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markfitz

Not the best trip out.

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We decided to take the Weekender out yesterday because the weather report said the winds were going to be 5-10mph and we figured it would be another easy day of practice.  When we got there, the lake had whitecaps, and the foam was spraying off the top of them.  Someone more knowledgable than me said that meant you were looking at 12-15 knot winds. We decided we'd wait it out a bit and see how it went.  About 30 minutes later, the whitecaps were quite a bit less, but it was still blowing pretty good. It was steady at least, and not really gusty. We figured we would get the boat ready and by that time we hoped it would have mellowed out a bit.

It really didn't, but we had a few improvements we wanted to test (replaced peak halyard blocks with one double block, for one...and it's a good thing we did) so we decided to go for it.  The first problem is that on this particular lake, the water level is lower than normal and the dock next to the ramp is about 3 feet above your boat when it's in the water, so it's very hard to control when the waves are coming in and the wind is blowing.  The second problem was that the wind was blowing from North to South, and we were at the south-most end of the lake.  We only have a 47lb thrust trolling motor.  It got us out of the launch area (barely) and using top speed, we were able to put a little distance between us and the launch.

We were getting slammed around pretty good.  We dropped the rudder, and then I attempted to put the sails up.   I discovered it's a lot harder to climb around on the front of the boat raising sails when the boat is bobbing like a cork.  Somehow, during my initial try, one of the mast rings got jammed in the gaff jaws, so we had to drop it back down again and sort that out, all the while being blown quite briskly back where we came from.  We put a little more distance between us and the shore and tried again.  The trolling motor was coming out of the water because of the chop, so it wasn't quite as effective as it had been the last two times.

We raised the main sail, and raised the jib and we were off on quite the ride.  I thought when the wind first caught the jib it was going to rip the clubfoot right off it snapped over so fast.  Things were ok, though. We were mostly in control, and we raised the trolling motor and got it out of the way.  We headed out, and the first thing we realized is that we desperately needed some weight in the front because the boat was pounding quite badly, and we were getting pretty wet from the spray.  Once we tacked and headed in the other direction, it got better since we were more surfing the sides of the waves than trying to pound through them.  

We were perhaps three miles away from the marina and heeling over pretty good when one of the port shrouds snapped.  At the time, I couldn't tell if it broke or just came out of the cable clamp, but it at first glance it looked broken, since the clamp was still tight on the hanging shroud.  Afraid a second one might go, we got the boat in irons and decided we should drop the mainsail and see what was what.  That was a bit more difficult to do while the wind was whipping everything around, but finally, we got everything gathered together and the cockpit was now full of boom and sail.  Not a lot of room to move about, that's for sure.  I was very glad we replaced the peak halyard block, because without being able to drop the peak halyard so quickly, I don't think it would have been much fun trying to do this.  

Upon closer inspection, I determined that what had happened was an issue with our hardware store vinyl covered cable. The clamps were tight, but when under this sort of stress, the wire came out from inside its vinyl covering and worked its way out of the clamp.  So that bit in the weekender instructions about not worrying about stripping off the covering before clamping didn't really work out for us.  

We couldn't really affect repair on the water because we were getting tossed around too much, so we decided to head back.  I dropped the trolling motor, preparing to motor back, when I realized that we were moving much faster than the motor was capable of propelling us using the jib alone.  So we used the jib to sail back. Luckily the wind was blowing in the right direction.  Of course, even though the lake was pretty much empty, 4 other boats decided they needed to be out of the water at the exact time we did, and since they were power boats, they blew by us, and now we had to try to circle around and wait until they were loaded up and out.  We couldn't do that with the jib flying, so that meant another monkey climb over everything to drop that.   For some reason, dousing the jib is always hard to do.  The clips don't want to slide freely on the vinyl covering, and because of the way it's fastened to the club foot, it only wants to come halfway down without binding up until you untie it from the end of the clubfoot.  The clubfoot connection was mangled and bent, so that's another thing that needs to be repaired.  I was thinking ditching the clubfoot altogether, and working up some sort of furler, but I don't know enough about sailing this boat (or sailing in general) yet to know whether this is a good or bad idea.

