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Steve W

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Everything posted by Steve W

  1. So I capsized and turtled Skeena this past summer. It's winter and she's snug in the shed safely for the winter so..... In an embarrassing display of poor seamanship, I did about everything you could do wrong and had my own private capsize camp. But I got lucky and other than losing my GPS and my son’s phone, swimming suit, towel and a little daypack he got at USA Nordic Nationals (I’m saddest most about that) we came away lucky and the boat is fine. This happened in June and I have been embarrassed to write about it, but what I learned and may help others. The most important part of the day was that there is nothing wrong with this design if you use what was designed into it. The day was forecast for light winds on all my apps. Trusting the forecast was the first mistake I made. It was really the first nice day after the ramp opened (COVID-19) and there was a long line of boats/trailers waiting in line. It’s a single file line, so while my son Teddy drove, I rigged the boat as he drove and had it all rigged by the time it was our turn. Except the reef lines, which would become mistake number two. The dock has only room for two boats in line and folks were impatient and after quickly parking the car, I launched. We hauled up the sails after a short motor and were having a great light wind sail with Teddy having most of the helm time. I noticed the wind had a few stronger than expected gusts and Teddy was playing the puffs perfectly. After an hour or so of sailing the wind built and I decided to put a reef in the main. Adding a reef was no easy task because I hadn’t rigged it and it was so hot, I didn’t want to stop sailing. If I had just dropped the sails, it would have taken a minute to rig. And instead of rigging one line I could have added all four. But really, I failed to do the obvious which was to fill the water ballast. I have replayed this over and over in my mind and it was just nothing short of a gigantic moment of stupidity. With the main with one reef she was sailing beautifully. After 15 more minutes or so, we were in deep water and during a tack we stalled and lost all our boat speed. Ted asked me take over, which I was happy to do. I pulled the the mainsheet to backwind and get us out of irons and as she was coming broad to the wind and waves I thought it might be time to reef more. The main wasn’t cleated, but the mizzen was sheeted hard as we’d been beating upwind just before. No sooner did I have those thoughts and I don’t think I’ve ever been over in a boat so fast. Did I mention not filling the water ballast tanks was just stupid? In replaying in my mind what happened, we had just tacked and didn’t have any boat speed. I had the main in my hand, and released it when the gust hit, but the mizzen was sheeted hard and without boat speed to steer we were goners, both of us spider-man-ing onto the sails. I was alert enough to try and swim out and grab the mast, thinking I may be able to hold it up with the buoyancy of my life jacket, but Skeena turtled fast. The next mistake was that I didn’t have the upper hatch board in. Anyway, in we went. My GPS was not tied down and it went to Davy Jone’s locker. The luckiest part of the day was we were in about 50’ of pretty warm fresh water. I took off my life jacket and the rig looked eerie down in the deep crystal clear water. A bunch of powerboats converged to help us and they grabbed a few things that had floated away. Teddy climbed up on the hull and couldn’t get the centerboard up. He was asking for a thin line so I handed him the trailing halyard line and he looped it under the board and pulled it up. He leaned way over and made progress tipping the boat a bit, so I climbed up and we just pulled, leaned and persuaded the boat back up. A couple of little kids on a tube came over and added their 90 pounds at best to our total. By now the wind was really whipping so I dove back in to un-cleat the halyards, and make sure nothing would get in the way so the sails wouldn’t knock us back in. The power boaters wanted to tow us to shallow water, but I knew that would spell disaster. We rolled it back up slowly and it was floating fine, but the cockpit was full and the cabin was full. My nice cushions were floating, as was a lot of gear, but I could see we hadn’t hurt the rigging and while everything was wet, we were out of danger. We thanked all who helped us and by know the county sheriff came to do their part in embarrassing us with sirens wailing and full lights justifying their existence. Teddy and I bailed the cabin with