Thursday, April 28, 2011

Boat Hatchathon

I just finished laying up a fiberglass hatch frame tonight (the first of 4) that will go into the CS17 Southbound to replace the old hatches and shore up the seat tops. An advantage of living at a boat shop is that there are lots of scraps of material. This frame is made of recycled fiberglass which would have otherwise ended up in the garbage. Big boats make big scraps fortunately.

There are some hairline cracks and some delamination in the seat panels that I wanted to seal up and the old hatches were needing some love. My stomping around on the seat tops during the last few outings on the boat didn't do them any good either. I decided to just make some "stock" CS hatches off of Graham's trusty hatch frame mold that will be more watertight and strengthen the seats as well. I want to try resin infusing one of these but I really needed to get a move on since you can't sit in the boat without the hatches in. This one I just layed up and vacuum bagged conventionally. There have been some really nice sailing days lately that I have had to pass up. Plus if I really get it in gear, I may be able to meet up with Steve on Spartina on Sunday who has planned a multi day trip in the area this weekend.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

St. Thomas Vacation

Taylor I just returned from a 5 day romp in St. Thomas USVI. Originally planned as a training trip for the upcoming (and now cancelled) Tybee 500 catamaran race we turned it into a great vacation with friends and some great sailing thrown in for good measure.

Sign outside a snack bar on the East End

We stayed with friends of mine, another Alan and his wife Cristina in their new home on the north side of the island. He owns and operates 104.3 "The Buzz" radio station serving the USVI and Puerto Rico with nonstop rock and roll and he organizes a lot of charitable and community oriented fund raisers and events through the station. He's a busy guy but knows how to have fun. After being reintroduced to cat sailing a few years ago when Trey and I flew down to do the Rolex regatta he has been with it ever since. He now sails a Hobie 16 and last year he raced in the Tybee 500. Another mutual sailing friend Mark owns a Nacra 20 on island and he was nice enough to let us use it during the trip. Thanks Mark, it was great sailing with you.

Team Alan rig the Nacra 20 for warp speed and maximum ferry chasing capability

Mark- "Hey, you guys can use my boat, no problem, here are the sails, lines, rudders..."
Alan- "Mark, we will take really good care of it."
Mark- "I know you will"

We had a great time blasting around Pillsbury Sound but the above is why we felt really bad about accidentally sailing into a very small and obscure coral patch off of St. John outside the ferry channel. After impact, we managed to keep the boat upright despite Alan's trip to the tip of the spinnaker pole. Afterward, Team Alan limped back to the beach clutching the unfortunate dagger board and generally feeling just SICK about the damage. The starboard daggerboard also known as the "good news board" as well as the hull itself fortunately suffered no damage

As predicted, Mark thought nothing of it and wanted us to take the boat out again the next day. "Just switch the board, you'll be fine". Mark your the nicest guy ever. But no, we picked up some epoxy and glued it back up Wed. night. Just needs some good filler and gelcote and it will be a fine spare but we've got a lead on a new one for him. The least we could do.

"Hey Alan, that water looks kind of funny..." Crunch.

It was a very memorable island vacation thanks to Alan and Cristina's generous hospitality and we can't wait to get back down there again. Maybe for a sailing trip from St. Thomas to Puerto Rico? We'll see.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Goose Creek Island Sailing Weekend

This past weekend my mom talked me into joining her on Goose Creek island (20min from Vandemere) in Hobucken, NC for the second annual paddling party. Of course, I would rather sail and Sail I did. It was a very windy weekend and even today it has been blowing steady 20knots all day out of the West which is unusual. Saturday it was gusting to 35 and I was solo. It wasn't long before I had the main down and was sailing with only the reefed mizzen. Even the windage from the main mast was overpowering little Southbound and so I strapped it to the deck. The boat took great care of me. I have some great video that I'll try to get put together. Here is a picture planing towards Jones Bay at 8 knots with...a reefed mizzen. I really put the boat through her paces and now I'm doing some repair work to pay for it. Don't worry ken, nothing major ;)

Saturday, everyone paddled (I sailed) out of Pates Boatyard and into Jones Bay. We made our way down toward a narrow cut that joined up with the ICW and the plan was to return via the ditch. I made it through the cut to the surprise of many and partially myself but was stopped by fierce headwinds and a knock down where I decided to turn back. If I had looked closer, I might have realized that just a little farther and I would have made it into the ICW and saved myself a couple miles of hard upwind sailing back to camp. Oh well. Sean, the owner of Pates boatyard was on hand with his pontoon boat to pick up those who did not wish to endure the elements further. I think I did about 12 miles on Saturday.

I was able to make it up the narrow channel again the current by a combination of motor sailing and poling with my paddle. It was about a half mile.

Sunday, my mom was up for a sail as was John a resident of Hobucken who is an aspiring sailor and a possible CS17 convert. Maybe he will end up building himself a 17 pretty soon. What do you say John? He seemed quite taken with the boat and was a natural at the tiller. We made good use of the 20 knot breeze on sunday with all three of us on the rail and a reef in the main and mizzen. We sailed down with some other kayakers to a spot known for having pieces of old clay pottery from injun times. We found some stuff that looked like clay with some printing on it. Not sure if it was real or not but was fun to find anyway.

Above, the result of a hard weekend of sailing, The back screws holding my lower gudgeon on worked themselves out and I torqued some slop in the hardware as well as the glue joint at the base of the rudder. Some sandpaper and epoxy will have her strong as new in no time flat.

Happy Boat