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Aphers last won the day on July 12

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  1. Ah so I haven't built this as strongly as I should have originally. Seems like a good chance to do something about that.
  2. A few weeks we were motoring our Spindrift 11N through some chop and came off a wave with quite a bang. I thought I might have heard a bit of a crack. Sure enough a few days later I spotted a hairline crack in the paint. It's at the nesting bulkhead- stern section, port side, at the top bolt hole. I've finally found a chance to take the dingy out of use for a few days and get it on deck and in two sections. Good news is it really is just a hairline crack. I've sanded down to bare wood and it's hopefully visible in the photo. There's no sign of movement or any gap trying to open up. I suspect it only goes through one or two layers of the plywood. What's the best approach to fixing this? I was thinking of sanding back enough of the ply to get depth to apply a layer of light glass cloth. But I'm worried about adding any extra thickness and interfering with the bulkhead joint. What about using a dremel to chase out the crack and open it up, then neat epoxy followed by micro fibres? That would certainly be a lot easier. Easiest of all, of course, would to just saturate the whole area with neat epoxy. Any thoughts appreciated- I'd like to get the boat back in the water in a couple of days if possible.
  3. Maybe those inflatables are for fendering? Could be a great idea if you need that.
  4. Standard is M6 bolts, optionally with wing nuts. I upped mine to M8 (paranoia!) and use eye nuts/bolts, which gives me extra places to tie things on. Are the foils there?
  5. Mine are 7'6" which seems pretty good. I think the ideal length depends on how loaded the dinghy is. When we're three up plus shopping the 7'6" oars feel a bit too high geared, but on my own they're great and I can really make the dinghy fly.
  6. Repairability is certainly a big advantage- and I'm hugely grateful to you for your help and advice at a time when most people were telling me to walk away. Incidentally, I've just been helping another cruiser attempt to repair his RIB. It's a Highfield, which are a top brand, made of Hypalon, which is the best available material, and has always been protected from UV by canvas chaps. It's only eight years old. Despite all of this, it is simply disintegrating at the seams. The repair did not work and I think the RIB is destined for scrap. My Spindrift cost about a fifth the price of that RIB and I expect it to last much, much longer...
  7. No I'm afraid not- keeping a boat running, learning to live on a budget in foreign countries, home schooling a small child... I don't know where we'd fit in much else! The only YouTubers I'm aware of who have a Spindrift are Sailing Florence, who have the 9N. We might not have heard of the design without them.
  8. In a few days time it will be two years since we moved on to our yacht full time and began using our S11N as our daily driver. I thought it might be useful to report back on real world experience with the boat. We've cruised from Scotland down to the Med, across the Atlantic, and now we're in the Caribbean. In those two years, we've only had around 100 nights in marinas, so the dinghy has had a lot of use. We do carry a spare dinghy, a tiny round-tail Avon inflatable, but have only used that a handful of times, e.g. in Cape Verde where it didn't seem worth assembling the Spindrift. Overall, it's been a really positive experience and we're delighted with the Spindrift. I must admit I was a little sceptical, thinking that everybody else would have a big RIB with a 15hp. Which they mostly do. But in practice it doesn't make much difference. They may get to shore five minutes faster than me, but then they're stuck with a dinghy that's too heavy to carry up the beach. Compared to a RIB, our carrying capacity is enormous. We can easily take six people plus cargo and still have loads of room to spare. The downsides are things I can live with. There is a bit of ongoing maintenance covering the inevitable scrapes and chips with epoxy and two pack paint. I generally use a stern anchor at the dinghy dock, a complication which inflatables rarely need. We are definitely slower than the RIBs, but faster than those with comparable sized engines. Average about 5.5kt loaded, with a 3hp, and another knot with just one person aboard. The ability to actually row is amazing. I would go as far as to say it makes the Spindrift safer than RIBs. Some of the centre console boats cannot physically be rowed at all, so if your single engine cuts out, you'd better hope there's somebody around to offer a tow. In hindsight I think the 10 would have suited us a little better. Still plenty big enough but a little easier to get on and off the deck. I've made a few modifications which I thought might be of interest: I used split PVC hose to fender the gunwales, then added 4" thick pool noodles below that. It looks scrappy but it does wonders for protection, and adds useful buoyancy and stability. I used eye, rather than wing, nuts and bolts at the nesting bulkhead. This gives plenty of places to tie things to, e.g. a midships line when lying across the stern of the yacht. I added bilge runners on the aft half of the hull, which stiffen the floor, provide protection when beaching, and gave me a good strong location for davit eyes. These are made from folding pad eyes with coach bolts fitted from underneath, through stainless backing plates. Much better to have the smooth domed head showing, rather than a nut. The forward davit eye I made differently. This is made using a u-bolt, and the exposed nuts on the underside of the keel were then buried in thickened epoxy, forming a protective bumper built up on top of the keel. The idea is that this will take groundings without exposing any wood. Finally, I added a lock for the oars. This can be used with a small padlock, or just to stow the oars when sailing to keep them out of the way and safe in case of capsize. It's an aluminium double hook design, and goes through a hole in the rowing seat, then through an aluminium angle bracket on the forward side of the nesting bulkhead. A bungee holds it down, allowing one-handed instant unlocking of the oars. Anyway I hope some of that is useful for anybody contemplating using a Spindrift as a daily tender.
