Blog 2020


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Posted On: December 03, 2020

The first recorded 'candy stick' comes from 1837 at an exhibition in Massachusetts in the USA. They started as straight white sugar sticks and a few years later the red stripes were added. The first time they are documented as being called 'candy canes' comes in 1866; and their first connection to Christmas comes from 1874. Early recipes had them as simply 'sugar' flavored. But we're now used to them being flavored with peppermint or wintergreen.

Around 1920, Bob McCormack, from Georgia, USA, started making canes for his friends and family. They became more and more popular and he started his own business called Bob's Candies. Bob McCormack's brother-in-law, Gregory Harding Keller, who was a Catholic priest, invented the 'Keller Machine' that made turning straight candy sticks into curved candy canes automatically! In 2005, Bob's Candies was bought by Farley and Sathers but they still make candy canes!

A story, that's rather nice but probably isn't true, says that German a choirmaster, in 1670, was worried about the children sitting quietly all through the long Christmas nativity service. So he gave them something to eat to keep them quiet! As he wanted to remind them of Christmas, he made them into a 'J' shape like a shepherds crook, to remind them of the shepards that visited the baby Jesus at the first Christmas.

Sometimes other Christian meanings are giving to the parts of the canes. The 'J' can also mean Jesus. The white of the cane can represent the purity of Jesus Christ and the red stripes are for the blood he shed when he died on the cross. The peppermint flavor can represent the hyssop plant that was used for purifying in the Bible. However, all of these meanings were added to Candy Canes after they had become popular.



Posted On: December 01, 2020

Some sage advice from Boatus

1. Selecting A Repair Shop

Before choosing a facility, ask for referrals from fellow boaters or someone you trust in the marine business. Also, conduct an Internet search for online reviews, visit boat-owner forums to learn what your neighbors think, and look for complaints with the Better Business Bureau.

Finally, check to see if members have filed compliments or complaints about a particular company. Keep in mind that while their rates may be higher, shop owners who invest in good diagnostic equipment and in technicians certified both by manufacturers and by the American Boat & Yacht Council typically offer better service.

2. Get It In Writing!

As the old legal saying puts it, if it's not in writing, it didn't happen. Verbal agreements are often misunderstood, so a written agreement can save you a big headache later. Once you've chosen a shop, obtain a written estimate of the time it will take to complete the repairs and the amount it will likely cost. Don't forget to ask if storage fees will be charged once the repair has been completed. Even if you have a long-term relationship with a shop, don't skip these steps. It's a business, so treat it that way. If having your old parts returned to you is important (as it will be if you have to file an insurance claim), write that into the estimate as well. If money is tight, include a "not to exceed unless called" dollar amount. Remember that because boat (and engine) repairs can be complicated, unforeseen obstacles can crop up during the repair. Ask the shop what similar repairs have cost and what kinds of problems are possible. Make sure you're very clear on what the shop's labor rates are and when they're charged; many shops start charging when workers leave the shop, not when they arrive at your boat.

3. Is There A Warranty?

You need to know if your repair will be covered by a warranty. Don't assume. Usually shops offer a 30-, 60-, or 90-day warranty on their work. If so, ask if it covers parts and labor. "Don't worry about it" is not a warranty. If a shop's warranty policy isn't stated in writing, ask for the coverage to be written into your repair estimate. Most shops won't include service calls to your boat should the boat break down while under warranty, but ask; if it's close by, they might. One thing that will almost certainly invalidate your warranty is if, out of frustration, you have another shop try to fix the problem. Warranty law generally allows a shop a reasonable number of attempts to correct its own work.

4. Remove Valuable Items

Many members have asked us over the years to help them get a repair shop to reimburse them for items they say went missing from their boat while it was in the shop's care. Unfortunately, without proof, such as a dated picture of the items on the boat with the shop shown in the picture, you'll face an uphill battle. It's best to remove valuable items (especially small electronics, personal items, and fishing gear) from your boat before bringing it to the shop.

5. A Picture Is Worth $1,000

Take a few pictures of your boat from all sides while it's sitting at the shop. Then, if a big scratch appears that wasn't there before, you'll have a picture to prove it. Take more pictures inside if that's where the work is to be done. It's a lot easier to get a shop to fix a stained seat or ripped canvas if you have proof that the damage wasn't there before. Check the boat again before bringing it home, and point out problem areas before you pay. If the shop says it will take care of it, get that in writing. Make sure all your photos are time stamped, and take more pictures than you think you need.

