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CS15 — Sailing the “Norma T”


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Gramma Camp & Some “Firsts”

This weekend is the annual Gramma Camp for the three grandkids. My daughter joins us to help and I carry out various logistical support (mixing concrete, pushing the tree swing, building a fire, loading bikes, etc. ?)



The kids made concrete stepping stones this morning (I’ll paint on a coating of epoxy when I finish this entry… and add a photo of the projects):


(Later… with a coat of epoxy to help keep the “jewels” in place.)



After the “fun with concrete” project, we had some lunch before heading to Lake DuBay for a couple hours of gentle-wind sailing.  Loading up the six of us at the dock:



Under way… yup… “gentle” wind… actually a nice feature of today’s sailing:



first — all three kids sailed are sailing with me at the same time. Last year at Gramma Camp, the boat was built but we only motored aroud on the local pond… since I was waiting for the sails (a photo from last year):


Another first — I made a 4 foot “pig stick” today and the kids raised it with a cheery red ribbon using an extra halyard (see this thread) :


Lunch snacks are served… by Gramma, of course:



The girls gave me a little sailboat wind chime project they bought from a Dollar Store, giving me another boat to paint.  This one went MUCH more quickly. ? And NO SANDING!!  It’s hanging from the bottom of the mizzen sail. (Almost looks like a boat on the water in the distance. ?)


Of course, hands being in the water is FAR more interesting than trimming the sails, manning the helm, or swabbing the deck ?:





One more first — I brought the boat into the dock while under sail today. I hadn’t done that before, and it was a success. (No photos; I was busy.)

It was a great sail today, now a significant part of this year’s Gramma Camp… and future years. 


And, as I write this, the kids are in bed early… whew!!


I made a little video of the day… I’m still a novice in this. Today, I tried stringing some photos together followed by the raucous new swing toy video and I added music.  (The app I’m using does the “work” but I am only learning how to do the process.)


Two different “interests” apparently. ?


I must say, it is REALLY fun to have this sailboat. Lots of thanks to Graham, Alan, and B&B crew!

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Another Post with some Life-Trivia

I’m waiting for the rain to clear a little more before I bring the Norma T out to the lake for an afternoon sail. I’m planning to do the longest sail I’ve done so far… which I know isn’t much of a sail for most who are seeing this post… but I’ve not sailed for more than a couple hours at a time at this point and have never done a “destination”.  I’m hoping to do an overnight camp/sail at some point this year and this is a move toward that. 

But, before I do today’s small adventure I decided it is time to finish my “list” of tasks that I drew up early this year.  I listed all the house jobs I wanted to get done prior to working on my ski-boat (build-blog link).  Before starting this year’s boat-build I managed to complete everything on the list except for two tasks that I simply put off doing. No reason; just laziness.


TODAY, it is time to finish my list!  One job was to place a neat line of caulk between the bathroom’s new floor and the shower stall. That job doesn’t deserve a photo, although it was kind of a comical “pain” of a job that involved my large body moving around on the floor of a very small space. 

The LAST job on the list was to reinforce the lid on my mother’s wooden trunk. I designed and built the trunk, along with some other “colonial” type furniture pieces, while visiting my parents between college and the start of my 44 year career.  Since my mom (Norma T) died last summer my wife and I have kept her trunk at the foot of our bed (I also designed and built our bed while in graduate school a few years later; yes, I do enjoy building stuff.)  



I’d like to be able to sit on the trunk to put shoes on or maybe just look out the window…



…but I made the trunk’s lid with three 3/4 inch pieces of pine over about 30 inches and I think I would eventually break a piece by sitting in it. It should be reinforced.  The weak spot:



The reason I’m spending time writing this post is this little nostalgic detail: the piece of pine I used to reinforce the lid was a part of the CS15 full-kit.  When I picked up the kit last year for the Norma T the B&B guys gave me a left-over 7’ or 8’ piece of 1” (still rough-cut) southern yellow pine that they used for solid wood pieces in my kit. That extra pine board was really handy for a number of tasks in the build and for some other things.  There is enough of that piece still hanging around for today’s job, reinforcing the lid of my mom’s trunk.  I cut the board in half (about), sanded it, and put on a coat of schooner varnish (to match the bright pine on the Norma T??  ?)  There is still a bit more of that scrap board for who knows what. 


