Tag Archives: sailboat

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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Making Companionway Drop Boards

After a winter of record snow and record cold, yesterday it reached 12 degrees.  It was amazing.  Motorcycles on the streets, people wearing shorts, and the snowbanks, now all black and gnarly, poured into storm drains.  In a post from last year, I listed some of the items that were projects for over the  winter to get Hurry On ready for the sea.  I put a dent in some of them, most, however, were just too cold to tackle.  One of the projects  was making a replacement for the rotten companionway door.  The bottom of the door had degraded to such an extent that it sunk more than an inch and a half in the grooves leaving a large gap at the top allowing rain in.

Comes with a free oyster shell!

Hard time keeping the weather out of here.

Our last boat, Indefatigable, came with a door problem as well, but once a piece was was replaced, it was better than new.  This was starting from scratch.  The original was a single sheet of half inch marine plywood, with a teak block for a handle.  For the replacement, I was thinking 3/4″ oak and mahogany, on account of teak being impossible to find here, not to mention out of our budget.

I made a lot of mistakes building these doors, and even scrapped it and started all over, so hopefully if you take on a similar project, you can avoid these pitfalls.  If I had to do it all over again, I simply would have cut out a single piece of Lexan, and sanded the edges.  That being said I am quite happy with how this turned out, but it took along time.  My first mistake, was assuming that the companionway opening was square.  Obviously its is not a square, it’s a trapezoid, but it was not a ‘right trapezoid where two sides are exactly the same length, and the other two sides are parallel.   This assumption led to many problems down the line, and many wasted hours.

On the second try, I cut out a piece of cardboard to fit the opening exactly and used this as a template for the new doors.  I would have done this the first time around, bet the old door was missing the bottom, and I foolishly thought that as long as I had the angles, the lengths would take care of themselves.   Onward.

My plan was to make these doors the same as the doors on Indy, as this was the really the only style that I have known.  These were made up of two horizontal pieces (oak in this case) and two diagonal pieces (mahogany) that would make up the edges.  I should also mention I don’t know if I would have been able to do this with out my father’s wonderful array of tools, and word-working know-how.

The first step was to cut a tongue and groove joint for both pieces of oak for each door.  This was done with Da’s shaper.  The pieces were clamped and glued with Gorilla Glue, which so far has never let me down,

Kitchen gluing

Kitchen gluing

 

Solid

The ring grains of the wood inverted to prevent warping

The shape of the door was then cut out, taking into account 4″ of mahogany that would make the edge, and the 1/4″ tongue that would be needed to make the joint.  The mahogany was then fitted with a groove, the oak got the tongue.

Trapazoids!

Trapazoids!

Once the edges were glued on, the were shaped so that they would nicely fit into the companionway opening grooves where the 1/2 plywood once sat.  Where the two boards met, there was a rabbet cut into each piece, so that the top overlapped the bottom to keep out the rain.  The proper angle was then cut into the bottom of the bottom board.  To find the exact place to cut the top piece, I slid the boards into the opening and marked where it met the hatch,  and made the cut conservatively.  I then sanded the top until the hatch slid closed.

edges shaped and glued

edges shaped and glued

It was probably wrong, and I haven’t heard of anyone ever doing this, but I oiled the doors, then varnished them.  I did this on the Indy’s wood three years ago, they they still look new.  If you can tell me why thissis just adding work, or pointless, please do, but I have had fantastic results with this.  After two rounds of teak oil, I applied three coats of Cetol Marine by Sikkens which seems to work great.

Last coat of Cetol Marine

Last coat of Cetol Marine

 

Hard to keep things dust free in this basement

Hard to keep things dust free in this basement

Added a few little vents that I picked up on our last trip to Halifax.  I used a sealant on the top and sides of the vents to keep the water out.  I applied the sealant, and screwed them in almost all the way, after 24 hours, I screwed them in the rest of the was after the sealant had dried in order to create a gasket effect.

The matching grain at the boards' union is pure coincidence.

The matching grain at the boards’ union is pure coincidence.

 

Nice and Snug

I wasn’t planning to do the rest of the wood this year, but…..

 

It fits!

It fits!

Next on the agenda, tackling the ol’ 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!

photo6

The cover of Fall Race Series Magazine

The thrill-a-minute action of sail racing

The thrill-a-minute action of sail racing

photo1

We had some pretty light winds at times

photo4

Wind Rush making her way back

photo5

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 – June 28

Date – June 28, 2014

Conditions – Sunny, warm, light wind

On Board – Rob, Erika

Duration – 2 hours

Erika and I got out for a few hours, on a lovely evening in Sydney Harbour.  The purpose of the voyage was mainly to relax after a long week.  It was on this day we took our first selfie!  Slackers eh?

Rob & Erika

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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!

 

IMG_0879

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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