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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, December 18, 2022

Subjectivividy: Row / Sail Around Chichagof


Our route, minus squiggly bits

Is it not better to applaud
and embrace the ever-changing seas,
not a longing dream stranded
on an eroding shore?

For the relentless tides shape
the coastlines: changing the world,
leaving their imperfect marks on time.

-- from The Perfect Myth by kategorical_poet

Subjectivividy: Row / Sail Around Chichagof

Circumnavigation was incidental.

We were aiming for the outer coast. Outer Chich, as it is locally known... the (west) side of Chichagof Island exposed to the Gulf of Alaska. Big water. A half a million square miles big. One and a half million square kilometers. Wind and wave each have plenty of room to develop power. 

So we Inside Passagemakers plan to head outside in a small vessel. And not just small, but new to us, and encumbered with every oddball idea we've collected over an oddball career. 

We got more than the usual cargo of advice. Yagottas and Yacants and Yashouldnts and Yamusts. We're gonna love it. We're gonna die. There's no shelter. There's shelter everywhere. It's all foul bottom. It's good holding anywhere you'll want to be.The usual, in other words, but this time at full volume. 

A general rule of thumb is to prefer those experienced mariners who report positively. 

Nay-sayers - even those with experience - are typically reporting the negative experiences consequent to poor choices. Careless anchoring, poor choice of shelter, machoing out the blows... these all lead to a pessimistic view. Those who have good experiences are typically applying both knowledge and prudence. If these can ride out the storm, it ain't braggin'. If they find holding, it's there. If they find shelter, it's there. If they read advanced notice of trouble, it's there to read.

Still, we approached the trip with caution and not a little trepidation


Passage from Tenakee to Kalinen Bay, jump off point to the outer coast, involved a lot of rowing.

But our third day, in Peril Straits, a forecast of 'light winds' turned suddenly nasty. Five foot chop and gusts to 30kts of wind caught us mid-strait. This was our first stiff wind and way more than we'd bargained on! But MUSTELID took it well. With her whipstaff (vertical tiller) fixed a smidge to port, we could steer to s'brd by sheeting the main and raced across to shelter under a patch of sail.

Away in the distance, a humpback whale - longer than our hull and maybe 20x the mass - was coursing more or less toward us. But so long as we both maintained course and speed, it would pass easily behind us.

A few, absorbing gusts later and I looked again to find it now on a collision course! Not much time, and no room to maneuver on the face of the waves, I stomped the hull and called to Anke, below, to make noise.

That whale surged close, breathing slow and easy all the while, before it suddenly realized we were there, gulped air and emergency dived. I could have touched it with an oar. Anke saw its back, point blank, eclipse the sky. It's quick action saved us from being t-boned!

It would prove to be the closest call of the whole trip!


From Kalinen, we faced a NW passage along 14nm of foul bottom shoreline, girded by breakers over jagged rock teeth. Wind was predicted S15 with 7ft seas, which would allow us to adjust distance off as needed, despite the rock 'n' roll. The concern was SW wind (prevailing direction along there)... we weren't sure we could close reach in the slosh of sea... if not, that coast would be a gradual lee shore.

As it happened, following a wild start the wind dropped to nothing. We rowed. And rowed. And rowed. All the time rising and falling to W seas from the Gulf and watching them burst against the shoreward rocks, close at hand.

Finally, we found the S wind, blowing hard, and made for Peele's Passage.

Peele was a paragon of the many Prohibition era smugglers supplying hootch to hundreds of outer coast miners. He knew this rock strewn passage well, and ditched pursuing law enforcement in its narrow, weed-wracked confines.

Our first look at it, we come screaming in under dark of a squall. We close-hugged a windward rock, ensuring we could make the sharp turn in. As we rounded, we were alarmed by the roar of several sharp, black fangs of rock that seemed to surge toward us!

Quickly became clear... those were no rocks. Sea lions, startled as we were!


Crazed and Crazy

Once through Peele's we entered an island wonderland. 

I don't love the word 'awesome' (overused), but it's hard to think of a better. 'Terrific', maybe, in it's archaic sense of ability to inspire fear and respect? In any case, words fail.

