Disaster Recovery

Earthquake damage.


(to start of project)

An odd and exciting week comes to a close. The plan was to begin finishing the spars this weekend, but Irene put a damper on that. Still, as far as disasters go, we came out very well.

I was back in the warehouse at work when the earthquake hit. The plant is just a few miles from the epicenter in MIneral, close enough we would sometimes go there for lunch. At first we thought a train was derailing – a track runs next to the property – but that idea was discarded quickly. The low rumble grew to a roar, then steel support beams began to wave and wobble, and decades of dust started snowing down from the rafters. Presses were running, and a few pressmen hit emergency stop buttons and ran for the door. By the time they got there it was over.

At home, signs anything happened were hard to find. Maybe a few cracks in this old house are a little bigger, but there are plenty of those, and you’d never know.




By Friday evening Irene was charging up the coast. I was the last person to leave work except for a security guard, shutting down the department and turning off the lights, and it felt like evacuating ahead of an invading army. My buddy John was there to the end, helping wipe computers. One by one we killed off all the systems we’d worked for two decades to keep running. We both agreed it was a great way to end it, with a friend. In a couple of weeks he’ll start a new job as photographer and web editor for a local paper.

The hurricane stayed off to the east, so we lucked out on that disaster, too. All day long, dark clouds galloped southward, spitting rain, and a blustery wind buffeted the tree tops nonstop, but nothing worse than we’d get from a typical summer thunderstorm. Still, it kept me from working outside. I spent the day sorting out boxes of personal items from work, and every couple of hours went out and dumped the water pooling in the covers on the boats.

I got started on another fun project, too. Back when I began this build, I hooked up a 90′s vintage digital video recorder, one of those that still uses tape, and put it on a tripod in the corner of the basement. You can see Terri waving at it here:



I set it to take one second of video every ten minutes, and turned it on whenever I was working. It’s a time lapse capture of two and a half years of construction compressed into a couple of hours. Yesterday I slurped all that tape into the computer. It’s a hoot to watch. I’ll get it all together, condense it down more, and post it in a few days.

Today is beautiful. Just stunning. The sky is a clear deep blue, the air cool and dry and breezy. We have the windows open for the first time all summer.

Time to pull the covers off and get started.














The partially finished masts and sprits have hung from the ceiling for over a year. They will now be cut to length and the ends shaped. Then the sails can be laced on to figure out hardware placement. Varnish the spars, mount the hardware, and that’s done.

melonseed skiff, mellonseed skiff, melon seed, mellon seed   

6 Replies to “Disaster Recovery”

    1. There is a trailer awaiting modification to hold them, and they’ll live on that all winter. Haven’t settled on where the trailer will stay, though, but it’s clear I need some sort of rigid cover. Have a couple of ideas, they won’t be going back to the womb.

      if I were ten years older I would be more than happy to retire. I really envy the guys ahead of me who could. That shouldn’t stop us from starting a commune, though. ‘-)

  1. Glad you made through 2 natural disasters okay, it’s been quite a week for you. I think I’d have those beautiful new babies in the house if Irene was coming, hard to imagine the scenarios that must have gone thru your head. Your mental stamina is amazing, thanks so much for keeping us posted. What another of your very many bright ideas is the video, yet another thing to look forward to. Unsure what caused your work closer, our steel mill just closed 2 lines, all’s in balance for a lot us now too, these are very odd times. Good luck with spars and fittings, hand making things is good for the soul…..

    1. We’ve had whole trees go down in past storms. That was the biggest concern. Only easy place to get away from those is the front porch, so I checked weather reports hourly and hoped for the best. Good luck at the mill, Denis.

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