Monday, May 23, 2011

New sails

This post is being back dated to when it happened.  I'm currently in the middle of the project to rebuild my head (Groco model K) and replace all the sanitation hose.  Its nasty, difficult, cramped, frustrating, painful, unrewarding work.  Not at all like the experience I had getting new sails for Luckness.   Ah....  The memories...

I have heard Carol Hasse speak on a number of topics at sail seminars over the past few years and have always been impressed.  I've heard her give the same talk on storm sails three times, and am still picking up things that I missed in previous talks.  When it came time to look into getting new sails for Luckness, Carol was on top of my list.  In the end, Port Townsend sails was the only loft on my list and I called them many months ago to get into their production queue.  I wanted a full set of sails: genoa, staysail, main, storm staysail, trysail, asymmetric spinnaker.   Luckness was taken up to Port Hudson marina on May 22nd and the new sails were brought aboard on Monday the 23rd.  Terry came along for the ride and to help with the test sail.

The whole experience was very rewarding.  I had expected that working with Carol Hasse would be satisfying and that I would end up learning lots and getting a great set of new sails, but I was surprised by the rest of the loft crew.  This surprise was completely unwarranted - of course the whole crew would be equally friendly, skillful and nice to work with.  Carol is so strongly associated with this loft that the rest of the people end up behind the scenes - but they are the ones who actually build the sails and their work is superb.  Many thanks to the entire crew.

The work starts with an overall plan on what I wanted built.  Then Carol measures the boat and rig in many ways.  From these measurements the sails can be designed.  This is done on a computer and the desired sail shape is designed in.  The computer then drives a large plotter in the cutting room and the panels are cut into shape.  

The start of my spinnaker on the plotting/cutting table.

After the plotting and cutting, the crew has a set of panels they can start to work with.  This is part of my staysail getting ready for assembly.

Skipping a few steps - there is a bunch of sewing and other 'stuff.'  Here is my genoa toward the end of its completion.

The loft has a test track so they can 'raise the main'.  Here is my mainsail on the test track being worked on.

On delivery day, we had light winds and were able to raise all the sails and see their set at the dock.  This was followed up with a test sail where we flew the spinnaker (and main, genoa, staysail.)  Above is my new genoa, main, storm staysail, trysail.  The whole process took 6 solid hours.

Carol and Terry on the test sail.

Looking good!

Luckness has a hull speed of 7.2 knots (standing up, when healed the LWL and hull speed increases.)  Here she is sailing along in lightish winds a few days ago.   

Friday, May 13, 2011

House for sale

My last day of work was May 13th.  I immediately started packing and cleaning the house.  My real estate agent, Paul Simpson, helped connect me with the many contacts he has and I got an amazing amount done in a week and a bit.  Its a familiar process.  I created a project list for everything I wanted to do to prep the house and started working through it.  House projects are easy!  There is room to stand up, no cramped spaces where you need to contort your body to get at something.  I didn't draw blood once!

The house went on the market on May 21st.  We had stagers come in and stage the house - they brought in some furniture, lamps, art, pillows, a bed and so on.  I'm hoping to get this place sold quickly.  If anybody wants a house, there is a nice small house for sale in Sunset hill!

(The deck is new, and was  unfinished in this picture.  Its now finished with a full railing.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The project list is getting shorter!

A few weeks ago I moved Luckness out of the slip at the YachtFitters shop back to her slip at Shilshole.  I'd been away for something like 3 months.  YachtFitters isn't just a place to go to get little projects done - although they do that - its a place to go to learn and get involved.  Luckness has been at their shop twice for extended visits.  The boat has made fantastic progress in that time and she is now moments away from being in the final shape I want her in before heading off this summer - and Terry and Justin who are YachtFitters have acted as true partners in the process.  They have lots of good ideas and the skills to get things done.  They were also generous enough to allow some of those skills brush off on me.  Its been a real learning experience working with them.

Thanks guys!

Its a little daunting trying to author a blog posting detailing what went on in that period of time.  I went in with a list including: new prop; cutlass bearing; rudder post/packing gland; replace old transducers; install two new grounding plates; install water maker thru hull; install TackTick instruments; install new pedestal guard; install new chart plotter; install forward looking sonar; install forward looking sonar keypad at pedestal; add remote VHF mic at pedestal; replace throttle, gear and stop cables; install solar panels; install solar controllers; battery temp sensor for solar controller; install wind generator; install new radar; install SSB radio/antenna tuner/insulated back stay/wiring; install pactor modem; install monitor windvane; free up my boom caps and improve the outhaul; add a soft vang; replace old deck clutches with new spinlocks; mount pole track on front of mast; install hardware for whisker pole; install two mast steps at top of mast; install four new fans; install stereo and speakers.  All of those items were done and all of the installations look good.  Each project was done well - the installations are tight and out of the way as much as possible.  Along with those items, more were found along the way: added new clutches to the mast for all my halyards; replaced my forestay toggle with something much better; the fuel tank was removed and inspection ports added; the aft water tank was found to be leaking and has been repaired; add a new topping lift; tensioned the rig to add pre-bend to the mast as per Carol Hasse's wishes; changed the reefing setup at the mast to use snap shackles rather than a hook; replaced my old strong track with new; removed the traveller to install new hardware and change from 3 to 1 to 4 to 1 setup; re-anodize the traveller track; install four alarms and led's for the AIS, radar, forward looking sonar and instruments; build a new NMEA (0183) network.  I could be missing some big items - there was a lot of work done.

