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Pete McCrary

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Everything posted by Pete McCrary

  1. Here's the last job for Catnip -- leathers for her oars. The stitching for the oar on the right was done first. I think it's fair to say: There's no substitute for experience. The buttons ends have a tapered overlap (~ a 6/1 scarf). The buttons are secured with a #6 3/4" SS truss-head WS at each end and two more screws at 120 and 240 degrees. No glue. We'll see if they hold up ok. Here's a view of the entire length. Chessie is entering the Corsica River YC's 78th Annual Regatta on July 27. She will transport Catnip in her cockpit to the launch ramp on the Chester River. Over the weekend Catnip will enjoy her maiden voyage and "river trials." Report to follow.
  2. GUESS WHAT? -- All that thought and work for a hook to aid in lifting "Catnip" and her parts was for naught! Not necessary! I drilled a 3/4" hole in the aft end of the skeg (just like the one in the bow-transom for the painter). I just needed those holes and the ones available in each of 5 [empty] oar locks -- along with two lengths of 5/8" old discarded sheet lines. Experimenting with those tools I learned how to lift, carry, and manipulate each half dinghy with no extreme exertion or bodily hazard. Also, with two lines on the foreward half, I could easily align it for coupling with the aft half -- and keep it in position (with one hand) while tightening the nesting bolts with the other hand. All done solo. At this point (in the launching process) there is a 7' dinghy weighing about 58 lbs on a grass spot near the ramp parking lot. To get the assembled boat to the water's edge, I just tilt her up on one of her gunwales, tuck the tongue of a small hand-truck under it, and then pull the other gunwale up to the truck's handle -- off we go wheeling towards the water's edge -- everything under control. The hand-truck is easily carried in the pickup. Here's a photo of it: I think the hand-truck is a better solution for land-side transport than an "undercarriage" which must be placed under the centerline of the boat. And, usually, the undercarriage must be securely attached to its cargo. Whereas the upside gunwale is easily held (or lashed) against the hand-truck. After building my cedar-stripped canoe in 2001, I installed a lift in our garage (which had a very high ceiling) where I could stow the canoe which weighed about 70 lbs. The lift had a x6 purchase. That's where I now stow Catnip. Here are photos showing the close encounter with Annie's little Hyundai. The lifting lines slightly pinch the bumpers. I'll relocate the lines to ease the pinching. The aft & midship seats, painter, bailer, and small anchor are stowed on the aft lifting beam (a 1 x 6). I could keep them somewhere else -- but here, they are lass likely to be left at home. A couple of inches to spare. The pickup wouldn't fit. The lifting pullies with x6 purchase. The tail end has a built-in jam clutch for ease of lifting. Releasing is a two handed job -- one to keep the jam-clutch open and the other (gloved) hand for releasing the line. I've just ordered a sailing Spindrift 10 which will replace Catnip when she's sold with Chessie. Yes, Chessie will be available for sale over the next two sailing seasons. During that time she will be available for demonstration sails or other close looks (inspections). Thinking of a transfer maybe at the October 2020 Messabout.
  3. Chessie's Reboarding Ladder is finished, installed, and in-the-shop tested. Here's what it looks like. Stowed. Deployed. Notice that I followed Paul's advice and applied "no-skid" to both steps. Left foot on bottom step -- torso mostly under water. Ready to raise up. Raising torso out of the water. When in-the-water I might have to use both feet on the bottom step. Left leg fully extended and torso completely out of the water. Left foot just off the bottom step ready to raise it all the way up and over the transom. Almost there. Approximate force diagram for just one side of the ladder. I consider 116 lbs sheer stress on the hinge is modest and will not be a problem for the strap hinge (well bedded) with #12 X 1" SS FHWS. For the dry-fit I used 3/16" line. It felt inadequate for the full 200 lb weight. I went with 1/4" -- and it feels much more stable with less stretch. Complete on-the-water testing at the end of the month.
  4. Jay and Graham -- Just the boat I've dreamed of building since my "Outcast" (an 11' 1" plywood sailing dinghy) was built in 1963. I will have much vicarious pleasure watching your progress.
