Monday, May 08, 2017

May 2017 Heron Siege

View from the Bow of  S/V Desdemona (Photo by Emeldir)
 The WMSBA season has started and the first Siege is in the books for 2017. On May 6th, The sailing vessels Lazy Shamrock and Desdemona hit the waters of Big Arm Bay for a few glorious hours of sailing. And to think it all started with misplacing a sail.
 The original plan was to bring the Lido 14 up along with the Piccup but we were unable to locate the sails for the Lido. Not quite sure how that happened but it did. So the Piccup was the star of the show this time. With us was Emeldir, my page in that other hobby I have, and Kat as well. She consented to come with me as The Typesetter was up north this day.
 The drive up was easy and we were in the water only a few minutes late, catching Jim and the Desdemona just as they were about to cast off. It's a very interesting comparison between the two boats as a Piccup and a Mikesboat, both Jim Michalak designs, are related. Piccup is 11' and designed first with Mikesboat for all intents and purposes a stretched and beefed up Piccup at 17'. We got the boats wet and headed out in very light winds.
My view for most of the day. 
 This was the Lazy Shamrock's first big outing. I've been in smaller bodies of water but always felt like Flathead would provide a better testing ground. I'm pleased to say that the boat performs well on all points of sail, has no obvious handling vices and has quite a turn of speed without undue heeling. A very well designed boat. There are some ergonomic things that need attention and the rudder and stock need to be rebuilt but I have a very nice boat. If not the fastest one. I can see why the designer added a larger sail to the plan. Even in stronger winds the original sail size must have made for long voyages.
Tiller is much to high. (Emeldir)
Captain and crew of Desdemona.
Desdemona looking fine astern.
 After about an hour or so the wind died down. As in dead calm. We could see wind further out in the bay but where we sat there was nothing. Finally after thirty minutes or so I took a tow from the Mikesboat and we motored back to the dock. And as expected as soon as our lines were made fast to the hard, the wind kicked up. So we decided to go out again. Kat ended up at the helm of Desdemona and this time I took Emeldir as Lazy Shamrock's first passenger. I'm pleased to report the addition of ballast only makes the boat perform better. But with the wind up a touch the unpleasantness of the cockpit as it currently stands is really driven home. It was not near as comfortable as the earlier sail for myself. Looking to the west the clouds that had been threatening all day were gathering. The wind became very erratic and changed direction frequently. So it was time to call it a day.
 It was a good day. I'm pleased I fulfilled the mission of WMSBA to get people exposed to sailing small boats. And that the Piccup performed to all expectations. Our next gathering is slated for July 1st but I'm certain we'll be out again before then.
A fine looking craft.
Stable enough to stand up in. (Emeldir)
Wonderful skies. (Emeldir)
The Lady taking pictures. (Emeldir)
Master of the Desdemona. (Kat)
Happiest ballast ever!
Till next time.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Readying for Launch 2017

Just about as ready as we're going to get.
  Everyone knows that two days before you're going to do a shakedown cruise is the BEST time to do some major refits to your rigging, right? With the date looming where I may take someone else aboard my vessel I need to get things right now. So today was spent taking off and re-positioning hardware to better ensure success in that upcoming endeavor. I've never really been happy with my odd combination downhaul/boom vang set up. It's kind of like front wheel drive, both doing the steering and the breaking. Or in this case setting bottom sail tension and keeping the boom in check. After scouring the web and watching videos and looking at pictures of different set ups I decided trying to get a straight up downhaul in front of the mast was the best way to go.
Knew I'd find a way to re-purpose those blocks.
 In addition to the downhaul work the Typesetter noted I had no set-up to keep the boom and yard to the mast. So I went down to the local craft store and picked up some multi-colored beads with holes in them. Knowing were to find parrel beads locally is great. $.30 each sure beats $.75 plush shipping! I used some light line to attach them and now even when yard sailing the sail seems to be in much better trim.
Mast needs a coat of paint.

