Monday, July 20, 2020

Variation on a Theme

Late last week, during what should have been the last yard sail before the real thing, I was disappointed that the newly installed lazy-jacks did not hold the sail bundle (boom, sail & yard) in a horizontal orientation. The foreward end of the bundle rested on the foredeck, while the aft end of the bundle rose higher. Neither lazy-jack tension or main sheet tension helped.  

So, having been rained out of sailing over the weekend, I decided to try again today to figure everything out. Following an epiphany of sorts, I swapped out the square lashing on the boom (holding the boom close to the mast) for a "Bleater" (GIS nomenclature for a line to keep the sail bundle from moving foreward as the sail is raised). Using the square lashing this spring resulted from "faulty" muscle (brain) memory from rigging my GIS and short-term memory loss (I've used a Bleater on Gardens the last two summers).

The Bleater loops around the boom, then around the mast, and forward to attach near the end of the boom. A little trial and error to get the Bleater length correct (to position the tack of the sail 400mm ahead of the mast), and the Bleater keeps the sail bundle from moving forward as the sail is raised.

How does this help the lazy-jacks hold the sail bundle horizontal? As best as I can figure, when using the square lashing allows the bundle to move foreward when the sail is raised or lowered. That movement changes the geometry (and pivot point) of the lazy-jacks, and the foreward end of the boom drops while the aft end raises. 

Whether that is really what is happening or not, the result is that with the Bleater the bundle does not more foreward and I can set the lazy-jacks to hold the sail bundle horizontal at whatever height I choose (well, with reason). 

One solution I considered was parrel beads. I didn't have any beads to try, but it seems to me, the Bleater is a variation on the theme of parrel beads. 

Now, to sort out reefing...

Sunday, July 19, 2020

"If It Works, Don't Fret"

Final yard sail and rigging set-up of the pre-season (much like everything else, the summer sailing season has been shortened - not so much by the pandemic, but by procrastination). 

Rigging the mizzen raised a couple of questions. Answers were forthcoming but the best one was John Welsford's words of wisdom and needed reminder:

If it works, don't fret.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Almost There...

Gardens has spent more than a week yard sailing, getting outfitted for the summer (which is too far gone already), and teaching me a few things.

Things done: 
  • New rigging for the main (mast traveler, halyard, sheet, out-haul)
  • mizzen (halyard, sheet, snotter).
  • New lazy-jacks.  
  • New rigging for the centerboard
  • New "Mast Lifter" - a lever/fulcrum system to lift the main mast out of the step (see other posts for the why's and wherefores).
  • New paint (transom: inside and outside;center-line; coamings; and touch-ups on the deck)
  • New varnish on coamings, battery-box surround, and tiller.
What have I learned? Installing the lazy-jacks was a lesson in futility until it dawned on me that everything is interconnected. You can't make an adjustment without taking everything into consideration. It took me far too long to make that obvious observation but once I did, the process went well.

Changing the main halyard system involves more than just adding a bit of hardware. The mast traveller changes the geometry of where the yard sits in the boat before hoisting, and how it fits the lazy-jacks . Other systems allow a bit more flexibility - but if the down-haul is not loosened the sail bundle isn't going anywhere. And, see the next paragraph and photo for another issue I had with the mast traveler. 

From the category of Unintended Consequences: Two years ago, I installed the halyard block on the mast with a "spin strap" (from Duckworks). I installed the strap upside down (my bad). The recent experiments with the mast traveler resulted in the strap (and the top screw) bending. The strap has been replaced with a heavy-duty padeye. Gardens may sail this summer without the mast traveler.

The last two items on the list should be done this week:

Mizzen Mast Slot to facilitate stepping the mizzen (the slot concept works for the main, ought to work for the mizzen for similar reasons). Start of the project...

Registration Numbers. The resident artist is finishing up a painting and will add the registration numbers to Gardens' sheer planks this weekend.

This Sunday we'll do a snoop trip to check out boat ramps on Muskegon Lake (which feeds into Lake Michigan) so there will be options for an outing the following weekend. A shake-down sail is in the works for next week.


Thursday, July 2, 2020

Snoop Trips

Rigging and outfitting Gardens for the season is nearly complete. The mast traveler and lazy-jacks are sorted out; the revised up-haul for the centerboard is in place but can't be tested until Gardens is on the water; the "Mast Lifter" has been installed (and works well!). The coamings have received fresh varnish - although additional work on the coamings is already on the fall/winter work list. About the only thing left to do before hitting the water is painting the registration numbers on the sheer plank. I'd rather not tempt fate by launching at a local lake without those numbers on display...

As for the snoop trips... We've been scouting some of those local lakes:

Wabasis Lake is about 20 minutes from the house, is large enough (400+ acres) for some sailing, isn't completely built up with cottages or McMansions, and isn't terribly busy on weekdays. The 4-lane launch ramp is one of the better ones around:

Gardens was first splashed at Wabasis Lake in 2018 and her 2019 shake-down sail took place there, too. We'll revisit Wabasis Lake soon.

Townline Lake is about 30 minutes from the house, is small (just under 250 acres) and was probably fine for sailing until the entire shoreline was built out with cottages (along with pontoon boats, ski boats, fishing boats, and jet skis; but not a sailboat in sight - not even a sunfish on a lawn).  On a Sunday the lake was busy! The launch ramp is pretty typical of small lake ramps: paved single lane, no dock, and a drop-off at the end of the pavement.

Curiously, there is a warning to "Sailboat Operators" about overhead power lines (presumably to the cottages on the island in the lake):

"Maximum Mast Height 30'" Two thoughts on that warning: No one is going to launch a sailboat with a 30' mast at that launch ramp. And, Why would anyone put that size boat on a lake this small?

Based on the boat traffic we saw last Sunday, we don't plan to take Gardens to Townline Lake.