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CS15 — Sailing the “Norma T”


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Since I’m now using my newly built 15 foot Core Sound sailboat, the Norma T, I am creating a new thread to describe some of the adventures with this boat. 

I’ve described the building project in this forum under the title: Core Sound 15 - #162 “Norma T” located with this link.

This is a quick overview of the building project with a photo from the conclusion of approximately 5-day work segments.  These aren’t always consecutive days but kind of represent week-long periods of “full time” work.  I figure the project needed 300-350 hours... or so. Being newly retired let me have a lot of time that I could dedicate to the project. 


I began building the Core Sound 15 from a full kit on:

 April 26, 2020. 


Days 1-5: The hull is forming (I kinda broke & splinted its nose)



Days 6-10: Hull is taped and “locked in”



Days 11-15: Becoming more solid 

Days 16-20: More parts are readied



Days 21-24: Lots of parts are set to install


Days 25-30: Flipped to glass the hull:


Days 31-35: White paint inside



Days 36-42: Red paint on the bottom



Days 43-46: It’s a skiff (& Christened)



Days 47-49: Waiting for the sails to come


First Launched: July 23, 2020 (3 months)


August 21, 2020: Gramma Camp Cruise


September 13: The sails finally came



October 10, 2020: Introducing my family to sailing


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  • PadrePoint changed the title to Norma T’s Adventures (CS15)

2020 Messabout

My original plan for this trip out east was to bring one of my much neglected motorcycles and ride the Blue Ridge Parkway... and then ride over to join the Messabout. After considering several variations to this plan I finally decided two days before leaving Wisconsin to take the Norma T with me instead of a motorcycle... kind of bringing the boat back to the shop where it was “conceived.”


My two primary interests in being a part of the 2020 Messabout were to simply meet some of the B&B boat-builders and to see first hand some of the boats they’ve made.


Then, I thought that by bringing my completed CS15 with me, it would demonstrate some of my appreciation to Alan and Graham for how my family and I are being gifted and blessed by this new “family legacy” that emerged out of the CS15 kit prepared by B&B Yachts.  I also hugely appreciate Alan and Graham’s considerable support in my successfully building the Norma T.


So, on Thursday morning, I had everything ready to go... surely I had thought of everything... right?



With our saying goodbye, my wife wondered why I didn’t use the tie-down bar that I’d made.  Oops... I’m really glad that she thinks of these kinds of things... “it takes a village” as they say.  (I wonder how far I would have gone before noticing... and what would I have done about it?)



The Norma T had its first encounter with rain (yup, a hatch could use some work on its gasket.)



(You OK back there?)



Twelve hundred miles later, I arrived at the Messabout on Friday afternoon.  (Do you remember this place?  Oh yeah, you weren’t actually born yet... you were only LOTS of pieces of wood and stuff.)



This trip also gave me a first chance to use a little screen tent contraption that fits on the back end of my van... my wife and I will enjoy this little addition.  We have some camping plans yet this fall. (Drinking morning coffee and reading... ah!)


I enjoyed meeting/conversing with people and seeing their boats. Wow... great work has been done. I was especially glad to see some Spindrifts. I had a specific reason for that... the teenage girl who lives across the street seems to love sailing and I’ve suggested to her parents the possibility of her building her own Spindrift. I’ve got tools and could help make it happen... we shall see. 



I didn’t launch my boat at the Messabout... I guess there were some reasons:

> I’ve never left my boat on a dock beyond the few minutes needed to leave or retrieve my car/trailer. 
> I was insecure about how to launch and where fit onto the dock. 
> I brought only a light anchor, certainly insufficient for an overnight.

> I’m unsure of the impacts of saltwater. 
> Winds were... well... not particularly “sporty”... (of course, I’d be even more nervous if they were) ?
> I was REALLY enjoying the conversations and seeing other boats... and the weather was gorgeous. 
> Chick gave me a splendid “Old Codger” tour and gave me a chance to see everyone on the water.





> I also noticed a change in the weather forecast for Sunday:


Pouring rain!!??  Ya know, I think I might just begin a return drive home late on Saturday afternoon. 

I’m glad I didn’t pack things up in this:



Then again, I’m heading home to this:


(Yes, blue is snow.)


