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Everything posted by Aphers

  1. I've had another look at the gunwales (hard to see under the fendering) and they have delaminated. There's also damage right at the nesting bulkhead. Not looking good.
  2. It's hard to get a good look at it just now, especially with a camera in one hand. I'm going to get a better look tomorrow. If the gunwale has been damaged then yes this could be a big job.
  3. Well it had to happen some day. We got bumped by a large motorboat this afternoon, and it hit our Spindrift which, in the davits, was just at the right (or wrong?) height. I'm still out at anchor and the dinghy is still in the davits, so it's not very easy to see the damage in full. But first impression is that the starboard side, which was facing aft and was hit, seems fine. The port side has some serious cracks where it was pressed up against the davits. Up front, the ply has split from gunwale down to the chine, right at the forward bulkhead. At the stern, it has split from a point about half way along the locker/seat, running forward and then down the front edge of the same. It sounded horrific, and all happened very quickly. I actually jumped on to the offending motorboat and ran straight up his windscreen, screaming at him. That finally got his attention. Anyway, I am cautiously optimistic that it is repairable. My thinking is to use glass tape and epoxy, much as I did when I joined the sheets of plywood at the start of the build. Questions: - should I glass the outside of the repair (the boat is not sheathed)? - what weight of cloth, how many layers, what area to cover? - should I try to rejoin the split ply exactly as it is (epoxy plus clamps etc) or should I clean up the damage line and then refill with thickened epoxy? We both have insurance but having looked at the damage, the other skipper would prefer to just pay me for the materials, and find me a place to do the work. I'll also need him to supply me with a dinghy to use in the meantime. If he's generous enough and doesn't argue then I'm inclined to accept the offer. If I could get some professional advice on how to proceed that would certainly be very helpful. Anyway I'm off for a beer now...
  4. Yes I was forgetting that the stock mast was aluminium! Perhaps not so difficult to source after all. The mast I'm currently using is a rather strange design. It's from Needlespars, and has a tapered upper, with the lower portion made of separate sections, permanently joined by internal sleeves. I think it has a pretty thick wall, plus the sleeves, which explains the weight. This design made it relatively straightforward to do a 'cut and shut'. I chopped it in half at a 45 degree angle just above a sleeved section, then very carefully removed the outer section only for a few inches (took a very steady hand with the grinder!). So the existing sleeve became the joining piece. I cut at an angle to ensure that the mast track, which is riveted on, lines up. It works really well when I'm sailing, it's just not that practical in a choppy anchorage to get the rig up and down. In my defence I was out of time and money. I now have a bit more of both, but very limited facilities...
  5. Thanks, lots of interesting options there. What I had in mind for a pivoting mast is to just lash it in place to prevent it from being able to move back. Would need a strong point further forward, e.g. on the bow knee or the fillet below it, which would find other uses too I'm sure. I'm very daunted by the idea of cutting a chunk out of the foredeck so not going to rush in to anything. A tube is a very interesting idea, I would never have thought of that. I've sailed dipping lugs before, very practical rig in certain ways, very cumbersome in others! A balanced or standing lug could be interesting. I do think a gunter would allow the sail plan to remain reasonably faithful to the design. Of course modifying sails will not be easy for me given my limited access to equipment.
  6. Maybe not. But I'm not even sure where to buy the right kind of wood (this was hard enough back home- I ended up getting it from 700 miles away). No car or postal address doesn't help either. How much lighter would a wooden mast be, if any? At least it would be much less of an inversion risk if I did capsize...
