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Pete McCrary

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Everything posted by Pete McCrary

  1. In my opinion, even a mast as slender and light (~ 22 lbs) as the main on our CS20.3, shouldn't be raised or lowered except on the tarmac or in very protected waters with enforced "no-wake" speed limits. A silent & surprise wake or wave at just the "wrong" moment can cause disaster -- severely damaging the mast-tabernacle assembly and injuring crew! A neighbor sailing friend had just that happen to him. He wasn't hurt, but there was expensive damage to his Eclipse. I struggled to raise/lower Chessie's mast solo -- and finally worked out a method that was within my aging strength. See my Pg 34 post dated July 31, 2017. I have occasionally lowered the main mast while on the water, but only in the early morning at a slip in very light or no wind conditions. I know others do it, but it's risky. Getting it done quickly, of course, lowers the risk of a momentary upset. But if you could predict the unexpected -- it wouldn't be unexpected!
  2. Have a look at my June 26 post and following posts on page 7 of my Seabiscuit build at Don't know why that boat pix keeps showing up when I past the link to my Seabiscuitbuild ?? . .
  3. Here’s an audio and sheet music for the “Recall” bugle call: https://www.bands.army.mil/music/buglecalls/recall.asp
  4. I believe that conversion of the sail for a laced luff is the solution to this very real problem. See my postings at page 7 of my Seabiscuit (a Spindrift 10) at: Although I’m selling Seabiscuit, I’m very satisfied with the inexpensive (< $300) modification to the sleeved luff.
  5. Thank you Graham. I'm hoping to make the trip. October's a busy month with the MASCF in Saint Michaels and a 65th VMI reunion right after that. Probably skip the Mid-Atlantic and make it to Bayboro. We'll see. Presently waiting out this hot spell, then get used to the Peep Hen (named "Recall" after the army bugle call.
  6. Hay, guys. Go for my 10 foot Seabiscuit. All spars, including the 3-piece, tapered mast, oars, rudder, and CB all fit in the boat for road transport or towing on the water. Hull (alone) just weighs 100 lbs. And with the modified laced luff, reefing is very easy. So also is raising/ lowering the sail and furling it. Mast, boom, sail & lines all fit in a zippered Sunbrella cover. For forum members I’d offer a nice discount.
  7. Thank you, Dave. I'm accepting delivery on Thursday. I'll let you how she works out.
  8. Since July 5 I’ve had several sailing sessions and the laced luff works just fine. I now consider Seabiscuit safe for solo sailing. That is, when on the water the sail may be easily and quickly doused (or raised) without moving forward. Also, it may be furled and kept out-of-the-way (using topping lift and sheet) for rowing. That’s important in case of sudden turn of the weather. It’s also useful for rowing away from a dock or launching ramp. HOWEVER, I’ve decided that I’m just not up to sailing such a small dinghy. For my age (88 yrs), its just too tippy and very hard on my knees — mainly because of the low height of the seats. Also, my reduced agility makes moving across the boat when tacking very problematic. Entry and exit was also very unstable. So, she’s FOR SALE. Here is the sign I’ve put on her: I certainly enjoyed building her AND i really hate to sell her. So, I’ve learned a lesson at not-so-great an expense (call it “tuition”): Old guys shouldn’t think they can sail a dinghy like in their youth! Another reason for selling is that I’ve found and bought a small sailing cruiser — a 1993 Peep Hen in very good condition. And before buying her, the owner allowed me to demonstrate [for myself] that I could easily raise and lower the mast, and move around the cabin and cockpit with ease and find the seats and bunks comfortable. She will be named “Recall,” which is a [military] bugle call that announces “… the end of drill and all hard work.” Here are a few pixs: Pete McCrary
  9. Use “rigging tape” of different colors. You can buy a set of red, green, blue, and white. 1/2” wide. Use same color on all lines: reefing luff, reefing leech, halyard & throat, and snotter/out-haul. Use different color for shallow, deep, and extreme reefing. On my Chessie I used red for the deep reef and green for shallow and blue (indicating “sky high”), meaning no reefing at all. I wrapped the lines just a couple of inches short of the cleating spot so as to avoid the cleat chaffing the tape. Occasional inspection gives warning as to wear and tear. Get the sequencing right for releasing each line and setting/trimming in the final steps — and it works like a charm. See Chessie’s Owners Manual (Part 2, page 14 — the paragraphs on reefing) on her build.