6. Don't Let It Languish

Sometimes we get complaints from a member that begin, "A few months ago, I brought my boat to XYZ Repair, and they haven't even started on it yet." Bringing your boat in for repair and not checking on it for three months is a bad idea. Never tell repairmen that you're in no hurry and that they can work on it when they get around to it. You risk being pushed to the back burner. Even if you aren't in a rush, don't let the boat languish. The longer it sits at a shop, the more likely it can get damaged or have parts "borrowed" from it. Just as important, inquire frequently about ongoing repairs. While there are often legitimate delays due to parts sourcing, weather, and personnel issues, if you think you're being put off, you probably are. It's often better to cut your losses and go to another shop than hope for the best. If you can't get to the shop and have no one that can check on it for you, ask the shop to send you pictures of the work in progress; that may motivate the workers.

7. Inspect Repairs And Invoices

When the shop calls and says your boat is ready to be picked up, look carefully over both your bill and your boat. If everything has gone per plan, there should be no surprises. If there's a disputed charge and the shop refuses to help you, note it on the invoice, but pay your bill in full — by credit card, if possible. If you don't pay the bill in full, the shop can obtain a lien on your boat even if the repair is faulty. You'll be in a much stronger position to work out problems if you pay the bill by credit card and dispute it later. Next, make sure you sea-trial your boat within the warranty period. If there are problems, it's important to find and report them right away; the shop's warranty starts as soon as you pay for the work. Members who have work done at the end of the boating season and put their boat away before testing the repairs can get a nasty surprise in the spring when they discover that the repairs are faulty and that the warranty is up.



Posted On: November 26, 2020


A year that, with all its negativity, loss and hardship globally  has possibly revealed a surprising silver lining.

Namely, the opportunity to slow down in a world that never stops going.

I’m not saying this year has been easy.

Au contraire,  I’ve moved, redefined my job, sorting through a new business plan, and I’m commuting between NY and Fla.

But in this general unraveling of all things I’ve known and loved, I’ve found a greater sense of self by honoring my tendency toward introversion, focusing on my personal creative projects, well-being, and enduring need to be myself.

And for once, I don’t feel the need to apologize for anything.



Posted On: November 24, 2020

Many experts recommend baking the stuffing outside the bird, where it can easily be cooked to 165°F and is less likely to harbor bacteria. However, many people who grew up eating stuffing from inside the bird find it lacking moisture and flavor when it's baked in a casserole dish, without the benefit of the turkey's juices.

Luckily, whichever method you prefer, there are ways to get around the problems. If you choose to bake your stuffing alongside the bird, drizzle 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of extra stock over it before it goes in the oven. This will replace the extra moisture and flavor the turkey would have provided. Using a rich, flavorful homemade stock will also go a long way toward providing that indescribable roast-turkey richness.

If you still want to cook the stuffing inside the bird, you should take several precautions to ensure safety. First, do not stuff your turkey until right before it goes in the oven. Yes, when faced with a long list of Thanksgiving Day tasks, it's tempting to stuff the bird the night before, stow it in the fridge, and then just pop it in the oven the next morning. But this will create an optimal environment for bacteria to flourish: The moist stuffing, likely warm from the cooked veggies and stock, will sit in the fridge for hours before it gets below the "danger zone"—the range of temperatures in which bacteria can grow. This will allow any bacteria present, already thriving in the moist conditions, to multiply like crazy. Once the stuffing finally cools down, they won't be killed—they'll just stop multiplying as quickly. Then, when the turkey goes into the oven, the stuffing, now cold from the fridge, will take quite a while to heat up, again spending hours in the danger zone.

Instead of this risky procedure, cook any veggies for the stuffing the night before, but do not mix them with the bread, stock, and eggs. (Even if you don't stuff the bird, just mixing the wet ingredients and the bread can be too inviting to bacteria.) The next morning, heat the stock and combine it with the other stuffing ingredients, then immediately fill and roast the bird. Using warm stuffing and putting the turkey in the oven immediately will help the stuffing spend as little time in the "danger zone" as possible.

Finally, when the bird is done, take the temperature of the stuffing as well as the meat. Bacteria cannot survive above 165°F, so most recipes call for using a probe thermometer to verify that the thigh has reached this temperature before removing the turkey from the oven. (Some cooks prefer to remove their birds at 150°F on the assumption that the temperature will rise to 165°F as the meat rests; this is safer if you buy an organic or heritage turkey, which is less likely to contain bacteria

However, just because the thigh meat has reached 165°F doesn't mean the stuffing has, too. So, be sure to insert your thermometer into the very center of the cavity as well. If the bird is done but the stuffing isn't, use this tip:  spoon the stuffing out into a bowl and microwave it until it registers 165°F. This will allow you to have moist, not overcooked meat and safe stuffing at the same time.



