|July 6, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|I got some sewing done, but became impatient because I have some adjustments off and was unable to correctly set them due to
the poor lighting and the glasses I was using. All I have are reading glasses in various degrees of magnification, but I tend to use
the very weakest ones, 1.25, and when making these adjustments, I really need the 2.5 set I'd left on the boat. I will also bring in
a small LED flashlight with new batteries in it so I can see these small items and adjust them properly. I should also bring some
very fine sandpaper, some metal polish and a couple of rags to shine up some pieces on the sewing machine that have some rust
on them. Soon enough, I will have everything working properly and make some real headway on the sails.
I managed to get the corner turned at the bottom and a little of the foot boltrope on, but at least half of the stitching is set too
loose. I was messing with the thread tension adjustments inside and outside because the thread would break about every minute
or two. It finally occurred to me that the problem is really that the needle is slightly rotated and the bobbin hook mechanism
below is hitting the needle and breaking the thread. This machine does not have a flat spot on the top of the needles so they are
always lined up perfectly - you have to do it by eye. Hence, the need for the flashlight and strong glasses.
|July 7, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I washed off the solar panels and got 161AH yesterday, but it was brighter - more sunlight - than it has been. I got the Sailrite
operating flawlessly by using a new needle and a couple of other new parts and cleaning up some others.
|July 8, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
It is my intention today to complete the foresail machine sewing and bring it and the hand sewing supplies back to the boat so I
can finish up here. I seriously hope the jib will be easier. It should be. Then, the worst of the sail projects takes place - the huge
main. It is as big as both the other sails together. I will bring candy to sweeten my mouth so I don't swear as much as I might.
|The machine worked very well and I only broke 1 needle. All the machine sewing on the foresail is done and I have it back at the
boat. The locker is looking better. I brought some of the hardware and a little bit of hand sewing stuff back as well, but forgot the
needle palm, so there won't be much happening on the sail until tomorrow. Then, I'll see what I can do about the jib and bring all
the hand sewing stuff back. Maybe I'll actually get the jib all machine sewn as well. The mainsail, I truly expect to be a huge pain
in the ass, but I don't care. I've come this far and I'll finish a suit of sails.
|July 9, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I'm off now to sew the big jib and gather more stuff from the locker and bring it back here. I spent a full hour yesterday searching
high and low through the boat for something I finally realized was in the locker in the workshop. It looks like I will be able to
finish the project and vacate the locker before the end of the month. I don't know if an early finish will get me any money back or
not, but it doesn't matter. If I finish soon I will take all the scrap cloth and make a stiff little forestay sail to use in tandem with
the reefed foresail in heavy weather. The forestay and halyard are already on the boat, as well as the sheet controls and sheets.
|Above are a couple of shots of the jib, all sewn and ready to be brought back to the boat. It was a very easy job compared to the
first sail. Both the first two sails still need a bit of hand sewing done, but that will be easy to do aboard Falcon and I'll also
document that work. And you can be sure of seeing the first pictures with the sails up. One at a time and all together.
Below are some shots of the mainsail project. There is still a lot of extra material and hardware to remove from the old sail, but it
is looking less and less intimidating as I go. I started right in on it after completing the jib because it was still so early. At first I
was going to just look at it, then I started doing what I knew had to be done and quickly discovered a few other things that made
themselves obvious, as far as removing old batten pockets and aft reef points and the leech line and pocket. All the aft reef and
clew reinforcement might as well be removed. The entire leech needs to be extended aft to where the separated leech line pocket
is resting on the floor.
|The luff tape and bolt rope were removed from the top of the luff, and the top of the sail was carefully removed to shorten it. I'll
have to devise a way to stretch the sail a bit and tie it down so I can take accurate dimensions and carefully add one panel at a
time, starting from both the top and the bottom, being careful not to stitch it into a puckered leaf. I know exactly what it needs at
the top and bottom and can do that fairly confidently. The main on Falcon will have a straight leech without roach, and I need to
do that without shrinking the leech and making the center of the sail baggier than it probably already is, and fit it to the gaff. The
seems to be enough material to fill the gap between the leech tape and the now clean leech. Later on I can rip some of the middle
seams and flatten out the sail. My experience removing two batten pockets today tells me the sail may soon require re-stitching.
|July 10, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I stripped lots of material off the old mainsail and even stripped off the tip that I'd cut off to accommodate the gaff. It cost me a
seam ripper, but I still had one more good one left. After all the ripping and stripping, I cleaned up everything, stowed the extra
material and started sewing the boltrope over and along the top of the gaff edge at the top of the sail. I got 2 1/2 out of three
passes sewn when a sinister crunch ended my life as a sailmaker. The feed dog broke in half. Rats. Just when I was wondering
'how in the hell do I proceed from here once I get this seam done?'
