Sunday, November 28, 2010

Trying again

The holidays were good. I got some work done around the house and on the car. I managed to put the cover back on the boat.

In looking at the failure of the cover, I think a big reason it failed was the amount of unsupported ridge pole at the front of the boat. I think perhaps I had the frames a little further forward last year.

In any case, I brought back my 'spare' frame that I didn't use last year and installed it about two feet in front of the original front frame. Then I repaired the frame that broke by screwing on a section of new strapping directly over the break. I repaired the bow upright 'post' by splicing in a section to replace the one that broke. I also put something under the post as it seems to have dug a hole under itself which probably was the first part to separate where the post joins the ridge pole.

The bad news is that the wind was blowing quite hard. The good news is that it was blowing in a direction that helped push the tarp over the boat. Luckily, the grommets on the upwind side were fine so I just had to pull over the same way it came off. I had to get the water and ice out of the tarp first. Dumping it into my shoes seemed like an effective technique.

To pull the tarp over on the side that had all the grommets removed I secured several lines by the method I mentioned last week. This is probably old news to everyone but since I have little to write about here goes:

First, I found a chunk of something and put it on the tarp where I wanted to secure a line.

Second, I twisted the tarp around the chunk of something.

Third, I tied a line around the twisted chunk of something.

This technique is widely used in emergency shelter construction and it actually works quite well.

So after fighting the heavy ice laden tarp in the cold northwest wind for an hour I secured it with some new grommets. This was the first time I made my own grommets. Now that I have done it myself I have even less respect for commercial tarp makers. The operation is dead simple and making a good looking grommet is pretty easy. I wonder why so many tarp makers can't do the same?

And finally, because I don't want to fix the tarp again this winter and because I don't intend to repeat this type of structure in the future (having to make repairs to the winter cover before December is just not a good way to start the storage season) I screwed sections of strapping right through the tarp to the frames. I am hoping by sandwiching the tarp between the strapping that the wind won't be tearing it off again.

I say I am not going to repeat this structure because after thinking about it, I am not sure I work on the boat enough in the winter to justify the time I am putting into the cover to make work possible. I think next year, I will either have a permanent structure to house the boat or I will cover the boat and walk away for the winter. The progress I am making over the winter months doesn't seem to justify the efforts I put into the cover.

So next week, some interior projects. Hopefully, I will be working on the boat this winter instead of perpetually fixing the cover.

...and that's it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rough Beginnings

Last week, I took a weekend away from Jenny and went to visit another boat project (and friend while I was in the area). Yesterday I stopped in on the boat. It took me a minute to realize something had changed...

My cover that held up to 90mph winds last year didn't last two weeks this year. My winter cover failed and it isn't even winter yet. I am a little concerned.

We did have some days of strong winds; 40+ mph winds anyway. I wasn't too worried based on past experiences. I should have. Maybe the strapping just can't be left around all summer to dry out. Maybe I should have painted the whole structure (?!)In any case, the strapping, installed just like the past successful season, failed very prematurely.

My guess is the first bow bow broke...

which left the front support holding up one side of the wide expanse of tarp...

which left too much unsupported tarp so all the grommets on the windward side let go...

A pretty dissapointing sight.

The good news is that I have a spare set of bows. I was going to take them to the dump with some other stuff Saturday. Luckily I stopped by the boatyard first.

I can only hope the spare bow will hold up better. I don't have particularly high hopes at this point. I am worried that the strapping just doesn't age well. Luckily I have pulpits installed. If things get really bad I will knock down the bows, set the ridgepole on the pulpits, tie what's left of the tarp to the ground and walk away until spring. Maybe I am being a little premature with that thought...

I bought a bunch of grommets to replace those torn out of my brand new tarp but I am also wondering about attaching the lines to the tarp with a hitch around a twist of tarp. I am not sure how to explain it. I will take a picture if I go that route. The best I can describe it is that you twist a round object (stone, golf ball, etc) in a section of tarp and then tie a hitch to the tarp behind the enclosed object. It supposedly works quite well. I have done it with emergency shelters for a single night but I haven't tried it for a whole season.

