Saturday, July 17, 2021

Sunfish Shack Deck and Ramps

16 Jul 21:

Today we marked out the spacing for the Sunfish Shack 2x6 deck boards, then put down the 12 boards that we had in spots where we could roll a few dollies up and check the fit. We found that the Penobscot deadwood keel barely clears because the deck joists are sitting on pavers now vs being set in concrete, and we set the deck boards on top of larger 2x6 joists vs insetting them over 2x4 joists. Overall that raised the surface of the deck close to 3 inches over what it had been. Added to the increased deck height were some low spots in the yard, we added some topsoil at the base of the ramps to get the same drop all the way across the base. You might note in the photo that the ramps on the right side of the Shack have been shimmed up a bit with a 2x6 backer board set on another paver block, then we graded the ramp entry with more topsoil. A little more grading in the yard will be needed to eliminate some low spots and ensure that water flows away from the house and the Shack to an existing drainage ditch behind the line of bushes.  The last adjustment we made to ensure ST. JACQUES deadwood keel would clear the deck before the dolly wheels started up the ramp was to cut a small notch on the end of a temporary deck board, per Skipper's direction.

Why not make longer ramps with less slope? We wanted to use some sections of ramp that we brought with us from the Gulf Squadron Sunfish Shack, they were hurricane salvage and had played a role in the rescue of the Armada from the last Shack. They had become flotsam during the storm and we used them to pull boats and dollies up over a small stone wall in the front yard, so it felt wrong to just send them to the Remote Storage Facility (landfill) after we remediated the Shack in Florida. So they made the move out to the Mid Atlantic Squadron in one of the PODS containers, and with lumber prices up, turns out that's about $65 worth of lumber....maybe we should have moved the entire Shack :)

Log of the Sunfish Shacks.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Portable On Demand Storage (PODS) Departing!

13 Jul 21:

The last empty PODS container departed the Mid Atlantic Station today! We are 100 percent pleased with the PODS system, the only damage we had was self induced from lack of proper securing and shoring. PODS transport also reduced our time on the road in a UHaul and freed us up to do other tasks associated with the Homeport change. Plus the boats were safely stored for 1-5 months while we TETRISed the rest of our household goods. And we saved a cargo hold full of money, it cost us $1500 to ship just one boat from the NorthEast a few years back, let's see, multiply that times the 12 boats that didn't have trailers.....

Thanks PODS!

Sunfish Shack 6x6 Posts

13 Jul 21: 

We placed 6x6x8' posts today for the Sunfish Shack, they'll be strapped in with framing and eventually hot dip galvanized lag screws.

We also trailered home some more lumber for the deck. I think it was about this time that I realized my vision of framing a shingled gable roof was extreme, a lot of work and a lot of lumber and a lot of time 15 feet up in the air. So Skipper came out and saved me, she had rightfully assumed and furthermore asserted that we would be doing a simple sloped cover with metal roofing. Yay.

Pavers down and posts tacked in place.

ONKAHYE's Floorboards v2.0

12 Jul 21: 

We saved our Drascombe Lugger ONKAHYE's old floorboards, Capn Jack had made v2.0 to replace the originals and they needed to be replaced a few years ago, Skipper now wants to repurpose them into some wall art for inside our home. We pressure washed them today in prep for a light sanding and varnish.




Now where or where did I last see that bag of Gleam's in the garage somewhere...behind the Lugger I think...


Sunfish Shack Deck

12 Jul 21:

We framed the floating deck using techniques our friend Paul taught us years ago, leveled some spots and blocked the pressure treated wood on concrete pavers. First we went to our local builder supply and picked up some 2x6x16 pressure treated lumber, rated for ground contact.

We learned that "you can't keep water out but you can keep it in," from our Marine Carpenter friend Keith, so we made sure there are no low spots under the deck and that water drains from this area of the yard. 

Made it about this far before I ran out of materials and the Heat Index chased me inside.

Log of the Sunfish Shacks.

Sunfish Shack - Mid Atlantic Squadron

 11 Jul 21:

 Sunfish Shack - Mid Atlantic Squadron: A new homeport for the Armada drives the requirement for a new Sunfish Shack. We cleared a few areas in the Boat Yard and selected a spot for a 16x16 Shack to get started. We are making this deck 4 feet deeper because on the last shack we had to turn the Sunfish diagonal to get optimum protection, and in this Shack we will experiment with some vertical storage on racks or hoists vs having a 40 foot long structure.

