Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Do the Math (the First Time!)

My wife has been encouraging me to figure out why Gardens seems to have a mind of her own in light air: poor tacking; failed tacks; turning slow circles without regard to the helm. It was frustrating to me and anxious/scary for Jan. 

I had no answers... until last Sunday. I had an apostrophe.*  

Gardens' centerboard up-haul system is not as designed. I didn't like the block/tackle rig as shown in the plans. I designed, developed, and built a 4:1 block system contained in a box on top of the centerboard case. 

On Sunday it occurred to me that the 4:1 system was self-limiting; the centerboard could swing part way down. I pulled out the plan sheet showing the centerboard extended vertically; used a compass set to the length of the 4:1 system; drew an arc from the aft end of the system - and realized the centerboard could only extend through a 45ยบ arc - or about half way! I suspect this limitation had something to do with the boat handling issues we experienced, particularly in light air.

Yesterday, I removed the cap and box, removed the 4:1 set-up, and re-rigged the up-haul to a 2:1 system which is limited only by the length of the up-haul.

I did part of the math when I put the system in place, just not all of the math.

* Bonus points if you remember/understand the "I had an apostrophe" movie reference. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Boat Tent: Decision and Prep

 I've thought about a boat tent for quite a while... one reason I haven't done any boat camping is because I didn't have a tent (that probably qualifies as a self-fulfilling excuse). 

So, after recent reading, YouTubing, and discussions there seem to be three basic design choices:

  • Boom Tent: The boom acts as a ridge pole with the tent draped over the boom and secured along the sides or deck, forming an A-shaped tent.
  • Hoop Frame (Barrel or Conestoga style):  Tubing of some sort (PVC, fiberglass tent poles, bamboo) is bent athwart-ship to form a frame to support the tent material. 
  • Suspension Tent: The tent is suspended under the boom and secured to the sides or deck creating an A-shaped tent. This is something of a variation of the traditional boom tent but is subtly different
Gardens has a balance-lug yawl sail plan. The boom extends forward of the mast which, along with being rigged with lazy-jacks, does not lend itself to a traditional boom tent set-up. 

I've decided to develop a suspension tent similar the tent Steve Earley uses on Spartina

The prep work has begun. Clearing some space behind Gardens in the barn so she can be moved back a few feet to allow enough clearance to step the masts inside the barn. I purchased some 3-mil painters' drop cloth to use in mocking up the tent panels. A few bits of hardware (hooks and a boom bail) have been ordered from DuckWorks. The next few days will be marginally warmer so I plan to begin work soon.

In the meantime, here is a bit of motivation for getting boat work done during the winter.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Re-Set and Planning

Seems I've done very little with, for, or on Gardens in a very long time. Time for a re-set and a return to boat work. However, because it is mid-winter in Michigan, I am once again at the "What about...?" stage of planning and projects.

So, what is in the works?

    Boat Camping Gear: Tent; Cooking Kit, Sleeping Arrangements

    New Rudder Blade: Stalled (bit and collet are STUCK in the router (may need to replace router)

     Sling Re-Entry System (Howard Rice's design): Webbing needs sewing, final fit in the spring

One recently completed task: I've joined TSCA and DCA. Not sure of any local or regional activities for either group, but I am looking forward to each Association's publication.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Rudder Router Jig Sequence

Work began on the router jig to shape the rudder.

A mock-up of the jig consists of wo pieces of 1/2" ply.  I made the mistake of cutting the foil shape out on each piece separately. The two pieces don't match perfectly as the sanding belt broke (you can see where) before I finished fairing the two pieces. Used double-backed tape to hold them together while I cut the 30mm notch (for the rudder blank).  

After I clean up the wrinkle in the rail, the first test effort using the trim router and the jig went okay, but not great. Neither the blank nor the jig were clamped down for the test cut. The trim router was more difficult to control: it wandered a good bit, seemingly with a mind of its own. Shallower (and therefore more) cuts, a larger diameter bit, and maybe the larger router may lead to better results.

