Sunday, December 27, 2015

Ditch the Bent Nail

I've been doing a series of tests on backing plate materials, drilling, de-coring, dpoxy filling, and re-drilling innumerable holes in balsa cored laminate. The standard method is to use a bent nail to pulverized the balsa.

Bent nail

Well, ditch that. At the suggestion of another DIY sailor I tired a notched roofing nail.
  • The drill bucks less. Particularly helpful on larger holes.
  • The dust is finer and hence easier to remove. No need to dig it out with a nail.
  • You are less likely to miss a spot, though as the pictures show, both methods can do a very nice job.
Notched roofing nail

Dremel cutters work, producing fine dust that is easier to remove, but the undercut is only 0.09-inch vs 0.19-inch for the bent nail or roofing nail. By the time you cut a bevel for sealant, there isn't much left for a seal.


The right tool for the job bay be the notched roofing nail

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Mazda Makes a Key so Fragile You Can't Put it In Your Pocket

That's what the warranty managers said; "carrying the key in your pocket, even a front pocket, is classified as owner abuse." All it takes is a little pinching action when you lean forward to lever the key apart. Note also that it looks as though the metal continues from the loop into the blade, but in fact they are separate parts, joined only by thin plastic. In the day of electronic keys, that is a $345 break, according to the dealer.

Somehow, he told me that without shame. I guess it takes a special breed of man to work at Tyson's Mazda.

I enjoyed good luck with Subaru and a dealer network that would repair things that were not warranty if they agreed it was a design problem. The Imprenza is looking pretty good about now.

Can't carry a key in your pocket? I need a man-purse (there is no such thing) now? That's just plain pitiful.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Keep Your Arms Down

Crotch straps on harnesses and PFDs are all the rage with the safety set. Yes, you can always worm out of the chest-only harness. On the other hand...
  • They are bloody uncomfortable and falling will be bad.
  • Horse collars have been used for lifting for years.
  • Rock climbers used chest harnesses in years gone by; although there were injuries, falling out of the harness was not the problem.
Why did they work for climbers and continue to work for rescue? Because they keep their elbows down! Why do they not work so well for sailors? Because stupid, panicked people reach for the rope, which is the very last thing you should reach for. The higher you reach, the more your shoulders move together, allowing you to slide out--a perfect case of instinct over ruling the most basic common sense. Wearing a harness to loose (for comfort) over foul weather gear only makes the situation worse. It works for climbers because they are trained never to reach for the rope when falling and they fit the harness correctly. It works in rescue because the swimmer controls the situation: notice how the rescue swimmer holds the mans arms down.  Additionally, the survivor is always instructed not to help in entering the helicopter. while there are many reason, the primary is that the survivor can easily raise his arms to help, without thinking, and fall out.


Reading instructions also helps: notice the arm position.

So if you know you are going over the side, or if you are being collected by Lifesling or horse collar, keep you elbows down!

Preventers--The Traveller Taken to its Logical Conclusion?

Catamarans, with their full-beam travelers, present a different case from monohulls.
  • Through much (not all) of the range of motion, they provide positive control over the boom-end position.
  • Assuming the controls work from both ends, they function as a preventer if the sheet is tight (the traveller is locked down). Many catamaran feel they do not need one for this reason; a full jibe is impossible. But if running very deep it is still required to hold the boom down and prevent little mini-jibes, where the traveller does not move but the boom still slams a good distance when the wind gets behind it.
  • Av vang is not desired because it reduces the speed with which the sail can be unloaded in a gust (both the main sheet and the vang must be let go--not acceptable).
  • A catamaran can be capsized, not just knocked down, if the main is pinned on the wrong side in enough wind. I've never hear of this happening on a cruising cat, but I've experienced it on beach cats with the traveler jammed.
Yet often we see preventers that require crew to go forward to release.

The ideal preventer, then, does the following
  • Holds the boom down and forward when the sail is well eased going deep. In this function it acts as an extended traveler, providing height control, since most cats do not have vangs. Thus it must be no further forward than the main beam and it must be tensioned by a cockpit winch, in order to be adjustable.
  • It must be quickly releasable in a controlled manner. If the main is caught aback in a squall, the crew must be able to let it across and then dump the main in seconds.
This is quite simple. I run a line from the boom-end to the mid-ships cleat and back to a winch. Farther forward will not hold the boom down. This does mean that one of the sails must be in a jammer (either the main sheet or preventer), but I can through a turn over a winch and ease it quickly if I need to.

Sorry, no pictures yet.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Jacklines--A Centerline Aproach for Monohulls

Where to run the lines is always controversial. Along the side deck is traditional, but that leads the sailor right along the precipice, troublesome on the windward side and scary on the leeward side.  I run mine over the hard top and on the edge of the cabin. These sailors take it further, running the lines near the center. Yup, you are forced to re-clip near the mast, but the result is good protection on a narrow bow.

I'm not sure it's for me, though. I don't think people actually fall off to windward.

Jackline "Frost", an Amel Maramu

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Laura Would Hit Me

Looks pretty stable, though.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Remember this Guy....?

A few weeks after I spotted that beauty, the boat came loose. Big surprise. Some one re-tide the boat with a proper hitch.

I spoke with him today, as he was winterizing his boat. He had learned his lesson and changed to a more secure knot. I'm not joking, I swear.

I what can you say?

On the other hand, I saw these 2 beauties just 3 boats down. Somehow, he started both hitches from the wrong end of the line.

Glad I'm at the other end of the dock.