  7. I've been really enjoying sailing my S11N. It's not built exactly to plan, I modified some parts from other dinghies to cut costs and build time. The mast is from an OK, and seems quite heavy at around 7kg. The sail is from a 420 which does seem like a good fit. And the boom is an old length of broken dinghy mast with fittings added. I've found that in stronger conditions my limitation is not wind strength for sailing, but sea conditions for rigging and de-rigging. Last time I was out I really thought I was going to lose my grip on the mast as I unstepped it, which would likely have destroyed the foredeck due to the leverage. Not good! So I'm trying to think of a way of tackling this problem. Some options might be: a) convert to a tabernacle arrangement. It would be easier to lower the mast slowly than to have to lift it right out. But will that compromise strength at the partners? b) get a lighter rig? E.g. from a laser. Would that be light enough to remain stable with the boat afloat? It would at least be easier to unstep. c) something more radical like a gunter rig. Yes it's probably more weight aloft whilst sailing, but I think with the yard, sail, and boom down the much shorter mast would be far easier to handle. Ideally it would make the boat stable enough to leave afloat with the mast in place. I'd be very interested to hear what people think might work best, and especially any similar projects that people have already done. I'm living on my yacht now, using the Spindrift as my tender, so I have very limited access to workshop facilities etc. My best bet is to keep my ear to the ground as I travel, and hopefully pick up useful stuff as I go, e.g. from dinghy schools. Cheers
  8. Thanks. That is very light compared to mine. There's a dinghy and windsurfing centre near here, I might make some enquiries about bits of old spars.
  9. Hi Joe Just wondering if you'd had a chance to weigh up your mast?
  10. Update: mast step now in place, daggerboard properly shaped so it goes all the way down, and we've had a few more sails, reefs shaken out. Two adults and a child fitted quite comfortably. I'm getting more confident about the mast. I still wouldn't fancy stepping it when there's much of a chop but the more I handle it the less I worry about it. I've also tested out the boat's stability and I can put almost my full weight on the gunwhale, mast up, without her capsizing. Still no pictures of her under sail- we've been having too much fun ?
  11. A full year after I finished major work on my Spindrift, I finally had her out under sail last night! We've been using her as a tender since we moved aboard our yacht last July and it's been surprisingly hard to find the time to put together the last few bits and pieces for the sailing rig. I did a quick little row around with just the mast up, to get a feel for the stability, then a very short lap around the yacht, before stopping to pick up my 6yr old and go for a slightly longer spin. Very very light winds and with the sail well reefed down, still pretty quick and certainly exciting enough for the first go. Took a few precautions- oars bungeed down, any miscellaneous junk removed, and a big bucket taken along for easier bailing in case of capsize! I have a few modifications to make. Firstly, I don't actually have a mast step in place yet- I was so impatient to get going that I just wedged the heel of the mast in to an old shoe and then lashed the mast very firmly in place. Which actually worked until we turned downwind, and the mast wanted to start pivoting forward. Got away with it but it was a bit silly really, I would not recommend it! Secondly, the daggerboard does not go all the way down- I think it should go until the cap is flush with the top of the trunking? I had about a foot sticking out so was making a bit more leeway than normal. A wee bit of sanding and it'll be good to go. Third- I don't have any toe straps yet. Do most people fit something? It seems strange to sail a dinghy without them. I have plenty of places to attached them- my dinghy has a pair of eyes for davit lifting point, and I used eye bolts instead of wing nuts on the nesting bulkhead, so I am thinking of stringing some strapping between these. Fourthly, my rig as a whole is a bit of a mess. It's a Frankenrig. The mast is from an OK, slightly cut down, the sail is from a 420, but is in very poor shape and best used with both reefs set. The boom is an old section of broken dinghy mast. I do at least have a proper gooseneck. The mast seems very heavy and hard to handle. It's 6.06m long (just shy of 20ft) and weighs at least 8kg (my scales only go up to 5kg- the top half is 2.8kg and the bottom half is 5kg+). Stepping it I found very tricky, perhaps because I'm quite short. It would have been impossible to do afloat if there had been any sort of chop. I think a gunter or lug rig would have a lot to commend it- a nice short mast to step, and a sail that you can drop in a second. But as I am away cruising I am very very limited in what I can buy and make, and will just have to improvise. Does my existing mast sound about right, or too big and heavy?
