Saturday 10 April 2010
Wednesday 7 April 2010
Back in January a Catalan TV reporter came to film OB with a view to making a short documentary about her. Aware of the fickle nature of television I didn’t think anything would come of it despite the chap driving off with five hours of material.
Readers in Spain should tune into the ‘Thalassa’ on Catalan TV’s Canal 33 at 21:55 on Friday 9th. The OB documentary is titled Els horitzons d'en Ben (The horizons of Ben) and lasts about 20 minutes.
Quite frankly I don’t know what to expect, I’ve had no hand in the editing nor have I seen the final cut. I could feel some of the questions pushing me in a rather esoteric direction and I wonder if I might be portrayed as a sort of Byronesque beach bum. We shall see.
At least there should be plenty of good footage of OB sailing, which I will link to or post here when I get a copy of the film—if it’s not too embarrassing.
Friday 2 April 2010
The most time consuming part of boat turning is the waiting around for someone to come by who can be roped into giving a hand. Recently OB’s been turned more often than rashers in a pan and I’ve been depending on a local builder for muscle. But when he was suddenly called away to birth of his fifth son I had to find a way to flip the boat alone.
Setting up a block and tackle in the olive tree I thought of Fitzcarraldo—the character played by Klaus Kinski in the 1982 film by Werner Herzog.
Fitzcarraldo is a passionate single-minded dreamer intent on building an Operahouse in Iquitos, deep in the Amazon jungle in northwest Peru. First he has to raise money by harvesting rubber from an inaccessible location. To achieve this he buys a 300-ton ship and steams upriver into an area populated by unfriendly tribes. The crux of Fitzcarraldo’s plan lies in employing native labour to haul the three-story steamship over a mountain from one tributary of the Amazon to another, collect the rubber and then run the rapids back down to the Amazon river and Iquitos.
It’s an amazing piece of film, the boat inching its way up the 40º slope. Herzog used no special effects to cross the isthmus and later called himself a ‘Conquistador of the Useless’.
At one point, on the muddy hillside, amongst the massive winches hewn from felled trees, Fitzcarraldo says, ‘With a perfect system of pulleys I’d pull the boat up alone.’
Turning OB is a good deal more simple.
Thursday 1 April 2010
It started with a thick plank of Russian pine. I knew Onawind Blue’s new oars were in there somewhere, it was just a question of getting them out. I took up Mr Mushroom’s offer of cutting out the rough shape on his bandsaw. Then I managed to borrow an electric plane and took off the wood around the oar blades and looms.
I thought things couldn’t get any better when another carpenter friend lent me a spoke shave. With this marvelous tool I revealed the shafts and the handles. And there they were, a pair of long, elegant oars. It only remains to take off a little more wood with 100 grit sandpaper.
The handles are long in the hope that I’ll try OB as two-man rowboat.
Maybe she will fly.