Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I love strippers!

OK, so not those strippers, the chemical types.

I’ve spent so many mind numbing hours with a heat gun and scraper that I finally gave in and picked up some chemical varnish strippers. This stuff is ten times faster than the heat gun! As luck would have it I also picked up a different kind of scrapper at a garage sale this weekend and it works way better too. If anyone sees this before they start in on a varnish project, I highly recommend the scrapper shown in the picture.

This weekend I finished up most of the details for the port settee. The only thing left is to lightly sand, varnish and install the trim. I made the back rest just as the starboard side, there is storage access and also a shelve that sits just above the storage openings. Just like on the other side, you put stuff in from the top. I feel this is a great way to maximize this area. (I guess I didn't take a good picture, but here is one of the template making).

Alia started stripping the main cabin bulkhead with the heat gun. I’m sorry for subjecting her to that torture. It was then next morning that I picked up a chemical stripper and then the chemical wash too. This stuff works well. It takes out the bits of varnish that even the heat gun left behind. It’s also 10 times faster. I wish I could do this chemical free but I really don’t have the time. When it comes to the trim pieces, I’ll never use the heat gun again, with the two contours of the trim it takes even longer that the flat bulkhead to do the same surface area. I finished up the main bulkhead and trim with the chemical stripper and moved around the corner into the “hallway”. I hope to get down one day this week to do the door and trim, then come Friday I figure I’ll just keep going with the stripping at the forward bulkhead and then onto the galley. I can have the rest of the wood stripped by weeks end. Then I can clean, clean, clean and next week start varnishing. There is enough wood to varnish I might be able to work in a circle, recoating in the same day. We’ll see. I might need to do one coat a night.

That’s about all the updates I got. Still putting in the hours, sailing on Rev has really got me pumped to get the boat in the water. Last night I chatted with Kirk(?) owner of Moonshine a MK I while were were racing back to the finish. They took us with less than 30 seconds. I can’t wait to see what my MK III rig does!

Oh, I also picked up a Mylar main and tri-radial spinnaker for $27.15 out at Second Wave. I haven’t had the time to measure them but the price was right, even if they need to be re-cut.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Summer Home

I got in some quality time this weekend. I spent Friday morning running errands to ensure I didn't need to leave the boat all weekend. I finally made it down to the yard around noon.

I'm on my 8th week of working seven days a week so I can't really recall what I did each day. But over all I got the 1st coat of varnish on the starboard settee. I then destroyed the port settee.

PEOPLE, FIX DECK LEAKS!!! The bottom 3-4 inches of the port settee was delaminating and the bulkheads as well as the knee wall that separates the settee from the pilots betrh had rot! The Bulkheads were the ones just under the settee so I ripped them out. The knee wall was only rotted in the bottom 4-5 inches so I cut that area out back to good wood. It is not structural, well at least not so much that it was tabbed into the hull. I ended up replacing the settee bulkhead and making the new one extend up to the point where it meets the old knee wall. These were then tabbed into the hull and then I'll through bolt the new bulkhead to the old knee wall. This will be stronger then the original design, but not so strong that it'll create a stiff point on the hull. Backing p a bit, when I took the "lid" off the settee there was a sizable puddle of water on top of the port water tank. This was 100% rain water from the holes from the lack of toe rails. I really doubt the rot was from the time Winterhawk has been on the hard. It seems like things got wet a while back.

Anyways. I spent time destroying the old and rebuilding. I'll let the picutes tell the story.

I had two bits of great news this weekend. First, the lesser, Yankees came with several boom lenghts. 9 feet plus seems common. 10 feet something is common too. I measure mine yesterday and came up with 11 feet 5 inches. That means more horsepower so that was great news.

The other bit is not so much little news, Alia and I have been joking that Winterhawk is going to be our summer home and once she buys a house, well have a winter home. Well it looks like Winterhawk is going to become a summer home. Alia had put in an offer and she was told this weekend that it was excepted! She'll be closing June 1st so my self inposed splash of June 1st is now much more real.

I hope these pictures are of use to someone at some point. I have more interest in sleeping than typing.