I am really done with temporary work shelters that need to be broken down every spring. I am going to double up on my real estate search. I am sick of winter covers.

Naturally, the tools I need to fix the structure are the same tools I use every day at work (and no I don't have the resources to have duplicates of everything at the moment - holiday expenses are coming, I need a new commuter car ...) So, I decided to continue clearing up my workspace at home in preparation for winter boat projects and pout about my setbacks.

Hopefully something better to say next week.

Happy Turkey Day!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

All tucked in

The wind gods must not have been paying attention this weekend. With little wind, the cover took about five minutes to pull over and maybe two hours to secure, including a trip to the hardware store for more line.

I had to run to Home Despot for some spring clamps because my old ones dissapeared after the wind storm last year. Once there I got distracted by some possible future tool purchases and wound up spending a good deal of time researching tools. It was cold too. I haven't become use to that yet. Plus, with the cover on it is quite dark and my lights were... someplace else... Do I need any more excuses or does that cover me?

... and then there is the new winter work list. Thankfully, it is a bit simpler than in year's past. Somehow I think I will still be rushing to get it all done come late spring.

Things that need to happen before the next launch:

Patch the hull where I went on the rocks last time. Initially, I was thinking I would have to lay some large pieces of cloth. Now, it looks like a few small dished out patches will work fine.

I have a jib cleat next to the patch where the old fuel fill used to be. The patch was a bit rough on the underside and it is flexing. I need to do a better job before I hook the genoa up to it in a 20 kt blow.

Fix the paint on the starboard side where the fenders rubbed through it. There are also some scratches I would like to fix. One reason I chose Awlcraft 2000 over Awl-Grip was because it is supposed to be easier to fix. I will find out shortly and I have emailed the company for any repair tips. One thing I am sure about - Awlcraft scratches easier than Awl-Grip. It is quite sensitive to clumsy tool marks...

Finish that last 5% of the deck hardware installation that never seemed to happen this fall. It's the bow pulpit and a few odd fittings next to it. Easy.

I want to move the aft cleats off the blocks next to the toerail. I am not thrilled with the look and I suspect the raised cleat puts more strain on those long bronze bolts than is necessary. I plan to move the cleats inboard into the middle of the aft deck and flat on the deck; not raised on blocks. I just have to make sure they won't interfere with the wind vane rigging.

Buy and install new stanchion tubes. I have had one tube missing for two years now. Plus, I would rather have a double lifeline system anyway.

Replace the jumper strut stay hardware. I wanted to be able to adjust the jumper strut tension with the mast up so the rigger installed some sort of tensioners into the stays that tighted with some sort of thumb screw. Under load they can't be turned. I want to put real turnbuckles in there. I removed the hardware months ago and have done nothing about it. I will call my rigger soon and get moving on that.

Get the rigging on the reverse gear right. I got a surprise last season (as did the dock crew) when I ran into the dock at 3 kts because I found out too late I had no reverse gear. Well, the prop turned in reverse but wasn't accomplishing much. The atomic four has no real reverse gear. Instead it has a clamp around a planetary gear system. When the clamp tightens, the outer band stops turning and the inner rings goes the other way. You have to see a picture to see how it works... Anyway, I need to add more tension to the system for a more positive reverse.

More varnish. Always. And getting worse with every bit of wood I add. It is the cost of true beauty.

Install the rub rail brass strip. The strip was supposed to go on right after the rubrail. Somehow that kept getting pushed back. Now it needs to get done.

Finish installing the head. The head is 95% complete. I just keep cutting the final hose an inch too short. The fourth time I expect better results. I also need to add a vent fitting and hose. I should be able to manage that.

Stop the cabin leak. The last rains confirmed that I still have a leak working its way through the cabin. I still suspect the area around the port battery shelf. One corner is tight against the partial bulkhead and I think water is pooling up and getting into the cabin there. I drilled a drain hole when the shelf was intalled. Perhaps my 'drain' hole went into the bulkhead a bit and created the leak?

That's the high priority items. A much shorter and easier list than in year's past.