Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mast Stepped

Sorry to keep you all waiting but our mast is finally back on the boat. After about a month of hard work the mast was ready to go back up and she is back on her step. After it was stepped M adjusted the spreaders and tuned the standing rigging. I can't express to you all how good it feels to be a sail boat again.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New to Us

New to us, Cheoy Lee Shipyards winch. $15 at Bacon Sails, like Minney's in CA, was labeled as is and came "with a piece of the deck, as it was cut out of the deck rather than unfastened. The only issue was the frozen capscrew that holds the center spindle in place, allowing you to then remove the outer drum. Impact driver and done. Cleaned, re oiled and greased, and the pawl sockets on both speeds needed reemed out to a slightly larger size to accomodate a larger pawl. This was all done with my set of professional machinist tools, a Milwakee drill with a 3/16" punch chucked in and stickyback 80 grit sandpaper wrapped around the end of the punch. Little 220 polish and done. I know many people that will probably cringe at this description.

This is really just a custom cast center piece on a Barient 23 winch.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rerigging the Mast pt. 2

Leathered spreader tips on upper spreaders.

No need to worry, no cows were injured in the process. Only Elks, which I think are kinda like deer, but also soft and pretty and double suede on both sides when you rip their skins off and sew it to the spreaders with big needles and use it for protecting your sails from chafe on your yacht.

I bought a whole elk hide, four spreaders finished, but lots more to do.

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Picture of the new to us Tacktick wind instrument. Custom mount fabricated out of Black Delrin. A remnant of a log of delrin from a plastics lathe shaped like a hockey puck eventually turns into a wind instrument mount.

Shaped mount to match the curvature of the the masthead strap, fastened with 2 #10 wood screws, passing through the stainless and into the wood under the stainless strap.
New Coax and electrical wiring. I hated the idea of external wiring so to make the wiring less unsightly, I decided against using the nylon cable clamps and to make my own. Maybe a little hard to see in this photo but I made close to 50 of my own cable clamps out of brass stock which were cut, bent to fit 3 conductor and coax tightly, eliminating the sag between clamps, rounded with a file drilled, countersunk, etc... it was slightly time consuming to say the least.

This is a picture of the New babystay bracket i am fabricating. The mast had a slightly alarming inversion between the deck step and the lower spreaders. i decided to go ahead and add a babystay to pull the mast foreward and prevent any further inversion. The first step to fabricating this bracket was to drill a 3/4" hole for a G-10 tube to be epoxied in place for a compression tube and to house the 1/2" bolt for the stay to attach to. Then if the larger bearing surface of the g-10 tube begins to compress the spruce as it is pulled further foreward I checked this motion with 2 large stainless straps that wrap around the back of the mast. these are fastened with wood screws and one large 1/2" bolt.
With G-10 tube and reinforcement straps in place, I had to bend 3/16" stainless straps to form an attachment point for the actual stay itself. These straps bend around the mast and will eventually have a 3/8" hole for a fixed toggle and eventually a wire with marine eye swage or preferably Dynex Dux spliced around a Ronstan Sailmaker's thimble.

Straps wrap around the back of the mast for better strength. these actually line up straight, I guess the picture from under the mast was at a funny angle. Not being a straight bend at 90* I was rather impressed at how i was able to match the radius of the spar and do so with vice grips, a few cresent wrenches, and all bent by screwing the strap into a saw horse and bending with no vise.

The foreward staps were a lot more difficult to bend as there were more angled bends with the same mast radius to match. All of this matched with the fact that it is a much thicker 3/16" stainless, I had a very very hard time bending these foreward straps. I am, however, pleased with the results, though still a few things to finish.

Hopefully the finished product will not be too large and unsightly. Even so, It is definitely the strongest piece of hardware on the mast, (not counting that Tylaska T-30 I have absolutely no reason to own)

Monday, December 19, 2011


Sorry it has been so long since I have posted anything. We have been super busy and productive, surprisingly. I got a job working in the ships store at the marina where we live. We were getting dangerously low on funds and decided it was time to start making some money. M has been making upgrades to the mast everyday. I finally convinced him to post something on this blog too so you should be getting some exciting tidbits from him in the very near future. He also will be working in the rigging shop at the marina after the 1st of the year. Hopefully we can save some money without blowing it all on the holidays. We will see.