When I got back to the boat I called Sailrite and ordered the broken part, plus a few other spares and 30 needles. With $11
something in shipping, the whole bill came to $80. Not bad. I'll have to busy myself doing the hand work on the other sails for a
week or so.
|July 11, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I'm hoping for more sun today than yesterday. I only got 113AH. Of course, it stormed most of the morning. I have to go in to the
locker and get the palm before I can start the hand sewing, and I should also get some other supplies as well. Yesterday, Tim was
also using the work area to spread sails, so I wasn't able to flake a fold the main properly and ended up just stuffing it into the
locker like huge boobs into too small a bra. Got a little muffin top going on there and I should get it put away right. I also need to
pick up some more WD40 at Home Depot and fix up the jib hanks in case I decide to use them. I really haven't decided yet. I may
not know until I've had a chance to sail in at least 20 knots of wind.
|There is one little spot on the gaff edge where
the boltrope doesn't lie flat, but since I'm
going to space a few slides along that edge, all
I have to do is avoid placing one where the
lump is. There also appears to be a fair
amount of extra material in the draft area of
the sail, but I won't really know how sad it is
until I get it up and stretched tight in a stiff
wind. It's apt to act nice in light air where a
bit of extra draft helps out, but if I can't
flatten it out some in frisky wind it could
cause a lot of heel. Won't know until I try it.
The mainsail is rolling up into a small and
easy to handle package now with a lot of the
extra stuff off, Some of that will be going back
on when I complete the new leech and have
to re-install the corner tabbing and the two
reef points, but not as much as was once on
|July 13, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I also stopped into a specialty shop that sells Lifeline batteries, water makers, Solar panels and more, plus all the incidentals
needed to install everything. They also said they would deliver the batteries and help me swap them out. The drawback?
$3857.76 JUST for the batteries. I will continue shopping elsewhere. I could buy a burro and cart, camp out and feed him all the
way to New Jersey and back, and still pay $1000 less than that. Little sticker shock happening here.
I checked with 'The Solar Biz' online and their prices run about $3000 for exactly the same batteries. I would have to see what
kind of 'wiggle room' the folks across the street had before making a final decision, but I can't budge on something like that right
I took down the forward sunshade, fixed it up a little and mounted it beneath the foresail boom. It looks much better and still
works fine for air flow. I also think it will do better to keep rain out of the portholes so I might not have to close them when it
rains. We'll see. I'm not willing to risk the electronics if I don't have to.
|July 18, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I will be sure to bring tools - wrenches in particular - and get straight to work on the sails this morning. Right now I'm going to
post this and get more work done on the 'Writing' files. I'm still formatting and arranging things in preparation for the rewrites. I
also have to make backups and duplicate backups. Much of the work I'm doing right now had been done before, but I lost that
hard drive and didn't have up-to-date backups made. A stupid mistake I will not repeat.
I rowed in and actually found some way to make my arms and shoulders stiff in the process. The first thing I did was get all set
up to sew and then removed the guts from Tim's old inverter and tossed them. Next, I cut and stitched the reinforcement into the
head of the jib - by machine - and the Sailrite operated flawlessly. Then I installed a small cast bronze teardrop thimble into the
headboard by hand and folded the jib up to bring it back to the boat. It's done.
Below are the finished Jib ready to bring back and the used headboards being sewn onto the tack of the foresail. There are two
aluminum plates, one on each side, and they are generally used on the head of mainsails. When push comes to shove I will use
whatever is structurally adequate and available to me. I have two sets of these headboards, a larger set and a smaller one, and
they will secure the tack and clew of the foresail. The larger set for the tack is what you see in the photo. These hand stitching
sessions are long and tiresome, but it does work and I'm glad to be doing it, finally.
|Tomorrow I'll continue with the foresail and hope to finish it. After that, I'll be ready to finish the main and see what I can do
about zipping out some sail covers as quick as possible.
|July 19, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I feel confident I'll be able to finish the foresail today. I should probably stop right there instead of saying, 'then start laying out
the finishing work on the main', but it's just my new version of a short list.
The foresail is almost done - I forgot to put a few grommets along the gaff edge at the top. I can do that here. I also took the time
to re-fold the sail into a smaller, more compact package. It is now about the same size as the jib, which figures because they are
both about the same square footage and the same weight material. There might be one more issue with the sails and that would
be the actual shackles and other hardware used to mount them. I have a lot of extra hardware, but decided long ago that trying to
set aside anything before having the sails made would be foolish. Even now, I should first set up the four corners of the square
sails and measure for the slides and tabs between the bolt ropes and slides.
|July 25, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I took a chance and tied the mainsail out across the workshop floor so I
could lay out a guide line by taping it to the floor and arrange and cut
the material to fill in the leech. By including the scallop Espin told me
about, all that remained was a small triangular piece at the top and a
much longer one at the bottom.