Before I hit the snow (salt trucks are already out on the roads) I stopped south of Madison to park my boat in a storage building alongside my daughter’s little camper and some other boats.  Perfect timing. 

Then, having left the North Carolina 79 degree sunshine, I arrived at my Wisconsin home... what the...???



Well, alpine skiing is just around the corner. 

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Welcome home to The Frozen North!  It’s a shame the weather didn’t hold for Sunday.  That’s a long way to go for such a short time.  Here’s how I dock my boat at the Messabout.  A 4# Danforth on fender-float acts as a temporary mooring.  Then, I back up to the dock, and tie her off.


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 I don't think I got to meet you at the Messabout. Some of the socializing was limited due to Covid restrictions. Still it is possible to miss people because so much is going on. There are always plenty of experienced hands willing to help with launching and retrieving boats. Helping each other is what the Messabout is about. I hope to see you next time.

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  • PadrePoint changed the title to CS15 — Sailing the “Norma T”
  • 4 months later...

Thought I would add this little video that my phone made today without any prompting of any kind from me. It uses photos and videos that I took of the 2020 Messabout. 

In less than a month I will get the Norma T out of winter storage for some 2021 sailing adventures. I plan to make some floorboards for the cockpit that could be raised to make a sleeping platform. I have a small tent that would fit just fine on that space. 

My sons have expressed an interest in the possibility of doing some overnight adventures with the boat, and I find that I’m becoming more intrigued by the idea of “dingy cruising”, having seen a number of videos by Roger Barnes (and others).

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  • 1 month later...

I got the Norma T out of winter storage a couple weeks ago and today was the first chance I’ve had to put it in water.  Three people stopped to ask about my boat while I was setting it up (I always try to promote B&B and recommend their website when folks inquire.)  People just seem to like the lines and appearance of a Core Sound.  

Setup was slow and deliberate today, maybe 40 minutes or so.  I was trying to remember details from last fall and was trying new things. I did a first today by putting up both masts while standing on the ground next to the boat, just to try it.  The mizzen mast was muscled in but I used the new extra mizzen halyard to help raise the main mast... it worked slick... but then I needed to climb in to reach up high enough on the raised mast to make the halyard lashing release from the mast. Good idea but these approaches need a little more refining work. ?


So I got both masts up while standing on the ground... but so far I must admit that it’s easier to stand in the boat to raise masts. For launching, I used the extra mizzen halyard as a topping lift to raise the mizzen sail and sprit out of the way for my boarding but I need to smooth out that process a little.  (I can do the same for the mainsail and sprit when other people are boarding in the front section... again, my process needs refining.)


And right after taking this picture and hopping into the boat, I realized that the Anderson Bailer was... yes... OPEN.  ?  Well, maybe that will help me make this my only time this year. ?


On takedown, I found that the sprit with a tight snotter could help me safely and easily lower the main mast while standing on the ground.  Maybe I’ll try using it to also help raise the main mast in a similar way. 


Tomorrow looks nice so I’ll head up to a lake more conducive to sailing... and maybe meet some people who are part of the sailing club on that lake (I just joined.)  And, maybe I can speed up the setup a little from today’s

I installed this new side mount oarlock socket on my transom just before leaving my house today. I’d like to try my hand at sculling.  I kinda got it... maneuvering the boat some and propelling it forward. The two-section oar I used has a cupped blade and I think a flat blade would be better... good ‘nuff for now.  I’ll keep my motor on the back, however.  I’m not ready to be without. 

The wind was just right for a first sail... soft and just enough to move the boat a few mph to help me get used to things. 



I also added last fall two “secondary” cam cleats for the mainsheets. My thinking was that a passenger could use them to manage the main sheet while sitting in the front section of the boat.  (I couldn’t try the cam cleat approach last year; it was too late in the fall when I installed them.)  I found that these new cleats also make it more comfortable for me to control the main sheet while I’m sailing alone and sitting forward of what is typical, I could sit all the way up to the thwart in the boat’s center area and not have to work behind my back with the side-mount clam cleats. 

A lot of new things were tried out today on this initial sailing session ?.  I managed to forget my new life jacket in the car so maybe tomorrow I can see how I like it. 

