Coming around to the idea of an Elio

Posted By on September 2, 2014

My wife is slowly coming around to the idea of an Elio as a commuter car. The PR swing they have been making around the country seems to have others showing interest too … but can they keep the quality up in order to sell it for $6800???

Looks like another wedding … congratulation Jackie and Ben!

Posted By on September 1, 2014

jaxring140831The big news this Labor Day 2014 weekend was that my niece Jackie’s boyfriend Ben proposed her while on military leave. The announcement made for big excitement and the thought of another family wedding. Long time My Desultory Blog followers (those who follow the personal and family posts) might remember Jax from events like her high school graduation in 2007. My son’s big concern was that with his cousin receiving a ring, that “the torch has been passed.”  Speaking of rings, Ben proposed with the ring her late father (Mark Howard) gave to her mother Lynda. Very nice.

Who doesn’t love a good end of summer shark video?

Posted By on September 1, 2014

Here’s a “large, hungry” Hammerhead Shark feeding in the clear “shallow” waters in Destin Florida … as viewed from a balcony.

Roller furling headsail tips from

Posted By on August 31, 2014

Archiving a great sailing tip from the website starting with a tip on how to adjust the jib sheet car when using a roller furling genoa:

roller-reefing-headsail-sheetingDeck-sweeping genoas are not wonderful on a cruising boat if you’re at all interested in what’s going on ahead; nor do they work well with furling gear unless you’re happy to move the mainsheet traveler every time you adjust the furler.
It’s a geometry thing, the jib sheet must pull equally along the foot of the sail and the leech, or the shape of the sail will be distorted.
To check if you’ve got the jib sheet traveller in the correct position to achieve this, try luffing up while watching the tell-tales in the luff:~
● if the upper tell-tales break before the lower ones, then the jib sheet car is too far forward. ● if the lower tell-tales break before the upper ones, then the jib sheet car is too far aft.
● when all tell-tales break at the same time, then you’ve got the car in the right position.

Link to PDF

Actually here’s another tip that I need to check on before re-rigging my roller furling headsail: Avoiding Roller Reefing Foul-Ups

roller-reefing-genoa-wire-strop-1 roller-reefing-genoa-wire-strop-2

Sunrises and Encore projects in Florida this past week

Posted By on August 30, 2014


The past week had me on an enjoyable but quick trip to take care of a few sailboat maintenance items in Florida. The sails were re-stitched and needed to be picked up from South Sails as well as new halyards spliced and hoisted. Unfortunately the summer sun has been hard on every exposed part … and the humidity not all that kind inside, but what can a “commuter cruiser” do?


Figured I might as well save a couple sunrise memories since they were beautiful … I need a few more.


What car brands are consumers satisfied or dissatisfied with?

Posted By on August 29, 2014


Mercedes-Benz leads the pack in having the most satisfied customers, with only the American brand Buick making the “most satisfied” WSJ screen shot. I can’t say that “satisfied” list was a big surprise, but I was shocked that the “least satisfied” brand was Acura … according to the survey by the American Customer Satisfaction Index.


Replaced the old halyards and roller furling line

Posted By on August 28, 2014

oldjibhalyard140826I picked up the repaired sails from South Sails this week and had initial success after stitching in a nylon thimble multiple times (I’m learning) into Encore’s new jib halyard. I still have the main sail halyard to go, but hopefully it will go smoother after the practice? I noticed the old halyards were oversized for the Westerly Corsair II according to information oldjibhalyard140827derived from – 1/2” rather than 7/16” – so for the next time I will assume 1/2” line will go through the sheaves? The old halyards had “hardened” and stiffened in the weather, something I noticed when stitching the new halyard to the old when replacing without going aloft. The rock solid core of the old halyard has me wondering if it could possibly be a premium cored low stretch line? (something to ask an expert)

The Harken roller furling gear was a little bit more straight forward although the old 3/8” line was a bear to dig out of where it is knotted at the bottom of the drum. All in all, the upgrade will may me a little bit more comfortable when attempting to furl the headsail in a strong wind.

I’ve noticed that it is also time for a bottom cleaning so I gave my DiverDown buddy Roy a call and set him up for next month. Need to get back on an every other month rotation anyway. I’m not happy with the added expense, but it sure beat hauling out and powerwashing … or getting into the brackish water and scrapping it myself.

Archive: Checking a cars recall repair up-to-date-ness

Posted By on August 27, 2014

A pass-a-long link for pre-owned used car auto shoppers from my friend Tim Hunter that could be helpful:

NHTSA created a new search tool to search vehicles (newer then 15 years old) by VIN to see if they are up to date with all the recalls on the vehicle.

S.W.E.A.T. — Mike Rowe has ideas that needs to be heard

Posted By on August 25, 2014

Uncommon brilliance from a voice “for” the common man … that would be Mike Rowe. His answer to a reader Facebook post from earlier this month is worth reading.

mikeroweimageOff The Wall

Interesting conversation over on the wall. It was started by a guy called Jayson LaVictorie, who has posted a few thousand words about what’s wrong with America. He started with these observations, inspired apparently by my S.W.E.A.T. Pledge.

Jayson: “The 12 points are stupid. Corporate SHILLS don’t want you to think (critically) of how the average worker of the United States are getting screwed over by the ultra rich! They don’t want you to know that you are losing your jobs to people that are working for nothing or next to nothing! Why do they get freebies on Labor Costs, and Corporate Welfare, then bitch if the average American has to rely on Welfare? The Hypocrisy is overwhelming when it comes to the free market thought, which no one seems to follow! The free market has no room for corporate welfare!”

Hi Jayson -

Like many today, you seem to believe the poor are poor because the rich are rich. I do not share that view, not because I’m a corporate shill, but because I don’t find your arguments to be very persuasive. Name calling aside, I do not believe that I’m “shilling” for a corporation when I espouse the virtues of hard work and self-reliance. In fact, I don’t understand how anyone could argue with a straight face that such qualities should not be encouraged.

To be clear – I believe the world is a fundamentally unfair place. From what I’ve seen, it’s filled with people of unequal talents, unequal intelligence, unequal looks, unequal empathy, unequal luck, and unequal senses of humor. Some will agonize over the unfairness of all this inequity, and others will rise above their circumstances, no matter how grim. Personally, I prefer the latter group to the former. That does not mean I tolerate injustice or cruelty. I find those those qualities equally contemptible in corporations and individuals alike. But I don’t run a foundation designed to eliminate Corporate Welfare. My goals are to elevate the basic notion that hard work and personal responsibility are simple choices that we must all either reject or embrace as individuals. I believe this to be a simple truth, regardless of your race, gender, or tax-bracket.


Keeping my eye on Tropical Storm Cristobal

Posted By on August 24, 2014


It looks like all the weather models are keeping tropical storm Cristobal offshore which is both good for Encore as well as my travel plans … although those in, or going to, Bermuda may want to be prepared for some wind and rain.


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.