Stretching from Slocum Arm in the south (Peehle's snakes along it) to Lisianski Strait in the north, outer Chich packs thousands of miles of coastline into a raven's flight of 30nm.

Approaching from the sea, solitaries and spray lines of rock must first be negotiated. Then fans of myriad tiny islands surrounding larger anchor islands. Then the perforated main body of Chichigof itself. All separated and connected by a labyrinth of weedy, bereefed passages. Shoals and deeps. Mountain, cliff and moor. Sheer rock and climax forest. And populated by fish, fowl, land and sea mammals running the local gamut.

Pretty much all of Southeast Alaska in a nutshell!

We drifted. We rowed. We sailed. We poked and prodded and scrabbled and scrooged. Feasted on its bounties, nourishing body and soul. And tucked away like the gem it is, White Sulfur Hotsprings let us look out on the open Gulf from the luxury of hot water! OMFG!! (Can I say that??)

We moved about in a daze - sometimes a literal daze of fog - overwhelmed by the beauties of the place.

But autumn was approaching, and with it equinoctial gales and storms rolling off the Gulf. On the first day of September, we rounded Three Knob Rock and turned toward inland waters.


Sunset over Icy Strait

Icy Strait looks simple. Should be simple. Ain't simple.

Forecast winds blow mostly E or W. Water rushes in and out the E end... that's a fact. After that, it's complicated. Deep troughs are separated by relatively shallow ridges... water rises, turns and rushes. Waters collide in rips and ridges. Eddies back and fill. Point Adolphus puts a kink in the whole works, throwing water from one side of the strait to t'other.

Over the years, we've figured out jigsaw pieces of the puzzle. Maybe put a corner together.

Going E from Adolphus, for instance, if you follow the S shore (where all the good shelter is), you soon run into a W setting current. A strong one. Always. Goes like this:

  • Outgoing tide, headed W to the sea, is on the nose.
  • Incoming tide, headed E from the sea, is on the nose.
Wait, WHAT?? Well, incoming water is thrown NW by Adolphus, setting up a huge back-eddy that curls and back-fills alongshore, headed W.

Best bet is to push E at low slack, hoping to forge across the eastbound river of water, into the eye before the back-eddy sets up full throttle.

And that's just one challenge!

But the vistas! Wide waters aligned with sunrise and sunset. Towering, glaciated mountains and Glacier Bay to the NW, with lesser but no less beautiful mountains lining the shores. Deep sounds, inlets and estuaries to either hand.

With all this open water view we realize that we're surrounded by whales in flight, breaching for reasons they have never shared with us.

They say when pigs can fly, meaning never. But whales do fly. Go figure.


Chilkoot Mountains

So we pull into Swanson Harbor at the cross-roads of Icy, Lynn and Chatham Straits. It's now late September and well past time to return to Tenakee before winter comes down hard.

But. But. But. But. 

But we're having such a great time! The temps are milder than usual for the season, and we're feeling in command of our vessel. Having family up there in Haines gives us a pretext. If we're there for a birthday on the 1st of October, we can take the next window S.

Now Lynn Canal is a full on fjiord let into mainland, North America. The wind comes down, as a friend says, with his Long Boots on! We've sailed it often, but even in bigger vessels, we prefer to keep our time there to the summer months. It would be... y'know... ill advised to head into the Lion's jaws this late in the year.

So rather than turn our bow south for home, we head north.

It's a humbling run at any time of year. The Chilkat and Chilkoot mountain ranges ramp up and up as we sail north, their peaks shredding the clouds. But as October approached, snow fell high and beautiful, clothing the naked rock with a mantle of white.

Birch turned autumn golds and reds are at first now and then. Soon they crowd the alluvial fans spreading at the outflows of valleys yet buried in ice. Flats along the way are limned with grasses turned sere and electric. Birds are flocking and on the wing, heading for winter grounds. 

We had more wind in six days of actual transit, coming and going, than we had all the rest of the trip combined! Water heaping up with 'well marked streaks' between bouts of scud blowing off the cresting waves. 

