The purpose of this project is to design and mass-produce kits for a floating tiny house that can sail. It combines high-tech modeling and fabrication and low-tech assembly that can be carried out DIY-style on a riverbank or a beach. This boat is a 3-bedroom with a kitchen, a sauna and a dining room. The deck is big enough to throw dance parties. It can be used as a river boat, a canal boat or even a beach house. Oh, and it's rugged and stable enough to take out on the ocean. Kits will start at around $50k (USD). The design has been tested in simulation and prototype; full-scale production will begin next year.

Friday, April 7, 2017

A Guided Tour

There are lots of exciting developments for this project. First, we are zeroing in on the design, putting the finishing touches on various pieces. Second, we are about to announce the crowdfunding campaign to the world, so stay tuned.

In this post I will provide a look at all the more important elements of the design by presenting and narrating detailed views of the 3D model.

We start our tour underwater, as a scuba diver would, approaching a floating QUIDNON from below.


The hull is shown as translucent, to allow you to see the very substantial internal structure. The two keelboards and the two rudder blades hang down at a 10º angle, which is optimal for when the hull is heeled, since a hull this wide (16 feet) isn't going to heel more than about 10º.

The circles on the keelboards (and the rudder blades further aft) are where plates of led ballast will be embedded in the plywood sandwich. The extra weight is enough to oppose the buoyancy of the blades, allowing them to drift down when sailing slowly, but keeping them light enough so that they can bounce off the bottom in the shallows without suffering damage. When sailing fast, downhaul lines keep the keelboards and the rudder blades down against the resistance of the water rushing past. The downhauls are secured using autorelease cam cleats that pop open if a keelboard or a rudder blade encounters something solid. The skipper would then wake up and do an emergency 180º turn, or look at the depth sounder, shrug, and re-tighten and re-secure the downhaul that just popped.


Along the chines between the sides and the bottom are chine runners. They are designed to provide lateral resistance when sailing through shallows, with the keelboards raised, or bouncing along the bottom ineffectually. This feature allows QUIDNON to tack through a shallow spot that only has around 2 feet of water and also allows it to sail off the wind with the keelboards raised, decreasing drag.

The propeller from the outboard engine, in its inboard outboard well, is visible further aft. The engine moves up and down on a track, and can be raised while sailing, to further reduce drag.


Floating gently toward the transom, we notice an interesting recess in the bottom just forward of the engine well. That is where the solid ballast is hung. It is externally mounted, so that it can be dropped before hauling out on a beach, then winched into place once afloat again. It consists of a cement block with steel scrap embedded in it. It's got an eye for attaching a line in its center and 4 pieces of threaded rod—one in each corner. To mount it in place, somebody has to dive down and tie a line to the eye, then stick that eye through a hole in the center of the chain locker, which is right above where the ballast block goes and right below the cockpit. The block is then pulled into position using a comealong. Once in position, the 4 pieces of threaded rod poke through openings in the bottom of the chain locker and secured using nuts.


Finally, we reach the transom, which is going to have a swim step and a boarding ladder, but they aren't shown because we aren't done designing them yet. Note that the bottom is slightly flared as it reaches the transom. This is to provide clearance for the rudder assembly, which is tilted 10º. Also note the recess in the center of the transom, which is to keep the stream of water from the propeller from hitting the transom. For those interested in QUIDNON trivia, the horizontal panel right above that recess is officially called "the taint."

The rudder posts (pipes, actually) are bent forward slightly, so that the pivot point of the rudder blades is forward of their axis. This is done so that it is possible to adjust the angle of the rudder blades so that the steering is as close to completely neutral as you like, to provide fingertip steering, and to keep the autopilot from wasting energy. Most rudders pivot around their leading edge, or close to it, and take a lot of power to deflect. Some people find that sort of steering "sporty." But what works best is when rudder blades are adjusted so that they trail in the water if allowed to move freely but can be deflected with hardly any effort at all.


Climbing aboard using the imaginary swim step and boarding ladder, we see the cockpit populated by two creepy mannequins (they are very useful for figuring out ergonomics, but we are looking for better-looking ones). The seated mannequin is holding onto an imaginary tiller. Yes, QUIDNON uses tiller steering instead of wheel steering, for the following reasons:

1. Whether wheel or tiller, hand-steering is rarely done, because most of the steering is done by autopilot. I generally turn on autopilot seconds after casting off and turn it off again seconds before anchoring or docking. But a wheel clutters up the cockpit the entire time, while the tiller can be folded away when it isn't being used.