  5. Jay -- The strap hinges were attached with 1.25" #12 SS FHWS. The manufacture specified #10 screws -- but they were a loose-fit. The top of #12s are just flush with the surface of the hinge. The hinges were 1/8" thick. So the maximum "reach" was 1/8 + 1/4 transom + 3/4 blocking + fiberglass + 4 layers of neat epoxy + bedding compound = ~ 1.25". The two step-frames are only in compression -- and the only one creating any significant sheer stress (on its hinge) is the frame for the lower step. And I think that force is modest (just a fraction of the ~100 load). Later I'll sketch a vector-load diagram just to be sure.
  6. Here are photos of the ladder parts: Notice the center knots haven't been undone -- and that the beginning & end of each knot has been marked with masking tape. Also, starboard & port so they won't be accidentally switched (hole placements not perfectly symmetrical). Here is a closeup of where the two frames are hinged on the 5/16th rod.
  7. Chessie's reboarding ladder is basically finished 'cept for two coats of neat epoxy and a bungee to keep it in stowed position. Here's what it looks like: Viewed from aft. Viewed from portside Deployed. I put my ~200 lbs on each step. Nothing broke -- and the 3/16" cords twanged like a banjo string when plucked. It took about an hour of numerous adjustments to get the 8-knots just right. I'll mark the locations before disassemble for the final epoxying. Bottom tread showing wooden "drawer pull" for stowage purchase. Ladder stowed against the transom. The slack has been taken from each line. Their ends will have bowline loops held in tension with a small bungee. Showing the profile from the cockpit. Hopefully it won't often foul the mizzen sheet. ADVICE PLEASE !! I've noticed that wooden ladders are never painted. Should that apply here?
  8. Chessie's recent encounter with a scary microburst has jolted me to build a reboarding ladder based on photos posted by Alex on 12/25/2015. Here are pixs of it "dry fitted" to the transom: First in its stowed position. Next -- it's deployed. The bottom step is about 16" below the water line. That step is about 11" wide and I should be able to place both feet on it. That will allow the strength of both legs to raise myself outn of the water and step onto the aft deck. The frame is white oak and the treads 1/4" and 1/2" marine ply. Hinge leaves are 1" X 2" X 1/8" SS with 3/4" yellow pine blocking behind the transom. The steel rod is 5/16" threaded SS. The ladder will be field tested July 27 at the Corsica River 77th Annual Regatta hosted by the Corscia River Yacht Club. Report and more photos to follow.
  9. Joe -- the sail ties were "snug" but not "tight." The problem had to do with the first tie (up near the luff) where the wind could enter the open folds between the sail-track "cars." That allowed the sail to "balloon" from forward to aff -- pushing each sail tie towards the clew letting the balloon get larger and larger. At least that's my analysis. I don't believe it would have happened if I had followed my usual procedure when furling the sail: Unshackling the main halyard from the sail's head and looping [the halyard] under the sail [at the luff] and back up over the sail -- and belaying the halyard [using its shackle] on itself. Then taking up the halyard's slack and even raising the entire sail's luff [and bunched up cars] high enough on the sail track so that the forward hatch may be easily opened. That tightened loop close to the mast keeps the wind from ballooning thru the folds of the luff. The problem with that [procedure] when sailing solo is that in order to raise the sail -- the skipper must go forward thru the cabin (and up thru the forward hatch) in order to undo the halyard loop and belay its shackle to the sail's head. But I wasn't thinking straight because raising the sail is not something I would want or need to do in heavy weather. In fact making that loop should be standard procedure in preparing for the worst. BTY I had made that loop over the mizzen's luff -- no problem with the sail ties blowing aft.
  10. Remaining at the anchorage was an option -- and probably the right one. The anchorage was fairly close to shore but well protected from the forecasted offshore SWS wind. But I didn't know what direction the storm winds would be. And in my limited storm experience I had never seen anything even close to what I experienced later that day. Also, I didn't like the forecast for the next day when [the forecast said] I'd have to make the trip against 18 knot winds -- so I thought "do it now" and be home tonight. Now I'll know better -- even if it would mean an extra day waiting for better weather.