  9. Just by way of update: I've found a slightly different way of rigging and de-rigging. With the Spindrift tied across the stern of the yacht, the lower half of the mast comes to about my shoulder height. I can pull it towards me, tipping the Spindrift over slightly, and then add the top half. Sounds awkward but it's far easier than trying to handle the mast in one piece. And I usually have a helper available. With this method I can rig and de-rig in much choppier conditions. It's been a bit of a game changer. Secondly, I was recently given an old windsurf rig. It's only 5.5m² and obviously the sail is the wrong shape really, but I've tried it out just for a laugh and it's got my 7yr old hooked. He loves how safe it feels- the boom is way up above his head, the load on the sheet is tiny, and the boat feels more stable with reduced weight aloft. It's been great for building his confidence and he's now happy to take the sheet and helm, and is learning rapidly. The other big advantage is that I can either leave the boat rigged, or lift the mast out in a few seconds very easily. This makes quick trips to visit other boats much more practical. It looks kind of silly and we can't go upwind anything like as well as the proper rig, but since the windsurf gear was destined for the skip I thought I would give it a try. And it's been a lot of fun
  10. I did a deliberate capsize the other day, and righted the boat without using the board at all. I was really surprised how easy it was and it meant I could keep my weight right aft where there is more buoyancy. As a result the bow section scooped up a lot less water than on the previous capsizes. I'm glad that the accidental capsize happened- I'm much more confident about the boat's behaviour and stability now. In fact I've started using it as a way of cleaning the boat when it gets sandy after a trip to the beach. And my 7yr old lives playing underneath the upturned hull
  11. I've been enjoying exploring some shallow inlets in my Spindrift, and wondering if I could add a depth sounder in some way. I feel that the daggerboard is a bit vulnerable to a grounding and in some places the water is not clear enough to see the bottom. I think a simple sounder would make messing about in shallow places much more fun. I don't want to reinvent the wheel so has anybody in here already done this? I can see three options: - a self contained handheld unit, which my crew could operate. I don't think this would work at high speed and doesn't give a continuous reading. Also pretty useless when single handing unless I stop every time I want to check the depth. - a battery operated unit with a transom mounted transducer. These mostly seem to be fish finders. Not sure how well these function as a pure sounder. And how well does a transom mounted transducer cope with the boat's wake? - a proper built in unit with separate power supply. This option might work if I had a small 12v battery aboard to power nav lights as well, but that's starting to sound like a bigger project and potentially a lot of work. Ideally, I'd want to fit the display on the forward bulkhead, but that's not ideal if I use a transom mounted transducer. And I don't think a through-hull transducer would work up in the bow section due to the vee shape. And would it work through plywood anyway?
  12. Thanks as always. I'd already pretty much come to the conclusion that floor buoyancy wasn't going to work. Just had to see how the boat behaved when partially swamped. Next time I'll try to keep my weight aft if possible during recovery. Proper built in lateral tanks look like a great idea, obviously it's adding a little weight. Maybe a job for the end of the season. It's hard to make modifications like that when I need to use the dinghy every day. As a temporary measure I'm going to install a couple of lashing points on the forward bulkhead, low down in the corner at the chine, then use these plus the eye bolts at the nesting bulkhead to secure buoyancy bags or fenders. I might do something similar in the stern section too, with the aim of getting the boat to float a little higher when capsized. Obviously those would have to be removed for nesting.
  13. I've done another couple of capsize tests today, this time with the mast on. My mast has a sealed top so it has enough buoyancy to prevent inversion, and I was able to swim round and right her. I think for stability I might be best to go with lateral tanks. Seeing the free surface effect in action was... interesting. A raised floor might help reduce the amount of water taken on, but it's not going to make the boat any more stable once righted.
  14. A little update on this. As a temporary measure I've lashed down two fenders as low and forward as possible in the bow. I used the mast step and eye nuts on the nesting bulkhead as strong points. Next I deliberately capsized the boat. It took a surprising amount of effort. I turned her through a complete circle when righting so she was as full as possible. This time the bow section had much less water in it. Instead of the centreboard casing being awash, there's around 5" of freeboard. So the fenders are a useful precaution. Now I need to think about a permanent solution. Side buoyancy as @Starboardbuilt looks very good indeed. I hope he reports back at some point on its effectiveness. Another thought I had was to make up a foam floor, encapsulated in glass. This could serve several purposes: it would add buoyancy low down, and it would provide a dry, strong, flat floor which is easier to stand on and less susceptible to damage from anchors, bicycles etc. I'm thinking of making it a removable unit so that water cannot get trapped, but it could also be permanently installed. Obviously it would need to be shaped to give access to the self bailer, mast step, etc. Would there any negative effects upon stability with buoyancy at floor level vs the sides? Neither option is exactly a small job so for now I'll stick with the fenders and enjoy the sailing
  15. I painted my last yacht using International one pack paint. Outside. In Scotland. It looked pretty good but it's really only slightly less time and effort than two pack, for a coating that is considerably less tough and will last maybe a third as long. When I built my Spindrift I was working indoors so didn't have to worry about temperature or humidity. I chose two pack paint. Very pleased with it. The dinghy is standing up well to daily use as a tender. Touch-ups are obviously a little more work but you don't have to do it very often. The paint supplier said I could use it directly over epoxy without a primer. Personally I would never go back to one pack unless for some reason I couldn't guarantee decent working conditions.
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