I matched the warp and fill directions on the cloth and even lined up
the seams, then cut the pieces and taped them to the sail.
|July 29, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
In no time at all, I was set up and running the long seams to connect
the 2 wedges to the leech. I made three complete stitches on each
seam, as well as the gaff peak overlap down the leech. The lower wedge
consisted of three pieces sewn together. I could have done it with one,
but that would have meant crossing up the warp and fill threads. Being
a novice, I have no idea at all what that would or could mean, but I'm
not willing to experiment and end up sorry.
As you can see, the scallop in the leech needs a bit more sculpting, but
now that the material is all one piece it will be an easy thing to sort out.
|I still have to make up reinforcement panels for 3
corners and sew them on, then patch a few small holes,
and finally, install the leech line and some grommets
and plates. It's coming along now.
|July 30, 2010 - Moored In Marathon,
The first thing was installing 5 large grommets along the
foot of the foresail and 5 medium grommets along the
gaff edge. Now, with another airless day, I can start
fitting these sails one at a time. I'm going to try hanking
the jib and see if I can come up with a good 'Sock' idea to
cover it while furled. I hope the foresail works as is, but
I have a minor concern about the tack angle - it might be
90 degrees but probably should be 84. We'll see. It's not
a deal-breaker and I can modify it if I have to.
|The main is coming along nicely. I got the two big reinforcements done and on and did the leech and line. I also re-cut the leech
to get a better scallop on it and it looks good.
|The sail Donny gave me is loose-footed and
I'm not quite sure if I should run it like
that or not. Even if I do, I need to reinforce
it with a 4 inch strip of sailcloth and a 3/8
inch boltrope. I still have one more area to
reinforce, the gaff throat cringle, and then
I'll have some serious handwork to do and
a dozen or so small cuts and wear-tears
that need patching.
I wonder if any of this will even work? I
kind of want to say 'Yeah!', but a nagging
voice from experience is telling me a dozen
critical things could go wrong. Well, let
them. I'll fix each one along the way with
scotch tape and baling wire and have
everything sorted out before long.
I'm only a day or two away from having
|July 31, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
Thirty more minutes and I can get into the workshop. You just don't know how much I want to be done with these sail projects. I
will also do whatever I'm going to do with this temporary forward sun shade before I give up the locker, and come up with a solid
solution to joining the outer aft corners to the Bimini sides for a secure, wind resistant joint. Once all this is sorted out, the three
cloth sections of the hardtop Bimini will need to be removed, waterproofed and re-installed with sealer to stop the rain leaks. As
it is, water runs in everywhere, as I knew it would. I might also work out a system of side and aft curtains to use while at anchor
in bad weather. I'm sure I can come up with something.
|The lose-footed main had a
arch extending below the
straight line from tack to clew,
so I marked a straight line and
cut off the excess, then made
a 5 inch by 19 feet strip, used a
piece of 7/16 inch boltrope
and sewed it to the foot of the
sail. I continued around the
clew and up the leech about 2
feet. There will be some hand
sewing left to do at each end
to secure it in the pocket so it
Below is the last of the corner
reinforcements needed. I will
still have to add something to
the leech for the two reef
points, but it's coming along. I
also have 6 small cuts or tears
in the sail to patch and sew.
|August 1, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I'm hoping to complete the machine work on the mainsail today and then start installing the sails on the boat. Once that is done,
the sail covers and sun shades will be the end of the sewing for a while and I can stow the Sailrite aboard and empty the locker.
From there, I will be back to work on finishing the inside. I will finish the cabinetry and fiberglass work, sand, prime and paint,
put some kind of finish on the sole and consider the interior good to go for a while. I can always do modifications to improve the
appearance as I cruise.
The next big projects will be the finishing of the stove counter, the ice box, and the connections of all the circuits. Since most of
the circuits are a matter of pure convenience, it is hard to consider them 'essential'. As I finish each area and stow what needs to
be there, I will get rid of even more 'stuff', trimming back to what is truly needed and what is not. It's coming along. The whole
thing is coming along.
I got five of the six cuts repaired - I'll do the last one by hand - and I made and installed the reinforcement for the two aft reef
cringles and got all that sewn on, including the cringles themselves. With the exception of some hand work, the main is done.
|August 2, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|The sewing siege will soon be over - for now - and I'll
have to carry some momentum into the other projects.
These will be a manner of coordinated segments, unlike
the sewing that had to be taken as a single huge job, so
that I can minimize my exposure to the paint and primer
fumes. I'm going to either do a small section at a time, or
do a large section early and plan to be out of the boat for
the rest of the day. Either way, I'll push through it.