  11. Good advice, well taken. Promptly provided by Marc Cruder, retired Coast Guard officer and former Commodore of our Chesapeake Cat Boat Association. Pete: Glad you and Chessie are o.k. Not a good story, and perhaps poor marks for situational awareness. With a smart phone, you should be able to at least get the weather channel radar app, which will show you what is coming for 6 hours from the time you check. I use it to be sure I don't get wet when I want to ride my motorcycle. When you bring it up, it sometimes says "storms in sight"....then when you hit the future radar button, it can tell you exactly when it will be over you. Start practicing with that weather prediction routine. Alternately there is NOAA.gov, which can give you hourly chance of precipitation and wind speeds. Weather has been more extreme in recent times than we all remember. Glad you "lived to sail another day" mcc Just this past May (at a CCBA meeting) Marc gave a lecture and led the discussion concerning reefing -- and a good part of it was about being aware of the weather and the way to make use of what's available by means of smartphones. I should have paid much more attention. I'm usually more cautious -- but I had been looking forward to this cruise and the opportunity to sail with my son. Often, just wanting something so much, purely influences choices. I was lucky that the "tuition" for several lessons learned was not too high.
  12. A severe test for Chessie -- She gets an A+ . . My compliments to Graham and all at B & B Yacht Designs! With a nice weather forecast I launched Chessie on Thursday (June 13) from Leesylvania State Park for a two-day cruise. Then, when anchored at Pohick Bay getting ready to prepare dinner, a fisherman came by and warned me of bad weather expected. I checked my smartphone and the outlook was very different from what I expected. This was about 5pm and the sky looked nice and we were 10nm from the launch ramp. I decided to abandon the cruise and head for the ramp expecting to arrive by about 7pm. However, at about 1/3 the way rain and wind set in. Fortunately we were close to the middle of the Potomac where it is almost 2nm wide. Quickly the wind picked up and the heavy rain reduced visibility to the point I couldn't see either shore. In fact I couldn't read the compass or see any details on the GPS -- even the bow of the boat was hard to see. Upon launch I had already topped the ballast tank. Thank goodness! The worst of the wind was easily 40 knots, probably gusting to 50! The Honda 4 (long-shaft) was wide open and making better than 5 knots (when wind at 15 - 20 knots). But it wasn't enough to keep Chessie into the wind. The sails had been furled & sheeted midship and all made ready for the worst. But when we were blown sidways to the wind, Chessie was on her port beam and I was at the helm (starboard side) trying to hold on (OBM also on starboard). My guess is that she was (in the worst gusts) almost 80 degrees over. When the gusts eased a bit, she would come up a little and off her beam slightly. The mainsail became mostly unfurled! I thought then that she would go-over! But the mainsail didn't get into the water and the cockpit coaming never shipped any. However, the footwell scuppers couldn't keep up with the rain and water was about an inch or so deep in the footwell. It was all very frightening. I had never experienced anything like it. I felt very helpless -- all I could do was "hold on" and stay at the helm and try to bring her up into the wind. When she was sideways to the wind and healed way over, she was beyond any control. As things began to lighten up and visibility returned, I could see the lee shore in sunshine. It was much closer than when it all started. It all lasted about 20 minutes (probably less) until the wind reduced to 15 to 20 knots and the rain reduced so that I could see all shores. Curiously, there was no lightening. But all over the area the cloud formations were strange and omnimus. Into the 15 to 20 knot wind and chop, Chessie would make a little over 5 knots at full throttle (4,700 rpm). The tide was probably helping a bit. When the mainsail became unfurled, I thought that the sail ties had been blown off. But when finally on shore I found that they were all (4 or 5 of then) bunched up at the clue. That didn't happen to the mizzen. Home by 9pm. Inspection this morning shows NO DAMAGE -- and the cabin and everything that was stowed DRY! I wouldn't want to experience it again, but Chessie (and her designers) deserve an A+ !! PS -- Annie is thankful that "I'm home safe" and grades Chessie with an AA+. Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad
  13. Don -- It takes a lot of thinking and trial-erra-try-again & again to "get-it-right." Or something close to it. My concept of the hook & rope rig is going to work out -- but it needs a better understanding and somelot refinements. Lifting the bow-half out of the stern-is much easier than lifting the stern-half off of the bow-half. If you have the space (overhead), it's easier to first tilt them (while nested) up with the nesting bulkheads down and level. Then the bow-half can easily be slid out of the stern-half. This weekend I'll try various improvements and post resulting photos.
