Friday, May 22, 2009

Didn't Svend Ever Tell You....

... to tie off your rudder so it doesn't move back and forth, back and forth all day, all night, all the next day, all the next night.... He sure told me one day after he watched me put the boat away. All that movement wears out the pintles and gudgeons, makes them loose and in need of replacement sooner than necessary. He'll gladly make the part for you or order them from Denmark and make you pay fullest price.
Not like I'm trying to throw these folkboat owners under the bus or anything, but gudgeons don't grow on trees, don't ya know?

It's All Part of the Fun

I'm beginning to wonder who the silly Dane was who put this teak detail on the cockpit of Josephine without using any type of bedding? These very comfortable rounded edged pieces are a great detail, but I've had nothing but problems keeping them from falling apart. First it was the traveller/backstay cleet mount that snapped off last season (the other is now loose and will need repair soon), then it was the starboard side teak splitting multiple times because it wasn't properly positioned (nor was it subjected to my animal style crew who use the teak as a monkey bar slam into it hear it crack and go, "Dude, sorry."), then it was the jib sheet cleets (again just screwed it, no bedding compound!).... now this. It was just screwed in place. A little 5100 or any bedding for that matter would have prevented this. Whatever, just another excuse for me to mix up a batch of epoxy and make a more permenant solution.
Slammed a bunch in the crack down in the cockpit piece too while I was at it.
Not sure if I used enough epoxy... but I mooshed it down and taped it down tight enough to hold, I think.
Makes me worried that all the cabin top cleets are just screwed in as well. Doesn't anyone through bolt anything in place anymore? 15 minutes later, I was off to finish that good book I never seem to get around to reading.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Found a Dead Folkboat - King Island

Took the family to Tinsley Island for the first time and as we pulled up into the parking lot where the ferry picked us up I see what looks like a Folkboat.
Ship 51 is thrashed... no chance this girl will ever see action again... I wonder if I could have the cradle?
Nothing worth pillaging off this craft, everything is gone... not even a shackle.
A once proud vessel, this one will sit until she returns back to the earth I'm afraid.
I don't even think the keel is worth salvaging... can we make a few trophies out of some part of her? Anything?
I said a few words, under my breath... and moved on from this most upsetting crime scene.

Big Crew = More Repair Projects

I heard that all too familiar cracking sound when Terry jumped down into the cockpit some weeks ago and yeah, the floor board seemed a little more bouncy than before.
I knew the crack existed, but I didn't think it was too bad to need a repair right way, until I "stress tested it" and heard it crack more.
No time for the epoxy I love so much this time, that will have to wait. Hmmm, let's see... I'll need some wood, a saw and some screws. That ought to hold it for now.
Measure once, cut twice... that's what I always say.
A bit like a NASCAR pit stop really... I'll do a more serious professional repair later when I have time. Besides, it just has to work and nobody will see this anyway... it did add more weight to the boat, though.

A Wednesday Evening Race to Forget... Remember, no Forget

So, the summer pattern hasn't quite kicked in yet, but there have been glimmers of the usual wind patterns Bjorn calls, "the laboratory." Around here we're just used to it... so much so that when we head out in the morning for our racing we already have our jib leads set for heavy wind. Last Wednesday was shaping up to be such fun, but even under these predictable patterns and routines, the problems never seem to go completely away. One or two issues... no big deal, but when several come up throughout the race, well... here's the recap:
1. First start general recall, good we were over the line.
2. We lost the time somehow and were guessing when the guns would go off.
3. The good news, we nailed the line at the start at the heavily favored pin end and Mike, Peter and Wilson were OCS in an Ebb that was way stronger than the bible (tide book) said they would be.
4. Despite being the outside boat in better current, the south lifts on the shore made us 3rd to the windward mark.
5. Rounding became problematic for several boats, many hit the mark due to the strong current. We hit it because the main came in too quickly and I always seem to cut it closer than I need to.
6. In doing our penalty turn, I snapped the tiller extension on the inside edge of the cockpit, the lines got all fouled up and for way too long we had the traveller too high causing a bit too much weather helm and we were slow. Used a sail tie and traveller line to "sail", but this wasn't much fun.
7. After making the windward mark 4th and watching Wilson, Peter and Mike get back into the top, we repaired the tiller extension with two battens and black tape downwind, the wind began to fade as we were steadily approaching the leaders, who I found out later were sweating thinking about losing their once large lead.
8. Fred dives close into shore on what looks like a promising wind shift, I see him doing this and in anticipation head to shore thinking I'll get out of the current, be the first to the wind shift, pass them all, suffer though the dead spot behind the St Francis, round 6 and be back to the bar first.
9. Two problems: The shift never materialized, we were sailing the wrong course.
10. Now we are stuck behind the club watching everyone round X with no chance of catching anyone....

blink, blink... dam. 11th place out of 15.

