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.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dreaming of Smaller Boats

Schock's definitive family sailboat doing what it does best. Photo by S/V Desdemona
  This will end up being one of this rambly posts that those of us in the boat building/owning blogsphere are infamous for. I have several already on this very blog so add some wood to the fire, get a good foot reast and bile up a pot of tay. We need to talk about the next boat.
 Have no fear for Essie dear reader. I still have great plans for her. This season will be new standing rigging, new sails and continued improvements overall to increase the livability and performance of her as a scheduled daysailer.When it comes to introducing friends to sailing or going later afternoon cruising on a bay there is no better boat that I can imagine. As I've sailed her this season I can't help but think that W.D. Schock had it right when he figured out her lines. Truly a classic boat and a joy to have on the water. But I can't make her become what she is not no matter how hard I try. She will never be an limited expidition solo sailboat.
  Sure I could keep trying to cram her into a space she really doesn't belong. There are plans to really try and make her capable of spending the night in a bay somewhere in relative comfort. And I think that can happen. And one of her slightly older sisters did make the Texas 200 successfully. But how well designed was the boat for that application? She's at home cruising with four people out for an afternoon or dashing around buoys and at that she excels. In fact I'd put her up against any vessels in her class, all comers. But the downsides to solo work are higher then I'd like.
 She really is a crew boat. At least one other hand is so nice to have it's almost a necessity. From rigging and launching to tacking and retrieving it's better with four or more hands. Her weight of 310lbs is rather unmanageable with one and even with a stick going forward will always be a chore. She has no kick up rudder and her hull is not for dragging up a beach.
 So I need another boat. Again. We've been down this road before. I've kicked around the Mayfly 14, the Cartopper, a PDR. All of these boats have several things in common. All are wood. All are homebuilt. And all can be had for cheap. And now a new entry has entered the fray and it's ticking all the boxes and then some. The Piccup Pram.
 With my current health finding a small light boat is something I need to consider. And at 100lbs the Piccup seems to fit that bill a bit better then my current boat. And at 11' it is a bit easy to store and maneuver on the hard. Room for sleeping aboard according to her designer and space for a few days worth of stores. Kick-up leeboard and rudder and great beaching ability. A boat that is able to sail Frenchtown pond one day and Dayton Bay the next.
 I'll continue the research but I would not be surprised to find plans on my front stoop in the next month or so. It's been awhile since I've actually built a boat and the thought of making form out of nothingness excites me a bit. But more-so is if done right this will be a boat for sailing, not building. But good workmanship will be it's own reward. And when I want to simply go mess about with a boat perhaps later in the day and closer to home, a Piccup will allow me to do so. And that is something I've been missing.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

1st Annual Big Arm Messabout

The three boats of the messabout. (L-R) Esmerelda, Dragonfly, Desdemona
 Well the first official function of the Western Montana Small Boat Association is in the books. And by any measure it was a great success. Three boats on the water, new people in boats, and camping to boot. When I started this idea of trying to get more small boaters together this is what I had in mind.
 The event started for me on Friday, the 15th. With a newly repaired trailer the S/V Esmerelda was loaded, provisioned, and trailered up to Big Arm State Park. With me were The Mate and The Crew. The idea was for a late afternoon sail, then camping. Jim of Desdemona was already in the area and we camped behind him, spot B12. We had a lovely view of the lake and a good spot for our tent.
Our camp from the water. Jim was in the Airstream next to us.
 The camp was made up and we got the boat ready to head out. We splashed, motored out a ways and the lake was like a millpond. No wind at all. It was rather disheartening as the forecast at that time was the possibility of thunderstorms and winds in the 9-12kt range. After we drifted for a bit The Crew spotted the end of the wind shadow and we were off! I got to try the newest additions to my boat, the tiller extension and the self steering rig.
  Looking at S/V Desdemona and how Jim had set her up to single hand I made the decision that the ability to let go of the tiller was paramount. So the Typesetter knocked me up a version of the wooden cleat that Jim used and I purchased some bungee. Then came the nerve raking experience of drilling two holes in my boat and hoping that it worked. Well with some wind on the bow I cleated my mainsheet, let go of the tiller and Esmerelda plunged on. It was a wonderful feeling. The steering gear proved it self when tacking allowing me and my sometime suspect balance at times cross over the boat after a tack was completed. Following the tack I'd steady on the new course, set the tiller, cross over and resume my command. With Mate and Crew at the jib sheets the lake was ours.
Look ma! No hands!