  12. Fantastic, fair winds for the maiden voyage!
  13. On my Spindrift I'm using some PVC extrusion which I found in the hardware store- the channel section happened to bea perfect fit on the keel. It's just epoxied in place, with one screw at the forward end where it wanted to lift. It was very very cheap and adds almost no weight, but it won't take much abuse. But even if it does fail, there's now a layer of thickened epoxy underneath so I'm not too worried. I try not to drag the boat about anyway.
  14. I wasn't able to find any fire hose, having asked the only firefighter I know. The PVC looks less neat, but will provide a bit more protection as it has a bit of 'give' in it. I expect it will eventually succumb to UV damage, so maybe a cover for the boat will be a good idea. It's hard to see the PVC in the photo, but the pool noodles are much more visible. Not a thing of beauty but they are extremely practical. Had a wee outing today to the beach, first time in a few weeks that the dinghy's been in the water. I'd forgotten how nice it is to row! I recently changed the rowlocks for a better set, same basic idea (captive, galvanized) but these fit the oars much better. Got them from Toplicht.de for a very reasonable price.
  15. Time to update this. I've tried adding 3" pool noodles as fenders. Two noodles each side, with a strap running through them and cinched up tight. I fitted eyes specifically for the job. I bought some heavy duty PVC layflat hose to sleeve over it, but it is really heavy and I've decided not to fit it. Even with no other support, the noodles work pretty well- there's a tiny bit of sagging at the bow. They add almost no weight, and are very cheap to replace if and when they get chewed up. At the bow itself, I spent the money on a proper vee-shaped fender. The bow fender and pool noodles sit snugly under the gunwhale, but the big problem with them is that due to the geometry of everything they often don't provide enough protection. The gunwhale only sticks out one inch, and the noodles are 3", but despite this a combination of the inward slant of the dinghy hull, the shape of the yacht's hull, and the dinghy heeling over, means that it's almost inevitable that the wooden gunwhale still hits the yacht. The other thing I realised was that I wanted protection on the upper face of the gunwhale. When launching/recovering from the deck of the yacht, it's very hard to avoid making contact and scraping the dinghy down the side of the yacht. So I'm adding another type of fendering, more conventional. Split PVC food grade hose wrapped around the gunwhale. I'm fixing it in place with small stainless screws and washers. It doesn't look as good as I would like but it's robust and very practical.
  16. One thing I would say about the build process is that there are a few places in which the exact order that you do things doesn't matter. E.g. I left building the interior (seats, daggerboard casing) until after I had sawn the boat in half. That way, I could fine tune to ensure the two halves nested properly. Also with the materials, I struggled to source quality timber for the larger pieces like the thwart. But in practise you have some leeway on these. With epoxy, you can use silica most of the time but imho microfibres are superior, easier to mix and I think probably stronger. Microbaloons are great for fairing, easier to sand and often can be applied to give a lovely smooth finish with no sanding required at all. I went for an almost entirely painted finish. This meant that I was not shy about using drywall screws to tack things together, because I could easily fill the resulting holes and paint over them. You can't do that with a bright finish. Finally, clamps, clamps, and more clamps. I ended up making several from scrap wood, and even used shifters, mole grips, etc. Enjoy- it's a very satisfying project, and I now use my 11N as my daily dinghy (I live on a yacht)- I get a lot of admiring comments from other yachties.
  17. Many years ago I was given a set of very nice lightweight oars from a skiff. They belonged to a neighbour's husband and were passed on to me when he died. I later lent them to another friend until he sadly passed away and they have come back to me. At 7' long they are a very nice fit for my Spindrift 11N. But the existing collars are in the wrong place and I will need to move them. There is some damage to the wood already, and I will be sliding the collars down over this. What's the best way to treat/protect the wood before I cover it with the collars? I could use epoxy but would that trap moisture inside the wood? Traditional varnish? Oil? Or stop worrying about it and just move the (plastic/rubber) collars?
