Note: I copy the daily log entries to their repective project pages almost daily. If you want to read all the entries for any project sequentially, go to the "Projects" tab and you will be able to navigate to the appropriate page. Most of the interior contruction projects will be found via links in the "Rebuilding the Interior" page. The rest of the projects have separate tabs on the "Projects" tab.
Note: I added another page under the "Projects" page that should allow smart phone and iPad users to access the separate projects via hyperlinks. I don't know why but it seems that smart phones can't access the drop down menus.
22 Jun 15 -- First Sail! This day was a long time coming. The bottom line is we had a terrific first sail. In fact we had a little bit of everything--sculling, beating, reaching, running, working sails, drifter, 12-14 knots, blazing heat, rain, double reef, thunderstorms, lightening. A short synopsis--we sculled out of the slip at 0715. It was already hot. The wind was very light. It was my first sculling not tethered to the dock. I estimate we moved about 1 1/2 knots. We had a little trouble with the oar lock (the pivot bolt was not tight enough and we fixed it later in the day). After about 150 yards, with the light breeze astern (a southerly) we hoisted the working jib and main and sailed out of the channel. Once we cleared the last channel mark we gybed and sailed WNW for about 30 minutes until we had enough room to come up onto the wind. The Far Reach was very maneuverable. The helm was surprising light. We dropped the working jib and hoisted the big 1.5 oz drifter. It's a fantastic sail. We covered all points of sail with it. With the wind at about 6-8 knots we beat, ran, and reached. We detached the dux inner forestay to make tacking the drifter easier. Next, in the rising heat, we sailed east (down-stream) for about two hours towards Oriental. It was mostly wing and wing which did not make for fast sailing, maybe four knots. Around 1130, under a blazing sun, the wind died completely. We found some shade on deck and ate lunch--we stupidly had forgoten our block ice. I adjusted the oar lock and sculled for a while.
Finally, we just said to hell with it and went sailing. It was wonderful after so many years of work.
Eventually, the sea breeze filled in from the east and once again we ran wing-in-wing west back towards Hancock Marina. With the wind behind us, our strategy for returning to the Marina was to drop the mainsail and ghost in under the working jib (a straight shot to our slip) drop the jib a short distance from the slip, slide the stern anchor over the stern, brake to a stop and secure a line around a piling then warp the boat into the slip. With the wind about 12-14 knots we were making our approach to the channel when a large thudercell we had been watching develop rolled in from the west firing off bolts of lightening and dumping significant rain. Not knowing if it would envelop and slam us with high winds we waved off, raised the main and worked our way back out into deeper water. The thunder storm cells appeared to be almost stationary, developing in a stationary location on the edge of where sailing, with visibility underneath near zero. We worked our way NW in an attempt to clear of it and the significant amount of lightening. It start to rain a fair amount. I expected some high winds so we decided to drop the jib, double reef the main, and waited to see what would happen. The boat hove-to nicely. It rained a fair amount but not a deluge. We appreciated the cool temps and it was refreshing to get wet and cool off. There was almost no wind. With the cell having exhausted itself, and the sky clearing a bit, we shook out the reef, raised the working jib and started ghosting back towards the Marina. It was clear to us we would be a long while to getting back to the Marina. Since the weather was, at this point, still unpredictable and because we were not familiar with the new rig we did not raise the drifter. When we were about a half mile out, a fellow sailor and marina mate was commuting back to Hancock Marina in a Boston Whaler from his job on the other side of the river and kindly offered to hip tow us into our slip. In 15 minutes we were at the slip. The water remained like glass, the sun came out, and the humidity soared to, I suspect, the high 90 percent mark. We secured the Far Reach, raised the sails at the slip to dry them, cleaned the boat and headed home. Gayle and I were both delighted with the Far Reach.
Some initial thoughts:
- The Far Reach proved delightfully responsive to the helm. Without the three blade propeller or aperture she tacked easily even in the lightest wind.
- She appeared to be pretty well balanced with just the slightest weather helm which we could just detect when heeled over making an easy 6 plus knots with the big reacher. Even then, control on the tiller was two fingers. Very nice. With the double reefed main and the working jib there was a little lee helm which makes sense as normally you would have the staysail up with the reefed main keeping the center of effort centrally located. Also, there was little wind so she was upright on her feet. With some heeling the lee helm would probably be reduced or neutralized. Bottom line, I think the mast is positioned about right. We will sail it a few more times in more wind before we decide to spartite the mast at the partner.
- The 3 1/2' taller rig and 100 sq ft increase in working sail area payed off on such a light air day. I can't imagine sailing in those conditions with less sail area and without the drifter. Only when there was no wind was the sailing unpleasant. If we had any wind at all, the boat moved well with good maneuverability.
- We both loved the tiller. It was very smooth with no detectible friction--effortless, at least in the conditions we experienced. Without more wind I can't say if it could be a few inches shorter though at five feet long it seems fine.
- The cockpit foot well is a little wide, as it was designed for a wheel. It makes steering standing up on the seats a little awkward. A tiller extension would be helpful but I am not inclined to add one at the moment. A removable platform across the forward half of the foot well would be perfect. Something to think about.
- The sculling oar. To work well, the sculling oar has to be perfectly set up. We need to drill the hole for the eye bolt through the loom for the oriental lanyard (it is tied on with a rolling hitch until I am sure where to drill the hole). The bracket for the oarlock may not be strong enough--I sensed some flexing. Though it worked, my technique needs improvement. Time will tell. In the meantime we continue to work on our removable side mounted outboard engine bracket.
- The jib downhaul proved a big hit. Though we did not need it to pull the sail down in such light wind, it snugged the sail down firmly when secured, which meant the halyard did not wave around or need to be removed. We need to be aware of the line so it does not inadvertently tangle. We need to decide on where to mount the cleat for the line itself (presently we half hitch it around the port forward stanchion).
- The Tides Marine Strong Track was impressive. Though the wind was light, regardless the point of sail, when we released the halyard the main dropped like a cannonball.
