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Out of Curiosity....

Discussion in 'Canoe Sailing' started by Pernicious Atavist, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood


    Nah, my point is that on many forums (this one included) you can read and lurk without logging in. You just click on the forum and you are ready to read to your heart's content. If you want to respond, you have to login and obviously that is a good thing to avoid those folks that seem to think spam is a good thing in this world.

    I just tried Sailing Canoe, and I can't pull up the forum without logging in. This is new. You could lurk before - no problem. It is no big deal to a legitimate user. I was trying to point the change out to Ed.

  2. OP
    Pernicious Atavist

    Pernicious Atavist Canoe Sailing Publisher

    I SEE what you're saying...I'll check that out, Fitz!
    Hate to lose a stalk....uhhhh....LURKer!:D

    Found the gitch in the hitalong, Fitz! Just for you, buddy! Thanks for the heads up! Lurk to your heart's content!
  3. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy

    I enjoy it too. I need help figuring out the details of workable rigging. Right now I'm struggling with my rudder and need some help figuring out how to rig the lines so the rudder works smoothly but stops before it cocks into an unretreiveable position at one end or the other of its locus. Some articles for the neophyte would be appreciated.
  4. canoe9girl

    canoe9girl Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Canoe sailing magazine

    I read and reread the magazine, and appreciate it very much.

    I also find it interesting that a person who calls himself a "canoe nut" also asks for info on non canoe sailing...from a mag that calls itself "CANOE sailing magazine".

    This is humor folks, and NOT intended to start a flame thread...just humor, and noting something that may only be funny to me...;)
  5. OP
    Pernicious Atavist

    Pernicious Atavist Canoe Sailing Publisher

    Yup--needed to hear all opinions, maybe even a few I didn't want to hear! I firmly believe in "If you don't want to hear the answer...."
  6. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Good points, Peter. Canoeing is pretty much a "fringe activity" in these times, and canoe sailing is thus a "fringe activity of a fringe activity," limited to a small segment of society. It's a small, but very high-quality, group... :)
  7. OP
    Pernicious Atavist

    Pernicious Atavist Canoe Sailing Publisher

    The original question was whether readers here read CSM. That being said, I'm glad I got what info I did! :)

    Done with it now...thanks, guys.
  8. Jim et al

    Jim et al Curious about Wooden Canoes

    In retail when a store does not change its layout from time to time the customers do not bother to look around to see what's new and interesting. They dont feel a need to visit as often. The dust collects. The same is true for a web site. When promoting rather esoteric hobbies make them less esoteric and more accessible to the masses.

    Change is like pruning. It promotes growth. While the ads on the CSM site are a bit claustrophobic due to their framing effect they keep the eye moving around the page. If you want visitors make it fun. Visit a site like Create an account just to visit and get the full effect. I have been a member there for years and can promise you wont be spammed in any way. This site a sterling example of what can be done with an esoteric hobby. This site is simply about very small glass boxes of salt water fish under high lighting yet it is incredibly dynamic and diverse. Why? It has a dynamic and diverse owner/moderator who allows it to grow. He has a more hands off approach, very good computer skills and seems to know what is healthy and what isnt. He doesnt stifle.

    When I visit this site I am always amazed by what I see. This is the flagship of the WCHA! I see a lot of brown. I see little desire to change from the admin. Every time I see a request by a member to change something the admin tells us why it cant be done or shouldn't be done rather than embracing and promoting change.

    This site is a dark drawer full of useful information rather than a showcase of information promoting what is fun about wooden canoes and what can be done with them. This shouldnt be a museum but rather a showroom displaying what we have to offer and why someone new should be interested in partaking. People need to be excited and drawn in not forced to dig. We need eye candy.

    History is only exciting when it is presented in an exciting way. Look at what Ken Burns did with a fresh and dynamic recombination of Civil War photographs , simple music and interesting interviews with charismatic historians. He made it exciting. Collectively they made us excited. I was suddenly filled with a desire to go out and visit the battlefields and touch history. We need that kind of approach. We need to preach outside the choir.

