31 May 2014

Marine ply costs HOW much!?

I drove down to Robbins timber in Bristol to pick up three sheets of marine ply, two at 6mm and one at 12mm. If my wife finds out how much it cost, I'll be in trouble. Of course, the prices I had worked out didn't include the dreaded VAT. I'll have to build a decent boat now!

30 May 2014

Lofting the panel templates

Started work on the new dinghy. Carefully drawing out the offsets for the side and bottom panels. Very satisfying work, making a series of points and then drawing a smooth curve through them with a wooden batten. The stern transom seems fractionally small, but that will be easy to allow for when I cut it from the final marine ply. Otherwise all looks good so far. The next stage will be to cut out the templates accurately, so that half the line is left...
Down to Bristol tomorrow to pick up the marine ply from Robbins Timber. I have fixed extension bars to my roof rack to be sure I can bring it back safely.

22 May 2014

Boat building bug bights

I've decided that the little dinghy I built a couple of years ago is not really suited as a tender for a number of reasons, so I'm selling it to free up space to build a new one. The dinghy is now on ebay if anyone is interested.

The one I am planning to build is a Sam Devlin "Micro Petrel". I bought the plans yesterday (you can just download them in PDF format) and it looks like something I can manage.This will still be 8ft long only, but the pram bow will give more capacity. I hope it will also be easier to load onto a roof rack single handed and I will use proper marine plywood this time.

19 May 2014

Sunny sailing and mast tweaking (24.5nm)

Down to Poole for a couple of days. Hot and sunny and a breeze, what more could I ask. Spent the first day fiddling with my mast rake. I had read on the Swallow Boats association forum that various people were concerned about their mast rake. I had a feeling that mine was leaning forward very slightly. I checked this by hanging a weight from the topping lift and seeing where it hung when the boat was floating and steady. It was actually leaning forward slightly. I believe that mast should have a slight rake to the stern, so I adjusted the fixings at the bases of the shrouds. This involved raising and lowering the mast several times... The first time I found that the boom was just grazing the boom gallows, which is not good. Eventually I think I got it sorted and it seems to clear the gallows nicely, but the tension has to be kept high on the forestay/jib luff. It looks a bit too much on the photo, but I think this is partly a perspective effect.

In the evening and morning I was firmly aground, which I enjoy as it gives me a wonderful view of the birds and, in this case. of the Bournemouth tethered balloon seen beyond the Sandbanks ferry.
Second day I sailed out as far as Old Harry Rocks, then back in for lunch. Finally I experimented again just sailing with the main sail on its own, which worked very well. on a close reach I could tie off the tiller and she held her course, so the balance was just fine.

Hope the sunny weather continues. I do like sailing in the sun over a sparkling sea. No winter sailing for me.

13 May 2014

Daisy Grace as a catboat

When I sailed past Ciao Bella last week, Phil took this rather fine photo of Daisy G when I was experimenting with just using the mainsail on its own. Even with one reef in we were achieving 3-4kts quite easily and tacking was stately but reliable. I shall try further with the full sail next time down. I have tried just about every permutation, including just the mizzen, which does work after a fashion.

6 May 2014

Non-slip paint

I used Sandtex lightly textured masonry paint on the decks as non-slip. Initial impressions are that it gives superb non-slip results, to the extent you need to watch out for grazing knees, bare feet etc. It also looks very good. Not as yellow as I feared. It has chipped a bit in the fore deck where I have been bouncing the anchor around, so that is not unexpected. It holds the dirt, which is significant if you anchor a lot in Poole Harbour, which is MUDDY. It really wears out deck scrubbing sponges as you try to clean the dirt off. I have started using a broom, but that may well grind down rapidly. I will be interested to see how it lasts over the season.

Early Spring bank holiday sail, Two nights on board 37nm around Poole Harbour

A sunny Bank Holiday weekend, but a bit cold. I had two nights on board. Arrived Saturday evening and motored straight out to Shipstal Point, where there were about four other boats at anchor. Very quiet night, but cold. Jumpers on in the sleeping bag. Several tappings on the mast which took a bit of tracking down.
In the morning I sailed off the anchorage and didn't put the motor on until coming back in to my mooring the next day Basically sailed around the harbour, checking on what has changed and if my winter modifications worked. The main feature of the harbour were the number of empty moorings. Surely by May they should be filled? Signs of the times maybe, sailing is an expensive hobby.
Anchored off Arne in the Wareham channel. Ended up on the mud, which gave me a superb view of a flock of black tailed godwits. Not a common bird, and two had coloured leg rings, which I have reported to the BTO ringed birds website. Lying in my sleeping bag, I worked out I was likely to be aground for most of the morning, so I turned out at midnight and paddled out into deeper water. Incredibly quiet.
On the Bank holiday itself I beat against wind and tide with just the main and jib. The mizzen doesn't really add much when tacking, so I often furl it if I am going to be beating for any length of time.
After beaching on Brownsea Island for lunch, I experimented with sailing just with the mainsail, with one reef in it as it was quite gusty. She sailed surprisingly well. A bit slower to tack, but no risk of going in irons at all. I then practised sailing up to a series of buoys with the plan of trying to pick up my mooring under sail. It all worked out fine in the open bay, but I blew it in the marina. I turned too late and was about 3ft short. I had the engine ticking over, so motored round and tried again. Engine conked out! Missed the buoy and drifted around a bit before I could restart it. Third time lucky.
Winter mods generally good, but I have abandoned the rope horse for the main sheet. It worked, but the block kept banging on the coaming and I thought that would cause damage in the long run. I think the mast may have a little fore rake, so I will work on that next time down.
There are two Baycruiser 23 in Poole now. I saw one sailing and she looked wonderful. Her mainsail looked huge compared to mine
The Navionics app on my tablet worked very well and the plots are shown on the Google map below.

View Spring Bank Holiday 2014 in a larger map