Thursday, August 18, 2011

And they are off...

As we make our final preparations for our 10 day sailing adventure around the northern Puget Sound, our friends Dawn and Patrick are in Port Angeles, planning on heading out the strait, into the Pacific and turing left.

They are letting us use their slip in J dock at Shilshole this weekend.  They left their step there.  On the bottom rung it says, "The first step is the hardest to take."

Here's to s/v Deep Playa and their crew.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Whisker poles and $pinnaker pole$

As we prepare to leave for our first 10 day trip, I was thinking about light airs. August is some of the best weather, in the Puget Sound. It's also the time of year the winds are lightest.

Our 10 day trip starts with the Perry Rendezvous in Port Ludlow. After we leave there, we will take a counter-clockwise trip around the northern Puget Sound, to Pt. Townsend, maybe Port Angeles, possibly Victoria, Deception Pass, Oak Harbor, Penn Cove, and finally south to Seattle.

Today, I got a wild hair and went looking for a whisker pole. I don't have a spinnaker on Brigadoon, nor do I want one. Oh, I may get an asymmetrical spin once I go up the mast and rig the blocks and lines for it but, for now, I will make do with the sails I have.

On a reach, Brigadoon does well, even with the old sails, especially if I can get all three sails drawing well. Running, however, is another matter. The heavier cruising sails hang in lighter airs. So, I thought about the lighter airs we would possibly find this week and, went looking for a solution.

My first stop was Fisheries Supply. I like the place. I have found knowledgeable folk there, who don't try to spend too much of my money. Today I talked to Mike, looking for information on a whisker pole to wing out my headsail so I can do better in lighter airs. Well, he started looking in the catalog. After a few questions, he came up with the answer. It was the one I dreaded. Sure, Harkin had a what they called a whisker pole. It was only a little over a thousand dollars.

Now, I made it clear I wasn't looking for a spin pole. I know they take lots of loads. They are big and strong for a reason. I was looking for a whisker pole, something to use in lighter airs. As a matter of fact, as soon as we have heavier air, I would douse the pole and let the sails pull all they want, without the support of the pole. They wouldn't need it. All Mike had to offer, though, was the thousand plus, Harkin pole.

It was too much, frankly. Partly it was the cost but, mostly it was all the things I would have to do, to make the pole work. Besides, the thing was huge.

Anyway, I went to Second Wave, a second hand boaty store.

I inquired about, and found, a 11.5 foot, 2.5" dia spin pole. It fits the boat perfect.

It cost $200.00, including tax.

I'll experiment with it on the 10 day trip. One of the most awesome things is, when I rig it to the mounting ring, and raise it, it fits against the mast. True, I don't have it secured really pretty but, I think it will be fine for this trip, and for figuring it out.

Sure, the new Harkin may have been the right thing but, who knows?

This may be just fine. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

When is a sailor a seamstress?

My boat has a lot of old canvas on it.  When we bought Brigadoon, a lot of it was worn and full of holes.  The binnacle/wheel cover in the cockpit was a mess, along with the mains'l cover.

I had done a little bit of sail repairs in the past so I thought I could tackle this job.  With the help of tools I had long owned but rarely used, and a copy of the Sailmaker's Apprentice by Emiliano Marino, I decided to tackle the job of the canvas repairs.

First off was the mains'l cover.  It had multiple holes in it, much of the stitching was pulled out, and it was basically falling apart.  Could I have bought a new one for a couple hundred bucks?  Sure.  Can I buy a replacement sail, piece of new canvas, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?  That is unlikely.

So, why not practice on this old cover and try to give it a few more years of life.

This is some of the damage I had to deal with.  The cover was worn in many places.  So I spent hours and hours of time in the evening, locating and repairing the multiple holes and tears in the cover.

You just basically have to work your way along, stitch by stitch.  At first your stitches are uneven but, after a while, the get better.

It's just one stitch at a time.

The two caterpillar looking stitches are a variety of herringbone that is used to repair tears in sails.  I figured I'd practice on this sail cover along with applying patches.  I don't really care how the cover looks for now. I just want all the holes and tears closed.

I also needed to restitch the inner chafe liners to the main cover.  I'm not proud of these stitches but, one excuse I had is you are looking at the backside of the work.  I can't see how these look when I'm applying them as I had to do this from the inside out to position the cover properly.

This is one of my first patches on what was to become the wheel cover.  It's an old sail bag as the old wheel cover was beyond saving.

This is fun work, moving the needle though the canvas.  I can see myself in the future, noticing a tear in a sail (*GASP*), or a piece of canvas, and knowing I can deal with it.  I reach for my palm and needle, some waxed sail twine, repair it and move on.  It's no big deal.

The Salon Table

When we got Brigadoon she had a typical salon table.  It was narrow, with two huge leaves that folded up into the salon.  This way you could have a table, but not have it on the way.  On a cruising boat, this makes sense.  On a liveaboard cruising boat, it made no sense.

