Sunday, December 18, 2011

Slap Me.

I have been a very naughty boy. I just realized it has been two months since I last updated this blog.

I could list the reasons, the latest being a nasty computer virus, but no one really cares, and it is still my fault anyways.

The main reason for the lack of postings is because there has been a lack of progress. The only real thing accomplished was putting Jenny to bed for the winter.

Nothing too fancy this year. Last year I spent more time building a winter cover than I spent actually working on the boat so this year I went with a simple ridgepole and tarp. I can open the tarp if I want to but I don't plan on working inside of the boat much this winter. I did all the usual winterization stuff - nothing worth noting there. I re-used the framework around the bottom of the boat to secure the tarp to. I did not realize at the time that without the bow frames tying the bottom framework and the ridgepole that there was nothing to keep the bottom framework from being pulled up by the tarp. I have one 2x4 that goes under the keel and holds the framework down but the ends still want to fly up. My solution was to take the re-bar that kept the bottom frame in position last year and bend the ends over like candy canes and drive them in over the top of the frame.

The ground is pretty soft and the re-bar is not staying in too well so I wound up going to Home Despot and buying the tube sand at $3 for a 60 pound bag and laying a few across the frame until the ground freezes.

The holidays are taking up my time at the moment but the next project is to take the galley counter top mockup and start making a real countertop. That should start in the next few weeks.

Just for fun I thought I would include pictures from previous winter covers.







Sorry again for the lack of postings. I will try to be better.

God Jul og Godt Nytt År!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Little bit of vane

The weekend was not quite as productive as I had hoped but progress nonetheless.

Fuss and more fussing and then drilling the final holes for the windvane mounting. I was short a bolt and I don't like how the supplied bolts are threaded all the way to the head so I am just going to get 'normal' bolts. I also need to order some G4 or some such pre manufactured fiberglass sheeting for backing pads for the transom legs. Oh, and I need to look into blocks for the lines that run to the tiller. Otherwise, very close to being called done.

The mount tubing needed to be cut to length and then bolted to connect the tubing. Here are the lower and middle legs.

...and the top tubing.

... and stepping back a bit.

I had planned on putting a coat of varnish on all the interior wood Sunday but the temperatures never quite got high enough and the wind made it unpleasant. I was easily distracted into doing household chores and 'fun' stuff.

I am thinking my varnishing temps may be gone for the year and its time to think about tarping. I might have one more weekend left but ... based on my past progress reports I would guess that exterior/warmer weather projects are just about done for the year.

Running rigging is all in the back of my pickup to be delivered to the rigger for replacement. Not sure if I had mentioned that. Not that it is very noteworthy...

Em Tasol Wantoks.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Well, the following weekend's weather was a lot more promising for a delivery back to the Merrimac river; a bit boring perhaps, but good for what had to get done.

A morning departure in zero wind. The Atomic Four clicked along (like a sewing machine 'they' say) at about 1500 rpm which is my normal economy cruise. That gives me about four and half knots at about 0.6 gallons per hour. I can ramp the engine up to 2200 or so with my Indigo three bladed prop which will push Jenny at nearly 6 knots but then I also nearly double my fuel burn. It wasn't necessary so four and a half knots was just fine on a flat day.

Middle grounds outside of Salem harbor.

A few hours later and we were passing Thatcher's island.

Then a left turn past Rockport light.

Keeping the Salvages on the right.

Jenny turned into Rockport harbor about four o'clock. Not the harbor actually since the harbor behind the breakwater is completely packed with local boats, but the beach in front of the town. With the wind coming from the west (off the land) the anchorage is only slightly rolly. The sunset was quite nice with the colors on the water exactly reflecting the colors in the sky.

In the morning I woke up to fog.

The fog hung around until about noon which was okay since I had about ten miles to go and I couldn't hit the river mouth before the tide change anyway. I caught up on some recreational reading and a few cups of tea.