Rerigging the Mast Pt. 1

This is mainly a collection of before and after photos, (some taken before the mast was unstepped for the first time in San Diego) to show the progress and upgrades to our 47 year old spruce mast.


Photo of mast head before any work was done, shortly after unstepping. Note the wire halyards, crappy wind instrument bracket, anchor light, etc. and really bad paint job.

The after photo taken here in Port Annapolis. While the mast head still isn't quite finished, it is a far cry from the cluttered crappy mess as before. Fresh coat of paint and all.

Different view of mast head with new paint, varnish, new spinnaker bail for spinnaker halyard block, New VHF antennae, new Delrin and composite bearing sheeve turned for Rope halyards. The Main improvement for those that care is the modification of the mast head bracket in which the old strap tangs were cut off and new Lefiell tangs added for the upper shrouds, increasing clevis pin size from 3/8" to 1/2".

Lower shroud brackets removed prior to rebedding. Still good wood underneath the stainless straps.

View of same bracket after polishing and rebedding. Polishing Fastener heads and lining up the flats on the fastener heads makes a small but noticeable difference.

Picture of the mast and lower shroud tangs before polishing and rebedding.

The Lower shroud tangs rebedded and polished.

Tang for spinnaker pole uphaul polished and rebedded.

Spreader brackets and bolt for lower shroud tangs. Notice the nut on the bolt is barely engaged on the threads. Was hand tight when removed.
All stainless hardware rebedded. New stainless bolt machined by Dynamic Marine Machining, in San Diego. New bolt is clear shank throughout and features nut and locknut that engage fully.

Polished stainless.

Old cast bronze steaming light with stainless steel guard to protect it from old wire halyards. This light and bracket were polished, the light was reamed out and lamp base replaced with new Perko bayonet base.

One modification included taking a jig saw to the upper spreaders and cutting close to nine inches off both spreaders. This will allow us to sheet the jib in closer when sailing upwind and make the rig more visually balanced. After cutting the ends off, the raw ends were epoxied and a copper plates fabricated to keep the shrouds from wearing into the wood. Looks nice finished and polished, however, they will be covered in leather later on.

Old Turnbuckles

Polished turnbuckle. Yes, I did polish each old bronze clevis pin after inspecting for pitting. I am a cheap bastard, even new S.S. pins are fairly pricey and don't look as cool as polished bronze on bronze. Unfortunately these will all be covered with leather as well once the mast is re-stepped.

Turnbuckles polished, threads cleaned, and clevis pins poished. Interstingly enough for those that care, the threads on a 1/2" turnbuckle were not a standard 1/2-20 or 1/2-13 but rather a custom 1/2-16 which made cleaning the bronze female threads difficult without the use of a tap.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Oil lamps, good wine, and great food. Another night at home. It doesn't get much better.

Into the Wild

Another example that shows how far we are from San Diego. Not only did it rain twice last week but we were almost attacked by a killer rabid fox.

Ok, so maybe we weren't almost killed or in any real danger at all but I was startled a bit. This little guy was hunting in the rain for some moles or something at the waters edge right next to the dock. I don't think I will get used to all the wildlife here. Last night we were driving home and a car coming towards us flashed his brights a few times. I automatically thought there would be a cop car parked around the corner and slowed down to the approved 25/mph speed. I drove around the corner and didn't see a cop at all. There were 5 white tail deer just hanging out next to the road eating grass. I feel like I am in the jungle. I think the only wild land animal I ever saw in San Diego was a rat. Seriously. There aren't even squirrels there.

ps. San Diego has loads more marine life than Annapolis does. I haven't seen any fish or anything here yet. In SD there were sea lions and seals everywhere. Sometimes we even had dead flying fish in our dinghy in the morning. I am sure there are fishes here but they have been hiding so far...