It is kind of exciting really, as it marks the beginning of
the end. The end of 'building' the boat. Now, with sails
and all systems on board and ready to go, getting a
'finished' appearance inside and outside will be the end of
it. From then on, there will only be maintenance and/or
upgrades. The boat will be done. Hmm. I should get
serious about the exact date I started it so I can get a real
number about how long it took.
I still have a couple of little hand sew things I want to do
and I'll take care of them here. Now, the next phase is to
|Working out on the end of the bowsprit has lost it's luster. The sail is heavy, stiff, and non-compliant with my mental desires as I
struggle to stuff it into a sailbag with one hand - holding onto the forestay with the other. The original method I designed to set
and furl the sail is beginning to look much better and I'm going to try it out. More on that later.
The second shot is the one foot of head that is missing due to an error in measuring or a glistening new facet of senior dementia
that could be slipping up on me. Either way, I can't find a way to really care. It's like the paint job the gaff itself is crying out for -
I simply don't choose to hear it just now. Bigger fish to fry.
|Difficult to see and hard to comprehend, the gaff gooseneck and
slider assembly is my second effort at avoiding the alternative
methods of locating gaffs with jaws and rolling balls. Now,
there are devices on the market made by a number of
manufacturers that will do the job nicely. They are called
'bat-cars' and other similar names and are intended to control
the mast end of full width battens in big boats. They run on
tracks and most of the good ones have ball bearings. If you have
and extra arm and leg, you can get one, but not two, and not the
track - for that you'll need to sell kidneys. Consequently, I had
to design, build and utilize my own 'farm-boy' cobby method.
We'll see if and for how long it works.
|The foresail now has all it's slides and slugs attached and the mast slot and gaff slide have been lubed with the spray-on lithium
grease. The joy of these mast ladders (ratlines, for those who scurry). Two minuets and the whole slot is done, top to bottom. See
how much neater the sail flakes as it comes down, and it comes down almost completely without pulling it, as stiff as the sail is.
All I had to do to neaten the stack was to snatch at the leech from the rear.
|August 3, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I should start fitting the sails to the boat today and see how I did on my dimensions. I cut them all a bit small to accommodate
some stretch in use. If there are any corrections that need doing, I should find out now and get them done.
Once I got to Home Depot and started perusing the aluminum stock rack, it occurred to me I might have envisioned the 'Rolex'
version of slug gates, where the 'Timex' version would work just fine. I got a section of light angle and a bunch of Behr paint color
charts. I will soon be blasting the interior of this boat with color and I want to get some ideas for colors that will work together
pleasantly without making it look like a Turkish Bazaar in here. I can get a couple of colors instead of all plain white and it might
make all the difference in the world.
The jib is fitted and installed. I did it when there was no wind at all, so naturally, seeing I was out on the tip of the bowsprit, the
wind piped up just enough to be a minor aggravation and not give me a chance to get any pictures. I left it connected and ran a
short line around it a few times, lashing it to the starboard spritshroud. I do believe I can come up with a sailcover to do the same
thing, but I'm not sure I should. It leaves the sail outboard of the forward shrouds and it should be inboard. Still some thought
needed on the subject.
I'm going to let the sun go down some before dropping the sunshade and starting to fit up the foresail. Once I get either the
foresail or mainsail up, the wind will not try to turn the boat around. As it is now, the jib is well ahead of the purchase point of
the mooring pennant and the drag of the sail tries to pivot the boat to point downwind, even if I sheet it in tight and inboard.
By the way, the sail fits perfectly.
|The foresail will do. I made a mistake in one of the measurements and left the gaff
edge a foot short. Fortunately, it looks better that way and I'm pretty sure my own
design for the sail may have been a bit off. I can shorten the gaff itself a foot later on if
I find the sail works fine as it is. Other than that, it's fine. The foot is intentionally
raised at the clew end to accommodate a six degree rake in the foremast, which I
inadvertently adjusted out the last time I rigged the boat. I will probably not change
anything unless I fine the center of effort of the sail plan is too far forward.
I still have to add all the slides and slugs and play with the gaff outhaul tension until I
get it just right, but so far, both sails will be just fine the way they are.
It was impossible to get any kind of shot of the sail from on board, though it must have
looked sweet from one row over because Ira started to applaud. I'll get a little brassy in
a couple of days and try to get all the sails up at once and then get some pictures from
the dinghy. Okay, it may be more than a couple of days, depending how fitting the main
|August 4, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
That's right, that's right, I can make a zigzag blue line if I want. I am not without skills,
no matter how my boat looks.