Eventually, Jenny left in about a mile of visibilty in equally flat conditions. It was a rather boring putt putt across Ipswich Bay with nothing to see.

I still arrived an hour too early so I let Jenny drift until the tide changed. Well, I was a bit impatient and entered the river mouth about 45 minutes before the change. I figured it would be close enough to slack but I was wrong. The mouth of the Merrimac can get pretty nasty and I was making about 2 knots over the bottom at 2000 rpm against the outgoing flow. That would have been okay except for the large powerboats trying to get upriver at a faster pace. Their wakes were throwing my little vessel, with barely enough way, on her beam ends making a mess of everything down below. We got past the entrance and made our way under the drawbridge and continued about a mile upriver to a quiet spot for the night.

With the strong currents it was necessary to ride on a bow and stern anchor but the water was flat and we were far from the constant power boat wakes that plagued Jenny when she was moored on the river two years ago. It was probably the quietest night on the boat all season actually.

In the morning it was up early for breakfast, removal of sails, boom and all extra gear and then a 20 minute motor back downriver (against a stronger than anticipated current again) to the public launch ramp at Cashman park. The landing on the dock was uneventful and much more graceful against the cross current than the previous attempt. We made the whole season without a grounding !

Total length of the delivery trip not including going past the haulout point to a secure anchorage was 38.6 nautical miles.

A few days and four pickup loads later Jenny was emptied of most of her gear. I have no idea how I fit so much stuff inside and where I am supposed to store it at home...

And then I took a bit of a break. It has been a fun season but a weekend away from the boat was a nice change too.

So this weekend I started tackling a job that I have been getting a bit worried about. I had some mold starting to grow on the bamboo cabin sole.

I thought I might have missed a spot when I sealed the plyboo (bamboo plywood) but after some investigation it appears that the mold was growing under the urethane coating. I hope I simply didn't prep the area well enough since I have already noted that plyboo left in a damp area will quickly grow mold. I have heard rumors that mold might get inside the plyboo right after manufacture and simply sealing it might not be enough. That is why I am concerned about it. I love the look but the product might be defective. I have noticed that my cockpit hatch leak is still making its way into the cabin and some water will occasionally pool on the cabin sole right where I found the mold. Perhaps the puddle lying there over a few days caused the problem. In any case, I sanded through the finish and mold and used a bit of bleach on the effected areas (which seems to have discolored the bamboo slightly (not happy about that either...) and then applied two fresh coats of polyurethane to the whole cabin sole.

I am really having a bit of a hard time deciding where I want to start the fall projects. I was thinking about getting some fresh varnish down and Jenny really needs it but I just wasn't in the mood for it so instead I chose a fun project and decided to get my windvane on the stern once and for all. The windvane has been a fixture in my cellar for five years now and I really wanted to get it out of there.

More measuring and cutting and measuring again and leveling the boat and measuring again and a bit more cutting and the windvane is getting close to being installed. I just need to drill the holes for the final bolts. It was getting dark and I wanted to take a second look with fresh eyes before I committed the vane to its permanent resting place. Positioning the vane on the transom is a bit tricky since the transom isn't symmetrical at all. Maybe I am just being too fussy...


So that is where Jenny is today, back where she is most familiar - at the boatyard. I am slowly gearing up for projects but it has been hard switching gears this fall. I expect in another week or two I will have some more focus.

The economic 'downturn' is finally catching up to me and my project list is going to be less ambitious that in year's past. I have been letting the other assets in my life run down which is not a trend I can continue for much longer. Boatwork will continue but at a less ambitious pace perhaps.

So for this winter the project list is:

New running rigging. New halyards to replace the ancient wire to rope halyards. The jib halyard was a little kinked in the spring and I thought it would be fine for the season. At the end of the season half of the strands were broken near the end which was causing the halyard to jam in the top block. At one point I wasn't sure the sail would come down but luck was with me and the sail dropped normally after I let it sit there for a few weeks. I am also going to have a second jib halyard made up for my assymetrical spinaker. I want to try that out next time. New jib sheets as well.

