Monday, March 27, 2023

Ice Sailing March 2023

See Videos below

When you think of Ice Sailing one might think of those fast sail sleds on ice blades, however my wife and I sailed my Hobie Mirage Tandem Island (TI) not on the ice but in the water among the broken ice. I love the time of year when the ice breaks up enough to create channels and areas to boat in with the ice still present. I wanted to have fun among the ice before it melted. Interesting to note when we launched our TI we had to push the boat through the ice, but after a couple hours of sailing when we got back near and at the launch there was not much ice left (lots of ice still out in the lake). My wife jokes that I am such a kid about playing out on the water, flying kites, etc. Boating among the ice really brings me a lot of joy.

On a safety note, always make sure you have your PFD/Life Jacket on, dress in layers, and use a boat that is stable (will not capsize). Make sure to have your boats required safety gear on board. The most dangerous time to boat is when the water is cold.

Here are some videos and pic of our ice adventure...

- - Not much ice left - -

Make a comment...

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Snark Stories

I thought it would be fun to post some old stories of the Sea/Super Snark owners sense the Snark last year went out of production. Some nostalgia. The Sea Snark has been in production sense 1954. The longest production run of any sailboat in history and I might add the most sold of any sailboat in the world. Sadly, the pandemic/plandemic in the state of Michigan was the death of the boat, like with so many other products/businesses. It was particularly bad in blue states like Michigan that had excessive lock downs.

If you want a similar boat in line with the Sea/Super Snark or Sunfish click here to learn about the USA made Rocket. Click Here to learn more.

1960 Sea Snark with Kool cigarette sail logo

First Generation
When I was twelve I scraped together all the money I had made from yard work, doing piecework in my Dad's machine shop, and anything else I could scrounge and bought a sailboat--a Sea Snark, then in it's first incarnation (1960) and I've kept it ever since. My Dad taught me the basics, but soon was sailing solo. The original Snark had an unprotected hull made of expanded polystyrene ("Styrofoam") with a plastic sail and a very flimsy plywood rudder that lasted only two summers.  The plastic sail was soon replaced with a red and white nylon sail bought from the manufacturers. That's me on the far left, peeking around the sail, at age twelve.

Second Generation
I sailed it on Clark Lake in Michigan for most of my growing-up years.  The centerboard was lost and replaced with one made from marine plywood scrounged from the garage.  It didn't see much use during my college days until the summer of my Junior year.  I had my wife-to-be (then girl friend) up to visit.  We had sailed it to the far West end of the lake and practically becalmed when my Dad arrived in his Aztec and buzzed the house to let us know to pick him up in Napoleon.  Kathy was not pleased to meet her future father-in-law looking wind-blown and red-faced.  After we were married a few years Kathy sewed up the blue and yellow sail to replace the now-shredded red and white sail.

Third Generation
When I joined the staff of Campus Crusade in 1974 and moved to Florida, I took the Sea Snark with us.  We sailed it in Tampa bay and Daytona Beach.  Once while sailing peacefully across Tampa Bay a dugong surfaced and exhaled noisily right next to us, scaring us well into the next century.  We move to Indiana in 1976, then California in 1980 where we began to sail on Mission Bay in San Diego and Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino mountains.  This picture shows me sailing with Josh at about age three.

Fourth Generation
I recently made a new sail from my old hang glider and we tried it out on Mission bay recently.  It was bordered with 1" webbing that was sewn into the boom/spar edges of the sail. Where they cross they were sewn together and a brass grommet inserted.  The stainless steel hinge bolt (between the boom and spar) runs through this grommet and anchors the sail.  The opposite ends of the webbing are anchored to the boom and spar with hose clamps.  Small holes melted every foot along the length of the edges allow nylon cable ties to fix the sail to the boom and spar leaving the aluminum entirely visible.

Here are some fun videos of fellow Snark sailors :)

Monday, March 20, 2023

Fishtrap Lake, Spokane and Lincoln Counties, Washington

I just visited this lake and updated this lake info on 3/18/2023. This lake is 35 miles west of Spokane Washington USA just 2 miles off of Interstate 90. If you have questions or comments, please post at the bottom of this page.

