Friday, April 18, 2014

Woops, Did I Really Do That?

I was so proud having installed the new luff groove so well.  Everything looked just great.
Then I tried putting up the main yesterday.  I have to admit Karen noted that the grove on the new luff was a bit narrower.  'That's a good thing', says I. "Remember how the halyard line used to get trapped in the grove"?  Of course I already fixed that with a block and a thimble.  
So I tried to thread the main.  the first foot or so, just a little tight but doable.  Then comes the first reef with its reinforced cringle.  No go; tighter than "Dick's hat band" to quote my late Dad!"  Tight, tight, too tight!!
Now I have a real problem.  Not a little one, a big one.  
I tried a short piece with a bit in the Dremmel tool.  Too wobbly! "Looks like a guide and a router is needed.  How do I do that," I muse?
Well, I just happen to have a very good friend who is a master woodworker and retired engineer (ME).  He is a master at making jigs. "I'll call Paul in the morning," I told Karen.   
And this is what he made in about 10 minutes.  In the router I have a 1/8th inch strait cut blade.  The jig is about a 1/64th of an inch off-center.  So Two trips with a router one up, one down gives me about 5/32nds of an inch for the grove.

Here's the before and after.  Before the clean up.  Plenty wide for the sail to slide easily.

Sanding with a UN-sharpened pencil riding in the grove rounds everything out nicely.  I started with 100 grit and moved up to 220.  A air blast can cleaned out the groove nicely. Then I applied some of this.
That sail ought to fairly drop of it's on weight when the halyard is released.  Phew, saved by a talented friend!
Thanks Paul, W4KLY.  Did I mention he is a very skilled ham radio operator and sends and receives Morse code like a commercial operator?  My mentor, Paul Kelly, W4KLY, I'm proud to know you and thanks again!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

It's Done!

I planned my next post to be at Cedar Key.  But, today I finished the trailer project.  This will be Embers Watch's new trailer.  If you page back a few you will remember how rusty and shabby it looked.  Well, it turned out pretty good.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Poor Man's Windward Sheeting and other Simple Solutions

Here's the problem.  As windward speed increases, the relative wind moves forward.  In order to have lift to windward, the mainsail has to be sheeted very high.  Tridarka uses dinghy sheeting on the main, a simple triangular sheeting method that works quite well up to a close reach.  If one pulls in any farther the purchase angle is downward and the main mast bends backward completely destroying the sail shape.  What to do?  Enter, windward sheeting.  On Bellle, I slide the main sheet traveler to windward to haul the boom over a little closer to the wind without bending the carbon fiber masts.  
Racing sailors have a set of outhauls on the traveler.  A setup like that can set you back a pretty penny. In the case of  Tridarka, I would have to have a raised track (over the high tiller head).  Then I would probably be too close to the boom creating a lot more sheeting problems, especially when going down wind.  My solution is much simpler.  A turning block, a v-block and a clip end on the boom purchase point.  I have one on each side.  The theory is that when going to windward I haul the boom to windward just a little without downward pull, thus improving the sailing windward angle.  I can't wait to see how this works!
Yes, I got the mast track back on.  I had to send off to New Zealand to a company called C-Tech for the plastic dinghy mast track.  On their advice I used Sikaflex 252 to adhere it.  Naturally it needed to be black.  Can you say "tar."  Ten minutes after having applied the activator, I proceed to make one of the bigger messes I have made so far.  Actually, the time is fairly forgiving.  The tape on each side of the track helped limit the spread.  After about an hour of cleanup, it looks pretty good.  Nice and strait and well attached I believe.
While still working with the nasty stuff, I attached a whisker pole bail.

 So here is the whisker pole. It's a Forespar 4-8 foot twistlock.  Note Duckworks Sea Dog rubber pole clips which you can buy here
I'm hoping poling out the jib will help those disappointing down run speeds.  It seems even worse when you are doing 6 knots in 6 knots of wind on beam then turn downwind to experience a sluggish 2- 2 and 1/2 knots of boat speed.  Boats with cat-ketch rigging seriously have the advantage in this scenario.  Another solution would be a spinnaker. I find that too expensive, crew intensive and complicated.  
Here's another move toward better windward ability (and she already does nicely to windward).  After building the decks with reinforcement under, I moved the jib sheet tracks in 4 inches from the previous installation.  Well, to be honest, the sheet blocks were fixed on the old Tridarka.  I already know the tracks help a great deal.  Inbound sheeting should be superb!
Here's the Garmin 78 mount.   
Forward, I carry two buckets with lines.  To the right is the fire extinguisher mount.
This Rubbermaid tube fits perfectly under the rear deck.  I hate stuff under foot.  Organization prevents mishaps.  
Looks like we're ready for Cedar Key.  I hope to see many of you there, the first weekend of May.  We will be staying at Sunset Isle RV park just outside of Cedar Key.  Our number is 38. Hope you stop buy for a visit.  Otherwise, we'll see you on the beach.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Shop Gets Put to Good Use

Work around the shop continues.  First we had the sides closed in.  Note the sheets of acrylic panel to let in light.  The workmen at Quickshelters did a fine job!

I brought the old hoist on a trolly idea inside.  I used 12 foot upright 4x4s footed with 4 foot 4x4s to support the crossbeams.  The crossbeams are 18 foot 9 and 1/2 by 1 and 3/4 LVL members which I  bought at the local lumber yard.  They are reinforced by 18 foot 2x4s at a T angle.  The lift is doing itself proud already.
I've been on the lookout for a trailer for Embers Watch and other boats I might need to transport.  (Heaven forbid I bring any more onto the property without thinning the herd).
I pick this trailer up from Craig's list. It needs some serious TLC but the structure is sound all in all. 

Already the lift is coming in very handy as I strip down the trailer and start sandblasting.
After a generous coat of ZRC galvanizing spray, a nice OSHA red adds color to the old trailer.

This project has been waiting for a while.  Now it has to be done so we can use Tridarka at Cedar Key.
The mast track came from C-Tech in New Zealand.  I simply couldn't find a plastic track to replace the old here in the USA.  After marking and cleaning with acetone, I prepped both surfaces with Sika Activator.  I used Sikaflex 252-black to adhere the track.  What a mess!  It spreads like tar and is equally hard to clean up.  I think I have a very good joint.  I am waiting for a whisker pole and clip.  I will attach the clip to the forward side of the mast at the appropriate height with the same Sika 252.  Hopefully downwind sailing in light air will be more pleasant!
Until Cedar Key (the first weekend in May) we will be getting the RV ready to go.  We are in CK countdown mode!