Friday, September 7, 2018

Good News… Bad News…

The good news: Tuesday’s total right knee replacement surgery (scheduled for quite some time) should, in the long run, make me more agile and better suited for small boat sailing and bicycle riding.

The bad news: The rest of the year is lost to all but rehabilitating my new knee and prepping for replacing the left knee in December.

I’ll be making lists and planning the refitting tasks identified during those four, all too short, days of sailing Gardens last month. I’m sure I’ll be asking a few questions over the next six months…

Note: Gardens’ cosmetics were not completed when we took her sailing. Our focus was to get her sailing this summer. Paint and trim are high on the list of next spring’s refitting.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Still in Awe

We've been home for almost a week following our trip to Michigan's UP to launch and sail Gardens of Fenwick.

Sailed three of the four days we were there (the second day was spent rearranging a bit of hardware and adjusting some rigging)... Conditions were just about perfect: Light air on Day 1, progressively stronger winds thru Day 4. Most photos of Gardens were taken on that first day, so there aren't any real action shots - but there are a few 'duffer' shots (slack downhaul, tight outhaul = big crease in the main). (

Gardens at the dock:
Sailing off the dock:
Light air, slack downhaul, tight outhaul:
Friday workday:
Toasting Gardens:
Me throughout the weekend:
My email to another Pathfinder builder best captures, I think, my reactions to Gardens, the Pathfinder design and John Welsford:

The Pathfinder is SO worth it! John Welsford is a genius!

I find it difficult to describe how it feels to sail a boat I have taken so long to get in the water. None of the ‘flaws’ I’ve fretted about matter. No one else saw them. The boat either didn’t notice them or shrugged them off.

Enjoy your build - but don’t dally: sailing a Pathfinder is so much more fun than building one!


I am still in awe!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Mast Supports

A few days ago,I asked for - and received - suggestions about transporting (when towing the boat) spars.

Here is my roughed out solution for the main mast:

These will support the main. The mizzen mast and boom/sail/yard bundle will be stowed and secured in the boat.

Jan says the supports look like wind-up keys...

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Gardens' Out-of-Barn Experience

I was a bit nervous about putting Gardens back on her trailer yesterday. Several recent threads (including one of my own) about trailer set up had me a bit anxious. Things went better than expected, which doesn't happen all that much, and Gardens rested easy on her trailer late yesterday afternoon.

Around 5:30, I got the idea to take a short (really) drive just to see how things would go down the road. I mentioned this to Jan, who suggested I wait for the afternoon rush hour of folks heading home from work. Seemed like a good plan so, after those three vehicles (two pick-ups and an SUV) went by the house, I pulled out of the drive, went two miles down to a church parking lot, turned around and came home. Four miles isn't much but I felt much better for having made that little trek.

One minor incident happened when I put the rig back in the barn - I bumped into one of my sawhorses (which was really well out of the way) and broke the lens out of the driver's side light on the trailer (no sawhorses were damaged). After getting the boat & trailer in the barn, I was too tired to change out the light. I figured I could take a few minutes in the morning to take care of that. Right, a "few" was more like 90 minutes but I got it done.

Today was Gardens' test-launch. I needed to find out if the centerboard pin leaked at all - because that, to me, is the most likely candidate for a leak - and I've been nervous about it.

Jan went for sandwiches, drinks and other goodies for a post-launch picnic and I headed to Wabasis Lake (a bit west of Greenville, MI) with Gardens in tow. A very pleasant 16-mile drive to the lake was uneventful.

Not too busy at the ramp, which is a nice five-lanes with docks and lots of room in front of the ramp facility. Friends met us there to help and my sister and brother-in-law arrived to witness the event, too.

Finally put Gardens in the water without incident and, she FLOATS!!

No leaks of any kind anywhere. I really can't describe what a relief that was and is! Also very nice to hear a number of compliments from other boaters. After pulling Gardens' out of the lake, the six of us had a very nice picnic lunch which included a celebratory toast to Gardens.