- The bulwarks are terrific though using strops around them with the snatch block attached does not really provide a satisfactory angle for the sheet from the block to the winch. We will need to add a foot-block or a turning block of some kind on the aft deck. Other than that, using the bulwarks for the leads was fine.
Things to do:
- Don't forget to bring the ice, especially when the temperature is 95F/35C.
- Turning blocks: Determine the location, design, and install.
- Cape Horn Windvane: We have only to install the course adjustment line and we can employ it. Getting free of the helm would have allowed us to find shade on deck instead of baking in the cockpit steering. Though I am interested to see how well it works, I had no desire to try it out on our first sail with so many other things to attend to.
- We need to come up with the right blocks and sheet leads for the drifter. I have some 3/8" line and having some 1/4" sheets might be nice in the real light stuff. This time, I just used the 9/16" jib sheets which were way too big for a light air sail.
- We need to make some nylon strops to use for the preventer and additional jib leads.
- We need a deployment bag for the jib and one for the staysail. The staysail has been ordered but we won't have it for a few more weeks.
- We need to install the whisker pole on the mast using the continuous line system.
- We need to come up with a better forestay release system.
- We need to install a protective cover over the bobstay to prevent chafing or other damage from the anchor flukes. We can avoid contact between the two if we are careful. But, it is risky to hook the anchor on the bobstay for quick deployment in tight maneuvering conditions without a chafing guard.
- And the list goes on.
16 Jun 15 -- Casting Lead Ingots for Trim Ballast.
As we prepare the boat for our first sail we need to add some ballast trim. This is necessary because we do not have the 400 lbs of Perkins 4-105 50 HP diesel engine and its component parts in the aft end of the boat. Nor do we have the weight of the pedestal steering system or the heavy starting and house battery bank. At the moment, without stores the Far Reach is sitting pretty close on her lines because we do have a 20 gallon water tank and a 10 gallon kerosene tank in the cockpit lockers. We also have about 110 lbs of anchors and another 40 lbs in bronze bilge pump under the companionway cabin sole. Those things helped trim the boat level fore and aft. But, we are about to add 275' of 5/16 G4 chain for almost 300 lbs in the chain locker. The Far Reach will definelty feel that weight in the bow even though we moved the chain locker two feet aft of it's original location. I do think we will be able to largely counter that weight with tools and other stores during extended cruising. But, I would like for the boat to be sitting on her lines even when we are in a lighter displacement local sailing mode. To that end, last week I picked up about 236 lbs of scrap lead from a local recycling center. It was sheet lead that came out of a hospital. I cut it into small sections. Today, I melted it down and cast it into seven 30 lbs bars and one 15 lbs bar for a total of 225 lbs of almost pure lead. It was not a difficult job though I had never done anything like it before.
Pictured is about 225 lbs of lead ingots we cast to use as needed to trim out the Far Reach.
When I called the recycling center they told me they had 60lb ingots of lead. I thought, "Terrific, I'll go pick up four bars and be done with it." But, what I found when I arrived at the recycling center were lead ingots covered in grime, dirt, grease, somewhat mangled, and poorly cast. I did not want to use that lead. But, they also had a large box of lead sheeting that had come out of the walls of a hospital. There were small pieces and large 2' x 3' sections. Most was folded and bent into all kinds of shapes. Standing there and thinking about my options (I really did not want another project) I mused that it couldn't be that hard to melt it down. The frontiersman melted lead over camp fires to make their own bullets. Plus, I had read about people casting lead for their ballast keels. "How hard can it be?" After reading about it on the internet and watching a few videos I learned that, with a few safety precautions, it is not too difficult. In fact it turned out to be fairly simple and very informative and rewarding.
So, a couple of days after I picked up the lead I spent an hour and a half one evening cutting the large folded and twisted sheets of lead into small squares. Then, I used some scrap 3/4" plywood to make molds 2" deep x 3 wide by 12.5" long for a total of 75 cubic inches. It turned out this would equal a lead bar almost exactly 30 lbs, which was what I was shooting for as I thought a 60 lb bar would be too heavy to handle comfortably. I wanted to tighten the corner joints of the molds so I cut half laps with the dado blade on the table saw. Then, I screwed the moulds together with drywall screws.
We started setting up for the casting operation at 0800 this morning. The forecast was for 100 F degrees by 1300. What a hell of a day to be casting lead! I asked my sister Tricia if she could give a hand. She is a great helper and as a retired San Diego Fire Captain she knows how keep things safe. We had a fire extinguisher; a bucket of water to put pour onto a lead splatter if it got on us; a fire smothering blanket; a steel garbage can to invert and put over the burner if it caught fire, etc. I wore coveralls, welding gloves, and a face shield when pouring or stirring the lead. I really did not know what to expect as I had never cast anything before except a fishing lure. Surprisingly, it took just 2:45 minutes from lighting off the burner to when we poured the last ingot. There was nothing too it. Click on the pictures below for additional info. What is not shown is I clamped a pair of vise grips to the back of the Dutch oven. Thus, I was able to hold the wire handle with one hand and tilt the pot forward into the mold by lifting the back end of the pot and guiding it with the vise grips. I picked up that technique when I stumbled across a blog by Lezlie Henson, a builder of micro cruisers. Click here for her entry on making lead ingots. In her blog post there is a link for a you tube video that we found very helpful. There is no narrative in the video but, nonetheless, for a 1:29 second video it contained a lot of info. A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words.
This afternoon, I cleaned up the ingots with a chisel, a power planer, and an old 1/8" round over bit in my trim router.
14 Jun 2013
Yesterday was pretty exciting. We finally bent on the mainsail (as incredible as it sounds, I did not get a picture of the mainsail). We also pulled the new 110 percent jib out of the bag and raised it for the first time. You might notice that the bottom 20 percent of the jib is bonneted, meaning it detaches from the upper part of the jib via a heavy duty YKK zipper, Velcro, and some lacing. It's an alternative to roller reefing and was very common on traditional gaff rigged boats. I had initially thought we would just install a reef point on our jib but our sail maker was familiar with bonnets and was eager to give it a try. Reef points on a big jib can be very difficult to tie in and the reefed portion of the sail often scoops up and holds water. Because the mast is 3 1/2' taller and the bowsprit about 29" longer than the original sailplan, our 110 jib is actually bigger than the original 130 percent. I also pulled out the old brown CD mainsail cover which seems to fit. We will have a new one made in blue to match our bulwarks.
