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Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

(the pic is of a school project Nash and I did.)

A moment to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and best in the New Year. Your support and well wishes over the past couple years have been a blessing.

Happy and safe boating in 2013.

grebe and me.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

A Big Grin on my face!

There simply are no words ...

My sons first attempt with the oars
 (he did well, I had to tell him to come back before he got too far)

I remember one of the first times I was out in the Grebe with my son and the paddle wheel went by, giving us slow long waves. He loved it and wanted to do it again! "I hope the Paddle Wheel comes by again Dad.

Monday, 24 September 2012

yesterday and today ...

Took the grebe out for a row yesterday and today,
yesterday was sunny and hot and the water and wind were calm.
simply a wonderful row yesterday, a little fresh air and exersize does the body and mind good. Yesterday there was a RC boat club on the lake (about 15) and they had the perfect conditions as well. Lots of other boats of all kinds (no motors allowed). Except for the Patrol boat (Bruce), who pulled along side to say hello, real nice guy, he helped me with my rigging when I was setting up the sail for the grebe. Held the boat for me today while I looked for my gloves in the hatches :) (turned out I left them in the crush). We were probably about 1/2 mile from the doc and he spotted to part of the dock floating around us, he of course fished it out. Always a pleasure to meet a smiling friend on the water.

Today was even better...
A girl-friend of mine came along with me. She loved it! The sky was hazy with a bit of a sun-glow, kind of a smoky look to it, very nice, and the water was pretty much glass. I was in good company and we had a few wonderful hours just rowing around.
A few other boats, the Paddle-wheel (Moyee) past by, along with the heritage Train at the top of the hill whislting away and blowin smoke.

but wait... what this!?
awe yes..., how wonderful but to see a Pied Billed Grebe!
the very duck I aspired the name of my boat. I took it as a good sign, and later on we came across 3 more grebe's. It appeared they were bathing and diving into the weeds just below the water.

I know this probably sounds repetitive by now but there something about going for a row on a sunny day that is calming, decompressing, soothing, fun, interesting, relaxing... and to be able to share those moments with friends and family is simply priceless.

Building the grebe is certainly one of the top 5 most rewarding and best decisions I have made in my life. and that my friends ... is awesome.

thanks for dropping by,


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

"Asking" the Grebe ... ... ...

Summer came a little late this year, but I pulled her out of storage and started working on the sail. The sail took me about 2 weeks to complete, I did some trial/practise patterns out of green industrial tarp for sizing. I did indeed stay with the specifications that Morten had provided.
Once again, may I say that Morten is awesome!

Once I felt I had it right, I bought some material and took it to a professional sewer for completion, gromits and all! *L*
 they did a great job.

Two weeks ago I sailed her!
I have to admit I was a little nervous ...
I got my Class II 10 years ago. *L*

the winds were about 10 - 15k.
and off I went...

She was very stable!, and I was surprised and how softly she moved.
I was delighted!
I sailed her both upwind and down.
the one difficulty I had was turning up wind (starboard in this case).
I had to turn to port, and come about ...
and once I did that ...
I was on my way ...

I was having the time of my life!
she sailed off at .. I don't know 2 - 3 knots *L* (I'm really not sure, seemed faster than say a walking pace), I sailed around for about an hour and told myself "this is sooooo great!" Every now and then a very strong gust would come along and letting out  the mainsheet worked well.

you know... when we created the grebe .... 
we built a row boat, we made her a guide boat,
an now we have given her a sail ...
how wonderful is she ....

When I was sailing the Grebe for the first time, there came a point where I simply sat back and relaxed, ever so gentling riding across the lake along with those wonderful sounds a wooden boat and the waters make!  with a gentle breeze of encouragement ...   I just let her go ... ... ...    It was as if I was "asking the Grebe" to show me what she's like?, and she responded by gently taking me along for a ride, it was absolutely perfect, and it was where I wanted to be. 