Sailing in such felt much more under control, however, knowing our boat and having advanced our small craft sailing skills considerably over the summer. A little cotton mouth here, shaky legs there, and speedy runs up and back.

At one point, we were running south with a fair wind and last end of tide. Wind and sea had both been picking up, but a large lee lay close ahead. But then three short, steep, tall waves overtook us, one after the other. If they arose with a fair tide, we'd better get out of that before it turned foul! We had at hand a cove with a tricky tidal entrance, but low slack is the perfect time. So we rounded into a sudden, flat calm and rowed, easy as you please, with the new incoming tide into one of the best harbors in the world.

Slept like babes.


Back in Swanson in mid-October, it was only a matter of waiting for a window to head for home. It's still the cross-roads of three cranky stretches of water, and Swanson itself is a geographical wonder... wind might be 15 gusting to 25kts higher than the surrounding areas at any given time.

But in due time, a window came. After all this, the homeward leg was uneventful, to our great relief. We rowed and sailed in lighter winds for the very most part.

Turning that last corner into Tenakee inlet aroused mixed feelings. 

We felt the pull of that next horizon strong within us. Despite generous helpings of friends and family along the way, we'd mostly been just the two of us, delighting in our duetude. We had faced much together. Leaned on one another with an intensity not called from us since our early days on the water. To immerse ourselves in a community, even for a season, is to trade something we value for something invaluable.

To me, this closeness to one another throughout the trip was the most vivid aspect of our whole, luminous venture.

Subjectively speaking.


Sunday, December 11, 2022

Time's Winged Chariot. Hopefully.

24ft x 5/4ft x 6in
~1000lbs dry / ~2000lbs loaded

Returning from the Venture

Photo by Bruce Simonson

Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’

Into the future…

– From Fly Like an Eagle by Steve Miller

Time's Winged Chariot. Hopefully.

I’ve been musing aloud, as it were, in posts about sailing against the entropic wind (aging).

We want options for less demanding sailing. AND we don’t want to wait too long to get them in hand.

So we worked out a plan, built a vessel (S/V MUSTELID), and took it out for a spin. Four months and upwards of 500nm later we’re pleased with the results. Despite several stretches of conditions we wouldn’t have chosen to venture into, she took all in stride.

The trip included some big water passages with wind ranging from calm to about 35kts (in sustained gusts) and seas from flat to about 10ft (max, over 7ft predominant). Despite bouts of cotton mouth and some pucker factor, it felt safe and capable in every situation. 

Mostly, though, there was a lot of reasonably efficient rowing over flat water. At a relaxed saunter, we moved along at 1.5kts. A sustainable, all-day pace averaged about 2kts (longest day was about 14hrs rowing!). In a sprint we moved along about 2.75kts (we could keep this up for about an hour before falling back to sustainable). Accordingly, our strategy was - as expected - to generally row in light conditions or wait for a fair wind.

All told, the smaller vessel was able to take us faster / farther with less effort than our larger cruiser. Lost in trade were the full comforts of home for the adequate comforts of a camper-cruiser. Most of the trip we foraged hand-to-mouth with a backbone of carbs, which let us sail remote for extended periods, beyond what we could carry in provisions.


Our priorities for the design were as follows:

  • Cheap and easy construction (‘cuz… well… we’re cheap and easy!)

  • Positive buoyancy (best way not to go down with the ship is don’t let the ship go down!)

  • Decent, high stability sailing (our waters are cold… we don’t want to flip)

  • On-board self-rescue (if we do suffer knockdown, we want to right it from on-board)

  • Good carrying capacity (to carry food and tools for extended trips)

  • Decent rowing (the wind is free; our hp ain’t)

  • Retractable rudder / LR (easy beaching)

  • Good offwind sailing (under easy to stow and handle rig)

  • Some onwind sailing (ditto… any windward ability is gravy)

  • Allowance for outboard motor (who knows?)

