Monday, August 01, 2016

Lowering the Mast

It's a whole lot easier now. If you look under the stern, you can see a small wooden stand that keeps the boat from tipping back as I walk aft of the trailer wheels.



I just run a line from the fore-stay through the bow plate to the mast. Then I can release the fore stay from the bottle screw, and it's held at the mast. Once I am ready to drop the mast I release the line holding the forestay and just ease it back.



No more A Frame and pulleys.



I'm not at all sure I will be able to do this in 20 years time, but it's good for now.



I got to go sailing...

This weekend, I got to go out sailing twice (Thanks C), once in Ramor and once in Gowna. Two long narrow lakes, where the wind tends to blow along the length of the lake. Mostly I got to sail on my own, but I also took the little ones for a quick spin.

The winds were mostly light on both days, but I started with the main reefed, since I wanted to try shaking out a reef on the water to see how it went. I motored out from the dock, cut power and raised the main. Easy enough in light winds, but mostly I'm trying to build up experience of these things. I did end up drifting quite a lot further than I expected before I was up and sailing. Managing to tangle the jib sheet under the cross line for the Helm Impeder didn't help.

I also forget to remove the sail tie on my jib, so that meant a quick trip onto the fore-deck to untie it. Not something that I would have tried without my Huntingford Helm Impeder.

It's nice being able to furl and unfurl the jib at will from the cockpit, but after losing the furling line, and having to make another trip to the fore-deck to retrieve it, I made it fast to the cleat. I really didn't want to loose that when I needed to get the jib down.

Now with my Huntingford Helm Impeder, I tried things like heaving too. Wonderful. I backed the jib, let out the boom, and pushed the tiller to the lee and TLC just nods slowly along making about 1 knot across the wind. I'm going to have to see how she behaves with a little more wind, but it's a step forward.

Shaking out the reef went perfectly, I just pointed her up into wind and let the main sheet loose. I had plenty of time to shake out the reef before she started to drift sideways. That might be more fun in a seaway.

I had my GPS on for some of the trip, but I'd turned tracking off (!?) so I don't have a track. Mostly I was making between 2 and 4.5 knots depending on the wind.

It's a long narrow lake, with the wind blowing down along the long side. There was a lot more wind in the centre of the lake, so as I tacked upwind, I'd slow down at each side, and pick up speed in the middle. Towards the end of my sailing, I spotted a bank of rain coming in and I guessed the winds would pick up. I dropped sail. I do need a topping lift to keep the boom out of the way when I drop the main, and some ties to keep it neat (I used a short spare line to tidy it up a bit). Then I motored back. I could have sailed, but today was about trying things out. I wanted to see how fast I'd go under power. With the Suzi 2.5 four stroke, I was making 3.5 knots with 1/4 throttle, and 4.5 knots at 1/2 throttle, and 5 knots flat out.

One thing that was bothering me was that I was not really doing very well upwind. I was close reaching at best. I think that I was tacking through 120 degrees, if not more. I had the main and jib halyards pulled pretty tight, apparently that moves the camber of the sail forward, which is bad for reaching. I have much reading to do.

I met John up at the sailing club at the sailing club at the Lakeside Manor Hotel, and he kindly let me used the Clubs pontoons. So first time to tie up at a pontoon, and my new fenders got their first outing. They worked perfectly.

Also, one thing about being around the water is that people are so helpful, even before I started struggling to bring TLC back up the ramp I have a helper, who joined in again when I was having a hard time getting the dolly back up on the road trailer.

The next day I arrived at Gowna, and was half thinking of just going home. There was no wind to speak of. But I reckoned that it would get better, so I set up. 45 minutes later as I was ready to launch there was at least what could be called a light wind.

It seems that it's not a sailing day without a goof. It turns out that if you push off from the shore without putting the rudder down into it's gudgeons, that you can't really sail so very well. Luckily there was just shallows to drift back into while I sorted it all out.

