[QT's Boats]

QT's NEW (TO ME!) TEXAS TORNADO DINGHY


The Insanity Continues...

"Your Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to purchase, yet ANOTHER "Bargain Boat," restore it, teach your husband how to sail, keep the total damage under $1,000, and do it all in less than a month!"

Spoken like a true masochist!

(Excuse me for re-using the Haul-Out page as a template, but I'm too lazy to drag out my HTML book again!)

(And besides, this new endeavor does rather mirror the Haul-Out Ordeal. But on a MUCH smaller scale!!!)

Let me tell you about the GLAMORS of owning a boat! You see, [Nameless Dink] was a bit of a bargain... A sadly neglected boat who had fallen into a state of disrepair (Sounds familiar?!!). But the thing about Bargain Boats is - they always cost ya!!!

Actually, let me back-track a bit... I've done the landlubber thing for - what? - Four years now? Yeah. Something like that. I *have* gotten into "gardening" and the whole HGTV vibe (to say nothing of the Harleys!!!). That's all very well and good.

But there's just *something* about boats! Once they get into your blood, you're pretty much doomed for life, I think!!!

So earlier this year, I started 'campaigning' for a Trailer-Sailor. I'm still eerily drawn to the MacGregors. Yes, I know they aren't held in high regard with most boaters, but "they are what they are" - and "what they are" will suit Roger and I just fine - thankyouverymuch! A hybrid between Power and Sail - will satisfy the both of us. They may perform neither function "well" - but it should be "well enough for US!"

I dragged Roger up to the Boat Show earlier this year (Spring '05), and he was surprisingly jazzed about the idea. So it got put on the "Mid-Range Goal" list. Figure a couple of years from now. In the meantime, we have purchased a TRUCK so that A) I can stop using my poor ol' beat-to-sh*t convertible as a pickup, B) I have an alternate commute vehicle when 'Red' poops out and C) We can actually TOW something (you know, like a boat perhaps???)

So, we're slowly headed in the right direction. Then Roger happens to mention that he'd like to learn how to sail. We bought an ASA book on "Sailing Fundamentals" and he's studying it out at poolside. Then come the questions: "If the wind is coming from this direction, where are your sails?" "It depends!"

Now I'm realizing that you can't learn to sail from a book, any more than you can learn how to ride a bicycle from a book. So I start surfing around, looking for a Remote Control sailboat that mimics a real boat. Now they start at around $150 (Ouch!). I had ordered one, but ended up cancelling it when it was on back-order for >2 months!

Then I'm surfing Yachtworld.com and I stumble onto this 1967 Texas Tornado 16.5 Sailboat - on a trailer - and in need of some lovin' (Ut oh!)... It was donated to the Boy Scouts, and the broker maintained a dry-boat storage yard, and he was *very* anxious to have the space vacated. I offered him $300 for it, and we were both Happy Campers...

What follows is my kinda-sorta "journal" of our Boat Restoration Endeavors. Hopefully, I can keep on top of it and keep posting pics. Maybe someone'll stumble onto this site and find it useful. Or maybe it wll linger lifelessly in cyberspace... Who knows?!!


BoatBlog 7/16/05:

Our Boat:

Yachtworld.com

Similar Boats (I could only find 3!!!)

  • Texas Tornado1
  • Texas Tornado2
  • Texas Tornado3

    I’ll use these pictures as a guide in my restoration efforts. Honestly, the boat isn’t that far gone. Buff off all the oxidation, maybe a light sanding, then a couple coats of epoxy primer and top it off with 2-3 coats of polyurethane (hopefully I can find one that’s "brush/roller-friendly" – It’s too windy in our driveway to spray). Fast-drying would be a plus as well! (I’d hate to have a bug commit suicide on our freshly painted boat!).

    I really like the red boat and would like to do the same with ours. Except A) Our hull’s in pretty good shape and "If it ain’t broke…" (Plus, I’d have to take it off the trailer and invert it – waaaay too much work!) and B) Red would be awfully damned hot to sit on!

    I think we’ll go with a light turquoise, or maybe stick with blue…

    The "Big-Ticket Item" looks like it’s gonna be the rubrails. The inner piece – I oughtta just go ahead and replace it outright, since it’s cheap and many of the pop-rivets are rusted. It’s the outer flexible-vinyl piece that’s deadly $…

    As far as the rigging/hardware goes: Fortunately, it looks like we have most of the pieces. Whatever is broken (or "about to break") I’ll replace. And the pics of the other boats should help me figure out what goes where.

    The rudder is badly warped. It’s all wood with stainless steel fittings – which are in excellent shape. We’ll just use the old rudder as a template, build a new one out of marine ply (coated w/epoxy) and reuse the hardware.

    Any way you slice it, it’s a "project" (but what boat isn’t, eh?!). I figure a couple hours here… Couple hours there… It really won’t be all that difficult to "bring her back!" (And I’m actually pretty excited about it! I love restoring boats!).

    Dink – After buffing/rubbing compound on bow…

    [DinkBow1.jpg] [DinkStbdBow.jpg]

    Gelcoat crazing and block/wire that needs replacement – and rusty rivets!

    [DinkGelcoatCrazing.jpg]

    Portside aft – Centerbd trunk needs some attention, as does the wood running port to stbd amidship (that’s where the mainsheet traveler assembly goes)

    [DinkPortAft.jpg]

    Raw fiberglass showing on seat. Obviously this needs some paint!

    [DinkRawFiberglass.jpg]

    Rubrail assembly. The inner piece is cheap ($20 for 12’), but the outer rubrail is >$300 for 50’ (I only need appx 38’ – but that’s still mondo expensive!!!)

    [DinkRubRail.jpg]

    Stern. Actually the hull is in pretty good shape. Gelcoat is still intact and even kind of "slippery." It’s mostly the topside that’s been abused from all the sunlight…

    [DinkStern.jpg]

    Shiny New Plate (which was a 2 day, 2+ hour ordeal w/the DMV since neither the boat, nor trailer had been registered in >20 yrs). And shiny New Wheels that Roger installed!

    [DinkWheelPlate.jpg]

    BoatBlog 07/18/05

    Top surfaces of boat have been, mostly, buffed out. Got the top-layer of oxidation off and my fingers don’t end up chalky when I rub my hand across it!

    Buffing was probably redundant, since I’m planning on sanding – but I wanted to clean it up and see what I could see…

    Had a little wrestling match with the Shop Vac this weekend. Seems the pine-needles (Yes, from CHRISTMAS!) jammed up the hose so I had no suction! Cleared the tinsel and needles and it worked like a charm!!!

    Started vacuuming up the crap from the bottom of the boat – and now I see where it had been repaired previously. Primarily toward the fwd bulkhead and mostly on the port-side. Not quite sure what the story was, but I’ll plan on leaving it alone – for the most part (other than sanding it ‘til it’s smoother). I’m hopeful that, maybe, it was water damage from the topside – from sitting out in the elements all those years (rather than coming up from the bottom – which could be rather problematic!). It looks like a kind of an old repair – and I’ll plan on hitting the thru-hull fittings underneath with marine sealant, just to play it safe!

    Deck/bulkhead repairs. Note line leading aft (from under foredeck, along centerbd trunk). That controls the swing keel

    [DeckBulkheadRepairs.jpg]

    Another area of concern is the swing keel. The line that controls it is really old and could definitely stand to be replaced. Problem is, it appears with this old repair, they sealed off the access to the forepeak on the portside. It is still accessible from starboard, but the line leads out the port side. I poked my nose under the forepeak and saw a large wheel that the line wraps on to. Haven’t quite figured out how I’m gonna replace the line without un-doing the previous repair!!!