Fishtrap Lake (196 acres)
This lake was named after the willow fish traps that the Indians used to catch Red Horse Suckers at its outlet creek. The lake is known for its great trout fishing. This popular Lake is great for slow boating and swimming. There is a 3-foot-high cement dam on the south end of the lake the helps keep the water level up during the hot months of the year. As with all the lakes in the Scablands the lake gets a lot of wind throughout the year so it would be a great sailing lake even though because its narrow you will be doing a lot of tacking. Also great for kayaking. Watch out for strong currents at the south end of the lake during early spring runoff when snow is melting or heavy rains. It is long and narrow at 2.2 miles long and 30' deep at its deepest. In the Fishtrap Lake area there are extensive wetlands. There are numerous trails crisscrossing the area, offering several loop hikes and access to Fishtrap Lake and Hog Canyon, wildlife viewing areas. Fishtrap Lake Resort has been on this lake since 1902. It is a private resident only resort, has no camping or day area, their launch is private. Camping is available nearby at Sprague or Williams Lakes. If you are sailing do not get too close to the resort primitive boat launch/docks due to a low hanging cable from a dock to a cliff (clearance from the water is about 8-10 ft depending on water level). There is one public launch right next to this resort that has no obstacles. One could launch a deep draft boat or sportboat/keelboat from this launch. This launch is on an incline so sailors should step their mast on as level ground as possible. There is a sign posted by the resort at the launch on this lake indicating the lake is for canoe and kayaks, however there is no official policy on this, more wishful thinking on the part of the resort people. Due to the narrow width of this lake, water skiing or high-speed boating would be hazardous to the user and others on the lake. There is a horrible public toilet at this public launch, not maintained at all, kind of falling apart. The resort restrooms are private. I would highly recommend bringing your own portable toilet. Seriously good restroom facilities are very limited in this area. If your like Buffalo, they are present on surrounding land. Call the resort about private residence opportunities 509-235-228.

I personally took my Hobie Mirage Tandem Island (TI) out on this lake on March 18, 2023. Winds were very light, so I pedaled my TI pretty much the full length of the lake to and from the launch, which took me 3.5 hours. I did get a few good short runs sailing, but the wind never lasted long. I boated right up to the cement low head dam on the south end of the lake. Was surprised the current was not stronger by the dam this time of year. Below the dam the water is always to shallow to paddle in Fishtrap Creek. Plus, the creek runs through private land and barbwire fences at times runs across the creek. By mid-summer it's likely the water will be too shallow to paddle up to the dam. The lake itself is deep throughout its length other than near the south end marsh area.
Dam on south end of lake

Directions: From Spokane go west or from Moses Lake go east on I-90 to Exit 254. Turn south after getting off the I90 exit onto Old State Highway/Sprague HWY Rd E and travel 2 miles. Turn left/east onto Fishtrap Rd. You will descend a hill and will see the lake and resort. Watch for the public launch sign, on your right/south. It can be easy to miss.
Maps: See printable below. To view a map click on and type in Fishtrap Lake, WA. Info: Visit Fishtrap Lake Resort website or call them at 509-235-2284.

1. Public Boat Launch
ACCESSIBILITY: PARKING... Gravel dirt combo parking lot at 3-7% grade; PATHS/TRAILS... None. Large open gravel area on either side of cement launch. Beware of deep mud on either side of the cement launch pad as you go down toward/into the water; RESTROOMS/FACILITIES… 2 non accessible vault toilets, very old and not maintained. Highly recommend bringing your own portable toilet as there are very few restrooms in this area; SENSORY... No sensory tactile markers for those with visual and other impairments. DOCKS/LAUNCHES/PLATFORMS…One single lane cement grated launch; DIRECT WATER ACCESS… No access for wheeled mobility devices, small gravel and mud access on either side of the cement launch; TRANSFER SYSTEMS... None; CAMPING... None; O.T.H.E.R… Oddities/Barriers: Deep mud during wet times of the year along shoreline; Terrain: Level to about 3-7% grades; H2O/Water: Water normally murky. Water temperature in the summer can be around 60 to 70 degree. Very hot in the summer. High currents on south end of lake during early spring runoff or very heavy rains; Environmental Conditions: High winds and hot summer temperatures; Resources: Food, drinks, and gas in town of Sprague.