The job is now done…


…and we have a convenient place in the bedroom to sit.  ?




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Today’s Longer Sailing Mini-Adventure

As stated in the above post, I planned to sail this afternoon, going a longer distance than I have done so far.  I didn’t get to the lake until 3:15 pm and I wanted to be sure to get back to the landing again before dusk. I decided to go upwind most of the way to the “top” of the lake, perhaps turning back a bit before the end, depending on time. 

Since I hadn’t eaten lunch and I’d sail past “supper time” I sent the quartermaster to procure sufficient provisions. 

Yes, I often pull my boat around with my little Toyota Yaris.

I managed to rig everything for launch within ten minutes.  I even got the new “pig stick” up the main mast, flying a red ribbon (wind gauge ?).


I tried making a little video showing how easily the boat now comes off the trailer with the roller bunkers.  I was having to hold the boat back from rolling off with one hand while fumbling with my phone using the other hand.  I thought it would roll all the way off on its own like usual but I needed to give it a small tug from the dock.  It’s LOTS easier than the padded bunks.


I got underway, motored out a bit, raised the sails, neatened the lines somewhat, and started beating my way up the lake. The weather changed from damp and cloudy to being a very nice late afternoon.  I also started a new freebie sailing app called Waterspeed that I had downloaded to my IPhone.  (I later decided to upgrade it for a year… I think I like it.)

At first, I was experiencing a strong weather helm.  Hmmm… it didn’t seem typical to have that kind of “pull” on the tiller. Then, I checked the rudder downhaul line… oops, a little loose.  The helm balanced right up. 


And before I knew it, the steward was serving up a late lunch in the galley (half a sub.)

It took over two hours to get to the top of the lake.  With the tacking, it was over 7 miles.  (I know that my sailing skills do not always provide the best speed and pointing into the wind, but I think my new app can help me learn.)  I decided to round this most northern buoy and head back to the landing at the south end of the lake. 


And then the steward served dinner, the other half of my sub, while I was texting with my wife.  What a nice surprise. 

The return trip was down wind and I did not tack even once the entire way.  It’s my longest single run.  I used a broad reach and wing-on-wing and things moved along quite well. It was a bit over an hour to return to the landing.  The wind was definitely softening at 6:30 pm.  Sometimes my ribbon looked like this:


Mostly there was a good enough breeze… 26F3C9D3-FA6E-41DE-900C-45F14DFA45DE.thumb.jpeg.596ca5747dd0f7ab046fd988aae27422.jpeg



On my return trip, at one point of very soft wind the boat gently came to a complete stop and started pivoting around. (The lake has stumps and sandbars; I’ve tripped the centerboard cleat a couple times.)  Yep, I grounded ?.  That hasn’t happened to me yet.  Raising the centerboard half way solved the issue. 

This is what my new app recorded for me:



It was a very nice sail.  The sailing club has a couple more events coming up… one more race night and a Saturday poker cruise (using the buoys for the poker cards… I think.)  I’m looking forward to both. 

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Good sail. Now I have a homework assignment for your next sail.


Put the boat on a reach and try to make her steer herself while you are waiting for the steward to serve up your meal. The tools that will have are, main and mizzen sheets, centerboard rake, rudder adjustment using your tiller tamer and moving crew weight fore and aft or athwartships. 


Pick a land mark to aim for. Remember tightening the mizzen sheet will bring her up and tightening the main will make her bear away. Moving the crew weight forward will bring her up and aft will do the opposite. Obviously if conditions are shifty it may be not worth the trouble. 


When you get her close to steering herself, the adjustments will be very slight.

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An All-Day Sailing Event

My local sailing club enjoyed a 5 mile Poker race yesterday in which each boat member could grab a playing card from each of five bouys set along the way.  The winds were great and mostly behind us for a quick sail. 
We rafted up for lunch while the wind shifted to again be mostly at our backs for the return trip.  It’s like it was arranged. Good connections. 
The race back consisted of six legs and a “rabbit” start. Each bouy was a “finish/start line”. The last boat across the line kept moving forward and became the leader of the next race leg.  All other boats used that crossing as their start (an interesting and enjoyable way to do it.)