I was on my own for her maiden voyage, which was ok, I knew there may be some adjustments required and it was a good opportunity to see where some minor adjustments may be. (There where a couple for the Balance Rigging.) 
It is now fall so I must get back out there soon, I am hoping for this weekend and prospects are looking good. I will try go come up with some pics and video soon as well, (I feel she's presentable now)

i've been thinking about this email since I sailed her,
It feels good to finally send it.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

It needed to be done :), and that's not all!

Well, it's been a late start to the season (about a month late I'd say), and as some of you may know I've had a lot on my plate lately. However my holidays have arrived as of last Friday and I've been very busy working on the Grebe.

I should clarify a little ...
Some of the things I've been working on are things that needed to be done.
1. I got a new vehicle to tow the Grebe
2. I put a tow hitch on the new vehicle
3. I got a trailer for the Grebe ( a real nice Shoreland'r)

What can I say?
it coming along nicely I think. :)

and that's not all ...
I also been working hard on the balance sail, and I'm pleased to say that the sail, mast and rigging are all coming along nicely. I took my Sail material into a shop yesterday to be sown and have gromits put in. I made a couple of templates out of tarp to be sure that everything works, and for the most part I believe it does.

Its been a fantastic learning curve once again as of course I've never built and balance sail rig before. The other part of all this is that (like many of us) I had to stay within a budget so you find other ways to make things work. So I'm not going to the "sail shop" and buying pre-manufactured sails, masts and rigging ... Nope, I'm going to the hardware store and picking up materials that will do the job quite nicely at a much more affordable price. All going well I am to pick up my sail on Friday night.

If I said I wasn't nervous about sailing the Grebe, I'd surely be lieing *LOL*.
I haven't sailed in years, and in the same breath I am truly excited at the thought of taking the grebe out on a broad-reach! There is no doubt in my mind that the Grebe will sail, and you'll have to forgive me if I take baby-steps to start. I'm sure there will be some tweaking/testing involved a long the way.

All going well in the near future my post should be very interesting *L*
and will be one of "Sailing the Grebe!"

wish me luck :)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

thinking of the grebe ...

waiting for spring, and thinking about the grebe ...
I added it to the title page as well. I think it's a great pic of
of the suitably named ... "grebe".

Sunday, 18 March 2012

good news - boat stall

Well, the Grebe's been hanging out in a big metal barn for the winter, and will be there until the end of the month. From there she should spend a little while in the back yard for further work.

The good news is I've managed to get a boat stall down at the lake for the season! It will be so nice to "just" walk down and get the Grebe in the water. I'm really looking forward to the convenience. :)

The big plan for the summer is to get the sail on her.
I should note that it is still winter here, but spring is just around the corner!

Those are not waves *L*
the Reservoir is still frozen solid.


Glad I got a boat stall!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

A slap to my shoulder and pointing she asked,

What do those dagger boards look like (pic, please) and how do they attach or whatever? What's the lake called?


The Grebe has two dagger-board positions. 
Thus, she has two dagger-board trunks to put them in. (top center of pic), 
These dagger-boards simply slide down into there trunks 
and extend below the hull of the boat. 
Normally you would think that they are
weighted to offer the boat "ballast"
but in fact the  purpose is simply to prevent 
the wind from blowing 
you sideways.

Above you can see the two dagger-boards
rising up out of of the dagger-boards trunks


Here you can see the dagger-boards lowered and extending
under the boat.


(pic please) :)-

The Wpod is a unique design with the two dagger-board positions.
When sailing, only one dagger-board and trunk are to be used.
The reason for the two positions...
is so you can sleep in it. :)

A lot of thought has gone into the creation and design of the Grebe.
The dagger-boards and trunks were one-part of the process.
Having a Naval Architect and Engineer at your back serously helps!
(Morton is truly and wonderful human being to work with!)

Finding benefit in the dual dagger-boards while rowing on choppy waters
is a nice addition for the waters to come.

Dagger-boards and trunks, who's a thunk?
thanks for the question lil :)

I did considered the name
(god bless him)

"the Grebe" won.

The lake Is the "Glenmore Reservoir" in Calgary, and yes...
I don't really like the word ...
" reservoir".

so I call it the lake :) ...

