Saturday, March 5, 2011

Working Marinas

At Phipps Marina people don't
  • Wax boats
  • Fly burgees
  • Compare rating certificates
  • Wear uniform polos and shorts
  • Replace lines because they are--gasp--dirty
  • Talk about racing
  • Strut anything new
  • Drive BMWs

Instead they

  • Clean fish
  • Saw, nail, and paint wood. Sometimes the smell of Coprinol lingers for months. It's different from the smell of varnish, I wouldn't want it on my boat, but I like it around. Something like the smell of freshly mowed grass, to me.
  • Talk about years spent in the Merchant Marine
  • Bring the kids along
  • Work on engines
  • Share information about WHERE and HOW to catch fish... and then catch them, without any teasing for striking out.
  • Drive pick-up trucks 
I exaggerate, of course. Of the 16 slips, 4 are sailboats, soon to be 5. Most of the boats are in fine condition; they just tend to be traditional and utilitarian. A few charter. It's hard to convince anyone that there's much practical about a sailboat, not in a fishing marina, although the day I slapped a pair of 30-inch rockfish on the communal cleaning table I bridged some of the sailor-fisherman gap. We talk boats and fish more easily now.
    Four generations of waterman--that I know of--have lived and worked on this property. I like it here.

                                          -  -   -   - 

    Marine railways aren't so common anymore; travel lifts have taken over and for good reasons. However, the railway is still in regular use, perfect for wooden boats that can't--or shouldn't--stand the stress of lifting with only 2 slings. Planks are fitted in the old ways and aging hulls refastened. Workboats, always; never a sailboat.

    Wind Vanes

    rev. 4-1-2013

    Warning: if you sail a mono-hull, none of this will make sense. Pointy bows and all that.

    It seems with every boat it's taken several years to get a bow wind vane just right, to suit my tastes. Such a simple thing. I always have to break a few. I suppose I could be satisfied with a masthead fly, but I hate looking straight up--hard on the neck too--and I like watching the set of the jib at the same time; it's more important, after all. I should also add that I like a fly on deck primarily for jibes, more particularly when the spinnaker is up. Up-wind I watch the jib, but when jibing the chute gives no clear wind indication, and it's a help to a new helmsman; he can keep his head in the boat and not stare upwards like some disconnected mystic.

    Prindle 16. I tried a few styles but settled on a Telo Cat vane that hung just below the jib bridle. It was sturdy enough to withstand trailering, was out of the way of the jib sheets, and since it was also below the bowsprit, it was protected from the spinnaker sheets.

    Stiletto. The location just below the bridle was out: the jib was a hank-on and would hit it when lowered and there was no bowsprit to guard it from the spinnaker sheets. We settled on a conventional fly on the port bow; it was beyond the reach of the jib sheets, and because we did inside jibes with the chute, safe from spinnaker sheets. We did break it every 5 years or so, generally anchoring or such, since it was only a few inches from the bow cleat.

    PDQ 32. I started out with the conventional fly on the port bow railing; I had 2 from yard sales and I liked the location. Unfortunately, we do outside jibes with the PDQ. Scratch 2 vanes (including a few repairs) within  a year. We even had a provision to rotate it out of the way when jibing, which of course defeated the whole purpose.

    I tried yarn on the remaining stump of the vane. Better, but I broke the stump off and should have, by all rights, torn the chute several times.

    So I invented the 5-minute flexible mount shown here. It's been in service for 6 years with no failures, took only 10 minutes to make 4 (2 spares), and consumed nothing but scraps.
    • The top is 8 inches of fiberglass tent pole from a wrecked tent.
    • The flex is 3 inches of polyethylene 1/4-inch ID airbrake tubing. Just a good press fit.
    • The bottom is another short bit of tent pole and some cable ties.
    • The yarn is... yarn. Acrylic stays dry and thus flies better than wool. Dark colors are best.
    Just smooth all of the cuts with a grinder and  push it together. The tent poles are NOT pushed in very far; there are 2 inches of empty tubing that is free to bend. Make some extras, in case you do manage to break something.

    I also keep yarn on the shrouds; it's personal tradition, not function. The airflow is messed up by the cabin and I seldom look at them.