  18. I built an 11N and am now using it as my tender. I went for the biggest boat that could practically fit on the foredeck. Once launched, it is great. We've carried two adults and a child, with three bicycles and shopping, and still had ample room to spare. It's more stable than a smaller boat, it glides along beautifully under oars, and I don't think it cost any more to build than a smaller version, or took appreciably longer. But despite all of that, I wish I had built the 10 instead. Launching, recovering, and manhandling on the beach are just too much effort. We can manage it, but the whole time I am thinking to myself that the pieces of the boat are too large and heavy. And I am sure that the 10 would have been large enough for our needs as a tender.
  19. Very interesting learning experience. At least you'll have a robust boat that can't rot. That was one of the attractions of composites for me, but cost and lack of experience/skills swung it the other way.
  20. Nice find! I see you're missing the knees, is the keel there? Hard to tell from the photos.
  21. Tried out the two stroke today, we were cruising along at 5.5kt in flat water with two adults and a child, plus three bicycles. Trips like that make me glad we went for the 11!
  22. I promised to report back, so here we are. In amongst several other very large projects the Spindrift didn't get a look in. It's still missing the rig and foils, keel band, and fendering. I've also not done anything about lifting eyes or locking the thwart in place. Nevertheless, on the 1st of August I launched the dinghy and took it for a short row. Wow, does it not row beautifully! The forward ends of the aft tanks make reasonable foot braces, and the 7'6" oars I am using are a little "high geared" but she doesn't half shift. I've got no centreboard case cap yet so a fair bit of water splashes up, and also my secondhand self bailers may be leaking. It's either that or the bolts in the bulkhead, but she does take on a fair bit of water. Anyway, at the end of that very short row I stowed the boat on the foredeck of my yacht, and over the next three weeks sailed from Scotland to Spain. I finally launched the dinghy again a couple of days ago to start using it as my tender. I've used it under oar power and with a small trolling motor. Will try out the 3.5hp 2T tomorrow for the first time. I really ought to have finished all the little jobs that are left, but I got impatient. Hopefully I won't cause too much damage in the mean time. There will be plenty of time over the winter to do it.
  23. I learned to sail on lug sail boats. However these were dipping lugs, with only a single yard at the top of the mast. A very practical rig for a working boat- all spars are shorter than the boat, no standing rig. Historically used for fishing boats; once you reached the fishing grounds, you could drop and stow the sail/yard, and had a lovely clean working platform. Minimum materials needed to build. The downside is that it's impossible to sail this rig singlehanded, and on the larger boats putting in a tack takes a good couple of minutes. But the teamwork needed to do this is all part of the fun.
  24. My 11 hasn't got wet yet, but a part of me wishes I had gone for the 10. By the time I'd finished building it, it just felt enormous. I am using it to replace a 3.1m RIB and now that I've seen the 11 in the flesh I realise how much bigger it will be than my old dinghy. No space lost to tubes, transom right at the back. On paper it's very easy to go up a size. It's the same number of sheets of ply, the extra weight is marginal, I can't imagine there is any appreciable difference in build time or cost. When making the decision, be wary of other people's experiences. I was swayed by a blog from a couple (Matt and Amy, Sailing Florence) who said their 9 was a bit small. Since we also have a child sailing with us, I decided it would be prudent to go up not one but two sizes. I later discovered that Matt and Amy are both much, much taller than we are! So the 10 might have been fine. I'll report back in a couple of weeks when I finally launch... and when I first try to stow it on deck...
  25. Sorry to hear that you lost the boat. She looked lovely. Funnily enough the only bit of my 11N that I haven't built yet is the daggerboard. I do have a sail but it's from an old club dinghy and it's pretty beaten up. So I would absolutely find a use for the parts you have... the downside being I'm over in Scotland and for the board especially it might not be economical to get it shipped here.
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