‘Boat Talk’ with Clevis and Pinhead, the Shackle Bros.

Well, you are about to embark on another enlightening, informative, instructive, illuminating, enthralling and clarifying episode of “Boat Talk,” hosted by The Shackle Brothers. As a bonus, we’ll also have a new round of The Puzzler, designed to stump all of you; or at least those of you with very limited brainpower.

So here we go – oh, and we welcome your questions for future “Boat Talk” columns. Here’s our latest write-in, from Arthur Schloggle, Lowstat, North Dakota:

Mr. Schloggle: Hello Clevis and Pinhead, my wife Gladys and I moved to New England recently and are thinking of joining a yacht club. We have been studying those in our area to see which one might suit us. We’re not yet boaters, but really like being by the ocean and would like to try this sailing business. Do you have any helpful hints regarding how to narrow down our choices for clubs? We have driven by several, and then even wandered into one that seemed quite fancy. Gladys was quite taken by the décor but felt those at the club didn’t seem to be terribly attentive or inviting to us; no one introduced themselves, in fact, as folks surely would have in North Dakota. Should we have called first and made an appointment?

Pinhead: Well, first tell us more about that particular club. Sometimes, just from the outside, one can tell if it’s open to visits.

Clevis: What my brother means is: Was there a giant sign that said MEMBERS ONLY?

Mr. Schloggle: Well, yes, there was that. But how can we decide to join as members if we can’t go in, peruse and inquire?

Pinhead: You need to know someone first. You need folks to sponsor you.

Mr. Schloggle: But how to we do that if we can’t go inside to meet some members?

Clevis: That’s the yacht club version of Catch 22.

Mr. Schloggle: Well, maybe we’ll move along and try another club. Honestly, Gladys was a tad uncomfortable with another sign on the premises.

Clevis: And what did that sign say?

Mr. Schloggle: “WHITES ONLY.”
Clevis: Mr. Schloggle, let me take a guess as to that sign’s location. Was it near the gate to the tennis courts? If so, it means the club’s dress code states that one needs to wear white – not be white – when playing tennis.

Mr. Schloggle: Why would one have to wear white to play tennis?

Pinhead: Ha! For the same reason you need to remove your hat when you go inside.

Mr. Schloggle: Why would I have to take off my hat inside? Where we come from…

Clevis: Mr. Schloggle, I’m sure there’s a club that’s just right for you, but I’m just not sure if this is the right one.
Well, folks, it’s time for this issue’s Puzzlers. My brother and I will eagerly await as you utilize your innate profundity and respond. So here’s Puzzler No. 1:

Leonard Wilfred wrote in about a problem that has been perplexing him for many seasons regarding the propeller and propeller shaft on his Hunter sailboat. Well, it’s actually about what’s ON his propeller and propeller shaft at the end of each season.

Mr. Wilfred: Dear Clevis and Pinhead,
Every season I scrape and sand my propeller and propeller shaft in the spring, and then, when I pull my boat out in the fall, both are covered with barnacles again. My question is this: I would like to know the biology – or perhaps it’s the science – of how these barnacles are able to attach themselves to a 3100 rpm shaft and propeller, and after that, when I slow down, why don’t they fall off?

Clevis: So, while you’re pondering that one, here’s Puzzler No. 2, from Harriet Swift, a reader on the Intracoastal Waterway:

Ms. Swift: Good day. As my husband Harold often reminds me, I’m not always the sharpest bulb in the shed, but I am perplexed by a problem I’ve seen along the Waterway – though I think I know how to fix it. I have heard that the major fixed highway bridges have clearances of 65 feet so boats with masts can go under them. Every so often, a boat gets stuck, and I’ve heard the owners swear that their clearance is under 65 feet, yet they can’t get under. Someone said that when there’s a storm offshore blowing in from the sea that the water level will increase in the Waterway. Is that so?

Pinhead: That’s indeed true, Harriet. That 65 feet is at mean high water, so sometimes clearance is less than that. So it’s hard to fix (unless you build a new, higher bridge). Anyway, glad to help.

Harriet: Well, I thought so, but I do have a way to solve it. I’m going to call the Corps of Engineers and see why they don’t just dredge out UNDER the bridge so there’s more clearance.

Pinhead (long, long pause): Harriet, do let us know what how the Corps responds; we’ll be real curious about that. In the meantime, we’ll put this out to the “sharper bulbs” in our audience to see if that dredging would indeed work.

Well, folks, that does it; until next time, we’re the Shackle Brothers. And remember, most boaters are a little dinghy, and if you really want to row a little dinghy, get a waterproof iPhone.

*This column has been cleared by our chief editorial Far East troubleshooter and advisor, Gybe Ho. And by our U.S. weather safety advisor, Lee Shore, and our sail trim expert, Rollin Ferl.

Dave Roper’s new novel, “Rounding the Bend: The Life and Times of Big Red,” was released in mid-June and is available from Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

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