I spent the afternoon in blazing heat drilling into the bronze dinghy chock bases to counter sink for flat head bronze wood screws.
With the mainsail bent on we are one step closer to sailing.
We hoisted the new jib to see how it looked. The bottom 20 percent is a zip on bonnet.
10 Jun 15
The mainsheet traveler and block assembly is installed on the Far Reach though I still need to order the mainsheet and the traveler control line. After completing the installation of the reinforcing bar this morning, along with some modifications to the preventer line pad eyes, I transported the boom to the Marina. I had wanted to install the outhaul at the house but left the seizing wire on the boat so I had to install the outhaul in the marina parking lot. I have to say I miss having the boat in the shed out back of the house from a convenience stand point. It will take some getting use to--I have to remember to take all the tools with me either to the boat or back home if I am working on the project in the shop. I'll sort it out in due time. It only took a few minutes to install the boom. Then, I spent about an hour washing the FR and airing her out. We hope to be sailing early next week.
The Far Reach in her new home. It's a very protected marina that provides a straight shot out the channel witha short dog-leg to the Neuse River.
I finished up the reinforcing bar by completing the tapping of the holes for the mainsheet block bails. Tapping aluminum is not difficult though at 3/4" thick I had to back the tap out a few times to clear the threads as the aluminum shaving jammed up the tap. Slow and steady is the key. I use d a little right triangle from some scrap plywood to ensure I started the tap plumb. I also used a little cutting oil to lubricate the tap. Another neat trick I learned from Robert Quates is to use a punch to mark the how parts should be oriented. If you write on them with a marker, when they are painted you lose your reference marks. But by marking the direction of orientation with a standard punch and hammer you have a permanent mark. After I test fit all the parts, I wiped the aluminum bar down with Interlux 202 dewaxer then washed it with water and sanded it with 220 wet dry abrasive sand paper and water. I tried the aluminum and applied two coats of single part acid etching primer. The primer is will help keep the reinforcing bar from getting surface corrosion.
Round or pan head screws would look a little better and be strong enough but they can be hard to remove. I decided to use hex cap machine screws with ss 316 washers to better distribute the load and avoid the hassle of stripping the heads out later if I need to remove the reinforcing bar. I also coated the SS fastener and the washer with Tef-Gel. The picture to the right shows the reinforcing cross bar welded the bail. This is the bail that takes the majority of the load. At some point, we will weld a cross bar in the forward bail.
While working on the boom I decided to address an issue that had bothered me for a long time. When I originally installed the preventer pad eyes on each side of the aft end of the boom I used 1/4" thick G10 backing plates and SS aircraft lock nuts. But the nuts rubbed on the internal reefing lines. So, I decided to remove the padeyes and cut some backing plates from 1/2" thick G10 and tap them for the SS fasteners. The profile is not quite as thick as the old system but more importantly it eliminated the sharp edges of the lock nuts. With the thicker G10 there is plenty of thread depth . . . but to be sure I used a trick I learned fro the West Systems tech reps a while back. I sprayed the threads of the fasteners with some Pam aerosol vegetable oil then coated them with some West Systems GFlex epoxy. Then, I inserted the fasteners and drove them home. The epoxy will lock into the fastener threads and the G10 providing a stronger bond, but the vegetable oil will allow the fasteners to be removed. By radiusing the edges of the G10 and making sure the tips of the fasteners are not proud of the surface of the backing plates there is little chance for chafe on the reefing lines.
The first step in mounting the blocks was to reinforce the boom so that it is strong enough to resist the tremendous loads that it could be subjected to if the boat were to suffer a crash gybe or severe knock down. My friend Robert Quates, who performed the engineering and design work, constructed our spars, and mentored me in metal work, suggested we reinforce the boom with an aluminum bar bolted to the bottom of the boom. To that end, I ordered a 3/4" thick X 1 1/4" wide x 6' long bar of T6061, certified as made in the USA, from McMaster-Carr.
The plan is to tap 1/4-20 holes into the bar and then bolt it to the boom of the boom. Then tap additional holes and fasten the bails to the bottom of the boom. After consulting with Robert, I cut the bar to 4' 6". I then radiused the ends to eliminate hard spots against the surface of the boom when it is under strain. I drilled and tapped a hole on each end and one in the middle of the bar. To ensure the holes I would need to drill in the boom of the boom would line up with the holes tapped into the aluminum bar, I used a technique Robert described to me. I took some sacrificial bolts to the grinder and sharpened then ends to a point. Then, I threaded them into the holes I previously tapped into the bar (I used a drill press to ensure the holes in the bar were drilled plumb).
I cut the T6061 aluminum bar to 4.5 ft long.
I radiused the ends of the bar to avoid hard spots on the boom.
After drilling and tapping three holes I installed "sharpened" fasteners into the holes.
After sharpening the fasteners I "chased" the threads with a die to ensure the threads were clean. I protected the surface of the boom with tape and then carefully positioned the bar on the boom. I located small plywood pads under the boom and clamped it in place. Next, I tightened the screws enough to run the screws down through the aluminum bar and "punch" the surface of the boom. I removed the clamps.
The sharpened fasteners served as a precision punch to accurately mark the boom for drilling.
I tapped the boom to protect the surface.
I used six clamps to secure the bar to the boom. The bar is positioned as it will be oriented inside the boom.
The boom was marked perfectly. I used a corded electric drill and a 1/4" bit to drill holes through the surface of the boom at the punched locations. Next, I positioned the bails on the boom at the locations I previously determined when I temporarily rigged the mainsheet system on the boat. These particular style bails slide into a slot in the bottom of the boom where they can be run fore and aft along the boom. They are designed to be installed with simply ss rivets relying on the slotted flanges in the boom for strength. However, Robert felt the design was not adequate to our needs. Thus, he advised me to secure the bails to the aluminum bar by tapping additional holes. Therefore, I next drilled 1/4" holes into the boom where the rivets would otherwise be installed. I ended the day by test fitting the fasteners in the holes of the bails and through the holes I drilled into the boom. Tomorrow, I will install the reinforcing bar and tap additional holes for the fasteners that secure the bails to the boom.