2. Fishtrap Resort Launch and Marina
This is an old and rustic private resort... Private residence opportunities 509-235-2284 . We have supplied an accessible assessment of their launch for those interested in having a residence at this rresort.
ACCESSIBILITY: PARKING... Gravel dirt combo parking lot; PATHS/TRAILS... None. Launch pavement serves as path to docks and launch; RESTROOMS/FACILITIES… One restroom in resort building. Not ADA accessible. There are private picnic areas on the grass, drinking water; SENSORY... No sensory tactile markers for those with visual and other impairments. DOCKS/LAUNCHES/PLATFORMS… Five docks none of which are wheeled mobility devices accessible. One gravel single lane launch. Attention there is a low hanging non-electrical cable hanging a few feet on in the lake away from the launch, which will inhibit the launch of sailboats at this launch; DIRECT WATER ACCESS… No access for wheeled mobility devices; TRANSFER SYSTEMS... None; No; O.T.H.E.R… Oddities/Barriers: Deep mud during wet times of the year along shoreline, muddy murky water. Water temperature in the summer can be around 60 to horeline; Terrain: Level to about 5% grades; H2O/Water: Water no70 degree; Environmental Conditions: High winds and hot summer temperatures. Strong currents on south end of lake during spring runoff and heavy rains; Resources: Food, drinks, and gas in town of Sprague.

Click on map to enlarge or to copy to print.

- - Click on Pics to Enlarge - -

Comment blow

Saturday, March 18, 2023

SailGP Racing Results


SailGP racing took place for the first time in Christchurch, New Zealand with typical top finishers of New Zealand (2) and Australia (3), the surprising first place finish was Team Canada. I should say I am not surprised because skipper Phil Robinson (not Canadian) is a tenacious competitor. He is actually one of my favorite sailors. He is an all-around sailor; he can win on any sailboat. Team USA struggled to be consistent finishing 6th overall.

Next top is the Grand Final in San Fransico on May 6-7, 2023. Season 4 Starts in Chicago June 16-17, 2023.


Highlights Video

- - Make a comment - -

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Wind & Ice

I like to get at least one or more sails in during the winter. I also wanted to get a last sail in for 2022. On the 26th of January I took my Hobie Mirage Tandem Island (TI) for a sail on Hayden Lake, Idaho USA. I do not mind cold weather; 38 degrees was actually pretty warm for me. There was a nice breeze of around 2-5 knots resulting in low wind chill, and a nice wind allowing me to clip along at a good speed.

It was a solo sail with my safety gear on. The thing I love about the TI is its stable platform, allowing one to not worry much about a capsize in frigid water. Regardless I always have my safety gear on. I also like to sail with a friend or family member as being with someone is an added safety measure, but the reality is sometimes you have to sail solo, like I did on this day.

I did make a short video of this sail and commented that the lake had not frozen over in 2022. Then just a few days later the temperature droved to 20 degrees during the day and even lower of course during the night for 3 days. And bingo the lake almost totally froze over (see pics). So, 2022 ended with a cold snap and lots of ice. Good news is this new year with warmer temperatures and little ice.

Most of the lake was frozen other than this one spot in the distance.

4th day after the start of the freeze and not much ice is left. Ice came and gone. Was amazed who quickly the ice melted when the temp was just below freezing during the day.

 January sail on Hayden Lake, Idaho USA aboard my TI.

A later video from my February sail on Lake Coeur d'Alene Idaho USA aboard a new TI delivered to a customer.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

See FunToSAIL this year 2023 at the following events

Many vendors and activities

February 11, and March 11, May-June dates TBA

Spokane Great Outdoors & Bike Expo 25-26

April Hayden Idaho Kite Festival 

Broadmoore Park, Haydan Idaho

Date TBA soon. Weather may necessitate changing the date like last year.

FunToSAIL will be there with our kites and very long tails.

Many community members will be at the event with many common and unique kites.

Prizes awarded!