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I take my main sheet to the center thwart as well. But instead of a block and separate cam cleat, both are one piece of hardware, the whole thing swivels, and the cleat leads in what ever direction the sheet is pulled in. Between this and a tiller extension I can sail from almost any where. Though I do prefer just aft of the center thwart

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I took the boat out today for a second sail this season.  Wow, 85 degrees, sunny, and breezy. The winds were a little brisk but I thought manageable for me.  Actually, we were in a “red flag” alert with dry/windy conditions conducive to fires... but still great for a sail. 

The setup before launch was smoother and I put the masts up while standing alongside the boat (using the sprit to begin pushing up the main mast.)  The launch was OK,  Even with most of the trailer wheels in the water I still needed to push the boat off the trailer with more effort than I want it to be. 

I decided to order another set of roller bunks like what I have put onto the trailer bunks for my current ski-boat build.  I think launching the Norma T will become really easy with these rollers.  I will attempt to shape the base structure of the roller bunks to the curve of the boat’s bottom just under the longitudinal bulkheads by placing them onto an upright 2x6 with the top edge cut to the bulkhead’s shape (I made a “copy” of that curve in a piece of pine before installing the bulkheads into the boat for this very reason.)  I think I can bend sufficiently the steel of the roller bunks.  They won’t be delivered for a while. 

Once out, the wind was brisk and I decided to put in the reefs before raising the sails.  It wasn’t so easy doing it alone... I’ll need to work on the process.  Two things impeded early success. First: the pin in the aft end of the sprits kept coming out of the clew loops before I could put tension on the snotter lines... I’d pull the line and notice that it pulled way too easily... because the pin had fallen YET AGAIN.  I will figure out a way to help keep the sprit pins in place.  I think, however, that I helped make the problem happen because I tied up the sails to the sprits with the reef ties before I had pulled some tension to the snotter.  I think I should move the sprit to the reef loop, tighten the halyard sufficiently, tighten the downhaul and snotter, and THEN tie the reef lines around the sail.  And, I think I erred by including the sprits in the reef ties.  Oops.  I still want to figure out something easy that could help the sprit pin stay in place, with or without reefing. 

As I was finishing writing the above paragraph I remembered that the sprits simply do NOT follow the line of the sail foot when reefed,  it always angles upward about 25 degrees, well above the line of the sail’s foot.  So WHY did I think I should tie the sail to the sprits with the reef ties?  “Well THAT was dumb of me!”  This explains why my sails just don’t look right in my photos below.  I likely will remember all of this sooner the next time I reef. ?

The second frustration was that I must have pulled hard laterally on the mizzen halyard (riveted to the mizzen mast) because I pulled out the rivet on the bottom of the clam cleat. Wind was blowing, I was struggling to keep the boat in a reasonable direction with the waves and wind, I was doing unfamiliar things, and I broke the rivet. Ah, well.  Do I just quit before sailing?  I decided to use my extra mizzen halyard clam cleat for a temporary fix for this day.  The mizzen is up and I needed to reef the main. Some struggles, but I got the sail up and things settled down. The boat began sailing. 

The wind and waves were feeling comfortable.  I’ve read of people keeping the boat on a bearing by adjusting sails without needing to adjust the rudder.  I had added a tiller tamer last year but didn’t really have a chance to experiment with it.  Once I got the sailing settled down I began to realize how I could “steer” by adjusting the main sheet, leaving my hand off the tiller.  The tiller tamer had enough resistance that it was essentially stationary but I could move it with a little bit of pressure to make an adjustment.  Then I could just let go of everything with both hands and let the boat sail on its own.  It was a nice and fun feeling.  If the wind changed a bit and the bearing was changing, an adjustment to the main sheet would often be sufficient. It felt fun.  (I suppose this also suggests that when sailing solo, a lifeline to the boat would be a smart thing.  Hmmm....)


I didn’t pay much attention to the mizzen sail, being mostly over my head and behind but it just looked weird when I glanced at it occasionally... and the main seemed a little off as well... but the sailing is feeling fun... so things was ignored. It was when I was heading downwind wing-on-wing back to the landing that I really took a look.  


