Thursday, March 26, 2020

Soft Shackles

I like the idea of soft shackles. They can replace hardware, they are (I heard) easy to make, and represent another skill that is useful on a small boat. There is a lot of information available about soft shackles on the internet (and my book shelf) but most of it seemed mysterious, particularly about the knots (diamond or button) used on soft shackles.

An inquiry to the John Welsford Small Craft FB page resulted in several good suggestions. Animated Knots, Allen Edwards, and a book, Splicing Modern Ropes were good starting points (better directed than my own research had been). I ordered the book and watched the videos multiple times. I had, I was sure, about 50' of 1/4" Dyneema line that I bought but didn't use and a fid. However, somehow those items disappeared into the depths of the barn and I resorted to ordering new line and fids. I fully expected to find the lost items as soon as I hit "Send" on my orders - but no such luck. I have supplies of other small line, so I decided to practice the diamond knot. That was frustrating. I couldn't get it right no matter how I tried. Waiting for the new supplies seemed like a good idea - at least then I could figure out the first half of making the shackles.

The new line and fids arrived today and I began experimenting. My first efforts were disappointing. But with a little time and practice I was able to complete my first 3" diameter soft shackle using 5/32" Dyneema and a home-made pull tool! The knot IS a diamond knot - but I clearly need more practice! The tails have not been trimmed as I may undo the knot and try again.



I'm encouraged and claim partial success with tonight's effort.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

New Rigging for Gardens

No, I haven't sailed Gardens so long and hard that she needs new rigging. But my efforts this winter have been aimed at personalizing Gardens to suit my own preferences - esthetic changes intended to please my eye rather than necessarily enhance and improve performances. So, to that end, new rigging. DVX double braid in "Traditional" color. Mizzen spotter, mizzen sheet, main halyard, and main sheet in DVX "Tradition" double braid
Been a while since I whipped any lines, but I'm satisfied with what I did today - the process came back to me easily enough and the results improved steadily. I'll trim the ends down a bit. Any suggestions for heat sealing the ends without mushrooming sharp edges?

Monday, March 2, 2020

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Places To Go Update - McKay Bay

The next (first recent) update to the Places To Go page has been posted.

McKay Bay in Michigan's Les Cheneaux Islands at the north end of Lake Huron.

Light air sailing:
Looking SE down the Bay shortly after leaving the launch ramp:
The video I included in the update doesn't play - but the full-screen image (at least on my MacBook) looks great, so I'm leaving the image in the post. Hopefully my video editing and posting skills will evolve to the point I can share videos.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Oops, and a Fix

Not a major "Oops" (no boat parts were damaged...). Using and updating Pages would work so much better if I don't hide the updated pages and if I pointed to the new content... I updated the Pathfinder Design page without realizing I had somehow hidden that page and I forgot to say anything about the update on the "Front Page."

So, here goes... I've begun updating the Pathfinder Design page.

I'll do better next time...

Friday, February 14, 2020

Minor Changes to the Blog

Sometimes what seems like a good idea at the time doesn’t pan out. Not because it wasn’t a good idea but because of benign neglect.

For instance, the Pages on this blog:
  • The Pathfinder Design
  • Materials
  • The Shop
  • Progress Notes
  • Places To Go
seemed like a great idea back in late 2011 and early 2012. However, checking these pages this week made it clear they have been ignored and neglected for nearly as long as they’ve been in existence. Some of them haven’t been updated in nearly eight years! One in particular, Progress Notes, is redundant in the context of a chronological blog.

So, I am hiding (as opposed to deleting) three Pages: Materials, The Shop, and Progress Notes. By hiding them, the content (such as it is) isn’t lost to me. Any of those pages could return to life if that seems like a good idea at some time in the future.

The other two Pages will remain for the time being. Modifications I've made to John’s original Pathfinder design will be described on The Pathfinder Design page. I intend Places To Go to become a collection of destinations, planned trips, and reports of the outings. Both Pages will, no doubt overlap and echo “front page” blog posts.

If there is, somehow, an overwhelming demand for the hidden pages, they can be returned to the lineup...

Thanks for listening.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Name Board Progress

Name Boards:
  • 6mm okume ply
  • Backers are 9mm okume ply
  • Bronze round head machine screws (stainless steel fasteners used for test fit)
  • Color will be same as hull (Fired Clay from True Value)
  • Name will be same color as the sheer plank (Ballfield from True Value)
Work to be done:
  • Trim/fit backers (lower aft fastener missing from photo due to oversized backer)
  • Drill out and epoxy fill holes in sheer plank; re-drill
  • Paint boards and name
  • Install with bronze fasteners
This quote from Craig William Johnson (from a 1/29/2020 post on the John Welsford Small Craft Design FB page) succinctly expresses a long held thought of my own:

As with all boating - every trip teaches you a bit more about your vessel and things that need to go on the list for attention.

As I’ve worked on the name boards, it occurred to me that this winter’s projects are, for the most part, not aimed at improving Gardens’ sailing performance (however one wants to describe that term). The current winter To-Do list is more about refining, personalizing, and customizing Gardens to address personal preferences (and needs) we’ve identified over the last two summers.