2. When you do have to hand-steer it is usually when docking or casting off, and what you want is a tiller anyway, so that you can freely swing it from side to side, instead of having to spin the wheel.

3. Most of the reason to use a wheel is that it allows for a lot of leverage. But who needs leverage when you have neutral steering? The only time you won't have neutral steering on QUIDNON is when you are in the shallows and the rudder blades are kicking up, but then you should slow the heck down immediately. And if you are moving slowly you don't need amplification anyway.

4. If you find that you need to hand-steer for a long time—if the autopilot dies, or if you need to hand-steer because you are ghosting to windward in a fickle breeze and the "sail to wind" function isn't working—then what you want is a tiler, not a wheel. With a wheel, there is just one steering position: standing behind the wheel. With a tiller, you can sit, stand, recline, use your feet, use your hips, tuck the tiller extension under your armpit or rig something up using bungee cords and a line tied to one of the sheets.


Here are the details of QUIDNON's steering linkage. Rudder arms and the tie-rod that connects them are shown in purple. The tie-rod is slightly shorter than the distance between the rudder posts. This is called Ackermann geometry, and allows the boat to efficiently pivot around the keelboards without generating drag, because the rudder blade closer to the center of the circle is deflected farther than the other. Along the centerline is the tiller, connected to one of the rudder arms using a diagonal linkage which allows a certain amount of amplification, to limit the swing range of the tiller to the confines of the cockpit. The tiller is a telescoping tiller that consists of a housing, the tiller itself, and the tiller extension.


Below the steering linkage is the equipment chase. QUIDNON's aft section consists of 2 aft cabins, and between them is a wedge-shaped space taken up by everything that doesn't belong in the cabin. Working from the transom forward, the rearmost section houses the gas tank and two 20-lb. propane cylinders. Forward of that is the engine well. Forward of the engine well, we have the solid ballast block at the bottom, the chain locker above it, and the cockpit well above that.


Here is another view of the cockpit. Note that there are lots of places to sit: down below, with your feet in the cockpit well; up above, on the raised lazarettes, with your feet on the seats, and inside the dodger if the weather is nasty. And you can hand-steer using the tiller extension no matter where you sit.

But you will probably be spending most of the time down below in the cabin, which is accessed using the companionway hatch and the companionway ladder.


This ladder is built right into the structure of the boat and is much more comfortable to use than most companionway ladders found on sailboats of this size. It is also much more than the ladder. At the bottom it has a footwear locker. Next, behind the first step, is a row of plumbing valves. Above it is a row of switches that control various pumps and alarms. Above it is the AC 110V/220Vcontrol panel, for shore power. And above that is the DC 12V control panel. This is a very convenient place to put all this stuff, from every angle.


To port and to starboard aft of the companionway ladder are the two aft cabins. Each has a double berth and a table, and is suitable for a couple. The aft cabins have doors, which aren't shown, because we haven't designed them yet.


Forward of the aft cabin on the port side is the heads, which has a full-size shower stall and can also be used as a sauna. We are trying to design other things into it: a bathtub, a washbasin big enough to bathe infants are both on the list. It will contain a stove that will work either on solid fuel (wood, charcoal) or propane, heat water and provide warm air that will be circulated throughout the cabin by injecting it under the cabin sole.

On the starboard side, across from the heads is the galley, which I won't show you because we are not done designing it yet. It will include all the usual stuff: a sink, a propane range and a fridge, but it will also include a stove, similar to the one in the heads, that will boil water and can be configured to be used for cooking, baking or smoking.


Forward of the galley and the heads is the salon, occupied by some more creepy mannequins. It is large enough to throw dinner parties for up to a dozen people. Above the drop-leaf table there is a large hatch, so that the space is very well lit. There is plenty of storage space behind the backs and under the seats of the settees.


To port and to starboard of the salon are the two pilot berths. They are large enough to sleep one adult, a couple who are intimate and as many as 4 children. They have a sliding door, which allows some amount of privacy. Here is another view of the pilot berth, this time looking forward.


The pipe you see is used to route uphaul and downhaul lines from the keelboard to the deck, and from there to the cockpit.

Below the pilot berths are the ballast tanks, filled with seawater. Freshwater is stored in bladders that float within the ballast tanks. Since seawater, even if strained, contains some number of living organisms who will take up residence inside the tanks, consume nutrients and oxygen and then die, periodically these tanks will need cleaning out. This is done by draining them one tank at a time, then climbing inside and scrubbing them down. Here is a mannequin bravely going where no mannequin has gone before.


