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Pete McCrary

Core Sound 20 Mk 3 -- #4 "Chessie" . .

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Little things.  Getting ready for 3-day event on West River on Memorial Day weekend.  The soft plastic holder came with the handheld VHF transceiver.  Within ear shot and easy reach of the helmsman.  Figure no one will be sitting opposite the mizzen bridge.

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Hi Pete, I really like your paint scheme, what paint brand did you use and type of gray paint the in the cockpit?

It appears the color would be soft on the eyes on a sunny day and not be too hot.

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Interlux polyurethane Topside -- White, Sea Green, Kingston Gray, and Red for the boot.  I used their Pre-Kote as the primer.  Yes, I like the gray -- it's easy on the eyes in bright sunlight and not hot to sit on.  I call it "battleship" gray.  If it's ok for the Navy . . .

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A severe test for Chessie -- She gets an A+ . .

My compliments to Graham and all at B & B Yacht Designs!

 
With a nice weather forecast I launched Chessie on Thursday (June 13) from Leesylvania State Park for a two-day cruise.  Then, when anchored at Pohick Bay getting ready to prepare dinner, a fisherman came by and warned me of bad weather expected.  I checked my smartphone and the outlook was very different from what I expected.  This was about 5pm and the sky looked nice and we were 10nm from the launch ramp.  I decided to abandon the cruise and head for the ramp expecting to arrive by about 7pm.
 
However, at about 1/3 the way rain and wind set in.  Fortunately we were close to the middle of the Potomac where it is almost 2nm wide.  Quickly the wind picked up and the heavy rain reduced visibility to the point I couldn't see either shore.  In fact I couldn't read the compass or see any details on the GPS -- even the bow of the boat was hard to see.
 
Upon launch I had already topped the ballast tank.  Thank goodness!  The worst of the wind was easily 40 knots, probably gusting to 50!  The Honda 4 (long-shaft) was wide open and making better than 5 knots (when wind at 15 - 20 knots).  But it wasn't enough to keep Chessie into the wind.  The sails had been furled & sheeted midship and all made ready for the worst.  But when we were blown sidways to the wind, Chessie was on her port beam and I was at the helm (starboard side) trying to hold on (OBM also on starboard).  My guess is that she was (in the worst gusts) almost 80 degrees over.  When the gusts eased a bit, she would come up a little and off her beam slightly.  The mainsail became mostly unfurled!  I thought then that she would go-over!  But the mainsail didn't get into the water and the cockpit coaming never shipped any.  However, the footwell scuppers couldn't keep up with the rain and water was about an inch or so deep in the footwell.  It was all very frightening.  I had never experienced anything like it.  I felt very helpless -- all I could do was "hold on" and stay at the helm and try to bring her up into the wind.  When she was sideways to the wind and healed way over, she was beyond any control.
 
As things began to lighten up and visibility returned, I could see the lee shore in sunshine.  It was much closer than when it all started.  It all lasted about 20 minutes (probably less) until the wind reduced to 15 to 20 knots and the rain reduced so that I could see all shores.  Curiously, there was no lightening.  But all over the area the cloud formations were strange and omnimus.  Into the 15 to 20 knot wind and chop, Chessie would make a little over 5 knots at full throttle (4,700 rpm).  The tide was probably helping a bit.  When the mainsail became unfurled, I thought that the sail ties had been blown off.  But when finally on shore I found that they were all (4 or 5 of then) bunched up at the clue.  That didn't happen to the mizzen.
 
Home by 9pm.  Inspection this morning shows NO DAMAGE -- and the cabin and everything that was stowed DRY!  I wouldn't want to experience it again, but Chessie (and her designers) deserve an A+ !!
 
PS -- Annie is thankful that "I'm home safe" and grades Chessie with an AA+.
 
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Good advice, well taken.

Promptly provided by Marc Cruder, retired Coast Guard officer and former Commodore of our Chesapeake Cat Boat Association.

 

Pete: Glad you and Chessie are o.k. Not a good story, and perhaps poor marks for situational awareness.

