Saturday, September 21, 2019

Large Scale Littering

This appeared this spring in Herring Bay (north side--the Deale breakwater is just visible behind the boat's bow). I guess this guy was salvaging a few parts.

It isn't in a channel and is in a portion of the bay that few sail, so I imagine it will be there forever. Probably uninsured and certainly without a responsible owner (or rather, with an irresponsible owner). At least for now we can see it, but someday the mast will fall off or someone will salvage it, making it a hazard to navigation.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Hydrilla Mower

This is what you get with the weeds in the marina are worse than the weeds in your yard.

But they can't keep up. They started in 1987 and have sort of given up the fight. The stuff grows FAST. The hydrilla does have benefits; the fish like it and it is good for water quality, but it also has the downside of any invasive species.

Washington Sailing Marina, 2017

Monday, September 16, 2019

Batteries and Water Quality

What do the battery makers think about water quality?  They are pretty particular:

What difference does it make? This is what Trogan thinks:

How does yours stack up?

 And so now you know. I use either kitchen RO or dehumidifier water.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

UV Protection for Sails

Yup another Practical Sailor Teaser.

A year ago I began researching the use of paint for UV protection on roller furling jibs.

I started with test panels on the roof. House paint samples failed right away, either chipping or pealing in strips. But special purpose paints, compounds either for sails or cloth, generally held up pretty well.

Last week my primary jib basically died, with multiple (4) tears through the Kevlar leach. The only thing that kept it from spliting right across was the Sunbrella cover and strong repairs just forward. The foot also developed multiple smaller tears the same day. It was breezy.

Thus, it was time to install my back-up jib, which has only a failed UV Dacron cover.

  • Will the paint stay on? I painted it months ago, I've rolled it in and out a dozen times, and tacked dozens of times, though in moderate wind. So far, it looks and feels good.

Amazon MDR inflatable paint. Left over from the dinghy. It lasted ~ 5 years on an inflatable, with very little pealing, so why not? I'll report aback in a year or so. Sooner, if it fails... but I don't think it will.

Time will tell. I also have samples of painted cloth burning away on the roof. I'm thinking I'm going to leave them until next Fall, and then make them into flags and drive around for a few days, giving them a severe flutter test.

I'm also going to get some quotes on a new jib. Even if the paint does fine, this one is long in the tooth and I don't trust it. I'm about done with laminates for furlers. It's a bad marriage. I'm going with polyester next time. 

I still like a Mylar main. It lives under a cover and does not flog (full battens). Yet both of them (I have two sails of indeterminate age) developed tears along the bolt rope, because the cloth does flex there. Compared to the leach, of course, this is a non-structural area, and is far easier to repair. And unlike polyester, they don't stretch, at all. When it comes to square top sails, that's a big deal.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Local Bridge Decoration

July 1, 2019

It's an old railway bridge abutment along side a rails-to-trails path. Someone got busy with spray paint last week. I like it.

 And less than 2 months later is see some boring functionary had them paint over it. I'm sure he was pressured by some boring Vienna busybody.

What a shame. It made me smile every time I passed it. Silly and informal is nice.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Bealton Flying Circus

I'm not an air show guy. I'm not into old planes. But this past weekend I joined the family at the Bealton Flying Circus and was wowed to find 9 Stearman biplances in perfect flying condition, along with nine enthusiastic pilot, performing stunts, taking folks for rides, and generally showing off their babies.

For those of you that are not into aviation, at all, the Stearman was the primary trainer for the Navy and Army Air Corp during WWII. These are not reproductions. These are museum quality aircraft that still fly an airshow every summer weekend.

After the show--which is a great entertainment for a summer afternoon--you can walk down the line from plane to plane. The pilots know the history and clearly treasure their birds.

Museum quality... but flying every week! And they don't fly them gently.

If you are in the area, check it out. When you stop to realize these planes are all 80 years old, and that none are reproductions, you just have to be impressed.

What they suffer from is an atrocious lack of publicity.

The Bealton Flying Circus

Sunday, August 18, 2019

New Job Has Me Busier Than a One Armed Paper Hanger

My engineering consulting practice evolved into full-time work, and between lingering consulting work, writing, some family stuff, and the new employee rush, I've been too buries to post.

But that doesn't mean I'm not doing sailing stuff. I expect things to settle down soon. Meanwhile...

I've been learning about the challenges of MOB recovery for couples. Every MOB drill I ever read assumes you have a crew of 4-7, and like most sailors, most of my sailing is as a pair. Three old fenders make a dummy.  

I've been experimenting with the effect of yawing on anchor holding. Aggressive yawing can reduce the hold by 80-90%, but even the moderate yawing of most boat reduces holding by 50% or more. So much for nit-picking arguments over anchor type and size, if you can't even hold the boat still.