And here is the view looking toward is the U-berth. Most sailboats of this size has V-berths: awkward, wedge-shaped spaces that offer the best place to sleep in spite of having too little room in the leg area and not enough headroom. Since QUIDNON's bow is not V-shaped but U-shaped, it has a U-berth instead.


We haven't quite worked out what to do with it yet, but the space definitely has potential. For example, it can be set up with sliding doors and used as a master bedroom, at which point QUIDNON becomes capable of housing 3 couples and their children. Here is a view of the salon looking from the U-berth.


Finally, here is a top view of the entire cabin. As you see, QUIDNON can house an awful lot of creepy mannequins! (Prompting one wit to declare that it may be suitable as a slave ship.) But here is the really important point: this is an awful lot of boat in a 36-foot package.

34 comments:

  1. The idea to use a molded concrete block as an externally mounted ballast, that can be installed using a winch is brilliant. If you didn't come up with that one yourself, Dmitri, then someone certainly deserves an honorable mention.

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    1. I came up with it by working through the use case of beaching and relaunching the boat. Previous plans of lifting ballast blocks out of the bilge failed to please. There was also discussion of self-rescuing mode, where if the hull is holed and swamped water ballast tanks are drained by gravity, then blown out using compressed air, and the solid ballast is let go of to keep the boat from sinking. The crew can then shelter in the cockpit and await rescue.

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    2. Could the ballast block also serve as a deployable mooring buoy? A big heavy block you can set on the bottom and tie off to the Stearn to replace or augment your anchor gear

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  2. So..., how much does the concrete/steel scrape weight?

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    1. BALLAST: 7 TONS; WATER 5 TONS, STEEL SCRAP 3 TONS

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  3. Doesn't the four bolts that hold the external ballast violate your NO Holes in the bottom of the boat rule?

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    1. Actually, he said no holes in the hull below the waterline, not no holes at all. These would not be holes below the waterline. In fact, it looks to me that the entire ballast block will be out of the water as a rule. This also adds another method of swamping recovery, by allowing the skipper to simply 'drop' the ballast if the boat is swamped and overloaded. Just remove the four nuts and let it drop. It would be a loss, but not one that couldn't be remade at just about any port in the world, so long as you had the specs.

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    2. Agreed. Also in keeping with multiple component functions rule, the holes in the bottom of the chain locker serve as drains for said chain. I'd like the bolts to be embedded spring shackle (s.s.?) 'U' bolts/nuts lock washers, and with a (s.s.?) reinforcing plate on the bottom of the chain locker to wrench against, with the lock washers' splits also serving as weep channels to speed draining. It has to be nutted tight to prevent clunking against the inside of the ballast locker side walls.
      Am loving the thought-process going into this evolving design, even though some mods initially seem counter-intuitive to me, at first. Additionally, the naming of various parts is also a tad hilarious, taint it?
      locojhon

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    3. At the bottom of the chain locker there should probably be two square brackets with gussets, so that the walls of the equipment chase take the brunt of the force from the solid ballast block.

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    4. Have you re-tested this new ballast arrangement in your simulator, Dmitry? I'm wondering how raising this ballast above the waterline will affect the overall center of mass/gravity in the rollover simulations compared to the former position in the bilge below the salon sole.

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  4. As for what to do with the U-berth spaces, it looks to me like the space behind that maniquin in the last photo would be perfect for an infant/toddler bed. However, some form of restraint would be required for rough seas. Like a toddler's sleeping bag with a pair of lashing rings sown into the sides near the shoulders, and themselves secured to the rear bulkhead with bungie cords; so that their feet are always towards the settee. It looks like the pilots' berths are designed so that the bulkheads create restraints, but the inside face of the bulkheads should probably be padded.

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    1. There was some discussion on where to put cribs, and the sides of the U-berth seemed perfect. The entire U-berth is easily fenced in and would make a good playpen.

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  5. Does any natural light still make it into the central walkway? Or will additional lighting be required now that the pilot's berths are nearly enclosed?

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    1. There is a huge hatch right above the salon table that functions as a skylight, so there will be plenty of light in the salon. Since the hatch can be angled up on toggles against the breeze, there will also be plenty of air.