At the top of the mast, multi-colors!
  I also renewed the bungees that keep the hatch covers on. They had disintegrated after their six months of storage.
Should be good for another season.
  I have but a few more things to take care of before my hopeful splash on Thursday. Going to try and get some paint on the boat where I can. Provision it for a short sale. Double check everything I can. It's very much it's like prepping a eleven foot long space shuttle. This craft my father and I built will be the only thing that will help keep me safe as enter once more onto the deep blue. We know the theory, I know it floats, but it's still a whole lot of unknowns and yet-to-be-discovers. It doesn't come with the same feeling of reassurance that the Lido gives me. I just don't know it well and we've had a rocky relationship so far. But I have faith. Faith in the boat and it's designer, and that I know well enough to keep me out of trouble.
 The weather is the same on Thursday no matter were I look. Winds just below 10mph, 56 degrees and rain at 3pm. That's the forecast to the north of me (Flathead) and to the northeast (Salmon). Not sure yet where I plan on putting in. On one hand Polson would be quiet this early in the year although the ramp would be very long. Big Arm is a known quantity but perhaps a bit big for me in this boat at this time without other watercraft support. Salmon is nice but the winds can be quite shift at times due to the canyon location and the islands. I guess I'll wake up and see what I feel like.
 I guess there is nothing to do but finish the final checks and wait the 48 hours until launch. Fortune favors the prepared so that's all I can do.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Getting Ready for the Season

The Boat Yard
 With a rare spring day in Western Montana I figured I'd best get the boats ready for the upcoming season. The Typesetter came over and helped me round off my mast for the Piccup in preparation of the addition of parrel beads. Then my father came over and we cleaned up the property, put the mast on the Lido and I showed him around the boat he helped build. He had never seen it with the rig up. So here are some photos from the day. It's cold here again. And there is still a bit of work left to do. I'd love to get a quick test sail on the Piccup before May. We'll see if the weather allows. I did get news the ice is off Flathead Lake. That's a good sign.
Lido centerboard case top being sanded. Just a quick sand, nothing to intense.

Playing with the macro on my camera.

Current rigging set up on the Piccup. Might make some changes here.

Liked how this one came out.

The Gypsy. She needs a bit of work but we have a decent starting place in this hull.

Two and a half coats of varnish. Not sure I did it right but that's how it was done.

It's the small classic touches that make these older Lidos worth owning in my opinion. It's tough nowadays go get warm wood and brass on a 14' fiberglass boat. And yet here i it is. 
As a note we are holding our first messabout on the 6th of May at Big Arm State Park. Festivities start at 10:00 AM and run until we get tired and go home. Check out our Facebook Page for more information on the event. Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 07, 2017

New Year, New Beginings

The Bolger Gypsy
 It's been very quiet here at the Inland Packet Company but only because were are ready to get very very busy. The big news is a new boat! There was a Bolger Gypsy hull on Craigslist my partner in crime and I had posted back on forth to each other for a few years. Never wanting to pay the price suggested but a very nice 'what if'. Well it's fallen into my hands. Seems someone else paid the price, kept it for several years and ended up giving it away. To me. So now I have 16' of sailboat out in our front lawn and the need to finish it up before it becomes an eyesore. Looks like my father and I have another project!
 Speaking of projects, the Lazy Shamrocks first and so far only sail was an adventure. There was some sailing. Then some crashing. Then some capsizing. Then some swimming. Then the fire department was called. Then heading home following an official report with the state park caretaker. Needless to say great fun was had by all.
SV Lazy Shamrock underway
There is a lot to do around the boat yard. The Gypsy alone needs quite a bit of attention before it hits the water. The plan is to use the same rig as the Piccup for time saving and the fact it's a good rig. The Piccup needs some work on said rig and some paint but for all intents and purposes it's ready to go. For the time being I'm not planning on sailing with the mizzen but hopefully by the end of the summer the boat will be sorted out enough to allow it. The first Heron gathering of the year is set for the May 5th. We have some interest and both the Lido and the Piccup should be attending.
 I hope to try and maintain the Sieges as a bi-monthly thing. My summer schedule is so busy that anything more is a tough sell. But as long as we have water to sail over I see no reason why we should not go sailing. I'll hopefully be doing a lot of personal sailing, after work, on my days off and the like as well. The goal of getting some distance under my keel has not left. Nor as the goal of doing over night sailing. So far every year I've wanted to do more. Might as well make this the year to do so.
 I've also started getting interested in taking better pictures. Not sure how that will shake out on the boating front as I have a waterproof point and shoot for use on the boat. But here is to hoping to feature some better sailboat photography here on this blog in the near future.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Busy Couple of Weeks

