Looking at the timestamps on the photos from yesterday, we calculated that work started at 9:30 in the morning and we turned off the lights in the barn at 10:30 at night. By our reckoning, that's a thirteen hour workday... Perhaps that will help explain our slow start today. People sometimes ask me what "tinkering" means. My definition is that tinkering is the thing you do between when a project is "done" and when it is "working." At the end of the day yesterday, the Kablooi team estimated that they were within "half an hour of being done," this morning they spent three solid hours tinkering with it - now it is ready to test.
Every project has a plateau somewhere near the 75% point. This is where it takes tenacity and persistence to keep the project moving along. You can see the goal on the horizon, but right now you just have to work on the rigging. It's not glamorous, it's not really fun, but it needs to be done so you have to keep doing it. This is what this morning is about - pushing the projects over the hump.
The Kablooi are happy to see their sail filling in the gentle breeze. With the sun comes a very delicate wind that brings the smell of warm grass up the Elkus canyon. Everyone comes out of the barn to test their sails.
A giddy excitement pervades the group as the sails billow and snap on the wind. Actual force is required to move the booms and the conversation turns to new considerations for brakes.
Mackenzie leans back against the pull of the boom on the Piki boat.
Juliana has been making great sticks for booms, battens, and railings.
Serena and Anita work on a stronger mast socket that might obviate the need for guy-wires on the Nooi boat. On a typical sailing boat, the guy-wires are connected to the bow, stern, and gunwales, giving a nice broad support system that the sails and boom can swing under, but on a short railboat there is almost nowhere to run the guy-wires that doesn't get in the way of the boom or the passengers.
Sam and Declan work together to get the wheels mounted on one side of the Nooi boat, leaving the other side to connect once they are sitting on the track and can be sure of the spacing and alignment.
The Piki boat is looking very yar. Collectively we agree that it looks like a cross between a Formula-One race car, a sailboat, and Frogger.
Back inside the barn, there is rigging going on everywhere.
A pretty functional home-made cleat on the Nooi boat.
Sam drives home the mast pinning bolt which holds the mast pressed up against the front of the mast socket. This was deemed better than drilling a hole through the mast which would weaken the pole.
Now that there is a sense that the railboats might be moving quickly, some handles are scavenged from the paraglider risers and attached to the deck of the Nooi boat.
We break for lunch, and a lengthy conversation ensues about the time that is left, the importance of having a testing day and a racing day, and we decide that if we are going to have some time at the beach it is going to have to be this afternoon. So we go to the beach.
The beach that Gever takes everyone to is at the mouth of San Gregorio creek. To get there we must walk down a treacherous path lined with poison oak.
The treacherous, treacherous path is treacherous.
Some tinkerers questioned their choice of footwear. Perhaps there is a reason that flip-flops are not favored by Sherpas.
We are rewarded with miles of empty beach.
Declan, Luigi, and Sam race to the waves - the only way to get in the 50-degree water is to challenge your friends to do it with you.
Serena is not far behind.
And soon everyone is bobbing in the waves like excited seals.
Gilon and Anita, pretend to be racing down to the waves - since they absolutely have no intention of going in.
Inspired by the possibility of animating himself, Gilon puts on a show.
Portrait of a Tinkerer: Mackenzie, refreshed from a swim.
Portrait of a Tinkerer: Juliana at the beach.
An expedition is mounted. We will walk all the way to the far cliffs that appear to tower above the northern end of the beach and might just contain a bed of fossils (according to Gever - who has never actually come down the treacherous treacherous path to the beach).
A bit of flotsam becomes a launchpad for Gilon, who didn't really want to come to the beach, but now seems to be fully enjoying himself.
Everyone is enchanted by the expanse of empty beach on a perfectly sunny day.
Your Moment of Zen: Luigi's feet on a California beach.
An empty egg case from either a shark or skate.
Declan marvels at the rich bed of clam and snail fossils clearly visible in the lower strata.
Gilon gazes back down the beach to where we came from - more than a mile away.
Not content to peer around the corner at the inaccessible beach beyond the rock wall, Declan takes to the water and wades out to have a look.
The unused paraglider is brought out and Gever teaches Luigi, Nickey, and Gilon how to kite a wing. With almost no wind, there's a lot of backward running involved.
Luigi and Gilon are delighted to see the paraglider as a wing and not a sail.
Hunger drives us back up the treacherous treacherous path and back to the ranch for hamburgers and veggie-burgers and the traditional Wednesday night bonfire.
One thing that can be said about this group is that they are certainly convivial.
A few sparklers are discovered and we sit transfixed by their sparkly sparking.
Not a group to break with tradition, we all start light-painting with our flashlights.
The city-glow from Half Moon Bay adds a surreal and ethereal quality to the shots.
Luigi conjures up a vortex of energy.
Mackenzie looks to the stars.
Spinning and tossing the flashlights becomes popular for a few minutes, only to be replaced by...
...running around dancing and spinning and waving your arms.
Yes, it was a great day. Just the thing we needed to get excited about working on the railboats again in the morning before we head off to the railroad track to test them.
The realization that it is Wednesday came upon us suddenly sometime in mid-afternoon. Just two more full days of tinkering before we have to say goodbye to each other. The tinkerers seem determined to cram more hours in the day and Gever finds himself out on the porch at midnight calling the kids in from the bonfire.