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  6. Am interested in the chine runners: how they work, why you believe they are needed and their construction and mounting.
    Do they extend down, out or both?
    If down, are there similar 'skids' spaced along the length of the bottom to share the weight when rolling up/beaching? (I'm concerned about all the boat wt. resting on potentially just four tiny roller points as opposed to spread across the entire bottom.)
    Also, how about a chain and rung type emergency house/fire/rescue ladder with folding stand-off 'feet', normally stowed and anchored on top of the chain in the chain locker, deployed after the bottom-hinged swim platform is lowered on to flexible outer-edge triangulated through-hull chocked rope supports, stowed on top of the ladder in the chain locker.
    First out and last in--and all easily/quickly/safely deployed/secured without tools/extra stuff from aboard.
    Load swim platform upper side with sand in final coating for traction, and on flip side Paint "QUIDNON" (above) and 'Quidnon.com Planet Earth' (below) on the bottom for others to identify boat when 'up' (moored or underway) and call it good.
    I don't think I'd like a permanently deployed platform or ladder out there. Might invite rats/snakes/vermin.
    locojhon

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    1. I've seen chine runners on a couple of uncommon Bolger designs. The idea is that the sole panel extends past the junction with the bulkhead portion of the hull by a few inches. It is supposed to reduce lateral slippage a little bit, by creating a swirl on the leeward side of the hull as the mass of water tries to flow from the leeward side and around the bottom of the boat. It would likely also make the junction easier to perform, and stronger, because it's no longer a pair of boards joining at two ends, but instead one board joining it's end into a t-juction with another board. Different wood junctions are available in that case. Also, rails wouldn't work well to support the ship during a dry out, because that would create a pressure point that the whole ship would have to be designed to direct the weight towards, lest it collapse under it's own weight once the ballast was installed on the first dry out. Quidnon has a copperred bottom, in part, to accept and spread out the weight across the bottom of the ship, so that it can handle both a sand dry out, and hopefully also beaching on rocks.

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  7. That picture with the manniquin inside the ballast tanks clearly shows a strut in the middle of the tank, and another manhole access panel over the other half. So now we will have 4 smaller bladders? And will they be individually plumbed & valved, or will each side still be treated like a unit? I honestly don't know of an advantage for having each of the 4 bladders individually plumbed & valved; except for the possibility of filling one with beer, and pressurized with a CO2 tank. Outside of a custom beertap, I can't think of a good reason...

    Mmmm, beer....

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    1. The plumbing hasn't been worked out yet. Clearly, there would have to be a separate bladder in each section of the tank. Adding valves to each tank and each bladder seems like a good idea, because it would provide a way to isolate failures.

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  8. More fuel storage would allow for longer stays in remote northern areas. The design appears to have more than enough room to design in double or triple the fuel storage.

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    1. Where would you put the extra tankage? And considering that it's a sailboat, more fuel for movement is likely unnecessary. If you mean more propane for heating, cooking and refrigeration; I would agree, but Dmitri's desire to stick with the most common size of portable propane tank, the 20 pound grill tank, makes a great deal of sense. You could certainly buy more tanks and switch them out when necessary.

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  9. So cool to see this moving forward. How do you intend on waterproofing the sauna/shower? What about the unreliability of the outboard engine, or do you just live with it?

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    1. The sauna/shower will be glassed over.

      Outboards are generally more reliable than inboards if properly maintained. Inboard diesels are having constant problems with fuel contamination, etc., and are notoriously hard to work on.

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    2. There is also the advantage of familiarity. I've never owned a boat with an inboard engine myself, but I've heard some real horror stories. But on the flip side, I've got quite a bit of exposure to the small outboard engines. I suspect that my own experiences are the most common; and whether or not you intend to learn how to repair your own engine or pay a mechanic, the more mechanics that know how to fix *your* particular engine, the less that such repairs would tend to cost, generally speaking. Also, you don't necessarily have to repair the engine at all. You could simply pull it out and sell it at the closest harbor as a fixer-upper, and use your stash-cash to buy another one already running. The swapping process isn't nearly as difficult as with an inboard engine, and there might even be cases that you would want to rent an outboard. For example, crossing the Panama Canal requires that your vessel be able to maintain 12 knots, so that you won't hold up commercial traffic. As I understand it, most personal craft just lie about this, but some will lease an overpowered outboard in order to be able to hit 12 knots. The exponetial nature of wavemaking power demand of a displacement boat like Quidnon suggests that it would take something like 200 hp to get Quidnon to 12 knots, but it might be doable if such a crossing were required. Once on the other side, you simply pull the rented outboard and return it to it's owner, and replace your 40 hp outboard back into it's inboard well, then re-attach it's fuel lines and controls.

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    3. Please don't spread false information. There is no 12kt rule for the Panama Canal, and there is no way to make a displacement hull with a hull speed <12kt to move at 12kt, no matter how much horsepower you throw at it.