    We need colors and big pictures and full blown trip reports and kids jumping out of canoes. We need camping pics and collection pics and embedded You Tube videos. Let go of just thumbnails. A once a week front page change with a blog blurb would make me want to visit more often. If the people on dial up don't want this then have a high and low version of the site. It doesn't need to happen all at once but it is sorely needed.

    This place has a lot of friendly members. We could have a lot more.

  9. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Was just thinking how odd, that this thread hadn't been hijacked... :D

    I think the biggest question in expanding the scope that Jim proposes is who has the time & skills to add features as described? As far as I know, nobody's getting paid to run this site, and we've seen comments in other threads RE: how much effort goes into just moderating it, to keep the spammers out.

    As it runs now, the forums are quite dynamic, and the members are a storehouse of information -- a key element of the organization's purpose, as a whole. There is great value in that, that can't come from books.

    Should the site be more of an e-zine, like CSM, or some other site? I'd argue that it already fills that purpose, in the often lively discussions here on the forums. Would we like to see more pictures? Of course... pics of boats in all stages of (dis) repair get posted frequently, and pics of paddles & campsites are posted fairly regularly. More & larger pics will require more server space than smaller files -- do we have that space available?

    I guess my point is that the organization has to operate within its resource limits; when people acquire the necessary skills & have the spare time to do more than what's being done now, it'll be great to see how it grows... until then, I'm very happy to have this available.

    And I don't say it enough, but many, many thanks to the folks who keep both the web site and the organization going!
  10. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I'm sorry that you feel this way, especially since nearly all of the changes here have come from member suggestions. I went to the site and noticed a number of differences. It certainly has more eye candy which is not completely surprising since tropical fish tend to be more colorful than old canoe restorations. It is also a site which has advertisements although they are less obvious than the ones at for example. (I do not expect that adding banner advertising to this web site would generate enough revenue to pay for any significant changes.) The major difference is that they appear to have over 39,989 registered members in their forum while this one has only 1,639. The one at has 710 for comparison.

    I would encourage you or anyone else who has suggestions, pictures, and an interest in building web sites to please let us know because we could use the help and certainly intend to be open to new ideas and changes.

    The web site was started as a completely volunteer effort and continued that way for over a decade. Many members felt that this should be changed, especially after several significant periods of down time so the Board of Directors voted in 2007 to start paying for the web site and offered a few dollars for a webmaster. Dan Miller agreed to take on this full-time job for the nominal pay in addition to his full-time day-job. I have been helping out when I can as a volunteer ever since this web site was first created.

    The cost of disk space continues to drop so we still have some space available for limited growth. However, I do not anticipate that we will be able to put something like the entire nine gigabytes of scanned build records on the web any time soon.

    The WCHA has less than 2000 paying members so the things that we can afford to do will never be the same as larger organizations. The goal continues to be providing the best membership experience that we can with the limited resources available. This will often involve some difficult choices which may seem as though we are not embracing and promoting change. The key will always be volunteers who help bridge the gaps. Please continue to let us know if you have suggestions but don't be surprised if we respond by saying something like "Great idea! You organize it!" to quote the director of a summer camp where I once ran the canoeing program.

    Last edited: Feb 2, 2009
  11. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    It's funny. I consider myself to be a very progressive person.
    I work in this high tech world where it's all "what have you done for me lately" and how much can we squeeze this that and the other thing to make it better, cheaper, faster with fewer factories, people, blah.... I scheme schemes and market and sell internationally. I massage a few websites to promote things etc.

    Yet, for over forty years I have been pursuing a hobby that is about moldy old canvas, old farts, cracked ribs, brass tacks, clinching irons, hot steamed ribs and the smell of good varnish. I remember my talks with Atwood Manley like it was yesterday. We reveled in the history of our canoes, the names of the builders, the things they did with their craft and how the craft was today (in 1971) what it was then. We marveled that our old boats were so usable.

    Today I revel in the fact that my love for these old boats is unchanged, stronger. My canoes and I have grown older. Along the way, I have met a few other characters that share this passion. Except a few, they seem to approach this hobby as I do, knowing that we are few and far between, knowing that this is a better bond because of that. I have made connections through here with people that share my passion for old canoes. I have not made connections when I sensed superficiality, commercialism...retail!