SAFE BOATING EVENT at the Silver Lake Mall

May date TBA shortly

US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Sheriff Marine Division, National Safe Boating Instructor offering info and skills activities. Many vendors and activities.

Sponsored by FunToSAIL

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Yocum Lake, Pend Oreille County, Washington

Yocum Lake is maintained by the Pend Oreille County Parks and Recreation Department in the Yocum Lake Wildlife Recreation area. The lake is just east, a mile from the Pend Oreille River, about midway up from the city of Newport and the US/Canada border. This lake is about a mile long and several hundred feet wide, at its widest. This is a no wake lake, electric motors only. Primitive no trace camping is allowed around the lake, but one most pack it in and pack it out (no trace). There are not trash receptacles. There is also no established parking or restrooms.  Access to the dirty/mud/gravel boat launch is via Yocum Lake County Rd. This is a primitive road, recommended for 4-wheel drive vehicles.

ACCESSIBILITY: Access via dirt, mud, gravel primitive launch. Not accessible to wheeled mobility devices.

Nearby developed camping. We have not assessed its accessibility feature yet. Pend Oreille County Park... Located just north of the Spokane County line HWY 2. Potable water available at multiple sites throughout the campground. The park is serviced by Vault toilets, which are ADA accessible. There is an overnight camping fee. Electrical and water hookups are not available. Amenities include Open picnic shelter, picnic tables, fire rings, BBQ grills Enjoy over 7 miles of trails throughout the park, accessible year-round. Open to hikers and horses.


Monday, January 9, 2023

Sunken Harrison Steamship visit

Here is a great video from CdA Treasure Hunters of their visit to the sunken steamship Harrison. They used our Lake Coeur d'Alene (CdA) historical map in this video, pretty cool. Learn more about Lake CdA and its sunken steamships at this LINK


Lake Pend Oreille Basin News

Dear Stakeholders, Members of the Public, and Local Media,

Please see the forwarded email below from the US Corp of Engineers (USACE), who operate Albeni Falls Dam. The USACE announced yesterday that they will begin filling Lake Pend Oreille today for Flexible Winter Pool Operations (FWPO). As explained in their email, they anticipate LPO (and the Pend Oreille River) to rise about a foot over a 10-day period. They will then release that water to generate power. 

If you are recreating on the water during this time, please use caution and beware of potential ice break up and floating ice.  

Flexible Winter Pool Operations is the process used to generate additional power for the hydropower grid when there is a power shortage somewhere along the grid. The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is the agency who requests this operation. I will send out a follow up email providing the history and a more detailed explanation of FWPO. To receive please visit the lakes commissions website and sign up for email notices.

Molly McCahon
Lakes Commission
Executive Director
phone: (208)265-4568

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Cobalt Disaster

This is a bit of a hard article to write. I feel as though writing about this intensely emotional topic I could never do it justice. However, my feeling is this is my initial effort to make people aware of this topic and hopefully start a dialog online to bring it to an end.

Some may ask why I am so anti lithium-ion rechargeable batteries (used in smartphones, tablets, EVs)? Why I have a hand crank, muscle powered outboard on my sailboat versus an electric one. I do have an electric bike and I am in the process of looking for a battery replacement that is made without a mineral that comes from abusing people.

So, what is the topic, modern day slavery, modern day relegation of a people to a life of pain and for many death. Not to mention the environmental destruction. I am writing about Cobalt mining in the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) so that we all can have our precious cellphones and for some electric vehicles (more accurate battery power vehicles). About 20 percent of Cobalt mining is done in an ethical and as safe way as possible, but 80 percent is not, primarily done in the Congo and in other poor countries where people dig with their hands and primitive tools, being exposed to toxic dust and water. Many die from a slew of accidents, of cancer, and other ailments.

Every week these slave-like miners die in mine cave ins. They dig holes in the ground, through rock and dirt. These caves have no supports to help prevent cave ins. So let that sink in, this week like every and other week people have and will die due to these cave ins and bodily toxic reactions for years to come.

