Saturday, July 16, 2016

The bilge pump is installed...


It does not move as much water as a bucket, but I can pump and sail at the same time.


The handle is clipped into a bicycle pump holder.


I had to route the outflow behind the seat otherwise it blocked me from lifting the floorboards. I was just plain lucky that the outflow itself did not block lifting the floorboard, I had not thought of it, nor measured it. There is about 3mm (1/8 inches) to spare.

I may later drill a hole through the seat support on the left there, to tidy things up, but right now the hose is down where you can't really stand anyway.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Start of bilge pump I installation.

This is the pump, with the newly cast pivot and the removable handle. It's on the base I made for it. It's out of the way, under the seat. And there's plenty of room to pump the handle with the floorboards in place.
More pics will follow when I have installed the hose. The inlet will be across the boat on the Lee side so that I can pump from the windward side. There's only one pump so if I'm on the other tack I will need to heave to.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

First sail of summer, new toys tried out

Cavan is supposed to have one lake for each day of the year, if you look at a map, it could well be true. There is a nice spot near Gowna where you can launch into either of two lakes. I've been there a couple of times and it's easy to launch and retrieve.

I nearly called it quits, there was no wind as I set up, but I don't often get the boat out, so I'd motor if I had to.

This was the first time setting up the mast without pulleys and A frames.  The mast is not all that heavy, however if you walk back to the back of the boat, the trailer will tip, and you can't lift a 22 foot mast 4 feet from the pivot.

I built a simple wooden support for under the back of the boat, so now I can walk to the stern, lift the mast and walk forward hand over hand and it's a done deal.
It worked so well that I raised the mast twice. (This had nothing at all to do with me forgetting to reeve the halyards before I raised the mast the first time. Sigh!)

The wind did pick up and by the time the family came down to join me I was sailing along nicely. A quick trip back to shore and I had three little passengers. The jib came down as there's too much to do to tend the jib and keep an eye on the passengers. At least too much until I get to sail more than twice a year.

(I have now sailed the boat at least once for each year spent building her!)

This was my first trip with my newly added Huntingford Helm Impeder. Every small boat should have one. It's not an autopilot, but it does allow you to take your hands off the tiller for a few moments.You can let go of the tiller for a few moments and it stays put. Very handy. Not quite an autopilot, but very handy.

The wind picked up a little and the occasional gusts unnerved my middle daughter, and reminded me to not cleat the main sheet, a small ratchet block is a nice luxury on a 14" sail boat.

At one point we seemed to stop making much progress, then I noticed the out haul had come uncleated, and the sail was getting pretty baggy. My out haul comes back in along the boom, via a line doubled through an eye, and passed through a captive clam cleat. This gives a 2:1 advantage, and the ability to sort it out from the mast end of the boom. One sharp tug and we were sorted.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Ditty Bag

After a fair bit of a search, I managed to get Heavy Canvas (ebay) and natural look polyester rope, sail makers needles, and waxed twine (Jimmy Green Chandlery).

So I se about making the ditty bag from "Sail Makers Apprentice". I had a few goofs, and I could not easily source brass thimbles, so I just whipped the cringles instead.

This is what I ended up with.


Given the length of time it took to make a simple canvas bag, I am quite glad that I simply bought my sails rather than tried to sew them up by hand.

It was very hard to make up a grommet in polyester the size of the bag. Retwisting the strands as you go is a must.

You also need to use some sort of bobbin to wrap the whipping thread around or it will take all day to do cringles and loops.

I am considering waxing the canvas so that I can actually use it rather than just have sit on a shelf. It's full of sail sewing kit right now. Hopefully I won't ever find myself needing to make repairs to get me home. I also think that I will get a big roll of self adhesive sail repair tape too.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Rope Grommets

S'funny I work with pretty high tech stuff. so I play with old tech. Everything from Furnaces to wooden sail boats.

I was reading The Riggers Apprentice and I came across Grommets. Nylon Rope is a poor starting point, but it was the only three strand I had. It simply does not hold it's lay, and it unravels faster than a middle east peace accord.  I did soak it in a mix of water and hair gel -  not sure that helped much, but  it smells odd now. I also tied off each of the three strands with constrictor knots to stop each strand unravelling. The small one was my first try. I should have tapered the strands as I tucked them.

I did taper the strands on the second one, it came out a bit better.

A copy of The Sail Makers Apprentice just arrived, so I have reading material for a few weeks.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Casting a new handle for a bilge pump.

