Sunday, August 30, 2009

It's hard to beat a good pair of ash pain sticks

(Oars.) Reliable. Efficient. Cheap. Low maintenance. Not like Honda outboard motors at all.

Simplify, simplify. I could hear Hank's words from across the years as my outboard coughed and died and absolutely refused to re-start. I think its a fuel issue. I will look at it later. For now I am thinking rowing is a pretty nice thing to do on a sunny Sunday morning. Nothing brings you in touch with the maritime environment like a slow row; working the currents, dodging the moored boats, listening to the gulls and the fish jumping out of the water.

Of course, the experience is much better in a boat actually designed to row. Aluminum skiffs do not fit that category and it is a personal peeve of mine when I see a Craigslist listing for an aluminum 'rowboat' for sale that obviously has an outboard mount on the back. The aluminum skiff is the antithesis of a good rowboat. That is what I was thinking as I was rowing an aluminum outboard skiff with too-short oars across a heavy current trying to find the slack spots where I could make some headway.

I am surprised people read this with all my complaining...

Anyway, I made a run out to Jenny to see how she faired the stormy weather and two weeks of neglect. She seemed quite fine actually. About 18 inches of water in the bilge (its a very deep and narrow bilge) but nothing too terrible. It took a minute to pump it out and then clean up whatever the heavy rains couldn't dislodge. The birds have been enjoying the boat in my absence obviously.

I think I am actually looking forward to haulout time so I can stop worrying about the boat and get started on some interior projects. I miss working on the boat and working at the mooring just doesn't do it for me. With the less-than-stellar sailing weather this season and my need to work as much as possible getting in a sail is more work than enjoyment anyway. I am ready to have Jenny home so I can make the insides pretty. I might even forego sailing next year to advance the project. I am pretty sure it will be a few years before my bank account is sufficiently engorged to afford a decent cruise. Maybe it is better to get the job done and sail later. That probably wouldn't work for a lot of people but I actually like the work. Maybe not quite as much as cruising but probably as much as daysailing which is all I have time for these days (and not so much of that either).

Jenny looks good. The wind gusted pretty strong for an hour or two yesterday with the hurricane passage offshore but I could find no evidence that it was a hardship for the boat.

Now I can stop worrying for a day or two...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hurricanes annoy me.

Last weekend a hurricane passing offshore made it easy to postpone boatwork and go on weekend vacation to Maine.

This weekend, a hurricane passing offshore made boatwork impossible once again.

I just got my invoice for next year's winter storage. I guess its time to start thinking about a haul-out date.

Its just been one of those years...

Sunday, August 16, 2009


(Boom In... get it?)

Yesterday was another boat picnic day. While I was there I was able to install the fitting for the mainsheet block which allowed me to put the boom on.

The temps were in the 90's so I wasn't too crazy about epoxy projects which means I decided to hold off drilling the mounting holes for the genoa tracks.

Speaking of high temps. Yesterday was a good test of the dark hull in hot conditions. High up on the topsides I have not installed the insulation. I held off until I was sure about how the toerails were going to be mounted and I haven't got back to it yet. Up high, in the direct sun, on the dark hull, the inside surface gets quite hot. Not so much to burn my hand but hotter than is comfortable. I am sure that if the whole hull were uninsulated, a day like yesterday would turn my interior into a roasting oven. Down lower, where the insulation was installed the inner surface is barely warm. With a little better ventilation (still in the planning phase) I don't see a problem with 90 degree days and a dark hull. Phew!

With sweat pouring out of every pore I decided to take my $100 skiff for a river cruise. Its rather discouraging to be reminded that a $100 boat can be quite fun and a $50k boat can be all work...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Small victories

I had a nice day yesterday. Beautiful weather, a nice picnic lunch, with some minor boat progress. Today, I was stopped by a clevis pin. Without it, the whole project came to a halt in favor of more productive activities.