    View under forepeak from starbd side:

    [UnderForedeck.jpg]

    Other, less troubling repairs:

    The brightwork on the centerboard trunk will be completely sanded. I think I can remove and replace the fittings without much worry. The brightwork where the cams and blocks go will need to be re-fabricated – as will the rudder. They’ll all be made from marine-grade ply, reinforced with epoxy, then PAINTED!!!

    NO VISIBLE BRIGHTWORK ON THE TOPSIDE!!!

    Centerbd trunk + traveler assembly

    [Cntrbd_trvlr_wood2.jpg]

    Rudder (doesn’t look so bad from this angle!):

    [Rudder.jpg]

    But it’s definitely warped!

    [WarpedRudder.jpg]

    I did find a couple of rudders on eBay and I’ve written to one of the sellers, asking for better pictures of the transom mounting assembly. The rudder head on that rudder looks like it’s fabricated from metal, and it may be a kick-up rudder (which would be MUCH better). Length seems about right, but the transom mount fittings are 6” apart, whereas our gudgeons are 9.5” apart. Might be able to jury rig something to make it work. Hell, for $50 – probably wouldn’t be a bad deal!

    Hopefully the seller will send me better pictures…

    Here are the two I found on eBay (I like the 1st one better – since it has the hardware). Either one could be rigged up to work, though. (and would be FAR better than spending $300+ for a new one!)

    [eBayRudder1.jpg] [eBayRudder2.jpg]

    Latest bona-fide progress on the boat:

    The old rubrails have been removed and all the holes and rivets were drilled out. Roger helped with that, although he seemed hesitant at first, to get involved in the project. But, in the end, he admitted “it wasn’t too bad” working on the boat. “See? An hour here, an hour there… It’s actually kinda fun!” “Yeah, as long as things are going your way…” “True, but Boat Restoration isn’t like trying to rebuild an engine. There really isn’t that much that can go wrong!” (Shhhhh!!!!)

    I also did some research online and – amazingly – found the manufacturer and part no’s. for the rubrail assembly! The BoatGuru will be able to order them for me, at a discount (on account of he's a Marine Bid'nessman, and all)!

    [RubRailRemoved.jpg]

    And… the old CF#’s have been removed (“Gone, but not forgotten!”)

    [CF_Gone_not_forgotten.jpg]

    …As has the stupid “Sailors Have More Fun” bumper sticker that was on the stern. Took TONS of elbow grease as well as a really nasty 3M Adhesive-remover spray (caught a good buzz!) – but it’s pretty well cleaned up.

    NO BUMPER STICKERS ON BOATS!!!

    Lastly, Roger wants us to re-create the original “Tornado” name on the foredeck, so I’ve snapped a pic. No clue if I’ll be able to duplicate it (I hate hand-lettering!), but I’ll give it my best shot.

    [TornadoFont.jpg]

    Lastly, I think I’ve decided on a color scheme for das boot. White with red trim, thusly:

    There are “stripes” molded into the foredeck, so I’ll use those as a guide.

    Here is the “Artist’s Rendering” (kinda!)

    [BoatColors2.jpg]

    Not so sure about the side-stripe. Might just do a skinny line along the sides and stick with black CF#’s. I was originally thinking white CF#’s on a red background. But CF has to be 3” high, which means the stripe would have to be wider than that (and might look weird, since I don’t think the boat has much freeboard!) I’ll figure it out…

    Oh, and I can’t decide between black or white rubrails. Red would be awesome – but I don’t think they make red rubrails (and paint is out of the question!)


    BoatBlog 07/19/05

    Not much to report for today... Started going over the boat, lightly, with the sander. Too hot outside to do much more work!

    BoatGuru should be coming down the weekend of the 30th, so I'll need to have the sanding done - and hopefully - we'll start re-fabricating the woodwork by then, as well.

    Roger seems to have taken charge of the trailer (fine with me!). I'm hoping he'll zap that with Rustoleum this weekend :-)


    BoatBlog 07/22/05

    Hope to make a little more progress on sanding today. Just havin' a quick beer and waiting for the sun to fall a little lower in the sky (Driveway faces the west side of the house and gets mighty hot in the afternoon!)

    Accomplished *Zilch* yesterday. It freakin' RAINED (during the morning and afternoon commutes thankyouverymuch!). It's doesn't RAIN in California in JULY!!!

    (Actually, it's probably all my fault 'cuz I washed the car the day before!!!)

    I *did* make a trip to the lumberyard today. Brought three chunks of wood with me and asked them to identify it. Teak. Wow. Nice. "Ummm, How much to replace it?"

    Over $10.00 a foot!!!!

    I think mahogany will work just fine!!!!

    So I bought an 8' length of 3/4" x 4". Roger likes playing with his powertools, so he'll be charged with recreating the pieces that bolt onto the centerboard trunk, and the piece that runs athwartships.

    The eBay rudder I liked has several bids on it (and the seller hasn't sent any more pictures), so I'm starting to re-think that. Especially since I don't even know if it will work on our Dink.

    I found someone in Texas TCBoats.com who can fabricate something for <$200 - so I may go that route instead. Probably be better to have something built "to spec" that I know will work on the boat - rather than have to screw around with the fittings on the hull and jury-rig it.

    Ordered a "proper" trailerjack and wheel chocks. Hopefully they'll arrive in the next week so I can actually start climbing *into* the boat to work on it. It's a little dicey climbing into it when the only thing holding the trailer in place are a couple of bricks and a piece of cinderblock!!!

    That's about all the news for now. Time to grab another beer and hook up the sander (Am I a Party-Girl, or what?!!)


    BoatBlog 07/23/05 - 0600

    Wow! We made more progress than I'd anticipated! Roger pulled up on his Deuce, just as I was grabbing the sander and heading out front to get to work. He *does* have his 'nightly rituals' so he headed in to take care of that, while I fired up the sander...

    I finished sanding off the topsides (as far as I could reach anyway!). I *did* get a little brave and grabbed a stepstool. Climbed inside (verrrrrry carefully!) and started tackling the centerboard trunk (switched to 80 grit for that!), and sanded *most* of the old varnish off. Hey - it *really* looks like wood now!!!

    I also started tackling some of the old globs of epoxy - but really didn't want to take too much off. Fortunately, most of the globs are on the floor and I plan to coat that with textured/bumpy non-skid paint. Hopefully the globs won't be too visible.

    (And I have to admit I got a little bit excited, sitting in the boat and looking out over the bow. Started visualizing water off the bow - and can't WAIT to get this thing in the WATER!!!)

    Rog wandered out to check on my progress and I proudly showed him the new chunk o' wood I'd purchased that day and noted that he would get to try his hand at woodworking!

    Side-note: Roger is an Electronics Engineer and is *quite* handy with things like wiring up stereos and tackling minor electrical chores around the house. But he is - by no means - a "handyman" when it comes to painting and woodworking! When I joined the household (in addition to the dogs), I brought a plethora of powertools with me. And, over time, we have added to that collection. (i.e. he'd mentioned, several months back, that he'd like a jigsaw [LOL - I couldn't figure out WHY!], but I bought him one). Now I've never actually seen him use ANY of these tools (okay, I've seen him use his drill!).

    I'm perfectly capable of using powertools (tho' not particularly 'exact' about measuring/cutting), but I find it's best to let Roger handle the "Manly Stuff." Anyway, my point is: Roger isn't particulary 'handy' (and doesn't really want to be - to be honest!), but the Dink is giving him an opportunity to use all these new 'toys!'

