Tag Archives: learn to sail

Replacing the Cabin Sole

The first steps down into the cabin of Hurry On were met with a squish.  The cabin sole, which had spent a considerable time under water, had perished.  The teak and holly veneer on marine plywood was peeling off to the point it was almost completely separated from the wood.  The high traffic areas, like at the foot of the steps, sunk when trod upon.  There was no bringing it back, it had to be replaced.  Being the type of person who always seems to choose the method that involves the most sweat and cursing, I decided to try to replicate the method being researched by our friends at Joy in the Mooring and artfully carried out here.

Getting the old sole out was pretty simple, most of the screws keeping it down came out easily.  Some of the screws were stripped, but luckily the wood surrounding them was rotten enough to pull it out and then take the screw out with vise grips.

pretty squishy in spots

pretty squishy in spots

Marine plywood has to be shipped to Cape Breton, but it can get get here the next day from Halifax.  I got this piece of Douglas Fir marine ply from Sydney Millwork, for $116, this includes the shipping.  I’ve never really worked with Douglas Fir before, and was therefore, not familiar with its fragile and splintery properties, which caused a few headaches down the road.

I was lucky that the sole of a C&C 27 MkV is a prefect rectangle.  After cutting the pieces to match the original the only modifications were routing the bottom to give it a curved edge, and the four outside corners needed to be rounded slightly.  I was considering making this from two pieces (the main floor and the bilge hatch) of wood instead of 4.  Two pieces would certainly be stronger.  But working with the large piece would be quite unwieldy .  Also, I wasn’t 100% sure the large piece would fit in the boat.  Finally, the original was in 4 pieces, and I’m sure they had their reasons.

Marine Plywood pieces cut out

Marine Plywood pieces cut out

The next step is stain the pieces.  After sanding the entire surface, just to be safe, I used a wood conditioner which ensures a nice even coating to the stain with no blotches.

Stain treatment

Stain treatment

The stain went on evenly for both coats.

English Chestnut Stain, two coats

English Chestnut Stain, two coats

To get the teak and holly look, pieces of white wood are going to be set inside the plywood.  When I got the plywood, I also ordered a long piece of poplar, this would serve as the strips.  Using the poplar as a straight-edge, I ran the router with a 3/8″ bit down the lengths of the plywood at equal intervals.

3/8" trenches about a 1/4" deep

3/8″ trenches about a 1/4″ deep

C&C 27 MkV Cabin Sole

poplar inserted and glued, and pounded

The strips were cut out on a table saw, then refined with a planer.  they were tested for fitting, then glued (plain old wood glue, as my old friend Gorilla Glue tends to expand, and I didn’t want any coming out, as there can be no sanding after this) and tamped.  For the most part, the strips went in flush.  There are a few areas where the are slightly elevated, but just barely noticeable when you pass your hand over it.  Finally, 4 coats of clear varnish, with a light sanding with 320 grit between each coat.

varnished up

varnished up

The bilge hatch

The bilge hatch

Since there is much to do still, installing it  will be one of the last jobs as to avoid the wear and tear for engine and window work.  Or, I may just say ‘frig it’ and cover it with a blanket.

New Cabin Sole

New Cabin Sole

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Marine Diesel Engines by Nigel Calder

I am pretty thankful for fellow sail bloggers in the Southern Hemisphere.   While I have only ventured out to Hurry On a few times a week to knock accumulating snow and ice from her cover,  I can follow along with others as they go on day trips off New Zealand, or spend a few weeks trekking to the Marquesas.  But winter is not a total loss, it’s a good time to get some self-education done.

When it comes to engines, I would say I know slightly less that your average Canadian man.   And considering I grew up in a small village on the East Coast, I know considerably less than the average Cape Bretoner.   That’s why the diesel engine tucked away in Hurry On’s underbelly makes me so nervous.  Outboards, like the one on Indy, were pretty simple devices.  Small, light, manageable, and if there was ever a problem, you just pop’em off, take it home in the car and work on it in the back yard.

I have to get all learned up on diesel engines.  For the last month or so I’ve been reading Marine Diesel Engines by Nigel Calder.

Marine Diesel Engines

Because I consider myself to be starting from scratch, I appreciate how the book starts with basic theory.  The difference between gas and diesel engines, and how engines work on a very basic level.  It doesn’t take long before you get into the nitty gritty of the more complex components.

I’m only halfway through the book, but already, Calder has pulled away the veil and demystified much of the engine and its various parts.  I remember over the years seeing an engine that would spew black smoke, and thinking “Uh oh.  The engine is broken.”  But now I know black smoke means unburnt fuel.  Why is there unburnt fuel?  Too much to burn?  Not enough air to burn it all?