 

With a smart phone, you should be able to at least get the weather channel radar app, which will show you what is coming for 6 hours from the time you check.  I use it to be sure I don't get wet when I want to ride my motorcycle. When you bring it up, it sometimes says  "storms in sight"....then when you hit the future radar button, it can tell you exactly when it will be over you.  Start practicing with that weather prediction routine.

 

Alternately there is NOAA.gov, which can give you hourly chance of precipitation and wind speeds.

 

Weather has been more extreme in recent times than we all remember. Glad you "lived to sail another day"

 

mcc

 

Just this past May (at a CCBA meeting) Marc gave a lecture and led the discussion concerning reefing -- and a good part of it was about being aware of the weather and the way to make use of what's available by means of smartphones.  I should have paid much more attention.  I'm usually more cautious -- but I had been looking forward to this cruise and the opportunity to sail with my son.  Often, just wanting something so much, purely influences choices.  I was lucky that the "tuition" for several lessons learned was not too high.

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Pete, Thanks for the write up on a challenging situation. Glad you made it home safely. In hindsight, what could you have done differently aside from watching the forecast more closely? Could you have remained at anchor? Run the boat ashore?

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Remaining at the anchorage was an option -- and probably the right one.  The anchorage was fairly close to shore but well protected from the forecasted offshore SWS wind.  But I didn't know what direction the storm winds would be.  And in my limited storm experience I had never seen anything even close to what I experienced later that day.  Also, I didn't like the forecast for the next day when [the forecast said] I'd have to make the trip against 18 knot winds -- so I thought "do it now" and be home tonight.  Now I'll know better -- even if it would mean an extra day waiting for better weather.

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I'm glad you are OK. I second the "stay at anchor" I had a situation (micro burst) years ago that scared me.

 

Thank you for sharing as a reminder.

 

Steve

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   Regardless of how well you plan there will eventually be weather that is local enough to not show up no matter what app you're staring at.  Many years ago I set off from the Vista Point boat ramp at Jordan Lake in North Carolina and turned the tiller over to my friend.  There was a tall cloud somewhat to windward of us and I knew we'd have to keep an eye on it.  We sailed close hauled on a port tack (with the suspect cloud hidden behind the sails to starboard) in a lovely 10-12 knot breeze for 10 minutes or so on this hot summer day and then tacked.  Upon tacking, we saw a skinny, cylindrical tendril sticking out horizontally from our suspect cloud with a definite fast spin around its long axis and heading right for us.  My friend immediately abdicated the tiller (cause it wasn't his boat :) ) and I tacked again and sheeted the sails out for a beam reach and turned the boat to accommodate the direction of coming blast (I hoped).  When it hit I steered to balance the boat as we popped up on plane.  The next several minutes were the fastest sailing I've ever done, including my windsurfing days.  The boat was rock solid planing on a beam reach but we were taking spray over the rail that resembled a fire hose.  Fortunately the event was short-lived and we were able to gather our wits and bail once it moved on.

   My point in telling this story is that it's fine to second-guess your choices of whether to sail or not in any given conditions, but you can't predict what's going to happen once you've made the decision to sail and you also can't necessarily rely on technology to tell you that fun weather is coming.  Once you're sailing, you're sailing and if you've got a good boat and you're on your toes, you can hopefully sail your way through the local weather blip that pops up, the way Pete did.  Sometimes you just get a downburst and you get to whoop and holler your way through. ;)

   Once you've pushed off from the dock, keep your eyes on the sky instead of (or maybe as well as) the screen.

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22 hours ago, Ken_Potts said:

 

 

   Once you've pushed off from the dock, keep your eyes on the sky instead of (or maybe as well as) the screen.

I like that Ken. I have found weather radar useful for tracking large fronts not so much for individual cells.

 

Pete,  Thank you for sharing the storm report. I am glad you and Chessie were able to weather the blow. You said the sail ties on the main slipped aft allowing the wind to  unfurl the main.  I wonder if there is a simple way to prevent the ties from moving and make the main more secure.  Were the ties a little loose?  The natural taper of the furled main would make this a possibility that had never occurred to me.

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Joe -- the sail ties were "snug" but not "tight."  The problem had to do with the first tie (up near the luff) where the wind could enter the open folds between the sail-track "cars."  That allowed the sail to "balloon" from forward to aff -- pushing each sail tie towards the clew letting the balloon get larger and larger.  At least that's my analysis.