The cockpit sole is removable, but not easily, so the pump can't go on the sole, nor under it.

I need it somewhere I can get at it while sailing, so I can pump and sail. Ideally on either tack, but that's asking a lot.

And sadly I bought a whale urchin, without a removable handle.

The pump will sort of fit in under the benches, but the handle sticks out. The original handle comes across the body of the pump... Not the direction that I needed.

 Annoyingly the 2 pivots are different sizes, you can't reverse the handle.

But since I have a furnace for casting aluminium or bronze, I measured up and made a new pump handle. Obligatory warning here, liquid aluminium is going to mess you up something special if things go wrong. If you want to play with molten metal, you need to do a lot of learning. if at first you don't succeed, perhaps foundry work is not for you...

I used a hot wire cutter to make up the shape in expanded polystyrene (sorry no photo). This has a sprue of polystyrene attached, and it gets coated in plaster except for the very top. It's placed in sand with the sprue sticking out the top. You pour in the molten aluminium and it vaporises and replaces the polystyrene. Let it cool and you have an aluminium widget the exact shape of the polystyrene. I drilled holes for the pivots, and drilled and tapped a hole for the handle.
The handle is made of wood, with a 10 mm stainless bolt screwed up inside it with the had cut off afterwards. Drilling a 75 mm long hole up inside it is a bit fiddly.  I don't have a drill press so this was all done by eye.
The whipping helps reduce the chance of the handle splitting in use. The thread is 10 x 1.5mm so quite course, and it goes through 25 mm of aluminium, so it should be plenty strong. 

This is how it looks now.  I need to build a small platform under the seat to hold it just in the right place for the handle not to hit anything at either end of it's range.

If I polish it up, a lot of work, it will come out shiny and silky to the touch. I will probably get things working and then decide not to bother polishing it. A little metal paint may well suffice.


I could have bought a handle, and the pivot, but that would have cost silly money for something that I made up in an evening. Since it's solid aluminium, even with my less than perfect casting skills, it's vastly stronger than it needs to be.

It's not perfect, but it pumps just fine.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Bits and pieces

I'm toying with the idea of remaking my mast. It's heavy and not quite straight. A birds mouth oval might be just the trick. Lighter, better looking, a diverting project.
On the other hand that does mean managing 20' long staves dripping in epoxy. And I have only got a small garden to work in.

In the mean time, I added a "Huntingford Helm Impeder" to The Lady Caroline. I have a simple loop in the cross string which I can pop over an aft cleat, and I can make the other end fast to the other aft cleat.  I now have 3 monkey fists hanging off or around my tiller.

  • The yellow will pull the rudder up. The basic design is here, page down a little.
  • The red will pull it down and lock it with a pop-cleat, so it will release if I ground it. 
  • The blue will tension the helm impeder so the tiller can stay put.

I also put together a couple of simple stands to go under the stern of the boat while she's on the trailer. These are simple A frames, with a hinged leg attached in the middle on one side. An eye bolt, some cord and a cleat prevents them from popping open on me. Some plywood pads spread the load. The pads are held in place with a simple rail screwed all around the underside. The rail allows them to be easily positions, but not to slide out.

With these under the stern, I can walk to right aft while TLC is on the trailer. That far back, gives me enough leverage to raise the mast by hand, instead of using an A-Frame and a block and tackle. This should take 10 to 15 minutes off rigging TLC. The simplicity of it also reduces the risk of the A frame slipping and the mast coming down with a bang.

I've looked really hard and I cannot see an easy way to add a way to row. The rowing seat would have to be on top of the Centreboard Case. I'm not sure that I want that amount of constantly changing stress there. Also, that would leave the block for the main sheet between my legs as I rowed.

I am thinking of trying a sculling oar instead. I am not quite the purist, and I'll use the outboard if need be, but if that were dead, having some sort of something would be nice. And it might be nice to have something less noisy for when there's not wind, and I'm not in much of a hurry.

And finally, I'm about 3/4 through the Lugworm Chronicles. This is about a couple who took their Drascombe lugger by trailer to Greece around 1970, spent the summer living on the boat as they sailed around Greece, then wintered there, to sail back to the UK. It really is quite incredible, especially given that they did this before you could simply pop into a ATM anywhere in the world, before you could ask google to translate everything, and before you could pop up a website to get a decent weather forecast in the language of your choice.
It's well written, albeit sometimes it does feel like you need an open map beside you as you read. I'd recommend it.