Eddie Bartels called me on that 'phone jack' device he has for the computer this
morning. Sandy's leg is better, though it will take a year to heal completely, and she is
back to work after 2 1/2 months off sick. Now he understands why I would sometimes
complain about the visitors while I was trying to get work done. There is a new couple
who bought the last boat from Carl - a Swedish woman (who actually bought the boat
for herself) and her British husband (who handles the lines and little else). Eddie says
RJ only comes by about once a week, George Carter keeps to himself, and if it wasn't for
the new couple, they'd be nearly alone there. Of course, Angie and Richard are still right
next to them, but they are usually off at work.
I will go outside soon and start working the sails again. There is a lot to do and I'm not
quite sure how I'm going to do it all. The gaff slides for the masts are complex and want
to stick and the sail head tension aggravates the situation. Fortunately, the head tension
is the least critical of all the sail settings, so I can begin by leaving it fairly loose and
using a white lithium spray lube on the slider. Also, once I get all the slugs and slides
attached, I'll have to begin breaking creases into the foresail so it will flake a little
easier. The heavy material of both front sails makes them hard to handle.
|August 6, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I tried the last old jib I have as a possible cure for the 'no inner forestay sail' malady and it will work just fine if I do exactly what
I did to the big jib and abbreviate the head 5 feet lower, then angle the leech in to meet the new headboard. This unit has a wire
luff and looks like it will work.
|August 7, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I got the whole forestaysail modified and mounted and it looks good and fits good. I still have to mount a couple of sheet blocks
to the cabin sides and I'm not entirely happy with the routing of the sheets aft to the cleats, but then again, I don't know how
much use I'll really get out of this sail anyway. I can modify things later on if I have to.
|August 8, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I have been mulling over the 13 slides on the foresail luff and the size of the stack they make against the mast. By removing every
other one, the stack drops 6 inches and makes a more compact package for the sailcover. There is also the benefit of less friction
in the slot, but the slot is working so smoothly now there is no friction to speak of anyway. It will not always be that way, so
fewer slides is better. It will make the flakes wider, but the package still presents a narrower profile to side winds while under
I have to come up with a device I can use onboard as a sort of vise to hold things while I cut them with the hacksaw. I gave away
my old vise I had for so many years because it was just too heavy to lug around for the infrequent times I'd need it, and it may
have just rusted up by the time I needed it anyway. I found a sweet plate of bronze I can cut the mast gates out of - if I can just
hold it still. I might just have to do the cutting in the workshop and rough the fit here with a hammer until they sit smooth and
flush and allow the slides free motion past them in both directions.
The forward sun shade is done - for now - narrowed 17 inches on each side, all big holes patched, strengthened and reinforced
and plenty of extra grommets added. I worked just about straight through from start to finish
|August 9, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
It poured last night like a monsoon rain and this morning the sky is dark and ominous. I would like to be able to get more sail
work sorted out on deck today, so I hope the clouds and rain are helpful rather that hurtful. Either way, I'll get something done.
The temporary, lashed on oarlocks are working fine for right now, so I'm going to leave them be and consider getting the new
items next month.
|A quick look at the mooring bit revealed the source of the forward leaks - thank
God - it was not the old leaks I apparently DID fix in Cortez, but a situation I
remember thinking about years ago when I mounted the mooring bit, which
doubles as the back-rest for the bowsprit: I wondered if the four bolts would be
adequate to counter the compressive forces of the rig under load. All the strain
on all the sails focuses on three spots, down on the masts and back on the
bowsprit. On a schooner, all forces that pull back on the spars are tethered to
the bowsprit through the triatic stay between the two mastheads and the
forestay. Just between you and I, the bowsprit is cored with hardwood and
epoxy and that may still not be enough. I may eventually have to have a very
heavy-wall aluminum bowsprit made. I'll keep my eye out for sidewall buckling
on the present unit.
|August 10, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|This weather has to pass before I can steady the foremast, loosen all
associated turnbuckles, force the bowsprit forward and pull the mooring
bit. Once that item is removed I can start investigating the extend of the
wood damage and replace and reinforce the whole thing. It has to be
uncompromisingly waterproof. I may do away with the mooring bit - it
is too overly redundant with all the heavy duty cleats I have up there. I
have yet to find a real use for it.
I originally took the second shot above to show how I had to spread the
foresails in their bags apart so I got better air into the hatch, but it also
shows the mooring bit sitting between two huge cleats. I'll have to think
seriously about removing it because it's one true function right now was
to anchor the aft end of the bowsprit and that has not worked out as
expected. In fact, I might do better with a block of 4 by 4 Ipe in it's place.