Why is the mizzen doing that?  Aaurgh... in all my confusion earlier and having to figure what to do with the broken clam cleat rivet situation, I neglected to put in the mizzen downhaul.  I think that is what made things look weird (along with having tied the sprit into the reef.)  But I was going to lower the sails soon so “let it be”.  (As I reread this post and looked at the photos, the sails really look funny to me, even pathetic... not at all like they are designed ?.)   It’s all about learning from experiences, I guess. ?


I really enjoyed my couple hours of sailing today and I learned a BUNCH of stuff.  Oh, and I remembered my new life jacket this time. It felt very comfortable... I like it. ?

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  • 4 weeks later...

The Boys Sail the Boat on Their Own

I trailered the Norma T downstate today and met my two boys at a state park. I didn’t do a thing today and let them do the whole process of setting up, launching, sailing, etc.  Well, I DID park the van and trailer... and served as ballast... which was actually helpful with the wind being brisk and blustery and the boys doing everything on their own for a first time. 

One son brought with him my high school boat-build that he re-decked, repainted, and spruced up. I had the 1956 motor fixed and we hoped it would run. It did... but the gas tank works off pressure produced by the motor and we spied an air leak. The motor ran only as long as he covered the hole... so we put the boat back onto the trailer.  I didn’t take a photo, standing in solidarity with my son’s disappointment.  But, we think we have the solution to the problem, so... NEXT TIME! ?

One other small casualty of the day: the motorboard on the motor mount cracked. I should have used plywood or at least made the grain vertical... plus, I’ll make it beefier.  It broke like a board used in a kid’s karate demo.  I’ll fix it after my upcoming month-long vacation.  ?

Ok... one other blooper that I realized just as I was getting back home.  I had unhitched the pop up camper and hitched the boat to the van this morning.  And, it occurred to me, after five hours of road time, that the camper’s hitch is for a 1 7/8” ball and the boat trailer is for a 2”.  Dang. That was dumb. ? But, there was thankfully no casualty.  Ok... another goofy thing... while bending over to unhook the chains in order to put the boat away, the car alarm went off: beep... beep... etc.  (One of those key-in-pocket spontaneous set-offs.)  I’m frantically pushing the **** buttons to stop my van from beeping and it WOULDN’T stop.  After most of the annoying beep cycle was through, and my neighbors were all rolling their eyes, I finally realized it was my CAR, not the van.  Oi... ?

They launched the Norma T and then decided it would be smart to put the reefs in before setting out.  (Looks like the main snotter is a “little” loose.  ?) They got things set up successfully and we set off.  I do note that, unlike my goofy reefing in the previous post, these guys got the reefing set up correctly... and I think having the reef in right away made the sailing a bit nicer and smoother. 


A great wind and blue sky.  A really nice time for a few hours of sailing. 


Snacks were served. 


Yes, they seem to be having fun. 


With a bit of speed, I thought I’d try the Anderson Bailer.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

No Sailing Today

(But, this IS where I’ve sailed the most)

We’ve vacationed here in South Lake Tahoe for a lot of years.  And, this is where I’ve done most of my sailing. I took a three-day ASA101 course one year, allowing me to charter a 22 foot Catalina from Sailing Ventures.  I did so and took a couple friends out on Lake Tahoe for their first small sailboat adventure and my first experience as “captain”.  A couple years later, my youngest son and I took a three-day sailing course in the Apostle Islands area of Lake Superior that would allow us to charter sailboats up to 35 feet from Superior Charters. I haven’t chartered one of their boats yet (I just haven’t been able to justify the costs.)


Then, a couple years later, I completed a three-day ASA103 course on Lake Tahoe. It was in spring and the winds were brisk, like they are today.  It was some exciting sailing, learning how to manage Sailing Venture’s 32 foot Catalina in the changing mountain winds, complete with a few snow squalls while on the water. 


I’ve chartered Sailing Ventures’  32 foot sailboat a few times since, with family and friends joining me.  (It’s named “Breaking Wind”. ?)  Again, I find it a little hard to justify the costs of chartering, even though the rates are reasonable. 


I thought about all this today during a hike up to the top of a liiiiittle mountain called Round Mound. This is what the lake looked like from the top:

We hiked back down to the beach, and the wind and waves reminded me of my ASA103  course. 