  • Shelter aboard without set-up (torrential rains after long days)

  • Wood-fire galley (dry heat, fuel gathered as we go)

  • Double berth (important for couples)

After much juggling and balancing, we came up with:

  • Flattie’ hull (flat bottom, moderate flare, moderate full-length rocker)

    • Sampan bow (good foredeck, easy, secure beaching)

    • Parallel runs aft (easy construction above and below sheer)

    • Spread chines (increased stability, displacement, interior volume)

  • BIRDWATCHER aft cabin

    • Fixed shelter (no need to set up dry quarters, improved heat retention)

    • High reserve buoyancy (for knock-down recovery)

    • Telescoping hatches (mount large PV array)

  • Water-tight stowage fore, aft and in cockpit (positive buoyancy)

  • Double station rowing cockpit with rolling seats (efficient, open-air rowing)

  • Ljungstrom / Holopuni Quick Rig extensible hybrid (easy set, strike, reef, handling)

There’s a lot more - this boat got mutted with years of ideas accumulated over the years - but this’ll do for now.

The upshot is, we met or exceeded all of our expectations, and got some insights toward improving windward sailing (which was unexpectedly worth improving!).

At the design level, we were quite happy with trade-offs (compromise among opposing values).

The hull design is 'tightly coupled'. For example, increasing the carrying capacity (as we might wish), would ramify throughout the hull, impacting several other priorities. Deepening draft would exceed the 2ft side panel limit (materials savings) or reduce freeboard (reducing reserve buoyancy, changing oar angles), reducing forward flair and increasing sleeping platform curvature (hard on the back). And though we might wish to carry more on occasion, the half-ton we have proved ample.

In particular, the flared hull was a departure for us from vertical sides. But in this case, it allowed higher ends and rocker on a narrow panel, added spray deflection for the low sided, open cockpit and preserves reserve buoyancy despite narrowing toward the bow (reducing windage and wetted surface). It adds reserve buoyancy from about mid-ships aft, flaring as it does from the full, 4ft bottom. As a bonus, the flair is much more comfortable to lean against within the minimal interior, and gives extra elbow room at sheer level. All in all, we feel this paid for itself for this particular design.

If we were to change one thing, we would consider making the transom vertical. It's 12deg rake looks better (vanity) and accepts a square motor mount (marginal advantage). A vertical transom would allow aft beaching legs for leveling the boat on a sloped beach, increase the waterline length (marginal speed / displacement / stability increase) and simplify construction.

Rig-wise, we added a small driver aft to help keep the bow into stronger winds while rowing into them. This reduced steering effort from the sweeps, freeing them for the power stroke. Otherwise, the tendency was to blow flat, perpendicular to the wind.

Odd ideas that worked out well:

  • OffCenterBoards stow inboard, vertically against the sides. At anchor, they may be laid flat on cockpit cleats to form a large platform for outdoor workspace, sleeping or picnic.

  • A longitudinal locker / seat, cleated P&S, allows rolling seats for leg-powered rowing. These were DIYed ‘double-rolling’ style without bearings (which are vulnerable to salt water).

  • ‘Spacered outwales’ were built heavy to take ‘accessorized’ mounts for cleats, OCB hangers, whipstaff, and what-have-you.

  • Six identical sails are leg-o’-mutton (triangular) and join along luff and leech for a variety of sailplans, tarps or tipis. Worked well for the most part… might upgrade to a shaped mid-ship sail for improved windward ability.


Looking back, the high count of cockamamy ideas not only worked individually, but worked well together. 

The fixed shelter eased the ends of long days and made a fine hang-out during the generally cool, wet summer, punctuated by several ‘atmospheric rivers’. It’s rocket stove heated the cabin quickly and safely and cooked many’s the delicious meal. While we never had to try its self-righting feature, it was several times reassuring to know it was at hand.

Our hope is that with this vessel as our older-age auxiliary, we’ll be able to use it as a forager for our cruising home which we expect in turn to become more sedentary over the years. This trip proved to us that  the smaller vessel gives us a high bar for adventure while we’re able, with plenty of room to downsize as ability declines.

Time will tell!

Plain sail Ljungstrom Ketch

Long-haul tri-mode Schooner (As yet untried)

NOTE: Soon we'll tell you about the experience.