New sun cover/strip/thingy on the genoa. The kelly green color doesn't match the boat any more. Its very vain I know but its important enough to be up at the top of my list.

Windvane and brass rubrail installed this fall would be nice along with some varnish before winter sets in.

More varnish/finish coats on the interior paneling so that I can install hinges/latches/ clocks to the bulkhead sort of things.

and hopefully... some progress on the galley. The most frustrating thing this summer was accessing the galley equipment from under the temporary galley benchtop/patterns and using temporary stoves/dishpans. A real working sink and real storage for the galley equipment would be paradise on earth and I hope to have something like that before Jenny launches next.

If I find myself with lots of extra time, progress on an electrical system would be nice too. Realistically that won't happen but just in case I find myself with an abundance of time I want to be ready for it.

And that's it. Hopefully blog postings will be a little more regular. At least until winter really sets in. I don't think I am going to fight the winter weather too hard this year. Doing so just hasn't been all that productive. I am thinking a plain ridgepole and tarp for a boat cover. No big boat sheds to be built and and taken down again next spring.

Em tasol wantoks ;-)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

End of Season 2011

Well, it has been a good season full of weekend daysails and picknicks. Nothing too exciting to talk about and the pictures all seem to repeat themselves.

As for as pretty new things for Jenny, when the sailmaker was out taking measurements for the new sailcover we started talking about sun awning ideas. He had quite a few and in the end I told him to just make one up (

I am really happy with the awning. My only issue is the one piece battens make storing the awning tricky. I am still working on the ideal storage location. On the plus side, when the awning is put up, the temperature on deck instantly drops ten degrees or more and a baking hot day turns into a comfortable sunny day immediately. I swear the awning also helps channel cool air down the deck. The awning is above the boom for lots of standing headroom in the cockpit and decent headroom even along the sidedecks. I am really happy with it.

Hurricane Irene blew by a few weeks ago. In preparation I took down the sails and even pulled the boom off and stored it in the cabin. I battened everything down pretty tight but in the end the storm missed us by 50 miles and Jenny only saw some 40-50 mph gusts and virtually no wave action. She barely took on any rain water.

The trouble started after the storm. I bent on the genoa only to find the jib halyard didn't want to go all the way up, something was binding. I decided to simply remove the extender I had at the foot of the sail to keep the sail below the point where the jam was happening. That worked fine and the genoa even rolled up fine at first. The reason for the extender was that I rigged the halyard wrong and I don't have the necessary angle between the upper swivel and the halyard. The swivel was wrapping around the forestay and jamming the furlling action. The extender brought the sail up high enough to make it all work.

After a weekend daysail however the jib stopped rolling up. I was thinking to myself "no problem, I will just managed the jib like a normal hank on jib and take it down at the end of the sail". The problem was the halyard jammed again and the sail wouldn't come down. With the foresail giving me more problems and the sailing season fast approaching anyway I decided to call it the end of the season a few weeks early and bring Jenny home to Newburyport for the winter. That was the plan for this past weekend.

Myself and a sailing companion spent the night on Jenny Saturday night and got an early start for Gloucester harbor. Since it was only about a ten mile trip we took the roundabout way and included a tour of Marblehead harbor and all the pretty boats there. I was too busy threading the boat through the mooring field to take pictures but any reader can guess at the number of beautiful boats found there. From Marblehead we took a heading around some ledges and into open water and made Gloucester a few hours later. It was a nice day if a bit 'lumpy'. We anchored off of Niles Beach in Gloucester Harbor (my usual spot when spending the night there) which was well protected from the northeast winds that night.

The next day we got off early for the long slog into the wind around Cape Anne and northeast to the Merrimac River (and Newburyport). Leaving the harbor seemed nice but the lumpiness continued and continued to worsen...

Its really hard for me to take pictures that show the actual wave conditions well. The waves were 4-5 feet but steep and spaced quite close together.