The Lake has plenty of life on every level, in, under and around.
Did I mention that along with the paddle boat there is the train whistle
and black puffs along the hillside from the heritage train that goes around?
There's lots of goodness there.

Saturday, 1 October 2011


I knew when I started this blog that there would be a lot of trial and error as far as blogging goes. Of course I realize that my comment box has vanished so I am trying to correct that today as well as explore "blogging" a bit more.

I gotta get to the library. :)

Sunday, 25 September 2011


Got out in the Grebe again today, nice and calm when I started out. Another beautiful day today. The lake was pretty much as usual, a few sailboats, the paddlewheel and lots of canoes and kayaks. Sunny, blue skies and 27 degrees with a little breeze. I did my usual route to the east. I rowed for about 1/2 an hour and the winds started to pick up quickly. The gusts began started coming in fast with 15 to 25km winds. The water became reasonably choppy so I found myself making shorter deeper strokes to counter the wind and chop. I had decided to put the dagger-boards in when I headed out. I was glad I did. They make for a fantastic keel effect. It took me a little over 1/2 hour to get back to the Dock. By the time I landed the winds were 35km gusting to 45km. The Grebe held up well. I had to be careful of the broadside gusts on the chop as it would get be rocking pretty good at moments. I'm glad I decided to head back in when I did!

Today is one of those days when all the leaves are turning yellow and falling of the trees. There are lots of "leaf" devils everywhere. Swirling masses of leaves 10' wide and climbing upward, you know...   the kind we all like to run into and stand in. *L*.

I was only on the water for an hour or so. Everytime is a little different.
This time offered up a little more excitement, but I never felt I was in trouble. Just had to row a little harder and perhaps a little smarter.

Even if its for an hour, Its always nice to get on the water.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

2. On the water ...

first entry.
I have been out in the grebbe the last 4 weekends.
(and it was after that when I started this blog, so this is to bring us to a start.)

There is the picture of unpainted version of the Grebe,
I took her to a nearby run-off pond to do my first and only leak test...

That was actually pretty exciting. I had never been in a Dory before, so I had no idea what to expect stability wise? I of course had read many articles on Dories, ie; there origins, lengths, mannerisms if you will. ie: Every dory expects to take on a certain amount of weight at the end of the day, and with the addition of weight comes stability. I quickly learned to lower my seat. Once I settled down, I took her for a gentle row. 2 pulls out and my good friend on the shore says ... "She fast!" as if he was surprised! And I knew he was right. With so very little effort I was gone ...

I checked for leaks, hatches and all.
I can paint her now...

turned out pretty good I think :)

The first day out was nice a smooth on the lake, 6k winds, sunny, noon, 28C. My wife, son and his friend came along. Of course I took the first spin out in her on my own.
well, what can I say?  "I was much more "tender" than she was *L*, but after 5 minutes I was well under way. what a feeling! Delighted at how she rowed! she's 13.4 ft long with a 10 foot hull, once I got her going she was smooth and straight and indeed fast. It did not take long for the dock to disappear. 30 minutes later I was back at the dock giving everybody turns. The "guideboat" seating arrangement is simply fantastic! I'm rowing and talking to my boy and we are just enjoying the moment. It's that moment that you say to yourself " this is why I built her".

Following week, 2nd time on the water,
very similar conditions to the first. only this time it's just me.  :)
I decided to row the the West end of the lake this time. I passed a couple of black Comorants sitting on a log in the middle of the lake.
They didn't say anything. I wished they had. *L* Amazing postures these birds have. :)
As I continued west the water becomes shallower and my paddles start to brush the tops of the underwater foliage. I then stopped rowing and let her land were she will. I look down at the water, through the foliage to the bottom, wondering what it was. Little bugs scampering across the top of the water. The water so still, it was quiet, no lapping of waves on the side of the boat. I enjoyed my horizons and gently rowed back, and a little off to the east to check out the paddle boat. 4 hours later I was back on the dock. Happy, tired and a little sunburnt. What a great afternoon.
it was then time for some wine. :)

Following week, 3rd time out.
Took my son fishing.
This time we had to go east as west is shallow and weedy. Another fantastic day to be out in the grebe! This time my son brought his hockey pads to sit on and he did seem more comfortable. We didn't catch anything but we sure had fun. At one point the paddle boat came by and made nice small waves, he just loved it and later wished that it would come by again and make more waves.