We finally made it back in, and that was another minor disaster. The wind was still blowing so strongly that there were swells.  Apparently, between swells the water was low enough so our rudder hit bottom. Since the boat wasn't moving forward so much, instead of the rudder popping up, it hit vertically and lifted the entire rudder, tiller and rudder box out of the gudgeons.  No damage to speak of, but we didn't really expect to be chasing that around outside the boat.  It was so rough that it  was almost impossible to keep the bowsprit from slamming on the dock, and the entire boat kept wanting to turn sideways in the launch area. I made a heroic leap from the boat to the dock with a rope tied to both ends of the boat, and then sat down.  It was finally under some semblance of control.  My father was climbing out of the boat and a swell made him lose his balance -- he reached out to a shroud to steady himself and we were down two, and he almost took a swim. The mast was now listing quite badly to starboard.  He banged up his knee pretty good.   At least I was able to keep us from the complete disaster of washing ashore.

We were glad when we finally got it back on the trailer in one piece.  Today, I have a stiff neck, a stiff back, and a bruise on my knee that I have no idea how I got.  I don't know about this sailing thing..... :smile:

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Woah, quite the experience.  The sea, or even a lake is not very forgiving.

You may want to do some research on the Beaufort Scale.  It is a system for using waves to estimate wind speeds.  White caps start to form at about 12 knots of wind.  Spindrift, that foam blowing off the top of waves you described does not occur until winds of 35 - 40 knots.  So if that is what you really saw, the winds were rather lively to say the least   :shock:

It's all good if you made it back.  That is the goal of every sail.  If you learned something, even if it was merely a little more respect for the weather, then it was even better.

edit:  http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/beaufort.html

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I think the very first thing I would do is replace all your standing rigging with UNcoated wire. I work with that coated stuff and though you may be able to slide your fingers up and down and it feels slick...other materials tend to find it tacky and sticky and it binds things up. Do some searching on the web...you can find some decent deals on 1/8" SS 7x19 wire. You could check on Ebay too. I know Duckworks sells it for $0.52/ft plus shipping...which isn't too bad really.

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I think the very first thing I would do is replace all your standing rigging with UNcoated wire. 

Most ocean races, like the Newport-Bermuda race, will not allow boats with coated wire for rigging or life lines to even enter.  The logic being that you can not tell when corrosion is occurring because you can't see the wire. This is quite dangerous.  Not only that, but coated wire will corrode faster.  I doubt you will enter your boat in the Bermuda race, but knowing your rigging is sound (or not) is rather important.

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Those kinds of experiences can sour  a person on sailing for sure; especially family and friends.  Best advice, take it easy and start slow.  Read a story once of guy who spent 10 years building a really nice cruiser and the day of the scheduled launch was horrible.  He was so anxious about sailing his work of art that he went out anyway.  He was washed overboard and drowned. 

You might want to think about a furler on your jib or maybe a downhaul.

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based on that chart, Hirilonde, I'd say we were probably looking at:

17-21 Fresh Breeze.  It seems like more when you're in a little boat.  Dale, is there a furler (homemade or otherwise) that will work on the weekender?  How does a downhaul work?  I assume it's another line that runs to the bottom of the forestay and back?

Lewis, thanks. I will check out duckworks rigging wire.  That price doesn't seem too bad.  Would you recommend using something other than those cable clamps?

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http://www.duckworksbbs.com/tools/swage-it/index.htm

Swaging tool is also available. I would be more inclined to make one but I have access to some machine tools to do it. Your investment might be a bit high but you will probably need to use it enough to pay for itself after a couple of boats/friend's boats.