  10. Yes. Within the next few days or next week. Still needs a bit of fine-tuning on the rig. Also, our 62nd is this Sunday, July 11.
  11. Steve — I really think it will be a big improvement. Especially for a solo sailor. Aerodynamically it’s almost like the zipper sleeve as the luff rotates following the boom and sail angles. A cars & track luff doesn’t rotate unless the mast does. We’ll see how well she does after I sail her a few times. Also, with the topping lift, I’m able easily to switch from sailing to oars and vice versa. When launching from a Marina ramp you often need to row or paddle out thru a maze of docks, slips, breakwaters, etc. — and you just can’t do that with the sail up. And another thing: without the zippered sleeve, the sail can be furled. That was nearly impossible with the sleeved luff. The sailmaker only charged me $264 for removing the sleeve and installing seven new cringles, properly reinforced — keeping the existing tac and head cringles. That provides eight equally-spaced lacing “spaces.” More to be posted as I learn best how to sail Seabiscuit with her new rig.
  12. Proof of concept: removing the zippered sleeve and modifying the sail’s luff for lacing — I believe has been a success! There are six photoes followed by two videos (raising & lowering the sail) at the end of the posting. There were no problems of the lacing “hanging up” on the “shoulders” at the two joints of the three-section mast. View from starboard. Lacing ends at the reefing cringle. View from port. Sail fully deployed. Looks little different from a sleeved luff. Top of the mast with luff under tension. Looks like I could have attached the gooseneck a little higher — getting a little more “headroom” at the helm. Here I’ve held together the lacing with a small Velcro loop. To avoid reeving the lace line thru the nine cringles at each setup, I’m planning to simply slip the lace loops (held together by the Velcro loop) over the top end of the first section of the mast before assembling the other two sections. That may make stepping the mast a little more difficult — but not by much, I hope. I think raising and lowering the sail can now be done on-the-water safely from the aft cockpit. And furling the sail too. The most forward sail tie could also be safely placed from a sitting position on the midship thwart. The two videos follow. I also have a video of reefing. But it’s too big at this point to send by email. If I can reduce its size, I’ll post it later. Also, later this month I’ll report on actual sea trials. IMG_2552.mp4 IMG_2551.mp4
  13. The 11th and 12th “wedges” were cut-to-fit and the whole assembly glued to the 1.5” OD top mast section — right up against the stopper bushing. Don, notice that to the left of the stopper bushing — there are two more bushings spaced about 5” apart. Their outside diameter just fits the ID of the lower (2” OD) mast section. When assembled, those bushings disappear into the lower section. Here’s what the assembled mast sections look like. So, the joined sections [will] now show only one small (low) shoulder — of approximately 1/32”. And this will be smoothed out by trimming the 1/16th edge of the 2” tube. The joint between the lower and mid-mast sections have two small shoulders (~ 1.5” apart), each about 1/32” — and also smoothed out by trimming the edges.
  14. By "those," do you mean the sloped bushings? If ANS is yes, then they aren't needed because there are no "shoulders" impeding a lace line moving up the mast. Maybe I've misunderstood your question?