Tomorrow is race one of the Ballard Cup. I'll be on the foredeck of Rev. I can't say how stoked I am. I've been practicing gybing the spinnaker over and over in my head. This morning I hoisted Andy up the rig to take measurements for new rigging. Rev is a sweet boat and Andy is a good skipper. I hope to learn a lot.

Lights out.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Northwest Shorthanded Sailing Society

I just back from the Northwest Shorthanded Sailors meeting.
All in all it was what I expected, a group of guys older than I talking about sailing. The topics were more racing heavy than I had expected, but then again I really didn’t know just what to expect.
In general the goal is to revive an old club. I can’t tell you about the history of the old club. These guys say last names with the familiarity of family. These names are lost on me. They’re the Armstrongs and Woods of the local sailing community. All in all I’m pretty green in the sailing scene but I like the idea of the group.
Their goals scratch that, our goals, are to promote shorthanded sailing in the Northwest. This would be a good time to define shorthanded sailing. As far as I can tell its two or less people on board. The group is focused on getting more shorthanded boats out and racing and to a lesser extent, out cruising.
The plan sounds simple enough. Get short handed divisions in as many races as possible, but focus the critical mass of the group on 3-5 key events spread out between the North, Central and South Sound. The thought is if you have a dedicated group of boats; say 6-10 you can get the race organizers to set a shorthanded start. With the added income of an additional fleet most organizers would be hard pressed not to take us up on that.
We talked about how we are going to distinguish the shorthanded sailors from the rest of the fleet. It sounds like the idea is a large pennant off the back stay. The multihull guys will have to find some way of displaying a pennant seeing as they might not have a back stay. There was the idea of coping the Kiwi cruisers and have a large bright colored stripe on the top of the main. But who wants to sew a little day-glo acid trip onto their carbon sails? The pennant seemed to be the favored idea, it’s also cheap. There was some talk about a logo. I think some sort of captain hook style hand would be cool if not politically correct.
I’d have to say that I’m 60% cruiser 40% racer. I bought Winterhawk to get from A to B fast, but with a full bar and dinner in the (gimbaled) oven. I’m looking forward to sailing hard and fast and learning what I need to know to sail as efficiently as possible. These guys are a wealth of information on timing tides, reading the sky, rigging the boat and in general, how to enjoy the time out in the water with less than a crowd to the fullest. Whether it’s sailing with your race buddy or cruising with your girlfriend, the Short handed sailing is for me the norm. More often than not my boat is shorthanded.
After the meeting I have to say I’m looking forward to racing more than I thought. The Idea of Alia and I racing a bunch of friends up to Port Ludlow and then tying up to the dock for the night and socializing before racing home does sound really fun.

I don’t think I’m alone in why I came to the meeting. I think there are a lot of sailors out there that would like to sharpen their skills when it comes to sailing shorthanded. I think this group is going to be a good place to look for help and information. There will be an informative web site with articles and tips. I’d like to get a pool of mentors within the group who could be available to go out on the boat with someone who is not necessarily comfortable going single or short. Maybe this would help get more couples out racing together in the Jack & Jill races.
All in all the meeting was productive. There are still lots of things to figure out, but setting the bar low by not throwing a race this year and only piggy backing is probably best. The large colored pennants are a great visual reminder to the other boats that yes, you can go out and race single handed and also let the other crewed boats know that we might not be able to react as fast as they can and might persuade them to give a little more room in close quarters.
I’m sure there will be some updates on the Sailing Anarchy site soon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Went sailing

Still no pictures. I was having trouble uploading them and honestly I’ve just been too busy to put much time into it. But I’ll have it sorted out tonight.

Sunday was one of those frustrating days. I put in a solid days work but really didn’t have much to show for it. Every hour I work is an hour closer to being “done” but even still it’s nice to see something get finished.

I spent a lot of time sanding the new settee base and stripping the old varnish off the trim. It’s easier to strip while the pieces are still off but damn it is a slow tedious process.

I got the wine rack all built. It just needs a light sanding and then varnish.

I slapped a couple coats of paint on the back sides of the settee bases to help protect from moisture. The bottom couple inches as well as the bottom edge were all coated with epoxy to really seal them.

This weekend I’ll make the port side, didn’t get to the lumber yard before closing time on Saturday. Oops. No material, no progress.