NOTE: Plans are being finalized... watch this space!

Monday, December 5, 2022

No Position, No Time


Miles from Nowhere

Think I’ll take my time

To get there

To get there

– Cat Stevens

No Position, No Time

By Anke Wagner

Friends gave us our VHF base station radio. This was something we always eventually wanted but never got around to buying. The little bit of radio communication we were willing to engage in could easily be covered by our hand-held.

After mounting the antenna, installing the radio and hooking everything up it was time to see if it worked.

We switched it on and on the screen appeared the statement:



(No GPS, as a matter of fact, and therefore neither of the above.)

Wow, I thought, how perfect! That fits us to a T!!

And what a luxury and privilege it is to be able to live that way, at least in most stretches of our life so far. Not to have a position geographically, politically, religiously… you name it.

And time, being absolute our own, regardless of the numbers on the screen or arms of a clock, pointing accusingly at bygone minutes.

The yin side…

Keeping it simple, not in need of buying fuel, we can decide on the dry stretch of weather to bring in the needed wood for cooking and heating. Having a lot of dried goods, foraging and fishing allows us to stay in nooks and crannies, estuaries and secluded coves for months on end in blissful solitude! Until we feel the need for change.

But there is also a yang side to this…

Previous years and the last 2 winters we pulled into a small community, live in the harbor, house-sit where dogs, cats and critters need company, supervision and care and reach out with volunteer work.

A mutual need is met with friendships and social interaction, things get done, our input shows real-time results. We work for a greater good and receive it in return.

Experiencing first-hand that nobody is an island, on the one hand, but also feeling that all is temporary in the big and small picture.

We can give with a great amount of energy, patience and tolerance because we have this little back door always open…

No position.

No time.

Like a Zen koan, a blinking radio screen. All you have to do is untie…

…and with that option you find the reason why you’re doing what you are doing.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Foraging Ahead: Independence Along the Way

Our Go-to Guide

Good info; great pictures
We also use it to organize notes from other sources

Hunter-gathers by nature
Store information for use,
Understanding that there may be a time
When information is scarce.

― Brian C. O'Connor, Jud H. Copeland, Jodi L. Kearns

This sudden sweet loot appearing...

― Aspen Matis

Foraging Ahead: Independence Along the Way

Anke and I have been pursuing the know-how and means to stay out and away for longer and longer periods. At least to have the option. We've come a long way; still have a long way to go.

We recently spent half of a four month rowing / sailing trip experimenting with near hand-to-mouth forage. During this time we lived mostly from fish and wild plants. We took along our complementary rice / lentil mix (2:1 for complete protein), dried fruit and olive oil, using each very sparingly.

Result? We lost weight and felt great! 

We were hungry more often than we normally tolerate, but not to the point of discomfort, and were eating amply at mealtimes. We quickly learned to make up a 'salad' for the day (fish and berries mixed in)... this allowed us to snack as needed between two cooked meals a day. 

Of note, the 'super-carb' diet of vegetables, fish meat and oils, and fresh berries - the bulk of what we were eating - supported the heavy exertion of rowing up to 12 hours a day (well... mostly more like 6 to 8).

Meanwhile, we were cooking and heating with a rocket stove modified for indoor use. This let us gather wood every few days with ratcheting anvil loppers (quicker and easier than sawing), while drying it onboard as needed.

So we're pleased to find that our sloppy assemblage of skills has brought us near to the point that we could subsist indefinitely, if need be. 


If we wish to venture away for any extended stretch of time - let's say months to years - from towns / resupply it helps to find werewithal along the way... shelter, water, food, fuel and materials.

Shelter is pretty easy, assuming we're sailors aboard our live-aboard vessels... they come with us as a matter of course. When necessary, shelter may be improvised from foraged materials (a big subject... maybe later?).

Water is nowadays only a little tougher. Offshore seawater desalinators are available in manual models and can be DIYed

'Longshore, especially in our rainforest, spring and groundwater flows provide plenty of fresh water, which can be easily filtered by compact, cheap and durable systems. These too can be DIYed with simple filtration systems, using home-made charcoal as the active principle. 

