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CS15 — Sailing the “Norma T”


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What a GREAT Day of Sailing!

I thought it was a perfect day to take my younger son’s family for a sail today. It was beautiful fall weather with lots of warm sun and a gentle amount of wind… just enough for a few 5+ mph speeds and only a few strong gusts that required a quick release of the mainsheet to snap the boat back to fully upright (since we might have leaned almost 15 or so degrees ?… it’s always good to keep mom comfortable with this new-for-her sailing stuff.)  (Oh… and, by the way, these are all my daughter-in-law’s photos.)  We stayed on the lake for several hours. The younger one got really tired.  She laid down on a picnic table while we packed up the boat for my wife’s and my 2 1/2 hour drive home (their’s was only 30 minutes… what parents will keep doing for their kids. ?)


We started with some teaching on how to get things ready to launch the Norma T into the water. 

“Ok, this is one easy way to attach the halyard to the mainsail head… I’ll show you and then I’ll take it apart and you can try it… a couple loops through the eye and then a couple half hitches.”



“Now, you try it.”



”Great job… you correctly made two half hitches… that’ll hold just fine.”



“Next, we need to get the sail’s lugs into the sail track…”



How many of these things ARE there?  (?)



The younger one wanted some jobs as well… “Can you help attach the dock line to the transom eye?  That’s it, pull it all the way through.”



This is the first time since I installed the roller bunks that my son saw the boat “slide” off the trailer without even a push… nice… 


We’re all aboard and ready to take off.  “I haven’t tried rowing away from the dock before… let’s see if we can this work.

“We’ll use just one oar… you row with me until we’re away… then you can take over on your own to get us far enough out to raise the sails.

”Hey!  This actually works. We won’t use the motor at all today.”




The kid wanted to keep rowing… but we were ready to raise the sails.  “Ok, pull down on the halyard with one hand take up the slack through the cleat with the other.”

(I pulled out a cleat rivet once in strong winds as I kinda intensely hoisted the mizzen… I was pulling the halyard very hard to the side from under the cleat… ?. ?.  I decided this might be a better and non-cleat-rivet-breaking approach.  ?)


“There ya go… the mizzen is heading up… all the way, now.  Keep pulling.”



”Here’s a way you can get that last bit when it gets harder… pull outward and downward on the halyard above the cleat and then pull the new slack through the cleat.  There ya go, the sail is all the way up.”  

(I don’t think this is too stressful to the cleat’s rivets — at least I hope not.)


After sailing around for an hour, I suggested trying out a fun new place to sit… right up on the deck where the main mast is.  
FUN!! Especially when we run into big wake waves from the other boats!!  Lots of intense little kid laughing.

And, of course the younger sister must try this out as well. (Nice that the life jackets have a place for gramma to hold… ? it’s good to be safe.)

“Hey, we can both fit up here… and we can get our shoes wet!”  ?









They were up there a long time.  And singing was included.

This is the track of the first couple hours on board. 



We had a couple “spontaneous” man-overboard drills… at the kids’ discretion.  Very exciting for them to plan WHEN… and then “surprise” everyone… but they can’t seem to do it without saying their plan loudly enough for all to hear ?
Note a couple circular drills to recover the thrown seat cushion.  They missed the pickup on the top one… poor cushion. 

Edit: I just recalled another reason I really enjoy the openness of the Core Sound sailboat… this 15 foot boat comfortably holds four adults and a couple kids… and moving around with this number on board works fine. My son had a Covid booster the day before and felt a little off (it’s worth it). He wanted to lay down for a while. No problem at all for him to stretch out on the aft bench seat. Nobody felt “inconvenienced“ or had to move (since the kids were both sitting up on the bow deck.)


This was a perfect sail for the kids to finish the sailing season. More sailing adventures next year. Next year’s plan includes more instruction and working the controls AND jumping off the boat for a swim!  Plus, my ski-boat build will be done, opening up even more new water adventures.  This has been a GREAT sailing summer.  I’ve learned a lot, tried many new things for a first time, and I’m now looking forward to my trip out to B&B’s 2021 Messabout. 


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Is this cute or what?



My older granddaughter in the above post created this little poem in school (she’s learning what a couplet is.)


(I love the beard in the drawing.  ?  Now I know how I look with one.  It’s the first time I’ve grown a beard… sort of the lazy factor of retirement behind it.)