    So anyway... Roger kinda perked up when he heard he was gonna get to drag my Skilsaw out, and he grabs the wood and starts measuring/marking - using the gnarly old chunks o' wood as a guide. I brought out my folding work-bench (one of those silly "It was on sale" purchases - that had NEVER been used!). It came in quite handy! He cut the two straight pieces (table saw would've been better - it's not perfectly straight, but 'Oh well!' - it's "rustic!"). Then there's a piece that goes on the aft end of the centerboard trunk. It has a semi-circle AND a 45* angle cut. Ooooh! We get to try out the brand-new jigsaw!!!

    I have to say, for not being a "handyman," Roger did a mighty fine job!!! I did have to do a fair amount of clean-up with the sander (wanted to bevel the edges anyway), but it looks pretty darn good I think!

    I'll try to post pictures later.

    I won't be doing much boat-work this weekend. Couple of colleagues are visiting from out-of-town and I am the designated "San Francisco Tour Guide" - so it's gonna be a Girls' Day Out kinda day. Sounds like Roger is going to tackle painting the trailer with Rustoleum. I've dragged out miles of Drop-Cloth plastic (I *have* seen Roger paint!!!)

    (It's been said 'You either LOVE to paint, or you hate it.' Roger falls into the latter category. I'll let him paint the trailer, but he's not going NEAR the boat!!!)

    Anyhoooo, if it's still light out when I get home, I'll snap pictures of the new wood stuff and the shiny, pretty trailer!


    Mini-BoatBlog 07/26/05

    It was a busy busy weekend - but not boat-related. And I didn't make it home while it was still light out! Had out-of-town guests and was busy doing the Tour-Guide Thing. Also, had to log some miles on the scoots 'cuz my Joysey Colleague is a Fellow-Biker (Good thing I kept the "Guest Bike")!

    Saturday, I left Roger alone all day, and he managed to put a coat of primer on the trailer (and himself... and the driveway...). Still need to do the top coat of black - but it's looking better already!

    Anyway, as promised, I am posting the latest pictures...

    Freshly Primed Trailer:

    [TrailerPrimer.jpg]

    And the chunks o' wood that Roger cut for me (and mostly-sanded centerboard trunk!)

    [NewWood.jpg]

    LOL - Sunday morning, after Roger had spent all Saturday painting, he announced that we should put a deadline on getting the boat completed.

    "Two weeks!"

    Well, considering that we haven't even ordered all of the parts that we need, I think that timeline might be a little "aggressive!" The BoatGuru should be coming down this weekend, *then* I can put my shopping list together (and hemmorhage whatever cash is needed). *Then* we have to think about maybe installing all the new goodies!

    THEN we can think about launching the boat!

    I think we're maybe 3-4 weeks away - Depending upon what The BoatGuru finds when he gives her a once-over...


    BoatBlog 07/29/05

    Minimal progress on the dink this week... Asked Roger to pull the Dink into the driveway, bow-end-up, so I could hit her with hose. Played Musical Vehicles... Back the truck out, park it on the street; Back the Vette out, park it on the street; Back the truck up to the boat; Pull the boat out, turn-around; Pull the truck halfway into the garage. Now the boat's bow-end-up!

    Hit it with the power-washer. Turns out the bow wasn't *quite* high enough! Had to open the scuppers and 'direct' the water fwd in order to drain it!

    End-result: Boat *is* significantly cleaner!

    (Helps to have it somewhat clean before the BoatGuru gives it a Once-Over!)

    Today, I dropped appx $30 @ Home Depot - Bought painting supplies. And this evening, I decided to hit the foredeck with one coat of Epoxy Primer. I'd bought a quart, originally. Unfortunately, I had a little mishap (eek!) when we first brought it home and about 1/3 of it ended up on the driveway :-(

    As it turns out. 1 quart wasn't NEARLY enough!!! 2/3 of 1 quart just barely covered the foredeck. So methinks I'll be asking the BoatGuru to order some more for me (with his discount - since it's >$30/qt!)

    Anyhoooo... Here's the freshly primed bow:

    [1st_Coat_Primer_Bow1.jpg]

    Tomorrow is BoatGuru Day!!!


    BoatBlog 07/31/05

    Welllll… It’s about what I was expecting…

    The BoatGuru had a surveying gig yesterday morning, and he was going to head straight down here after that. So yesterday morning, I typed my combination Shopping List and “What the hell do I do with this?!” list into an excel spreadsheet.

    I also flipped thru the We$t Marine catalog and started jotting down part #’s and ‘retail’ prices (Fortunately, he’s got a Port Supply acct, so I should get everything *almost * half off!)

    Anyway, my list was appx 1-page long – when it was all said and done.

    The Bad News is: The list was pretty extensive.

    The Good News is: I caught about 90% of the stuff that needed to be addressed!

    The BoatGuru spent about 4 hours going over the Dink (Bless his heart), and we shared HomeBrews and laughs and whatnot…

    Rog poked his head out, periodically. Ever-focused, he wanted to get an ETA for when we could launch. “I don’t care if it’s pretty – let’s just get it SAILING.”

    I can see the logic in that. And I’m not going for bristol or anything. But * my* thinking is: Since the thing’s disassembled now anyway, we might as well “Do it right” to begin with.

    Thankfully, the BoatGuru is of the same mindset. Taking it one step further: It won’t be much fun sailing if the mast comes crashing down on our heads! So we did the “fine-toothed comb” inspection and identified the “priorities.”

    In the scheme of things, paint is a relatively simple thing to do – so she *will* be painted now. I don’t want to have to take all the doo-dads (cleats, tracks, rubrails, etc.) LATER to paint it!

    Anyhoooo… Here is the list of things to be repaired/replaced:

    Deck-Top:

    I have to un-do part of the previous fiberglass/epoxy repair. BoatGuru’s Theory was that somebody cranked the mast/shrouds down waaaaaaay too tight, resulting in serious stress on the ‘inner hull.’ There are stress cracks where the floor meets the seats and when (whomever) decided to repair it with epoxy and glass tape, they didn’t rough up the surface enough *and* they didn’t fair the joint properly. End result, the old repair is starting to delaminate.

    Secondary to that. There are a couple of “extra” holes drilled in the transom – behind the molded-in bench seats. I kinda figured that wasn’t “stock” – since those are supposed to be buoyancy chambers. BG’s theory there is: Because of the stress cracks, water was leaking down into the buoyancy chamber. They drilled the holes in the stern so they could drain the water out. I have installed plugs, but…

    Game-plan there is to re-repair the stress cracks properly (colloidal silica mixed w/epoxy resin to create a “round edge” at the joint – then re-tape, re-epoxy). This means remove much of the original repair (at least those parts that are delaminated); clean it up; rough it up with the sander; then clean the hell out of it with acetone. After that, I’ll probably get some of that spray-in-foam crap and squirt it in thru the holes in the stern to make sure we have sufficient buoyancy.

    Okay – THAT part wasn’t on my list!!!

    (But I’ve already started tackling the old repair with the Dremel. Boy, I forgot how itchy fiberglass dust could be!)

    Paint:

    Already underway, but I need more paint. BG suggests scruffing up the surface a little more. I’d used 120 grit – he thinks 100 would be better. Unfortunately, I could only find grits in 80 and 120 – so I’ll try the 80 and go real light.