  15. We’ll, the fat’s in the fire. On Tuesday I took Seabiscuit’s sail and mast over to Quantum Sails in Annapolis for their opinion as to whether a lacing system would work (on this sectioned mast) and could the sleeved sail be modified for lacing. In their expert opinion: yes. However, not having done something similar, they couldn’t guarantee that I’d be satisfied with the result. They did require that I eliminate the shoulder(s) presented by the stopper bushings. Their charge: just $268 including a 1/8” high-tech lacing line. Here’s a photo of the design sketch that they will work from: They recommended the 8-grommet 7 spacing shown. Here’s a photo of the shoulder created by the stopper bushing on the 1.5” mast section: It actually measures 3.3/16”. The three other shoulders are all < 1/16” and can be smoothed over without adding any “wedges.” However, the big hump required a special “wedge-type” bushing. Here’s the design sketch showing the dimensional calculations. I decided on a ten-sided wedge. Using lumber yard “shims” provided 1.5” x 8” wedges with approximately a 20:1 slope. The 18 degree long-edges were made with a disk sander. My 10 wedges (as cut) were slightly small in width and I’ll need to close the gap with an eleventh cut-to-fit. I wrapped the mast with packaging tape and held the wedges close together and up against the shoulder — in two 5-wedge half-rounds, slightly separated — and all held together with a pair of Velcro 1/4’ ties. Then I applied a little neat epoxy along each joint (not touching the Velcro). Using a knife, the epoxy was seeped into the joints along with some slightly thickened epoxy. The two half-round sloping bushings, along with the eleventh wedge, will be glued to the mast (roughened with 80 grit). Slight glueing pressure will be applied with the Velcro ties lined with packaging tape. Here’s a photo showing the bushing up near the shoulder that will be covered. This photo shows the assembly dry-fitted before glueing. The sailmakers will have Seabiscuit’s sail ready by July 9. Then trials in the driveway and on the water. Report will be posted.
  16. To attach the topping lift lead (or anything) to the zipper-pull requires the solo skipper to move to the fwd cockpit — which is a very unstable position (risking a capsize). I’m insisting that a solo sailor must be able to easily and quickly lower the sail. When I was learning to sail a dory style small boat with a cat rig (at YMCA Camp Letts 73 yrs ago) we could do that in seconds just by releasing the halyard. Its cleat was within reach from the helm. I suppose the crew could attach the topping lift to the zipper-pull before leaving the dock. But there is an easier way to assist the un-zipping. I’ll do a separate post for that, but here’s a hint: a kind’ah un-obtrusive splitter. The Velcro hoops might be OK, but I’m concerned that hoops (wood or Velcro) might hang up on the two slight humps (1/16”) caused by the stopper bushings on the mast. The lacing I’m thinking of will pass those humps at nice angle and maybe with less chance of hanging up. Here’s a pix of lacing styles: I’ll probably use one like this: Seabiscuit and I have an appointment Tuesday with a sailmaker. I too like furling a sail up on the mast — especially one with a sprit boom within its sail. But for a Spindrift 10 it would require the sailor to be too far forward.
  17. I haven’t tried raising the sail while on-the-water, only by standing alongside the trailer in the driveway. In either case, raising a zippered sleeved sail is a three-hand operation — two for hand-over-hand on the halyard and a third hand on the zipper-pull. If it’s done solo it can’t be smooth and continuous. Here’s my fix to make it a two-handed and continuous action — a “zipper pull” rig: This is the head of the sail showing the sleeve snapped around the mast and the zipper engaged (the first inch or two) with the pull-line snapped onto the zipper-pull. Notice another 1/8” line within the sleeve — that’s a failed attempt to rig something to pull the sail down (from the aft cockpit). This is the other end of the pull line belayed to the mast partner. Showing the pull line in action. The sail is about a third raised. When the sail is fully raised, the pull line remains clipped to the zipper-pull while sailing. That keeps the zipper from opening even though the lower around-the-mast strap is left not-engaged. Note that if it were snapped closed, the crew would have to move to the fwd cockpit to open it before lowering the sail. The concept’s proof is tentative — needs improvement. I have installed a second pulley at the masthead for a topping lift. Also, as an alternate way to support the mast, I made a folding crutch that is easily stowed. Both need the downward pull of the sheet for stability. The high position is to have the boom above a rower’s head. The folding crutch has another “pivot point,” providing a lower boom position. For a solo crew on a small (narrow beamed) dinghy, a sleeved luff is just too problematic. A lug rig would work with no problems raising or lowering the sail. However, with the sail that I have, I’m going to investigate whether its luff can be modified for lacing it to the mast. And if so, easily lowered. I know a laced luff on a Catboat lowers nicely, but it has the gaff’s yard as weight pushing the sail down. Will a triangular sail come down as well? Maybe. Or with some kind of help? A light-weight bungee at the top 1/3 of the triangle? We’ll see. Maybe?
