Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hagg lake still shots from another boat.

Dave Graybeal had his camera and got the first ever shots of her on the water with the sail up. Obviously light wind conditions, so not a lot of excitement.  Nice just the same to finally see her from afar with the sail up.

Next time the winds are that light I'm shaking out that reef for all 120ft2.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Hagg Lake with the Coots and ghosting conditions. Honda 2.3hp testing.

Last Sunday I made it out for the third trip.  I went alone for the first time now that I had a dependable motor, bolted in permanent ballast, 3 major reefs available, lazyjacks to simplify sail handling and re-rigged parrels that work better and are easier to operate.

I joined the Oregon Coots for their Hagg lake Messabout.  Hagg lake apparently is known for having pretty decent wind a lot of the time.  Not Sunday, it was basically ghosting conditions.  Of course.

This was probably where I should have started testing the boat in the first place, especially considering the reefing situation early on.  The gorge did put me on the fast track to rig improvement and control I gotta tell ya.

An overcast but pleasant day, and a 100% stress free sail where I really got to run around the boat and check things out.  I even remembered the decent camera and had the time to use it.

A few videos for you enjoyment.  What really pleased me was that I had the first reef tied in on arrival, and just left it in because what a perfect day to see how much sail I needed up in really light conditions.  Full sail is 120ft2, down already from the 138ft2 on the drawing that even Jim thinks is too big.  The first reef takes it down to @ 95ft2, which is close to the full sail she probably really ought to have.

I pretty much kept up with a weekender that had full main and jib up.  There was also what I believe is a March Grumpecht 12' Glider rowing catamaran the Jim Pettycrew has mounted a sprit boom leg O mutton and a jib, and I pretty much kept up with those guys even dragging the Honda prop.

Around here at least, I think a well shaped 100-110ft2 would be all anyone would ever really need on this boat.

When the wind took a major lull, I did around a 5 minute video of running the new 2.3hp Honda on slow until I got out of the no wake zone, then zipped her up near full throttle for a bit and then turned back into my own wake.  That little motor MOVES this boat.  My 2hp 2-stroke evinrude is lighter, smaller and can tilt out of the water way easier.  The centrifugal clutch and nice steady idle in neutral is so much nicer than the direct drive.  And I don't have to mix gas.

It was a great day, learned a little more about the boat.  I've got to get some more weight forward.  If I sit where tiller and mainsheet are comfortable, she trims bow up.  On a multi day trip I can probably load enough water and heavy gear forward to balance the boat.  For light daysailing solo, I might end up having to helm from a bit forward, which is why I ran a steer loop around the boat.  Works well, but best with two hands on the rope.  Need to come up with a way to belay the main sheet farther forward.  Aft I can wrap a loop or two around the tiller as I hold it.

I'll have this camera every time out now.  I'll definitely put up stuff in varying wind strengths.

My boat made me happy again.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rigging details at this point.

Hoisting the sail with the various reefing points showed me a need for a more positive parrel to hold the yard to the mast near the hoist point.  The deeper the reef the more the yard wandered back.  I've been coming out of the dumbsheave, through a clock at the yard lash point the forward around the mast and tying it off at the fore end of the yard.  works great at full sail and not bad at the first reef.  next two reefs it's not cutting it.  Just go back and look at the photos showing the reefs.

I looked at all of the suggested options for the balanced lug, and wasn't thrilled with any of them.  Ring idea seemed like one more thing to juggle or fall overboard.  Parrel beads and snap hook with stopper knot wasn't really 100% removable from the yard and needs a fixed chock.

I went with a yard hauling parrel just like on a chinese junk.  I'm gonna be making a junk sail for the boat at some point anyway.  The bitter end just falls down along the mast and I cleat it off on top of the Halyard at the mast base.  The thing works great.

This is my yard lashing.  Just a ring on a multiple pass loop  extra knots on the side showing were just to use up slack and also help keep the ring centered over the narrow edge,

Next step is to tie off the halyard.  I use a Bowline.

Then I take the yard parrel and pass it through the center of the ring first and out forward and around the mast, returning on the yard side.  I tie it off to the ring with another bowline.