This is looking back to Round Mound.  It isn’t much, I know, but it was a VERY pleasant hike that I’m hoping to repeat soon when my family comes to join us (with two grandkids.) ?. And, my hike made me think about whether to charter a sailboat while I’m here.  We’ll see. 


Having said all this, I am looking forward to returning home at the end of June and doing a goodly amount of sailing on the Norma T. ?

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  • 1 month later...

My First Sailboat Race

The Lake DuBay Sailing Association is a small club just north of me, comprised mostly of small boat sailors… a few home-built boats are part of the fleet. They organize weekly sailboat races and several monthly sailing events. I joined by paying the “whopping” $15 annual membership fee. ?


Tonight, I was finally able to join them in a few races.  A couple weeks ago, the club received an email from a young lady who just moved into the area from California, she offered to crew for anyone. I invited her to join me in my boat, not to crew, but to “captain” and to help me in my first experience of racing, since I’ve never done it before and she has sailing experience. (Actually, I learned tonight that she has been a sailing instructor in San Francisco.)  I asked her to take the helm for the first couple races, and then I took the helm for the third race.  The other sailors patiently waited for us to finish each race before starting the next… a nice group of folks. 

Here I’m rounding a buoy for the first time… I thought I should take a photo but was a little slow getting my phone out. 


The “crew” who joined me tonight:



We’re approaching the last turn… it was a really nice evening and sunset:

The “mad dash” for the finish line… wing-on-wing…

Well, actually, the winds kind of faded away and the weight of the sheets kept pulling the sails inward. ?

And, for fun from our weekend Family Camp (our 4 kids and their families): our two sons are heading out with our two granddaughters to conduct a canoe-capsize drill.  They had a blast… a weekend highlight for the grandkids  (The guy in the front built the cedar strip canoe.)  We’ll do this with the Norma T some day… not this year, likely.01866C68-3D9D-4FA4-BC0D-82D0E53C6345.thumb.jpeg.86f7ebe70dca7fe9aea05f63da9f7b49.jpeg


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  • 3 weeks later...

A second sailboat race

Being slightly emboldened by my first race some weeks ago, I was finally home on a Tuesday night so I joined into a second race with a local sailing club.  I still don’t quite get the signal process so I just tried to follow when the others crossed the start line.  Not a lot of wind but a lovely evening on the water.CC11670E-1F39-4D65-8886-E9E90E4D4C6E.thumb.jpeg.f37df60b7fc65a128f18bab1cc2cb9e8.jpeg


I can’t say I know a lot about what I’m doing out there and the other boats certainly gained more speed than I could muster (they are all Bermuda rigs.) But, the folks are friendly and patient. 436AB035-DDDF-4B97-9417-0CBBC056B109.thumb.jpeg.5c99413f4d4f8f681401924c396e775d.jpeg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Evening Cruise

My wife and I joined the local sailing club’s evening moonlight cruise. I wasn’t wanting to actually sail and take up the boat in darkness so we enjoyed the couple hours coming into the sunset and loaded the boat onto the trailer in the waning light.  The gentle winds were less than forecast and picked up after dark.  And, the moon was coming up just as we left. 






The photo above was taken by the guy in his new Bolger Chebacco, just finished this year. Beautiful workmanship in his build. 



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Race night With Not Enough Wind

The weekly Tuesday evening sailboat races were called off just before the start time. But, my wife and I were at the landing with our two granddaughters and we decided it was a perfect night to have the 5 and 8 year-olds do most of the “sailing”.  

I just need to hop aboard. (I like how I can get the sails up and out of the way with extra halyards.)


We motored out a little ways, pausing before raising sails to have some supper.  Note the pirate look the kids adopted. 





Under sail, ghosting along. A couple other sailboats showed up and we all enjoyed the quiet evening and sunset.


The 8 year-old spent time working the main sheet, experimenting with sail effects. It was quiet sailing so I was able to teach her some sailing vocabulary and wind/boat dynamics. The five year-old did a majority of the tiller work, making for some interesting changes in the points of sail. But, she chose some targets and is getting to understand the effects of moving the tiller.  We needed to head back in after a couple hours and the kids were wanting to sail some more. It’s a good sign, I think. 

The younger pirate liked to stand at the helm. I thought I’d run the photo through a water color processor. 



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