  18. PROBLEM with sail that can’t be lowered while under way !! I’ve tried to sail Seabiscuit three times this spring — twice from ramps at marinas and once off a beach. A small dinghy with a zippered luff — sailing from a marina ramp is often nearly impossible. The first try was successful, but very difficult. With the sail raised and a light wind I managed to paddle away from the ramp and out thru the boat slips to open water, then stow the paddle and sail, sail, sail, …. But returning to the ramp could only be done after the wind dropped. A week later at another marina’s ramp it was judged impossible because of the wind and layout of the docks. Of course rowing or paddling with sail not raised is not a problem. And once clear of the docks I could raise the sail from the aft cockpit. That’s because I’ve rigged a 1/8” line (belayed to the mast partner) with other end belayed to the zipper-pull — so that as the halyard pulls the sail head up, the zipper-pull stays put and the zipper closes. Works pretty good (but needs improvement). However, I haven’t figured out how to lower the sail from the aft cockpit. Note — moving to the fwd cockpit is very unstable when sailing solo in a small dinghy. Except where there’s a breeze with a strong on-shore [component], launching off a beech isn’t much of a problem. But few ramps are next to beeches. Also, launching from a “mother” yacht shouldn’t be too much of a problem. But for the ramps available to me — a sail with a sleeved luff that can’t be easily lowered while on the water is just unacceptable. Even a safety issue. BUT I THINK I HAVE A SOLUTION —!! TRY THIS … Shouldn’t I be able to un-stich and remove the zipper and modify the luff to have properly sized and spaced cringels and then bend the sail to the mast with lacing? And the edges of the two “stopper” bushings [on the mast] could be smooth out so they wouldn’t snag the lacing. On my old Whitholtz 17 Catboat the original loops gave out — and instead of replacing them, I used lacing. The mast was of tapered “spun” aluminum — and the sail always came down easily. Even more reliably than with loops. Apparently when the halyard tension is eased, slack [in the lacing] immediately progresses from the head downward. And a sail bent to a mast with lacing has nearly the same aerodynamic qualities as a sleeved one. Comments and suggestions are welcome.
  19. Following Don’s lead, I’ve relocated oar stowage from the bottom of the boat to the long corner formed by the sides of the longitudinal flotation (seat sides) and the boat’s bottom. A much more useful location — and it’s almost totally out-of-the-way of otherwise useful space. It was a fairly easy modification. I was able to use the same hold-down brackets used for the original oar stowage location. From this photo you can see the starboard side bracket is too long. The new length was determined by removing the bracket, placing the “bu#iness” end on the oar (in its new location) and then rubbing the (other) end over the head of the (axis) carriage bolt head — and with a piece of carbon paper [inserted], the rubbing left an arc on the underside of the bracket. The arc was measured to be 27/64” from the center of the original hole. Keeping the same profile, the business end was trimmed by that amount. With the shortened bracket installed, the oar is held snugly against the cockpit bottom and side corner. Port side . . The forward end fits nicely into the corner aft of Blkh #1 (below photo). To prevent the oar’s handle from chafing the boat’s interior, I’ll fabricate a small chock for the handle. The blade end may not need a chock because its forward side is nearly flat fitting against the slightly concave cockpit #ide.. We’ll see. Thank you Don.
