Monday, June 29, 2020

Alcort Catfish SMEDLEY 24 Jun 20 Rudder Pin Measurements

24 Jun 20:

A friend needed rudder pin measurements for an Alcort Catfish rudder so we pulled them off of SMEDLEY.

Our friend Scott suggests adding some type of keeper ring on the bottom of the pin or lanyard to the pin to make sure it does not go to Davey Jones Locker after a capsize.


Pascagoula Diamond Bottom Catboat MARGARET ROSE 24 Jun 20 Ladder Frame Strongback

24 Jun 20:

Cut the rungs for the ladder frame strongback out of pressure treated 1x6 deck boards. We are using pressure treated lumber because these parts will live outside most of the time. The ends were cut from PT 2X6. 3 feet seemed like a good width for the rungs.

Strongback video:


Sunfish Sail Repair Adhesive Backed Sailcloth

22 Jun 20:

We have a 1980s vintage Sunfish sail from the Fogh North Sails loft in Canada, Fogh designed the first race sails for the Sunfish and this sail has some of those features. It came with our wooden Sunfish ZIP but had several tears. We repaired the tears with adhesive backed sailcloth from SailRite, and decided to have fun with the patches. We cut the different size patches to go about an inch past the widest part of the tear, and patched both sides, reverse image on one side. Stitching for these type repairs is neither required nor recommended. We went with white for tone on tone colors, but SailRite also sells different color adhesive backed insignia sail cloth that would have been fun, different color Sunfishees.

Adhesive Backed Insignia Sailcloth
New Sunfish Sails - Laser Performance

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


21 Jun 20:

Skipper says why not use the Sunfish Finishing Dolly as a base for the strongback for the catboat build? We took a look at it and it will work great. I tacked on the 2x6x16 lumber, need to cut pieces for the ends next. It is very close to level where it sits but what we will do before we add molds and bulkheads is pick a spot on the Wheel Deck and get everything level, shim as needed. Might even add 2x4 "landing gear" that swing down when the strongback is going to be in place for several days like we did with the Penobscot. The strongback will stay outside while we are in the cutting and sanding phases, and we can move it inside the Carriage House as needed, for final fittings and paint.

The top of the 2x6 just clears the swivel bunks, perfect!

Capn Jack's chocks, he made a lot of them.


Bucket O Sticks

21 Jun 20:

Here is my bucket o sticks, I'm pretty proud of it. We talked about where to store offcuts during the catboat build, and Skipper recommended a bucket. We also talked about the importance of not throwing anything away until we are done building, as we might be able to use some of that lumber on other parts of the catboat. What we did not talk about was to not cut any of the pieces, so I proceeded to cut the longer bits so the bucket would not be top heavy. And then, just one day later, I was looking for longer strips to laminate up a skeg...Poor Skipper, she just shakes her head...

Pascagoula Diamond Bottom Catboat MARGARET ROSE 20 Jun 20 Strongback Lumber

20 Jun 20:

Went up to Lowes to pick up lumber for the strongback. Pandemic pickings were slim, lumber deliveries from Canada have either slowed or stopped. Too bad there's no trees here in the US. Skipper's trailer and deck worked out perfect, just the right heighth to slide lumber directly from the cart.


1953 Alcort Sunfish ZIP 20 Jun 20 Sea Trials on the Sailstice

20 Jun 20:

Summer Sailstice 2020. Rolled ZIP out early morning, after looking outside and seeing a nice 10-12 knot breeze coming in from the NNW.

ZIP is the oldest Sunfish in existence, built 1953. She has had a few changes along the way. One change was that she came from the factory painted red, with the coaming and rub rail finished bright. We changed that up a bit to showcase her wooden heritage. Her solid wood mast is now a hybrid mast, aluminum bottom section with tapered wood top, circa late 1950s. She also got a bigger rudder at one point, the spoon tip that was used in the 1960s, and we changed out her 31 inch daggerboard for the 39 inch Barrington board of 1980s vintage. Her 1980s North Sail by the Fogh loft in Canada was retired and replaced by a beautiful sail cut by Hunter and his team at Schurr Sails Pensacola. And we replaced her wire 3 loop bridle with a line bridle.

Walkaround video:

The Fearless Crew...well Skipper anyway...

Wait, why does Clark have a drill in his hand? More on that later.