    He agrees EasyPoxy is good stuff and has ordered more for me…

    Hull:

    Overall, not too bad. He agreed that I should hit the thru-hulls with marine-sealant. Previous owner used silicone (which can be easily scraped off). I’ll zap ‘em with 3M 4000.

    There are also a couple of scratches that could stand to be patched. I’m debating holding off on that. They only breach the gelcoat and shouldn’t hurt anything since we won’t be keeping it in the water.

    Sail Hardware:

    Surprisingly, most of the sail control doo-dads looked pretty good. We just need to order a couple-three new blocks. And we’re going to reconfigure the sliding block/wire whosiwhatsit on the sides that controls the jib. He didn’t think the current arrangement made sense, so we’ll reconfigure it a little.

    Mast:

    Oops. I thought the spreaders looked funny, and one of the shrouds was toast. Uhhh… Yeah! The theory is: The mast got dropped *on* one of the spreaders. The spreader mounting hardware is broken (both sides) and both spreaders look bent. That’s gonna require a trip to a metal fabricator to get ‘em re-made. Fortunately, it looks pretty straightforward – I just hope it’s not overly expensive…

    [1BrokenSpreaderBracket.JPG]

    Mast-head needs a little attention (pot metal + aluminum + stainless steel top + (not stainless) steel fasteners. There’s some galvanic corrosion up there (not too far gone). Fortunately, most of the pressure will be “downward” so it won’t fall apart, but I will attempt to replace some of the fasteners – mainly those that might be subjected to side-to-side pressure...

    There are a couple of “extra” holes in the mast-head. We think they might be for the missing Topping Lift (we’ll try to “throw something together”). Downhaul is also MIA.

    [1Masthead.JPG]

    Need to buy new cleats. The old ones are pot-metal – and one is broken, with hopelessly corroded screws. Looks like those are held in place with self-tappers, so we’ll just drill some fresh holes and start over…

    [1BadCleat.JPG]

    Didn’t attempt to raise the mast yet. We’ll attack the “issues” first, then order new shrouds (in case we have to change the length after the new spreaders are installed). BoatGuru has agreed to come back down after we get all the pieces installed, and he’ll help me raise it.

    Centerboard:

    We couldn’t quite figure that out. He looked at the control line and agreed that it should be replaced at some point. But since we can’t drop the centerboard while it’s on the trailer, he felt that it could wait. It seems that there isn’t really a “pivot point” on the centerboard. We think it hangs freely in the trunk and works on gravity (and the control lines – one is the visible rope; there’s also some kind of “counter” control line made of wire – spooled onto the wheel in the forepeak). There are wheels on the top of the centerboard, and we think those are supposed to roll over the top of the centerboard trunk – and from that you s/b able to visually gauge the angle of the board...

    He looked at the big wheel, and kinda figured out how to remove it – but we didn’t want to f**k with it just yet. We felt it was best to hold off on that repair ‘til we could see how the whole thing really works.

    LOL – Guess the BoatGuru will get to join us on our maiden voyage!


    BoatBlog 08/07/05

    Been busy this week. Too busy to update the page, even!

    I figure I spend about an hour, to an hour-and-a-half a night on the dink. I've been acetoning, scraping, grinding, sanding, etc. all week, and I've removed as much of the old repairs as I can. I also encountered some really ugly stuff *under* the repairs. Like a hole in the floor - Ooops!

    Anyway, yesterday was.... (drum-roll please!)

    EPOXY DAY!!!

    [EpoxyDay.jpg]

    I wanted to get started early in the morning, before the sun started blaring down mercilessly. Unfortunately, early-morning, the boat was covered with dew. This meant I had to start late-morning, and the job took many many hours. I was forced to improvise for shade!

    [EpoxyDayShade.jpg]

    Didn't help much - but I dealt with it. Did a fair amount of reading up on epoxy work West System Epoxy has some really good info ("User Manual"). I have to shamefully admit that I wasn't actually using West System (TAP Plastics is just around the corner - more convenient - especially when I needed to run and buy more stuff while the epoxy was in it's not-yet-cured-and-oh-sh*t-I-need-more-spreaders-NOW stage!)

    Anyway, I liken epoxy-work, somewhat, to child-birth in that you block the more traumatic aspects from your memory! So, I had to study-up!

    I went with slow hardener, thinking with the hotter-n-hell weather we're having, I needed maximum working time. I also bought some powdered silica so I could thicken the mixture. Good theory, but...

    The first go-round was rather disappointing! My objective was to fair the low spots (from the old repair removal). That part went okay 'cuz those were flat, horizontal surfaces. Also, I needed to build up the angle where the seats meet the floor. Glass tape doesn't like to stick to 90* angles (hence the earlier delamination). (Delam was also caused because the earlier boat-repairer failed to rough up the surfaces adequately, BTW. I fixed that w/60 and 80 grit sandpaper).

    Anyway, long-story-short: I tried 'rounding' (filleting) the horizontal-to-vertical corners by applying silica/epoxy paste. I'd thickened it to just-past mayonnaise consistency. Started with a thin layer of straight epoxy, waited for that to get somewhat gel-like and sticky, then glooped on a layer of silica-thickened resin. Used a tongue-depressor to round-up the corner. Then sat back and waited...

    Bad News: In the 90*+ temps, the resin didn't want to harden. Well it did, but it took waaaaaaay longer than the 30 minute "pot life" time. Took a couple of hours, in fact. And in that time, my nicely filleted corners kinda glooped downward into a puddle on the bottom of the boat!!! ARRRRRGGGHHH!!!

    Round II: After the sunken layer *finally* started setting up, I went back and did it again. This time with almost-peanut-butter consistency gloop!

    That layer *did* stick - but it was pretty sloppy going, so I'll have to go back and sand again :-(

    The original game-plan was to do all my layers in one day. 1) Base layer of liquid epoxy - wait an hour. 2) Thickened epoxy to fair everything up and round the corners - wait an hour. 3) Liquid epoxy - wait an hour. 4) Glass tape covered with more liquid epoxy - wait an hour and 5) Top coat of epoxy and call it done!

    I only got thru step 2. If you're able to do everything at once, before it sets up, all the layers will chemically bond with each other. Since the resin is now fully set, I have to sand again :::sigh:::

    Here are some kinda-sorta "before" and "during" shots:

    Port bulkhead, fwd:

    [PortfwdbulkhdBefore.jpg]

    Lots of delamination here. Had to scrape a lot of old UV damaged epoxy and, unfortunately, the fwd bulkhead cover came kinda dis-attached along the bottom!

    Here is Round I of the repair:

    [FwdBulkheadDuring.jpg]

    Ugly hole I found under the old repair:

    [HoleBefore.jpg]

    And after I filled it:

    [HoleAfter.jpg]

    Starboard fwd before:

    [StbdfwdBefore.jpg]

    And "During"

    [StarbdDuring.jpg]

    And a shot of the stern. Can't really see how I filleted the corner edges in this pic. But trust me - I did!

    [SternDuring.jpg]

    BoatBlog 08/13/05

    Another busy week and much has been accomplished!

    Found a Metal Dude who was willing to re-fabricate the mast spreaders... Rudder is on-order... Had a really rough week work-wise and found it strangely therapeutic to come home - after a hell-day at the office - and 'attack' the boat. Much sanding and grinding was accomplished!

    The BoatGuru doesn't have time to order my "stuff" so he is setting me up with a Port-Supply Card (so I place my own orders @ wholesale!).

    And today... Today was Epoxy Day II!!!