I was able to fashion some teak pads for the bow skene chocks. I was a bit handicapped by the lack of tools but the results were acceptable. Not great but acceptable for now. The tendency, working on the mooring, is to cut corners and 'make do' but I am trying to resist that tendency and wait rather than set myself up for extra re-work later. As much as I would like to move forward, taking short term progress that requires long term re-work, really isn't in my best interest. The main goal this summer is enjoyment. Whether that is sailing or picnics I am trying to keep this 'fun'.

At least that is one less line rubbing on my my toerail. Somewhere in storage I have nice looking chafe covers for the lines. The bow line really needs something beter than a strip of towel.

I also drilled through the epoxy plugs I made last month for the mainsheet block.

That's over 2 inches of solid epoxy in that hole. I would have mounted the fitting except at the last minute I decided to put washers on top of the deck as well as underneath and I only had the two washers on hand. It might look a little better without the washers on top but the washers also cover the hole better and allow for more sealant. I also suspect that when this fitting is pulled sideways, half the fitting is pulling upwards but the other half is pushing downwards. The washer gives more surface area to absorb the downwards force and prevent the fitting from eating into the deck. That might not be a concern. I am not an engineer. The fact that the edges of the hole is covered definitely relieves me of some detailed cosmetic work.

The best part of the day was hanging out with Julie and enjoying a nice picnic.

I had intended to come back today and install the mainsheet fitting. That would allow me to mount the boom which would be real progress in my mind. Alas, I rummaged through my hardware bins but couldn't quite figure out how to attach the block to the boom. It was on there before but it was likely cobbled together in a fashion that I don't wish to repeat. From the 'spare' parts I could get everything but a clevis pin. I could probably make it work but I was afraid I would forget until later when the setup would explode in pieces at a critical moment because I forgot to fix it later.

There is always next week.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Summer that Wasn't

For the second week in a row, rain has prevented me from accomplishing much. Today, I fiddled with some minor mechanical stuff, checked the bilge and ran the engine to top off the battery (which really didn't need it).

I am waiting for the opportunity to mount deck hardware but it just isn't happening. Hopefully, the weather patterns will change soon. At this point I am looking at a first sail around early September.

At least I am enjoying some nice picnics on the boat and I have had a chance to do some non-boat stuff for the first time in many months. I chafe about not getting work done on the boat but at the same time I am enjoying not having to work on the boat all the time.

Like every time I get out to the boat. I find an avian party in progress.

They don't like me crashing their party.

I guess I should be happy they they seem to pick just one corner on the aft deck to tear their dinners apart. Cleaning up is never a problem. The regular deluge for the past month hasn't hurt much either in that regard. I am finding that I have to be careful when I walk on deck in bare feet. Most of the skeletal remains are easy to spot but those little blocky vertibrae are killer when you step on them just right and nearly impossible to see against the bright white deck.

Last week, with the rain about to fall I took the skiff on a ride just to enjoy the scenery and have some fun 'boating'. I came across this Alerion 28 and was interested to see that the builders had the same problems trying to figure out how to run the lines to the stern cleats as I do.

The 'problem' is the toerail. I really love the look but it really gets in the way of running lines off the boat. The Alerion builders chose to just end the toerail short of the stern to make running the stern line easier. I can't say as I like the solution myself but I am really stumped as to how to proceed. Its a small 'flaw' in the design that I had not anticipated. I am not particularly happy with the cleats-on-blocks solution. The leverage works against me and its not particularly attractive. Besides the stern lines, the spring lines tend to work themselves up and down the length of the toerail. A rub strip of half-oval bronze would work but trying to cover every point where the lines cross the toerail leaves a good part of the toerail covered in bronze. A few short sections would be okay but I don't want to have it everywhere. I am still trying to work that out. Custom cast bronze chocks that fit into the toerail is the real solution but I am not really ready to spend that kind of money just yet.

Sorry there is nothing here but then there really isn't anything productive happening on the boat either. I am pretty much over the 'work on the mooring' option and I don't think I am going to launch next year in favor of better working conditions as I 'finish' up the project.

I will be trying again next week. Crossing my fingers.