 It's been a busy couple of weeks here. My father and I are building a boat, I'm getting the Lido ready for the season and all signs are pointing to an early spring. Life is good in the rocky mountain west.
 We will start with the Lido. At the end of sailing season last I managed to loose one of the spreaders. No big deal, called up DoubleWave and ordered a new one. During the winter and and a subsequent house move the spreader was misplaced. So I have that to order. I also ordered a new to me sail from Minty's Yacht Surplus. It's of the type used at the Orange Coast College on their fleets of Lido's with a nice masthead float. The price was awesome so I picked it up. Tried to raise it a few days ago, no dice. There was too much friction at the mast head. So I'll be drilling out the rivets and sending the whole mast head and halyard to DW to have it reconditioned for the season. Save that she's ready to go.
 For the last few weeks my father and I have begun work on a Piccup pram. It's great working indoors and making some sawdust. The weather has been mighty variable but working in a heated garage it is the least of our worries. I apologize for the lack of pictures but I've been busy building a boat. But here is a list and our most recent pictures!
  • We've been using DWX Epoxy from Duckworks and it has been great! The workshop hovers around 60f and it cures overnight if you sleep late. The low order and slow hardener has made it a joy to work with. Mixes up well and dries clear. I would recommend it to anyone who is building boats. Great stuff
  • The plans and written directions were helped greatly by the fact I have a library of "modern" beginning boat building books and access to other builds of Piccups on Facebook. Without these the process would have been much more difficult for a novice. It is my opinion a new comprehensive set of directions are needed with photos and no reference to outside sources for how the build progresses. 
  • We will be adding a mizzen to the boat to aid in manners while reefing and hove to. I'm not the first to do so so that will help. 
  • Sold the 7/11. Just did not have time to make it the boat it could be. But a nice fellow who plans to give his kids a sailing boat bought it so it's in good hands.

SV Lazy Shamrock. The Lazy Shamrock is the Maxwell family brand.

It's amazing how big the boat is turning out.

This is a very beefy mast step. Inspired by Paul Moffit's built of Serenity.

Next up is interior seams. Can't wait!

Monday, December 07, 2015

Heron Seige Salmon Lake 8/1/15

Here are a few photos from the final Heron Siege of the year, held at Salmon Lake. Great day had by all save for one almost capsizing and losing the port spreader into the drink. However a new spreader is ordered and the SV Esmerelda is ready for spring 2016.
Happy and optimistic is a great way to start a voyage.
My mother enjoying her sons hobby. Was great to have her out finally. And even more she wants to come again!
Fair seas ahead. It's a beautiful lake.
Beauty astern as well.
First Mate having a wonderful time as well.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Just Another Weekend

Spend Friday and Saturday on the lake. Installed new bunks on the trailer today. Just another weekend.

Heading out.

Old Glory astern

Even becalmed the lake is wonderful

Motoring in as the light ends

Sunset in Big Arm Bay
Boats on the hard. Not for long though.
Wing and wing on the way home.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

A Better Direction

Looks a littler closer to this now.
 So I was cruising the interwebs last night and came across a great blog about a 1958 Lido restoration: It is a wealth of information about keeping these older boats in top condition. So while I sat there and ruminated on what needed to be done to Lido #1280 the rudder came to mind.
 Faithful readers will no doubt recall the incident last year that led to my former centerboard became my rudder. And it's been in that state until now. The centerboard and the rudder are about at the same depth so if the centerboard bottoms, so does the rudder. It's not been a major issue save for early and late seasons of Flathead when the possibility of a grounding increases close to shore due to the lower water level. But it's always been a noticeable difference from a stock boat. There must have been a reason that Schock designed the rudder that way. So this morning it was out with the power tools and the result is a new rudder. 
Just a bit too long.
 The first thing to do was to figure out how big a stock rudder is. You see there are now easy measurements out there. Nothing saying "The Rudder on a Lido 14 consists of sides of this size". Nope. There is a measurement certificate page that shows what it is to be class legal but nothing as definitive as the size of a stock foil. So I had to guess. And this is where Photoshop helped.
 I had a really good picture of a stock wooden rudder. What I needed to know was various dimensions to cut my current one to size. The only thing I had was the measurement of the rudder stock. In Photoshop I used the measurement tool to get a ratio to find the other lengths. Then using the protractor tool I got the angle of the stock to the blade. In case your wondering the angle is ~55° and the rough measurement on the front side of the blade should be around 24". The blade itself is 10" wide. Mine is a bit wider but I'm okay with that.
 Using an old rusty screwdriver as a scribe I marked out my cut lines and made the cuts with a jig saw. Variable speed is a wonderful thing. When I had the shape I wanted I test fit the rudder head, scribed the outline and where the bolt holes needed to be. Once satisfied took the head off and drilled the holes. The board itself was a good five inches too long so I cut the bottom square and rounded the corners.
That looks much better.
 I mated the the rudder head on and save for some varnishing the new rudder is good to go. One of the interesting things is on level ground I can now mount the rudder on the trailer, something I've been unable to do before. Two more days until I get to see how the new rudder works out! 
Hung rudder.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Straight Up

