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Anke and I live aboard WAYWARD, and wrote about it's design and construction at

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... I'll respond as I can.

Fair winds!

Dave and Anke
triloboats swirly gmail daughter com

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Hot Toddy, Hot Schnotty: A Cure for What Ails Ya

Vinegar over Honey
plus spices,
before topping off with hot Water

I will use those dietary regimens which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgement...
-- From the Hippocratic Oath

Hot Toddy, Hot Schnotty: A Cure for What Ails Ya

By sheer coincidence, these two recipes came to us within a week of the other. The former is recreational, while the latter is medicinal. And without further ado...

Hot Toddy (from S/V VALIANT)
Whiskey (start with a finger or two?)
Apple Cider Vinegar (a splash, to begin with)
Squeeze some lime or lemon (or leave a twist)
Water (to top off)
Honey (to taste)
Salt around the rim (if that's how you roll)

All ingredients adjusted to taste/tolerance.

This one does for the recreational end of the spectrum. The whiskey is 'rotgut' (aka cheap)... no point mixing 80 year old Scotch with vinegar. The citrus can sometimes be found in your local, neighborhood dumpster, but we buy concentrate by the quart.

Hot Schnotty aka Fire Cider (amalgamated from the internet)
1 part Honey
1 part Apple Cider Vinegar
1 part Water (hot)
Heavy squirt of Hot Sauce
Pinch of CinnamonPinch of
Pinch of
(if ya have it)
Twist of Lemon (if ya have it)

This one's medicinal. Blasts snotty nose, sore throat and eases a cough. Useful stuff when sailing into the social proximities of civilization. Serve warm or hot for best effect, taking a sip every so often. I don't recommend drinking it down! Listen to your stomach. I find it works best when gargled for a bit. It settles, so stir or shake it before use.

Interesting overlap between the two recipes. Their taste definitely has a family resemblance.
Both harken to our (great?)grandparents' use of vinegar and honey as home remedies.

Vinegar is acidic (generally 7% acetic acid), so should be taken in moderation. It has been used to treat or ease many external conditions, and is anti-fungicidal. Taken internally, it has been considered a blood tonic (my G'parents said it 'thinned' the blood) and, especially in the throat, an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent. But be aware that acid has internal effects on the teeth and stomach. A cup or so is a very potent emetic (makes us puke).

Honey is high in sugars with all their pros and cons. Local honies, especially, help prepare the body for pollens, reducing allergic reactions. In the throat, it can (like any sugar concentrate) discourage bacterial growth via osmotic action. On the other hand, once it's diluted (by saliva), it's food for growth. I personally let it sit thick for a bit, and then clear it out.

Cinnamon, Ginger, Tumeric and Peppers are all traditionally medicinal along with many others you can experiment with, and considered to be anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Cayenne has even been mixed in with cheap bottom paint to up its anti-fouling properties!

Whatever the case, it sure seems to help!


Bonus Yarn:

My Mom used to make us honey lemon teas for a cough suppressant.

One night, I had it bad, but didn't want to wake anyone up. I was six, after all... nearly a man.

I filled a pot with honey and brought it to a boil, then added a squirt of lemon. I carefully decanted the mix into a mug.

Then burned the bejeezus out of my lips, waking all in the house with my wails. I suppose it could have gone so much worse.

An early lesson in the importance of proportion and expert advice!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Getting Concrete... Sorta

Why concrete and box barges go together?

You say to a brick, 'What do you want, brick?' And brick says to you, 'I like an arch.' And you say to brick, 'Look, I want one, too, but arches are expensive and I can use a concrete lintel.' And then you say: 'What do you think of that, brick?' Brick says: 'I like an arch.'

--Louis Kahn

Getting Concrete... Sorta

In the never-ending search for cheap yet robust materials, concrete keeps popping up.

A boom in ferro-cement boats (concrete hulls built around a steel frame and mesh) left a mixed impression. Poorly made boats crumbled from their first days... water infiltrated the concrete and the steel bits rusted expansively, breaking up more concrete... and repeat. Well made vessels from that time can be told at a glance; they look great, structurally (cosmetics can challenge any vessel!).

But I'm more interested in wood-cement composites... the hull substantially wood, with cement or concrete playing supplementary roles.

Once again, I'm short on personal experience, but here are some evocative stories:
  • One fella wrote that, in the plank-on-frame boats he'd seen with internal concrete for ballast, he noted that the hull never had any rot issues below the concrete level (alkaline environment). Frames would rot right at the surface where bilge water collected and sat. He suggested fairing the concrete up the sides and, over a number of years, had had no more rot problems in that area.
  • Another remarked that in his years working with concrete, wood or tools that had been splashed with cement slurry and not cleaned up were extremely difficult to break free, later. If he did make the effort, the wood was invariably bright and tools invariably shiny under the cement (I can personally attest to this).
  • Samson (a leading ferro-cement design and construction firm) developed a method for planking up a hull as a permanent male mold, to the outside of which ferro mesh was stapled and cement sheathed for a fully composite hull.
  • George Beuhler was an advocate of ferro-concrete keels for us cheapskate builders. He'd up the density with boiler plate punchings, tire leads and spent sand-blasting shot.
  • Greame Kenyon of New Zealand has built and lived aboard small NZ Scows (near-box barges, but with the bottom Veed forward and brought out to a point). He has decades of happy experience sheathing his scows to above the waterline with ferro-cement. His method is a couple of layers of wire mesh affixed to the hull and finished with concrete to from 1/4in to 5/16in (6mm to 9mm-ish). It protects the wood chemically and mechanically, while concentrating its weight low in the hull.
  • Some exciting developments involve fiber reinforced concrete in which a whole array of fibers (in random strands or fabrics) are employed.
  • Phil Bolger suggested an internal ferro-cement slab (faired up the sides as per the first fella) to stiffen the bottom, provide ballast and a well sealed bilge.