As you can see, it's a nice table and, when it folds out, the table is so huge it dominated the entire salon.  Well, we live in the salon so, we decided back in November, to remove the table.

The plan was to redesign something else, something that made more sense for us, for the space, and for the boat.

So I set about to designing a replacement.

This is the original table layout.  As you can see it dominates the salon.  With the leaves up, you cannot move through the boat and, even with the leaves down you don't have three square feet to move around in anywhere on the boat.

So we removed the table and have lived with this since November.

So I came up with the design of having the table attached to the bulkhead of the galley.  It would hang there and fold up when we needed it and be out of the way when we didn't.  

...with the second leaf folded up and out from under the first leaf.

Now to actually build the thing.  The plan was to buy no more wood.  I was going to use the existing table, as the source of everything I needed.  Every piece of wood, every screw, every hinge was to come from the existing table.

I thought about hiring a woodworker.  I talked to an amazing guy in my marina to cut the tabletops to my dimensions.  All were good ideas but, in the end, I decided to find a shop where I could rent space and do the job myself.

And it is.

The table hangs against the bulkhead as designed.  By cutting up the huge table leaves I was able to also use part of one as the shelf.  The curved knees come from the swinging knees that supported the huge leaves when they were raised.

The table leg is hidden behind the hanging table leaves.

This is the table folded up.  I was able to keep most of the fiddles.  I wanted to.  They were beautiful.  The leg attaches with a stainless steel bracket and pin.

In this picture you can see one leg against the wall.  That is the actual main leg.  It's still pinned in place.  The leg supporting the main table is the one for the second leaf.

And here is the second leaf folded out into the walkway of the salon.  The second leg is pinned in place too, to the table and the deck.

And Kerry is happy.  That is what is important.  I'm happy too.  I met all my goals. This cost me about $30.00 in shop time, and about another $50.00 in stainless steel brackets.

The rest was a bunch of time scribbling on paper, taking measurements, taking more measurements, making that first scary cut into those huge beautiful leaves, and figuring out the assembly.

The design came together as planned, with only a couple small adjustments.

What else do I need to do?

Well, the sharp corners need to go but, I can do that in phase II.  Right now, we have a salon table back.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Things you take for granted

If you live on land, in a typical house:

  • Your home is relatively "safe", thanks to building codes, Underwriters Labs, and consumer protection laws.
  • You have hot running water on demand.
  • You can take a bath and soak the cares away.
  • You have an endless supply of water.
  • You have electricity on demand, and a mostly uninterrupted supply.
  • Your closet  can hold a full length dress or suit.
  • You have a way to (mostly) secure your home.
  • Your home doesn't move.  It pretty much stays in the same place, unless there's an earthquake, flood, or landslide and screaming...
  • Your dishes are ceramic and your glasses are glass.
  • You have a refrigerator and a freezer.
  • You have a washer and dryer.
  • You have a dishwasher.
  • You don't care what happens when you go to the bathroom as long as the toilet flushes and doesn't clog.
  • You likely have separate rooms for lounging, dressing, eating, and entertaining.
  • You have a garden.
  • Your biggest fear for the house is fire.
  • The police need a warrant to search your home.
  • If you don't like your neighbors, you'll have to call the cops, or maybe have to sell the home, if the market recovers.
  • If you want to travel, you will leave your home unattended (or with a sitter) and take a vacation to the South Pacific.
If you live in Brigadoon:
  • Your home is not inherently unsafe, but it like aviation and the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any incapacity, carelessness or neglect.
  • You have a water front view.  Actually it's an on the water view that, if you lived in a houseboat, or a waterfront home, would cost about close to a million dollars.
  • Some people have dogs.  You have ducks and geese.
  • Your home moves, all the time.  Sometimes it's a little and sometimes it's a lot, but it moves.
  • Your home can collide with another home.
  • You icebox uses actual blocks of ice.
  • You have to fill your water tanks if you want water from your faucet.
  • It takes 20 minutes to make hot water for washing dishes.
  • You wash dishes by hand.
  • You are no more than five or six steps to any possession you own.
  • You have very little privacy or personal space.
  • Your have exactly, and not more than, about 18" of hanging closet space, and that's only as tall as a shirt.
  • The sound of your bilge pump running, for a short period mind you, is comforting.
  • Your greatest fear for your home is fire, then sinking, or just sinking.  Yeah, just sinking is scary enough.
  • The police, coast guard, or the navy can board your boat at any time they want, without a warrant, check your papers, inspect at your fire extinguishers and your boat systems.
  • If you don't like your neighbors, you can move your home and get new neighbors.
  • If you want a vacation, you can take your home to the South Pacific.
  • When you go on vacation, your home, and all your possessions, are with you.