    The BoatGuru and I had an email exchange regarding Epoxy Techniques. I, unfortunately, decided to tackle the first round of epoxy-rework *before* I received his reply (coulda saved myself a LOT of time and grief - had I waited - but I digress!). Our exchange is here (in case anyone is interested!): EpoxyQ&A

    For Round II - I took some of his advice. The multiple layers of rubber-gloves was an absolute life-saver!!! As was the masking tape (although I still had a bit of resin creep beyond the masking tape barrier)!

    I'd sanded madly throughout the week, so the surface was already prepped for more resin. My method, today, varied a bit from BoatGuru's suggestions. I laid a layer of liquid resin with a china-bristle brush first, then spread the (dry) pre-cut fiberglass tape on top of the brushed-on liquid epoxy while it was still tacky. Then I went over that with liquid resin and a small foam roller (3" Trim-painter from Home Depot) and worked it in 'til it was saturated. This method worked pretty good, as long as I worked fast! I was using a 4" wide paint tray to distribute the surface area of the liquid epoxy over a wider area - but the foam roller took up a lot of resin so it started to exotherm pretty quickly (Ow! Ow! That's HOT!!!)

    Bottom Line: I had to work pretty quickly, overall, today

    This was hindered, somewhat, by the fact that I had to rush the dog to the vet this afternoon (she managed to puncture her eye - Gawd only knows how!). While I was out-and-about, I decided to stop at TAP Plastics to pick up more resin 'just in case!' Turns out, that was a wise move since - after I returned - I drained my first jugs of resin!

    Anyway, the general jist of today was: Liquid resin, then tape the actual floor-to-seat joint with liquid resin on top of that: work it in 'til the tape looked transparent (no white spots). Let it set a bit. Then more liquid resin and tape the floor, then the seat (barely overlapping)- with more liquid resin on top (as before). Let it set. Then a top coat of liquid resin on top of the whole mess...

    As of this moment, I think I can safely say that the new repair is "bullet-proof!

    Pictures:

    Port Forward - After Sanding, but before taping:

    [PortFwdAfterSanding.jpg]

    Starboard Forward, After Taping

    [StbdFwdAfterTaping.jpg]

    Another View

    [StbdFwdAfterTaping2.jpg]

    Stern, After Taping

    [SternAfterTaping.jpg]

    First coat of resin on the new wood pieces

    [BrightworkResin.jpg]

    End of the day - Shot of last coat of resin

    [EndOfTheDay.jpg]

    At this point, the 'joint' where the floor meets the seat has 3 layers of fiberglass tape and (probably) 6 layers of epoxy. Yes, bullet-proof!

    Now, the "ugliest" part of the repairs are done (YAYYYYYY!!!!!!!)

    Next week, I'll sand the gloss off of the epoxy/resin and try to smooth the whole thing off so that when I start painting (hopefully, next Saturday - if not sooner!), it won't even look like it's been repaired.

    At least that's the goal!!!

    After paint, it's just a matter of buying all the miscellaneous parts I need - and installing them!

    Haven't tallied the total damage - yet - but I think I'm on-track. Okay, I'll probably exceed the original $1,000 budget, but I think I'll keep it under $1,200!

    Stay tuned for more updates............


    BoatBlog 08/26/05

    Well, had a little setback in the computer realm.  Hard drive crashed on my personal laptop and am hesitant to use the work PC for personal “stuff.”

    Laptop’s in the shop (been there for over a week!!!), and I limit my ‘surfing’ on the work machine...

    Still been working like a madwoman on the boat, though...

    Made a lot of progress, too!

    Let’s see...  Last weekend, I met the BoatGuru at a We$t Marine midway between where he lives, and I live – in Palo Alto.  Dropped appx $300.00 there (even * with* his Port Supply discount – Ouch!).  Bought a buncha sh*t and then discovered (much to my dismay) that the #1 most critical item I needed:  1 gallon of primer ($90+ retail vs $64 wholesale!) – was the one thing they * didn’t* have in stock (Arrrrrgh!).  Ended up driving clear up to South San Francisco to pick that up!!!

    (Coulda saved him the trip clear down to Palo Alto – had we known that wasn’t in stock!!!)

    Rudder is “almost complete” – should ship next week.

    Spreaders are being re-fabricated and should be done early next week...

    Ordered new gudgeons (WM doesn’t carry gudgeons for 3/8” pintles!)...  They arrived yesterday.

    Ordered my rubrail from www.HamiltonMarine.com (Good folks there – I ordered 1’ lengths of about half-a-dozen different rubrails – and they didn’t charge me for ‘em!).  Rubrails also arrived yesterday!

    I think I’ve got about 98% of the “stuff” I need to start putting this someb*tch together!!!

    Over the last week, I’d been sanding nightly – and also patched a few excess holes (Naturally, my new cleats don’t have screw-holes that match what’s already been drilled in the boat.  Gee, what a surprise!!!)

    Today, I took a Mental Health Day from work and spent the entire day priming the boat.  I tarped it last night ‘cuz we’ve been having dewy mornings.  Started at appx 8:30 am – and didn’t stop til after 3:00pm.

    Started out sanding.  80 grit all over the boat, including the bow – which I’d primed a coupla weeks ago – but it gathered all kinds of ‘crap’ in the interim.  (Important Note:  Don’t prime unless you’re ready to complete your painting right away!). 

    First coat was raw primer.  Second coat (appx 4 hrs later) was a 50/50 mix of primer + urethane topcoat.

    Other hints:  Make sure you use primer + topcoat that go together.  BoatGuru thinks that’s important – and I’m sure as hell not going to question him!!!

    I’m using Petit EasyPoxy.  No complaints so far!

    I’m happy to say that the repairs have almost disappeared.  Not completely, unfortunately.  I sanded the hell out of ‘em, but the fiberglass tape is still showing through.  I think I’ll run the non-skid partway up the vertical sides of the seats.  I *think * (hope, pray!) that the nonskid will disguise my repairs...

    I have to limit my pic-posting, unfortunately. My Photo-Editing software is on the sick laptop and the raw photos are all >100K! But I will post ONE pic for now!

    First Coat of (neon-white) primer:

    [PICT0052.jpg]

    Second coat didn't look so "bright" (Jeez, where are my sunglasses?!!)

    Plan for tomorrow is to sand (AGAIN!). Hit the floors with non-skid. Then start the polyurethane enamel (off-white). Not sure how many coats I'll get on. Probably only one b/c it needs to set-up for 8 hours - and I don't want night dew to interfere with it setting up properly...

    I think, for the final coat, we're gonna hafta purge the garage of Vettes and Harleys - then back the boat in. We've got way too many trees around (Plenty of Tree-Poop!). Plus - wouldn't-cha-know it?!! - Just as the primer reached it's most sticky-tacky stage, a swarm of gnats descended upon it! ARRRRGH!

    So yes, the final topcoat will be done IN the garage! And that will, most likely, be on Sunday

    After that, it's just a matter of bolting all the crap on... Hitting the thru-hulls with 3M 4000, then maybe think about plunking her in the water!!!

    Shhhhhh! I'm shooting for christening her on Labor Day Weekend... I just can't tell hubbie or else he'll be ALL OVER ME this week!!!


    BoatBlog 08/30/05

    Okay... We're in the Home-Stretch now...

    I've been a painting fiend this last several days - and I'm happy to report that the HULL IS DONE!!!

    [BowFrPort.jpg] [PICT0076a.jpg]

    Hit the thru-hulls (for the scuppers) with 3M 4000; Painted the hull with Petit EasyPoxy Undercoater (White) and Petit EasyPoxy Polyurethane Enamel (Off-White); "striped" it with Interlux "Bright Red;" and installed the (1-piece) rubrails with the leftover 3M 4000.

