Month: April 2015

Sailing today!

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I sailed today! Finally.

I went to the shop before I picked up Jasmine from school. I filled the utility trailer with yard waste and leaves and brought it to get her. We took that to Try Recycling and dumped it. From there we went to the yacht club and picked up the old carpet that was on my old stairs. I disposed of that too. I left the wood because we can use it for a bond fire sometime soon. There’s no sense paying to get rid of it if I’m going to have to pay for wood to burn at the campfire… So it remains on the top of the hill by my new stairs.

After getting rid of the carpet we went  home for supper. Right after that we went back out to the yacht club to go sailing. Heidi stayed home to do home work for her Waldorf course.

Jasmine helped me rig the sail and get everything else ready. One thing was to drop the keel and put the plastic locking bolt in when it was down fully… That proved a little harder than I anticipated.

I tried to put the bolt in a couple of times without success. It didn’t hit me right away but the keel wouldn’t go down all the way. So I cranked it up a foot or so and let it drop. Still no go.

The only way I figured that it wasn’t going down all the way was by putting my baby finger through the bolt hole while Jasmine let it down. That took a couple tries and still nothing.

All this time water is flowing in through the bolt holes. Not a little water! Lots of water! It was like there were 2 garden hoses filling the cabin when I had the locking bolt out. So I gave up and put the bolt in to stop the water flow.

I didn’t really give up. The locking bolt is a major safety necessity for these boats. If you go over past 90* the keel will fall into the trunk and you lose all righting momentum from the keel… Not good! The reason I gave up at that spot was I thought that the keel may be touching the bottom… So I pulled the boat out to the end of the dock and lowered the keel. It worked the first try! I was hitting bottom in my slip!

We only used the main sail today as it was blowing 20km/h. The lake is still too cold to even think about sailing on the edge with the possibility of going over. Especially with Jasmine with me. So we played it safe with the one sail.20150429_184254

I decided not to use the motor today. I left it in the cabin where I store it and just pushed off from the dock. That worked great. The trick now would be to sail it back to the dock.

We had a nice sail up the lake into the wind. I let Jasmine steer on the downwind leg of our sail. She did better than last year but still loses concentration when something or anything distracts her. She will look one way and steer the other.

I sailed us back to the dock perfectly so I could just step off and hook the boat up.

I did put the boat in the slip backwards to accommodate the keel.20150429_191148

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Salad days.

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One would expect that after a long cold winter of no sailing that once I had a boat in the water I would be out… Sailing of course. Wrong.

After Heidi and Jasmine got home from school I took them out for dinner at East Side Marios. (I’ve had a craving for their garden salad for a while now. It’s a really good salad!) It was good to get out for a dinner with the family.

Afterwards we came home and Heidi and I had a nap. (I’ve been going non stop for a few weeks now. She the same.) I should say a much needed nap. Jasmine played with her mom. There was a lot of giggling so I’m not sure how much napping Heidi did.

I just did a little research online and found the recipe for the salad dressing. I’ll get the few things we don’t have tomorrow so I can make it. I’m predicting more salad in my family’s future. Not that we don’t eat a lot of it now… (Heidi is a reformed vegetarian… She was vegetarian until she got me a smoker for my birthday about 10 years ago. It all started with smoked ToFu… )

Tonight I am going to go over what I need to be able to test the outboard motors that I am sending on the boats going north. I am going to test them on the Siren just to be extra sure they won’t give any problems.

They both have newly rebuilt carbs and water pumps. Also fresh gear oil in the bottom ends. I was using the 2hp Elgin yesterday to get the siren to the dock and it quit about 30’ away from the dock when I tried to throttle it down. I thought it was ready to go after last years carb rebuild and me storing it properly. I’ll have to take a look at it after the charter boats are in the North.

The Toy Boat is in the Lake!

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Our toy boat is safely docked at the Fanshawe Yacht Club for another season of sailing.

Jasmine and I went out the the club after supper today. We had to attach the new turnbuckles and untie the rig from it’s traveling position. I keep the mast tied at the bow and stern with the dock lines that we use all season. The bow has a rubber V that I attached to the bow pulpit and the stern has a metal post that fits into the rudder gudgeons. So It is only supported at each end of the mast.20150425_193913 When I got the boat it had a support that fit into the mast foot on the cabin top too. It was metal and rusty. Also over kill… The short mast doesn’t need support there.