 We docked and hauled out, returning to camp where Jim had started a fire. The Mate and Crew were tired after the days sailing but Jim, his lovely wife, and two furry kids stayed up and talked about sailing and hoping for good winds in the morning. Eventually though it was time to turn in.
 The next morning was promising. We got breakfast and got the boat set up. Then it was off to the ramp. And there sitting off the dock was S/V Dragonfly, a beautiful Caledonia Yawl skippered by Steve. Now Cal Yawls have always held a spot in my heart because it was the first big boat I sailed on in memory and that was the Luna at the Homebuilt Boat Show in Seattle. So to see one of her sisters on my home waters warmed my heart. Then Steve mentioned he'd read this blog and that floored me. It was going to be a good day!
 My friends Koda, Jim, and Rose had made the drive from Missoula to attend and we outfitted them with life jackets and got them aboard. Koda and Jim with Steve on Dragonfly, Rose with Jim and his wife on Desdemona. And we set off!
 The winds started light then dropped away to nothing. Huge swaths of the lake were in wind shadow. The Mate was working on her understanding of right-of-way rules and having other boats in the water really helped. We tacked out to the east, sometimes under the "electric spanker". The sailing was good when we had wind and not so when we didn't. But we were messing about in boats and that made it worth it.
The Crew at the new extension. She's trying sitting out for the first time too. Go Flames!
 Eventually we made our way back to the dock and Steve had to head for other things. Jim and I talked about what to do next and The Mate suggested we go back out. The wind, gone when we docked was rising so out we went. Esmerelda delighted in the wind, sailing flat and fast. Had we wanted to circumnavigate Cromwell Island we could have. But we had to get to dock and the voice in my head told me that was the better part of valor. And all at once the fun was gone. The wind predicted arrived a day late and by the time we got Esmerelda tied up she was rearing on her bowline like a caught trout. We were done for the day.
 So all in all a great event. But before we go out again we have a laundry list of needed improvements. And those will come first.
  • Better set up of the hands free steering system. Right now it's cumbersome to attach and remove the bungee as needed.
  • Jib improvements: Downhaul system and brass hanks.
  • Switching to sail slugs on the mainsail. The bolt rope is about at the end of it's life and to finish the season slugs are the way to go. 
  • Better cushions all around. 
  • Trailer work, mainly remaking the bunks and installing waterproof LED lights.
 I've also decided that we're The Herons. In Oregon there is a fabled race of small boat sailors, The Coots. I've always liked that name so in the finest traditions of the privateers I'm borrowing the idea. Also a group of Herons is called a siege so short of a proper messabout, we'll hold sieges. Dovetails well with my other medieval pursuits. 
 So all is well that ends well. Our next gathering is set for the 27th of June at Finley Point State Park. There might even be another Lido 14 in attendance! I know I'm looking forward to it!
Jim and Desmonda
Essie looking pretty.
Dragonfly and crew.
I can now work on my reading underway. The book is Jagular Goes Everywhere. Every small boat sailor should have this tome.
The Crew (l) and The Mate (r). Can't thank them enough.
Happy skipper on a great sailing day.
We even found a mermaid! She has legs because she's on land.
Hope to see you at our next siege!

