Way to Sheath a Boat


Once upon a time, before Epoxy was crowned King of All and took Fibra Glass to be his Queen, there lived a simple lagging compound named Arabol, and his true love, Dynel.

Wait. No. Is this any way to talk about boatbuilding??? Let me start again...

Arabol was once made by Borden, Incorporated, a dairy on steroids. Trademarked in 1905, it was a milk-based  product which was essentially waterproof Elmer's Glue (another Borden product).

Arabol's main commercial use was as a lagging compound.

I know... I had to ask, too. Lagging is the cloth once used to wrap hot water pipes for insulation and protection of those who might otherwise burn themselves. Lagging compound is a latexy substance used to saturate and waterproof lagging, making sort of a softly plasticized cast.

Someone along the way realized that this stuff could be used to sheath boats (generally, but not always above the waterline). BRILLIANT!!!

To apply, lay down fabric - anything from burlap to mosquito netting to fiberglass. Wet it down with water and slap on a first coat of compound. Once dry (which can go quickly on a warm dry day), add another full-strength layer. Repeat until the desired thickness is achieved. Topcoat with flat, latex primer/paint (one among many options).

The result was said to last 15 years or more.

Borden quit making Arabol by the time we built LUNA in 1997, so we tried Childers Chil-Seal (Marine variant CP-50A HV2) over fiberglass cloth. Nineteen rough-shod years later, it's still looking good.

These decks are a bit soft... one can dent it with a fingernail or pierce it with a dropped anchor, but tougher than most traditional canvas. But they're not easy to harm, and easily repaired if you do. Should you want to take up a section for any reason, they have relatively low peel resistance and come up easily with no grinding.

Further alternatives might be other lagging compounds or water-based, concrete sealer?

Recently, we're trying the same approach with TiteBond III, made by Franklin International. It's applied by the same procedure, but finishes to a much harder surface, almost indistinguishable from epoxy. Our new hull's decks are sheathed with it, and it has now survived a year of Southeast Alaskan weather with no sign of trouble.

As noted in the comments by astute readers, it may be that new TBIII won't readily bond to itself after full cure. For multi-layer applications, we've always done 'wet over green (not fully cured), and ditto for any topcoating of primer (though one topcoat test bonded well to fully cured TBIII). My intuition is that, roughed up, the bond should be reasonable to good, but that has yet to be seen.

Dynel is a trade name for woven acrylic fabric once made by Union Carbide. Jamestown Distributors still sells 5oz under that name, and my guess is most any woven, and possibly knit acrylic will do. Alan Jones reports good texture results from acrylic fleece, but that it drinks glue.

Acrylic is highly resistant to abrasion, and often laid over kayak keels to protect fiberglass/resin. It's cheaper, easier to handle and better conforming than glass fabric without those itchy shards. Grinding can 'pill' or 'fuzz' it, but that's easily shaven smooth with a sharp scraper.

So our state-of-the-art is Chil-Seal (proven) or TiteBond III (awaiting further results) with acrylic cloth.

Cheap, easy, pleasant, non(or ver lowly)-toxic, easily maintained...

...Just the thing for the quick and dirty among us!



*****


More on water-based alternatives, here.

By the way...

We used Chil-Seal between LUNA's 2x2, red cedar, strip-planked deck planks, since it was on hand and extra. Turned out to be quite adhesive and filled the gaps easily between the un-bevelled edges as they followed a 6in crown. Undiluted, it was about like gap-filling toothpaste, as I recall. Dried to a sandable solid, like old chewing gum.

We didn't clean up right away with water, and regretted it later. I set up firm enough that we couldn't easily cut it. Burred it away with a Dremel tool along the underside grooves. The things we do for vanity!

I'm thinking Chil-Seal or equivalent would make a very friendly adhesive for general strip-plank construction. It's modest elastomericity would help prevent longitudinal edge failures sometimes seen with epoxy and other rigid glues.