I installed the turnbuckles and hoisted the mast while Jasmine held the fore stay. It’s a good thing she came as I didn’t think to loosen the turnbuckle. Or have tools in my pocket to do it… It was jammed closed. So I had to go back to the cockpit to retrieve those. With the exception of that little misstep everything went up fine.

I hand tuned the rig. I did this by feel. Feeling how tight the stays are when I pull in on each. ideally I want 1-1 ¾” of movement.  Any tighter and I don’t think the boat will be able to hold it. Looser is just crazy… Mast dropping crazy. I say that because when you tack with a loose rig the stays snap from being loose to tight. That is really hard on the stay as well as the hull where it attaches.

One thing I need to mention when it comes to rigging. Tape. Tape every pin and ringding.20150427_181553 20150427_181606 I had a regular key chain shape ringding come off last season. I noticed it during a regatta! While I was racing single handed! I keep a tool kit in each boat so I had tape to wrap it. I did that while underway. (I really should have dropped the sails and found another ringding and put it on. Then taped it. I did find a ringding after the race and took the tape off I had just put on and installed it. Then I re-taped all the pins on the rigging.)

I use white electrical tape on the toy boat. It’s not good for a full season. That will make me check the rig more often. Especially when I see a piece of tape flapping in the breeze. The charter boats have white hockey tape. It lasts longer and is covered by the stay guard. The hockey tape is great because it is a woven material type tape. A lot tougher and I’d rather fight taking it off than have the mast fall.

We put the boat in without any problems.20150427_184406 20150427_184419 Jasmine walked it out on the dock when I backed it into the lake. I left it tied to the dock while I started the motor. I started it quickly (15 pulls) on land just to make sure it would go. When in the water it took another 8 pulls to get it to go.

I used the 2HP Elgin today. I shouldn’t have… It was blowing about 15 km/h and the motor had to work really hard to get us into the wind. When we were getting closer to the dock I decided to throttle down. It quit! So I pulled it again and away we went for about 15 seconds. When it died the second time I zipped down below and get the paddles. We had to paddle the last 30′ to the dock. We did make it safely.20150427_190246 20150427_191019 We are the 2nd sailboat on the lake.

I ran into the guy at the yacht club that looks after the grounds tonight. I had sent him an email yesterday asking what to do with the wood scrap that used to me our stairs. Looks like it’s up to me to get rid of it.

Hmm. I think I will have bond fire this weekend. No marshmallows allowed.

New dock access stairs and the ducks are jumping.

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I saw a jumping duck today for the first time. I didn’t think they would just jump straight up in the air without some wing flapping. This one did.20150426_180820

I went to the yacht club this morning to work on my stairs leading to my dock. They were in horrible shape. Last season saw them deteriorate very quickly. The season before they weren’t much better… The season before that… Well lets just say they should have been replaced about 10 years ago.20150426_101602 20150426_101545

The stairs were a mash up of concrete cinder blocks that were dug into the hill side and had pipes pounded down through them and a bit of concrete poured it the holes and wooden steps. They weren’t evenly spaced. Some not very solid.  The top of the hill had 4 steps made of wood then covered in shag carpet. Yes shag carpet! (Not a great idea… It holds moisture and starts rotting the wood underneath. The wood treads had broken under the carpet and someone repaired one by putting a old 2×8 over own step. It had lag bolts every 12” and a chunk of tire nailed to it… Nasty nasty!

I tore out the old carpet and took off the old treads to find that the stringers to be in OK shape. (OK meaning they weren’t rotted through. Yet.) I did break a few of the riser parts off when removing the treads.20150426_101751 That’s when I made the executive decision. I’m not trying to make perfect stairs. I’m making useable stairs with recycled material. So I scabbed pieces of wood onto the inside of the risers and used my framing nailer to attach them. (Their on their for good!) I made a stop at the shop to pick up my framing nailer before going to the club. I’m glad I did as I went through about 400 3” spikes!