Saturday, May 09, 2015

How to Make a 14 Foot Boat Bigger

She might not be the youngest girl at the ball but she'll turn a head or two.
To make a 14 foot boat bigger, wax it by hand. I will admit I don't think Esmerelda has been this white as long as I've had her. She's a long way from looking new but wow what a difference a good cleaning and wax will do. Same thing happened when I had my Beetle. Shines up a like a new penny.
 With the trailer still being broke I need something to occupy my time and with a Messabout fast approaching no rest for the weary. As near as I can tell the gelcoat issues are mainly cosmetic. So what do do about the crazing and oxidation? A few hours on the internet gave me an idea but she's not worth a full hull restoration. So I decided getting the hull as clean as I could and giving it a good wax. The biggest issues were rubber scuff marks along the hull. I used an off brand magic eraser to get the worst of the marks off and applied the new Lido decals to the sides. I added the hailing port too.
The only vessel in the fleet of West Riverside. Makes her the flagship then.
Then the waxing began. I did the foredeck first to get a feel for the 3M restorer and Wax. Then it was on the hull. And that took all afternoon. After the first two feet my right arm was toast. But after a viewing of "The Perfect Storm" and a Mountain Dew it felt much better. Then another foot. Then another. Once the hull was done it was the rest of the topsides, the transom and the top of the port bench. And there I stopped. I have a friend who has kindly offered to do the rest on Monday. She'll have fun I have no doubt.
 The Typesetter will be over on Tuesday to help rig the tiller extension and "self steering" gear. I'm basing mine on what Jim had on S/V Desdemona. A bungee rigged between the the thwarts and a wooden V on the tiller. No moving parts and you can still move the tiller. It's quite brilliant. This will mean drilling into the boat and tiller but this is a boat to be sailed and if that's what I need to do, then that's what I need to do.
 I am entering uncharted waters here. When Schock built the the first Lido 14, four years before my own #1280 in 1958, single handed expedition sailing was not what he had in mind for this boat. I'm guessing the percentage of Lido's set up to do so is infinitesimally small. So small that there are no articles, no images, no mention save one Lido 14 (1964 vintage) that participated in the Texas 200. And the changes to that boat seemed to be a new tiller and the addition of reef points to the sails. So this entire project is new territory for the Lido 14 and I hope the community will benefit from it. I know I will.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Beats a Day at the Office

From the Log of SV Esmerelda:
Post Sailing Review
Location: Big Arm Bay
Weather Gusty, Changing, blowing winds. Mainly SW 5kts and climbing steadily. Sailed with Jim Young and SV Desdemona. No issues with wetting boat but wet lines made post launch sporadic. Vessel never showed bad manners and accorded herself like a lady. Once underway lost mainsheet block and cleat. Sailed in hand. Need to get gloves. Sailed all points in rising wind. Jib tension and mainsail downhaul are crucial in higher wind conditions to ensure continued ability to windward in arduous conditions.  Priority is tiller extension with thoughts of making the sail controls more conducive to single handed sailing. No issues with boat. Manners in all conditions encountered. Today a trailer leaf spring broke. Sailing suspended pending trailer repair.

Yes it was quite a first sail! But Essie was a doll and I survived to tell the tale. Was to meet up with a friend of mine for some sailing, forecast was good so loaded up and headed north. Upon arriving at Big Arm I saw Jim's big lug way out across the bay. So I rigged up the Lido and launched. The two boats could not be more different but it was sure nice having another craft on the water.
Two fine boats. Sure beats a day at the office!
 This is where the first fiasco started. Wet lines and general mistowage led to a comedy of rigging errors as we left the dock. The wet mainsheet started doing tricks and got the jib sheets involved. The rudder enjoyed it's new freedom and sent us into a joyful spirals. And I forgot to secure the downhaul for the main. It was memorable departure. At least I had my captains hat on! Eventually we got to the business of sailing and it was quite a day for that! The cloud cover made the water dark and the rising winds only added to atmosphere. Jim on the other hand was zipping around like a man possessed. In my fertile imagination my Lido is a very nimble and fast boat, held out of the Americas Cup only by her fourteen feet length and fine breeding.  But what I saw most was the stern of Desdemonda as she reached, tacked, sailed backward, ran, and in general was a joy to behold!

Look at that fine lug sail!

