15 April 2012

Cold sunny sail (10.6nm trip 22.2nm total)

Got up early enough to be down on the water and sailing by 9:00am. Not bad considering I live in the middle of the Cotswolds. Lovely sunny day, but a cold north wind that got stronger steadily. Blowing F6 by the afternoon with strong squalls. I sailed for most of it, but in the end gave up and motored back. With only the fore and mizzen I can tack reasonably well, but I cannot point close to the wind. As a result, I kept on ending up in the shallows, with the board and rudder kicking up. Then even harder to go in the right direction. With the two sails you can reach and run, but close hauled is not good.

The forestay lanyard needed tightening, but the splices look OK. Some of the conduit under the side decks is coming unstuck, which doesn't really surprise me. I shall try contact adhesive next time I am down. A bit of stitching on the sprayhood needs replacing, the burgee has slipped and shredded and some of the white boot top has come off already, just after two weeks. I used just an ordinary primer. I think it really needs its own dedicated primer to really stick on. I have pledged that next winter's work is to repaint the boat properly. These last two years I have just touched her up.
By 3:00pm I was cold and fed up so packed up and came home.

8 April 2012

Boat building itch getting stronger

I am very tempted to start building a Sassafras 14 canoe from Chris Kulczycki's book The Canoe Shop , which has fully measured out plans in it. (Photo is of one built from a kit and shown on the WoodenBoat website) The measurements are in inches and fractions, which I am not familiar with using, but they are properly printed to be legible. In a lot of other boat building books "with plans" they are reductions of full sized plans which are barely legible.

In a way, I have started. The ends of the garboard planks have to be drawn up from a gridded diagram, so I have made that in cheap ply already. I have also tested my jigsaw for verticality and it seems OK. I need a tool to cut long rebates along the planks, and I have got a full width block plane on order, as my old block plane has been resharpened so many times it cannot be extended any more. Cutting 16ft,  very shallow rebates could be tricky with a hand plane, so a possibility is a small router. I have also moved my workbench a bit so that it can be linked to the other bench to form an 8ft support for the planks. Full length planks are way too long for my benches, so I will need a couple of plywood or chipboard sheets on the floor to set them up and glue the scarfs. I even made a trial scarf joint, which I have never done before. Seemed to be straight forward, but I expect lining up the planks for gluing will be the hard part. We shall see.

Just found this website showing the complete building of a Sassafras 14. You can find anything on the web if you look

4 April 2012

First pootling trip (11.6nm)

Down for the day just to check everything is OK. I'm on a slightly more distant mooring, which means a slightly further row, but a little more water at the lowest tides. Swings and roundabouts as always. Motored out and in fact motored most of the day as it was near flat calm. I couldn't have used the mainsail much if I had it. I found the broken off bit of the boom gallows support on the rear side deck so have glued it back on with Araldite. At least the boat is not broken now.

Motored to Shipstal point and anchored for lunch. Bright day and sunny by the afternoon, but really cold and not many people about. After lunch I motored right up to my old mooring at Rockley to see if there have been any changes. They have built new pontoons for about 24 boats. Otherwise looks much the same.

Managed to sail for about an hour when the wind got up a little. I can tack with just the jib and mizzen so long as I work the mizzen. Pull it hard to windward as the helm goes down, and it pushes the stern round through the wind. You have to get right through to be sure of not falling back and into irons. Had to race for home when I realised that a very low tide would delay me a couple of hours if I did not get moored well before it. I can float in a wet puddle (in this photo there is just about a foot of water and everyone else is aground and DG is still floating) but I need a couple of feet at least in order to get the engine down and enough centreboard and rudder for steerage.

The new sprayhood windows work well. Not sure I like the look from outside as much, but it is good to be able to see out now.

2 April 2012

I sing the praises of insurers and boat builders

I got a quote from Swallowboats to for a replacement boom and sail this morning, sent it to my insurers, Bishop Skinner and they got straight back to me and approved it with immediate effect. So I have given Matt the go ahead and all being well I should have it by the middle of next month. That is what insurers are supposed to do, and it is so nice when they do. I shall now enjoy myself pootling round Poole Harbour at low speed until it is all sorted.

This is how I left Daisy G on Sunday, bereft of her main motive force. You can see the boom gallows just in front of the mizzen mast. I don't think it looks too bad. Shame there isn't a boom resting on it at the moment.
One interesting finding. As the photo shows, it was very sunny. The voltage regulator was showing "High voltage". I unplugged the battery and found that in this sunshine, I could run all the lights and instruments just from the output of the little solar panel on the roof. Not much need for lights in bright sunshine, but it was a practical demonstration that the 10W panels should be able to keep my battery charged all season.
The dyneema forestay seems to be just about the rights length, and the dyneema soft shackle on the jib clew also seems to work, so this winter's modifications all seem to be working so far. The forestay is a bit of a cheat as the jib luff takes most of the tension. I tighten it with a four part handy billy, whilst the forestay is just tightened with the lanyard afterwards. But it is reassuring to have two strings holding the mast up.

1 April 2012

Daisy G launched, but not a happy start to the season

I towed Dasiy G to Poole, stopping and checking her trailer several times on the way, after all the fun and games I had last year, when a wheel bearing seized. All seemed well, but what I found when I finally got to Poole was that her main sail and boom had not arrived with us. Just not there. The strap was in place at the forward end, but the rear boom gallow support had its outer edge broken off. All I can surmise is that the boom somehow slid backwards and pulled out of the forward strap and then twisted sideways, breaking the edge of the rear support and so falling off. I retraced my route but no sign of it, and phoned each police force on the route, but nothing reported. So I am launched, but only with a fore and mizzen sail, so I won't be going anywhere fast for a while. I have been in touch with my insurers and I need to get in touch with Swallowboats for a quote for a new sail and boom. I hope they can work fast.
So not a good start, and it was such a lovely day!