Thursday, August 24, 2017

Post-Eclipse Report

 Shipwreck on the Pond

 Well, after floating around on her anchor for three weeks, the obvious thing happened:  The rode twisted up.  It unlayed so bad that the eye splice in the end came undone and it was gone!   I came up the hill one day and found the boat against the bank.    

   We found the anchor eventually, by stretching a string across the pond and swimming  back and forth under it, dragging a magnet on a string.  Every pass, Ale would move the string over 6 inches and I would do it again. After about 4 feet and 20 passes, I found it, swam down to it, unearthed it, and pulled it up.  I have no pictures of this, unfortunately.  But lesson learned: If you are anchoring for a long time, use a swivel!

Spar Craft.

There were masts to make.

  I started by scarphing up some 2x stuff from the store for mast staves or, better said, laminations, since it is a lammed-up solid mast. I find a chainsaw a great tool for doing 90% of the beveling before I put the boards in my router jig.  I fancy sometimes that if I used thickened epoxy, I could dispense with the router jig altogether and just scarph with chainsaw alone.

  Here I've got all three lams scarphed up and ready to glue.  I have a groove down the middle to take copper pipe as both conduit for the masthead light.

 I put a T in it right below the mast pin for the wire to pass out of the mast while the conduit continues down the mast, ultimately being mashed flat to be bent around the back face of the mast to make contact with the grounding system in the boat.

I have been really bad about taking pictures, so I don't have anything else of the mast.  I didn't fully octogon it, I just sort of radiused the corners and sanded it.  The head, I left square and routed out a shoulder on it to take a square mast head fitting.  Much easier to weld up than to find pipe of the perfect size lying around.

I bent the tabs to 45degrees except  the one that was to take the main halyard, which I bent a little less.  Not that it probably matters.

 I decided on a mizzen mast about 14 feet above partners, 3" tapering to 1 1/2" at the tip.  This is a little beefier than it would be for a laced-on leg-o-mutton sail of this size in a smaller boat, but this boat ain't gonna be heeling much from the force against this sail.  It's just going to stand there and take it.

   Here you see the two long 2x4's I glued up for the mizzen.  Notice that bend???    Well, I was being called to dinner just as I was clamping them up and in my haste, I forgot to assure myself that the whole thing was resting flat and straight.   So, the result is an incorrigibly bent mast.

 My first impulse was to use it for something else and make a new one.   Then I thought,

  "Wait a minute...   Don't people bend masts on purpose???"

  So, I rounded it up...

And sanded it...

  And now I have a slightly bent mizzen mast.  My thinking is that if I cut the sail perfectly flat, or with very little draft indeed, the forward bend of the mast will induce some belly in there, so the mizzen can contribute a little driving power in its own right, then, when I want to use it as a steadying sail to reef,  or to fix something,  or to ride at anchor,  I can tighten the snotter  and take the bow out of the mast, flattening the sail.

  ***Opinion Solicitation****

  Please chime in with comments about whether this is a good idea, all of you folks who feel you know.  I am unsure of this.

   Here I have set up a big old genoa someone gave me as a solent lugsail.  I never got to use it on this trip, but it was free.

Off Center Board.

For this, I glued up staves of 2x stock.

I did some of the initial shaping with my favorite precision tool.

Not to brag or anything, but sometimes I think I could do a vasectomy on a mosquito with that thing.

  Then I take out the chainsaw marks with the hand plane.

  Here I've got a shoulder routed out and 1/4" plywood put into both sides (one side shown) to make a place for a stick to tie the raising line onto.

This is the finished product before glassing.

  And here it is glassed and painted.  I was out of black, so it's all yellow for now.    

 ***Another Opinion Solicitation****

   You can see here the how far down the fulcrum is from the top.  The proportion of board below the pivot point is about 3.6:1.   I was forced by my choice of window height to put the upper OCB guards as low as I have, resulting in this unfortunate-looking leverage picture.  I am not worried about when the board is on the leeward side, since it won't have to bend far before it rests on the chine. When it is on the windward side, however, the withdrawal forces acting on the pivot bolt which result from the press of 200 square feet of sail should be significant.  Add the dynamic forces of waves or the sudden tripping in a broach, and I find it troubling. I  am too uneducated about how to do the math and too inexperienced to judge this, so please-  Comment With Your Opinion!

Maiden Voyage

  We decided to make the eclipse weekend the maiden voyage.  Here we are putting into lake Hartwell at Big Water Marina.  You can see the mast lying politely in its little chocks.  

 Lake Hartwell is full of muddy little islands with the occasional sandy beach.  We had a blast just motoring around from place to place.  

Plenty of room to put stuff.

This is what the kids did 90% of the time.

Beautiful skies.

  It was extra hot.  We had to retreat further and further into the bush to get shade as the day went on. 

  This is a sand birthday cake.  We ate a lot of those.

We were blessedly spared the bugs, don't ask me why.  We could sleep with the cover completely off and not get bit.   Here is Ale reading to them in their hammocks.  I can't say we slept great.  There is still a lot of adjustments to make.   The noise the bow makes at anchor is something I knew to expect and I am able to be philosophical about.  We'll see in slightly bigger waves.  


  1. Looks like it was a successful voyage! I like the copper pipe idea

  2. So good to see the first voyage with so much fun and memorable times!

    The OCB looks pretty strong to me...

  3. Thanks, Al. Yeah it was fun. OK, I'll put that down in my informal survey as "one in favor"

  4. In my understanding, the deciding factor will be the materials surrounding the bolt hole to prevent it from pulling through the side. Allen has a piece of angle iron to spread out the force, I don't remember what your system is, do you have photo's of the inside mounting?

  5. No, I didn't take pictures, but I know what I slapped in there is insufficient: a 12" disk of 1/2" plywood. I may have to put in either a bulkhead or a heavy longitudinal piece of some kind and bolt onto that with angle iron like Alan.