Next on the change list was the Goat style bleater I had.  It's nice to be able to adjust the fore/aft position with this, but having it cleated off on the back side of the boom from the slot was a pain in the ass.  I figured why not bring the cleat over to the mast side and pass around the mast to keep it from getting squeezed/chafed.  Has the side benefit of holding it tighter to the mast than a standard bleater setup.

 Simple loop around the mast.  Can be raised or lowered.

 Here's a shot of the sail hoisted and the yard sucked up nicely with the new parrel.  Don't need a lot of tension on it.  When the sail is on the "Bad Tack" it's up against the mast and not hurting the shape at all.  I really wonder why more Lugs aren't rigged this way.

The side benefit of all this is even without the block, friction raising and lowering the sail is MUCH reduced.  Just shoots out of those new lazyjacks and right back into them.

  I've been asked about my downhaul.  Here it is.  I have a loop at one end that won't go through the eye of the downhaul cleat on the mast.  i pass the other end through the eye from stern to bow then pull the loop tight against the cleat.  End goes up and through the lashed on/moveable block,  then down and through the loop.  I put a trucker's hitch just below the block and come back up and through that, the down and cleat off.  Gives me a 3:1 and no problem getting tension.  Just need to make sure and get that trucker's hitch high enough to not run out of travel before you get enough tension.

And here's the yard hoisted after a fury quick and dirty job of tying in the last reef.  That hoist point was over a foot behind the mast with the old parrel setup.

I'm looking forward to getting out on Hagg lake this weekend with the Coots and running with all of this on the water.  The two previous trips to Rooster Rock in the gorge were way too exciting.  It's close to my house though.  Probably not my smartest decision ever to start the sail trials there, but on the flip side i showed up the rig's weaknesses pretty much Immediately.  Also pretty much proved my mast won't break under reasonably excessive strain.

She's getting there.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


I've been furling sail and launching sail from the port cabin top.  It's actually fairly convenient, but on rougher days there's nothing to prevent the sail and occasionally the boom from trying to take a swim.  I've also got to gather the sail as it comes down by hand, which is in short supply when handling a halyard and wrangling the yard.  I also intend to make a junk rig for this boat after I have the balanced lug all figured out.  The junk REQUIRES the lazy jacks to function as it should.

It was pretty quick and simple.  I put a pad eye on the rear of the mast above the dumb sheave for the halyard.  I tied rings on to each end of a 10ft piece of 3/16 paracord, and did a cow hitch loop in the middle of it at the pad eye.  2 more pad eyes on each side of the boom, another pair of lines with spring clips attached using Albright knots that can slip but have a fair amount of friction.  That way I can slide the knots and raise the whole bundle higher when it's furled to get it out of my way.

It's really simplified both raising and dropping sail single handed.  the bundle tidies up fairly nicely with just a few ties after it's furled.  The lazyjacks just happened to come out a nice length where I can clip the hooks together and store them on the mast belayed around the halyard cleat.

The other thing I've done to simplify single handed raising and lowering is put in a Paradox style steering loop in the cabin.  4 fairleads in the corners and a simple chunk of rope tied to the tiller end, works well.  I'll have to get some pictures of that up as well.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Blown all over the river a second time. Reef points.

I got out on the river again after the last round of improvements.  Trailer worked much better, the lower ballast worked out well.  The 2hp honda is a joy to use and pushes the boat really well.

Once again there was more wind than expected almost right out of the gate, and I had no reef points in the sail.  The good news is the ballast proved itself.  Bad news is we were so overpowered that we essentially lost directional control.  Reefing moved to the top of the priority list.

 This is my typical "corner patch" at the luff and leach for each reefing point.  Reinforcing ribbon and then the radiuses vinyl tape strips.  Finished off with the sewing machine.
 The cringes in between are simply a layer of vinyl tape on each side and the grommet.

 This is at the luff up by the yard.  Third reef to head is almost continually reinforced for the last reef. I call this the "Texas 200" reef.
 The original full sail

  First reef point.  This will be tied in at anything over @ 8 knots of wind I believe.