At some point the whole front half of the boat started launching itself into the air and leaving the water behind only to slam back down the trough and bury itself under the next wave. We had a few hours of this ahead of us before rounding Cape Anne and putting those short choppy seas on the beam for another six hours or so. This prospect didn't hold much excitement for either of us so we turned tail and ran back to Gloucester to work out 'plan B'. After a few phones calls plan 'B' became re-schedule boat haulout for next week and sail back to Salem (downwind and running with the waves) The return to Salem was exciting but easy and we had a nice run at hull speed bombing along down the waves.

One funny thing. At some point on the run home a fish jumped out of the water, hitting my sailing companion on the leg, bouncing off only to glance against my wrist, bump the aft deck once and disapear back into the ocean. It was quite funny and quite surprising. I can only guess what the fish was thinking once he was back where he belonged...

So, that is it. We will try to get Jenny around Cape Anne next weekend in time for an early haulout Monday morning in the Merrimac. Early weather reports suggest a nice SW wind pushing us instead of the NE winds we were up against this past weekend. Fingers crossed that we find better conditons...

Hopefully, the next pictures on the blog will be of Jenny back in her spot at the boatyard and ready for some more upgrages :-)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

August 6 update

Still mostly winds in the 0-5kt or 20+ ranges; neither of which are particularly fun for daysailing in my opinion. Maybe if I didn't like working on the boat so much I would sail more but when plan 'B' is work on the boat its not too hard to forego sailing in less than ideal conditions. There has been a few more light wind daysails and there has been some small projects advanced.

Daysails are self explanatory.

Jenny came with an ancient roller furler and the furling line blocking was equally ancient.

Not only was the blocks decrepid but they stole several valuable inches in my all-too-narrow sidedecks. Anything to make a Triton's sidedecks wider is a good thing. Lucky for me Harken had a solution. Side note: I love love love Harken. I use Garhauer a lot and their products are decent and very reasonably priced. If I can close my eyes to the price though I really like Harken - first class stuff. End of side note.

I ordered four of those Harken stanchion blocks; three for the stanchions and one for the bow pulpit. Mounting on the pulpit was a problem however.

Just skipping the blocking up forward stole valuable foredeck space.

The solution was to use the best of my old decrepid blocks for the bow pulpit. Those old ones handled the misalignment better. That means I have an extra Harken stanchion block if anyone needs it.

Other projects was tying off the jib sheets and furler line. The furler line I simply ran through an existing hole at the aft end of the coaming. At one time the traveler could be moved with lines that went through the coaming. With the traveler removed I had a half inch hole available. The jib sheets were secure to the coaming with some ... whatchamacallits, 'eye rings' or something like that. I had a couple of bronze ones that were removed from the deck. They are probably original to the boat.

That little project freed up the jib cleats where I had tied the sheets to. A simple and very satisfying upgrade.

I also put a sealer coat of thinned varnish on all the interior woodwork. The oil was looking a bit faded and the wood scratched easily. Since the woodwork was eventually going to be varnished with a rubbed effect finish anyway I figured I might as well get started.

I didn't want to get too far ahead with the varnishing before I got the panel screws plugged so I ordered some cherry plugs and installed them. Most of the screws will be covered by trim but the ones in the middle I needed to plug. I flirted with the idea of covering them with with some sort of trim too but I didn't like the look. Unfortunately, the plugs I recieved were all pretty light in color and I couldn't find any that matched the wood any better. Oh well. I will stop noticing the mismatch pretty quick. I wish I had done a better job of lining up the holes though.

And finally, my sailmaker came through and delivered on the new sailcover. I love the new color. I am not completing thrilled with the fit of the sailcover but its still a huge improvement. Seeing the new cover makes me want to get started on a new dodger. Given that I expect to spend 3-5 thousand dollars on a good dodger I am going to have to wait a bit.