  14. Attached is a sketch of the design concept showing relative positions of trailer, big-boat, a half-boat and the loader (approximately to scale). I'll need one hook and approximately 10 feet of large diameter line (for easier purchase). The loading board will already be in place. Its high [fwd] end will be a little over 5' 2" high (and lower [aft] end) about 4' 3" high. The trailer fender is about 26" high. Standing close to the FWD half-boat (bow to the left) I'll raise it about 26" and rest its lower gunwale on the fender while gently pushing it against the loading board. At that point its "tipping point" will only need to be raised another 12" or so. By raising the half-boat (while simultaneously pushing against it) to its tipping point -- it can then be rotated over the edge of the loading board and onto the bridge deck. The AFT half-boat is loaded the same way (but transom to the left). Once over the tipping point, instead of sliding it onto the bridge deck, it is placed over the top of the FWD half-boat. Then remove the lifting rig and adjust the two half-boats so that they nest comfortably. They are very closely restricted (fore & aft) by the mizzen mast and cabin bulkhead -- and need only be tied down restricting verticle & side-to-side movement. Unloading should be close to a reverse of the loading procedure. DOES ANYONE think that I can MAKE THIS WORK SOLO? Comments, suggestions, WELCOME.
  15. Interlux polyurethane Topside -- White, Sea Green, Kingston Gray, and Red for the boot. I used their Pre-Kote as the primer. Yes, I like the gray -- it's easy on the eyes in bright sunlight and not hot to sit on. I call it "battleship" gray. If it's ok for the Navy . . .
  16. Considering towing -- first I have to get the little boat onto the big boat. Although each half is only a little over 30 lbs -- each not having "handles," it's not easy to lift either over Chessie's cockpit coaming and into the big boat. So, here's my design concept. The problem -- a tall guide-on in the way. And the coaming about chest-high. Temporarily remove the guide-on and make a wooden extension. Fabricated a cedar board with a channeled "leg" to be strapped to the wooden extension of the guide-on. The underside of the aft end of the cedar board is resting on the coaming. The loading board firmly in position. The forward end has notches that rest over the toe-rail and dodger coaming on the cabin roof. Now I still need a simple lifting rig so that (without any help) I can get each half of the nesting dinghy onto the bridge deck. Here's my idea -- a couple of hooks cut from 1/2" ply made to fit over the gunwale and bumper. Here's a gross sketch: Next, I'll figure out a way loop the pair over a one-half boat with its interior facing away from me and the bottom facing me & it's centerline horizontal, I'll then place the hooks over the lower gunwale and raise (by pulling up on lines rigged to the hooks) the half-boat so that the [upper gunwale] will go up and over the loading board and onto the bridge deck. Do you think i can make it work OK as a practical matter? I'm going to give it a try. SUGGESTIONS WELCOME !!
  17. Little things. Getting ready for 3-day event on West River on Memorial Day weekend. The soft plastic holder came with the handheld VHF transceiver. Within ear shot and easy reach of the helmsman. Figure no one will be sitting opposite the mizzen bridge.