Again I tacked back and forth across a narrow lake trying to make some distance up wind, and not getting so very far. I'm quite sure that my lack of sailing ability has a lot to do with it, and the Glen L 14 is quite a simple boat without go-faster goodies. I suspect that she won't point like a race boat, but I think she can be coaxed to do a lot better.

With jib and main flying in, I was mostly making 3-4 knots until I came to a place where the lake narrows. At that point as I came out to the middle, the wind picked up and TLC took off. I had to head up into the wind at first, and then ease the main as TLC healed over. I'm sure that it was not even close to a capsize, but I wanted to gain experience slowly, and while I want to see just what it takes to capsize her, and how easy she is to right, I was thinking wet suit and rescue boat for that.
After I looked at the max speed on the GPS and it was showing 7.5 knots. I'm not sure if that was genuine, but she really did move.

Also in the gust as I headed up, she did not luff, she just powered along. Would it make sense that it's harder to go upwind in lighter winds?

Anyhow, at that point I headed back to meet my family who had just arrived and took the noisy ones along for a quick trip. Give kids jobs, and keep the sailing short. Better that they complain you are going in too soon, than that they want to go back. Even being the one who reads the speed on the GPS is an important job when you are 6.

I have a bit of reading to do about sail trim. I also want to make a new mast. Perhaps a straight mast will help her upwind performance, and I need to see if I can find a more experienced sailor who will risk life and limb aboard a home built boat :-) to teach me how to make it go.

And since it didn't happen without pictures...



Ok, so that one was when I was doing about 2 knots, but I was hardly about to pull out my phone when I was trying not to capsize.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

The bilge pump is installed...


It does not move as much water as a bucket, but I can pump and sail at the same time.


The handle is clipped into a bicycle pump holder.


I had to route the outflow behind the seat otherwise it blocked me from lifting the floorboards. I was just plain lucky that the outflow itself did not block lifting the floorboard, I had not thought of it, nor measured it. There is about 3mm (1/8 inches) to spare.

I may later drill a hole through the seat support on the left there, to tidy things up, but right now the hose is down where you can't really stand anyway.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Start of bilge pump I installation.

This is the pump, with the newly cast pivot and the removable handle. It's on the base I made for it. It's out of the way, under the seat. And there's plenty of room to pump the handle with the floorboards in place.
More pics will follow when I have installed the hose. The inlet will be across the boat on the Lee side so that I can pump from the windward side. There's only one pump so if I'm on the other tack I will need to heave to.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

First sail of summer, new toys tried out

Cavan is supposed to have one lake for each day of the year, if you look at a map, it could well be true. There is a nice spot near Gowna where you can launch into either of two lakes. I've been there a couple of times and it's easy to launch and retrieve.

I nearly called it quits, there was no wind as I set up, but I don't often get the boat out, so I'd motor if I had to.

This was the first time setting up the mast without pulleys and A frames.  The mast is not all that heavy, however if you walk back to the back of the boat, the trailer will tip, and you can't lift a 22 foot mast 4 feet from the pivot.

I built a simple wooden support for under the back of the boat, so now I can walk to the stern, lift the mast and walk forward hand over hand and it's a done deal.
It worked so well that I raised the mast twice. (This had nothing at all to do with me forgetting to reeve the halyards before I raised the mast the first time. Sigh!)

The wind did pick up and by the time the family came down to join me I was sailing along nicely. A quick trip back to shore and I had three little passengers. The jib came down as there's too much to do to tend the jib and keep an eye on the passengers. At least too much until I get to sail more than twice a year.

(I have now sailed the boat at least once for each year spent building her!)

This was my first trip with my newly added Huntingford Helm Impeder. Every small boat should have one. It's not an autopilot, but it does allow you to take your hands off the tiller for a few moments.You can let go of the tiller for a few moments and it stays put. Very handy. Not quite an autopilot, but very handy.

The wind picked up a little and the occasional gusts unnerved my middle daughter, and reminded me to not cleat the main sheet, a small ratchet block is a nice luxury on a 14" sail boat.