While measuring for the sailcover, I began a discussion about cockpit awnings. By the end of the conversation I had an awning on order too. The awning isn't ready yet though. Another week or so I am promised...

And that is it so far. I am trying to figure out a time when I can take a few days for a mini cruise. Daysailing is okay but I really miss cruising...

Oh, one more thing. Another excuse I have for not sailing more is my darned Sporta-seat. With seats so comfortable its just too tempting to sit down with an interesting book and watch the world go by. I have done a fair amount of that this summer too. ;-)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

July update

In my last posting I said I would post photos if I was able to do some sailing.

Today was my first opportunity with some real wind. After these photos were taken the wind continued to pick up nearly burying the rail. I was a little too busy handling the boat to take pictures at that point.

Overall it has been a pretty windless spring. The week after the last posting I took Jenny out for an easy sail only to find the wind died right after leaving the harbor. We motorsailed with the main up and the engine idling for a few hours and just enjoyed bobbing around and taking a look at the new sailing grounds.

It was nice and we did get a little push from the wind but it wasn't real sailing. Let's call it 'pleasant boating' instead.

Last week I was in Maine on a sailboat rescue mission. No, I didn't bring the boat home. It was for a friend. We ran into some obstacles and didn't actually bring the boat home but we made the proper arrangements and I am happy to report that a diamond-in-the-rough Pearson Ensign will live to sail again. Judging from its derelict neighbors the boat was destined to become part of the decaying scenery until we got to her.

Yesterday was sunny but windless so I spent the afternoon taping up and applying a coat of varnish. Its a losing battle I am afraid. The weather was very unfriendly this spring to varnish work and I wasn't able to get any fresh varnish down before launch. The finish is really showing the lack of care now and some of it will be pealing by the end of the season.

My goal at this point is to minimize the damage. The original plan for today was a second coat of varnish but the wind was just too good to pass up. Next week.

My other little job yesterday was to attach a latch to the head locker doors. I never got around to it prior to launch and everytime the boat leaned a bit the doors would open and then crash shut; very annoying. When I built the shelf I didn't factor in the space created by the door frame. I had to add a bit of wood under the shelf that protruded out so that the latches could reach the doors. The doors stay shut quite nicely now and today's on-the-rail sailing proved it.

And that's it. No real plans other than sail whenever I can.

Things that have moved to the top of the priority list include:

Lazy jacks. My fully battened main spills out all over the place when I drop it and it is becoming a pain; especially with these short daysails. Somehow I could live with it when the main was up for 12 hours at a time cruising but for a 2-4 hour daysail the hassle is really annoying. Lazy jacks for sure next spring.

Better sail controls. When the point of the activity is just sailing (as opposed to cruising and focusing on destination) then tweaking the sails becomes a high priority. I definitely want to improve the ease of sail controls and get new running rigging cut to the right length. My mainsheet is Waaaaaaaayyyyyy too long as I was using a two speed mainsheet block last time with twice as much line as I need now. Finding places to secure the bitter ends is a must too. Right now the sheets just tie off to the nearest cleat which leads to a pile of lines on the jib sheet cleats. An easy project but one that will make the day much more pleasant. I didnt bother installing my cheesy boom vang this year and watching the boom fly up is really annoying. Now that I don't have a mainsheet traveler the problem is even worse.

Canvas. The sailmaker should be coming out to the boat next week to measure for the new sailcover. I think I want to have him make a cockpit awning too for those lazy days on the mooring.

As for the interior, I want to continue with the cherry surfaces but also put the galley countertop to the top of the list. That would add a lot of utility to the interior and I could also add a sink using an available (and unused) seacock. Somehow, when the boat was a patchwork of four different colors, washing the dishes over the side was okay. Now its simply unacceptable.

OH! and a cockpit table of some sort to set down lunch. Again, eating on my lap was okay when the boat was decrepid looking but now I have to step up my game. I am playing in the big leagues now :-)

Em Tasol wantoks. More good sailing to come!