The punch marks are clearly marked for drilling.
I temporarily installed the bails and dropped fasteners through the holes in the bails and the boom.
The aft boom bail has a reinforcing cross bar welded between the two legs.
6 Jun 2015--The Traveler is Installed.
It may not be the longest project I have ever completed, or the most physically or mentally demanding, but I think installing the traveler may have been one of the hardest. There are 21 holes through the deck. All the holes had to be pretty close to near vertical and plumb. I did not like the way the endstops fit over the track (not to mention the fact the parts came with no instructions--are you listening Antal??). I bedded the track with two types of bedding compound. I used butyl to make small "donut" wraps around the bolts to be compressed into the chamfered holes in the deck. I used Boat Life polysulfied to fill the caulking grove. Why did I do it this way?
I had to install the traveler car on the track before I bedded the track becuase there was not enough room for the loader if I installed the track first . . . unless I cut the track down shorter and I did not want to do that. If I used all butyl I could not continue to tightend the end bolts on the track over succedding days as the end stops covered the outboard bold holes--I couldn't gain access to the bolt head. If I had understood that from the begining I would have lined up the inboard bolt on the endstop with the final hole in the track--of course the 6mm end stop bolts would be passing through 8mm holes in the track . . . or if the track were 1 1/2" inches longer on each end I would have had access to the last bolt heads. Next time. I used polysulfied vice 3M 4000 Fast Cure as I suspected we would need extra time to get the bolts tightened down--it was a good call . . . we needed the extra time to complete the installation.
The traveler is installed. It is an Antal 150 series with 4:1 traveler control with the cam cleats on the car. The fastners are 8mm heax drive machine screws.
So, here is the sequence we used:
--First, we installed the track dry and tape it off with 3M 233 solvent resistant tape. Then we removed the track.
--Second, we dabbed a small amount of polysulfied under the bolt heads and slid them into place.
--Third, we made small donuts of butyl and wrapped them around the shaft of the bolts were the exited the bottom of the track.
--Forth, we wiped up the polysulfied squeeze out from under the heads and loaded the traveler car. We taped the endstops in place so the car would not slide off the track and dump 180 bearings on deck.
--Fifth, we then made a wide thick bead of polysulfied along the underside of the track. Based on the experience we have gained applying several dozen tubes of caulk during the rebuild of the Far Reach, we had a good idea of just what we needed to get a little squeeze out. We wanted to avoid excess squeeze out or it would push up under the car and we would not be able to clean it off.
--Sixth, we lowered the track with all the bolts protruding and pressed it into position. Because we took such care in drilling the holes plumb and square the track slid right home (breathed a verbal sigh of relief). This was the one Oh Sh&# moment we had. As soon as we pressed the track down one of the bolt heads pushed up under the car! We could not slide it left or right!! There would be no way to get access to the bolt head under the car. For a moment, I thought we had really boogered up the installation and I started to remove the track. What a mess we would have had. Suddenly, the car slid free. Luck for us is all I can say. Anyway, we started at one end and gently tightened the first four bolts on the port side. We cleaned up the squeeze out then slid the car across to port and tape it down.
--Seventh, we continued working across tightening the nuts as we went. Gayle worked the bolts head and kept then from turning and I crawled into the different compartments with a wide variety of sockets, extenders, swivels, ratchets, etc. It was difficult and hot and took longer than we thought. We used hex drive machine screws (which I had never used before), which my friend Robert Q recommended and they turned out to be great. It was so much easier to install them than trying to hold the heads with a screwdriver.
--Eighth, once we got to the starboard side we went back and retightened the bolts further forcing the butyl into the chamfered holes.
--Ninth, we installed the endstops and then tightened down one more time.
--Tenth, we used our plastic stir sticks and acetone soaked paper towel to clean up the edges of the track then we pulled the tape. It looks good.
Tomorrow, I will temporarily install the blocks on the boom, reeve the mainsheet and determine the best location of the blocks. Then, I will removed the boom and bring it home to install the reinforcing bar and install the blocks.
5 Jun 15
During the last week I have been focused on installing the traveler though I have also worked on some minor projects as well. I spliced and installed some additional ½” three strand nylon dock lines. I made a “Baja” water filter as described in the April 2015 Practical Sailor. I filled the 20 gallon port locker water tank (it supports the shower). I filled the 20 gallon aft water tank under the saloon cabin sole. I installed the last hose clamps on the water tanks and then opchecked the galley and head manual pump faucets. They worked great. The boat is also level with her lines though floating about four inches high since she has almost nothing on board save for 40 gallons of water. I also ordered 275’ of ACCO galvanized 5/16 G-5 chain.
I finally received all the traveler parts from Antal, via their US importer Euro Trading. It is a beautifully made and very stout system. I also purchased an Antal 6:1 mainsheet system to go with it. I chose 6:1 because I don’t have a dedicated mainsheet winch though I can run the sheet to the windward primary winch if ever required. I had wanted to install the traveler aft, just forward of the lazarette but the angle was wrong. I was forced to concede that the best place for the traveler was across the bridge deck. It is a compromise but I think it’s the best choice of several options I considered.
The problem with Antal, other than the price, is the traveler and its components do not come with instructions. There is a learning curve and I would measure a little differently if I had known how the end stops connect to the traveler track. I’ll add some pictures later explaining the considerations required to best fit the parts together.