A non-sailor joined me for the event, working the mainsail on the way up the lake  and the tiller/mizzen on the way back.  The two of us novices somehow managed to win one leg on the return trip and placed sixth of seven overall. 

The participants then joined up at a local bar and grill for supper and “poker hand” taking of prizes. 
It was a GREAT DAY and a great sail.


I put together a little video:


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Reporting on Graham’s “Homework” Assigment  ?

On 9/5/2021 at 11:31 AM, Designer said:

Good sail. Now I have a homework assignment for your next sail.


Put the boat on a reach and try to make her steer herself while you are waiting for the steward to serve up your meal. The tools that will have are, main and mizzen sheets, centerboard rake, rudder adjustment using your tiller tamer and moving crew weight fore and aft or athwartships. 


Today, I had a chance to be alone on my boat and try things Graham suggested. I’d already learned that I could steer the boat somewhat using only the mainsheet. That was cool to discover that.  The wind was 8 mph with gusting. It really was a beautiful sailing day. 




Using my new iphone app, Waterspeed, I recorded today’s sail track. I wonder what my sailing looked like from shore.  ?


I first wanted to see how closely the Norma T could point into the wind. Sometimes it seems like I just don’t get it going toward the wind enough.  But, in this series of three tacks, I seemed to get from about 85-100 degrees. That was pleasant to see.  Three points:





Then, I tried locking the tiller and using the sheets ONLY for steering. Now THAT was interesting and really fun.  I haven’t really done much adjusting of the mizzen sheet and I began to realize how much it can impact the boat.  After a while of keeping a longer steady course or purposely varying it with the sheets I wondered whether using sheets only I could actually come across the wind to the other tack. Well, give it a try.  

WOW!  It worked.  Try a jibe… who hoo!  Here are some tacks and jibes using sheets only with a locked tiller… and I even purposely did a few circles. VERY FUN!!


So, what would happen if I raised the rudder out of the water?  Well, doing that made the boat was a more skittish and… “pivoty” for lack of a better word.  The boat would “oversteer” quite easily.  I wondered if raising the centerboard halfway would help, and it did. I could control the boat reasonably and still do tacks, jibes, and circles (sometimes accidentally).  Even with the centerboard completely up as well as the rudder there was still a capacity to steer.  Playing around without a rudder: 


My wife and I are getting ready for a two week vacation so after a while I needed to head home and put the boat “to bed”.  Heading into the dock I used my second mizzen halyard to keep the mizzen sprit and sail out of the way. I’m really glad I added one to each mast. 


I did all my graduate study on a pass/no-pass basis. Since I successfully did all this stuff in today’s “passage” — AND safely got back to shore — I shall give myself a “passing” grade.  I’m happy. And, thanks, Graham, for the homework.  ?

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  • 3 weeks later...

A Video of Getting my Core Sound Ready to Launch


My wife and I decided to sail around on a local lake for a few hours on this beautiful September day. I asked her to take a video of most of the steps I use to get the boat ready to launch. The quick setup process of a Core Sound is another reason I really like this boat. 


Once I motored us away from the dock I asked my wife if she wanted to sail the boat today. She’s always been a passenger and “crew” but hasn’t tried the tiller and sheets yet… but she was willing to take control of the helm and sails. I was the steward for lunch and drinks.  

The leaves are beginning to turn, the sky was blue, and the wind was a gentle 6 or 7 mph.  It was a great day for a first “captain” experience and she stayed at it for almost three hours. ?


We tried out a couple drink holders my wife had found.  I thought they worked well enough. 

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Awesome video, thanks so much!  I would urge you to do more of these--for prospective Core Sound owners there are a lot of building videos, and a few showing people sailing by in them, but not many that show the actual use of the boat like this.  I'd be interested in any videos showing how the reefing is done and how the sails are controlled while underway.


And what a beautiful upper midwest fall day, the best!  As we say around here, September is the "local's summer"!

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Thank you. I know I post a lot of trivial things on this forum. It’s a way to share things with my family and friends, and to kind of document something that has been really fun for me.  The posts, believe it or not, take a fairly long time to do… but I’m a retired guy, and each post is like a little project. Much more fun than doin’ nothin’. ?  (Andy, you might be sorry you encouraged me.)

Yes, I do think about potential B&B customers because I really think highly of the B&B folks and have appreciated their kind support. 