My younger granddaughter gave me this little sailboat wind chime this summer that we can hang from the sail. 

Since the little boat was blank on the back side, I tried out my very crude artistic abilities (not much more advanced than my granddaughters’) to paint an image of the Norma T on the other side. It’s ready for family sailing next summer. 

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  • 1 month later...

A NEW Sailing Buddy for Norma T

Avocet is hooked onto my van to finish its migration to Wisconsin. 




And the builder “lets it go.”  Avocet is the product of some beautiful workmanship and I couldn’t be happier to bring this boat into my family’s life. 


For fun, out of the photos above from our October 9 sailing day, I made this video. 


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  • 4 months later...

No Sailing… BUT I took a First Step Towards It

My two Core Sounds went into winter “hibernation” six months ago in a building owned by my son’s friend.  I got them both out and brought one boat home yesterday. I got the other today.  There are a few things I will do in each, including installing the mounts for my new mast floats. It will be kinda tricky to reach into the top of the masts to place nuts onto the bolts for the halyard fittings… we shall see.  I have some vocabulary and noises available for the inevitable frustration utterances. ?


My new CS17 Avocet that I purchased last November (I haven’t used it yet):



Norma T came home today in my second 300 mile trip downstate. 

While downstate, I checked in on my son’s 17’ canoe project… he’s about to do the sanding, fairing, fiberglassing processes inside and out for use this summer. Strips cut from cedar boards he removed from his basement walls serve as planking material for this and his previous 15’ canoe build (in the rafters in the 3rd photo below.)  It’s a free canoe trip xcept for glue, staples, and fiberglass.  He made a two-fish pattern in the bottom which involves a LOT more meticulous fitting than I wish to do. ?






I think he has a very cute shop… just enough for a 17’ project. 

A whine moment:

Man, I’ve been driving a lot in the last couple weeks… DC, the UP, Minneapolis, two trips downstate… an “oil change” of miles. Another 300 this coming weekend to camp with my son’s family (the two grandkids in the previous posts.)   Temps are projected to be in the 20’s and 30’s.  ?

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  • 2 months later...

I only sailed Norma T once so far this year… a local race in which the wind disappeared for the most part, especially as I approached the turn-around mark… the red squiggle at the top where I had no steerage. We just kinda sat and floated around until a faint breeze came along so we could finish. (I turned on my tracking app a little late and forgot to turn it off after finishing.)  At least it was a pleasant evening on the still water. 

This post isn’t so much about sailing the Norma T as it is about completing a few things to add to our sailing this coming weekend.

First, I installed onto the top of the mizzen mast the kit-provided mounting post for the mast float I had built from a B&B kit over the winter.


I decided to make the red float for Norma T with a fish tail and a face. I’ll name it Bruce to remind me of my older brother who died some years ago.  ?



We’ll raise Bruce for the first time this weekend during this year’s Family Camp.

The second yellow float will also be raised this weekend.  It is named Wrasse-Cal which will go atop the mainmast of Avocet.  I figured that the fish-shaped mast float, painted with the yellow paint of Avocet (an Acocet is a shore-bird) should be named for a small yellow fish… like a wrasse.  Thus, Wrasse-Cal (pronounced “rascal”.)



This week I completed building a “partner” boat for Norma T.  The Stiletto ski-boat is named Joe, my dad’s work nickname (he and my mother met at their workplace.)  (Link to my Stiletto build-blog.) Since the boats are “partners” they have the same coloring scheme, matching trim, new Honda motors, and the same trailers.  My family is coming together this weekend for a few days of messing-about on our boats. ?


On Friday night, my sailing club has an evening full-moon cruise on the lake. My sons are planning to sail and sleep overnight on Avocet; it will be their first time on the boat.  


This is me sailing Avocet a couple weeks ago on my first overnight cruise.  (The only visible yellow is the gunwale.)

I plan to sail and sleep on Norma T.  Last year I devised a way to build a sleeping platform for the rear cockpit area of my CS15. I also installed a mizzen step in the forward thwart to move it out of the way.  I found a tent that fits the sleeping platform area and will (likely) try it for the first time Friday.  Today, I put tape “hinges” onto the top of the platform, allowing it to fold and neatly fit with the egg-crate support pieces between the centerboard trunk and the port seat. 

From last fall:



We shall see how everything goes. 