Yesterday I went sailing. Damn it’s been too long! I sailed on Rev, a Thunderbird out of Shilshole. It’s a nice little boat, totally rigged to race. I got to run a spinnaker for the 1st time, we even gybed a bunch of times for practice. I’m hoping to get on the crew for the upcoming Ballard Cup which is a Monday night series. I was stoked to get out and see the boat and how it was rigged. There are twin controls for several things like the outhaul and cunningham so you can make adjustments easily. The spinnaker halyard can be controlled from the cockpit, but there is a secondary cam on the mast too so the bowmen can also control the halyard. I’m defiantly going to do this on Winterhawk. So simple but so useful. I’ve read plenty about spinnakers and how people have so many problems with them. That was not the case at all last night. It was pretty straight forward.

This week is really busy, I hope to get down to the boat tonight just to put some wood filler in a few scratches in some of the trim. Then it can dry and be ready for sanding on Friday. I’m off again Friday so I’ll have another three day weekend down at the boat. For real, I should have to port side done, minus varnish but Sunday. I don’t want to kick up a bunch of dust so I’ll try to get down there for a coat of varnish each night next week after work.

There is a hole in the hull for the depth meter under the port settee. I need to do some thinking if I want to keep that, or fill it and use a thru hull transducer, maybe one with a gps fish finder. I’ve been reading a lot about that lately. I like the idea of one less hole. Cost will probably be the deciding factor.

That’s about it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

It all started with a wine rack.

I took today off from "real" work and spent all day down at the boat. First thing I did was put a second coat of varnish in the forward cabin. It's coming along up there. The plan was to coat it so it dries while I work on other projects, then re-coat one more time after lunch.

I spent a bit of time cleaning up then put the starboard settee together. I had been thinking a lot lately about just how I want the storage behind the settee to be. I also plan to mount the flat screen above the settee. I had seen a boat at the boat show that had settees with small storage areas behind the back, but rather that having the storage space go all the way up to the top of the seat back, it only went up 3/4. There was a shelve here. I like this for two reasons. It gives you a sea-rail to keep stuff from falling off, but the boat show boat had a three bottle wine rack here too. I like wine, I also like little details so this was my inspiration.

As it turns out, the settee back already had this 3/4 shelve. Score! but it didn't really fit the curve of the hull well. I was planning on just fixing this but you know how one project leads to another.... The settee base has some wood that is de-laminating. I was thinking it could be fixed with a bit of epoxy, but the more I started to look, the more I convinced myself the whole thing should just be rebuilt.

I started by removing the face trim. Next out came the grinder and I cut away the tabbing that held the outboard edge of the settee bottom to the hull. I don't really see that it needs to be glassed in. There are a dozen screws that hold it in along the sides and front. Glassing it in also makes water tank maintenance impossible.

The base was then lifted out, and eventually out came the lower face/frames. I used all the old pieces as a pattern and picked up a 4x8 sheet of mahogany marine ply (3/8) and cut out the new wood. I only had time to do a quick fit, but so far they seem like a good fit.

Starting with new wood does mean a little more control over the final look. I no longer have to worry about trying to make old wood look nice, in the forward cabin it's coming out OK, but the main cabin has had a little more abuse. I little bit of sanding and a few coats of varnish and I'll have a main salon that looks brand new.

I put a final coat on the forward cabin wood just before I called it a night.

Tomorrow I'll finish up the starboard settee. But not until after I hit the boaters swap meet. I'm hoping to find a 2-3 burner over. Once the starboard settee is done, I'll rebuild the port one. The port side doesn't have any of the back rest stuff so I'll have to make templates for that.

Oh yeah, if there is a former Yankee sailor out there that lost a shoe 20 years ago, I found it. It was behind the water tank.

Stay tuned. Pictures are not loading. I'll figure that out tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Almost done up forward

This weekend made for some visual progress despite not getting in the long hours I’m used to. I dog sat a bit on Saturday and my daughter Lilli was in town Sunday, she was in town on a whaling expedition (sight seeing).

