Monday, April 30, 2018

Skipper's Award

30 Apr 18:

Now hear this. Now hear this.

Property of Skipper. Keep Away. Her award for meritorious service as the Small Boat Restoration Functional Test Pilot. She is qualified on Pelican 10, KM SUP, Barnett Butterfly, Alcort Standard Sailfish, Alcort Super Sailfish, AMF Minifish, Alcort Super Sailfish MKII, Alcort/AMF/Loveless DeGarmo/Vanguard Sunfish, wooden Sunfish, Penobscot 14, Drascombe Dabber, Sorg 15, O'Day Daysailer, Grumman 17, Penobscot 17, Capri 18, Drascombe Lugger, Leathers 21 and Catalina 22. And she is writing up the Test Card the Alcort Catfish now.

Ref: Some of us might remember the movie Mr Roberts, with James Cagney as the crazy Captain of the USS Reluctant.

03 Sep 18:

Skipper qualified on the Alcort Catfish now!

1979 Drascombe Dabber VICTORY 30 Apr 18 Gunwale Varnish

30 Apr 18:

Cleaned up the rough surface of the gunwale with 120 grit on a random orbital sander a few weeks back. Lesson learned, wear a dust mask, gloves, long sleeve shirt, hat, long pants and decon as soon as possible, I got contaminated with some moldy teak! I thought, oh the breeze is blowing the dust away, I have the shop vac hookped up to the sander and it is a quick job....didn't matter.

Luckily the job went quick, and we applied 2 coats of TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish Satin. I wasn't sure how it would look, but after a few brush strokes it looked fantastic, we are very pleased with how it turned out.

We also finished attaching the transom cap with some #8x3/4 silicone bronze wood screws.

All of the sudden VICTORY seems ready for final rigging and sea trials!


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Sunfish Sailboat Sail Rigging

28 Apr 18:

We like to rig our Sunfish sail so the boom is comfortably clear of the deck, we call this the recreational rig.

The gooseneck is placed about 22 inches back, between the first and second sail grommets back from the tack.

The halyard is tied about 60 inches from the top of the gaff, 5 grommets down from the head grommet. This puts the halyard close to the aft end of the cockpit when the gaff is lying down.

Our friend Dozer likes the rig on his 1982 Sunfish VIPER.

Get more great tips on the history and How To of the Sunfish and Sailfish from The Sunfish Owner's Manual, we put it together and published it December 2013.

Catch the wind!!

1982 AMF Sunfish PHOENIX 28 Apr 18 Sea Trials

28 Apr 18:

1982 AMF Sunfish PHOENIX out for sea trials after repairs to leaks in the daggerboard trunk, bailer hole seam, chine and coaming. She sailed great and Skipper did a few donuts. No leaks!


Alcort Catfish SMEDLEY 28 Apr 18 Hull Cleaning

25 Apr 18:

SMEDLEY's hull had a lot of mildew and rust staining, we got a lot of the dirt and mildew off with TILEX. For the rust stains we used Iron Out, just spray it on and let it sit a few minutes. The rust was pretty dark but the second goat got most of it gone. Iron Out works great, but read the instructions and be careful not to be where the wind might blow it back into your eyes. There also may be some residue left over that gets kicked up during sanding, so wear an appropriate mask and eye protection.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Boat Covers

25 Apr 18:

We like to cover our boats when they are outside, it protects them from dust, tree sap, bird poop, pine tree needles and many other things. It also keeps critters from nesting in the boats, chewing on the sails or storing nuts in various places like a new Sunfish sail, not that that ever happened to us.... So when it is time to go sailing we can go sailing, not spend time getting the boat clean enough to use or wonder how much an new sail is going to cost.

On our Sunfish we experimented with a few different types of covers from SLO Sail and Canvas;, a Hull cover, a Spars On Deck cover and a Mast Up cover. We also experimented with a few of the different fabrics and the one we like is Sunbrella, it is not totally waterproof but it allows the boat and gear to breathe. The waterproof cover developed mildew, fast. We bought some with straps, some without. At the end of our test period, what we like the most is the Spars On deck Cover with straps, we can leave the spars on top of the boat during the sailing season. The Mast Up cover might work for some, but we like to roll our boats under a shed and the mast was too tall, you also have to untie the halyard, either on the gaff or take down the mast, which defeats the purpose. Both the Spars On Deck and Mast Up cover have pockets on the stern for the spars to fit in.

Hull cover.

Spars On Deck cover, in this picture just the mast is stored underneath, it fits nice and snug when sail and spars are on deck. It is cut a little fuller towards the bow.

Mast Up cover. Can also be used with the mast down, but there may be small leaks around the mast collar. This cover would be great if you have a week at the beach and want to leave your Sunfish down on the shore for a few days.

We incorporated several of the ideas that we liked and made a cover for our Penboscot 14. We use the sprit underneath the cover as a ridgepole and it has held up great under heavy rain and our gusty bayfront winds.

Penobscot 14 cover

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Alcort Sailfish SMEDLEY 24 Apr 18 Broken Bits

24 Apr 18:

SMEDLEY has a few broken bits that need to be cleaned up before sea trials. The gooseneck on the boom has a broken tang where the tack of the sail attaches.

The pivoting centerboards are missing the little spherical bushings that hold them in place and allow them to pivot.

One rudder cheek is missing the tiller support tab.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Personal Flotation Device Tips

19 Apr 18:

We have used several types of Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) over the past, I started using them as a teenager riding around and driving my Uncle's 1969 Sterncraft Tri Hull powered by a 160 Mercruiser and piloting his stick steer bass boat. Back then they were the big orange foam block vests with a black strap, and a few years into our trips he switched over to some nice low profile Stearns fishing vests, which were more flotation "aids" than they were life jackets.