    [SternName.jpg]

    The name... Well... Roger wanted "us" to name it together. As it turned out, *he* named it. Can't remember the specifics but a few weeks ago, he was asking about the status of the boat and referred to it (unkindly, even!) as an "Albatross!" I Googled the origins of the term and found that Albatrosses are actually viewed as a Good Omen for sailors and, thus, the dink got her name!!

    Anyhoooo... I am mighty damned proud of her - to be honest! Even had a young kid, riding past on his bicycle, comment on it!

    "Nice boat!"

    "Thanks!"

    Now I'm waiting on the new spreaders and rudder (s/b arriving this week), then all I have to do is start bolting the sh*t on!!!

    I think we're on-track for a Labor-Day-Weekend launch!

    Gotta do a dry-run of raising the mast and hooking up all the miscellaneous rigging in the driveway... Depending upon how that goes, I'll decide *where* we'll launch (Uvas Reservoir is very close with a very light breeze - but it's far, far away from the BoatGuru! Foster City is close to BG, but has scary-high winds!!!!)

    Stay tuned for more updates.....


    BoatBlog 09/13/05

    Welllll... All the "parts" arrived and the "Maiden Voyage" was set for Labor Day 09/05/05. She *did* make it into the water, at least!

    [IMG_0006.jpg] [IMG_0007.jpg]

    I wish I could say it was a smashing success but, unfortunately, it was a bust :-(

    I spent all day Saturday and Sunday, finishing up all the "Final Details" and Roger even pitched in with some of the "powertools" type of chores (drilling holes in the wood, applying screws, @#$%ing around with the hiking straps, etc. I completed all of the rigging on Sunday night (:::whew!:::) I *also* packed a bag of "essentials" - extra bolts, shackles, tools, DUCT TAPE, etc!

    Monday morning, we hitched up the trailer and headed down to Uvas Reservoir.

    The Plan was to launch her and wait a minimum of 30 minutes. I wanted to make sure she was completely watertight before we set out (Novel concept, eh?!)

    When we first arrived, we got many Looky-Loos and compliments galore! "What is that?" "She sure looks pretty!" "Wow - 38 years old?!! She's sure been well-taken-care of!" ("Uhhh, no! She didn't look like this when we first got her!")

    We did a Proper Christening Ceremony - complete with a bottle of Korbel, poured over her bow... Then we launched her.

    Unfortunately, she lasted all of 10 minutes before I noticed water seeping into her hull from the automatic bailers :-(

    Roger was Mondo Disappointed (and I can't even begin to describe how *I* felt - since I've got well over 150 hours worth of "Sweat Equity" invested in her!!!)

    Roger asked if there was anything he could do "Maybe run down to Home Depot and buy something?" "Uhhh, no. About all we can do now is take her OUT of the water before she sinks!!!"

    :::SIGH:::

    Well, on the Plus Side - she *was* the PRETTIEST non-floating boat at the lake that day!!!

    The Scuppers/Auto-Bailers were items that I *didn't* want to replace "Unless Absolutely Necessary." Obviously, now that chore has *become* Absolutely Necessary! I surfed online and - after many ill-fated attempts - was able to secure new bailers that I *hope* are the same size!!! Removing the old bailers was a chore I'd prefer not to re-enact - I did a damn good job of sealing 'em up from the underside with 3M Adhesive - and MUCH swearing was done!!! But they're removed and cleaned up now!

    The BoatGuru should be stopping by on Friday (and, hopefully, the new bailers will arrive on Thursday). He'll give me pointers on proper re-installation!

    Sooooo... Once the new bailers go in, we'll try for a re-launch - hopefully by the end of September....

    It's a laugh-a-minute, I tellya!!!


    BoatBlog 09/23/05

    Okay, I'm getting lazy now! "Stuff" has occurred in the interim - including securing bailers that "fit" the boat EXACTLY. Even down to the bolt-holes matching (a damn-near orgasmic moment!!!), but I'm too lazy to document it! Instead, I'll copy/paste text from emails I'd sent to a few "Adoring Fans" who'd been with me through the whole experience!

    She Floats!!!

    Yippee Yahooo Kai-yay!!!

    I'm surprised, we actually have quite a few little lakes "in our backyard" - so to speak... Calero Reservoir is the closest (maybe 5-6 miles from home). Large and winding with massive picnic grounds and BBQ pits galore. But *lots* of powerboat traffic...

    Next, just a few miles down the road, is Chesbro Res. Much smaller and usually very low water levels at the edges (100'+ in the middle, according to the Ranger) - but not this year. No powerboats allowed. Also no picnic grounds. Not a super-popular spot (I think I've only ever seen one boat in Chesbro - a sailboat appx our size...).

    Further down is Uvas Res. Again, no powerboats allowed. It *does* have a picnic area, however... It's a fairly large lake with (what looks like) an island (or maybe a large peninsula) in the middle. And it's fairly common to see at least one sailboat, and maybe one or two fishing boats with electric trolling motors out there on the weekends...

    Uvas is where we had our Ill-Fated Christening...

    We took her down to Chesbro Reservoir tonight. They have a very steep launch ramp and a dock. We backed her down and tied her to the dock. Left her tied up for a little while, then I climbed in. There's just the eensy-meensiest little teeny "seep" coming from around one of the bolts on the portside bailer (the one that we had to re-do - in a hurry - with 2 x 1mm gaskets, after the first 2mm gasket split). I think, if I slather more 3M Adhesive/Sealant on it, we should be Good-To-Go for a one-day sail!

    (Although, I *am* ordering new gaskets and will plan on re-installing the bailer - regardless).

    Anyway, while I was in there, I screwed around with the centerboard. Yes, it does work! In fact, I'm *pretty* sure it hit bottom when I attempted to lower the board all the way (4-1/2' draft with the board down).

    In front of the wheels (actually, on the top of the ctrbd), there's a clevis-pin/cotter pin (LOL - actually a SAFETY PIN!!!) arrangement that attaches to a wire cable with an eye/thimble thingie on the end. The cable goes fwd and, presumably, loops onto the big wheel under the forepeak, and, at some point, it must attach to the control line (that needs to be replaced!). Ctrbd does swing freely and "rolls" over the hump on the ctrbd trunk. Well, mostly "freely" - it does require some coaxing - but that's to be expected since it hasn't been used in at least 21 yrs! I think, other than figuring out how to replace the gnarly line, the centerbd doesn't need any attention!

    I will say, the boat is *much* more stable with the centerboard DOWN (I'm pretty sure it's weighted)! We'll see how she handles in breezes though!

    The plan is: I'll hit the underside (and probably topside, too) with more 3M 4000 tomorrow - just gloop the hell out of it! Let it set-up 24 hours... I'll probably make a quick trip to We$t Marine as well (need a few more clevis pins, new battens, and other "Odds 'n Ends" for my On-Board Repair Kit)... Then we'll take her back down to Uvas on Sunday... We'll pack our mini BBQ and some burgers, dogs, etc. and make a day of it!

    With any luck, I'll have another Good Report on Sunday night!!!

    Pictures attached: Massive Mainsail (so big, I couldn't get it to fit in my viewfinder!), Jib (which is the size of the mainsail on my first dink!), a Floating Shot @ Chesbro, and shortly after we pulled her out of the water.......

    I'm sooooo excited! :-D

    (Soon to be) Sailin' Nan.............

