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Core Sound 15 #162 — Building the “Norma T”

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Sailing with Family Today

Beautiful day today with warm-enough temps, blue sky, and sufficient wind.  I invited my family to meet me a few hours downstate for some sailing at a State Park lake.  I wanted to introduce people to our new family sailboat.  We had two sailing sessions today with a full boat. In the first session, my wife and I sailed a couple hours with one of my sons, his wife and their two little girls... who were VERY excited. 
My son sailed a sunfish-type boat in high school and, as an adult, had joined me a few years ago in a 3-day sailing course in Lake Superior’s Apostle Islands area. That training enabled both of us to charter sailboats up to 35 feet, for which I just couldn’t make myself spend that kind of money... maybe someday.  He is familiar with sailing skills and dynamics.


A first thing to mention about the day... I had great success in preparing the boat for launch in "record time."  For fun, I even used my phone’s stopwatch to see how I did:



With the boat launched, all six of us got into the boat, motored out, and my son raised the mizzen. 

"All the way up," I said, since the tack was barely above the very bottom of the sailtrack and I wanted it all the way up. 

(By the way, I LOVE how high the sails can get, providing great visibility without having to look around the sails to see.) 

"Is it stuck?" 

I looked up to see the sail at the very top of the mizzen mast. 

"What the.......!!??" 
(Realization begins to dawn on me.) 

I HAD SWITCHED THE SAILS!!  This is the mainsail on the aft mast!  "Aaaurgh! 

I guess fast set-up speed isn't always so important. 😂  Well, at least my son then had a chance to drop and remove a sail, loading it onto the correct mast before hoisting it, while I did the same to the misplaced mizzen sail.  I find humor in these blunders that I can sometimes make.  😄 I guess that today  I decided to spell "mizzen" with the letters: "M-a-i-n-s-a-i-l" since that is what is clearly printed in very large letters (twice) on the sailbag that I placed in the mizzen spot.  I likely won't make this blunder again... I'm sometimes educable.  


We got underway and had a very nice sail.  I even tried out the heave-to technique so we could eat lunch.  My two grandkids helped me with the tiller for a while, but my son did most of the sailing.  Here's a little artsy rendition of me and the grandkids at the tiller:



The next sailing session started with both my sons, my third grandchild, and me.  We had some brisk (enough) winds for my older son to start getting a feel for the boat and for sailing.  One hope I have is that my family will want to borrow the boat for family time and that my two boys, who do canoe/kayak camping trips together, will discover that they can have additional adventures of a different kind with the  Norma T.


The winds became more intermittent — but at least sufficient — after one of my daughters and her husband joined up with us, bringing the number of this session to five adults and a little kid.  We were comfortable in this large cockpit area.  I had mentioned to people that this little 15 foot boat has more cockpit space that the 30-35 sloops I've been on, and in these conditions the boat feels very stable.  Neat.  My kids brought plenty of snacks and had plenty of conversation for a few hours.


Trying out a little wing-on-wing:



Time to head back home:


Great day today.  My wife spoke with our other daughter at supper and we might still have a chance for her to also experience some sailing with us when she visits in a couple weeks. 

Tomorrow afternoon looks great, forecasts are for sunny sky, upper 60's, winds at 11-12 mph with 20+ gusts.  If I get out it will be my sixth day of sailing in the week since I received the sails.


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Motoring around the pond during Gramma Camp!  🙂   Just enough for the kids to start getting used to the Norma T.      (My daughter joined us... what a great Gramma Camp helper.)

Today: My son’s family came up last night and we took everyone out for a sail. I love that this small boat feels so comfortable for four adults and a couple kids. Note my sailing position, feet up and

Week 10 — Day 47 & 48: It’s transforming Into a Sailboat   Back at the building of Norma T.  In these two days I was able to finish the main mast tabernacle and it’s installation as well

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Six days of sailing in my first week!! 😁😁😁😁😁😁

My wife and I took the boat out today. The winds were... um... sporty (12-14 mph with 20+ mph gusts.)  I put the reefs in but we noticed the possibility of the mizzen sprit interfering with the mainsail.  (I’ll shorten them both some more.)  I left the mainsail reefed but used an unreefed mizzen to prevent an interference problem.  

I think that the unbalanced sails and the stronger winds helped me begin to understand more about weather and lee helms and some of the effects of the two sails being “in” and “out” of balance. 

Today, the set-up and take-down processes went well and smoothly... no silly blunders. My wife also participated in the processes as well.  With the weather and waves, and her choice to ride in the bow... well... she caught a lot of splashing.  She got soaked, but she figures it’s a good story for the grandkids.  We didn’t stay out long; my main interest today was to experience some stronger winds. (I was quick to let out the mainsail in the gusts as advised by a number of B&B sailors — thank you.)