    It does not matter what shade of brown the pages are highlighted with. I don't care how much white space I see. I don't want animations or need hyperlinks. Thanks but no thanks ;). It does not matter that there is no glitz and glam. In fact it is actually exciting that this site is a practical home for our hobby, not a drama queen retail center for the casual browser. I have my own pictures of kid's jumping from canoes, I have my memories of the big rip, the long carry, the first canoe I built and everything else that goes with that. I have no need to surf the web to view someone else's memories. I suspect that most other members will agree. What set's us apart is that we are hobbyists that actually participate in our hobby. We are not the sort that live vicariously thorough others.

    If that suggests a resistance to change, thank God for that. Some things are not meant to change. I think how you clinch nails and dip a paddle falls under that my opinion, since you offered yours.
  12. Jim et al

    Jim et al Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Where will the next generation come from?

    I own a 62 Otca and a handful of other small craft all built by me. The Otca is somewhat in the rough. I drove 15 hrs behind my wife's back to pick it and caught Holy Hell for it yet she loves me enough to allow me to keep it along with all my other small craft. So much for vicarious and casual.

    Here is my goal. I want to care for my Otca and set it up as a sailing canoe.
    I want to use Todd Bradshaw's book as both a guide and an inspiration to create something that will excite others. My wife and I will enjoy sailing it until 2011. We will then move to the beach after my she retires from 25 years in the military. I do not think my Otca would survive long stored outside on an island surrounded by the sea. Shortly before moving I will then sell the canoe for just enough to get it out the door and into a good home. We all know what that means; not much.

    I would like the Otca in my care to see its 100th birthday. That will not happen in my hands. It must happen in someone else's hands. We have to interest the younger generation. We have to touch what they touch or disappear. What Todd has done in his book is a fantastic example of what someone with a fresh eye can do with esoteric knowledge. His book is beautiful and exciting.

    MGC your attempt at creating a straw man with my suggestions for change was quite unfair. Change can be simple. A weekly WCHA home page blog linking to something of mutual interest to this group would be wonderful. Small changes can have great effects. I am glad you have memories of your day in the sun. May there be many more. Let's show others that the less traveled path is worth traveling. Let's be Fitz with his awesome helmet. Let's be Pernicious Avatist with his endless supply of enthusiasm.
  13. Jim et al

    Jim et al Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Fitz you are wearing a helmet in your avatar arent you?
  14. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Are you confusing Fitz of the WCHA Forums (brown background) with Thorne of the WoodenBoat Forum (blue background)?
  15. Jim et al

    Jim et al Curious about Wooden Canoes

    It looks like what I thought was a helmet on Fitz is deer antlers. My bad. I thought it was a Viking helmet. Still Fitz looks like a lot of fun.

    Thorne does have a cool hat as he calls it and wears a cool breast plate on occasion. Hopefully formal esoteric occasions.

    Please remember my goal is not to inflame. Benson's words were what I had hoped for. I simply want to plant the idea.
  16. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Well, I've resisted responding to any of this so far... opinions are opinions, and unless I think mine has some small measure of value, I (usually) like to keep them to myself. No fun being misconstrued!

    Responding to Jim (I'll respond to Ed next)... I'm with you, Jim, in that I'm not a big fan of brown (except for the rich tones of an old or new wooden boat) and I can get excited by a little glitz. That said, I have always been happy with the WCHA web site. It does exactly what I want it to do. It's dynamic by its very nature; that it, it's dynamic because of the constant new material put forth by the frequenters of the Forums, Classified ads, etc. I don't need (don't want!) a bunch of jiggly things dancing around in fluorescent colors all over the screen! I'm not saying "no change", but change, if desired, should be based upon specific need/want. Flash and glitz as opposed to a "dark drawer" seems a bit vague. I think blogs were mentioned... I just don't get blogs, and can't stand reading them- they always seem so egocentric, so self-important (isn't that really what they'e all about?). Jim, I didn't think you were trying to inflame, and your thoughts are appreciated. But what kind of change would really be constructive, useful?