The F-24 makes an interesting test bed, because I can rig it to yaw through anything between 15-160 degrees by varying bridle and foil positions; she'll either hold still or really dance, depending on the adjustments.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

A Few Boat Specific Notes for My Sailing Partners

I installed the new motor mount plate. The replacement is about twice as strong as the original, factory version. Also, I think the PO measured wrong, which is why he needed a spacer under the motor mount. The mount now rests on the transom and is very secure.

The mounting plate is the aluminum strip at the bottom. It is attached to the two big clamps. The two angled slots are to clear the reverse lock.

I also replaced the fuel line assembly with the bulb. It has been getting stiff and not pumping up well.

The motor did die on me once, when I dialed up full throttle for a few minutes to check the mount. I noticed the bulb was sucked flat, suggesting the anti-siphon valve on the tank probably has some dirt in it. When I pumped it up the engine start with an easy pull and ran fine at moderate throttle. I'll take it apart soon.

I then upgraded the shroud tensioner to 8:1 from the previous 4:1. It should now be easy to tension the shrouds in strong winds without leaving the cockpit. They are also easier to release. It was line I had, perfect fit, no leftovers.

It is possible to over tension the rig now, if you get ham-handed. According to the manual, the max tension is about 1600 pounds, which means about 300 pounds on the tensioner. That means do NOT pull more than 300/8 = 37.5 pounds on the rope. A good one arm pull, but no more. It is very smooth.

In the photo you can see a black whipping ~ 5 inches from the cam cleat. This is the light wind setting. At a minimum, pull both adjusters to this position before sailing. This should cover you up to about 6-8 knots. As the wind increases, you need enough tension to keep the lee shroud from going slack and snatching tight; that is very bad for it. I will put two seizings close together at the maximum setting, but it was not windy enough to establish that value today. It's probably about another 9-12 inches up, but we'll see. For now, just enough to take the slack out.

And then I went kayaking. This is just south of the beach near Deale.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Painting a Sail

No comic book super heroes or advertising logos. Just the UV strip.

Our new-to-us laminate jib is starting to fail along the edge of the sun cover; the cover makes a stiff spot and the flexing is damaging. The cover was also too small and is itself, failing (UV Insignia cloth). If I tried to sew on a new cover the needles holes would destroy the sail, and it's too old to justify the expense and effort, really.

If the ONLY thing we want to due is block the sun, why not paint? For the past year I have had samples of many different paints, ranging from house paint to specialized sail paints on racks on the roof, weathering. Naturally enough, it is a writing project.

I did a few minor repairs first. Yes, the strip tapers; you need more width at the clew than the head.  Normally I hate mini-rollers, but a 4-inch foam roller is just the thing for painting a sail. Pretty easy.

FYI, the sheets under the sail are there to protect the sail from the asphalt more than to keep the paint off the driveway.

Another advantage of paint is that it is light. I don't care about the effect on set, but I do care about the extra weight flogging against the vulnerable leach fabric. None of the sailmakers recommend Sunbrella, for example, on laminate sails. for this reason.

  Although the roof top exposure tests are not complete, I selected MDR's Inflatable Boat Topcoating. It seemed to be among the top performers, I've used it on inflatables, it got a top rating from Practical Sailor some years ago, and I had enough left over. Free is always nice.

No, I don't expect it to last as long as a Sunbrella cover. Neither will the rest of the sail. But it also cost me only 15 minutes work and $15 worth of leftover paint.

Look for a detailed report and follow-up in Practical Sailor Magazine.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Cruising Small, Cruising Fast

A New addition to the Bookstore

I started started sailing on a beach catamaran. I heartily recommend learning on a small boat, because they teach a sense of the wind and waves that is hard to gain on larger boats. But if you want to go farther or spend the night, you really need something with a bunk. But you don't need 50 feet of shiny fiberglass and the mortgage and slip fees that go with it. That's what they sell in the mags because that's where the (your) money is.

And to be honest, big boats aren't that much fun to sail, not after you get the hang of it. They're more about learning the systems and planning than actually sailing. Would you you rather go for a bike ride or drive a Winnebago around town? Personally, I'd take the bike, and that is why I downsized from a cruising cat to a 24-foot trimaran; the smaller boat sails better and I feel the wind again. I missed that on the cruising cat.

The thought that brought fire to my pen is that too many sailors feel that sporty boats are for racing. Poppycock. They are for whatever is fun, and if you only take the plunge, you'll see that fast cruising is a blast, though it can be a bit more like camping that staying in a hotel. Of course you can do both; sail fast from point A to point B, and then stay in a motel.

And that is the sort of thinking that goes into cruising fast and small. Ignore the magazines and make it work. You've never had so much fun!