Sunday, February 19, 2017

Combined Clubs on Bancroft Bay

After forecasts which threatened gales and heavy rain, the morning arrived sporting blue skies and very gentle breezes. We gathered with a dozen or so old classic boats for a social sail and a sail past the Metung Hotel and the Metung Yacht Club. The event was sponsored by the Metung club in conjunction with the Gippsland Lakes Classic Boat Club. While the forecast weather trimmed the numbers of participants somewhat, the morning was a glorious celebration of being in the outdoors enjoying simples pleasures.

Pearl and Endeavour showed that the big muscle Couta boats can thrive in light conditions.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Beginning with Bandicoot

So another little adventure begins. I'm so ready for this kind of open-ended-hands-on-how-can-I-make-it-better sort of work.
On the hard, Bandicoot looks like a large 8.3 metres, partly because of her beam and partly because of the flare at the bow. She's in very good fettle for a boat over fifty and her last two owners in particular have attended to the hull regularly and with care. There is a Nissan diesel at the other end of the screw and I have to say that on first taking the helm it was the power she has in reverse that made me happiest. I love it when I feel confident of coming to a proper sort of stop in a tight space. I do value slowing down more than  I enjoy speeding up...

The work we have planned for the outside is largely cosmetic but the interior is rather tired and lacking finish, although the timber is all good and well painted. Instrumentation is good and the wiring loom is very well done- quite recently I think. The usual niggles like the fuel gauge that reads backwards...

The galley will want a refit below the sink. We have removed the table pictured below because we would rather have less cluttered lounging space, and room for a dog or two indoors. If we need a table we will find a light collapsible one that can be deployed in the cab or out in the cockpit. I haven't pictured the V berth because I have been working on that area all week and will post about that later.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

a small confession

There has been a small addition to our little fleet.
But I didn't build it and it doesn't sail
or row.
So if you are a hardline sailor 
you might want to stop reading now.
And if you think I've slipped over the edge
I understand.

It's been fun to have your interest.
I can cope with the music thing (he said)
and even the dogs and cows.
But I did come for the dinghy stuff,
the type with string and sails.

I've bought a swimming platform 
that can cruise around the lakes.
It is of the displacement type
and I'm going to avoid even a hint of iambic pentameter and glimmers of rhyme
just for this line.

Thing is,
the price was such that with some work it will appreciate
(and I get to keep the other boats for now)
and have fun swimming off the back
while I give the insides
a jolly good refit. 

So here is Bandicoot
8.3 m Hartley 
Bondwood cruiser
from the 1960's

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Beachcomber and Badger's Blissful Beaching at the Barrier

A lovely Summer day, and a picnic on the beach with friends...a bit of pleasant sailing thrown in just to remind me how incredibly lucky I am.
Barrier Landing is about an hour and a quarter from us by displacement boat. Beachcomber had all three sails set, but the breeze turned onto the nose and the narrow Reeve Channel was fairly well attended by planing boats (appearing to be late for an important appointment), and tacking across all of them repeatedly upwind was a bit tedious, so we kicked the little diesel into life and set her to idle and that gave us enough way to pinch into the wind higher than she could have under sail alone, with sails and motor both contributing to our passage along with Badger- who has the more grown-up 3 cylinder diesel to push her along.

Before heading off we called into the local fuel jetty to fill the tank with diesel. I honestly can't remember the last time I did this- maybe August last year- but she only took seven dollars to fill her up. I'm told the little Yanmar sips 0.5 litres per hour at around five knots.

The Barrier is a strip of beach on the lakeside of dunes that face Ninety Mile Beach on the east coast for, well, ninety odd miles. It is an easy walk across the scrub covered dunes to the ocean, but we were more than happy to set up near the boats for lunch and swim in the salty, tidal lake.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Cape Horn in a Small Cat- a review

If you like salty tales of smallish boats doing battle with big distances and sometimes terrifying seas, find a copy of this in a second hand bookshop, or a new one if you can find an edition still in print.
My copy was published by Elek Books in GB and Ure Smith, Sydney in Australia 1974
ISBN 7254 0167 2

Children of Cape HornChildren of Cape Horn by Rosie Swale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Going from Gibraltar to Australia and then to England via Cape Horn is an arduous and uncommon adventure. Doing it as a couple in 1971 with two children under school age in a fibreglass catamaran, is a wonderful and even less likely story. Rosie Swale wrote a fascinating account in this book and her observations about the children and the unusual choice of boat provide a marvellous context for the details in preparation required, and the tremendous concentration expected from these folk as they did battle with some legendary seas- against all sensible advice.

