Sunday, September 27, 2009

All's well that ends well.

Jenny is back on safe dry land again. The day was not without its adventures though.

I was out a bit early to strip what little rigging was installed (boom, etc.). The wind was blowing pretty good 10 gusting 20 right out of the north which would prove interesting later. Because of the wind I was not able to check out my genoa lead locations. I will have to rely on pictures for that.

I had some time so I thought I would take a little river cruise before haul-out. It was a nice sunny day motoring up river. A nice looking classic plastic (maybe a Bill Tripp design?) gave me a big thumbs up when I went by. I opened the engine up to give it some work for the first time in several years. The boat quickly came up to speed and shortly after the engine started to smoke as a result of the dust burning off. The exhaust was a bit smoky too but I think that is to be expected the first time the engine got up to operating temperature in several years.

So I was following a route that I had taken on launch day with slightly more tide- that is, I had slightly more water under the keel than before- which didn't seem to matter when I blundered into a rock garden.

Thankfully, I had come off the throttle as was doing an easy 4.5 knots when I clocked a boulder which brought poor Jenny to an immediate stop and lifted her up a few inches- a truly sickening feeling in case you haven't been there before. After idling the engine and putting it in neutral I had a look around and was shocked to see rocky knobs all the way around me. Luckily the tide was on its way in so I knew I just had to wait a bit.

A few minutes later, the boat was free. Then, the 20 knots gusts of wind put me immediately on the adjacent rock with another sickening crunch.

A few minutes later, the boat was free. Then, the 20 knots gusts of wind put me immediately on the adjacent rock with another sickening crunch.

A few minutes later, the boat was free. Then, the 20 knots gusts of wind put me immediately on the adjacent rock with another sickening crunch.

A few minutes later, the boat was free. Then, the 20 knots gusts of wind put me immediately on the adjacent rock with another sickening crunch.

A few minutes later, the boat was free. Then, the 20 knots gusts of wind put me immediately on the adjacent rock with another sickening crunch ...

The wind pushed me all the way through the rock garden. Eventually, the rocks got tired of their games and spit me out. I noticed during this episode that my reverse gear linkage was a bit off and that I wasn't getting any reverse. I made a note to adjust that soon before I forgot at the next launching (that partially explains my 'aggresive' approach to the mooring dock last spring- no reverse braking)

So running a bit late and with the launch operator on my cell phone (3 times in ten minutes) I arrived back at the haul-out ramp near the end of my scheduled haul-out window. Note: I was not late, just at the end of my window.

So, I am approaching the dock alongside the ramp. The current is moving at about 2 knots left to right (upriver) which is making me come in with a significant crab angle. I needed to keep some power in to maintain steerage and the trick was going to be cutting the power far enough away to slow down and close enough not to get blown off course. I cut the power and put it in neutral about 50 feet off the dock.

Did I mention that the wind was directly out of the north and pushing me straight into the ramp? I didn't slow down a bit and instead made a bonzai approach into the dock - probably about 3 knots. The yard crew was extremely polite and forgiving and accomadating and didn't say a word. I really really need to buy those guys a case of beer. It was ugly.

Oh well, all's well that ends well. Safe on dry land at last.

and then I saw this for the first time.

Not the best day in recent memory.

On a good note, as the boat was being hauled-out a woman approached me and asked if Jenny was a Hinckley. 'She is absolutely beautiful!!' and she gushed a bit. I have to be careful or I could get a big head over stuff like that. I still haven't adjusted from having an ugly project boat that causes people to shake their heads and that I need to apologize for all the time.

I had intended to go back to the yard and start unloading the boat but instead decided to take myself out to an early dinner and some mindless distractions.

Saturday morning I went out to the yard and started the fall cleanup. I bit the bullet and had the yard crew pressure wash the hull. They did a great job, cleaned up the river scum well and left the paint intact. 18 hours later I had a bill in my mailbox for $91 - ouch- I would say the yard must be a little cash starved to invoice me so fast and raise the rates in the process. Oh well, they did a good job.

So here she is.

I spent the morning during a thorough cleanup and she looked much better after some attention. I hadn't realized how gray the decks had gone after a summer without a freshwater scrub. They shine again now. The hull too looked better after a real bath.