They look even better installed. Old set is on the left.
 I've been wanting new standing rigging. This was triggered by a post made to a photo I posted over on the Wooden Boat Forum from 1st Annual Messabout. Rich Jones posted "Thanks for the report. It's always great when WB friends can get together. From the photo, your Lido 14 seems to have an extreme forward rake to the mast. Is that part of the design or just a weird camera angle?" I mumbled something about the loose rig and got to thinking. So I wandered outside and measured my forestay. The forestay of a classic Lido 14 should measure 14' 3 1/2" long. Mine came to just over 13'. Now I know there was a mast incident somewhere in Esmerelda's past, as the cracking around the mast base and shroud clearly that evidence. And now I could see it may have had farther reaching impact. My guess is the deck end of the forestay failed, and instead of getting a new stay, it was simply shortened and a new eye put on. That would explain the missing foot of cable.
 I also know it's affecting her sailing with that rake. I'm not quite sure how but she's far from being optimized for cruising. So the first step seemed to be new shrouds and forestay. It just happened a bit quicker then I was planning.
 John over at Doublewave has been a wealth of information on my boat. A former president of the Lido Association and a class champion he has been nothing but gracious with his knowledge and time.  So I mentioned I was looking for a forestay and some shrouds. And two weeks later I got a notification that they were on the way.
 Now one thing that is never talked about in Lido circles from what I can gather is how to cruise a Lido. All I know is you need a tight rig and the mast should be vertical. So that was my game plan. And it worked out.
 The Doublewave system was designed for a shroud adjuster, not the turnbuckle I had been using. And with a vertical mast doing it alone presented some challenges. But being that I had all afternoon and just couldn't wait to see if it all worked out, I got to work.
 The first thing I did was to see where I needed to fit the side stays. These it should be noted came with shroud protectors and I'm glad for that. My old stays were worn from deck contact and I am pleased to lessen that with the new ones. I found quite quickly that I was about halfway down the adjusters to get the mast straight up. I'd put the pins down a hole and raise the mast. Then repeat. Finally I had the side stays set up. On to the pointy end!
 This proved a bit more challenging. With the mast raked forward I could count on it staying put as I clamored around getting it attached. But with the new position there was no room for error. Now most Lido's sail with a crew of two which would have made this whole procedure much easier. But that was not an option so I had to create a crew. Did you know you can use your trailer winch to hold the mast up while you tension the forestay? And if  you rig your lines right it'll be a 2:1 advantage as you do so? Now I don't recommend this for all users and those on the truth path my scoff but it works and that's what my sailing is all about.
 And there it was. A mast that stood ~90 degrees to the deck, taut and ready to cruise. I was most pleased. I wonder how long it had been since the mast had this much freedom of movement aft.
Straight up
 Although the light was failing I had one more thing to do and that was to set the tiller tamer for quick release. I found during the last cruise that the "Tie the excess in a bow and hope" did not work well. The tamer limits the accessibility of the motor while underway and getting the tension right instantly can be tough.
 The answer was simple. I took the ball off a ball bungee and with  knot secured it to the end of the shock cord I use for the tiller tamer. I then enlarged the hole on the other side, put half of the bungee through and knotted it. It's now a simple matter of putting the ball through the hole and it's ready to go.

I have a sailing weekend coming up and am eager to try out all of these improvements. Just another step in sailing inland seas.