  18. Although Chessie's maiden voyage was almost two years ago -- she hasn't been sailed much because of OBM problems that were just solved last September with the purchase of a 2019 Honda 4 long shaft. Now that the OBM is working just fine, I'm looking forward to much more sailing this season. So, I decided to fine tune the reefing system. From the sail plans I measured the distances between the cringles (tac to 1st reefing and 1st reefing to 2nd reefing). Using those distances, I marked the halyard with colored plastic tape. For each reefing position, the halyard was set first to the measured point -- then the other lines trimmed and positions marked. With sail's head full-up (no reefs tucked) and other lines trimmed -- I marked each line (just ahead of its cleat) with BLUE plastic tape. That included the reefing lines with slack taken up and the topping lifts. I chose BLUE as a reminder that fair sailing is like the "sky's-the-limit." GREEN for the 1st reefing points and RED for the 2nd reefing. On the starboard side (left to right): Downhaul (tac cringle), snotter, and halyard. Trimmed positions for the 2nd reefing. Port side (left to right): 2nd reefing downhaul (cleated), 1st reefing downhaul (not cleated, and topping lift. Trimmed positions for the 2nd reefing. Notice that the 1st reefing line position is the same for both reefing positions. Also, the topping lift shows BLUE because its trim position is the same for all. Keeping the lines off the deck. I changed the cleats on the sprits from the "jam" type, to small "horned" type. The horns provide purchase for attaching the excess lines when sailing reefed. They also help keep the reefing lines where they belong when the sail (with the sprit) is stowed in its sail bag. The red line (white with red marks) is for the 2nd reefing position marked with RED tape. The reefing line for the 1st position (white with green marks) is marked with both RED & GREEN tapes because it's the same for both. Set up with both reefs tucked in. This is the position for my take-down after recovery on the ramp. The sails are kept bent to their sprit booms with the leech reefing lines in place. The sail bags are made to hold both and they are transported in the cockpit. So, when the sails are bent to their masts -- both reefs are already tucked in. If it's fair sailing, it's easy to shake out one or both reefs. And if a reef is called for, it's already tucked in. I think it will work out ok.
  19. Trough DESIGN REFINEMENT: Chessie's first cruise of the season cancelled after 125 mile trailering to the ramp at Long Cove in Rock Hall, Maryland. The marine weather forecast was getting much worse -- and I decided to limit cruise to simply a launch, Honda-4 trial, and recovery. Here's photo of trailer's pre-launch position on the ramp: Wheel hub just above water level. Notice that this ramp is quite a bit steeper than the one at Leesylvania. Launch and recovery went very well, as before. After 125 mile highway trip (some rain and/or wet surfaces), inspection of the empty trailer trough revealed considerable "road debris" in the trough. Mostly gritty stuff that must of been tossed up by tires on wet road surfaces. I wiped it out with a rag and reapplied the paste wood-floor wax. Next time I'll also carry a stiff brush to clear out the trough after each launch. The load-bearing center channel seems to be holding up OK. There was noticed another design problem. When parked (and boat-on-board), the trough collects water. Although I had drilled a "drain hole" near the middle of the trough's length, it was ineffective. Probably because the keel's half oval was covering it. Also, one drain hole would be [fully] effective at only one slope of the parking surface. There should be multiple drain holes spaced at intervals. And I would drill oversized holes -- filled with neat epoxy -- and then [at each position] two off-center drain holes. Maybe the CADesign program could suggest sensible intervals considering the keel's profile.
  20. Yes, she should be a light tow. But I won't do that until I've perfected loading her into Chessie's cockpit. And because the risk of falling into the drink is higher when transferring from mother ship to dinghy -- I also want to have Chessie's reboarding ladder in good working order.
  21. Dave, installing the bumpers was a "bear" of a job. It's nearly impossible to do it solo. Annie would ordinarily help, but her hands just don't have the strength anymore. I lucked out when Silvia (former aerospace engineer from Argentina, now a part-time upholster) came to my shop (to give an estimate for recovering the antique rocker in my shop) -- and admired Catnip on the workbench ready for her bumper. I asked if I could also hire her to assist me installing the bumper. She was essential in getting the job done. We routinely (when our arms would tire stretching the bumper or holding up the heavy drill) switched jobs drilling pilot holes and screwing in the #6 truss head screws (hidden) and finish washers & screws (visible). And using her upholstering skills she covered the exposed ends (on the transom) with leather. At 3" spacing, that was just under 200 screws! It took us almost 4 hours. She wouldn't charge me -- but I insisted that she at least include an amount when she finishes the antique rocker. She probably won't. She clearly enjoyed being part of the project. Annie and I were very happy that she joined us for lunch, out treat.