    [FloatingChesbro.jpg] [ChesbroRamp.jpg] [Jib.jpg] [Main_Stern.jpg]

    BoatBlog 09/26/05

    She Sails!!!!!!!!

    We're practically doing handsprings here! Definitely a couple of Happy Campers - err - Sailors here!

    Took off around 9:30 this morning and headed down to Uvas Reservoir - only to discover that they've drained it (or something!). Two weeks ago - the reservoir was completely full! This weekend, we arrived to find the gate locked and the ramp totally dry!!!

    So we turned back and went to Chesbro. Rigged her up with just the mainsail since this was the "Shakedown Cruise" - and I didn't want to have to think about too many things...

    After we launched, we found we were sharing the lake with two Hobie Cats...

    For our first sail, we made it about 1/3 of the way down the lake before we hit the doldrums.

    We sat... And sat... And sat...

    Realized how hot it was (upper 80's)...

    Cracked a couple beers...

    Then sat some more...

    We'd look around and search for ripples on the lake. Sometimes we'd row over to 'em and sail a very short distance... Then we sat some more!!! (Reminiscent of several sails w/the BoatGuru, actually. Except we had the Atomic 4 to chase wind vs. one measly paddle!).

    On the plus side: Albatross *does* move in light air. And, in fact, once she gets going, she'll KEEP going even after the wind has stopped!

    Another plus: I think the 1/4-1/2" of 3M Adhesive I slathered on the bottom of the boat must've worked 'cuz the bailers were BONE DRY!!!

    On the downside, however: There is another as-yet-unidentified leak coming in from the aft end of the centerboard trunk (toward the top of the trunk - and under one of the wood pieces we put on)...

    ...As lunchtime approached, we whipped out the auxiliary power (aforementioned paddle) and rowed back to the dock. We did find enough air to push us toward the dock. Unfortunately, it was a little too much wind and our timing (for dropping the sail) was off and we kinda-sorta ran aground on the ramp. Thankfully, I'd already pulled up the centerboard and (double-thankfully!) I'd opted for the Kick-up Rudder which worked perfectly! We were a little too far over, so I jumped in (up to my knees), then pulled her over and tied her up on the non-launch side. Then headed up for lunch.

    No picnic grounds at Chesbro, so we "Rednecked" it! I'd bought a cheesy disposable BBQ grill for $2 at Safeway. We fired that up on the ground in the parking lot. Grilled a couple of burgers and dogs and chowed down while standing beside the truck. While we ate our lunch, the wind started to pick up - and one of the Hobie Cats pulled out of the lake.

    We chatted with the Hobie Dude, briefly, and asked him to snap a couple of pics of us underway ("Wait 'til it looks like we know what we're doing!") - then toss the camera in the bed of the truck (Disposable camera - I'll get them developed and share later)

    I was debating raising the jib, but decided against it. Particularly since I suspected that the unidentified leak might get worse when we picked up more speed. This later proved to be true when Roger was singlehanding it in a semi-stiff breeze (I avoided the hollow-thunk of boom meeting skull - several times - because I was hunched down, sopping up puddles in the boat with a towel!)...

    We got in a few good runs - but stayed fairly close to the launch ramp (much to Roger's dismay). I didn't want to end up swamped and not be able to get her out! It didn't happen (and probably wouldn't have), but I prefer to err on the side of caution!

    Anyway, all-things-considered, the Albatross performed admirably! And Roger, to his credit, sailed VERY well - considering this was his first time! He tacked, he jibed, and even sailed a figure-8 pattern! I think he's a "natural!"

    Best of all? We didn't capsize!!! Actually, Albatross is surprisingly stable. We only had the centerboard down about halfway, all day, and she felt very stable! Rog did *kinda* hike out a bit on one of his runs (and I shifted to the centerline - since I was on the leeward side), but I actually think she's a very trustworthy boat...

    Not sure how she'll handle when we add the jib - but she definitely doesn't like pointing. Beam reach to broad reach seems to be her "sweet spot." When we attempt to point at all, we luff. Her handling will probably change when we add the jib...

    ANYHOOOOO... I just wanted to share our Simply Awesome Sailing Outing with everyone who's had to listen to me whine non-stop through the whole restoration :-) The Albatross does, indeed, soar!

    It was a GREAT day!!!!!!!!!

    Sailin' Nan


    BoatBlog 10/03/05

    Adventures in Windy City (OR: "Don't try this at home")!!!

    Here's another copy/paste from an email (Boy, I'm getting lazy! ;-)

    I re-rigged the boat so everything leads aft... The original mainsheet swivel cam wouldn't "grab" the line and required two-hands to operate (which sorta defeats the purpose of having a cam-cleat!), and I really didn't like (and honestly didn't understand) the jib block/cleating arrangement!

    I moved one of the swivel block/cam-cleats (originally on the centerline, to control the jib) back behind the thwart for the aft end of the mainsheet control. I also added another set of blocks. So now, instead of just up-down-back, the mainsheet goes up-down-up-down and back! (How's that for a technical description?!!). You can kinda almost see it in the picture below

    And the jib sheet controls are now both on the thwart - rigged with a dead-eye and cam-cleat. Theoretically, the boat could be one-handed - but I doubt we'll ever try that...

    We've fixed all the leaks (last weekend's leak was caused by a couple of too-long screws in the centerboard trunk - Oooooops!). But there's one I think we just can't avoid: When we *really* haul @$$, water makes it's way up over the top of the centerboard trunk - toward the aft end. It's a small amount and I suspect it's because the boat *does* want to get up on a plane (especially when we're both sitting way aft. I tend to sit further fwd - when I can)...

    We took it to Foster City this weekend. The plan was: There was an Oktoberfest in Central Park (out alongside the main lagoon). We were going to launch (appx 3/4 of a mile from the main lagoon), sail out to that, tie up, wander around, drink Deutsch bier, eat brats, etc... Then spend the day sailing in the main lagoon (nice and wide with a steady, strong wind)...

    The reality was: There's one bridge to clear before you reach the main lagoon. I knew Hobie Cats couldn't clear the bridges - and wasn't sure about us! I Googled "Foster City Bridge Height" (and assorted other combinations) and came up with nada. :::shrug::: Guess there's only one way to find out!

    Wellllll... We learned what happens when you try to sail a 25' tall sailboat under a 22' tall bridge!!!

    We were two-handing. I manned the jib sheets and Roger was at the helm. I suggested that we *not* approach it full-speed-ahead... "Don't worry... PLENTY of room!" Followed by CKHRRRCRRRSHKKKK... (Can't *quite* describe the noise adequately!)... Followed - immediately - by a sloshing, splashing sound as the aft end of the boat (moving along quite nicely) sort of spun around us and ducked down under the water!!!

    Thankfully, Rog moved quickly to balance out the boat (we were about to go under on the side I was sitting on!)

    At that point, we were probably about 23' tall (we took on *quite* a bit of water!) - and pretty solidly stuck!

    "Well, that's ONE way to find out, I s'pose!"

    Mast was jammed up about 2' in from the edge of the bridge - and slightly bent. Our SECOND wind-vane (needless to say) was toast (the first wind-vane bit the dust when Roger dropped the mast 'cuz he was being "attacked" by a wasp!)

    ...And we were in.. Well... "A Situation!"