A "For The Record" before picture. Oops, looks like the Shack has started to form.

Cones 'R Us.

Still guessing at what size we wanted, but finally decided 16x16, or 256 square feet, which happens to be maximum shed size to build without a permit for our locality. 

SMEDLEY will anchor one end of the Shack and the Work Dolly/Strongback may park on the other side. We've still got some overgrown brush and the "North 40" to clean up, then the dolly will probably relocate to the location of the new Carriage House. ST. JACQUES is eyeing one stall in the Shack.

Seems like a good spot.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Last Armada PODS Container

 09 Jul 21:

The last PODS container for the Armada has arrived, which was also the first one to depart back in February. 

The mystery of MADISON's missing amst was solved, for some reason I put it in this PODS and she went in a separate PODS.

Everything arrived in mostly good shape, but there were some rough roads along the way, several items had shifted and a couple of 2x4 cross braces on the platform I built ripped away from their screws. As a result the platform partially collapsed and had trapped the catamaran SMEDLEY in his spot. The thin plywood I chose was a fail, it sagged excessively, so the Learning Lessons were to use 2x6 bracing with more fasteners and thicker plywood. One more Lesson was Learned, I  forgot to strap down SMEDLEY across his front set of rollers, like I had done aft. Unfortunately, at one point during the journey enough force was transmitted to the container and transferred to the Catfish trailer and SMEDLEY to lift the pontoons off of the front rollers, shove the trailer sideways and when SMEDLEY came down a fist size hole was punched into each pontoon. So in addition to having some 2x4s resting on his deck, SMEDLEY was caddywompus on his trailer, and the trailer jack had pinned in the little Sailfish WINNIE. 

We scratched our heads for a bit on how to safely unload the container and prevent further damage to SMEDLEY or damage to ourselves, and began by unloading all of the items we could reach without crawling on the platform. This PODS contained a lot of spare Alcort parts, another one of Skipper's wagons, a work table, some carpenter's benches and Christmas decorations, in addition to our Alcort boats Sunfish ZIP, Super Sunfish TRACKER, Sailfish WINNIE, Catfish SMEDLEY and parts for our Pascagoula Catboat build.

Skipper devised the plan to get the heavier items like ZIP off of the platform, she decided it would be easier to slide ZIP down a few feet at a time vs the 4 foot drop from the paltform to the ground. She pressed the Sunfish Work Dolly and Catboat strongback into service, she towed them over with her mower. We slid ZIP partway onto the strongback and took a break to admire her plan.

Then we pivoted ZIP 90 degrees and eased him down onto the Dynamic Dolly. One boat down, 3 to go.

We tried to wiggle SMEDLEY back onto his trailer, that was a No Go. At this point I had to gingerly crawl up on the platform, untie TRACKER and lay her down so we could repeat the unloading gymnastics.

Skipper happily towed TRACKER back to our pile of boats.

With 240 pounds of Alcorts removed from the platform, we were able to lift SMEDLEY back onto her rollers and move the trailer jack wheel away from WINNIE. Then we extracted WINNIE, put her on a furniture and she retreated to the garage with ZIP and ONKAHYE. ONKAHYE, btw, is graciously storing several lateen rigs from TRACKER and ZIP, although she may be confused and thinking that she gets to try out those rigs. She is also hosting ST. JACQUES' sprit rig and muttered something about "possession being 9/10ths of the law..."

Ahh, SMEDLEY free at last.

New port side drain hole...

Cooling water intake on the starboard pontoon, because SMEDLEY goes so fast that her hull heats up...

In SMEDLEY's and our defense, the fiberglass on that area of the pontoons is super thin, the gelcoat is almost as thick as the fiberglass. There was damage to the same area when we got the boat, so after we repair we'll still have to be super careful with the boat during transport, and probably add more support points.

So at this junction all of the Armada is on station, and we can declare that the Mid Atlantic Squadron has formed! ONKAHYE, ZIP and WINNIE in the Garage (aka Boat House) and (L-R) below SMEDLEY, TRACKER, ST. JACQUES, WAVE, MADISON, PHOENIX, SCUPPERS, SCOUT, CLARK AND SACAGAWEA. Not pictured, the catboat bits for MARGARET ROSE.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Tropical Storm Elsa Prep 07 Jul 21

 07 Jul 21:

We knew we didn't leave tropical storms behind when we left the Northern Gulf Coast for the Mid Atlantic, and sure enough, here comes Elsa. Our goal today was to move boats on heavy trailers out of the yard, we still have some grading to do to help water flow towards the property lines of the new property. The Day Sailer II CYANE moved first, to the driveway, which is probably her permanent spot. Her foredeck is filthy from Spring having sprung on her back in March, Skipper appeared with some TILEX and we gave her a fresh water rinse. 