Taking all these snippets together, I wonder if one could:

  • Sheath the hull to well above the waterline with ferro- or fiber-cement.
  • Thicken the bottom sheathing at will to provide ballast and grounding protection.
  • 'Paint' as much of the hull as desired with a fibered cement slurry for rot protection, inside and/or out.

Finishing the concrete above the waterline is straightforward sealant plus paint. Below that, I'm guessing a few thick coats of (coal tar?) epoxy (resin) with a compatible antifouling paint over would work as well as any more standard approach.

Me? I'm scratching my head over how to attach copper plate over a fiber- or cupro-cement layer!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Building for Blue Water

Doesn't show furnishings, but this is a good, strong start

Once more we sail with a Northerly gale
Through the ice, and wind, and rain
Them coconut fronds, them tropical lands
We soon shall see again

-- From Rolling Down to Old Maui -- Traditional Whaling Song

Building for Blue Water

I want to be clear... I have zero blue water experience, don't particularly want any and am NOT a naval architect. What follows is a bunch of amateur musings. Please take following assurances with a grain of salt and practice due diligence!

I'm often asked about taking TriloBoats offshore. In a nutshell, I don't see why not if they are built for it and competently handled.

That being said, I doubt they'd be the best choice if purpose built for the briny deeps. Wide barge bows and transoms (unless SKROWLed or brought to a point a la NZ SCOWS) could be uncomfortable in big water confused seas. Still, a number of blue water sailors I respect have said they think they'd do fine with only a few days of slow going in certain conditions. And once you're back 'longshore, I think they're hard to beat.

At the less expensive, DIY end of the spectrum, I'd likely choose a MacNaughton SILVER GULL, Benford DORY or Bolger ADVANCED SHARPIE. Of course, I'd fiddle with the designs - mostly regarding keel and rudder arrangements - but these are good, proven starting points.

Building for blue water, I think entails extra robust construction. But really, not a whole LOT more. Or rather, inshore cruisers shouldn't generally be a whole lot less, to my mind.

Where glue can fail and a nail can pull, double-ended fasteners are as secure as it gets (bolts, clench nails, rove and rivet and double wedged trunnels). Plank and frame joined by these should be thick and hard enough to resist pulling the ends through. Tape n Glue joints are strong and waterproof.

Pete Culler's dictum was "Nail where you can, screw where you should and bolt where you must." For taking a boat offshore, consider promoting everything up a notch. Note that bolts are expensive while the other double ended fasteners are not. Time, however, can be money.

NOTE: A non-cargo box barge can be a very light displacement boat for its footprint as it makes the most of its dimensions. This means it rises over, rather than plows through a wave. Skitters rather than absorbs a blow from a sea. Most of the sea stress is in the lower couple of feet of side, and fore and aft. The hull is a girder, as are interior furnishings which can be bonded structurally with an eye to longitudinal and side reinforcement. Rubrails, guards, eaves and the like can also be structural in support of the side panels. Modern glues create a virtual wood sculpture of the hull. All considered, a very strong yet lightweight hull can be built without the heavy frames and scantlings of traditional construction. 

I like strong, doggable, centerline hatches (furthest from water in a knock-down), stout windows (they can be large, but with sea-going shutters to reduce their exposed surface) and 360deg, waterproof ventilation (a round turn in a vent hose is an easy solution).

Myself, I like retractable lateral resistance and rudder on an ultra-shoal draft hull. This leaves little to 'trip' on in a broach. This is controversial, and harder to arrange on the dories as designed.

I'd build a stout junk rig, able to take (running and removable) stays (these generate strong downward forces when sails are full of wind, and cantilevered masts are not generally designed to take that). UltraHighMolecularWeight Polyethelene rope (Dyneema, Spectra, et al) is about as strong as steel by diameter... even going oversized leaves a light, low windage rig.

I'd  incorporate stormsails into the upper working sails, with lighter lowers. Since they'd be stayed, I'd go for maximum junk spread of sail. Maybe have some light-wind drifters for the metaphoric doldrums.

I'd like good anchor gear to include sea anchor and drogue set-and-retrieval (I'm a Jordan Series Drogue fan wearing both hats).

I've waffled about offshore cooking/heating fuels for years, with no real results. I like solid fuel stoves (wood and coal) but those can be scarce. A diesel drip can be added to the firebox as can a gas cooker (propane or LNG). A single burner gimballed stove can be chosen that burns a range of liquid fuels or exchange with a gas burner. A Retained Heat Cooker would be a real plus. Basically, one or two multi-fuel gizmos cover a lot of possibilities.

That's about it. Pretty much the same list for adventurous in- and 'longshore sailing. We can count on wood heat and duck out of the really bad stuff. Inshore, seas seldom reach the 'walking mountain' stage, anyway, and then only with fair notice.

Make good decisions!


Here's a selection of posts touching on this subject: