Preview: Three Tricks of the Trade — Some Sage Advice by OCH Guide Dick Wagner

January 19, 2015

Dick Wagner

Here are some hard-won tips that may come in handy:

Linseed Oil. When I acquired my first sailboat half a century ago, I made a grating to fit the cockpit. My retired houseboat neighbors, who all were involved with boats, saw the grating and asked what wood I had used. I proudly told them I chose hemlock because it was easy to work and cheap. The neighbors withdrew a few steps and conferred. They returned and told me hemlock was a terrible choice for anything exposed to weather. It would twist, turn and rot. But they didn’t leave. They gave me instructions on keeping the grate in good condition: saturate the hemlock in hot linseed oil both to provide the oil Mother Nature forgot and to stabilize the grate.

I followed their advice and sloshed hot linseed oil on the grate twice a year for five years. By then the grating was like a rock. Twenty years later, I sold the boat, which still included the hardest grate in town.

Reverse Currents.

Seymour Narrows

Seymour Narrows; Photo Source

Seymour Narrows, north of the town of Campbell River, British Columbia, and The Narrows, south of Tacoma, Washington, both are very narrow and long. When the tide turns, water in both Narrows flows like a fire hose. If yu want to go against the flow, it may seem you should forget it and hang out until the tide has turned. But there is another option: the counter flow. There is a very narrow stretch of counter-current about the width of a sidewalk that can carry you along while the rest of the Narrows is galloping the other way.

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