    A while back there were collections of photos, etc. I think there was a collection of postcards. Aren't these gone now? Maybe these things are what Jim's looking for, along with collections of trip pics, etc. As others have said, though, to make this dynamic takes effort. Currently, how much is spent managing the website each month? Is that money well-spent? [Dan and others- don't read anything into these questions...they're just questions, not criticisms.] Would more people be willing to help (non-paid?) to manage more active content?

    Here's my biggest concern with the tack this thread has taken- the buzzword "growth". Like you, Jim, I also have high hopes for the future of my old boats, and have been known to worry out loud what would happen to all my passionate effort after I'm gone. But trying to sell an unsuspecting public on antique boats (or wooden boats in general) through the glitz and glamour of a flashy website? This seems an odd proposition at best. Maybe we need a forum, or at least a thread, on how people came to enter this hobby/passion/lifework. Me? Not through growing up sailing on Narragansett Bay or lurking around the Camden boatyards, but for sure I wasn't sold on wooden canoes by glitzy websites!

    "Growth"... ugh! All I think of is my wonderful little town... well, the little town closest to my off-the-grid childhood home. It had no traffic lights, a few mom-and-pop shops, and that's about it. Now there are myriad traffic lights and every fast-food name you can imagine. It's horrible, it continues to grow, and it grows not because of local need, but because growth for growth's sake necessarily feeds upon itself. They have grown, so they need more services, so they must grow the tax base, which means more business growth, and on and on and on. Do we want growth of the WCHA for growth's sake?

    Okay, I'll stop now.

    Last edited: Feb 2, 2009
  17. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Ed, here's my reply to you... much shorter! I don't like all the ads, but you've got to do what you've got to do. Nuff said. Only one other problem, and maybe I'm just missing something. Is it not possible to dig back through the Canoe Sailing archives? Unless I'm missing some button, there seems to be extraordinarily little content on the site at present. There's the "search" button, but unless you can reasonably expect to find what you're looking for via a cold search, it seems a little pointless, maybe even quite frustrating.

    In any case, we miss you down here on the Space Coast! WFIT's still pumping it out, even after the Giant Sewage Spill of '07! (But maybe you're glad you missed that little treat!).

  18. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    These are excellent questions and comments. The Old Town postcards are still available at along with the rest of the old catalog images at but these have not changed in years and were never very flashy.

    There are charges now for builder listings and classified advertisements by non-members so the net cost to the organization per month is less than what my previous employer used to bill for a few hours of web site support. Dan puts in a huge number of hours per month supporting this site so I think that the WCHA's money is very well spent. Especially since most of our new members learn about the WCHA from the web site. We would welcome any volunteer interested in managing more active content.

    I started a thread with a poll a few years ago at asking "How did you first learn about the WCHA?" It might be worth continuing that thread or starting a new one.

    Growth for growth's sake is certainly not desirable in my opinion, for this organization or a town. We should be careful to balance the efforts to reach out to potential new members with the need to adequately service the current members since both are important. Thanks for asking,

    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009
  19. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Head Dress

    There seems to be some interest in the headgear in my Avatar. I think it is a reproduction Plains Indian head dress. I believe of the type used by their medicine men and shamans. It is made of cow horns and fake buffalo hair. I made it from a kit when I was a kid in high school.

    Don't believe everything you see on the internet though. I'm probably not the life of the party, but I am enthusiastic about wooden canoes.:D

    Thanks Ed for stimulating this discussion. There is some great stuff here.


  20. OP
    Pernicious Atavist

    Pernicious Atavist Canoe Sailing Publisher

    Mike--apt question--I've been trying to develop a 'library' of articles that lives in one of the top-of-page tabs. It will be [if I can make it work right] alphabetical, not chronological like archives. I thought I had it licked the other day, but alas, no. I'm closer, though!

    I'm missing Florida right about now....haven't sailed in weeks, nor fly fished....what's with this winter cr@p?
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009

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