After positioning the traveler and checking for obstructions under the deck I drilled a small test hole (that would be under the traveler) to ensure the holes would end up in the small gap between the forward face of the cockpit footwell and the aft end of the bulkhead that runs ‘thwarship two inches forward of the cockpit. Once I was satisfied with the test hole I taped the traveler in place and carefully drilled two 5/16” holes about 10” from end of the traveler all the way through the deck. I inserted a bolt in each hole. These bolts held the traveler in place. Then, I drilled starter holes with a 5/16” bit, just enough to dimple the fiberglass surface. I removed the traveler and used the dimple to guide a 3/8” fostner bit down through the upper skin and the balsa core but not through the bottom skin. Next, I used a dental pick to carefully dig out the balsa core from under the deck skin. I vacuumed up the core and fiberglass. I applied tape to the underside of the deck for the test hole and the holes for the first two positioning bolts. Next, I poured unthickened epoxy mixed with half 205 fast hardner and 206 slow hardner into all the holes. It was a warm day so I only filled up the cavity half way and went to lunch. An hour later, I top the holes up with another batch of epoxy. About an hour after that I applied a small amount of epoxy thickened with colllidal silica and 407 medium density filler and used a squeegee to make it flush with the surface.
Next day, I repositioned the traveler then drilled down through the epoxy plugs installing bolts as I went to ensure the traveler remained in place and that all the bolts would fit. With all the 8mm bolts installed, I installed the end stops and the 6mm bolts for which I had also installed epoxy plugs. I removed the traveler and chamfered the holes on the top to force the bedding compound down into the hole around the bolt threads.
Tomorrow, I’ll bed/caulk the traveler in place.
30 May 2015 --The Far Reach Swims
It took an embarrassing long time and a lot more work than I initially planed on, but we finally launched the Far Reach the day before yesterday(28 May) at Beaufort Marine Center. I'll write more about it later and include some ceremonial photos. It was a short simple affair with just our family. We were all glad to "finally have the boat done." I remained on the boat over night and the next morning my friend Bruce (Call sign Wave) arrived about 0700 in his skiff. We had previously chalked talk the plan and also made a partial trial run of the route the day before. My sister Tricia took station as crew in Wave's skiff while Gayle and I remained on the Far Reach. We rigged up for a hip tow for our departure from BMC which worked perfectly. We then hip towed all the way to the north end of the Adams Creek ICW (about 8 miles) and then switched over to a "tow astern" configuration while transiting the Neuse River west (about 10 miles) to our Marina berth. The weather was beautiful--sunny, 80 degrees, east winds about 10-12 knots. Gayle took a trick at the helm and served as navigator tracking marks and plotting us on the chart. Tricia did a tremendous job of tending the tow line, helping us to quickly reconfigure from hip tow to tow astern and back again. She has a ton of sailing experience and as a retired San Diego Fire Captain is all about thinking ahead. We reconfigured to the hip tow outside the fairway and then Wave very adeptly maneuvered us into our slip. To be truthful, it got a little dynamic as Wave discovered the difficulty of maneuvering the Far Reach backward with the wind just off the bow. However, as a seasoned Huey pilot he quickly got a feel for the maneuvering envelop and showed great skill in positioning the Far Reach for sliding her stern first into her slip. Wave was the hero of the day. The whole even went smoother than we could have hoped for.
We have a little work to do but hope to be sailing in the next two weeks.
8 May 15
Today I tried to actually get things checked off the list. I spliced modified brummel eye around SS thimbles for the bottom end of the dyneema running back stays. I made the splices on deck with the upper ends still in the "J" hooks on the mast. It could not have been simpler. So much easier than a Liverpool splice in 7x7 SS wire!
Then, after thinking about how to make a low friction ring cascade system for the dux forestay I just decided to press ahead and use the last remaining 1/2" turnbuckle and bronze thimble. I had to guess where to make the splice as I didn't know how much length I would loose in constructional stretch. The first one I was too short by about 3". I pulled the splice apart (very easy) and got pretty close on the second attempt. After making the splice I cranked down on it and offset the pull on the mast by tightening the runners. I think it is about right. I will experiment with a cascade system (which I learned today is called a Spanish Burton) in the future.
I can see how people fall in love with dux and dyneema. It's light, doesn't stretch, it's stronger than steel, and easy to splice. But, it's not as tough as wire, or abrasion resistant, or as resistant to UV. And it's very expensive--about 2 1/2 times more expensive than splicing my own SS 316 7x7. But, I think there is no doubt that synthetic is the way of the future.
I spliced the bottom end of the Dux forestay and installed it with my last Sta-Lok turnbuckle.
As soon as I returned to the boat I went right back to the Strong Track installation. I finally got four of the fasteners installed (with two of the small backing plates). The bottom two holes were misaligned (just barely but enough to cause real difficulty getting the fastener into the backing plate) but I elongagted the holes towards each other with a small rat-tail file just enough to get the job done. The top two holes, however, were located in the aluminum mast gate area. The instructions suggested if that is the case to drill new holes through the track and into the mast below the mast gate, countersink the holes, tap the mast for #10 machine screws, and install the screws. I will make sure the sailmaker is happy with the installation when he measures next week for the new stays'l. Then, I'll install the last two fasteners.
The black track looks pretty good. The 17' long whisker pole track on the front face of the mast is black anodized aluminum so they compliment each other.
The Strong Track is basically installed. I have two more fasteners to add (they require drilling and tapping into the mast wall).
7 May 15
At this point, I am working down the list of things to get done before we launch the boat. We have some potentially bad weather arriving off the coast of North Carolina. It is being referred to as an early season sub-tropical cyclone. Basically, as far as I can tell we are going to get some wind and a lot of rain. This could last through the weekend. Next week, I have some personal business to attend to. But the week after--say 21-22 May we might be able to launch, or perhaps the early the following week. Nonetheless, it makes no sense to rush and take short cuts . . . not now, not after all this work.
I installed the 1/4" dyneema life lines yesterday. Click here for more info on the dyneema life lines. The holes in the stanchions are a little rough. I filed them smooth a while back but still the corners are sharp. I decided to sew on some chafing guards. Some folks use rubber fuel line or plastic hose inserted in the stanchion holes. But, I think the leather looks nice and is traditional. Best, I bought a lb of leather at the local fabric store for $5. And it was very easy to sew them on. I cut the pieces about 1 1/2" long and about 1 1/8" wide. I used #4 waxed sailmakers thread. It took about fine minutes to sea each guard on. Very simple. They are snug on the line but I can move them. It will be interesting to see how they hold up. I'd like to replace the leather with brass sailmaker rings where the life line runs across the cap and upper intermediate shrouds. I'd run the line right through the thimbles and then use whipping to lash the rings to the shrouds. But, that will have to be a project for another day.