Their boat was a production GRP cat designed by Bill O'Brien.
I enjoyed every page.

View all my reviews

Saturday, January 21, 2017

not a cabin in sight

This week end the Gippsland Lakes Classic Boat Club had a gathering of open boats at Paynesville, with a static display for the community on Saturday morning, followed by a sail past in the afternoon. Above are two local traditional types  above, the boat reported here during it's restoration (top), and the one in front was completed last year. What a splendid thing to have an old boat restored, and the old ways kept alive in a new boat; the two stories rafted up next to each other. These hulls have a real presence on the water.

Above, most of the boats have left for the sail past here, but I'm still chewing the fat in Annie. (Beachcomber stayed home for this one). I include this picture to show the local 'floating shed'- it appears to be at the end of the jetty, but it is in fact a mobile floating music stage and MC platform, a bit of an institution around here. It is powered by a 60hp outboard 'behind the shed'.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

waterline, weather and leather

There are dozens of reasons why a trailered boat shouldn't wear antifouling below the waterline, and I have chosen to do it anyway  now I'm in  a situation where I can sail often because the boat can spend weeks in the water if I wish. The bliss of this is not lost on me.

Whereas before we moved here a sailing day needed to be chosen carefully, planned for and then travelled to- with the possibility that the morning could be wasted if the weather was ordinary (or worse)- now if I get the weather wrong, I can be much more philosophical about it, and maybe treat myself to some uncomfortable lessons in the wrong conditions, and then take my little tail home for comfort, without getting in the car.

So she has had the business- black antifouling below the waterline after I scraped the growth from her bottom again (not a comfortable thing to do on a bottom that is so horizontal, and so close to the ground). The pleasure for me this time was to figure out a way of getting Annie off her trailer without lifting anything. This was all achieved with a few clamps, a pair of saw horses, a few boards and a horizontal platform.

The trick is to lower the trailer dolly wheel, which lifts the stern. Slide in an angled support just under the stern, then raise the dolly again- on a block of wood if necessary- then place some support across the front (a 4 x 2 on edge, or bigger) on saw horses spread wide enough to clear the trailer wheels. Lower the dolly and then move the trailer forward, under the beam and out of the way. For this trailer anyway, the beds were now well clear of the hull. Your back is spared, but do be careful if you try this. I always add a couple of fail-safe back-up braces and supports before working under the boat.

Last time I went out the wind was up and threatening but the forecast was for it to ease so I had an interesting sail under mizzen and jib for an hour or so, and was quite pleased with her handling and tacking in those conditions. The wind then turned and made a part of the bay very rough and messy and another part more sheltered, so I raised the main without a reef and had a great couple of hours reaching back and forth over a longish gap between Bell Point and Shaving Point in a fresh wind on a rolling swell. To keep the boat level and just because it felt good, I sat out and sheeted in for  an exciting ride. 

The Navigator can usually be sailed without hiking out (especially if sail is shortened to suit conditions) and so the extension is a discretionary tool really....but I like it. This was my longest period using the tiller extension and it worked a treat, but my sweaty palms eventually began to struggle a bit on the bare wood.

Because the extension often needs to be out of service I designed it to sit low over the curve of the tiller so as not to get in the way, and it sits on a little locating pin so as to stay put. Both the tiller and extension flair out slightly towards the ends and this makes gripping easy, but I've added some leather on the extension just to make it less slippery.                                       I considered thin line, servings, turks head knot work etc and couldn't find a rope work solution that fit my purpose, but finally settled on leather because this is the traditional technique I used to replace the leather grip on violin etc bows. It feels good, looks restrained and doesn't add much to the bulkiness of the rod. The edges are rounded over so sit tight on the timber by means of a cut bevel on all four edges. This is done with a razor sharp chisel on the inside face of the leather. The leather was then treated with a product called Dubbin- used here in the past for treating boots etc without adding colour.

Monday, January 9, 2017

if I were a wave

If I were a nasty, bolshy, fulsome, front-on trough of a wave, I'd be struggling to suck her down with all that firmness of  bilge and flare in the forefoot, if I wanted to get the better of Annie. She's so broad...

If I were a rising, cresting, crashing wave coming down on her stem, I'd have nothing to get hold of if I wanted to push Annie abaft, there's nothing to grasp. She's so thin...

Now she's having her bottom scraped again, but you'll be relieved to know that she and the wave lived happily ever after.