Posted On: November 19, 2020

Let's face it- it's going to be different.

Right off, the Macy's Day parade will not go through the streets of Manhattan this year.

Instead, performances will be broadcast live on NBC on Thanksgiving Day from 9 a.m. to noon. The celebration will shift to a virtual -television only presentation, showcasing the parade's mix of giant balloons, floats, street performers, clowns and culminating with the arrival of Santa Claus." 

In a statement released by Macy's the 2020 parade will have 75% fewer participants than other years.

Everyone will remain socially distanced during performances and be required to wear face coverings and additional personal protective equipment as needed.

No participant in the Parade will be under 18 years of age and, instead of the traditional 80-100 giant balloon handlers,

Macy's "will instead employ an innovative, specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles tested and approved by the NYCDOT and NYPD," says the statement.

So sit back, turn the TV on, put the bird in the oven, and see what happens!

Stay safe boys and girls.



Posted On: November 17, 2020

Plastic Surgery

I was asked about the best way to repair existing carpet snap holes in the non-skid of a  Sea Ray Sundancer.

Epoxy putty is the best choice for filling screw holes in fiberglass. You can mix your own, but for your use, a pre-mixed epoxy paste such as white Marine-Tex will be easier and result in a less visible repair. If your non-skid is not white, you can tint the paste with a coloring agent.

The process is easy. Use a countersink bit to chamfer the top of each hole. This cleans up the contact area and makes the repair stronger by giving the epoxy a larger and more horizontal surface to adhere to. Without access to the bottom of the hole to seal it with tape, you may want to fill the holes in two steps. First put just enough epoxy putty into the hole to seal the bottom. Where holes are large, the putty can tend to drain through. In this case, use a bit of dowel to create a plug, or stiffen the paste with sawdust, talc, silica, or even a bit of wadded tissue. You're just trying to close the bottom of the hole.

When your plug has set, or if you don't need a plug, fill the hole completely with your epoxy putty, making it level at the top with the surrounding surface. Epoxy does not shrink during cure. As this is a textured surface, you can match the texture by stippling the putty with a finger, a cloth, or some other tool that gives you the desired effect. When the epoxy has cured fully, you'll have a permanent repair.



Posted On: November 12, 2020

Keeping Diesel Fuel Clean

Thumbnail photo of a diesel gas pump

Keeping fuel clean has always been the key to maintaining a healthy diesel.

Here are four important considerations to keeping fuel clean:

1. Start by adding clean fuel, which means buying your fuel from a reliable source. Fuel that's been languishing for months in an underground storage tank is more likely to have water, rust, and even bugs.

2. Microbial bugs can't live without water. Keeping the tank topped off minimizes condensation. Check your fuel separator routinely for water, which can signal a problem that will need correction.

3. Check to see if your fuel distributor uses biocides in its fuel. If not, add a biocide at the recommended dosage.

4. Change filters at least annually. Slimy, smelly filters are indications of a microbial fuel infection. If filters, especially secondary filters, look dirty, consider having your tank emptied and cleaned. Otherwise, you'll be fighting an uphill battle.



Posted On: November 10, 2020


Round & Round We Go

Studies have shown that when cut off from sensory input, such as in a small boat in heavy fog, most people tend to circle clockwise. A working compass is invaluable in keeping you on a straight heading. If yours is out of order, try trailing a line astern as a reference point. You'll still tend to bear off to starboard, but knowing that you aren't really traveling in a straight line might be enough to keep you out of trouble.

Let There Be Light!

LED button lights are cheap, easy to mount, and go a surprising length of time on AAA or other small batteries. Stick one over your navigation station, or in dark corners where you could use a little light, such as the anchor well. Just remember to turn them off! LED headlamps are invaluable aboard any size boat. You never have to fumble for a flashlight, and have all the light you need for fix-it jobs. Most can switch from a white light to a red for use on dark nights. We keep three of them around, stationed in various nooks and crannies, and use them more than the LED flashlights that we also have on board.

Where Are The Keys?

Do you lock your coupler and spare tire?

Make three sets of trailer keys. Some locks require an Allen wrench; make sure that's included in your extra sets

. Keep a set of trailer keys on a separate ring in your tow vehicle all the time. Some argue that if your vehicle gets broken into, then the thief has the keys. I argue you'll have bigger problems than trailer keys!

Keep a set in the boat while in use, and always have a set at home, where someone can pick them up in an emergency and deliver them to you!