Smaller, tougher and a better bolting device. I have to fix what's
|August 11, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I also hand-walked the dinghy around to the bowsprit and loosened all the turnbuckles some more. I'm going to go outside and
push it as far forward as I can and see about pulling the mooring bit. I keep tumbling the whole thing over in my head to
formulate a better fix for the situation than I have right now. First and foremost, the leak has to be stopped right now, for good
and all, then the bowsprit buttress has to be replaced in a fashion that will work permanently and not embarrass me in public.
|The bowsprit is moved forward and the mooring bit is off. I'll bring the vacuum cleaner up there and tidy up, but I will drill out
the bolt holes and epoxy dowels into them, then fiberglass heavily over the deck and come up with a new answer.
|August 13, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|I came back to the boat and did what needed doing on the
foredeck - evidence stage left. Most of the rotten wood
has been removed and it's drying out right now. This
camera is highly marginal and will have to be replaced
soon, but it is a ways down on the list.
In a little while I'll go back outside and dig away at the
soft wood again until I'm sure I have all that is rotten
removed. On the lower right side it extends about an inch
under the fiberglass right at the corner. The vacuum is
out there and makes the scraping and cleaning easy at
this point. I have in my mind a solid fiberglass tray, of
sorts, with flanges against the heavy stainless rails of the
anchor davits and the base of the bowsprit. I will make
the fixture at least a half an inch to an inch thick and will
devise an appropriate fastening to stainless, but will not
again penetrate the fiberglass into the wood. When I
installed this system, the anchor davits with their
massive fastenings were not there, so I did what I did. It
was ill advised, we can see now. Live and learn, and fix.
|I got the last of the rot cleared and the cavity dried nicely. A blazing sun dead overhead helps that sort of stuff. I filled the entire
cavity with thickened and reinforced epoxy, then tried to force the old fiberglass I'd cut out back down over it, but it wouldn't go
because the epoxy heated up some and expanded. Tomorrow I'll smooth it and fine fill and smooth it and begin applying the
fiberglass to cap it and form the new buttress for the bowsprit. I have high confidence. At least the leak is fixed for good already.
|August 14, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I will continue on with the bowsprit work today, though I am still not settled on exactly how I will complete the job. I still need a
solution I am comfortable with. Something that doesn't require too much time or money. I may talk to Eddie today about
welding something up.
I found the engine oil leak that allows oil to drip into the bilge while the engine is running. It's the little round rubber gasket
that's supposed to be on the dipstick to prevent oil from splashing out while the engine is running. It's missing. That is a huge
relief. I was beginning to wonder if the oil pan might be rotting through somewhere. That's a huge mess and a pain in the ass to
change. I can punch one of these out of almost any good rubber or leather material with my set of hole punches. Not a problem,
and back to a pristine bilge. Of course, I'll have to wash it out again, but that's not a problem.
|August 16, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I am going to cut some fiberglass up and get ready to do that job on the foredeck today. Push has come to shove and it needs to
be completed. I still have to do the mast slot gates and mount the mainsail, then make sail covers before this month is out. And
pretty soon I'm going to have to jump in the water and scrape the bottom of the boat.
|The picture is not as clear as I'd like, but I took 6 shots of the spot before coming below to see what I had. The LCD viewfinder is
virtually impossible to see in bright sunlight. Even shading it fails to help. Enough whining. The repaired spot is ground and
smoothed (as much as I'm going to do) and ready to be glassed. Everything is up on the deck and I'll be going out to get started
right after this.
The first sortie on the layup resulted in about half of what I have out there now, which is 1/2 inch on the sides, 5/8 inch on the
forward buttress and 3/4 inch on the deck. The heat outside and the increasing heat buildup in the layup have forced me to stop
twice so far. Once I'm certain that I have enough, I'll let it harden up for a day or so, then grind the edges down to adjacent
surfaces or a pleasant shape in the case of the forward buttress. I'm still thinking of running 2 or 3 fasteners through the sides
into the stainless to bind the entire structure together into what I would consider a strong and rigid assembly. I don't want to
have to do this again.
|get them securely mounted to the boat and properly stowed on the spars, then I can start whipping out some sail covers and get
them on as well.
|July 6, 2010 - August 26, 2010
|August 17, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I am doing well on both boat work and writing and have found ways to minimize the electrical draw while writing. A plus is the
fact that the new motherboard and processor are 'promotionally' declared 'green' items because they draw less current than
previous versions. Even if the marketing fodder is laughable, the items are a bit more energy efficient and I am in a position
where every watt counts, even if the savings is like going from a 60 watt bulb to a 45.
The fiberglass may get a little work today by way of some grinding and fairing, and if I can rally half a brain I'll get the foresail
gates and slides sorted out.