So, the scuff mark, looks better after cleaning. Some of the scrape marks turned out to be rubber transfering off the fenders and on to the hull. My plan to cover the fenders with terry cloth was an utter failure. The terry cloth wore through and ripped after a few weeks.

There are two spots where the paint wore completely away and I am looking at primer. There is another area where the paint has gone dull from rubbing. The real fix is going to be a re-spray. In the meantime I am going to contact Awl-Grip about repair procedures with the Awlcraft (acrylic) that I used and see if I can make it look better. Note: the photos were taken before I cleaned the hull. Those white 'scrape' marks are actually material from the fenders that rubbed right off. Actual damage is something less than it appears in the photos. The missing paint is real though.

and then there is the result of my frolic through the rock garden. Early in the project I discovered some poorly repaired damage on the leading edge of the keel. Its documented on the real website so I won't go into it again. Basically, during the first repair of the original repair I added a few extra layers of biax cloth as insurance against future groundings. On friday I called in that insurance.

From the looks of it, my first repair wasn't stellar anyway and now I will have a chance to make it better. It was one of the first composite repairs I had ever done. It worked, but now I can do it better. I am already toying with the idea of vacuum bagging this time. Maybe even explore a more exotic fiber in this impact prone region. I like exploring rocky shores so this is probably not the last repair I will ever make sadly.

Today is rainy so I won't be starting the winter shelter. Instead I plan on spending some time sorting out the stuff that came off the boat and getting the bamboo cabin sole ready to install. The sole isn't really the first thing I need to attend to but I can prep it and stay dry at the same time and it will be nice to put something pretty on the boat to cheer me up.

That was my interesting weekend. How was yours?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sitting out the last one

This is the last weekend for the season and I am sitting it out. Rosh Hashana and a mother's birthday won out over a final picnic on the boat. I will make it up with a three day weekend on the boat next week. Haul-out day is Friday so things should get more exciting(if that is ever really the case)here on this blog.

First priorities are: 1.) a winter cover. 2.) installing those long awaited jib sheet tracks and cleats. 3.) a protective cover of varnish on the teak.

Then before it gets cold I hope to install the bamboo cabin sole and install some interior paneling. Once the cold sets in I might work on overhauling the remaining parts of the rigging; paint the mast, get the proper mast hardware installed, hunt for a new boom (and get that painted too) and attend to all the little details that make up a complete rig. Next year, if I find a better mooring and decide to launch, I will definitely have a ready-to-sail boat. No more 'working on the mooring' for me. Once in the water it will be all about the sailing. Not so much fun to read about perhaps but a lot more fun for me. I am selfish like that sometimes.

Until next week then. That's when the real action starts again.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Almost sailing

Today, I took some good advice and brought out my sails to check the sheeting locations. I am glad I did because I had some surprises.

The first, unfortunately, was that I forgot to bring my genoa- probably the most used sail in my inventory. That was dumb. My excuse is that there might have been too much wind to be fussing with the big sail. Its not a good excuse but that is the best I have.

The real surprise was discovering where the working jib and 'storm' jib sheet to.

This is a brand new, never used, 100% working jib I had made up a few years ago by Bill Withum sailmaker in Amesbury, MA. Good guy, great sailmaker, highly recomended.

(note: the dockline/jibsheet is only there to hold the sail out while I took pictures, the sail is obviously sheeted too far aft. I just didn't have anything else to tie the 'sheet' to)

I didn't specify much when I ordered the sail and I think Bill looked at my high cut genoa and just went the same with the working jib. It sheets much further aft than I expected. The boat originally had jib tracks on the sidedecks up against the cabin sides and forward of the deadlights. I had assumed these were for a 100% jib that never came with the boat. There is no way I would sheet this working jib that far forward and it looks like the track for the genoa is going to work for the working jib too.

The 'storm' jib came with the boat although I am not really sure it belonged with the boat. I found a minature spinnaker that might have fit a 12 foot dinghy in my sail inventory so maybe this sail was misplaced too. In any case, Bill felt it would be about the right size and thickness to work as a storm jib. It was hardly used and in great shape so I had him add a bolt rope so that I could run it up the roller furler. I don't know if I will ever use the sail but it is something to keep in the bag-of-tricks. It too looks like it will sheet to the genoa tracks so no additional tracks or blocks are called for at this point.