I sewed chafing guards to protect the dyneema where it passes through the stanchions.
I bought about a 5 ft of leather for $5. The quality seems pretty good. The color is grey so it is subdued, which I like.
I used #4 wax sailmakers thread, though I tested some #2 which is what I think is depicted here.
The guards on on quite snug but they can be moved. I'd like to replace the leather for sailmakers thimbles where the lifeline crosses the cap and intermediate shrouds.
Mast Wedges. I needed to wedge the mast in order to properly block it at the partner. I made the blocks from some soft wood given to me by a friend. I think it is an import . . . it works like cypress but it's not. Anyway, made the wedges a few weeks ago. I made them different thickness to provide some options for blocking. The idea is to temporarily block the mast for the initial static tune and for the first few times we sail the boat. I have a bag of wedges and if we need to reposition the mast (rake a little more aft, block it forward to but a more of a prebend in it, whatever, we can do that by easily reblocking. Once we are satisfied with the position we will remove the wedges and pour in Spartite, a two part liquid polymer that cures very firm and provides a solid and water proof mast block system. It sticks to the mast but not to the collar (you smear vasoline on the inside of the collar before you pour the liquid) and it pulls out when the mast is removed.
I made wedges to temporary block the mast for tuning. Later we will remove the wedges and pour Spartite as the mast block system.
Tides Marine Strong Track. I began the initial installation of the Tides Marine Strong Track system (photo gallery below). This is a one piece UHMW mainsail track that is designed to fit your specific mast both in terms of the type of luff groove and the luff length. It is made to install in the mast's luff groove. The idea is it is very strong and super slick. It comes with SS mainsail slides that ride up and down the slot in the Strong Track with minimal friction. Anyone that has followed the rebuild of the Far Reach understands I am not a technology guy. I like things simple, tough, prooven, and repairable. But, metal slides donw work that well in an aluminum mast. Usually you have to use plastic slides. But, I have read a number of reviews on the strong track. I have never read a bad review. I have talked to several people I trust that have used it their own boats. My sailmaker loves it. Everyone seems to praise it for its strength, performance, reliability, and ease of installation.
It comes in loop roll held together by zip ties. You cut the outer ties and simply push it up into the luff groove via the gate. There are instructions for cutting the top if it is a little long--mine was 13" too long. I pushed it up. Marked the excess length at the bottom, then pulled the track back out coiling and tying it back up as I went (this was the hardest part), marked the length at the top end and cut there. Then, I reinstalled it. There are six #8 fasteners for my track. They are installed in pairs through the track and into little SS backing plates that you push up into the aluminum mast luff groove. I easily installed the first four fasteners and their associated backing plates. But, on the last screw, of course, I cross threaded it and it was wedged in there tight. I could not tighten it or remove it. I fussed with it for a while but finally admitted there was no way to remove it intact. So, I used a 1/4" bit and drilled the head off. I pulled the track away and removed the backing plate with the miscreant fastener stuck hard into the threaded hole. I clamped a pair of vice grips on the fastener shaft thinking I could back it out. It broke off flush! I called Tides Marine that said they would drop some backing plates and fasteners in the mail right away. But, I knew there was no way I could let this project wait for five or six days. I left the track in the mast, cleaned up for the day, and drove home. I took the little backing plate out to the shop and clamped it in a machine vice. I used a 5/32" bit and drilled out the broken shaft on the drill press. Then, I re-tapped the threads. I will go back to the boat tomorrow and attempt to finish the installation. But, of course there are not extra fasteners so I'll have to see if I can find the right kind of pan head SS fasteners tomorrow.
So far, the track system seems well made. The instructions are clear. The kit comes with test pieces and gauges and all sorts of clever things, but the one thing it should have is spare parts. There should be a couple of extra backing plates and some extra fasteners. Seriously, how many of us can handle a small fastener when we don't have a spare and not drop it over the side or break it or lose it. Tides Marine, if you ever read this, include some spare fasteners and backing plates. Someone will sing your praise.
4 May 15
The SS standing rigging is complete. It took 26 splices. The standing rigging is now all 5/16" 316 SS 7x7 (vice 1x19). The wire was originally 9/32 and 1/4". I weighed the rigging before installation. Without turnbuckles it came out to about 65 lbs. Not to bad. I eliminated the aft intermediates and the wire forestay from the original Cape Dory design. I installed amsteel runners in place of the aft intermediates. The wire forestay I replaced with Dynex Dux. So, I saved a little weight. Though the mast is 3 1/2' taller and now has two sets of spreaders it is much lighter than the original rig rite spar. I suspect overall we are a little lighter than the original rig but not by much. It is terrific to see the rig up and complete. I still need to splice eyes in the bottom of the runners and the dux forestay. I am thinking about how to gain purchase for the dux forestay without using an adjustable turnbuckle. I'll probably use some kind of friction ring cascade system led to the rope drum on the windlass. Something like that. Today, I worked on the static tuning of the rig and loaded the dinghy on the cabin top to make final the location of the chocks. I also temporarily installed the boom to finalize the mainsheet system design. I have a reasonable list of things to accomplish before we launch, which will probably occur in the next two to three weeks.
The SS standing rigging is complete. We are running down the pre launch list.
It is nice to see the mast and the boom installed.
The spliced eyes came out pretty well I think. My hands are shot. I'll add the cotter pins in the next couple of days.
29 Apr 15 -- Updated entry.
Yesterday, the weather was beautiful. The task was to go to the top of the mast and temporarily install the cap-shrouds which were spliced only on the top end. Rick Loucks came by in the morning and provided much appreciated muscle to make it easier to get up and down the mast the couple of times required.