 

I don't believe it would have happened if I had followed my usual procedure when furling the sail:  Unshackling the main halyard from the sail's head and looping [the halyard] under the sail [at the luff] and back up over the sail -- and belaying the halyard [using its shackle] on itself.  Then taking up the halyard's slack and even raising the entire sail's luff [and bunched up cars] high enough on the sail track so that the forward hatch may be easily opened.  That tightened loop close to the mast keeps the wind from ballooning thru the folds of the luff.  The problem with that [procedure] when sailing solo is that in order to raise the sail -- the skipper must go forward thru the cabin (and up thru the forward hatch) in order to undo the halyard loop and belay its shackle to the sail's head.

 

But I wasn't thinking straight because raising the sail is not something I would want or need to do in heavy weather.  In fact making that loop should be standard procedure in preparing for the worst.

 

BTY I had made that loop over the mizzen's luff -- no problem with the sail ties blowing aft.

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Chessie's recent encounter with a scary microburst has jolted me to build a reboarding ladder based on photos posted by Alex on 12/25/2015.  Here are pixs of it "dry fitted" to the transom:

 

First in its stowed position.

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Next -- it's deployed.

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The bottom step is about 16" below the water line.  That step is about 11" wide and I should be able to place both feet on it.  That will allow the strength of both legs to raise myself outn of the water and step onto the aft deck.

 

The frame is white oak and the treads 1/4" and 1/2" marine ply.   Hinge leaves are 1" X 2" X 1/8" SS with 3/4" yellow pine blocking behind the transom.  The steel rod is 5/16" threaded SS.   The ladder will be field tested July 27 at the Corsica River 77th Annual Regatta hosted by the Corscia River Yacht Club.

 

Report and more photos to follow.

image.jpeg

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Very nice Pete,  great idea and execution.  Looking forward to seeing how you like it.  A transom is awfully big when you are in the water trying to get back aboard.   

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Chessie's reboarding ladder is basically finished 'cept for two coats of neat epoxy and a bungee to keep it in stowed position.  Here's what it looks like:

 

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Viewed from aft.

 

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Viewed from portside

 

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Deployed.  I put my ~200 lbs on each step.  Nothing broke -- and the 3/16" cords twanged like a banjo string when plucked.  It took about an hour of numerous adjustments to get the 8-knots just right.  I'll mark the locations before disassemble for the final epoxying.

 

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Bottom tread showing wooden "drawer pull" for stowage purchase.

 

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Ladder stowed against the transom.  The slack has been taken from each line.  Their ends will have bowline loops held in tension with a small bungee.

 

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Showing the profile from the cockpit.  Hopefully it won't often foul the mizzen sheet.

 

ADVICE PLEASE !!  I've noticed that wooden ladders are never painted.  Should that apply here?

 

 

 

 

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You could paint the treads with non-skid.  I have had excellent results with the Jamestown Distributors TotalBoat TotalTread.  You can brush it or roll it.  I put it on the floor of my 17 cockpit and like it a lot.  Ok for barefoot or shoes, either way.

 
 
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Pete, that is really a good idea!  Our CS needs a more rigid method to reboard from the water.   How did you attach them to the transom?  

 

 

Pete Planks are a hit.......and now this!

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Here are photos of the ladder parts:

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Notice the center knots haven't been undone -- and that the beginning & end of each knot has been marked with masking tape.  Also, starboard & port so they won't be accidentally switched (hole placements not perfectly symmetrical).

 

Here is a closeup of where the two frames are hinged on the 5/16th rod.

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Jay -- The strap hinges were attached with 1.25" #12 SS FHWS.  The manufacture specified #10 screws -- but they were a loose-fit.  The top of #12s are just flush with the surface of the hinge.  The hinges were 1/8" thick.  So the maximum "reach" was 1/8 + 1/4 transom + 3/4 blocking + fiberglass + 4 layers of neat epoxy + bedding compound = ~ 1.25".

 

The two step-frames are only in compression -- and the only one creating any significant sheer stress (on its hinge) is the frame for the lower step.  And I think that force is modest (just a fraction of the ~100 load).  Later I'll sketch a vector-load diagram just to be sure.

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