Monday, August 29, 2011

Some things that I wish I had known before I started.

Don't underestimate the importance of setup time on a small boat. Sloops have tall masts, which are more effort to build, set up, and store. Gaff / Lug rigged boats have multiple, but smaller spars. Often fitting right inside the boat itself for storage / trailering.

Every Cotter Pin you need to put in place, with a tiny, fiddly split ring takes more time, especially with cold tired hands. (And bring lots of spare cotter pins, in every size, and lots of split rings)

The more open space in a boat, the more water it can take on. Boats with seats which are storage / buoyancy compartments take on a lot less water than simple park bench seats. I may, over the winter refit my seats, it will be a lot of work, but it would give me tremendous extra buoyancy and storage, and massively reduce the amount of water I'd have to bail out in a swamping.

I should have turned the front frame into a bulkhead. The space forward,  is more or less useless to me. It's too far forward to store anything. It's now filled with a GYM ball as buoyancy. With a bulkhead, and an pair of waterproof, lockable access hatches from the deck, it could be used for storage of light, infrequently needed items. And it would still represent a lot of buoyancy.

I should have bought a trailer with room for a winch. Pulling the dolly up onto the trailer is awkward, and when you haul at it, it can come flying forward. A winch would be far more controllable

I should have turned the frame just under the fore deck into a bulkhead, and put in large hatches. Lockable storage !! Dry storage !! More stuff that I could leave on the boat, ready to go, rather than have to keep it in the house/shed. Again, a shorter "time to water"..

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quick Sailing Clip

Ok, so I need a whole lot of practice.

  • To get off a shallow lee shore, stick one foot on board, hold the tiller centred, and shove a few times with your other foot like you were on a child's scooter.
  • Don't lower the mast in a cross wind. Really, Don't 


Saturday, August 20, 2011

A little better....

It's amazing how much better she sails with a functional centreboard. Gravel is a bad thing for pivoting centreboards.

On our second trip, a quick spin around some lakes in Cavan, was a whole lot better. The engine remained unused. I sailed a short loop on my own to ensure all was well, then took Sarah and Abigail each for a spin, under sail.

I remembered reading an article where a sailing Uncle strongly advised short trips, far better to have the kids complaining about going home too soon, than sitting there frowning, saying are we going home yet.

My sailing skills are currently the limiting factor, but with just the main, in a light breeze, she scooted along at just shy of 4 knots. Almost exactly 4 miles an hour, so about walking speed.

I am reasonably sure that any competent dinghy sailor would cringe at the rudimentary mistakes I was making, but hey I have a boat now, I can learn.

Oh yes, the kickup rudder, worth it's weight in gold. I cannot imagine the damage I would have done by now, beaching TLC several times, only to hear the sharp Snap of the auto- release-cleat opening. I certainly would not have been able to lift the rudder, while trying to steer the boat, and manage the sails. Perhaps with a few years practice, but for now, thanks Duckworks!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Launch Video

Ok, so not quite a master class in sailing, but she floats, she sails, and she motors.

Ready to rock

A quick snap of the boat on her trailer

Monday, August 15, 2011

Not quite a Master Class in sailing....

On Sunday I launched The Lady Caroline.

I had the assistance of Ben, and the patience of his whole family who came along to join us.

The boat floated, upright, and no-one drowned.

We even got to the stage where we were confident enough to bring his kids for a spin around the estuary with the sails down, just running the outboard.

Before much more ado, A HUGE Thanks to Ben and Family. Ben and Sarah's patience when they got a lot more than he bargained for was nothing short of astounding.

We did make some pretty good decisions, which resulted in my poor decisions not getting out of hand.

  • We launched in a sheltered estuary.
  • We brought an anchor, chain, and rope
  • We had an outboard.
We also learned

  • It took a LOT longer to setup and tear down than I expected.
  • Gravel makes a bad launch place for a sailboat with a swinging centreboard.
  • When the CB is stuck up because it's jammed with gravel, you cannot sail upwind, in fact, you cannot even turn upwind, you have no pivot point.
  • Leaving a hole in the CB case cover so that you can push down the CB is a good plan
  • Forgetting to bring a long thin stick to push down the CB is not.
  • An outboard helps when you can't sail
  • Too much choke is as bad as too little.
  • An anchor allows you to STOP and think and fix things without panic.
  • The concrete wall long beside the slip continues underwater a lot further than you'd think.
  • Old fashioned boats without a plumb bow tend to ride up on underwater concrete walls without too much damage.
  • Self-bailers are no good if you can't reach them without lifting the floorboards.
The suzi 2.5hp was more than enough power, but the movable bracket is set too low, so part of the bracket drags in the water. Not a big deal, but annoying, I need to sort that.

We did get a little sailing done, a broad reach with the mainsail reefed.

All in all, a success, but I need a LOT of practice sailing.

Video Clips will follow once I get them edited & uploaded.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Weather Watch.....

I am now watching the forecast for a suitable date to Launch The Lady Caroline.

The last of the "necessary" jobs are done.

I have still some nice to haves, but I gather than when you have a boat, the todo list never goes to Zero

I have a few things to get, including a stout bucket for bailing.

But Ultimately, I'm ready to go sailing.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

More or less ready

I have put in most of the Buoyancy, I have just the bow bag to do. (1 evening)

I have finished the fittings, including the self-bailers.

I have still to put on 3 mooring cleats, (2 bolts & 1 backing plate each - 1 evening for the three)

And to sort out the trailer board for towing, (1 evening)
and a holder for the mast. (? not sure about this)

I'm now gathering things like a paddle, flares, Life Jackets, a bucket, etc to get the boat ready.

But I'm, no longer building a boat, now I'm getting it ready for launch.

Watch this space for photos in the water.
And maybe even a short video or two.

Sadly, I do realise that I will have to do a capsize test, and an swamping test. Neither of these are going to be a whole lot of fun. I'm thinking wet suits and a sunny day, which may mean next season.


Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Our Survey Said....

The boat is now surveyed (a requirement for the insurance) and the surveyor has declared it "built to a very good standard of workmanship"

Ps, A word to the wise, plan where the deck fittings will go before you put in any screws which might be in the way. Otherwise Sods law will ensure that you have drilled 3 of the 4 holes to mount a fitting before you find a screw in the way of the final hole...