The only other foresail in my inventory (other than the forgotten 140-145% genoa) is a spinnaker I had cut by Bill into an assymetrical spinnaker. I loaned that sail out to a fellow Triton owner so hopefully I will get some feedback as to the proper sheeting location. Jenny had blocks mounted way back at the stern which I assume was for the spinnaker and where I assume the assymetrical will sheet too. Or rather I did assume until today's little revelations.

In other news I have a firm haul-out date of September 25th. Other than checking out the genoa I hope to start building some of the winter cover before the boat comes out so that I can get her covered quickly and keep her starving thin varnished teak protected. I am also betting on getting more deck hardware installed before it gets too cold and a quick cover installation will allow me to leave the deck open while this gets done.

Raising the foresails, seeing them fill and feeling the boat surge really made me want to go sailing. I didn't realize how much I missed sailing my own boat until today. With my upcoming schedule however I don't see this happening.

Soon Jenny will be safe and sound back where I can keep a better eye on her and start real boatwork again. I can hardly wait!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Switching gears

I think it is safe to say that I am no longer pushing towards sailing this season and I am looking directly at fall haul-out. I paid the storage deposit and I have calculated the cost of my new and improved boat cover plan and I just think I would rather put my resources there. Its been a fun season even without sailing and I have enjoyed not having the constant pressure to get something done.

I was busy Saturday getting my girlfriend's car situation sorted out. Sunday was for regular errands. Today, I rowed the nutshell out to Jenny to check everything out. It was a nice row against a stiff current on the way home and I am now convinced I don't need an outboard skiff. The 5hp Honda I have for the skiff has hardly been used and I am losing the love for it so I think I will sell it and buy some shop tools with the proceeds. I am much more interested in shop tools than outboards at the moment. I might even use the shop tools to get something done on a Shellback dinghy (12' row and sail) project that stalled last fall. That would make a nicer utility dinghy than the small Nutshell. The Nutshell is a great cruising dinghy but where size is not a detriment the Shellback has many advantages. Its basically a Nutshell with a longer and pointed nose anyway. The option to realistically haul in the pickup and sail out of distant waters is intriguing. Of course I have some ideas for bigger boats that do this but there are just too many good boats to build and too little time.

Anyway, I spent some time on the boat enjoying the nice sunny day and doing some cleaning. The birds weren't much of an issue but the lack of decent ventilation was. I am starting to see mold grow inside on the painted surfaces. I didn't have a ventilation system in place when I launched and the boat gets pretty stuffy as a result. Next year ventilation goes up on the priority list.

I also took some rough measurements for ordering interior supplies. I am convinced now that I am going to cover the bulkheads with vertical tongue and groove cherry paneling and I am putting together a materials estimate. So far it looks like 50-60 square feet of coverage; a bit more if I decide to cover the lower settee fronts which I am leaning against doing at the moment. Cherry veneer plywood will be used inside as well. I just want something more visually interesting on the blank bulkheads.

Last year the winter cover was sort of a hybrid. The ridge line was supported by frames on deck and the tarp was held off the boat with six curved frames (bows). It worked okay but the ridge pole and frames tended to move around in windy weather which kept me worrying about chafe marks. This year I want the bows to support the ridge pole which means a lot more bows (like 12 per side) which will make the cover more of a real structure.

Not much to write about this week. The boat looks good except for where the river scum collects. It only takes a few hours for the brown stain to show up so I have stopped trying to scrub it off. I think next year I will have to raise the waterline a bit since the bow is right at the waterline now and I expect to add at least a thousand pounds to the boat over the next few years (50 gallons of water, 4 group 27 batteries, interior wood, food stores, electrical equipment, etc)

Lots of recent postings have been rather boring and I am sure I am losing my audience (if I ever had one). If you still check in, just hang on into the Fall when boatwork can begin again. A lot of the distractions this summer are winding down so I expect to get some interior and sail hardware projects done before winter. With the boat mostly fully insulated winter work is becoming an option too.

Stay tuned.