A plastic bottle filled with water and left in bright sun for a sufficient time will UV-sterilize its contents (SODIS: SOlar water DIStillation). Sadly, plastic bottles may be foraged along all the coasts of the world.

Food is foragable in hunter (fish, game, fowl) / gatherer mode. 

For sailors, fishing is the easiest, especially if you are willing to eat cod and other 'scrap' fish. I'll include other seafoods in this category, despite not being fish per se... crustaceans and molluscs  (grazing, single shell types are less prone to PSP (Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning) than bivalves).

Hunting and fowling are another deep subject I'll leave for another time. Consider salting, smoking, jerking and canning as longer term options for preservation without a freezer.

Most environments that are even marginally intact support a wealth of edible plants, and guides are generally available featuring local edibles and those to avoid.

Guerrilla gardens can help concentrate and enhance native plants, and add select, supplemental varieties. In our region, for instance, high-carb plants are few and far between... guerrilla potato patches are one way to add them. Alternatively, consider adopting a paleo-, neo-paleo- or neo-lithic diet... all three come much easier once you're out there.

NOTE: These diets are a little fuzzy. Generally speaking, paleo diet allows only wild grains (if at all), neopaleo diet adds early, cultivated grains, while neolithic adds 'modern' whole grains.

Plants can be dried (big weight and volume savings... just add water!), canned and fermented to preserve.

Fuel is used for heating, cooking and power (electrical and possibly propulsion).

Wood and other bio-fuels can be collected from land and shorelines along the way. 

We've had the most experience with wood, and supporting technologies are highly developed. A mild-steel stove or range, for instance, will work with driftwood, where cast iron will degrade. Rocket, gassifying and forced draft stoves are widely available, DIYable, and have the advantage of burning more efficiently and with less smoke. Less wood is necessary, and smaller pieces work well meaning reduced impact ashore, footprint aboard and gathering effort.

Materials are mostly wood in some form, and, nowadays, beach-combed trash. These can be used for repair, replacement and fabrication of new features.

Wood grows on trees, and spars of all sorts - masts, booms, battens, sprits - can be constructed with minimal shaping (especially when your vessel has been designed for tree shapes). Planks, knees and half-rounds (rails) take more effort, but can cover most any ship-board need. Wooden vessels take these materials in stride; resin based and composite vessels can be patched with them but may require further work once back in 'town'.

Beach combed garbage can often be repurposed to fill all sorts of needs. We're living in the neo-plasticene, after all. Planks, fasteners, containers, hoops, chafe gear, (PVC) springs, hose, valves, and so on can all be improvised from plastic garbage. There's an amazing assortment of metal this and that floating about, too, attached to wood or half sunk in sand. Repurposing rulz!


Two additional aspects are key to all this; skills and tools.

Skills include the ability to identify, hunt / gather / process / preserve wild foods, tool use and maintenance. Is ingenuity a skill? Certainly of help! Ditto a sense of humor.

Tools run the gamut and are suited to your approach. Tools for mechanical, wood-working, wood-gathering and transport, fishing rods and reels, firearms, canning, drying, cooking and processing and maintenance are all possibilities to be tailored to your particular approach.

I lump into this category fasteners, wire, zip-ties and the what-have-you that lets you keep stuff from moving. Lubes to keep stuff moving. Consider generalist items that can be used flexibly in unexpected situations.


The learning curves involved vary from low pitch to steep, and all are more or less life-long pursuits. That being said, the journey has rewards from the very first step, and the entire path is rich in satisfactions.

Foraged necessaries extend our time at large on the water, freed from return to the world of shopping and the cash economy with all its demands.

The reward is freedom!

PS. On our return, our first serious guerilla garden plot of potatoes had done well despite record heat early on, followed by exceptional wet! WooHOO!!

Sailing quietly, doing nothing, potatoes grow by themselves!

Spuds in Space!
Well... it's a Rocket Stove.

Monday, April 25, 2022




– A particularly ambitious vessel from found materials


For a scavenger, patience is the key to the pantry.