In 2011 the Skipper and I moved closer to the water and we began using our small boats more often, so we tracked down some PFDs that were comfortable to wear and compatible with dinghy sailing, rowing, kayaking and canoeing. The features we like are low profile PFDs that allow us to bend at the waist, paddle and row. The Skipper's PFD also has foam bumps and mesh air vents that improve air circulation. Both PFDs have adjustments for the shoulders and waist, storage pockets and bits of reflective tape. We also chose red PFDs that are easier to spot in the water than some darker colored vests.

Our current vests are the Astral Camino and the Extrasport Eagle. The light gray bumps inside the Camino vest on the left are cushioned foam, they hold the vest away from the body to improve air circulation.

We keep enough comfortable vests for passengers to wear. In the pockets we keep a whistle, a knife and a small LED flashlight. Eventually I'd like to add a signal mirror and maybe a small VHF transceiver with GPS locator. I flew Search and Rescue in a former life, and a small light or signal mirror flash can be seen from far far away. We like red and yellow vests, they are easier to spot in the water.

Here are some tips from the "Think Safe" booklet that comes with most PFDs, published to help boaters choose the right device. I believe that beyond being safe we can be smart, this information increases our knowledge and coupled with a positive attitude, we can "Boat Smart."

1. How many PFDs do you need? Depends on the number of people on board, the size and type of boat, and the kind of boating you do. You must have any one of these wearable PFDs for each person on board:

-Off-Shore Life Jacket (Type I) - Best for rough, open water. Turns unconscious wearer face up, highly visible, but bulky.

-Near-Shore Buoyant Vest (Type II) - Turns some unconscious wearers face up, less bulky, not for long hours in rough water.

-Flotation Aid (Type III) - Good for calm, inland water or where there is a chance of fast rescue. Comfortable and available for many different types of activities. Will NOT turn unconscious wearer face up and not for extended rough water survival.

-Special Use Device (Type V) - Special uses or conditions like work vests, hybrid PFDs or boardsailing vests. A Type V Inflatable must be worn to be counted as a PFD. They are less bulky and good for continuous wear, but they may not inflate fully and require maintenance. My thoughts on the inflatables is that the wearer needs to be very familiar with use in extreme conditions, that usually requires dunk tank training and periodic re-qualification, which I have been through. Imagine ending up in the water, surprised, disoriented and maybe injured. Are you going to remember how to inflate the vest?

-Throwable Device (Type IV) - If your boat is 16 feet or longer, and is not a canoe or kayak, you must also have at least one Throwable Device (Type IV). It can be thrown up to 40 feet, makes good supplemental flotation and also serves a nice cushion.

2. Be sure to choose a PFD that is right for your planned activities and the water conditions that you expect to encounter. A good vest should have a list of recommended uses, like paddling, sailing, kayaking or water skiing. Many PFDs are not tested for personal protection from impact and therefore not approved for use on personal watercraft, for water skiing or similar towed activities.

3. The best place for a PFD to be stored is on your body. I like the cushioning that my PFD provides and it also provides a little back support. The storage pockets are convenient for my phone and tow vehicle keys. If the conditions are such that the PFD is not worn, keep it close and do not attach it to the boat, and brief your crew on their PFD's location.

From the Coast Guard: "9 out of 10 drownings occur in inland waters, most within a few feet of safety. Most of the victims owned PFDs, but they died without them. A wearable PFD can save a life, if it is worn."

4. Read the label to make sure the PFD is made for the wearer's weight and size.

5. Try out your PFD in calm conditions to make sure your mouth floats well above the water and you can breathe easily.

6. Check PFD for wear. When it gets damaged or worn, replace it. Regulations require that the PFD be in good shape for use on the boat.

If you need more information on boating safety, contact your state boating authority, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Red Cross, US Power Squadron or the Coast Guard.

PFDs reduce the risk of drowning when we follow their use and care instructions. Safe Boating is no accident. Enjoy the water and Boat Smart!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Carpenter's Trestle

I started fiddling with building a carpenter's trestle. I had seen a nice looking bench at the John Gardner workshop in Mystic Seaport and came across the term "trestle" while looking for information on tools in the 1918 book Farm Mechanics. Sounded like just the thing I need to steady pieces while I worked on them. We had some hunks of cedar, beams from our covered porch in Texas, that were being used as benches and plant stands, so I decided to use those. They'll get to be benches or plant stand when not being trestles, but now have new legs. Here is my adaptation so far.

Here is a similar bench in the John Gardner Boat Shop at Mystic, versatile, used to support boats during storage or maintenance. Upright or flipped.

I cut an angled notch for the 2x6 so it sits flush at the top, trimmed the 2x6 flush. The leg sits at a nice angle so I'll cut three more.

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

I used a reciprocating saw first to cut the notch, then found I could cut them faster with a hand saw. A variation of this that I came up with later was to cut the notches all the way to the end of the seat with 10 degree bevel set on a circular saw, a time saver.

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

Chiseled the bevel.

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

Cut a brace for the legs.

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

Turned out nice.

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

We can also use it as a plant stand and regular bench.

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

One tip was to cut a V shaped notch into one end of the seat, about 2 inches wide across the top of the V. The notch can be used to help hold a board, wedge the end of the board into the ground and steady it with one hand and the V. Later benches have the legs and cross brace set in about an inch. this allows clamps to be used on the end. Don't set them in too far, or the bench could become unstable.

Here's a variation of the bench we made with some 2x8 lumber that washed up on our beach. 2x6s work great as well.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Carriage House 13 Apr 18

13 Apr 18:

Update, the carriage house currently hosts WINNIE, ZIP, VICTORY and ZSA ZSA. Wisteria are blooming and grapes are coming in.

Carriage House Log.