My next trial cut went much better. I used the larger router (it has handles and variable speed), a larger bit designed to hollow & clean out small bowls and boxes; and shallower cuts. Running the router at its lowest speed, the larger bit, clamping the blank down, and gradually increasing the depth of cut produced a much better result. One thing I learned, though, is that if the rails are not perfectly faired & matched the router will not be perpendicular to the blank - resulting in slight ridges between passes. 


New rails will be pattern-cut from hardwood and faired to match. Hopefully, after a few practice cuts, I'll soon be ready to shape a new foil from the full size blank.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

First Steps to a New Rudder

Last month I described my efforts to remediate Gardens' rudder and eliminate the annoying wobble resulting from the slop in the fit of the blade in the rudder stock. The possibility of fabricating a new rudder was mentioned...

That possibility has progressed to actual 'project' status. Copies of the rudder foil drawing from the plans will be used as templates to create a router jig to "carve" the foil from the blank. 

The rough blank, as glued up, measures 40mm x 320mm x 1020mm. The leading and trailing edges of the rudder blank are ash (from a tree we took town six years ago). The rest of the staves are pine (from a tree we took down three years ago). 

Rather satisfying to be using materials from our property. 

Next step is to  mill the glued-up blank down to the specified dimensions of 30mm x 300mm. I will leave the blank long to provide support to both sides during the router-carving process. Photos should illustrate that process when I get there. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Rudder Remediation Revisited

The rudder repairs and upkeep are in the finishing (epoxy/primer/paint) stages: the blade fits snuggly on the pivot pin and between the cheeks of the rudder head. The varnish work on the rudder head is progressing slowly. Once the finishing work is done, I'll install cheek blocks for the up-haul and the down-haul lines.

With nothing better to do while waiting for various coatings to dry, I've begun considering making a new rudder blade. The existing one works but I am not convinced the foil is as good as it could be; and the ten pound 'sink-weight' imbedded in the blade makes set-up at the ramp tedious and awkward. 

The foil was carved/shaped by hand. While the bottom of the blade matches the foil shape in the plans, I'm sot so sure that shape is carried through the length of the blade. What I am considering is using a router with a jig (shaped to match the foil) to shape a new rudder blade. 

When I built Gardens' rudder, I didn't appreciate up-hauls and down-hauls for the rudder. However, over the few seasons I've sailed Gardens, I have recognized their value - to the point of asking, is the sink-weight really necessary? The ten pounds of lead is plenty to keep the rudder from swinging up while sailing - but is it needed when a down-haul is used? I plan to find out...

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Rudder Remediation

 It has been a while... generally speaking, without making excuses, 2021 is not a sailing year for me and Gardens.

So, late in the season, I've gotten back to working on Gardens to have her ready for next summer.

First effort is rudder remediation. The rudder blade wobbles a bit (not much but enough to be noticed and annoying when sailing) between the cheeks of the rudder head. Two causes: The rudder blade is a tad too thin to fit snuggly between the cheeks; and the pivot hole is too large for the pivot pin. 

First, for the pivot hole, I did the usual: drilled out the hole oversized, filled it with epoxy, and drilled a hole for a bronze bushing (the  original hole was just epoxy filled, which worked, but... not as well as it could have). The bushing is a much better fit for the pivot pin and the blade wobble related to the size of the pivot hole has been significantly reduced.

Second, I added 1/8" spacers to both sides of the blade and sanded them down to improve the fit in the rudder head. 

The spacers definitely improve the fit of the blade in the rudder head; and the spacers and bushing together nearly eliminate the blade wobble.

The blade will be sanded back to bare wood and refinished.

As for the rudder head, I decided it is time to refinish it. Sanded the outer surfaces back to bare wood and began varnishing. It will take some time to complete the varnishing as.  I can only do one surface at a time.