At one point we seemed to stop making much progress, then I noticed the out haul had come uncleated, and the sail was getting pretty baggy. My out haul comes back in along the boom, via a line doubled through an eye, and passed through a captive clam cleat. This gives a 2:1 advantage, and the ability to sort it out from the mast end of the boom. One sharp tug and we were sorted.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Ditty Bag

After a fair bit of a search, I managed to get Heavy Canvas (ebay) and natural look polyester rope, sail makers needles, and waxed twine (Jimmy Green Chandlery).

So I se about making the ditty bag from "Sail Makers Apprentice". I had a few goofs, and I could not easily source brass thimbles, so I just whipped the cringles instead.

This is what I ended up with.


Given the length of time it took to make a simple canvas bag, I am quite glad that I simply bought my sails rather than tried to sew them up by hand.

It was very hard to make up a grommet in polyester the size of the bag. Retwisting the strands as you go is a must.

You also need to use some sort of bobbin to wrap the whipping thread around or it will take all day to do cringles and loops.

I am considering waxing the canvas so that I can actually use it rather than just have sit on a shelf. It's full of sail sewing kit right now. Hopefully I won't ever find myself needing to make repairs to get me home. I also think that I will get a big roll of self adhesive sail repair tape too.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Rope Grommets

S'funny I work with pretty high tech stuff. so I play with old tech. Everything from Furnaces to wooden sail boats.

I was reading The Riggers Apprentice and I came across Grommets. Nylon Rope is a poor starting point, but it was the only three strand I had. It simply does not hold it's lay, and it unravels faster than a middle east peace accord.  I did soak it in a mix of water and hair gel -  not sure that helped much, but  it smells odd now. I also tied off each of the three strands with constrictor knots to stop each strand unravelling. The small one was my first try. I should have tapered the strands as I tucked them.

I did taper the strands on the second one, it came out a bit better.

A copy of The Sail Makers Apprentice just arrived, so I have reading material for a few weeks.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Casting a new handle for a bilge pump.

The cockpit sole is removable, but not easily, so the pump can't go on the sole, nor under it.

I need it somewhere I can get at it while sailing, so I can pump and sail. Ideally on either tack, but that's asking a lot.

And sadly I bought a whale urchin, without a removable handle.

The pump will sort of fit in under the benches, but the handle sticks out. The original handle comes across the body of the pump... Not the direction that I needed.

 Annoyingly the 2 pivots are different sizes, you can't reverse the handle.

But since I have a furnace for casting aluminium or bronze, I measured up and made a new pump handle. Obligatory warning here, liquid aluminium is going to mess you up something special if things go wrong. If you want to play with molten metal, you need to do a lot of learning. if at first you don't succeed, perhaps foundry work is not for you...

I used a hot wire cutter to make up the shape in expanded polystyrene (sorry no photo). This has a sprue of polystyrene attached, and it gets coated in plaster except for the very top. It's placed in sand with the sprue sticking out the top. You pour in the molten aluminium and it vaporises and replaces the polystyrene. Let it cool and you have an aluminium widget the exact shape of the polystyrene. I drilled holes for the pivots, and drilled and tapped a hole for the handle.
The handle is made of wood, with a 10 mm stainless bolt screwed up inside it with the had cut off afterwards. Drilling a 75 mm long hole up inside it is a bit fiddly.  I don't have a drill press so this was all done by eye.
The whipping helps reduce the chance of the handle splitting in use. The thread is 10 x 1.5mm so quite course, and it goes through 25 mm of aluminium, so it should be plenty strong. 

This is how it looks now.  I need to build a small platform under the seat to hold it just in the right place for the handle not to hit anything at either end of it's range.

If I polish it up, a lot of work, it will come out shiny and silky to the touch. I will probably get things working and then decide not to bother polishing it. A little metal paint may well suffice.


I could have bought a handle, and the pivot, but that would have cost silly money for something that I made up in an evening. Since it's solid aluminium, even with my less than perfect casting skills, it's vastly stronger than it needs to be.

It's not perfect, but it pumps just fine.