We also wanted to ride our e-bikes today and the short sailing time let us ride the whole 26 mile Green Circle trail before supper time.  Another great day with sailing as part of it.

Looking at this coming week... maybe a couple/few days of sailing among the little jobs that need to be done.  And, I might take a few days to ride my motorcycle and camp. The following week will be for camping with a daughter and husband, and moving my niece to a different apartment. 

I’d say that my first week with my completed CS15 has been a rousing success!  Plus, I shared sailing time in the Norma T with twelve other people. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Have I Been Bitten by the Dreaded Boat-Building Bug!?!?


I’ve managed to have a few sailing hours in the last couple weeks with the Norma T but I’ve also been doing lots of other activities with my family, such as:

A motorcycle ride with my son, a 50 mile atv  trail, then a 50 mile return ride on curvy country roads after lunch (plus five hours of driving... downstate and back... a full day):




A bunch of e-bike rides with my wife (mostly trails through woods):


I snapped this shot near the end of a 50 mile ride on a nearby rail-trail... my wife was feeling a bit tired at this point and kicked up her speed to 20 mph for the last 8 or so miles... to “get it done”... part of our pleasure in having electric bikes 😁:


And, we camped a week with our daughter and son-in-law... busy campgrounds.  During that week, we took a morning to move a truck-load of my niece’s stuff from her apartment to our garage space (where I built Norma T) until her new apartment becomes available.  

The last few days had no wind, but today seemed promising for a little sailing. I pulled the boat out from the spot where I park it... but I had forgotten that I buried my little Honda outboard and boat rudder behind my neice’s stuff. Oops. I put the boat back and re-covered it. 

MEANWHILE, I’ve found myself in the past couple weeks wondering whether I should seriously consider building the boat I’ve wanted to build since high school... fifty years ago. After I finished grad school almost 40 years ago and started getting paychecks, I bought the plans for that coveted 16 foot ski-type boat, expecting that I would indeed be able to build it while my kids were young.  However, I could never justify the purchase of an 80-100 hp motor; the boat-build just wasn’t feasible for my family.  

But, how ‘bout now?


My son has been holding onto my Glen -L Stiletto plans for a decade and I decided this week to drive downstate to pick them up from him.  Ah, I remember them well. 

The plans include two 4’x4’ sheets of full sized frame drawings, several 2 foot pages of illustrations, and a narrative/photo booklet of the building process. 


Yes, I must admit that my life-long interest to build a Stiletto remains in me.  I haven’t been able to shake it. As I completed building the Core Sound 15 in the start of August I wondered whether I’d ever build another boat.  I might be infected by... the bite of the boat-building bug. 

I did decide that before beginning building a Stiletto, I first need to settle the purchase of some specific 80-100 hp outboard motor... before doing anything.


Well, actually, I did already order — and received today — a pack of carbon paper that I can use to transfer the full sized frame drawings to wood stock...  so that I could cut out those frame pieces with the Rockwell floor bandsaw I picked up from my brother-in-law yesterday.  😁😁  I must be “edging” toward a build a little bit.


My wife and I will join my son and family tomorrow for a few days of camping. I will talk things over with my son to see where our realistic thinking is going to be on building the “boat of my dreams”.  We shall see.  (Is it really a mystery???)


An FYI — My other son is preparing his canoe build for inside taping and the outside fiberglassing:


(He “stables” one of my motorcycles in his garage.)


Lastly, I am planning to attend the Messabout coming up in a couple weeks. I’m looking forward to it, but I’m not planning to pull my boat out there this year.  Besides, I will likely bring my smaller motorcycle with me to do some Blue Ridge Parkway riding.




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Since you are coming to the Messabout, you should really check out B&B's powerboat designs in person before committing to the Glen-L.  I'm biased of course, but I'm willing to bet you will burn much less gas in a similarly sized B&B design due to the lighter weight (and, generally speaking, i believe they get on plane sooner than other boats).  



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Camping for a few days with my son and little family, pictured here all in the 17’ cedar strip canoe my son built last year. (Yep, that’s the little guy in the center area - 5 yrs. 🙂)


I think I’d rather not commit to a $15-20 K Stiletto project this year (the motor is the primary expense).

Instead, I would love to replace the 1956 Johnson 30 hp motor I put onto the 11’ speedboat that I built in high school (we still haven’t managed to get the motor running again.)  My son has recently replaced the boat’s decks and painted its hull. I’m offering him a “shiny new” Honda 30 hp motor for it.  THAT is a comfortable expenditure for me right now. 😁

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I agree with Amos about B&B’s powerboats, especially that Marissa.  If I went over to “The Dark Side”, that would be my first pick.  Or a Jessy.  But that Stiletto does have sexy lines. Old-School construction techniques, though, but sexy.  My current build is also a non-B&B boat.  It, too, is a design that my friend Don Rausch and I have been lusting over for many years.  So, I understand.  But that Marissa...