  And the second reef point.  Testing will show where this is needed.

Last and most certainly least sail.  Be interesting to find out if i can get to windward with this at all, not to mention just how much wind i can stand up to with it.

The other thing I'm going to get done is a Paradox style steering rope around the inside of the cabin.  Last 2 times i've had help in the boat working the till while I was hoisting sail.  I won't have that most of the time, so the ability to helm the boat while standing at the mast will be necessary.  The other thing I've found is that even with the bulk of the ballast forward, my 200lbs and the outboard make her trim a bit bow up If I'm back in easy reach of the tiller.  Fine for downwind work, but I'll want to scoot forward when heading upwind to avoid lee helm and help get the full chine in the water.  A tiller extension could work, but wouldn't help in the hoisting process.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Upgrades and changes after the first sail

After the Memorial day first launch, I of course found several things that needed to be changed or finished before heading out again.  Brand new boat and trailer setup, so that's of course to be expected.  The first thing I did was replace all of the sail ties with high strength tactical cord.  Sailing was ended for the day by the zip ties at the tack blowing out.  I had been running the sail loose footed, so of course that was a very entertaining couple of minutes and we came home on Dave's 2.3hp honda that we'd thoughtfully exchanged for the trolling motor before heading back out.  I wasn't sure how much charge was left to run the trolling motor after the first excursion with Greg.

The entered foot is now tied to the boom, so if I have a blowout at the tack again it won't be catastrophic.  The grommets were already there, i just didn't use them before.  Something about adjusting sail shape with a loose foot configuration.  Turns out I have so much area there's no reason to add camber for light winds.

The second big issue was getting the boat back on the trailer.  The winch tower was way too short, and didn't have the right angle to pull the boat all the way on.  It was pulling essentially straight down the last couple of feet.
 I had bought an old drift boat trailer with a wider axle so the boat could ride lower between the wheels, but it's pretty rough compared to this trailer.  The height didn't seem to be an issue, i didn't have to get the truck wheels wet.  I happened to notice the winch tower was much taller on that trailer.  Broke out the tape measure and was pleasantly surprised.  I swapped towers and now it's much more useful.

 I had loaded a bunch of water jugs into coolers for temporary ballast, and it worked out OK but i really wanted to get the permanent steel mounted.  It will ride much lower for better effect and take a lot less room in the boat.  These are 36"x3"x1/2" thick steel and 16lbs per.  (4) will mount at the front of the cabin and (2) at the rear.

I also want to get some reef points into the sail for next time.

I also brought a brand spanking new honed 2.3hp.  I have the old Evinrude shown in earlier photos, but between mixing gas and the fact that it has no centrifugal clutch,  I really preferred Dave's Honda.  You can leave the motor running but not in gear, a BIG advantage.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Memorial Day Splash

I got her wet.  I sculled her, ran her on the trolling motor, tipped her over on purpose at the ramp, sailed her and ran her with a 2.3HP honda.  I had 2 full grown men in the boat for all of the sailing.  I'll go into depth on all of it, but to summarize she worked just great.   Here's a few shots of her in the water.
 The man with the back turned on the dock is Greg.  He came out with me for the first sail and was a lot of help.  It's nice to have backup on a brand new boat as you try everything for the first time.
 After 8 years on a 4.5' draft, 12-ton twin diesel trawler, it's nice to have a boat that can just go to the beach.
This is Dave Pierce,  a huge help for the entire day.  Greg above is his cousin.

And here's all of the video I managed to personally take that day.  Not much time for camera work when you're having a blast sailing the boat you built for the first time in the wind and current of the Columbia River gorge.  Sorry about all of the crazy tilting.

I'm a really happy guy :-)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

All the little stuff before you can actually launch the damn thing

So this is just all the little details that drop up when you think you're pretty much finished and ready to go sailing.  They sure add up.

As any one who spends much time on the water knows, one of your most important safety devices is a decent anchor.  I found this extremely nice pulpit for only $30.00 and the local 2nd hand chandlery for $30.00.  They had another one marked at $70.00 that wasn't really any nicer.  Proprietor looked pissed it was priced that low :-)  I backed up the ply on the deck with some lumber from the stem to the first bulkhead for just such an occasion.  It's through bolted with stainless.  The anchor can simply ride in there ready to drop at any time.