So, the thing is that I could delve into great detail for all of those projects (the new outhaul has a 10 to 1 advantage!)  Some of them were handled by me entirely; some were shared between Terry and Justin and myself; some of them were handled entirely by Terry or Justin.  Justin installed the SSB and water maker without any of my help.  Terry designed the pole that holds the new radar, wind generator, gps and dinghy engine lift.  Its a cool pole, it packs a lot of functionality into a tidy package.  I installed the stereo.  We each did a lot more than those examples.  During the time Luckness was at YachtFitters I had a 6 week sabbatical at work - and I was on the boat working for almost every single one of those days.

There is no way I would be ready to take off this summer, with the boat in anywhere near the shape she is now without their help.  They have helped me turn this dream into a reality.

So, what follows is by no means indicative of all that was done, but its a taste of what was going on.

This is Justin in my aft cockpit locker.  He's entirely inside the locker, wrapped around the rudder post installing the SSB antenna tuner.  It worked out really well, the box is nicely out of the way leaving me the maximum amount of storage in that locker.  I tried to mimic this later as I worked on the solar panel wiring in the same locker - and I couldn't make it in.  I think I would fit, but I'm not as flexible.

This is a view of the aft water tank that hopefully other PSC 37 owners won't ever have.  Getting the lid off was a pain.  Not recommended...unless you have to, in which case I recommend it.  I think my water strategy is going to be to fill my aft tank with water, add some chlorine and then turn the tank off and not use it.  I'll have my water maker feed my forward tank and use it as my working tank.  The aft one will be my reserve.  So I want the water to be there when needed - not draining slowly into the bilge, as it was.

This is one of the cracks I had in my water tank.

After we removed the fuel tank to add inspection ports and a more robust plate for the fuel pickup line to tap into, it was the ideal opportunity to incorporate my 6,200lb lead keel into the SSB grounding plane.  Here's the grounding strap leading to one of the keel bolts.

Here's a little lesson on what happens when you have dissimilar metals in contact for a long time. This was a screw going through my mast holding something on (forgot which screw it was.)  When it was originally installed, there was no duralac or tefgel added - and the stainless and aluminum have bonded.  When the screw was removed, the threads were stripped out of the aluminum.  To avoid this, just coat with Duralac or Tefgel.  There's no reason not to!

I made a mockup of my solar panel complete with installation hardware so we could work out how to mount them. 

One of the installed panels, there is another on the starboard side.  Each panel is rated at 135 watts.  Of course if either of them is shaded, that drops down to around 0, and with my pole, mast, boom, bimini etc, one of them is bound to be shaded.  But if they both have sunlight, I'll be making lots of power.  I'll track my energy usage and creation as I'm pretty curious how close to energy balance I'll be.  The rail mount seemed to most minimal of the options - if after using it for a year I'm not happy, we can change it.

Here's a picture of my new radar/wind generator pole.  I haven't been out to test it yet - that will come.

This is hard to see, but its my new forestay toggle. There is good movement fore and aft, as well as side to side.  Its also beefy.  Much beefier than what it replaced.  The part came about twice as long as what you see.  I was imagining a trip to a machine shop to get it cut to what we needed. Terry disappeared into his shop for a few minutes and came out with it the right size.  Then he disappeared again and came out with it rounded and polished a few minutes after that.  As we were installing it, we found that part of the toggle was too wide to fit between the two anchor rollers.  One last trip inside the shop fixed that.  Its a custom bracket fit to my boat.  Looking at it you wouldn't realize it had been fit at all.

This follows up one of my earlier posts which showed a fresh gapping raw hole in my nav station.  I had a plan to cut a hole out and then install a piece of teak plywood with all my instruments fit.  This is the result.  Removing the panel to get at the solar controller behind is easy.  I had been planning on building an extension to my nav station aft of where it was now, extending into the quarter berth - but there turned out to be no need - everything fit into the available space.  It worked out pretty well.

I'm looking forward to wrapping up my house and moving onto Luckness full time.  I'm also looking forward to having enough of my project list done so that I can get out sailing again!  

I can't imagine that the project list will ever be empty - but I can see that soon it won't have any items on it which would stop me from leaving.