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  • 7 months later...

Norma T sits in winter storage right now. No, we’re not able to have the fun of sailing it right now. 

BUT, my wife is enjoying a minor winter project of assembling this 1,000+ piece puzzle she was given at Christmas.  My daughter had a puzzle made from a photo she took of my wife and me sailing with our three grandkids last summer.  I believe we are in a race here, succeeding at not being last. 😁  (Actually, we stayed ahead of several other boats.)


NOPE, I’m wrong with the photo.  I noticed there is no mizzen mast in the thwart and the motor is running.  This was taken in 2020 during “Gramma Camp.”  I had just finished building the hull but the sails were still on back order, due to the shut-down.  So, this is the first time we took the kids out in the boat, just motoring around on the local pond, enjoying the day.  It occurred before I started this thread. 

I did not sail Norma T NEARLY enough during 2022.  I was distracted by finishing my ski-boat build and getting used to Avocet (the CS17m3 that I purchased in fall of 2021.)  I plan to make 2023 a season of LOTS of messing-about with my “fleet”. 🙂

Seeing the puzzle project on the kitchen table reminds me of how happy I am that I built this CS15. 



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  • 1 month later...

Still two foot piles of snow along my driveway (central Wisconsin)… but the next sailing season is approaching.  I just wrote my $120 check for six months of parking Avocet in the nearby boatyard at Lake DuBay.  Norma T will be parked next to the house again. 

I thought to write a post because this screensaver image popped up on my phone… my first time of camping on Norma T with my raised cockpit floorboards (aft section) providing space for a small tent, that I put up after this photo was taken.  I’m with my boys who are camping in Avocet… we anchored up together on the lake.  Soon. 


This is the video of our camping adventure that my phone produced spontaneously a year ago. 


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This is the time of year when thoughts gravitate to warm weather activities.  Avocet is anxious to go home and taste fresh water again.  It has been so nice to play in the Florida sun with her.  You’re gonna have so much family fun with her this year!


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  • 3 months later...

My four kids’ families and our niece came up to our house for a weekend of Family Camp. We spent the afternoon today at a local beach on the Wisconsin River (Lake DuBay) Messing About in all kinds of boats and “floaties”… since there is nothing better.

It’s also the first time I had all three of my boats together on the water.



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  • 2 months later...

Don Silsbe visited me last week and took Norma T out on my local lake to see how it sails. I sailed Avocet, my CS17m3, and tried out a third sail someone gave me… just experimenting.  The winds were VERY light… not exciting but we had a nice time and got some photos.  It’s the first time I had both boats sailing near each other to take photos. 

I made a little video of our afternoon:


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Thank you both, again, for getting young kids out sailing. Way too many sailing blogs are basically "old man sails alone" stories.   Nothing wrong with that, but even better if you can grab a local kid to join you.  B&B boats are great for this--roomy, stable, and fast, plus easy to swim from.


Keep up the good work!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Last Sail on Norma T for the Year

I did not do nearly the amount of sailing that I’d been thinking about in the off season. Two reasons: I went back to work last December (and concluded at the end of August) and I traveled most of June out to Lake Tahoe. We will do that again next June but I don’t plan to work.  Considering this, I am satisfied with how much I was on the water with my three boats (and kayaks and canoe).  I’m already thinking about better and more adventuresome things for next year.  (I decided that I couldn’t get to the 2023 Messabout, so I’m placing this long post instead. 🙂)

I am describing here my last two times out. One was a 2023 “bucket list” I had of getting onto another of the Wisconsin River’s lakes, which is the second largest lake in Wisconsin.  The other sailing afternoon was this past week to try out the on-board camping set up I have fashioned for Norma T.  I did not actually camp, other than to have some afternoon resting… but I’m getting more confident in the setup. 

I timed a few things in my little venture.  It was 4 minutes to uncover, move the boat from its storage place and hook it onto my little car.


The CS15 is easily pulled around my yard. 




It was a half-hour drive to the landing at the Wisconsin River’s Lake DuBay and 7 minutes to rig it for launching (perhaps my quickest launch site setup.)  Another 4 minutes and it was rolled off the trailer into the water. 




I raised the mizzen and mainsail (with extra halyards) so I could row a while.  One method I found quite successful is to use a single oar on one side and the rudder for steering. I can sit on the seat itself for this since the thwart has the mizzen mast and stuff.  I first tried my hand again at sculling off the back… no forward movement was generated… gotta develop this skill. 