I’ve just arrived to the chapter on winterization.  A bit late, but now I’ll know for next year.

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We Were Racers

When we first bought Indefatigable, she was quite bare.   She didn’t look very welcoming inside, in fact, the cabin  looked like one of those house you go in where nothing ad been updated in some time.  The outside had a few modifications however.  Some quick-release clam-cleats on the rear winches, and two new-ish 130 and 150 genoa sails.   This, we soon discovered, was because the gentle man in his mid twenties from who we bought her,  sailed for racing almost exclusively.   Seeing as how we are in the winter of our ownership of S/V Indefatigable, we ought to see what she could do before we parted ways.  We entered the Northern Yacht Club’s Fall Racing Series in North Sydney.

As detailed in earlier posts, Erika and I had raced, as crew, on other boats (Erika mostly on the bow, myself all grinding), but were never at the helm in a full blast race.

There are two Yacht Clubs on Sydney Harbour, the Northern Yacht Club,  and The Dobson Yacht Club.  The Northern is about a half hour drive from where we live, but host a number racing series and cup races over the run of the season.  When you look out over their piers, there is a mast on almost every vessel.  As the commodore would later tell us, it’s a club for sailors.

This was going to be a test for the little 1972 Evinrude 6hp outboard.  So far, we would leave the pier, putt about 100 feet from the marina and put the sails up.  Now we were looking at a 5 Nm motor from Sydney to the Northside before every race, but proudly it always fired up first pull, and got us there no sweat.

Our crew was a ragtag bunch with varying levels of experience, but all enthusiastically volunteered.  My cousin Glen started out on the bow, moving the sail and watching for traffic.  Erika and my other cousin, Gavin, held things down grinding and tailing in the cockpit.  Erika’s co-worker AJ was an all-rounder, and proved himself to be a valuable bowman in the later races.

There were about 8 other boats in the 8 races, give or take a few here and there.  Our class, the non-spinnaker class, had 4 boats for most of the series, and one race swelled to 6 boats.

Hot pursuit

Hot pursuit

To say race #1 didn’t go well would be a bit of an understatement, and if I can offer any bit of advice to new racers, it’s exactly this:

When you think it’s time to tack, it’s not.   If it looks like you can make the mark, you can’t.  If you think your boat can point high enough to squeak through, it can’t.

Up until this point we had just been sailing around the harbour with no need for any sort of accuracy.  It certainly was an eye-opener as to how difficult it is to hit a good lay line when you miss it not once but twice for the same mark.

So the first race saw us come in dead last, over 10 minutes behind the last boat, even after the handicap calculations were made.

We slowly improved over the course of the series.

Our class was two discernible groups.  Avatar, and Down North who would battle for the top spot week after week, every time alternating between first and second place.  The other group, in which we were a proud member was with Outrageous, Sea Star, and Wind Rush, which was basically a competition (albeit not a competitive competition, because the other racers were cool like that) not to come in last.   Racing against these boats was very fun.  Even though we were at the back of the pack, spending almost the entire race what seemed like spitting distance away from Sea Star was very intense!

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The cover of Fall Race Series Magazine

The thrill-a-minute action of sail racing

The thrill-a-minute action of sail racing

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We had some pretty light winds at times

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Wind Rush making her way back

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I think we’ve officially been bitten by the racing bug, and look forward to perhaps racing our new vessel again next year in North Sydney.

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Indefatigable Log Book – July 13

Date – July 13, 2014

Conditions – Sunny, light wing increasing

On Board – Rob, Erika

Duration – 2 hours

Location – Sydney Harbour

Since buying Indy in 2011, we have only ever used two sails; the main and the working jib.   We had two larger sails in the bags that we never used, a 130 and 150 Genoa.  Today, winds were light enough, we were brave enough to try out the 130.

The sails were crisper, and because of the larger size, we used the aft winches instead of the ones on the cabin.  The difference in this sail was immediately detectable.  This sail also had tell-tales, which take some of the guesswork out of trimming.

We sailed out to the coal piers before turning back.  When we were tacking back we noticed that a Tanzer 26 called Down North  was coming with us.  We knew Down North from our races aboard Morgan D,  and remembered her as a worth adversary.  Down North is also docked 4 piers down from Indefatigable, but we’ve never met her owner.

As she gained on us, we decided we would try to race her, whether they knew we were racing or not!  As we tacked back and forth back to the Dobson, we noticed that Down North was taking a similar line that we were.  And seeing how they were experienced racers, we took this as a sign that were were getting the hang of this sailing thing!