The fiberglass structure is ground back to shape and I am of a mind to prime it and paint it. It is massively strong and I think
once I get the few fasteners in place there will be no problems with it.
|It just cools off so much in here with the sun shades up. I narrowed the forward one so I can now walk back and forth on the side
decks, and strengthened it as well. I also patched the heck out of it and am presently satisfied with it's fit and function. It is much
better than it was. I still have to address the rear corners of the center shade and now think I'll be doing a pair of grommet strips
like the joint between the center and forward shades. They are like a shoe with two rows of small grommets and a single lace.
What I do is lay one over the other and lace up and down instead of side to side. It results in less pucker and more strength.
|August 18, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I'll have to do whatever final grinding/shaping is required on the bowsprit buttress and apply a finish coat of fairing. I will also
make a 'tab' block to fit inside the aft end of the sprit to bolt to the buttress and prevent any upward movement of that end. After
smoothing the fairing, I can prime and paint the thing and get the forward rigging all tightened up and tuned, and finally put
cotter pins in all the right places. Twelve of them.
I'll have the drill and bits outside for pinning the fiberglass to the anchor davits, so I might as well drill and attach the mast gates
and finish the foresail at the same time. Then I'll be able to take measurements for the foresail cover and get that made. The next
and last thing on the present 'to do' list is finishing, mounting and adjusting the mainsail, then getting a sail cover made for it. I
also need to hang the dinghy and scrape the bottom and start thinking (seriously) about scraping Falcon's funky bottom. It even
I have noticed a missing cotter pin in the bobstay assembly that allowed the outboard wire portion to hang into the water. I got a
new pin and installed it and changed all the wire circular rings for new cotter pins that I fully bent and tucked in. The rings get
caught by anchor chain and tore up, then if you ease the pressure on them, they can slip out. I did all four pins in the middle
I also ground out the rest of the fiberglass structure and have been working on the mast slot gate for the foremast. It's coming
along good. I am removing 7 of the 13 slides on the foresail and replacing the lashing with small stainless shackles. That should
be all done in another hour and I'll get the fairing done around the buttress. I have the sprit well up and out of the way so I want
to get as much done on that as possible as soon as possible, including fasteners, primer and paint.
|The buttress is ground and waiting for fairing. One half of the mast slot gate is on, and to the right, the problem corner. I about
have it figured out. It has to withstand good winds and heavy rain.
I have the buttress faired, the foremast slot gate finished and shackles in the slides. Later on I'll go pick everything up and lower
the gaff as far as I can and re-flake the sail, then apply a few ties to bundle it nicely. From there I'll take dimensions and get
started on the sail cover. If I use enough of that material there won't be anything left to bring back from the storage locker but
the sewing machine and accessory boxes.
|August 19, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I sanded and smoothed the buttress, vacuumed it off and applied the first coat of primer. Then I completed all the adjustments to
the foresail and put sail ties on it to get a good look at the size and the dimensions for a sail cover. I can see from this photo that
the aft locater strap under the boom for the lazy jacks will have to be moved about 18 inches forward to better control the leech
of the sail. When I placed it where it is I was thinking of it as a combination topping lift and thought more aft would also mean
better control of the gaff, but it will work just as well from further forward.
|The forward end of the foresail assembly tucks into a compact little package of only about 15 inches and I like it. The less side
windage the better - - I guess - - now would be a good time for you not to notice all the shrouds, stays and TV antennas, solar
panels, propane bottles and ratlines. But really, big flat sail packs make a huge surface if your motoring in under serious
conditions. Can't wait to see what the mainsail looks like.
The buttress and associated surfaces now have 3 coats of Awlgrip white primer on them and I'll have to paint it all white
tomorrow. I don't have the catalyst for the Ice Blue deck paint and can't afford it right now. Besides, I hate to buy enough catalyst
for a gallon of paint when I only have a pint of the blue left. I'll save it for when I have to cover a tattoo I don't have yet. The
block in the end of the bowsprit is a 1 inch thick Starboard block I shaped and held in place with two screws, then primed to stick
it down a bit (I had some extra primer). Whet the bowsprit is put into position, two SS lags will be run into it through the
buttress to prevent the aft end of the bowsprit from lifting up at all. I still have to bore 4 holes through the buttress side flanges
into the stainless anchor davits to bolt the assembly together and distribute the loading on all the fasteners.
|August 20, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
My batteries aren't 'bad' by any stretch. I tried what is probably the lowest of the little (4D) ones alone yesterday to start the
engine and it started it right up. The thing is, with all the batteries on line at the same time, the solar panels can't get the voltage
above 13.2 volts. In order to cap off these batteries, they like to see 14.2 volts once in a while. The only way I can do that is to put
them on the engine alternator (130 Amps) alone for a little bit each. The Ferris/Balmar engine charging does the job easily, but it
heats up quickly under a heavy load and I don't want to overtax it. It's expensive equipment and there is no sense in ruining it. I
would love to get an ammeter capable of reading up to 150 Amps so I had a better idea of just how much work the unit is doing. I
might also want to hook up a 12 volt bilge blower to blow cool outside air in the alternator. I've done this before on other peoples
boats to solve a variety of different problems. Whether it would help cool a sealed marine alternator is another question.