TILEX is great, we sprayed the foredeck and before we could even get the rinse going the mildew/mold began to disappear. We wiped her down to get the stubborn spots and rinsed her off. The key to TILEX is to spray everything and avoid drips down the side, they'll leave cleaner streaks than the neighboring areas. CYANE enjoyed her bath and reminded us of how much fun Capn Jack had rinsing her off and picking leaves out of her bilge, back aft by the self bailer. It is important to keep that bailer clear, we have come out one time and found CYANE stern down on the ground, trailer jack in the air, after the bailer plugged and rain water collected aft.

Next we moved WILLOW to the back porch, that may be her slip as well, plans are in work to cover the porch and screen it in, with an 8 foot wide door to move her in and out. We also plan to plank the porch with some deck boards, who wants to walk on concrete? The wood will help retain moisture, and a shade cover will help ensure that she does not bake on the concrete during the Summer., which is not ideal for a wooden boat. 

With the heavy trailers moved, we turned our attention to the Sunfish Fleet, punt, canoe and kayaks. The kayaks CLARK and SACAGAWEA went on the utility trailer, that may be their spot, as we plan to haul them over to the nearby kayak launch spot on Cypress Creek on a regular basis. We moved all the little boats over to where the new Sunfish Shack will be located to get an idea of what size footprint we need, and while they were moved we mowed the spot where they had been. Then, because we are tropical storm leary, we moved them back and placed the dolly wheels on rubber wash mats. The mats are perforated and help keep water drained away and tires out of the muck.

The Grumman canoe SCOUT  leaned up against our punt SCUPPERS, and we tied SCOUT down to the dolly for good measure. Next we moved PHOENIX, MADISON and WAVE back to their temporary spots, placing wash mats under the dolly wheels. A new trick we are trying is using old deck chairs to prop up the bows of the Sunfish, so that any water that finds its way into the cockpits will drain out of the open bailers.

We leave the masts on the deck and cover the Sunfish with their SLO Sail and Canvas "Spars On Deck" covers, the mast makes a nice ridgepole to help direct water off of the sides, vs creating a puddle over the cockpit.

One Sunfish though, MADISON, was missing her mast. Perplexed, I looked high and low for it, nowhere to be found. Then I wondered if somehow the mast had ended up in PODS container #1, separated from MADISON's booms and sail. Luckily I had a photo of the contents of PODS 1, and sure enough, there looks to be an extra mast in there, hiding beneath our Catfish SMEDLEY.. 

PODS 1 is inbound, due on site tomorrow, so we'll find out then for sure, we haven't seen it for 5 months. Also arriving in PODS 1 are the wooden Standard Sailfish WINNIE, wooden Super Sailfish TRACKER, 1953 wooden Sunfish ZIP and the first few parts for the Pascagoula Diamond Bottom Catboat MARGARET ROSE. And more of Skipper's wagon train. And a cone. And Christmas decorations. And a plethora of Alcort parts. Where we put it all? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021


06 Jul 21:

The garage shelves got loaded with Carriage House items, along the way we noticed a furniture dolly begging to be the base for our Shop Vac/Dust Deputy combo. It was a great fit, we screwed the Vac and Deputy to the dolly and now they don't tip over anymore!

Mounted ONKAHYE's motor. We shim it a bit so that it can raise to the highest tilt position and clear the transom.

Borrowed Skipper's pipe wrenches and ball peen hammer to swap the 2 inch ball over to a draw bar with a smaller 2 inch drop. She inherited the tools from her Grandma.

Carriage House work bench and Tool Trolley will live in the garage until the new Carriage House appears, we may build it, contract it out or have a prebuilt storage building trucked in.

Carriage House tools will bunk with the Sail Loft gear for a while.

Meanwhile out in the North 40, we found some rubber wash rack mats at Tractor Supply that make nice pads for the trailers. They'll keep the tires from sinking into the muck, just in time for Tropical Storm Elsa rain.

We moved ONKAHYE over about 2 feet, now we can get out the door to the back porch. Eventually the wagons and gas cans will migrate to the new Carriage House.

Our Penobscot 14 plans to hide in the garage until Elsa passes by.