Sunday, July 7, 2019

Main Sheet Block Upgrade

Last year Gardens' mainsheet was rigged through a single block with a becket on the boom and a fiddle block on top of the centerboard case. A spring prevented that fiddle block from flopping around when there was little or no tension on the sheet.


That feature worked well. However, I had no way to sail without keeping a firm grip on the mainsheet. Sailing all day with a firm grip on the mainsheet resulted in serious cramping of my hands. The fiddle block, clearly, does not have a built-in cam cleat, and I did not include a cam-cleat in last year's temporary set-up.

High on the list of upgrades was a fiddle block with a cam cleat. Naively, I figured I could just swap out the new fiddle block for the old one. The two blocks are significantly different in size and, as I soon learned, the new block would not fit the spring. I searched for a suitable spring (local hardware stores, Amazon, McMaster-Carr, Grainger, etc.) without success. Without a spring - or something - to hold the block upright, the block will flop around noisily, bang up the top of the CB Case and generally be annoying.


A possible solution presented itself while I was cleaning out the garage a couple of weeks ago. Moving a collection of long unused pool noodles (we don't have a pool...), I wondered if a piece of pool noodle might work to hold the fiddle block upright. Well, in the shop, it does! A 1" slice of noodle (with a slit cut to facilitate installation) does just what I need it to do: hold the block upright and allow the block to move as needed. A couple wraps of tape secures the slit (electrical tape may replace the current masking tape...).


The block will soon be installed on the CB Case top. Almost ready for sea trials.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Back to Work on Gardens

After ten weeks of back spasms, treated by chiropractic care, modern medicine and, at last, physical therapy, I am finally getting back to work on Gardens. I had hoped to have been sailing her by now, but we do what we can... My "winter" projects are just now getting underway...

Last year, Gardens sailed with a 12V 34Ah battery (for the trolling motor) just sitting unsecured on the aft seat. I didn't care much for that arrangement, so I built a battery box (shown as a work-in-progress).


But, there's not a significant difference between a battery sitting on the seat and a battery in a box sitting on a seat. I decided to use the space below the aft seat, replaced the access hatch with a larger hole, and installed a lip/rim/whatever to hold the box and pretty up the cut-out. Shown here in the early stages of the project.


The battery fits in the box.


The box fits into the cut-out. The lid is a nice, snug friction fit.


The trolling motor cables fit in the slot in the lid. And the whole thing is removable for access to rudder hardware.


Other projects in the works...

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Winter’s Retreat and New Kit for Gardens

Second week of March and winter has begun its retreat… mid-30s for two days, 40s today and tomorrow, with the promise of 60s on Thursday… Hope springs eternal…

My knees are recovered enough to let be get out to the shop… unfortunately, the frozen snow drifts across the barn entrances won’t let me in! So, rather than actually build a few items, I’m left to thinking and drawing sketches for a No. 2 Camp Box; a Day Box for misc gear (GPS, VHF, Binocs, etc); a Battery Box; attachment points for those low-profile fenders; and a Compass Box.

The barn needs attention, too. One roller on a large (unused) slider door came off its track in last week’s wind storm. The door is hanging by one roller and has opened a decent sized hole in the south side of the barn - directly behind Gardens!



Gardens is well covered with tarps and the tools were stowed in tubbies but I need to get out there soon for a temporary fix to the door.

In other news… UPS and USPS have been busy delivering more bits for Gardens’ kit:
  • 12 lbs Danforth Anchor
  • Air Horn
  • First Aid Kit
  • Low Profile Fenders
  • Hardware and Line for Lazy Jacks
  • Hardware for Grab Lines along side decks …and more
And, there is more shopping to do…

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Creating A Bucket List

I haven’t really ever had a Bucket List. I think that is so because when I hear the term ‘Bucket List,’ my mind interprets it as ‘Epic Adventures Mere Mortals Cannot Accomplish.’ And I, being a Mere Mortal, cannot accomplish epic adventures… Recently, however, I began to realize that the idea of a List isn’t limited to Epic Adventures.

Perhaps now is the time to create my Bucket List! Nothing too epic - well, maybe one. No particular order. No particular timeframe.

My Bucket List:

Dinghy Delta Ditch Sailing Event. Sacramento Delta, California. This is a 30-mile downwind small boat race from Rio Vista, California up the Deep Water Channel to Sacramento, California. It is hosted by the Lake Washington Sailing Club in Sacramento and takes place each year in mid-August. I became aware of this event nine or ten years ago when I was building my Goat Island Skiff in Sacramento. Life lead me away from the West Coast before my GIS was completed but now I look forward to sailing the event in Gardens.

Sailing Gardens on each of the Great Lakes. The state of Michigan touches four of the five Great Lakes and it seems like an obvious endeavor to sail on all five. What I have in mind is not just poking out into each lake for a few minutes and then scampering back to shore. Michigan, Huron, Erie and Superior each have islands that are easily reachable for a daysail or a camping weekend. I’ll have to explore the charts for Lake Ontario to see if there are similar opportunities there.

Sailing across Lake Michigan. It is roughly 70 straight-line miles across - and, of course, more than that when sailing. This is the Most Epic item on my List. Originally can to mind earlier this winter so planning for this has begun. Outfitting Gardens this spring will be done with this adventure in mind, which will of course benefit the other sailing adventures on the List.