No masts, sails, rigging or other gear today as the mission was to check for leaks. That, and I am still sorting out how to carry the masts and sails. However, I am glad we were not planning to sail today as the centerboard would not lower all the way and that would not have been good out on the lake. Our diagnosis is that the top foreward corner of the centerboard is not clearing the front on the case. We'll check again before pulling the board and reshaping that corner, but we believe that is the issue. And, no, I did not test fit the centerboard in the case early on in the build (like before installing the CB case in the boat).

As far as I'm concerned, today's out-of-barn experience was a huge success! When I got home, I took numerous photos to serve as reminders of what needs to be done (plenty!) to finish Gardens. The next time out will be the official launch and first sail!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Show & Tell

Saturday's Show & Tell for some friends and family was fun on several levels: sharing Gardens in her nearly completed stage and sorting out what rigging needs to be tweaked.

Recent work done: deck cleats installed, spar leathers installed, masts stepped, main sail raised, outhaul installed, motor mount installed, rudder head and tiller in place, and most of the rigging for the main sorted out. I got to show and tell and answer questions several times as family and friends came and went at different times throughout the day - and that was okay.



The downhaul is not yet installed, the halyard set-up needs some tweaking, and the mainsheet hardware needs to be installed. The centerboard case cap needs to be finished and installed, too.



Being able to set sail inside the barn is a plus on hot summer days.



The halyard attachment point need adjusting. It needs to be a smaller loop and moved foreward on the yard.



Since I was test fitting the sail to the spars, I used an odd assortment of rope to rig the sail. I'll keep some of what I used and replace some of the bits and pieces with new and proper line. The rag-tag ends of lashings will be shortened and cleaned up.

The mizzen sail needs grommets installed - and I need a tutorial on rigging (and sailing) the mizzen.

The top decks are painted but the interior needs color coating. Gun'ls and rub-rails need varnishing and there's a bit of cleanup at the bow to be done.

Other than that...

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Testing the Mast Slot

Today was to be a sand & paint day. Warm temperatures, high humidity and very little wind proved otherwise.

I've been carrying on now for quite awhile about my "Mast Slot" idea to facilitate stepping the mast: Concept, proof-of-concept, improving (maybe expanding) the concept, seeing a variation of the idea built into another boat, building it into Gardens... even 'testing it with a stub mast...


But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding when the rubber hits the road, so I was a little anxious to see if the Slot really would facilitate stepping the full-size (length and weight) mast. I was relieved to find that it does, indeed, make stepping the mast easier (than raising it ~20" vertically and then reaching forward about 24" to drop the mast into place)!

In the mast step:

Plug in place:

Toggles on the bottom of the plug hold it in place:

Both sticks installed:

Nice to have full height indoor clearance:

Still some to get done on the mast - a bit of leather on the mast where it passes through the deck, probably wedges for 'final' fit, and more varnish - but it is a huge relief to see an idea come to fruition.

That gray deck color behind the mast is what I'm using for the seat-tops and platform deck. Funny thing about colors: they rarely look like the sample card... The sample card looks light brown but in the gloomier light of the barn the color looks gray... It will be interesting to see it in sunlight.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Bits and Pieces - Moving Toward Completion

Coamings installed, shaped, and the 'end cap' tying the two coamings together figured out.

Things are still a bit rough but, really, getting closer to completion. That 'end cap' is epoxy coated and will be painted, along with the outside of the coamings, to match the top decks.

Backing plates for deck cleats fitted, installed, holes drilled and cleats installed. Yes, after tomorrow the cleats will be removed, the holes drilled oversized, filled with epoxy, drilled to size and the cleats reinstalled, but for about 36 hours the temporary installation will work.

There is a lot more work to be done but installing those cleats today made Gardens somehow more real, completing her closer, and sailing her more than just a distant possibility.