Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Staying clean longer

Yes, I know that is a nasty combination of corrosion-producing metals, and I'm a very naughty boy. One day I'll sort it...

Those of you who are possessed of an indulgent imagination will see from this pic that Navigators look like ice-cream cones when viewed from a particular angle. Very tempting just to pick it up by the bowsprit and give it a lick, but my wrists aren't as strong as they once were.

This week-end I will have the mizzen up I hope, and maybe get around (finally) to designing a suitable mounting and securing arrangement for the electric pod (which now has a battery [which will need its own watertight box etc] by the way, and an impressive coil of cable, and a daunting bag of bits and techno-pieces)
But I have to say that there are fewer daunting bags of things to sort and attach, and I seem to be able to stay clean for longer when I'm in the shed, so that has to be a good thing doesn't it?

Friday, March 18, 2011

A push-me-pull-you

I've read a lot of comments and debate about downhauls for this centreboard design. The connecting arm is quite short and I wanted to solve the potential problems of pushing a stuck board down, or even just holding it down when sailing beyond Mach3, but I wasn't taken with the idea of having cables inside the case. The extension arm should sort these issues, I hope. It has a rod and bush at each end and it slips away into the case when the board is lowered, with just enough sticking out to enable a line to be attached to a cleat, or even a shock cord loop to keep the board down. It is shown in these shots in the board up position. I guess I have to wait to see how well it works in practice, but it is good to use on the trailer! (and is probably another example of me over-designing simple problems into unnecessarily complex solutions)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

craft shop on a stick...

Sure is a different experience setting up this rig compared to the aluminium and rivets and self-tapping screws on the modern mast of the last boat. Just on this end of the yard we have leather, beads and knots (never a strong point with me even as a cub scout) all sorted into complex shapes and combinations. Every little sub-assembly has a history- a story- and various ways of going about things.
I'm not concerned about being precious or historically correct about this though. This dinghy has some traditional influences, to be sure, but it is still a boat that can take or leave some modern contraptions, and for me it comes down to beauty, ease of use and maintenance. It is very sensuous to have an excuse to cut and bend some leather- and it feels good and sounds fine when in use.
On the other hand, I'm happy to start with modern synthetic braided lines (despite the fact that I find splicing them very frustrating) because they are stable and tough.
One of the very untraditional things I'm up to is to take the peak and throat halyards, the CB tackle, topping lift and furler line right back to the helm and fix them with tufnol cam cleats. It is such luxury to be able to do all these things without leaving one's seat. I've discovered that lifting a gaff sail while seated is a pleasure I hope to have regularly.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

electric pod nearly ready for wiring

The pod has been neglected since I started setting up and varnishing spars, and while it looks quite comfortable hanging under there, the well is full of unconnected wires and unfinished surfaces. My little brain can only cope with so much multi-tasking, so I'm concentrating on set-up, one sail at a time. Centreboard and pod work remain on the periphery of my consciousness.

Monday, March 7, 2011

coastal life and death near Port Fairy

The sparsely populated south western coast of Victoria has patches of spectacular, if un-approachable coast, under-pinned by dark volcanic boulders, much younger sandstone from a time when the seas were much higher, and clean majestic dunes spreading themselves erratically over these other layers where tide and wind allow it.

I've written briefly last year about the Irish heritage in some of these areas and this is most evident in the towns and farms and architecture- and in the scale of these things.

We love to potter along the edges, where sand meets rock, or amazing heaths burst out of crevices, or where vastly different textures stand shoulder to shoulder against their common exposure to very powerful elements.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

the serendipity of diminishing returns

Gone are the days of buckets of epoxy and the saw cutting swathes through acres of ply. Now it takes all morning to find the right spot for a cleat. But having said that, it is also time to multi-task. To-day I sanded and varnished the yard, made and installed some angled blocks for the jib sheet cleats, epoxied one side of the centre-board, fitted the jib halyard cleat and two aft painter cleats, fitted two deck blocks, varnished the mizzen mast and bomkin, and plotted the solution to the old 'how-does-this-design-deal-with-the-problem-of-holding-down-the-centreboard' problem. In short I did my best to move like the old 'road-runner', having had a few days away with Julia at a lovely part of the coast. I love wild coast, and I really loved the company I had...but I do like shed time too.
Incidentally, last time we went to Port Fairy we loved the food at Portofino restaurant. From this trip I would add Lemon Grass Thai restaurant- really lovely, fresh food.