What is worse, is many of these miners are minors, kids as young as four. A lot of teenagers. You might ask why would parents allow this, its simple, economic survival. Because for many its the only way to make enough money to buy food. Plus locally grown food is destroyed by the toxic waste. People will do almost anything to survive. So literally whole families work together in the mines (those who survive) and also above ground in the toxic pools, sifting through the mud and dirt to find any pieces of cobalt they can find. It is crazy to think these people have no protective gear, no gloves, no masks, no helmets, etc. The mining companies are suppose to protect their workers, and many companies that use cobalt in their batteries is acquired safely and ethically. This is for the most part a lie or simple from a place of ignorance not wanting to look into it, they have no idea if the cobalt in their batteries are acquire safely and ethically. Mining companies with tell Apple, etc. that is all safe and ethical, which is not the truth. There is no excuse for Apple, etc. for not checking to make sure especially when they know many of the mining companies are Chinese that have the worst track record of any company. My bet is they do not want to know the truth so they can keep making billions off their products... Ignorance is bliss.

And worse again, if it can get worse (it can) is the mining companies take advantage of the people by only giving them a few dollars while they rake in billions. They do not give back to the communities that their mines are at. The only thing they give back is toxic water to drink, and a destroyed natural environment. Plus diseased people. All but one of these companies in the Congo is Chinese based. These Chinese companies along with their communist government are like locus, moving to place to place across the world like locus. They swoop in like locus taking all the minerals and once they are done, they leave devastation in their wake, i.e., toxic environment and death.

We think today we are living in a modern area, with peace and good will. We have advanced as a global society. No more slavery, no more war, etc. yet the reality is we are worse today in many ways than in the past. Slavery is as big it's ever been... Slave miners and slave human trafficking. It really is sad to think so many are in bondage today, like in the past. So, the question is what to do about it?

So my friends what can we do about it in relation to Cobalt and mining in general? Here is my list...

1. We should all be discussed this cobalt issuer until there is a world outcry. Cobalt has been mined for year yet this outcry has not happened. I think of myself, I did not know about this until I heard it on Joe Rogans podcast. We need write articles on blogs, on facebook, twitter, etc., write friends, write to companies that use batteries with cobalt (do not accept their generic “safe and ethical” statement, ask them how they know this and point them videos, etc. I have supplied below), write to your government officials. Speak to friends to help them become aware. This only stops via our efforts.

2. If you have a cell phone or anything that uses batteries with cobalt, use it as long as you can before replacing it. If you crack your screen go into a place that can replace your screen (cell phone companies will encourage you to get a new phone, always). This will reduce the demand for cobalt batteries and the phones, etc they go in. If companies feel the financial strain they will react. If they react negatively to us lets push back hard.

3. As noted avoid buying anything with cobalt in it, this includes EV's, electric vehicles or more accurately batter powered vehicles (BPV's) and other cobalt battery products such as outboard motors. I have to say Tesla is actually trying to reduce their dependence on cobalt, by producing cobalt free batteries. Tesla indicates 50 percent of their cars are run by cobalt free batteries. Their goal is 100 percent cobalt free, so at least one company is doing something. I do see other notes online about companies planning on building cobalt free batteries. So there are good signs that cobalt usage at some point will be a thing of the past or at least greatly reduced demand.

4. Also read Siddharth Kara's book "Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives." Mr Kara is the leading expert on the whole Cobalt mining industry and associated slavery. He is the lead voice, and his book should be purchased and promoted wherever possible. I would not buy the book from Amazon sense Amazon is part of the cobalt usage issue. Buy on Barnes and Noble by clicking here.

These are things we can do now but we must make people aware and discussed about how other humans are being treated just to supply us with electronics. If every good human on earth was outraged by this, things will start to change, and lives saved.

We must remember when cobalt is no longer used or reduce usage, we must still support the miners in the Congo and other poor countries with health care, as many will have residual effects from the toxins. We must also repair the earth the best we can. We must supply these countries with education and opportunities once the mining is gone or greatly reduced so they are not left even worse off. You might ask how does one pay for all this and my answer, the companies that made billions off the pain and suffering of these people.

I understand this is a lot but if you, like me care about people no matter where they live then we must act. On top of this of course we must be as vigilant in stopping human trafficking.

Make a comment below and let's talk....