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If you have a self-tacking jib, I'm not sure about furling.  I've had two boats though, one with a jib furler and one without.  I love a jib furler.  If it wont work with a self-tacking jib, you might want to consider rigging the jib with a traditional set up where the jib sheet goes to both sides of the boat back to blocks  - one on each side of the boat.  Here's link to a Harken small boat furler: http://www.harkenstore.com/uniface.urd/scpdinw1.showProd?B4RPMEB9Y9CLEO

Dont want to appear to know more than I do - I've never actually seen a downhaul, but it is a line that pulls down your jib from the cockpit. I've always wondered what happens to the flapping sail once it's down though.  Someone with more experience may be able to help.  In fact, some Weekender owner/builders may be able to  help with these issues more than I.  Have you been on the BYYB forum.  Many Stevenson builders there.  Here's link: http://www.byyb.org/

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If you have a self-tacking jib, I'm not sure about furling. 

If your sheet runs through a fair lead in the club to the clew you can use a furler.

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My habit of the last couple of years is to plan a trip (usually 2-3 days) in a word processor document, pasting in the relevant tide, current and weather predictions; this document becomes the float plan, a copy to take and one to leave home.  NOAA comes out with a new marine weather forecast twice a day for my waters, and I update frequently in the days before the trip: after you watch the predictions change--sometimes radically--in the few days before departure, you learn to take them with a grain of salt.  (Then you get out there, and even that day's prediction is sometimes wrong!)  You can never let the prediction blind you to reality.  I once drove to the ramp, all equipped and provisioned for several days away, rigged on the trailer to go, sat at the ramp for awhile indecisive, and then took the whole thing down and went home because I just wasn't comfortable with the conditions.  Felt really foolish at the time, but when it blew stink all the next day I realized I'd been right.  As you get more experience, you'll be comfortable in a wider range of conditions, but never never go out in conditions that make you nervous--trust your gut.

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Yes to the first one...but I would go with DW's for the second. It is cheaper, smaller and easier to use and I believe it comes with the swages. And yes...I said easier to use. Try holding a bunch of things in one hand and trying to lever the Swager with the other when you need both to operate it and two hands to keep everything together at the business end.

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Re the swaging tool, I bought one at Lowes and turned out didn't have the right size for the wire on my boat.  Double check that before you buy.

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Thanks guys. I just bought that cable from Amazon, and the swaging tool and all the rest from duckworks.  Picked up some of those SS turnbuckles while I was at it.  Spent all my lunch money for the month.  :D

And Jeff, thanks for the advice. I think the problem was my gut really didn't have anything to go on (until now!)

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RE: Furling systems for Weekender Jibs.  

I've been sailing for basicly 5 years now with a Weekender with a homemade furling spool for the jib.  No issues!   It is for a Lapper, but could also be used for the standard jib and is on the Weekender Fire Escape.  It will not work with a clubfoot on a Weekender.   The geometry just doesn't work out to use a standard jib with the clubfoot and have it furl up when you need to quit.  If you were to go forward unfurl the jib and clip it onto the clubfoot and unclip the clubfoot before quitting you could use the furler and have it self tending.  But you would need a seperate furling line to the jib to unfurl it and then unclip that line and clip onto the clubfoot.  Kind of self defeating.  

We use two jibsheets with the lapper which makes furling and unfurling a no brainer.   Same with a standard jib, if set up that way. No clubfoot.  