Today is the day for drilling holes and installing bolts up front on the buttress. Also for applying the first coats of white enamel
and preparing to mount the sprit back in place. I noticed a couple of small spots up forward that need caulk and it's about time to
seal the hole where the solar cables go through the deck. I left that open when I first installed the system, then left it open after
the fuel spill in that compartment so regular rain could finish washing out all traces of the oil. It is clean in there now and time
to seal the deck. I also have to start thinking about taking a foot off the forward gaff. That'll be a bit tricky, but only a bit.
|August 21, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|I applied the first coat of white to the buttress and used the rest
of the Awlgrip primer to coat the nasty, sticky white hose on the
dinghy rail. I was going to just paint it white like Espin did, but
in the land of 'waste not, want not', I elected to use the
remainder of the Awlgrip primer. I will overcoat it with the
white later on. After reading some, I did the second coat of
white up forward and used the rest of the small batch to touch
up the lower portion of the foremast.
|August 22, 2010 - Moored In Marathon,
I will get on deck early and get the bowsprit done and take
measurements for the foresail cover. I'll also have to get the gaff
shortened and the lazyjacks moved so the slots I'll have to
include in the sailcover will be in the correct locations. It will
also be time to get the last paint on the dinghy rail and do a
|little blue touch-up on the hull. The really nice thing about this
hull paint is that I can just mix up a little paint and roll it on
and it's done. I need another drain hole in one of the cockpit
seat lockers because one of them is a little too high and leaves
a constant little puddle in there. I also have to remember to get
or make an oil-proof washer for the engine dipstick. I had the
cockpit seat lockers opened and emptied to dry out yesterday
and almost lost my seat cushions and all my life jackets when
the front tore through. Another day, another list. I hope to see
the head for the ST40 soon, one way or another, with or
without a bill, so I can start working on the GPS problem. One
way or another, I'll need to get that sorted out.
The buttress is all fastened and the fasteners are all sealed.
There are 18 fasteners in all: 6 quarter inch socket head screws
through the fiberglass sides of the buttress and the stainless
anchor davits, three 2 1/2 inch screws into the butt block in the
base of the bowsprit, and nine 3 1/2 inch screws in a row
through the fiberglass base of the buttress and down into the
huge beam below. I know I said I wasn't going to do that, but
each screw is completely sealed and the main purpose of those
is to prevent the base of the buttress from parting from the
It now needs to be cleaned, and once the caulking is all cured,
to be painted one more coat. In a little while, I'll go out and
start tightening all the shrouds and stays and tune the front of
the rig up once again, this time installing the long overdue
|August 23, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I'll get the rigging tuned up front and see what kind of headway I can make on shortening the gaff and moving the lazyjacks in,
then get measurements for the foresail sailcover and go into the work area.
The gaff is cut down, though not yet refitted with new fittings, but I'm working on that. The rig is all tightened, and the lazyjacks
are moved forward, but they need a couple of screws installed.
I got the lazyjacks done and the tip of the gaff and everything is hooked up again, but I still have to cut the ends off 2 long bolts
in the gaff tip and decide what kind of spacer to install on the very last bolt so it can't crush the tip of the gaff while in use. The
old spacer I had in there before was the only component so corroded and seized that I decided it wasn't worth the effort to save.
Now, all I want is something simple like a small block of starboard. I'll do it tomorrow. It's 5:30 now and I just cleaned up
outside and put the water in the tanks. Two more water trips, maybe more. I might start using the aft tanks as well, and I might
plan on removing the big batteries from beneath the cockpit floor to better balance the boat.
|August 24, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
Wow, I forgot to post an opening this morning. I forget what was going on. I remember loading up the dinghy early and getting
to the building before the workshop had been opened. I watched some completely useless golf channel until they opened it, then
- that's right, I re-flaked the foresail and measured for the sailcover - immediately began work on the sailcover. The material I'm
using is the remains of Geoff's old sailcover from something. There was a great deal of careful seam ripping that had to be done
and careful salvage of resources such as zippers and Velcro.
|August 26, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|The sailcover is on and the other details all taken care of surrounding the foresail. I could not have hoped for the sailcover to
come out any better. Some of the other details involved safe stowage of halyards and lazyjacks for a furled condition. I knew I
would never be able to sort that stuff out prior to having the sail, having it mounted, and finally, having a sailcover installed. Now
everything is done and I'm satisfied with the results.