I recently put in a second set of oarlocks in the bow area letting me sit on the forward thwart.  I tried that out on a very windy day a weekend ago… worked great. And I fashioned a better way to tuck the two-piece oars under the aft part of the side decks, getting them completely out of the way. 

After some rowing, I beached the boat and got out to tie a line from the bow eye to a log, even keeping my shoes dry (as I did with the launch and recovery).  Then, I rowed out to the end of the line and threw out an anchor attached to my bungee Anchor Buddy.  I really haven’t tried it out yet. 



I pulled myself back to shore, got out, and let the boat get pulled out again by the Anchor Buddy, just to try it out.  I have a short video (takes a while to load.)


Then, I re-boarded to set up my tent system while being anchored. 

All of my cockpit platform pieces and my tent stuff nicely fit in the space between the centerboard trunk and the forward seat. 

I had also recently added a couple eyes on the transom that I can use to lash the corners of the tent to the boat (nope, tent stakes don’t work in a boat.). I did this thinking of what some wind could do to relieve the boat of the set-up tent.  I think it better to not use a tent like this if winds are significant… that’ll require some good forecasting for these overnight ventures. 


The egg-crate platform support came together more easily than my first couple of times.  (I did some shaving of the interlocking areas for a looser fit… I had made it too tight.)



(You know… as I looked at this photo of the egg crate platform support, I decided to add stringers across the middle of the two long spaces when I get the pieces out of winter storage next spring, just to make  things more firm. 🙂.  Always something new to try out or add to a system.)

Then, my 3-piece folding platform… with duct tape hinges… was laid in.  It makes a good sized platform, even for my 6’ 5” body.IMG_2004.thumb.jpeg.1ef79212723fdaad06f809078a89d889.jpeg


The $27 red tent went up, again more easily than before… the purpose of practice, I guess.  No sleeping bag on this trip, just a mattress and pillow for a little nap. 



A couple photos from the shore. 




After getting everything back in order, and a little lunch, I did some sailing in the gentle wind, placed the boat back onto the trailer, and made the trip back home. The take-down and making everything ready for the road took me 14 minutes.


I returned home and got the boat back in its storing place alongside my house


A side note, The Weezer, my neighbor girl who built a pink Spindrift 10 in her 9th and 10th grade years, got a little gift from me and her church youth person. A lamp was found at the church rummage sale and I painted it pink for her (kind of as a joke… but she said she loves it.)  



I bring this up because I used the leftover pink spray paint on the brick I use for the back tire of my trailer and it makes it a lot easier to aim the boat as I push it into place.

Another side note… The Weezer is now a high school senior and recently received acceptance into one of our Lutheran colleges, Gustavus Adolphus.  I can’t believe the annual costs of private colleges these days, but she received a whopping scholarship of over well over half. Yay!!




The following photos were from the previous week’s venture onto Lake Petenwell, a little further down the Wisconsin River.  It was my first time on the lake so I needed to use an unfamiliar boat ramp. What a beautiful county park with a beach, campground, facilities, and a great launch site.  It’s a place I will use next year, maybe even with family.  The morning had low winds but things picked up a lot in the afternoon. 





I experimented with using a small jib as a staysail.  Someone gave me two of these jibs and a larger mainsail.  The mainsail is too big for a staysail, but maybe I can cut it down for an appropriate staysail for my 17’ Avocet. Though I’m experimenting with this, I think the jibs have some promise for both of my sailboats and I will fashion quicker and better ways to use them next year. I felt like the extra sail made a difference. 




So, now Norma T and Avocet are both in storage downstate.  The storage space is heated to 40 degrees and I think the price is good for the six months.


I still need to winterize my ski boat motor and get the boat nestled into my garage for the next 6 months.  I keep the garage at 40 degrees with a space heater… it seems adequate… and my wife will have room to park her car next to it. 

P.S.  I got Joe the 15’ ski boat I finished building in 2022 tucked away in the garage for six months (the day before our first snowfall.)  I unbolted the seats and put them under the deck. That gave plenty of space to place all four of our bicycles, saving a lot of floor space.  That left room for my motorcycles and the snowblower.  All is well now.  I run a space heater at 40 degrees during winter… just enough to melt ice in the garage. 

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