I'm not quite standing still here but MAN can that boat move! Jim did this for 200 miles in the Texas 200!
 I believe I've mentioned before I've had  goal to fire broadside at marina across from the state park. After reacquainting myself with all the sailing bits and losing the mainsheet block, I felt at last equal to that task that has so far eluded me for two years. Following a fast reach we began a long run up the south side of Big Arm Bay. Jim is a veteran of the Texas 200, the famous 200 mile run through godforsaken country attended by wild men and idiots. (Jim is not) So this is old hat to him but Esmerelda was flying! Apparently we hit close to seven knots on the way east. At one point I looked forward and saw my jibstay was slack. The force of the wind behind forcing the mast forward. Believe it or not that is a design detail of the Lido 14. A loose rig for more optimum sailing upwind and downwind. Well I thougth I had tightened the rig enough but apparently not. That would be important later. Of course I was just happy to be running. I primed the guns and rendered a salute to the marina. I had done it!
The photo makes it look farther away. Look at all those boats on the hard!
I now turned into the wind to head home. I had forgotten that it's best to turn away from your sail for this maneuver. Also that if the winds pick up while running it's much harder to tell. It was the most violent jibe I've experienced in the boat. That includes last years skying incident. With sheet in hand I let go of the rudder as I crossed the boat. She whipped around in a tight circle, shook herself and with a voice that was tinged with sarcasm "There you go. Are you ready to go sailing again?" I was a bit stunned but if all she was going to do as a result of such a boneheaded move was give me sarcasm I might as well go sailing. 
 Wow. This was sailing. We had a bit more then scattered white caps and for the first time I've noticed we had real honest to goodness waves. Standing about a foot and half high and coming in sets. I could feel the end of my boat lose contact with the water nose over and catch the next wave. The sail was pulling like a locomotive and I'm not ashamed to say I was near the limit of my fun threshold for the day. I then noticed someone belting out a nervous sea chanty at the top of their lungs as if to take a mind off something else. Then I noticed it was me. At least I remembered all the words to Heave Away Me Johnny.
Sunshine would have been nice.
 This was beating. Well kind of. She was refusing to get up on the wind. The jib was stalling constantly flapping to beat hell and anything but a shallow beam reach caused her to lose her way. I noticed a bubble of sail right at the luff. The downhaul, redone in a slightly more modern style, had slipped. I also noticed the jibstay was still loose and the jib halyard just a bit slack. But there was nothing I could do. The Lido is designed for a second crew member and in conditions that are not ideal it really begins to show. When you're daysailing on a calm warm day in 5kts of breeze single handing the boat is a breeze. The benches are wide the water pleasant. But when Neptune decides to throw a party, even a small one, the boat in stock form really falls down for single handed work. As my situation worsened I began to lament the things I did not have. I call this feeling "McMullen's Ghost". Well I was being haunted to beat Hades.
 Making only scant progress to windward and things not improving weather wise I decided I'd had enough fun. I doused the sails and fired up the electric spanker. Drove me home at three knots in fine style. The boat during all this was a joy. She's stable and takes the weather well. Never feeling out of her element but enjoying the challenge. She also suffers fools well. For that I am thankful.
A fine day indeed.

 Jim and I hauled out and discussed the finer points of our boats. Well mainly his boat. If I were to do a true single handing voyaging boat, Jim's is a good start. Utilitarian through and through. A great sailor. And has a mizzen. I plan on doing another blog on some of the finer points but I've got a bit to think about in doing things with my boat it's not quite designed to do. But love the boat you have. And I really do.
 I had a meeting later in the day in Lakeside so with a few hours to kill I wandered through the Dayton Yacht Marina yard. It was slightly depressing seeing all these boats still on the hard. When I think of a boat I think o freedom. Waiting for the lake to pool and a crane to step your mast and a way of launching does not sound like freedom to me I found a newer relative of Esmerelda, a Santana 20. Someday I might like to have a boat stored here. But only if I can launch it early season.

Then it was on to West Shore Campground. It's on the Flathead Marine Trail and I've never gotten a chance to look at it. Looks like a decent place, if not for trailerable sailboats. I also saw the amazing mood of Flathead Lake. It is truly an inland freshwater sea. The waves were rolling in and it was easy to imagine yourself in Maine.
You're gonna need a bigger boat.
 It was a good day. And today I was supposed to do it again, of course on a slightly smaller lake. After the Typesetter arrived I finished getting the rigging right again. It had done awful things when I frantically dropped sail and needed correcting. As I did a final check of the trailer I noticed one of my leaf springs had broken. And finding a replacement has so far been like finding unicorn teeth. Only harder. So sailing is on hold until the trailer is fixed. Of course I do have a deadline of the 16th for the 1st Annual Big Arm Messabout. And Essie will make it. Be sure of it.
An obstacle and a challenge. Nothing more.