It breaks my heart that I won’t get to meet you at the Messabout this year.  We’re treating this virus with the greatest amount of respect.  I’m not attending for the first time in years.  

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Some nice sailing days are coming up and we are back home from 10 days of camping with family. My 2.3 hp Honda motor and rudder are still buried in my niece’s stuff (the apartment is still being readied).


Plus, our younger son and family just came for the weekend, adding four more bikes and a bike carrier to our garage. Now, the task is to fit into my recent “boat-shop” 8 bikes, 1 scooter, two motorcycles, and my niece’s stuff... with six cars in the driveway.  Whew. We actually still have a winding path through it all to get to the door into the house. 


Since my son and I plan to sail the Norma T in the morning (nice breezes are predicted) we’ll find a way to dig out the sailboat motor and rudder. Also in the morning, I will order a new Honda 30 hp motor for the 11 foot speedboat that my other son rebuilt.  Good times. (I will put off another boat-build for now... maybe.)

2020 Messabout:  To Pull or Not to Pull (that is my question)

I’m still planning to attend my first Messabout two weeks from now but I haven’t determined whether I should try pulling the Norma T from Wisconsin to the event.  I know others have driven substantial miles with their boats... so maybe.

I’ll see if my son and I can get some interesting sailing photos this weekend. 

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FWIW, I pulled my 17 to a mess about a couple of years ago behind my 4 cyl camry.  No issues, including in the mountains of west Virginia.   Kept up with the traffic just fine.  Also went to CT and back last summer and round trip Milwaukee to international falls this summer. 

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Today: My son’s family came up last night and we took everyone out for a sail. I love that this small boat feels so comfortable for four adults and a couple kids. Note my sailing position, feet up and letting my son do everything.


The winds were less than predicted, but perfect for a family sail. Today, my son did the whole process: pulling the boat out to hitch it to the car, pre-sail setup, motoring out and raising the sails for single-handed sailing, backing the trailer and loading, take-down for the trip home.  Whew!  (I would have included “bringing it into the dock” but he ended up kinda missing the dock... and getting blown into the beach about 40 feet away... 😁 part of figuring things out.)  That gave me a chance to take a few pictures of the boat out on the water. 

Motoring out:




Finding some breeze:



After a day of kayaking, sailing, trail riding on bicycles with the kids... it’s time to try out the new portable gas fire pit... and do the marshmallow roasting thing.


(I need to wait until Monday to order the Honda 30 hp for my other son’s 11 ft boat.)

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Added a few new features


My son and I spent a bit of time today adding some things onto the sailboat. The first little project was an extra halyard to both masts. They can be used to raise the sails and sprits out of the way. I think that can make it much easier for people to board safely at the dock, not having to contend with sails that are down or on the floor/seats.  Plus, it might be helpful when beached, anchored, or docked for a while. 


Perhaps, the boat could be rigged this way on land just prior to launching from the trailer.  I’m hoping that they can be lowered quickly for a timely raising of the sails when ready to do so.  I am loving this boat more all the time.  (I haven’t tried all this on the water yet.)


My son would like me to finish the forward step for the mizzen mast, making things easier for rowing or using a single sail. I only have the hole in the thwarts, planning to finish it someday. I guess that I’ll need to get a round to-it.

Next, we installed the tiller tamer. Again, I haven’t used it while sailing, but I can imagine some helpful advantages with it. I placed the control on the underneath side of the tiller instead of the top (as in the directions) but I see no issue with such an arrangement. 

For fun, I’m adding a red ribbon to the top of the main mast... a bit of flair, but intended as a wind indicator. I’d rather not mount a regular wind vane (I don’t enjoy craning my neck to see the thin little arrows).  I haven’t figured out yet a permanent way to mount the ribbon providing a quick way to connect and disconnect it (keeping it well above the sail.)  For now I’m running a 4 foot dowel up the extra halyard.  The next sailing will help determine its usefulness. 

My son played around with the oars a bit (I haven’t used them yet.)  They seem long to me but it seems from posts I’ve read that “too long” isn’t a problem like being “too short”.  He also thinks the traditional brass oarlock will work better than the clamp-type oarlocks that came with the 9’ two-part oars. We both think that oars can be a good alternative to the motor for docking and leaving the dock.  With the sprits being raised by the extra halyard, rowing, even stand-up rowing, could work well. We shall see. 

I’m also putting a ring on the mizzen sheets to help keep them away from the motor. Still needs some elastic cording.  I need to get another round to-it. 

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With several alternatives considered for my first trip to B&B’s October Messabout, I’m now leaning toward taking the Norma T with me on the trip next week.  (I sort of reverted to the simplest alternative, although I’m still planning to stop in at Thrillsbe’s to meet him.)  I look forward to meeting some of the B&B community, being part of the annual event, and viewing some other boats. 

