Strumpet MK II, One Pt Oh

BY DAN ROGERS - DIAMOND LAKE, WASHINGTON - USA

Strumpet, MK II

Maybe, it’s OK, to want it both ways.

You know, we’ve tried a lot of different projects, here at Frankenwerke.  Lots of otherwise perfectly good pine trees have turned to sawdust and noise under our often-Quixotic management.  The Long Range Planning Section, normally a sub-group of the Planning Department, gets pretty active this time of year.  It’s Halloweenmonth.  Still early, but getting below Lord Kelvin’s bottom line at night.

Another Building Season is upon us.

Those seers of future whims, up in Planning, appear to be reaching a consensus.  It also appears that it’s now up to me to make a more or less formal announcement.  I always seem to get stuck with the hard part.  The PD guys get to fantasize about what we’re gonna’ build this year.  All they gotta’ do is sort of draw lines in the air, and paint these sort of half-baked mental images.  It’s up to me to make sure something workable comes out of the shop sometime before more realistic and certainly more rational folks are even considering breaking suction from the Laz-Y-Boy, for another boating season.  Yep.  I get the hard part.




Here’s the deal.

Throughout our just-completed summer recess, when we’ve been out going places and doing thing; I’ve had these offline discussions with the daydream crowd that regularly shows up here, to instigate a new project.  Sure, they seem to be in very low proximity when things get heavy. But, that’s the same the world over, these days.

We’ve been trying to both figure out “where-to-next?” AND “how-to-get-there?”  Part of that complex question and answer series was all but presented to us in the form of a broken and still-breaking trailer under Miss Kathleen.  We’ve duly reported the saga of Tom Dually.  A few more hard days of crawling around on the pavement under a couple tons of boat and trailer, to go yet.  But, I think we’re just about ready to continue trailing MK off to distant and exotic puddles.  Maybe a short hop, even today.  Just as soon as the frost slides off the punkin’ a bit, maybe.

Speaking of MK.  After a half dozen and two Building Seasons, with over a dozen boats transmogrified and placed into some sort of service; she’s still the top of the curve.  She’s certainly showing signs of stress and wear from maybe 20,000 land miles and easily 1,500 nautical miles under her truncated keel since commissioning on Groundhog Day, less than two years ago.  She’s gone through three motors, three tow vehicles, several different rudders and steering systems, and several interior mods in that brief time.  By the same token, she’s followed along obediently over windey mountain roads, roared over superhighways, and launched without incident literally hundreds of times.  And, we still meet new folks at every rest stop and launch ramp.  She’s still got it.

Our soothsayers are adamant that MK should stay in commission and be ready to shove off at a moment’s notice.  The archetypical deferred-maintenance concept, for sure.  Nope, those conjurers of fantasy seem hell bent on whomping up a stablemate to trade off with her.  Somebody keeps leaving sketches on “shop stationary” (semi-used paper towels, and odd chunks of half-inch mdo.)  Sometimes, there’s a few design parameters, like “longer range, more reliable engine, faster…”  Stuff like that.

Just this morning, there was an interesting couple pictures left in an odd place where I was sure to see ‘em.

Those pictures were left in the strangest place.  Right on top of Strumpet’s tigerwood-festooned dash board.  The one I worked feverishly over a week or so, back about three Building Seasons ago, to produce.

I’m hoping that somebody around here can make some sense of all that.  Somebody’s got to figure this stuff out.  We’ll let you know.

Strumpet MK II, One Pt One

Confirmational bias.

The Frankenbuilding community ain’t even a wart on the butt of a niche. There’s The Lucas and his Tiki Hut comrades in the lower right corner.  There’s yours truly and the elusive crew here at Frankenwerke in Almostcanada—upper left corner.  And, a relative newcomer, Jim, over the hills a bit to the east at the top of Flathead Lake—western Montana.

Jim’s current project has been kept pretty much under wraps, and out of the public view.  But, our contacts there on the ground report significant progress.  Hopefully, additional pictures will be smuggled out to an anxiously waiting world.

There may well be more, but nothing shows up in the press clippings my admin staff maintains.  Trend setters, or just plain wacko-fringe?  It’s at least a worthwhile question.  And, the answers sometimes are neither satisfying, nor particularly consistent.  Which brings me back to confirmational bias.

I’ve been reading a lot about that once-obscure psychological construct.  Especially in our daily political commentary, and even objective reportage.  It appears that the vast majority of folks hold tightly to what they find comfortable believing, rather than to what they objectively know to be true.  Sounds like a regular lunchtime conversation here at Frankenwerke.  For example, many folks I meet have this notion that we never take breaks here.

Contrary to published accounts, we here at Frankenwerke are not completely draconian in our daily routine.  We even have a shop music system that the crew is allowed to listen to during scheduled breaks.  Regularly.  Sometimes, as often as once every two or three weeks.  Due to financial considerations, there is only one track that we are able to play—in a continuous loop.  It is an old standard, especially among those of us who are interested in the re-examination of shibboleths.  Perhaps, you remember?  Burt Bacharach’s “Alfie?”  Whenever the table saw stops reducing perfectly good pine trees to noise, dust, and chips, you can hear it over the whine of the router.  “…What’s it alllllll about, when you sort it out?…”

As we start to get this Building Season’s project(s) lined up and scheduled, I am reminded of a recent comment by John.  John lives over on the Wet Coast, in what some of the locals insist is a “rain shadow.”  John offered me a great deal (as in, free) on an already (factory) built express cruiser.  Sitting on a tandem-axle trailer, I hasten to add.   John asked me an alarmingly simple question.  I’ll paraphrase.  Why would I want to start from scratch, when I can have one already put together for minimal cost and waaaaaaaay less effort?  Hmnnnn, good question, John.

For some of us, it’s downright hard to hold onto a bias, long enough to confirm it.  Maybe you know somebody like that.  It’s completely likely, this Building Season may be off to a rather slow start.  Maybe, I’ll take a little break, and go listen to the music.

There’s a few questions I need to answer, yet.

3 Comments

  1. Ernie Gann used it, and implied a less-politically-in-correct nuance. While I can claim no insight into his personal character flaws, I do recommend both his writing, and his last vessel by Mr. Benford. My notion for the name was on the order of “working-class girl,” such as the female protagonist in James Punkett’s novel, by similar name. One used much more affectionately by a segment of the seagoing population I was once associated with. That notwithstanding, no offence intended.

    The pictures were for a visual reference of a possible transmogrification. However, as these things can go; the hull is currently crushed under a rather large snow shed that served the prior two winters admirably. A key weld apparently cracked and allowed for a progressive failure. Other than to crawl in there and inspect the damage, I will be unable to do much about that until spring thaw–still a distant prospect. I will, perhaps, be able to salvage the engine and outdrive.

    Take care,

    Dan

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