MS Buckeye Breakaway Bicycle Ride. Following two knee replacement surgeries last year, this two-day 150-mile bicycle fundraiser ride, from Brunswick, Ohio to Ashland, Ohio and back, is on the list (yes, I’ve completed this ride before but with the new knees, I need a fitness goal).

Community Boat Building and Sailing. Using Mik Storer’s OZ Goose box-boat as a platform and based on the Philippine model of community boat building, sail training and racing, I’d like to introduce people to boatbuilding and sailing. I have an OZ Goose kit waiting to be assembled and a set of templates to facilitate subsequent builds.

So, that’s it. I’ll add more as I think of them but I suspect my list will involve sailing, biking, and travel more than anything else. I’ll provide details as each of these comes to fruition.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Rigging a Balanced Lug Sail and Other Tips

A You Tube video by Gig Harbor Boat Works, detailing the rigging of a SCAMP, showed up on the John Welsford Small Craft Design FB page this week.



The FB discussion focused on the rigging of a balanced lug sail but there were other useful (to me) tips.

I’ve long understood the utility of lazy-jacks but never quite understood how they are rigged. The Gif Harbor video cleared up most of the mystery for me. Lazy-jacks have been added to Gardens’ to-do list.

Another tip concerned the rigging of the kick-up rudder up-haul and down-haul. Gardens’ rudder is currently rigged with two separate lines that tie off on cleats at the top of the rudder head. This involves leaning over the transom to raise and lower the rudder. In the video, the up/down haul is a single line - one end serves as the up-haul, the other end serves as the down-haul. The bight of the line passes through the transom and leads to cleats on the side of the tiller. This arrangement keeps the adjustment inside the cockpit. I’ll see if this modification can be incorporated on Gardens.

As to the rigging of the sail itself, a loop in the halyard fits over the end of the yard - rather than being fed through the yard and tied off - and is captured by a fitting on the yard. Tension on the halyard keeps it in place. I’ll check the yard to see if a small cleat would work to capture the looped halyard and, if so, will make that change as well.

The knees are healing well. If the weather were a bit more hospitable, work on Gardens might be possible. As it is, I’ll have to wait a couple of months for the weather to cooperate.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Planning

I'm in a winter planning mode trying to figure out how to best prepare for a possible voyage across Lake Michigan next summer.

I'm reading charts, looking at weather history (wind speed/direction for seasonal trends, not guarantees), talking with sailors who have done (albeit in races on larger boats) what I want to do, and learning Garmin's Homeport application and my new Garmin GPSMap 78sc.

It seems to me that my first effort on big water should be short, so that first trip will be a bit more than 10 miles along the Lake Michigan shore from Muskegon Lake to White Lake. (I'm still figuring out Homeport so the detail of this image is not very good.) The magenta line represents a track from Muskegon Lake northward to White Lake. The plan is to sail to White Lake, raft up with another boat for the night and return to Muskegon the next day. I'd like to do this trip as early in May as possible, and do longer day-sails as conditions allow throughout May.

Another trip I am looking forward to is crossing Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay. I'm thinking from Caseville, MI to Tawas City, MI in early June. Tawas City hosts a festival in June with a "traditional boat" gathering the first weekend of the month. The trip across Saginaw Bay is about 20 miles, give or take depending on wind speed and direction.

The Saginaw Bay trip would involve the sail across, two nights (maybe three) in Tawas City (probably in the State marina), and sail back to Caseville (weather permitting).

Discussing a Lake Michigan crossing with more experienced sailors has been encouraging. None of them said, "Don't do it." Several suggested other trips - not necessarily using Sheboygan, WI as the destination - that will be worth looking into for later in the summer. (Sheboygan is my destination as that is where a Welsford Boats get-together is tentatively planned for sometime in July.)

So, I continue to study, plan and add to Gardens' kit, fully aware that planning on paper in the cold, dark months of winter is not the same as getting out there and sailing!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Additions to the Kit

Gardens needs a lot of gear, accessories, and trinkets. The list is pretty long and seems to grow faster than I can cross items off.

So, here are recent additions to the Kit:
Garmin GPSMAP 78sc West Marine had it on sale for $100 off, so how could I resist?

Anemometer This one was very inexpensive but it works and will help me re-learn to gauge wind speeds.

Michigan’s BEST LAKES Fishing Maps Guide Book Not what one might normally find in a sailboat kit, but it lists 90+ inland lakes over 1000 acres (there are thousands of smaller lakes in Michigan). While the maps are “not to be used for navigation,” they provide depth contours, launch ramp locations, and other information that will be useful for planning day-sails or camp outings.

Another tool I’ve added to the “planning kit” is the Midwestern Region Climate Center’s cli-MATE Database that can be searched for local historic weather data and patterns. Of particular interest and use to sailors is the Wind Rose tool which can create illustrations of wind speed and direction for specific locations. While it is a good tool, it took me a bit of practice to pull out the data I think is useful. You do need to register as a user (no charge). There is a Product Guide to help.

No photo but here is the link to Midwestern Regional Climate Center’s cli-Mate Database