– Delia Owens


Trouble can come upon whole peoples, catching everyone by surprise. It happens. It’s happening now around the world. It can happen here.

Let’s try a little thought experiment…

Say that things have fallen apart, a little or a lot. Either the local, regional or global center did not hold and things got chaotic. Looters came and went, along with most residents. 

Say we want or need to build a sailing vessel from scratch with materials at hand in a depleted sub-urban area. Let’s say things have been permanently abandoned, and the moral coast is clear. Let’s further stipulate that all stores have been emptied.

What do we need? What of that is at hand??

Triloboats are designed to comprise a workable minimum. Simple box barge / scows, they are relatively quickly and easily built from rectangular materials (sheets and planks). They’re largely ‘form stable’, requiring little or no ballast. 

But there are plenty of other contenders!

Free-standing rigs simplify construction immensely. They are set on what are essentially flagpole principles: get a solid grip at the bottom and let the rest fend for itself.

A whole range of waterproofing puckies can be magicked up from combinations of asphalt, oils, waxes, gas/diesel/mineral spirits/turpentines, cement (lime) and toxins (antifouling).

So let’s look around for what’s at hand…

  • Residential – Fasteners galore, plywood (sheathing and sub-floor, mostly), 2x framing, beams (solid and composite), hardwoods(?), insulation (foam and fiber), windows, roofing (asphalt, sheet metals and flashing), plumbing, electrical, hinges, carpets, fabrics, housewares, soaps and bleaches. Jonni Rings™ (micro-crystaline wax rings sealing toilets)!!! Electronic and electrical.

  • Commercial buildings and schools – Bolts, hardware, hardwoods (bars and VIP enclaves), plumbing/piping, stainless sheets and furnishings (from kitchens), propane hardware (can be used with home brew methane), industrial cleaning agents, big glass, plexiglass, electrical, asphalt (flat roofs). Awnings?

  • Cars, RVs and trucks – Oils, 12VDC electrical and batteries (keep an eye out for lithium based batteries or better!), alternators + regulators, inverters, engines (can run on wood -smoke or -gas), pumps, hose, radiators (vehicular air conditioning radiators use lead-free solder), bolts, tires, tarps?, jacks, tools and tire irons, maps.

  • Roads – asphalt, bolts (guardrails), sheet metal (signs), manhole covers (ballast), culverts. Bus-stops (plexiglass).

  • Power Lines and sub-stations – Poles, guys anchors, bolts and Ubolts, turnbuckles, wire (electrical and supporting cable). Copper for melting and plate production.

Appliances and accessories yield small AC and DC motors (windshield wipers, vacuum cleaners, hairdryers, washers and dryers, etc), alternators and vacuum pumps (refrigerator/freezers). 

Line can be found in various ropings, scaffolding and window-washing set-ups, on flag poles. Keep an eye out for line in the back of trucks.

Look around for tools. Saw blades and files are some of the harder things to improvise, so keep an eye out. The business end of power tools can be given handles and used manually. Home garages, garden sheds and firehalls may have been overlooked. 

If you’re in a higher-brow kind of area, look for copper furnishings, roofing, gutters and flashing for anti-fouling.

Marinas and boatyards could be full of goodies, up to and including vessels that weren’t cherry-picked and need some work, much of it left behind in the rush to turn-key

 (see Bob Wise’s Volkscruiser Blog). 

Junk yards, of course. And landfills.

I’ll bet libraries - full of analog know-how - will largely be unlooted. Meantime, any skills acquired in advance of trouble are a plus.

And I didn’t even mention dumpsters!

Point is, we’re awash in material abundance which our ancestors would have coveted, and immediately pressed into service. No matter which way we turn, the merest garbage of our age is the stuff of early sci-fi dreams.

Consider looking around for vessel ideas that might work well with found materials. Let’s use our imaginations! Think out-of-the-box!!

The scenario of our thought experiment is extreme-ish. But no need to await some fallen sky… much of all this is available now for nearly free. Permissions to mine liabilities (condemned or obsolete installations) are easy to come by.

Look around!

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