We started off with our 4:1 gantline. It worked OK but it is not the best approach for getting to the top of the mast due to the space required for the blocks. I could reach the cap shroud tangs but I was reaching up overhead to get to them. At the top of the mast, I lowered a messenger line and Gayle tied the shrouds on and I hauled them up one at a time and installed them in the mast tangs. After returning to the deck I measured the shrouds and marked them, as depicted in the previous post, for cutting and splicing the eye on the bottom end. With the shrouds marked, Rick hauled me back up this time a 1:1 direct haul on a halyard winch. It required a lot of muscle but it allowed me to go to the very top and I was better able to reach the clevis and cotter pins on the mast tangs. Once I was positioned, securely belayed, and had my safety line attached I attached the messenger to the cap shroud and lowed them to the deck one at a time. While I was at the mast top, Gayle sent the end of the 100' tape measure up on the messenger and I took measurements for the the approximate lengths for the backstay and headstay. Then, Gayle lowered me back to the deck.
In the afternoon, Gayle and I installed and bedded the bowsprit. We used 3M 4000 for the heal and Dolphinite for the cranze iron. We tightened down a bit on the spritshrouds and bobstay to fully seat the heal of the bowsprit. It's nice to have the bowsprit back on the boat.
At the end of the day, we relaxed in our camp chairs in the shade of the hull. The temperature was a comfortable 75 F. The sun was shining, though the shadows were lengthening, and provided just a touch of warmth. The breeze was soft with a cool edge to it. It was a fine way to end the day.
I used the 4:1 gantline on the first trip up to temporarily install the capshrouds so we could measure them for length.
Today, we had rain and we are expecting more over the next couple of days. So, at the moment, no trips planned to the boats until the weather improves.
This afternoon, I spliced the bottom end of the cap shrouds, thus they are ready to go. When I install them, I'll also take final measurments for the headstay and backstay. I now have just two more splices to do out of a total of 26 splices required for the mast and bobstay. I have come to enjoy splicing. It is low stress, relaxing, and infinitly rewarding. They continue to get easier as I now rely more on technique than muscle.
I need to think about ordering some equipment to have the Far Reach in compliance with Coast Guard regulations when we launch her--flares, fire extinguishers, throwable cushions, horn, etc. We also need to think about installing some of the items we took off the boat when we had it transported from the backyard to the boat yard--anchors, nav lights, etc. I have some small projects to work on over the next few days. More on that in the next post.
The splices continue to get easier and smoother.
Another finished splice. Only two more to go.
27 Apr 15
Yesterday was a long day. Gayle and I installed the forward and aft lowers that I spliced the day before. After installing them, we temporarily installed the top end of the upper intermediates and marked them for length so I could splice the bottom end. Then, we took them down. To determine the correct length, I used a technique explained to me by Myles Thurlow, a well known and highly respected rigger and wood sparmaker for traditional boats. With the upper end spliced and installed in the strap tang, I stretched the wire down to the turnbuckle with the screws run out to 2/3 length. I used a light line with an icicle hitch to gently pull the wire to the turnbuckle. Then, I marked the wire at the throat of the thimble. I took the wire home and splice the thimble in my shop. The next day, I took the wire back and installed it on the boat. The reduction in length of the wire caused by the construction of the splice is about evenly offset by the pre tensioned slack in the wire.
I splice one of them last night and the other this morning after teaching homeschool.
When Gayle finished teaching her classes, about 1330 (1 PM), we left for the boat yard. The weather was gorgeous. About 68F and sunny. We did not have a lot of time. I used a four part gant line to climb the mast to the upper spreader while Gayle belayed on a winch below. Then, I used a messenger line to haul up one end of the wire and installed the intermediates on the strap tang. Then, I did the same for the second wire. It did not take very long. The intermediates start at the deck (via a turnbuckle), run over the aft end of the lower spreaders, then go to strap tangs on the mast just below the upper spreader. They share the load of the upper 2/3 of the mast with the cap shrouds (which we will measure for tomorrow). When I got back down to the deck, we put a light static tune on the rigging. We will wait till we get all the rigging installed before we tune more aggressively. With bad weather expected the day after tomorrow, we may not get to the headstay and backstay till Friday. At this point though, I only have four more eyes to splice. Easy day.
Next, with the uppers installed, we mounted the bowsprit (which we removed when the Far Reach was transported to the boat yard a few weeks ago) and prepared it for bedding tomorrow. We rigged the sprit'shroud stays and bobstay.
Last, we removed the temporary mast boot and reblocked the mast so it is a raked little aft of plumb to compensate ever so slightly for the longer bowsprit. We plan to initially sail with wood wedges that I fabricated in the shop until we get the mast set up right and the boat tuned. Then, we will pour "Spar-Tite", a two part polymer , to serve as the mast wedge.
It is an exciting time to be sure. It is wonderful to have the boat out of the shed, so close to the water, and her mast up. We can see the boat traffic moving up the ICW between Beaufort and Oriental. It is enjoyable to be working on the rig.
.This is the technique I used to determine where to splice the eye on the bottom end of the standing rigging.
Applying Teff-Gel to the spreader tips before installing the upper intermediates. The weather was gorgeous today.
The lowers and the upper intermediates are installed. We will measure for the Cap shrouds tomorrow and then the head and backstay in the next few days.
24 Apr 15
The Far Reach has her mast (photo gallery below). Gayle and I arrived at the boatyard at 0830. We had the crane scheduled for 1000. We were joined at 0900 by my friend Rick Loucks who volunteered to to serve as an extra, much needed, set of hands and additional muscle. The three of us went over the mast talking through the plan and checking on the lines I added yesterday. I also added the Dynex Dux forestay and the Amsteel dyneema runners, though I have not spliced the lower ends. There was no wire rigging to add. Today was all about getting the mast in the boat and held in place as securely as possible until I can complete the splicing of the SS standing rigging. We finished off our preparations by placing a Sacagawea Liberty Dollar on the mast step held in place by a dollop of 3M 4000. I figured Sacagawea safely guided Lewis and Clark during one of the greatest expeditions in history . . . maybe she will also bring some luck to our humble adventures.