Knowing full well that I'll be playing with the position of the sail to figure out the balance for the boat, I rigged a bleater like on Mik Storer's website.  The double downhaul thing is cool, but this was much quicker and cheaper.  Both my downhaul and my yard block are just lashed on to be easily moved.  Side benefit is no holes or concentrated stress in the yard or boom.

I missed Fern Ridge with the Coots because my trailer wasn't ready, but the weather report got me thinking I should bust out some half decent hard hatches for transport if nothing else.  A lot of rain can fall in a boat between Portland and Eugene if it has a slot top and no drain plug.  This is right after priming.  Probably won't need them this weekend, but good to finish anyway.  With these babies I'm rain tight except for the mast partner in the deck.  I've got a plan for that, but it's not a critical thing this week.  Thinking about soft top options for the long top hatch.

The next thing that had  been bugging me is no good place to attach docking lines (though this boat is meant to go to the beach and eliminate the need for a dock, there's at least one  to be dealt with where you launch) as well as needing a place to rig fenders and secure trailer ties.  So I mounted some cleats.  Once again, through bolted through the inner wale and ply with washers and stainless steel.

Rigged a stout fairlead for the leeboard down haul.  It doubles as an anchor point to tie the board up for trailering.  I've just got the line thrown in through the aft hatch for now, it's easy to work standing in the slot.  Jim suggests drilling a hole in the side of the boat, which would be cleaner.  Another place for rain and spray to get into the boat though.  I'm going to try and avoid drilling the hole.

You've seen how I'm going to set the coolers in here.  I wanted solid anchor points to strap them in good for at least a 90 degree knockdown.  Battery boxes are screwed in to bejeezus as well,  and I've got almost half my ballast as useable juice.  Solar panel in the future maybe?

I threw anchors at the rear bulkhead as well.  I might find some cushions that I can keep strapped up to the sides as backrests while sailing, but tall enough to basically turn the whole 48" x 42" section of the cabin aft of the batteries into comfy bed space.  I can use the throwable cushions for the other 26" of my legs.  This will be a comfy boat to sleep in.

The black fairleads up higher are for the tiller.  I can noose a line around it, run the ends through the fairleads and I have remote steering.  I can even go so far as to rig a Paradox style loop all the way around the cabin.  I'll see if there's any need or desire for that.

The pinch cleat in the center is for the main sheet.  Easily yanked out of there in an emergency.

I have a drift boat trailer I found cheap on Craigs list that has the wheels 6ft apart and would let the boat ride a lot lower.  Axle, springs and hubs are pretty rusty, and i have to modify the supports to fit the boat.  I has an epiphany on supporting the front of the boat on the existing trailer with little effort. The 3x3 timber you see right down agains the trailer was my mast test stub I built for practice as well as to help with getting the mast step and partner right.  Shores up the droopy front ends of the existing  trailer bunks nicely.  Lagged the bunks into the timber.  Shaved a 2x4 to a bevel to match the hull, nailed on some scrap carpet and lagged the 2x4 into the bunk ends.  It's all super solid and stable with the hull well supported near the bulkhead.  Should get me through the season before it rots.

The boat sits a bit higher than I'd like.  We'll see how far I need to back in to get her to float off at the local ramps.  As long as I don't need to get the truck wet, this little trailer will work well and it's like brand new.

Aft end of the bunks already well supported.  Just had to bevel/carpet/lag down the 2x4.  once again very near the structural bulkhead.

The Center of weight/bouyancy is very near the Leeboard pivot bolt.  Once again, that's where the bunks hit the hull and right where the group 24 deep cycle batteries are going to sit.  Be nice if the bunks were all the way out to the chines, but the 1" thick bottom with a layer of 9oz glass can  probably handle it considering the other support on the hull.

And there she is.  Ready to splash on Memorial day weekend.  Once I throw the new radiator in the truck.....