We had lots to drink (orange and lime) and a bite to eat, and a couple snags to recover. *L* no big deal. It simply just feels good to be on the water on a beautiful day.
another thing I'm noticing is all this sun I'm getting! :)    ya, ya... I'm wer'n sun screen.

Following week, 4th time out.
This time the water is choppy and it is windy, at least 10k winds. Probably more because the laser boat sailors were "hiking". The wind can certainly push the side of the grebbe, but being flat bottomed and narrow she could hold her own. I did however bring both dagger-boards with for just this occasion. I was real curious to see the effect putting in the twin dagger-boards would have. Well the results were almost instant. she settled right down and rowed straight as an arrow! It really made a difference. All the sudden my choppy conditions weren't so choppy. I ended up going twice as far as usual in about the same time. I'm thinking I am going to try this more often. I admit the dagger-boards are meant for when I sail her, but hey... if it works? I like it. I went to the far east side of the lake this time and it is pretty too. When I have the grebbe ready to sail next spring thats the direction I'll take. Another fine day indeed.

dock side.

Well.. for the most part your now caught up! 
If you have any questions or comments, I'd be happy to hear from you. cheers :)

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

1. That's what I named my boat.

the "Grebe" took about 4 months to build, I had 2 weeks off work to get the Grebe started (lofting) and then it was evenings and weekends after that. Am I done?... No... (more on that later), I was however fortunate enough to get her completed to a rowing stage and have her on the water before summer ended.

A couple years ago my wife and son and myself went up to Jasper National Park for a weekend. Having owned a Canoe for many years my wife and son rented a canoe. I for some reason decided to try out a aluminum row boat. I loved it. I'm not sitting on my knees, the boat seems somewhat more stable and was reasonably fast, also the exercise felt comfortable. so I thought... I should buy a row boat!

So onto the net and off to my local outdoor waters-sport stores I go. Only to find, the day of a wooden row boat has gone by way of the dinosaurs. There are indeed a few really nice ones out there (on the net) if you have an extra 10 to 20+ grand sitting around. I for one don't even come close to that option. what to do? I know ... I'll build one.

Now I'm not the most talented carpenter out there for sure *L*, I can build a deck/fence and crappy saw horses, and I am not as gifted as say that of a Cabinet maker. I have a skill saw, a jig saw, a hand saw, an electric drill/screw drivers/hammers and a level. I do not have a table saw.

After some searching, I decided on A web site by Morton Olesen whom sales boat plans and understands "the common" mans skill level. So... I bought the plans for a 12 row boat for very little money, and was quite happy and surprised after receiving the plans at how simple the process really was. Excited about building a boat I decided to see if anyone had written about there row boat experiences/adventures. It was tough to find, but I did manage to find a couple. And it is here that my journey really begins ...

There were 2 books that really had a profound effect on my visions of rowing.
1. "A Speck on the Sea" by William H. Longyard
2. "3 years in a 12 Foot boat" by Stephen G. Ladd.
3. Also there is David Lockhardt's Web Page.
(Here's someone living my dream!)

So... as I read I start to ponder the possibilities, and with that came the usual questions. Where will I use my boat? How many people will come with me? What is my budget? Where can I store it? Can I car top it or will I need a trailer? Where can I build it? Obviously there is a lot to consider. I thought about the above question for a few months and new what I wanted to do...

I wanted to customize my row boat!

I then started drawing up my boat ideas. Draft after draft... idea on top of idea, and when I was done, I emailed Morton and asked him to Design/Engineer my boat for me. That my friends... was a  very smart decision! After months of corresponding, Morton created the "Water Pod" for me. Absolutely Fantastic! A dream come true!
Check out the link below to find out more and get to know Morton!

In the end ...
I am hoping this blog will be about time spent "in" the Grebe.