Everyone gets a bad race now and then, right?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Races #5 and #6

After much consideration, I decided it best to keep a bottle of Gammel Dansk on board at all times to utilize upon a good performance on the water. Jerry Langkhammerer used to keep a bottle of sherry on board for the same purpose and we drank from it often together when I crewed for him. He thought there was something to the salt air and the sherry that made it right after a good race....
Knox Buoy race area isn't a big secret when it comes to strategy, stay right til it gets light... if it's flooding and it's always flooding when they schedule the Knox racing and last Saturday was no exception. It didn't matter how favored the pin end looked, it was clear the mission was to own the boat end and flop over as soon as possible and get into the good current first. And that's exactly what we did in the first race. Wilson was second and Peter Jeal was 3rd.
2nd race wasn't quite so clear as the current was changing and the wind was definitely stronger across the course. We implemented the same strategy anyway and held the fleet down until we tacked and too soon under Fred Ansersen in USA 74. Fred had nailed the start and was launched off the front. We were footing to maintain our clean air but when we looked over our shoulder the whole fleet was out pointing us and we tacked to get clear. We tacked and sat on Wilson in hopes it would drag him down into the middle of the fleet, but it didn't. He footed off and rolled over everyone to leeward. After a series of strategic tacks we found ourselves in a 3 way drag race to the mark on starboard. I'm still kicking myself for what happened next... Fred didn't make the mark, we did and the boat to windward, Bill D., did as well. I thought I had more room, I travelled down and eased the sheet, we were rounding first. The boom grazed the mark and Wilson saw us and made it clear that he did. We did our turn and found ourselves in 5th. We rallied back to 3rd for the leeward rounding, but in a funky south wind dead zone shift and found ourselves battling and back in 5th. I broke off toward the boat end as the south wind was a lift and hopefully enough to make the line and take 3rd. Didn't work and I found myself in a lee bow situation with Goebel. I had a beefy huge crew who knew what to do and we pinched... hard and stalled both of us almost to a dead crawl, but our bow was still out in front of Mike and we cut him off in time to tack on port, power up and beat Peter Jeal who was in 6th, but pulled off a 5th. Mike got 6th and I felt bad, but if I hadn't it I for sure would have been 5th and i need every point possible to keep up with Team Wilson this year. Wilson's won, Tommy jr. was 2, Bill D. 3rd and we got 4th. Quite the disappointment after being first to the windward rounding and screwing it up. If the season were to end today and there were no throw outs, Wilson would be ahead by 2 points and we'd be runner up again. But it's a long season and there is much racing to go. The fleet is so competitive and everyone is sailing so good. Mistakes are even more costly and everyone is ready to pounce on those mental lapses.... Game on fellas. All these battles only makes us stronger for the SF Cup when our European friends come to challenge our skills.
... we had a good first race so the Gammel Dansk found it's way to our glasses and we raised them, Skål!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Brock Dives His Own Boat

Brock bought a Hookah... no not that type of Hookah, this one supplies air... no need to schedule a diver! Jut connect the tubes, plug it in, turn it on and blammo, instant air. We did have to tie it down otherwise it vibrates so much it would walk right off the dock... that can't be good.
Put on your wetsuit, attach the harness, grab you scrubbing tool of choice... that info is top secret, though.... and get to work.
Brock made me time him this time and from start to finish... 15 minutes in the water to know for sure that the whole bottom is clean. Peace of mind is a tactical advantage I'd say. Thanks Brock for letting me borrow this, you're saving me a ton of money and doubt.

Annika Sands

With so much work to be done in the constant upkeep involved in maintaining a Folkboat, I enlisted a little help.
Now remember, sand the wood, not the gel coat.

Good. Sand with the grain and don't miss a spot.
Careful, you might be scratching the gel coat on the cockpit combing.
Yes, sand there too please.
... and yes, there as well. Make it nice and smooth. Good work Annika, I'll pay you when you realize that it is not just fun to sand stuff. For now, enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

It's Getting Serious

The season started and we began the way everyone wants to with two bullets. The second day of racing we ended with what I would call two disappointing thirds. Gave up the lead after two full legs at the leeward rounding and Goebel snuck in at the finish line... that sucked. Second race, not such a good start, but 2nd to windward rounding, but gave up a spot downwind to Jeal and almost nipped him at the line, but didn't. I spent a few hours in the St. Francis reading about leeward roundings, I think I have a few more tricks now. The good news is the boat is fast, we are tied for 1st on the season with the Wilson's and I've got good crew for the rest of the season. The bad news is discovering the stress crack in the starboard chain plate grew on the beat down back to SF in 30 knots and fat ebb chop after Saturday's racing. A little G-10 and epoxy should make that hold and I need a new mast organizer, I snapped off a second ring holding the jib halyard block. I fear the others will go one by one as we hit the big winds of late May/ June.
I've put Josephine on a serious diet, to the point of anorexia... I think I've become obsessed. I tried not to let this happen, but it runs in the family and I know of no 12 step program to help me, so I'm going to just dive right into the sickness. After talking with Sean Svendsen and discovering he is just as sick as I am, I found 40 extra pounds of stuff that didn't need to be on the boat ranging from extra sails and a spare whisker pole to a bottle of windex. Extra tools, deck brushes, spare lines, extra battons, and several extra bottles of water, gone. I don't think I'll hollow out the bolts holding the spreaders or put swiss cheese holes in the main halyard wheel at the top of the mast, but I did take off a fourth shot glass, several rolls of tape, and spare wind indicator. I took down anything that was hanging and swinging... thinking that the extra momentum can't be helpful. I finished off a bottle of Gammel Dansk because the almost empty bottle seemed heavy. All the Knarr sailors I talk to are also obsessed and have done a few off the wall things, but one that stands out is the spectra halyards which are not only lighter, they don't chafe the mast either. I'm not going to do anything illegal, but I am going to explore the rules and see what other things I can do. Any suggestions?