The luff of the jib is modified by the addition of a luffwire, 1/8" 1X7 counterlaid stainless wire.  Quite stiff.   Any other gromments on the luff need to be removed and the luffwire sewn in.  This will involve shortening the luff to eliminate the portion with any holes punched into it.  The luff wire terminates at the head with a sewn in grommet and at the foot with another sewn in grommet. These allow you to attach the jib halyard and the foot to the furling spool which is mounted about 3" behind the forestay.   A furling line is run from the furling spool back to the cockpit area thru small bullseyes and terminates at a cleat.  To set the jib you would release the furling spool line but keep it taut and pull on the jib sheet to either side of the mast to set the jib.  Then cleat off the furling spool line.  When yo want to quit you pull on the furling line from the spool  to allow you to furl (wrap) the jib around the luffwire.  The two jib sheets are attached as normal.  It is a tension act with both furling line and jib sheets keeping the jib taut between them.  Once the jib has been furled you cleat off the jib sheets, and the furling spool line and the jib stays wrapped around the luff wire sewn into the leading edge (luff) of the jib.  If you wanted to have the jib be self tending, you would need to go forward and attach the clubfoot to the jib and disconnect the jib sheets.  When finished sailing you would need to reverse this in order to furl the jib.

The Harken small boat furling system is ideal for the Weekender.  Schaefer makes one as do a few other firms but all are relatively expensive.  All work on the same principle but they are not deisgned to reef the jib.  That is another matter entirely.  

The home made furling spools we use are formed from UHMW solid rod and sheeting.  The rod becomes the cylinder hub for the spool and the sheeting is cut out into flanges for that hub These are all thru bolted together and a Schaefer swivel is mounted to the bottom of the hub to allow it to turn easily and another Schaefer swivel is attached to the jib halyard and the jib to allow the luff wire to turn freely as well.  We have two of these on "Fire Escape"  one for the lapper and one for a highly modified storm jib which has had the geometry worked out so it will furl with the smaller clubfoot attached.  This storm jib is mounted behind the  mount for the Lapper allowing us to use both or either. with both being able to be furled.

I'm doing the same thing but with Harken Small boat furling systems for a Lapper and a Standard jib on Spiritwind.

post-26-12949770386_thumb.jpg

post-26-129497703864_thumb.jpg

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Barry,

Help me here.  What's the difference between a furler that's designed for reefing and one that's not?

And a homemade furler... great idea.  I may have to try that.

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Is using a jib and staysail in the design or your idea Barry?

Using a roller as a furler means to simply store the sail rolled up.  Using the roller as a reefing system means to use it to make the sail smaller.  Most roller systems will do both, but not necessarily well for reefing.

On my Renegade I have a reefing genoa designed for use on a roller.  It has a padded soft luff that helps flatten the sail as it is rolled up.  Most regular jibs or genoas will stay full, or even get more full as it is partially rolled up.  This defeats part of the reason for reefing.  In heavy wind you want to flatten your sails and maybe make them smaller.  Flat sails exert less healing force.

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Mark, I'll get over to the island on Wed. and take some closeup photos of the furling spools for you that were homemade. 

There was a fair amount of discussion on combining staysails with the standard jib on the Weekender a few years ago.  At the time there were a lot of discussions on the Cool" factor vs the "practical performance" factors.  The discussion led to Doing something similar to A Friendship type of setup but from a layout point of view the amount of space to make it work was not enough to make it practical nor was the actual increase in sail area considered enough to make it desirable.  However...the over riding "Cool" took presidence.  IT took Capt. Jake a long time to work out the geometry for the staysails clubfoot to allow it to furl and unfurl and to still allow it to function as a self tending staysail.  On an outing with light winds we gave it the test.  We got both of them set, tacked with them both (a real pain) and had some nice shape to both but when we furled the staysail, the boat with the lapper simply out performed the combination by a huge margin.  So...the staysail has become the heavier weather jib, self tending and the main reefed down.  Nicely balanced combination and easily managed.

Now this combination was using a lapper plus the staysail.  The staysail was basically hidden inside the curve of the lapper.  Getting the lapper to swing about the luff of the staysail to tack was quite an ordeal.

It was functional although difficult to manage cleanly.  About 18 inches of seperation between the two.

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I got the ss 1/8" cable and the rest of the stuff, but the thimbles look tiny.  They're 1/8" but small enough so the cable isn't very easy to get around the bend, especially since the 7x19 stuff is pretty springy.  Is that normal? 

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