LUNA's deck before sheathing

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales: A Review on Second Read

By Laurence Gonzales


If you're not afraid, you don't appreciate the situation.
-- Ambrose Curry, big surf instructor [Quoted in Deep Survival]

----

Most of us sleep through the test. We get in and out and never know what might have been demanded. Such an experience can make us even more vulnerable, for we comee away with the illusion of growing hardy, salty, knowledgeable: Been there, done that.

The maddening thing for someone with a Western scientific turn of mind is that it's not what's in your pack that separates the quick from the dead. It's not even what's in your mind. Corny as it sounds, it's what's in your heart.
-- From Deep Survival


Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why 
by Laurence  Gonzales
A Review on Second Read

Deep Survival explores what it is that survivors do in the approach to crisis, during and in its aftermath.

Via heart-stopping accounts of life, death and the sometimes hairbreadth boundary between, Gonzales guides us through vistas at once familiar and alien. Where children under six are a demographic with a high incidence of survival. Where 'Rambo types' are the first to go. It is a surprising journey.

We find ourselves, lost in the World. Vast and chaotic. At once predictable and utterly beyond prediction. Absolutely consequential, yet hinged on chance.

We map the world in our minds, plotting our futures as best we may. Yet correspondence between map and mapped is imperfect. Discrepancy alone can lead us astray. Under stress we tend to "bend the map", such as it is, imposing what we wish or fear upon the lay of our surrounds. Our very expertise can blind and mislead us with unwarranted assurance and unlooked for Pavlovian response.

We are introduced to conflict and accord between amygdalian imperatives - our ancient brain center urging freeze, flee or fight - versus neo-cortical overrides - more recently evolved, in hot pursuit of rational pattern. Gonzales writes, "The amygdala would urge instant action without thought. It has the chemical authority to do that, too. So it takes energy, balance and concentration to shift control to the executive functions of the neocortex."

Yet the 'rational' neocortex can be anything but... micro-managing, rationalizing, derailed, overloaded, distracted. Or dead wrong. It's a system whose bugs are still being worked out under the none too gentle hand of natural selection.

As Malcom Gladwell put it, "Choking is about thinking too much. Panic is about thinking too little." [Quoted from Deep Survival]

Somewhere in the mix - its nature and origins as yet mysterious - is the 'heart' to keep going in the face of overwhelming odds.

Heart is the the central theme in Gonzales' fugue on survival. Survivors may react by reflex to save themselves. They may override the blind and sometimes disastrous impulse to beeline for safety. They may let go of expectation to accept their situation. They may organize their resources and small steps toward survival. But it is what's in the heart that gets and keeps them going.

That's good news and bad news, maddening to this writer's Western scientific turn of mind.

The good news: with heart (and luck), anything is possible, to the point that survival may seem super-human. The bad news: heart isn't easily acquired if you don't already have it. Worse, one really doesn't know if one has it or not until crunch time.

Heart is habitual, according to Gonzales, and I have litttle reason to doubt him. It is the habit acquired in meeting the crises and challenges of everyday life. It may be sought and even cultivated. It can be acquired, but only through long practice. That weekend or week or month long survival course, of itself, won't do it. At best, heart is exercized and strengthed in each step of one's every day. At worst, we float half-alive through our days and our atrophied heart is AWOL in our hour of need.

So Deep Survival doesn't turn out to be a toolkit of strategies that can be learned, though it offers some of those. It doesn't impart skills though it values them. Nor resolve the conflicts within the mind, though it makes suggestions. It doesn't promise easy mastery or make guarantees. But it informs. It illuminates. It sets before us a series of koans to unfold. It encourages the accumulation of expertise without loss of  beginner's mind. A Tao of Survival as useful each day as it is in the pinch.

Gonzales leaves us with Rules of Adventure, his distillation of advice and survivor practice/attitudes. I've dumbed them down for my own use, and present them here, along with my strong recommendation that you read the book in it's full glory.

One day and every day, it might save your life.

*****

Be here now.
Prepare yourself as best ye may.
Be open to wonder.

Get busy living, or get busy dying.
Be confident, yet humble.
Be boldly cautious; cautiously bold.
Surrender, but don't give up.

Go get 'em, Grasshopper!