Wednesday, June 18, 2008

WNR 6/18/08

Tonight was an insane WNR. There was a big squall that rolled through and wrok all kinds of havoc on the fleet. People were broaching and out of control. The highest wind speed that I clocked was 34 kts. We had a tough time keeping things under control, but we managed, you know. It was good to be out there at least, and nobody got hurt. Mike and Ken did a great job getting the jib down in a pinch. We saw a killer rainbow. No finish, but hey we survived and that's a moral victory.

Osius regatta track

Screenshots of the Osius regatta from GPS Action Replay

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pizza Oven Phase 1: Construction

I have always wanted to have a wood fired brick pizza oven in my backyard for al fresco cooking. Let's face it, making pizza and eating outdoors are both just awesome. The brick pizza oven is a special thing because it makes really great crust and is just generally awesome. I can say now that it is also a lot of work! I have had a lot of materials for the oven in question for over a year, and gotten more than a little grief for not having completed the oven before now. The catalyst for this project was that last weekend Parrish volunteered to help me build it, and even after I discouraged her saying it would be a lot of work, she persisted and was adamant that she could help me. Her experience building wood stoves in Honduras was invaluable as she turned out to be a much better mason than I am. I have some pix that are interleaved with the story so follow along...

I built the oven according to the following plan:,20633,690891,00.html

First, I had to haul the masonry. Turns out the Tragic Wagon isn't quite such strong sauce as I thought as I had to make 4 trips to the brickyard. Who knew bricks were so heavy? The first load they put in with a forklift and I thought they were going to break the springs on the truck. It wasn't pretty.
She was saggin a little low in her boots...
Here you can see the rear spring compression was pretty significant.
A load of firebricks and cinderblocks. Note that the trailer hitch is bottomed out on the curb. Ouch!
I used 6"x6" Burnie Blend paving stones for the base, which I laid twice because I did it once, and it wasn't perfect, but I called it good. Unfortunately, Will came along behind me and did a bang-up job of laying the patio for the picnic table and I just couldn't let myself get shown up like that so I took it all apart and re-laid it. Anyway, this is a picture of the base with some cinderblocks down.
Base, cinderblocks, capstones, and some of the firebricks.

Base, cinderblocks, capstones, firebricks, slab, and dome arch cut and installed.
Here you can see the granite slab I'm using as the cooking surface. The plans don't call for this, but my parents gave me this slab which was an offcut from when they re-did their kitchen. This whole project is basically an exercise in figuring out how to make use of the granite slab. Awesome.
Parrish mixing the refractory mortar. I should add in here that we attempted to make a brick arch over the oven dome, but we aborted that plan when it became apparent that our (and when I say 'our' I mean 'my') arch building skills are not quite on par with the Romans (though we are somewhat ahead of the Greeks, maybe...) Anyway, we tried to make a brick arch and well it didn't work out so we punted on that and switched to just using straight up adobe.
Another shot of the completed basework and dome form in place.
I am holding back the fence as Parrish applies mortar in this picture. I kind of hit the wall right as she was getting all motivated. Something about mixing up the mud got her real fired up so it was good timing because I had become overwhelmed, tired, and dehydrated...
Parrish, getting excited about mudding up the dome.
Parrish lays the smack down. Fortunately, we had some help all day in the form of Matt and Will. But late in the process, James and Elaine showed up and the whole thing turned into a barn-raising. I am not sure we could have finished if this had not happened, so thanks to Elaine, James, Will, and Matt for helping us out completing the job!
Parrish and Elaine trowel on the adobe. Note the door (Matt and I built the door as they were putting on the mud...)This is the last shot I have showing the final mud layers going around the oven opening and the door installed with flashing.

Overall it was a tremendous 2-days work. Thanks to everybody who helped out. Thanks especially to Parrish who is absolutely awesome for helping me do this. Hopefully we'll get to see the oven in action in a few weeks here!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


These pictures say it all. The new dodger got installed yesterday. Stoked!

Thanks, Bebe!