Launch Video:

Skipper took out ZIP for the first Functional Check Float (FCF) where she checks control rigging and watertight integrity. She also sailed backwards a bit, I'm sure that was intentional and took ZIP up to Vne (Velocity never to Exceed).

She was chattering as she rolled out on Final Approach with the discrepancy list

Skipper liked how ZIP creaked like a square rigger while she was on a run. Wooden yard on wooden mast. And she liked the wave sounds on the hull.

Maintenance Discrepancies:
1) Sheet rigged wrong, we missed the forward block. Did you notice in the pictures? Here she is trying to sort it out during a tack. We caught the aft block and the two sheet hangers, but missed the forward block.

2) Forward sheet block too far aft.

Skipper called out the Flight Line crew aka Boat Captain (me) and we looked over the rigging and discussed block placement, we felt that the forward block was too far aft and interfered with movement in the small cockpit. Another factor we discussed was that ZIP did not come with an open fairlead/sheet hook in the cockpit like later boats did, and we had added a ratchet block to the forward cockpit lip. A quorum of The Usual Visitors was present and consensus was reached to move the forward block forward to place it over the ratchet block, that's when the tool box came out. We used an awl to unscrew the old block, they are screwed in with a wood screw on a bronze eyelet that captures an eyelet on the Wilcox and Crittenden block. We drilled a tiny hole about 7 inches forward on the boom, 7/64th inch bit on the DeWALT drill, as a pilot hole and screwed the block into the new position. Rigged the sheet correctly and Skipper declared "TLAR" (That Looks About Right) from her vantage point on the Gun Deck.

Salty Dog Rigging aka Marine Carpenter Clark.

3) Sail too low. We like the Geezer Rig (copyright claimed), it gets the sail up where it catches the breeze and up out of the cockpit, where it knocks hats off and catches on PFD collars. The Geezer Rig reduces the use of Skipper's salty vocabulary. We raised the rig by moving the halyard down one ring on the luff of the sail. The gooseneck could be moved forward an inch or so to raise the aft end of the boom a bit, but we'll get to that later.

Skipper launched for FCF 2 and had a great sail.

My turn, I took ZIP out and sailed her flat. Luckily for me the wind was dying off.

Zip video:

Final Approach:

Log of ZIP.

Pascagoula Diamond Bottom Catboat MARGARET ROSE 19 Jun 20 Transom

19 Jun 20:

We used the pattern we made a few days back to trace out the transom. The transom will be 1 1/2 inches thick, there will be a lot going on back there with the big bar door rudder and horse for the sail. We'll make it fro two layers of 3/4 inch cypress, each layer is cut from 2 pieces to get the height we need, and we offset the join line on each layer to get the most strength and lower the chance of leaks. The 4 pieces will be fastened with thickened epoxy, with a layer of muslin in between the outer and inner boards to create a watertight membrane.


Sunday, June 21, 2020

1953 Alcort Sunfish ZIP 19 Jun 20 Final Fittings

19 Jun 20:

Time to refit Zip's bits. After a kayak paddle. First we filed down epoxy bits in the daggerboard trunk, to make sure the daggerboard fit, and yes, it goes in both ways.

Reamed out the carriage bolt hole of any paint drippings, 1/4 inch bit.

Attached the rudder assembly latch plate, secured with a #8 silicone bronze screw, 1 inch.

Fit a new bow strip, quarter round stainless that runs back 16 inches. ZIP showed up to us without one, so this is new bling for her.

Screws got clocked on all the reinstalled hardware.

ZIP got a flip, the finishing dolly disappeared and she got lowered onto the Dynamic Dolly.

ZIP got a new rudder pin.

On the factory boats the keeper chain was attached to the deck, but we found that many of those pins came loose during trailering and now litter the side of America's roadways. They are hard to find, so we attach ours to the rudder.

It is important that the vertical hinge plate have a nice straight edge on the bottom and that the latch plate, the cup that the hinge plate notches into, not have a worn upper edge, other wise there can be slop in the rudder assembly. If you have an old style rudder and it pops out easily, check these parts and make sure the spring plate on the deck is straight.

The last screw, the "Whiskey Screw."

Whiskey Screw video:

The patch looks nice.

Drilled out the hole for the daggerboard retainer line, it was full of dirt.

1/8th inch dacron cord from New England Ropes.

Rigged for sail, prep for Sea Trials on the Sailstice.

She's ready!

Log of ZIP.