  20. Because I didn’t think of it !!! I just looked it over and tried a hand-held dry fit. With the scooped blades — their forward (concave) sides fit real nice against the seat sides. Probably a better arrangement. Not on the floor of either cockpit and some foot purchase for hiking. Without some latching or “snap-in” mechanism — not as secure (from floating away in a tip-over) as my present arrangement. I’ll probably do it and have it both ways. But not until I’m in the mood to again messabout the boat. Right now — I just want to sail her. Thank you Don.
  21. This subject was discussed early in my building of Chessie. I can’t find it now, but it my post was on the leaderboard. I had complained that I’d been unable to find an insurer after inquiring with typical home and auto agent — and had given up. Later, I tried again at BoatUS. Their agent informed me about typical boat insurance. It is available for home-builts. And often homeowners and umbrella policies don’t cover the liabilities unique to watercraft use. And a very big difference is the property damage payout [your own boat] is on a “declared value” basis, not “fair market value.” That avoids big arguments about depreciation and value. To be sure, in order for my “declared value” to be accepted, I had to provide a lot of design info and photos of the build and finished product. The coverage was for both boat, trailer, and equipment. My declared value for Chessie and trailer was about $16,000 — a little over what I managed to sell her for. After checking with my umbrella agent, I got liability coverage to the limit required by the umbrella insurer. The liability and property damage policy cost me about $300/year. When selling her, the BoatUS agent cooperated with transferring (or reinsuring with new owner) so that there wouldn’t be “an insurance gap.” To get their insurance you need to be a BoatUS member (~$50/yr) for which there are some benefits like a towing discount, West Marine gold card discounts, and subscription to their magazine which has good safety and maintenance tips that you’d expect from an insurer. Also, often other interesting articles. PS — Note that liabilities unique to watercraft (and perhaps not covered by homeowners or other insurance) could be high. Consider owner/skipper allowing novice to sail in rough conditions, crew injured or killed on sailing under small craft warnings, or just defending a claim of liability in a collision involving a death. Yes, rare. But that’s what insurance is for — and piece-of-mind that should a rarity occur, it might not ruin you.
  22. ATTENTION Spindrift BUILDERS . . There are four mast locations that are critical for proper sail bending and sail adjustments (when) sailing. These you have control of during construction — and a fifth dimension (the distance between the tac and head cringles on the sail’s luff) that the sailmaker establishes from the sail plan. The four are: The two stopper bushings, the gooseneck, and the halyard pulley at the masthead. If the sum of the distances between them (on the assembled mast) is too short, then the skipper will not be able to properly tension the sail’s luff. on Seabiscuit that sum was enough so that only a slight tension could be set when the sail was raised to its maximum. In order to have the control I wanted, I needed the halyard pulley to be higher (but not by much.). So I fabricated an extension plug that raised the masthead pulley by 1.5”. Here’s are a couple of photos. This pulley arrangement is an alternative to a cheek block at the head of the smallest mast section — which would prevent “nesting” of that section into the middle section of the mast assembly. See builder’s post of October 14, 2020, on page 2 of this build.
  23. I’ve had success with Southern White Pine. It has a good strength to weight ratio, but fairly expensive for clear pieces. A few knots are tolerable, which can be drilled out with a hole cutter saw and then plugged. Also Douglas Fir — available at Home Depot in large widths (2 x 10s or larger in long lengths).
  24. The building of Seabiscuit is now complete. Here she is in her best red, white, green and gray livery: The mast, boom, sail, and rigging lines are in the red Sunbrella cover. Seabiscuit has registered to enter the Triton 3 (mile) race on May 22 at the Big Little Boat Festival being hosted by Chesapeake Light Craft. https://www.clcboats.com/boatbuilding_classes/700.html There are three other races: A 1 mile for beginners, an 8 mile, and a 20 mile. We will do our best and report on our performance. Wish us luck!
  25. Don and Dave,... I have a cedar strip canoe that I made in 2003 — and it’s covered with FG, then about 4 coats of UV blocking varnish. Still looks good, but then it’s not often used and it’s always been stowed in a garage.
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