I started by putting up the cork I had templated and cut a week ago. I used the Super77 to hold them in place. Again I’ll say the Super90 is by far a much better product for this. The 77 held long enough to get the cover panels in, but when I remove them to install the deck hardware I expect the cork will be loose. I’ll plan to have some Super90 on hand when I tackle that job. Once the cork was up, I re-installed the overhead panels. They are now all up, painted and looking good. The joints will be trimmed out with mahogany, but I’m waiting on that until I know just how much stock I’ll need and buy it all at once and spend a day and mill it down.

On a side note I picked up a router table top off Craigslist last night. It’s just the table top so I can store it easily, but I figure I can make a base that sit across the cockpit coamings and have a make shift workshop out there.

I spent a bit of time sanding the bulkheads and trim in the forward cabin that I had stripped last week too. I’ll get the 1st coat of varnish on them tonight. I figure they’ll need 4 coats or so. Before grandpa past he gave me an assortment of power sanders. With all the odd corners and hard to reach areas they sure are coming in handy.

I also did the last of the painting up forward. I taped off the newly sanded wood and painted the mattress area as well as the face of the v berth. Here there was one small cabinet door that was pretty small. It was on the starboard wall below the berth. The area behind it is huge so I’m planning on opening this up and putting in 3-4 drawers. This will substantially increase my storage for clothes and such. Here is a picture of what it will eventually look like.

Lastly I bought a sheet of mahogany ply and made the new forward chain locker bulkhead using the old one as a template. I epoxied the back and edges with West Systems 2 part epoxy. This should help it hold up far better than the stock one did. The face will get a couple coats of varnish at the same time the rest of the forward cabin does. The trim that went around it had already split and will just need to be re-milled and replaced.

That last bit of news to report is the wasp problem. When we went to get the boat ready for shipping, there were quit a few wasps that had called the trap home. We didn’t see any sort of nest, just a bunch of hibernating wasps.

We’ll, their not hibernating any more. I’ve killed off 20 or so this weekend alone. My scraper for removing the varnish has become my new instrument of death. I’ve gotten so good at killing, I’m able to swat ‘em mid air. I might need to get one of those bug bombs. It’ll be a lot less toxic to do that now vs later. I’ll be damned if I can find any sort of nest. The boats been stripped so I have no idea where they’re coming from. But they keep coming and I keep killing.

During the week I've been riding my bike down to the yard. I got caught with the bridge up. It was a beautiful day, I thought I'd share a picture of the yard.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Thinking about bottom paint

I’ve been thinking about my options for bottom paint a lot lately. The forecast says we’re going to get close to 60 degrees this weekend. However, there were a lot of cars with a substantial amount of snow on them during this mornings commute.

I’m pretty sure I’m going with Pettit. I like the idea of there Vivid which is described as a hard ablative. Since the boat is already stripped I’m going to apply a barrier coat with Pettit’s 4700/4701 system.

I’m doing a fair amount of reading on the application of bottom paints. I think I made a break through the other day. The whole boat stand moving thing was a little confusing. Moving the stands after every coat would be time consuming, and adds to the yard fees.

I read this piece of advice. This might be common knowledge, but this is the 1st time I read it. On your 1st coat you paint right up to the pads with X color. For the barrier coat I’ll use grey since the hull is white. The next coat will be white to contrast the grey so you can see where you’ve been and insure a good coat was applied. This coat you’ll end about 2” from the pads. You’ll do the next coat in grey and again leave a 2” buffer from the last coat so now I’m 4” away from the pads. Then, once everything has cured, the stands can be moved and you have a nice pattern to follow for the final bit of painting.

I’m planning on going with black above the water line and white for the water line. I’d like to have a white bottom but that doesn’t leave me with much contrast so I’m going with red Vivid. Here is the basic Idea.

I’ve ordered a 30” Dura Block. The black will show minor defect in the hull so I’m going to put in some (many) hours with the block and high build primer to get her as fair as I can. If the weather holds I can hopefully start fairing in the next couple of weeks.

In the mean time I’ll keep plugging away inside. This weekend I hope to replace the chain locker bulkhead and pattern and install the finish wood for the sides in the forward berth. I’ll use the bulkhead I’m removing to test just how light I can get the mahogany and still keep it looking nice. I’m going to try a “clear: varnish as well as bleaching and see what comes out. I hope to have some results mid next week.