I am just now getting ready to go out and “play” with the new elements of the Norma T that I added this year, well, maybe NOT the strap boarding ladder just yet.  I’ll let ya’ll know a bit about how it goes today and my effort to use this day sailer as an occasional “camping dinghy” for me and my boys. ?

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Playing With Some New Things

I took out my CS15 on this beautiful fall day just to finally try out a few new additions that I put together this year.  I felt like a kid playing with new toys. ?

Mizzen Mast In The New Forward Step

I installed the forward step earlier this summer but haven’t tried it yet. I see two purposes: to use a reefed mizzen sail only in very strong wind (small amount of sail) and to move the mizzen forward for rowing or camping.  (Here is the mizzen in the forward step and in the reefed position; there is only a single reef in CS15 sails). I will add a couple additional reefing ties in the clew and tack eyes to neaten up the rolled up reef slab… which kind of dangles down from the ends without extra ties. 

I tried sailing (in today’s light winds) with the mizzen sheets running back to the transom blocks (regular placement) and then placing them in the mainsheet’s blocks.  The original seems a little “stretched” back and using the middle thwart seems a little undercut. But, I think using the mainsheet’s blocks provide a better fit, especially when the sail is let out some past the gunwale. 




So, here I am lounging against the transom in the gentle autumn breeze using only a single reefed mizzen sail. 

Some Motor Sailing
Not a lot of wind today so I used the motor to get out to the middle.  I have a Waterspeed App that monitors speed.  My 2.3 hp Honda produced an easy 2.5 to 3+ mph at just above idling.  Raising it to about half throttle produced over 5 mph.  The motor doesn’t seem to use much gas.  The sail responded to the moving air but I’m not sure it contributed to speed.  


Rowing Experiments — I Liked Using Only One Oar

Since the mizzen mast is now out of the way and no longer in the center thwart (for the first time) I tried some rowing.  I’m not yet particularly coordinated with the two cupped oars in the loose and open oarlocks, but I noticed I could easily add 2+ mph to the speed produced by the reefed mizzen sail in the gentle breeze. That was cool.  “Motor-sailing??”

I gave sculling over the transom another try. Very little forward movement but good “wiggling” of the boat’s aft section. ?.  I s’pose sculling can be a little useful for very slow maneuvering around. 

But, it occurred to me that by adjusting a locked tiller I might try using both hands on a single oar from one side.  BINGO!!  I tried this on both sides, relative to the wind, and either worked fine.  For an approach I never used before, it felt good, controlled and strong. I found it easier to check to the front occasionally while rowing this way.  (It felt harder while holding two oars to twist enough to look forward for stuff.)  After a bit of slight adjusting to the tiller while rowing with a single oar I found a sweet spot that kept the direction of the boat steady. I made good speed with this approach, even with no sail.  It felt kinda fun. I think I could row a while like that, maybe even alternating sides occasionally to switch things up.  I guess… I really only need to carry a single oar instead of two. 

Trying the New Sleeping Platform

Before painting the pieces I cut for a sleeping platform, I should try them out, especially to see how it would be to set up the platform while on the water. The platform pieces (shown here) fit nicely between the narrower space between the centerboard trunk and forward seat.  I will probably recut a piece to keep it under the level of the centerboard trunk top. 



I found my platform setup easy to do, not cumbersome at all. Here are the frame pieces (I forgot to put in the middle longitudinal beam when I took the photo… you can see the slots… Oops). 


Then I added the plywood pieces for a flat surface. (I will add some bracing pieces to firm it up.)


This produces a good sized sleeping platform for my 6’5” body. 


Using the second mizzen mast halyard to hold up the sprit while also tightening the snotter, the sprit is now horizontal above my head, even while I’m standing, and the sheets run back to the transom blocks.  I will try to fashion a tent over this structure from bow to stern. This tent approach could work out really well to make cruise camping possible and comfortable for the Core Sound 15.  Very cool. 

What a delightfully fun day today playing in the Norma T and trying out a bunch of new things. 

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For my BRS15, I haven’t found any tent or bivy small enough to use with only the back panels that you have.  Consequently, most of my efforts have been on developing my forward panel.  I work on all of this almost daily.  I am holding out hope that I get to use it this fall.  But this fall is slipping by quickly, even here in the Carolinas.  Fingers crossed!

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