Sergio, the crane operator showed up on time. He briefed us on the hand and arm signals. He rigged the sling and about 1030 he was lifting the mast into the air. The movement was slow, smooth, steady, and methodical. As soon as the mast was over the partners Gayle and Rick went down inside the boat to guide the mast onto the mast heel fitting. I communicated with Sergio via standard crane hand-and-arm-signals. I had taped some thin carpet around the mast hole and the mast slide right down the partners. Gayle and Rick guided the heel of the mast onto the fitting and inserted the two 3/8" hex cap bolts to secure the heel of the mast in the heel plate. We spent the next 30 or so minutes positioning the mast with the halyards and other lines I previously secured to the mast. We cranked down on all the lines with either block and tackle or with lines led to winches. Rick hoisted me up to the upper spreader where I removed the sling. When I made it down to the deck it was 1125. The whole operation took 85 minutes.
After lunch, Rick hoisted me up to the lower spreaders where I installed the four lowers shrouds. Back down to the deck to mark the lower ends for length then back up to the lower spreaders to remove the wires, back down to the deck and we were mostly finished for the day.
The mast looks great, a lovely sight -- tall and slender. The next four or five days will be all about splicing wire and installing it as we complete them. We are not too far from the water.
The Far Reach finally has her new mast.
21 Apr 15
We hope to have the newly reworked upper intermediate mast tangs on hand tomorrow. With luck, I'll have them installed Thursday and perhaps we can step the mast on Friday. I also added a photo gallery of the shed removal to the entry for 16 March 15. To see those photos, click here and scroll down to the 16 March 15 entry. Additionally, I cleaned up the "Restoration Plan" tab on the menu bar which should stream-line some of the entries.
23 Apr 15
I spent a long day at the boatyard making final preparations for the stepping of the mast tomorrow. The first thing I did was to install the new mast tang that Robert fabrigated to address the missalignment of the upper intermediate shrouds. We ran the jib internal jib halyards on the forward face of the through bolt and the two mainsail halyards on the aft side of the bolt. I could not just pull the bolt out or the halyards would not run fair. So, I cut a 5/8' diameter dowel rod and after removing the nut (and the tang on the nut side) contact cemented it to the end of the bolt. Then I pused the bolt through. The dowl rod ensured the halyards could not change position. The, I pulled off the old tang, inserted the new tang over the dowel and bolt, and reinserted the dowel and pushed the bolt back through the mast. It worked perfectly.
With the mast up, you can't see the fasten heads
18 Apr 15 -- Small Hiccups
We have transitioned work to the boatyard. Much more time consuming. About 70 miles round trip. After moving the boat I began working to transport the new spar. It's in two sections. I borrowed a friends empty boat trailer (for a 23' Carolina Skiff so it was more than up to the task). It took a couple of days to set everything up and wait for good weather. With the mast sections on the trailer I installed the halyard winches on the mast. The transportation itself was uneventful. After arriving at the boatyard we tranfered the mast sections to saw-horses and returned the trailer. A few days later, my sister Tricia helped me run messenger lines through both sections of the spar. Then we slid the two mast sections together. Next day, I installed the 6mm flat head SS fasteners for the splice (with teff gel and 3M 4000)and also installed the black anodized whisker/spinnaker pole track (5/16" flat head SS fasteners). I also installed the last section of the trysail track which spanned across the mast splice. Next day, my wife Gayle helped me pull the halyards through the mast and install the mast head fitting. Yesterday, I installed the spreaders and made final checks to ensure we would be ready for stepping the mast on Tuesday (tomorrow!) morning. STOP!!! The alignment of the upper intermediate mast tangs is off with the end of the lower spreaders. They should be at 20 degrees but they are at 10 degrees. This would create a critical misalignment. Thus, we are at an all-stop while we resolve the problem. A minor issue really but it will take several days, which after finally getting to the boat yard seems like an eternity. So, while my friend Robert works on the tangs we are shifting to a few smaller projects. One has to expect some setbacks, especially when installing a new designed rig. The photo gallery below contains a few pictures of our work at the boatyard.
2 Apr 15 And Just Like That -- A New Normal.
The Far Reach is out of the back yard and into the boat yard for what I hope is a brief stay (photo album below). The primary mission in the boat yard is to prepare the mast for installation, step it, and rig it. We will then launch her and move her to her new home. We will finish up the project list with her in the water.
It was a long day, and in fact it was a long week. This week we pulled up the plywood floor that had been in the boat shed all those years. We stacked the 2x4 sub-flooring and about 12 sheets of plywood. We pulled 4x4s from the ground, filled in holes, and removed the side yard gate. We removed tools and the Cape Horn Windvane (to reduce overall height for the road trip). We taped cabinet doors shut. We removed the dorade vents, etc. By last night, she was as ready as we could make her for the trip. The yard was prepared for the transportation truck.
The Far Reach is nestled in her new temporary home.
Steve Tulevech the owner and operator of Town Creek Marina oversaw the moving of the Far Reach. Allen Gillilin demonstrated his expertise and knowledge of the hydraulic trailer. Together they were a great team. The trick was we could not load the Far Reach from the front. When we moved the boat into the yard years ago we thought we would use a crane to load it back onto the transport trailer. So, we positioned her with the stern closest to the wood shop door. Had we known we would transport her out of the hard with a hydraulic trailer we would have turned her the other way. Steve made two trips to our house to come up with the plan. It was scary to watch, but it worked. The boat had to be lifted up with straps slung between the trailer frame using the trailer airbags. With the boat reblocked about 10 inches higher, the cross bars could be slid under her keel. It took a lot of work but after five hours she was ready for her 38 mile ride to the boat yard. We did not know how she would come out of the yard. Steve used his Cummings diesel Dodge truck to maneuver the trailer into position and to haul the Far Reach out of the yard. It went as smooth as butter. Once on the street, he changed out the pick up for the tractor cab and that was that.
Going to the boat yard is a double edge sword. On the one hand, we had to eventually go to the boat yard in order to get to the water and it feels great to be this close to seeing her in her element once again. On the other hand, it's 38 miles to the boat yard. There is no walking 15 feet into the work shop to get the right tool. Everything we need has to be thought of and transported to the boat yard. With the spars as the focus of effort, I am hopeful we can make this phase short and painless.