Wind / man Power

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One of the little John Bell Blondie dinghies Roger and I have been working on is now in my garage waiting for a final coat of paint. There is still much to do before it will be launched, but Roger has taken his to Robe South Australia.

He anticipates it will handle well, even in choppy water, because it has a “rocker” bend in the flat floor. He likes to fish and he thinks Robe might give him a chance to catch some whiting. I hope he does because he was so excited to pack it with his fishing paraphernalia before he left.

It has oars roped to the gunnels. Rod keepers are screwed to the chine, or walls. In the bow he has ropes and the anchor stowed. In the stern it has an emergency flotation locker beneath the seat he has packed lures, line and hooks. He says because of its flat bottom when the dropdown keel is in place it should be easy to stand up and stretch his legs when he has been sitting for a while. This is much easier than his old dinghy which has a v shaped floor. All in all it should be much easier to row and manage on land, than the one it replaces. He understands we are getting older and he thinks he will get a small motor, to save having to row it in future.

I propose to give mine the name “Inshore Lady” in the next few days. I don’t fish. I don’t even sail, but stripped of its fishing garb and fitted with a balanced lug sail I intend to finish it so it can be sailed. The purpose was never to own a boat but to make one. Now it has reached this stage I am sorry I did not do more of the making myself. I fabricated it, and helped at every stage, but because it was made in Roger’s workshop he did much more in my absence than I expected.

In the long term I will have a sail boat a (grandchild) person should be able to sail easily. Roger will have a tender he can fish from – especially when he fits a motor.

The boat has been constructed in a stitch and glue procedure. This simple construction method has enabled the boat to be built and held together with plywood, a “peanut butter” consistency of resin , fibreglass, and flow coat. It has a few screws in it as well. Refer to my earlier post. John Mansfield inspired sea fever.

The motor Roger expects to fit, and the screws it has used, have in common the use of the benefits of a helix. I am sorry Tom Lehrer did not produce a song about the helix. If you are unaware it is one of nature’s wonders. He did however compose “Mathematics”. Sensibly it all comes down to mathematics whether the boat is driven by a motor, by oars, or by the wind.

It is impossible to ignore the helix though. In its most complex form it holds the mystery of life itself. Our DNA is formed in a series of double helix. Best remembered with the nemonic, WCW, Wilkins, Crick, and Watson they were awarded the Noble Prize in 1962. From 1950 – 1952 Wilkins led a team to solve the nature of DNA. In the following year, Crick and Watson created a model to illustrate its complexity – in 1953.

The helix gives a screw the mechanical strength to pull pieces together. The propeller does the same with water, or with air, as it pulls – or pushes the transport along. The helix is also found on the human body. The cartilage around the outer ear is called the helix. It is only in writing I realised my grandmother wore her hair in a helix. The bun she wore at the back of her head is a helix. (A coil of rope – a like example).

Our boats, at least mine, sits waiting until we finish it’s rudder and tiller. A sail boat is steered by the sailor adjusting the sail against the wind. She can do this quite accurately except for sailing directly into the wind. One sixth of the compass direction the wind is blowing from cannot be sailed directly toward. (Imagine the wind is blowing from the twelve o’clock position. The boat cannot directly make progress against the wind from the ten o’clock to the two o’clock position). With the use of reserved speed, and with the sail down, a tiller enables the sailor to steer the yacht accurately toward a jetty even against the wind.

Some would say I am over thinking all this, especially by banging on about the helix. In response apart from the doing – it is all academic until I get the thing in the water anyway.

In explanation I choose to call the dinghy Inshore Lady, first because boats are most commonly referred to in feminine term. Therefore she is a lady. Secondly, Inshore, because she will be sailed close to shore for safety reasons. Finally it is a nice little semantic link to our home in Inshore Drive to recognise where she lives.

The discovery of the living matter we humans are constructed from – Deoxyribonucleic Acid or DNA for short) only came about from knowledge of the helix. The unraveling of its mystery is a marvellous achievement. The men and (the unacknowledged Rosalind Franklin a radiographer of photograph 51 used to create the DNA model) who discovered it were brilliant. The three main names (WDW) each earned PhD’s before their twenty-first birthday. (This writer had barely earned his driver’s licence at the same age). It is because DNA is understood scientists are now able to work with the human genome and find cures and remedies for the most terrible diseases. Amazing indeed. It was only explained first with knowledge of the helix.

Tom Lehrer deserves a mention for I found his satirical and comedic songs wonderful. This man of mathematics could have wasted his life on his popular ditties but he gave away fame to follow his passion. There is a message there. Become , and remain, passionate in order to lead a life well lived.

The mathematics song

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