We were able to stay ahead of them the whole way back which we were pretty proud of, despite the fact they didn’t know we were racing, and likely out for a leisurely cruise.  When tying up, Down North pulled into her pier.  A shout came from her cockpit, “You managed to stay ahead of me!  I was trying to get by!

We went over for a chat after everything was put away.  Her skipper and his guest were great folks, who we will likely run into again.

 

Very light winds

Very light winds

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In the shade of the 130 Genoa

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First run for the 130 Genoa

Down North in hot pursuit

Who’s that back there?

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Tanzer 26 in hot pursuit

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Indefatigable Log Book – June 25

Date – June 25, 2014

Conditions – Sunny, wind brisk

On Board – Rob, Erika, Frances, Charlie

Duration – 1 hour

I suppose this was our test voyage.  Up until now, whenever we were to sail, we would have either my, or Erika’s, parents look after Charlie (1) and Frances (4).  Here we are at the start of a new season, and who knows, perhaps we can all go out together?

We had mixed results.  Both kids packed their colourful sailing bags with the toys they thought they would play with.  (they’re great!  A coworker gave them to Erika now that her children are grown.)

Frances did great, wore her life jacket with no fuss, and spent most of the time in the cabin, occasionally sticking her head out the forward hatch to say hello to those in the cockpit.

Charlie proved to be a bit more of a challenge.  He wasn’t keen on the life jacket, or the tether, and spent most of the time bouncing around the cockpit.   He was under constant supervision, so that took away one person from sailing the boat.  At one point he climbed up and stood on the tiller (being braced by Erika) while looking over the stern.  We pretty much decided then that Charlie may need some more time before he’s ready.

In town that day was the US Coast Guard training vessel, tall ship Eagle.  We went for a tour of her the next day, and met her impressive crew.  Things were so hectic, we only managed one pic!

 

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US Coast Guard Tall Ship Eagle

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LAUNCH!

Most of the year, Indy lies nestled snugly in our driveway, inches from our fence and inches from our house.  The first few years we owned her, we would trailer her 3 blocks down the road to the Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club, and a fine gent named Terry would plop her in right at the berth. Since it’s destruction, we keep her across the harbour at the Dobson Yacht Club.

We still, however, made it down to where the Royal used to stand.  It’s piers, still in great shape and ready for many more summers, sit idle.  Terry met us Sunday morning, June 1st, and like a surgeon with tweezers, deftly placed Indy next to the boardwalk.  All that remained was a 2 minute trip across the harbour.

I must have been too enthusiastic, because after pulling the cord on the 1972 6hp Evinrude Fisherman, the cord refused to recoil.  She started fine, but I had to lift the cowl and wind it up by hand.  Off to Mackley’s Marine.

Apparently my bulging Herculean biceps were too much for the spring and spool which are no longer made.  This is when things get spooky.  When telling my co-worker who recently bought a property on the beautiful Bras D’or of my plight, replied, “that’s funny, in the old shed on our new property was a 1972 6hp Evinrude Fisherman.

His find had a seized arm, so he generously gave me the motor.  The parts were in great shape, and work beautifully.  We may get to sail this season after all!

A few onlookers patiently wait for the 3000lb boat to pass overhead

A few onlookers patiently wait for the 3000lb boat to pass overhead

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Winch Refurb – Lewmar 6 Single Speed

Ever spruce up your winches?  Apparently this is something that should be done annually.  I’ve heard manufacturers recommend twice a year.  I have never opened one up, and had absolutely no idea what the heck was inside them and what made them work.

Frances, (who just turned 4!) and I were up on Indy while she sat in the trailer in our driveway, for a little bit of a tidy before launch.  She spun the winch and asked ‘what’s this for daddy?’  I noticed that there was no ticka-ticka-ticka during the spin.  It was quiet.  I tried the others, they all sounded ok, but I decided I would have to figure out how to get these in better shape.

Looks fine enough.  But who knows what's going on in there.

Looks fine enough. But who knows what’s going on in there.

 

Popping off the top, you can see this is not going to be pretty.

Popping off the top, you can see this is not going to be pretty.

Inside are small pawls, being propped up by tiny springs.  These pawls were all gummed up, rusty, and dirty.

The pawls on the bottom haven't fared any better over the years.

The pawls on the bottom haven’t fared any better over the years.

 

Lewmar 6 Winch

The only things I used in all of this was a scouring pad, mineral spirits, grease, and a few replacement pawl springs.  Everything was taken apart, cleaned, greased, and reassembled.

After wipe-down

After wipe-down

Lewmar 6 Winch

Moving smoothly, ticka-ticka-ticka

Moving smoothly, ticka-ticka-ticka

Lewmar 6 Winch

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