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    4. And when you get down to it, any single engine is too unreliable to venture out into the open sea with only one form of propulsion, unless you happen to have your own onboard maintenance crew & department like a Navy ship. But Quidnon has two masts with two sets of sails, so the inboard engine is already redundant. If the idea of *both* sets of sails AND the engine getting damaged beyond function still upsets you, then you could certainly carry another outboard as a backup, say a small one about 3 or 4 hp. A good size for a dingy, and very common around the world. In fact, I'd consider it a good idea to have a storage rack to hold a spare outboard engine. If you had the opportunity to acquire one in your travels on the cheap, you would have a place to hang it; and if you should cross the ocean and never need it, you could end up selling it somewhere that such engines demand a premium, far away from normal shipping ports. If I was to hazard a guess, I'd wager that a quality, used outboard engine in working order sells for more in Waterford, Ireland or Cape Farewell, Greenland than it would have cost you within 100 miles of the ports of San Diego, New Orleans or Miami

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    5. I stand corrected, it's actually 8 knots. Your response made me look it up, as I was going off of my memory of other peoples' stories. And it's not exactly a hard rule, but if you can't maintain a minimum speed of 8 knots, there is a penalty fee of $471 for "transit pilot delay" (http://www.noonsite.com/Members/sue/R2012-03-14-3)

      As for the idea that a displacement hull cannot exceed it's hull speed with enough power, that's a myth Dmitri. Hull Speed is not a physical speed limit like the speed of light, it's usually defined as the speed at which the standing bow wave period matches the waterline length of the boat, so that the stern of the boat is in the bottom of the standing wave, while the stern is high up the bow wave, and your engine is constantly trying to climb a hill of your own making...
      "From a technical perspective, at hull speed the bow and stern waves interfere constructively, creating relatively large waves, and thus a relatively large value of wave drag. Though the term "hull speed" seems to suggest that it is some sort of "speed limit" for a boat, in fact drag for a displacement hull increases smoothly and at an increasing rate with speed as hull speed is approached and exceeded, often with no noticeable inflection at hull speed."
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hull_speed

      While most displacement hulls become incredibly inefficient beyond hull speed, requiring exponentially more power until the hull finally planes, it most certainly can be done. Your displacement simulator will tell you how much power would have been required to hit 12 knots; and 200 hp was just a guess, so I won't be shocked if it requires much more; but there is such a number so long as neither the bow nor stern is swamped by the effort, which can happen too.

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    6. Thanks for the more detailed and practical explanation of hull speed.

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  10. Thanks for the reply, seems that would be a tough job to fiberglass the shower/sauna. Just the fumes alone in a confined space. Also the issue of integrating a waterproof drain connection. Couldn't find much on the web about it, but I've done a bunch of residential showers. But I digress, your the engineer.

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    1. The resin that will be used for the fiberglass will be epoxy, not vinyl, because vinyl resin does not cure in the presence of wood. And it is vinyl resin that is incredibly stinky, while epoxy resin hardly offgasses at all. But the recommended technique is to use a face mask and "bunny suit" with clean air blown in from the outside. There is also the possibility of glassing the "bathtub" separately and installing it as one piece.

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  11. Are there any concerns about concrete spalling, using steel scrap embedded in concrete so close to salt water?
    The stern appears to have a more complex design, where some parts will be out of the water. What will be copper sheathed? If the taint will need to be sheathed, what would you call the piece of copper covering the taint?

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    1. Spalling always happens eventually, but it will be easy enough to make a new ballast box. Reinforced concrete is used extensively for bridge pylons, and the techniques are very well researched. Having it last 30 years (the expected useful lifetime of a QUIDNON) is generally not a problem.

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    2. As far as copper sheathing, my thinking is to only sheathe the part of the bottom that is below the waterline. As for the rest, it can be scrubbed and painted quite easily with the boat beached. Most of the rationale behind the copper sheathing is to avoid the expense of haul-outs.

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  12. Mr. Orlov:

    I am extremely interested in your new creation, the Quidnon. Unfortunately, I am not a high level financier; I am, instead, a middle-class woman living on the coast of Alaska who LOVES the idea if yiur "tiny house/boat" all in one. Would it be appropriate for me to ask about the bottom-line cost of this incredible design/invention?

    Please feel free to contact me directly through this email (starrfyrre@att.net) for any private conversation necessary.

    Have you considered a beta-tester for thr Quindon? It would absolutely THRILL me to be a part of this ground-floor undertaking!

    Thank you very, very much for your time and consideration.

    Respectfully,
    C. Call
    starrfyrre@att.net

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