a three-gallon bucket. It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. All the while I’m just thinking what an idiot I had been. 13 years of sailing my Sea Pearl in way worse conditions and I’d never flipped WildCat. But I would always put in the water ballast. Just stupid. I flipped Thistles and 420's racing many times, and many others, but we had a crash boat and that’s racing. Anyway the Sheriff towed us to the ramp, lights and siren wailing. The wind had slowed right down, so when we got closed to the ramp they got on the bullhorn and were yelling at the boats at the ramp which was uncalled for. There was zero emergency. I unhooked the tow line without asking them. They looked super bummed, but we just paddled in with my SUP paddle as the wind was blowing us toward the ramp. FWIW, I’m thankful for their help but in any on water experiences with them I’m always amazed at their aggressive nature and lack of water experience. I got the boat on the trailer, de-rigged it and towed it home with all the berth and forward hatches full of water. It took a long time to pump and sponge all the water out. Noting got ruined, except the main downhaul line which was snapped in two. Not sure how that happened. I disconnected the solar panel and my depth sounder and I am happy to report they dried out and are all back working fine. Again, glad this didn’t happen in salt water. Drying out the cushions consisted of removing the foam, squeezing it until most of the water was gone, then putting it in the laundry room with a fan and a de-humidifier. The only damage to the boat was the Douglas fir top to the centerboard case split where the centerboard crashed into it. It split it’s entire length. I noticed Sailorman’s 17MK3 had the same damage. The glass was quite a bit smooshed so I had to pull the boat off the trailer, roll it on it’s side and coat and glass another 2 layers of glass on the underside of the top of the case after spreading the crack and injecting epoxy in. The sweet foam bumper Pete M gave me was cleaved right in two. This all happened on a Saturday. By the following Tuesday we had her and the little Suzuki dried and ready to go sailing, so my daughter Helen and I spent two days on Sodus bay. More on that later. Things I learned. 1. Put the water ballast in. All I had to do was hit a switch. I converted a small bilge pump into an effective bilge filling pump by having Teddy 3-D print a cap. It works awesome. Between the phone and my GPS this was a $1000+ mistake, but it could have been way worse. 2. Then reef. I should have rigged the lines in the parking lot. Since then I tied the lines to the sprit so having things rigged isn’t an option. I always rig all four. Tip: The bands girls wear in their hair around your sprits are awesome to tuck the reef lines into when reefed or not in use. 3. Sail a tight ship. I only had hinges on all my berth hatches. It’s a miracle I didn’t lose more stuff as all that gear was laying on the cabin top when it was underwater. They now have latches. 4. A CS has way more sail area than my Sea Pearl. I needed to be more respectful of that. The mizzen on my Sea Pearl just didn’t have that much power. And the narrow nature of my Sea Pearl kept the rudder in the water and even with water coming over the rails I could still steer. Just different designs. 5. I can see why the centerboard was moved forward in the revised plans. There isn’t a lot of weather helm on these early designs. I'm still not blaming the boat, just something to be wary of. 6. Sometimes bad luck combined with a mental lapse causes bad things. This all happened on Saturday and by Tuesday I was sailing again. I added the water ballast while I parked the car. I had mostly light winds the first day but it piped up the second and reefing was so easy when pre-rigged (Gee…..ya think?) . I added another down-haul to the main and it makes putting that first reef in really quick without having to move the reef hook. I’ve had the boat out on some crazy windy days since them. I can tell you it took a bit of time to trust my skills again, but the water ballast just flat out works. Don't try this yourself. Learn from my mistake.
  2. On of the things I learned at the B & B messabout was how to sail a Cat Ketch without the rudders. At the time I had a Sea Pearl 21 and started going long distances with the rudder up. I'd already been thinking about a pack canoe because Kayaks are a pain when there are portages involved like we have in the Adirondacks. If I can build a light canoe and a simple sail and beam reach or better across some of the small lakes I'll be happy. I'm going to talk to my boys this evening.....we may build a couple.