    I tried "rocking" the boat out. Didn't make much progress... Debated dropping the mast and quickly decided I *really* *really* didn't like that idea. Somehow, in the interim, the current managed to push the stern back around (head-to wind - facing in the direction we'd started) and after a couple more "rocking" attempts, we managed to scrape our way to 1' from the edge of the bridge! Then I considered jumping overboard and trying to pull the boat to one side (mind you - I'm only about 100' away from shore, in maybe 7' of water! - so not exactly a "death-defying feat" by any means!). Roger's all worried I'm going to abandon ship and leave him there!!!

    Pondered some more and finally I suggested that we both move to the same side of the boat and try to "tilt" it out. Thankfully, that worked!

    Even better (and amazingly), the mast "sprung back" to being straight. I also checked the mast-step and it doesn't look any worse than it did before!

    :::whew!!!:::

    Frighteningly enough, Roger wanted to keep on sailing and I relented - after we kinda regrouped, inventoried our limbs, pumped her out, and gave her a quick once-over (I am sooooooooooo glad I bought a hand-pump on one of my trips ro We$t Marine!!! Came in MIGHTY handy!)

    We sailed back to the launch, downed some beers, and rested a bit. Dropped the jib since the winds were *really* starting to pick up (gusts to 20 kts, I'd guess). Basically, we spent the day tacking back and forth. Upwind - to the Shell Blvd. bridge, then running - downwind - back to the Foster City Blvd bridge. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. That's a distance of about 1/3 mile (between bridges) and - maybe - 250-300 feet channel width.

    It actually *was* good practice! But kinda disappointing since we couldn't make it to the main lagoon/Central Park and the Oktoberfest (we were *stuck* with Domestic Beer - GASP!)

    Also - a bit more of an Adventure than I'd signed up for!!!

    All-in-all, it was a good day though. We did run over to the Oktoberfest and grabbed a bite before we headed home.

    We have uncovered a few more little glitches to address: We lost two battens, tore a small hole in the sail when it caught on the spreaders (methinks I'll be applying Electrical-Tape to the spreader ends!), and we need to rig up some kinda shock-cord on the kick-up rudder so it will kick itself back-down after we get out of the shallows...

    We also learned the height of the bridges in Foster City (22'!!!), and also found (too late!) that there *is* another boat launch out on the main lagoon (coulda saved ourselves a lot of grief had we found that earlier!)...

    I also suggested that my sister (who's on the City Council) suggest to the Planning Commission that it might not be a bad idea to POST THE BRIDGE CLEARANCES someplace readily accessible. If not on the bridges themselves, maybe a SIGN at each of the boat launches??? (instead of buried on www.fostercity.org - which, incidentally, Google did NOT find!!)

    Oh well... Never a dull moment for us, eh?!!

    Anyhooo... Roger *really* enjoys sailing... *Really* likes the Albatross... And he seems to have accepted the fact that - probably for the first half-a-dozen trips out, we're going to "find" more stuff that needs tweaking (and doesn't seem to mind it at all).

    I have to say, Albatross *is* a scary-fast boat. When we caught the wind "just right" with both sails up, she REALLY hauled ass (and "pointed" a lot better, actually)! Not unlike pounding the gas on the Corvette, actually! She doesn't "ease into" going fast - No Way! She just GOES! Bow lifts up, she heels immediately and mooooooves out! We definitely can't "relax" in stiff breezes! Oh, and when we're hauling - running, especially - she kicks up a wake like a powerboat!!!

    Way cool!

    Pic below is from *after* our encounter with the bridge, so things are a bit disheveled! Bridge in the background is identical to the bridge we, umm, "encountered!"

    [2DinkBridge100205.jpg]

    BoatBlog and Misc Pics 10/10/05

    We had ourselves a "Successful Sailing Day" at Lexington Reservoir, yesterday. Lexington is up in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Really pretty. About 2.5 miles long x 1 mile wide (at it's widest), with nice, predictable winds...

    Definition of a "Successful Sailing Day" is: Everybody stayed out of the water (well, except for me when we launched her. Lexington has a really sh*tty launch ramp! I had to wade in, waist-deep, to get her off the trailer!); nothing catastrophic broke; and we didn't hit any bridges!!! (of course, there are no bridges to hit at Lexington - so the odds were definitely in our favor! ;-)

    And most importantly: NO BEERS WERE SPILT!!!

    Although, as expected, we did "shake out" a few more things that need attention: The main halyard wire (halyard is half wire/half line) is now toast. Totally frayed and ready to break (probably related to last week's bridge mishap). So I need to replace that ASAP. Also, I think it's time for a trip to a rigger - to replace the shrouds (since I have to go to a rigger for the halyard anyway - might as well fix everything, eh?). Think I'm gonna hit the wood-to-centerboard joints with globs of 3M 4000 to "slow" the leaks. We were hauling @$$ a number times and the flow - while not significant - is definitely annoying! (Nuthin' worse than soggy tennis shoes!)

    On the plus side: The latest batch o' sail patches seems to be holding up - as are the new battens!

    We sailed the whole day with both main and jib. Light winds in the morning, and medium winds in the afternoon. Not nearly as gusty or "dramatic" as Foster City (which is actually *very* challenging). We've found that she does "point" better with the jib, but she still seems a lot happier on a reach.

    Anyway, I did get my film developed and scanned the photos (How archaic!!!). And, as promised, I'm posting some pics from previous adventures:

    Chesbro Pics

    I have no idea why I feel compelled to shoot pictures of the sail when I'm in a boat - but I do!!! (I suspect I'm not alone!)

    [SailShotChesbro.jpg]

    Not a really dramatic heel - but not too bad for the first time out. Plus, I think Chesbro's really scenic. Kindly ignore the sloppy rigging on the mast (Aww man! Now you looked!) - I'm still straightening it out!!!

    [HeelingChesbro.jpg]

    This is the picture the Hobie Guy snapped of us - after lunch.

    [SailingChesbro.jpg]

    Foster City Pics

    Some of the Uber-Expensive Waterfront Homes in Foster City (and the "Standard Issue" Duffy 18's docked out back - *Everybody's* got one!!!)

    [SailingFC.jpg]

    This is a shot of the wake the Albatross kicks up when running in stiff breezes... Looks *almost* like a powerboat wake! WooHoo! Ride 'em cowboy!!! (Note: Bridge in background, to the right. *That's* the bridge we "encountered!")

    [DinkWakeFC.jpg]

    2006 Updates

    BoatBlog 10/08/06

    Well... We've determined that the "original" almost-40-yr-old sails *probably* needed replacement! So... We went to "Simply Sail" in Oakland and found numerous vendors who "didn't do dinghy sails!"

    $1,000 later (My contribution, BTW), we found Pineapple Sails in Alameda who did an AWESOME (albeit SLOW) job of replacing our 40-yr. old canvas!!!

    This year, we've sailed extensively at Chesbro and Uvas Reservoirs (Mostly Chesbro), and we did an Anniversary Sail @ Foster City's Oktoberfest. This time, we skipped the Official Boat-Launch and went for the 'On-the-Main-Lagoon Launch' (to avoid the aforementioned bridges!!!). Albatross behaves MUCH better w/New Canvas - as opposed to the old, saggy sails!!!

    She still seems to prefer 'light winds' - as opposed to the 15-20 kt gusts that Foster City offers. But, overall, she behaves MUCH better!!!

    On the Plus Side: We *did* get to partake of the German Fare this year: Brats, Turkey Wings, and Potato Salad (that we missed last year!)


    Wow! You actually made it this far??? You ARE a glutton for punishment! Okay, well, feel free to email me at IMQTPI(at)gmail(dot)com - Please mention "I have a boating sickness." in the subject line, so I'll know better than to read it! ;-)

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