Monday, November 21, 2011

I've Been Keeping a Secret

We have been living with refrigeration for the past couple months. I know many of you will think that this lowers our 'bad-ass hard-core live-aboard' status, but that's ok, it's awesome. We were never planning to cross into the cold side but it happened. One of our friends was clearing out his storage locker and had a Waeco cooler style frig that he needed to get rid of. It is a few years old but was only used for one cruising season. Seeing as we are such great people, we decided to take the unit off our friends hand for a very reasonable price. It has been great keeping things cold without having to keep ice in the ice box. There is really only one drawback to the unit and that is that the buttons get stuck sometimes. However, I have been told that in the newer models of the same frig unit they fixed the sticky buttons and replaced them with a streamlined digital read-out. Anyway, now that we have it, I can honestly say that being able to make our own ice was worth every penny we spent on the thing. Yay! Don't judge us; you know you like ice in your drinks too.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's Cold

For the third night this week the temperature has reached a blistering 30 degrees Fahrenheit (that's -1 degree Celsius for everyone else in the world that didn't grow up in the USA). It was freezing, quite literally. We are set up reasonable well for cold weather. We have 5 oil lamps that we use every night for light and a Force 10 propane heater. The first night for dinner we were warm and dry. However, we don't ever sleep with our Force 10 going as it is a pretty decent fire hazard. By the time morning came it was down right frigid in our cabin. After the second night of going to bed warm and waking up cold we went to West Marine and bought a portable cabin space heater. (West Marine Link here) We bought it on sale and I think it cost around $80 with tax. I cannot say enough great things about this heater. We have had the heater just over a week now and it is amazing. For the past 3 freezing nights we have been warm and cozy snuggled up in our v-berth.

Temperature  inside our boat after we bought the heater.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Back Creek

We took our skiff across the creek from the marina over to the other side of the harbor last night. It just so happens that there is a dinghy dock right outside of a great local watering hole. This is the view of the full moon rising from our skiff on our way across. You can just barely see the Chesapeake Bay bridge through the haze in the background. This town has such great access to bars and restaurants via the water, it is amazing!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Snug as a bug in a rug

In the travel lift waiting for launch
She made it. Our dear Ellen Louise is currently sitting snug in her slip in Annapolis. She arrived on Wednesday and we have now spent our first night on the boat. I can't express the amount of stress that was lifted off my shoulders the minute she hit the water. It feels soo good to be 'home'. It is weird to be sitting down below with the lamps going strong and look up out the windows and see leaves. It is crazy that just a week ago we were staring out at palm trees.

Last night it rained and it was the first time we tested our newly bedded windows for water tightness. They worked perfectly and not a drop made it inside the boat. It is going to take a while to get used to the cold, damp, wetness that seems to never end here but we are having fun. I'll tell you more about the fun parts soon.

Splash! No leaks and a dry bilge. Couldn't ask for more.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Slaughter Across the Water

Moving to the East Coast is tough. We cried and complained when we left San Diego but I have to say that Annapolis has been great. Since we have been here we have eaten 36 oysters and countless Dark & Stormy's. I love being in a town where every restaurant has a raw bar and every bar stocks ginger beer*. It is such a great area for sailing and eating and drinking for that matter. On our second day here we happened upon an annual tug-a-war festival. For anyone not familiar with the area- the Annapolis Harbor has two distinct areas: Historic Annapolis and across the harbor is the Maritime Republic of Eastport. For many years Eastport has been trying to declare their independence from Annapolis as it's own independent town. Somewhere along the way they all started an across the harbor tug-a-war to declare something... not quite sure what the winner gets but it is good fun either way.

We showed up as the first team of tuggers was starting. There is a long line that stretches across the harbor and about 30 people on either side tugging and pulling. There are three or four rounds and finally someone is announced the winner. Ironically, this year the tug-of-war was officially declared a tie. Anyway, there was a great band playing, lots of beer flowing, and plenty of oysters to eat. All and all; a great first week in town. I have to say, I couldn't ask for a better first week in a town. I am looking forward to many more great times here in the Chesapeake...and lots more oysters to eat.

Bushels of oysters

View across the harbor. The line goes the whole way from here to the other side of the harbor.

30 people to a pulling team.

The Eastport Oyster Boys 

EDIT: I heard later that Annapolis was declared the official winner so they must have had a tie breaker or something that we missed. Either way, just wanted to clarify that I have no idea who actually won or if it even matters...