The COVID thing has made everything weird these days and I really dislike the disruptions it causes, but my family has been adhering to good practices. It’s just a reality to deal with, I guess. 

Yesterday, I drove downstate to help my younger son (and his brother) glass the bottom of his 17 foot canoe.  I’m impressed with his work, building it from plans only... and somewhat vague looking plans to me.  But, his canoe seems to be turning out well.  I thought it best to be a “brothers” job and was quite content to just do some preparation sanding and mix the epoxy. The three-person approach went well. The glass used is what was left over from my own CS15 build and I bought a couple gallons of B&B epoxy for the build. 


Last week, I finally paddled in the cedar-strip canoe my other son recently built (he’s the helper on the left.)  He made it almost from entirely scrap wood.  I was amazed how well the canoe handled. A mild j-stroke from the stern actually oversteered, letting the stern paddler use an almost completely normal bow-stroke to maintain a straight line... with only occasional j-strokes. It was the nicest feeling canoe I’ve ever paddled. He even carved a portaging yoke, weaved caned seats and shaved out a couple paddles (plus a small one for his son.)

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Snow in mid-October?

I noticed the city crews had brined some streets this morning (a sign of them expecting snow.)  Sure ‘nuff...


Sailing around here might be ‘bout done for the year.  I’ve got a garage-sized storage unit ready to winter-park the boat when I return from the Messabout. 

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Getting Ready for My First Messabout

I thought I should take a look at weather before putting things together for my planned trip to North Carolina.  Things look great for Bayboro, NC:


That’s a contrast to my own current conditions in central Wisconsin:



Yes, blue is snow. I’m right on the edge of it (little green circle.)


Gee, what should I do?  Should I stay at home to enjoy some wet, cold October snow and slushy rain?  Or should I take my boat to somewhere with upper 70’s temps and promises for sunshine?


I know!  I’ll ready my van and boat tomorrow... and take off on Thursday for the Messabout.  😁

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I thought I would add a little hand-hold to the end of the tiller extension. This was my plan quite early on but I finally got to the task. 


When I put something else into the sailboat to finish the night, I found heavy slushy snow covering the tarps, weighing them down and drawing them into the cockpit. I used my bare hands to scrape the stuff off the tarps (I haven’t brought out gloves yet... silly me.). Hope they don’t buckle in before morning. 😕

Seventies temps, here I come. 🙂

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wrapping up this CS15 Building Thread

My Core Sound 15 is built, rigged, and sailed more than a dozen times. In a crazy year, bringing the Norma T from a van-load of wooden pieces, materials, and supplies into a nicely functioning sailboat for my family and me has been very satisfying.  I brought the full kit home on April 26 and launched it for the first time on July 23 after about 50 working days over three months.  My sails were delayed from COVID issues and I finally actually sailed Norma T on my 67th birthday, September 14.  What a GREAT birthday gift!!

After practice with rigging and actual sailing days I’ve become comfortable and efficient getting the boat ready for launch and putting it away next to my home.  I am learning more about how to sail it.  So, now it’s a good time to close this building thread. I’ve begun a new thread called CS15 — Sailing the “Norma T” on this forum website.

The boat is now tucked away for the winter and will come out of its hibernation in six months. Then, it’s all about having sailing adventures in the spring, summer, and fall of 2021. 


I enjoyed my trip to the 2020 Messabout last week as my first adventure. I described in the new thread.  Here I am in the B&B Yachts yard:


I came home from the sunny 80 degree sunshine in North Carolina to Wisconsin’s 25 degree snow. 


Then again, Wisconsin’s cold weather IS moving us toward ski season, just around the corner. 


Yesterday, I traveled downstate with my wife to briefly visit three of our four kids (my fourth just arrived today from Ohio for a week’s visit.)  We also used the day-trip to stop in at the former service station where the Norma T is spending the winter. We got things out of the boat, opened the hatches, threw a couple packs of De-Con on the sole, and put a couple tarps over the top.  It is neatly tucked away next to my oldest daughter’s little Scamp camper. 


I just noticed the gas price in the upper right corner... yes, I remember those prices when I was buying gas for my ‘63 Olds 88 and my 11 foot speedboat. 😁


So, thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed my CS15 build thread. 

Now, for some sailing adventures. 

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  • PadrePoint changed the title to Core Sound 15 #162 — Building the “Norma T”
  • 2 weeks later...

I just received this little video from my phone... it somehow “magically” made it.  I don’t know why it did that... but it was fun to “receive”.  (Kind of a weird bit of music with it.)
The video is made from photos I took on my first day of sailing the Norma T.  It was my 67th birthday, the day following my receiving the sails. 


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