Friday, February 5, 2016

Of saloon boats and fiddles and things that fly off the handle

A few years ago we were helping our friends Theresa and Brian Palmer bring their 42-foot Khady Krogen    trawler "Intermission"back up the intracoastal waterway from Vero Beach, Fl.  Brian is a Scotsman and a furniture designer, and I very much admired a little doodad he had put together that I immediately recognized as a handy thing.  I've forgotten what he called it, but I knew I was going to steal his idea and make one of my own.

Boat owners and recreation vehicle owners know that one constant of life on the water or on the road is that things are nearly constantly in motion -- from waves, from winds, from uneven roads and the swaying and heeling and corkscrewing that comes from rounding corners, trimming sails, speeding up, slowing down and sometimes even just walking around the vessel or the RV.   And because those vehicles move in unpredictable ways, the number of items that will slide off a table, or take flight during a bumpy ride, or otherwise vibrate to the edge of the known world and fall off, is endless:  Cups of coffee, paperback book, cell phone, wallet, glasses, bag of chips, a pencil -- you name it, if you put it down carelessly, it will soon be airborne.  And possibly broken or lost or worse.

What Brian made is a little wooden tray with a rim around it that sailors call fiddles. The rim keeps object from sliding off the tray or table.  And the tray has a little keel under it, a strip of wood attached perpendicular to the bottom, that fits in between the cushion of the settee in the saloon and holds it stead..  That's what sailors often call the couch in the main cabin.  So I call the tray a sofa boat or a saloon boat, and for our Forest River motorhome our saloon boat fits right in the slot between the settee cushions of our saloon, and holds all manner of things that once went a-flying at even the merest hint of a sway or a bump or a swerve.  I made it out of some leftover cherry and walnut that was on its way to the kindling bin.

Genuine authentic not quite exact knock-off of Intermission's saloon boat

Brian and Theresa are down in the Bahamas right now on Intermission, and we have been in Florida.  I felt compelled to tell Brian that I had stolen his idea. So I messaged him:  "Brian: I have stolen your sofa boat idea and adapted it to our RV. I have instructed my accountant to figure out what would be a reasonable royalty for a one-off such as this. I am happy to report that it works as well on a land yacht as on Intermission.  Cheers! Jack"

Truth to tell, I had in mind a glass of Macallan whiskey for a suitable royalty, as Brian is a Scot, but I was willing to consider anything up to, say, $1 in cash.  A glass of Macallan would be several multiples of that, so I was sure he would opt for the Scotch.

And Brian messaged back: "Very interesting, an excellent copy. My attorney will be in touch with you. This is a flagrant abuse of my design copyright #XYV 001-2645. Mind you attorneys are tough to find down here in the Abacos. It may be awhile before you hear anything.  Capt. Brian"

So if you hear of me being hauled into court and sued for stealing Brian's idea, you'll already know I have confessed from the get-go and offered what I consider a handsome royalty.  No need to get the lawyers involved. Anyone else drink to that?