  22. Over the winter Chessie has been in her part of the garage where the aft end of the cockpit sole was repaired to stop leakage into the bilge. When I originally laid down the sole I applied a meger fillet and no FG tape -- thinking that it didn't need any additional structural support. At first it didn't leak, but with time and temperature expansions & contractions -- the aft edges developed cracks. A better fillet and FG tape probably would have prevented the leaking. So, now Chessie is in the driveway with masts aboard in their "transport" positions. And, this morning, Annie and I "dry-fitted" a "nested" Catnip (a Two-Paw 7) into Chessie's cockpit just ahead of the mizzen mast. It was a "bear" to load each half. Mainly because Annie and I had to lift it up-and-over the guid-on. I'm sure I couldn't have done it solo. But they nest very nicely between the companonionway and the mizzen mast. Showing Chessie loaded with Catnip and both the mizzen and mains'ls in their covers already bent (with their reefing lines) to their respective sprit booms. Catnip's CG is just a little ahead of the trailer axle -- so its 60 lbs will contribute very little additional tongue weight. Although ordinary access to the companionway is blocked, it can still be accessed from the starboard side. With some adjustments, I think that I will be able to load and unload each half into Chessie's cockpit. Note that the 2" ID PVC pipe (guide-on) can be easily removed leaving its [steel] support inplace. The support is much longer than required -- so I'll cut it down to just below the edge of the cockpit coaming. Then I'll fabricate a horizontal support (secured to the shortened guide-on support) -- on which I will be able to lift one edge of a half-dinghy and slide it over the coaming and into the forward cockpit. The same for the second half. That should take care of one problem (for a solo sailor). However, each half is very awarkward to life and carry about. So, I need to design and rig convenient "handles" that can be temporarily attached to each Catnip half. Thirty pounds is not too heavy for this senior, but there must be some way to get good purchase on each half. This Friday Chessie and I will participate in the Spring Cruise hosted by the Shallow Water Sailors. Catnip will not participate, but I hope to have the problem solved before our next cruise scheduled for Memorial Day weekend. SUGGESTIONS WELCOME.
  23. Catnip is finished! Here are a few photos: Later I'll modify the fwd corners so that the rubber part of the bumper is the first to hit something. Notice the deck-plate on the aft port-side flotation tank. She has five oar locks. Two rowing positions and one on the transom. They come in pairs and one was defective. West Marine replaced the bad one (welding lumps on the inside) with A PAIR and didn't want me to return any. So, I ended up with 5 good ones for the cost of two pair. Each half weighted just about 29 lbs (without the oarlocks or removable seats). They would add about 3 more pounds and both oars (together) weight 5.5 lbs. Total all-up weight about 65 lbs (including oars). Next I'll post (on Chessie's build) the results of the "dry fit" of the nested Catnip with Chessie's cockpit.
  24. Just in time -- I'm about to finalize design/fab a reboarding ladder for Chessie (a CS20.3). The problem I see with the Plastimo ladder is common to all rope types: the boarder's CG is directly underneath the point where the ladder is attached to the boat. In order to get aboard, the "swimmer" must have some leverage to move his CG outboard while simultaneously raising his body weight. His leg-strength is mostly useless because that pushes the ladder further under the boat -- so almost the entire [reboarding] effort shifts to his arms and hands, which must have good purchase. The cartoon diagram [shown in the link to Palstimo] of the stick-figure reboarding does not show a realistic position for reboarding. Perhaps it's OK for when the swimmer first approaches the ladder, but once he begins actual reboarding, the stick figure will rotate to almost directly under the transom. Four years ago when I started building Chessie if found the following on the forum (one of Chick's postings). At that early stage (of construction) I installed blocking inside the transom to support whatever I might finally decide for a ladder. I may have posted some ideas on Chessie's build. I kinda remember a cartoon showing a stick-figure trying to reboard. Have a look at my posting on Chessie's bulld dated November 26, 2017: I think an effective reboarding ladder is an important safety issue. Especially for a solo sailor. I hope to finalize a design and fabricate one this season. I'm still open to alternate ideas.
  25. Thanks Jay, for the Liquid Roller tip. I'll try it on the trough as well as the side bunks.
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