  3. My wife doesn't have the water gene. She gets motion sick and isn't a strong swimmer. I sail my CS20.3 by myself or with friends or my kids. She is super supportive, so while I've thought of great journeys with her, we wound up buying a camper, which she loves. And I get plenty of weeknds apart to sail in Skeena. When camping, I insist on getting water sites so I can "messabout" in the water and everyone is happy. Anyway, this last fall we camped at a State Park in the Adirondacks. I brought a couple of plastic kayaks we had in the family and we did some paddling, but these are totally inferior craft and when the wind blows, all I can think about is sailing. 40 years ago I built a sail rig for a 17 foot canoe with lee-boards and a rudder. I lived on the Hudson river and often sailed it from Dobbs Ferry to Tarrytown after work. It was fun, but the leeboard and rudder were a hassle to haul, attach and store. Then I saw this video: This got me thinking about an all around craft I could car top next to the kayak, paddle when the wind doesn't blow but scoot across the lake in a morning breeze. Not expedition sailing, but messing around sailing. This led me to all kinds of canoe/sail rigs. Skin on frame, Duck Punts, etc. Eventually I came back to the Moccasin 14. I've admired this boat for awhile. What would prevent me from sailing it like above. I'm thinking flotation bags or tanks and a simple small sail rig. If I couldn't sail it with the paddle like the video I'd just add a leeboard and use the pivot to steer. Thoughts?
  4. I agree to a point. For some, a small motor makes the Spindrift a dinghy to go longer distances. I have fished with mine and crossed the St Lawrence to go for dinner in Clayton from Grindstone Island when wind and currents made sailing or rowing not possible. As for the bigger boats, I look at auxiliary power as a crutch for the non-retired who have to work in finite windows of time. Sometimes I can't wait for the weather and a motor has got me back when otherwise I would have waited days for favorable wind. When I retire, and my weather windows get bigger, I expect to not use it much.
  5. This is true in theory. But if you go forward and the prop comes out of the water, your perfect setup suddenly isn't. It's probably not a problem on a boat like the 11N, but on my cs20.3, I had to get a long shaft after trials.
  6. I have an 11N built to spec. I put a short shaft on and it isn't long enough. I plan to cut the transom down a bit to make it work, but if I was buying new I'd go long. Here it is with a Honda 2 LS. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsGBPCLJ3OM
  7. Maybe I don't have my nomenclature right. The hull looks like teal, but the above that, which I've always referred to as the topside, has no color that I can see.
  8. Love the colors. What color are you painting the topside?
  9. "White Oak has a reputation of “letting go” of epoxy" I feel like this is not supported by any meaningful data. I've used quite a bit of white oak, epoxied to stuff over the years and have never had a failure. It is closed cell, but not particularly oily. I do take precautions and rough it good. Has anyone ever seen this?
  10. Congratulations! Is that a great feeling or what?
  11. I realized I'd never come back to show what I did for my trailer. My objective was to get as small and light a trailer as I could that would support Skeena safely and also allow her to fit in my garage with the door closed. After having hauled her to the Chesapeake once (8 hours) , Maine once (9.5 hours) and many local trips, I'm very happy with the rig. Keep in mind I sail locally in fresh water. Also, while an aluminum trailer is what I really wanted, they have been being stolen fro scrap and I leave mine for long periods. Probably overblown and there is the cheapness I inherited. I bought this trailer: Model JB1812. https://www.continentaltrailers.com/galvanized-bassboat_jonboat.htm I had a similar trailer for a Sea Pearl and I really liked it. I did jettison the bunk boards and put some 6" PT wide carpeted bunks, carefully positioning them so the centerboard slot is centered on the port one. This allows me to let the CB lay on the bunk. I cleat it loose in case the boat shifts but it hasn't happened. Also, before I put the carpet on, I glued some 3/8" closed cell foam to make the bunks gently cradle Skeena. From the front: The rollers are rally just there to keep the boat centered and don't have any weight on them. I did have a bit of trouble getting her centered when I retrieved off a gravel beach, so I added these guides. Because they are near the back where the boat is narrower, They are set a bit wide, but they get the job done. I trailer with the rudder on locally, but I put her in the truck bed for long trips. The motor rides right there. I have a nice lock on it. The strap is off as it blocks access to the seat lockers. Also notice I stole Graham's sprit cradle idea. It's brilliant. Anyway, every trailer is a compromise, but I can just barely get the boat into my 24' deep garage and close it. Yeah! Take Care, Steve
  12. Unfortunately the 20's widest spot is midships. So on Skeena's trailer I have set as shown. The good news is I have it in my head how far the gap should be to keep them distanced.
  13. Love to hear your assessment of the Scamp. I have a friend that wants to build a boat and I'm trying to talk him into building a CS15 (his garage is small) instead.
  14. Looks good. I'd be sure to cut the washers and ends of the bolts off. The boat will find any sharp thing. ? I'll be curious to see how getting the boat centered works when retrieving when you can't get the boat along a dock. A few of my favorite ramps are just gravel slopes as they eliminates the impatient jerks and as such are little used. With all the wind-age on a 20' boat it's hard to keep her aligned on retrieval without wading in. I did add some bunk guides to the back of the trailer to get Skeena centered, but I dunk my trailer (I'm in fresh water 95% of the time) and can't always see if it's centered when I'm not in super clear water. I'll be curious to see how getting the boat centered works. Once I get towards retirement salt water will be calling and if the goal is not to get the trailer in the water this looks like a good investment. Take Care, Steve
  15. I used White Oak for the keel strip on Suzy J, my Spindrift 11N. I haven't used her heavily, but she has been beached enough the epoxy and paint coating has been compromised. White Oak, being closed cell has held up. The closed cell properties can make gluing reliably difficult they say, but I've not experienced this. As a precaution, I took a cheap harbor freight saw blade and knocked a tooth out to make a really rough cut on the glued edge. I did not use any fasteners but I did glue it down while the cloth was not fully cured. I did the exact same thing on Skeena, my Core Sound 20.3. The only thing different is I had to put a screw in the front and back to hold it down as I found straps didn't seem to work well while gluing. I shallow V cut the strip on the glued side with the same crappy blade I used on the Suzy J. The Epoxy on the hull cloth was definitely cured a few days, but the bond seems excellent. I piled cinder blocks along it on plastic to hold it down between the screws. Because of the weight of the boat and it being on a trailer, I did radius the top to match hollow-back and I used short screws and 4200 to bed it. It has held up really well, although I decided to use wide bunk boards that support the longitudinal bulkheads (and the released centerboard) while trailering, so it doesn't get as much torture as originally planned with keel support. I hope this helps you make a decision. They are all compromises. Take Care, Steve
  16. Congratulations on your build. It looks great and I really liked the video with all your crew. Sailkote, which is a dry lubricant does a great job on the sail tracks.
  17. Love the color scheme! More pics please!
  18. Mark.....what came to mind was "Go big or go home!" That is an epic gash/repair!
  19. I wrapped mine and at the green stage measured with calipers. I added an extra wrap or two until I was just a bit over. The I took my orbital sander and brought it into a nice snug fit by laying the tube on a flat bench and rolling while I sanded. Very easy and it came out really nice.
  20. Looking this over makes me feel o inadequate. When i fractured a panel I just injected glue into it, and clamped it under plastic with a lot of weight. Luckily it was still flat. I marked it and after assembly I laid some glass on the inside. I'm guessing none of this was an otion for you that far along. It's these challenges that are the most memorable when it's all over.
  21. Mark, that looks sweet. I somehow bumped my keel and it's about 3/16" out of straight. I was so sad about that mistake, but she sails just fine! You are making fine progress now!
  22. I'm not sure about a fish finder, but I put my transducer inside the boat. Here's how I did it: https://messing-about.com/forums/topic/9419-core-sound-20-mark-iii-3-skeena/?do=findComment&comment=106509
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