I repaired the first set or 4 steps at the top first.20150426_115935 Then did the next set of 4. They sat out a bit further than a straight run of 8 stairs so I made a bit of a landing between the two.20150426_121950 20150426_155117 Then I paid attention to the bottom set of 8. It has been cobbled together a couple years back by the previous owner and then by me. They were designed by someone that did a great job. But they made them for inside. Not outside! Each tread was built into the stringer for stability. That’s where it started rotting…

I used chunks of scrap to make support blocks for under each tread. I shored up 2 steps on the middle of the stairs and got to leveling them. This set gets removed and pulled up the hill in the fall so it isn’t damaged by ice during the spring thaw. Knowing that I needed to remove them again I decided to mount them on 4 posts (2×4’s) pounded into the ground. When I got everything level I got to fixing the rest of the treads. It’s more solid than when it was new… And that is with rotten ends on each board!

Once I had that in place I made a 3’ landing at the top. The landing was to fill a low spot a I made as I raised these stairs up from previous years. So I had to fill the gap. I actually incorporated one of the concrete blocks that are post and cement mounted into the hill. I couldn’t get it to move so this was the quickest way to make it work.20150426_155141

Now we have 8 wood steps a the top leading to 8 uneven concrete blocks leading to the bottom 8 wood stairs. It will work fine for this year. (If I get more “free” wood I will fill in the spot over the 8 concrete blocks with more wood stairs and another small landing or two.

All that took me 4 hours. With breaks in between to chat with other members that were dropping off their boats in the staging area. I also took 4 trips to the scrap wood pile at the other end of the club. I used the small club trailer to haul everything to my dock area. I even used it as a workbench to cut everything.

When I got home I unloaded the car and lit the BBQ. I made burgers out of a bunch of ground chicken, ground beef, ground pork and TVP. After we ate we went to feed the ducks.20150426_180754 20150426_181801

I had never seen ducks jump up to get anything before today. Jasmine was feeding her feathered friends and this one would jump strait up for it’s dinner. Jumping duck video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sh5OqqYXS6E Very cute!

Tomorrow after school I plan to step the mast on the Siren 17 and go for a family sail.

Just 70′ from the water.

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The toy boat is at the club.

I went out to the club today at about 11:30 to get the rest of the things done that were missed last weekend. Before I went I took the family on a little trip.

I’m sure Heidi gets jealous when I go to the recycle place with my buddies. So I brought her and Jasmine along to get rid of the trailer full of yard waste. After emptying the trailer we went and filled it with black mulch. 1 yard this time. (Turned out to just be enough to finish the back flower bed.) I brought the trailer full home and left it with Heidi and Jasmine to empty while I went to the club.

At the club I started with having a great lunch. Potluck style put on by the Dragon Boat teams that share our club. (90% lady’s that all seem to cook very well.) Lunch was delicious!

After lunch I went with Rick and some guy that I can’t recall his name (He sails a Shock 23.) to put in the racing markers. We loaded them into the small club trailer and I drove them down to the main dock.20150425_133628 I backed the trailer down into the water and Rick drove the barge up to it putting it between the pontoons. That made unloading onto the barge very easy.

Off we went to try and remember where the markers go… (The race captain wants them all placed according to specific GPS coordinates… You know, to keep them in the same spots as last year.) We placed them (about) where they used to be. But this time we accounted for how the wind was last year.20150425_132028 20150425_132839 20150425_133433

Our lake is in the shape of an S. With the left side facing West. At the tip of the bottom is #3 mark. And a dam. A big one that plays havoc with the wind. That’s fine as long as we keep the mark out of the wind shadow.  Last year it was deep in the shadow. Deep enough that you had to have a good approach to just get around the mark. If you missed it you were done. (It’s hard to tack if there isn’t wind…) Also the speed you need to turn around the mark had to be over the minimum laminar flow that the rudder would work with. So if your rudder was not quite the best foil shape you were without steering!

We did the same thing with #2 and #4 as well. Got them out of the wind shadows of the previous year.

We put the start line in too. It’s out from shore more and it’s a bit wider. I thought that it would be best if the small boats had a little more room. (I’ve been hit by 3 small boats on the old start line…) We all seem pretty happy with the mark placement.

When I came home to get the empty trailer to take it to the shop and park it it was still full. Heidi and Jasmine had done some other garden work instead… So I put down the rest of the landscape cloth and started filling the wheelbarrow and hauling the mulch to the back. It is looking really good.

After the mulch was down we had dinner and then it was off to the yacht club with our toy boat. I didn’t have time to rig it because we got their about 7pm. So We parked it in the staging area and went for a walk around the club.20150425_193842 20150425_193904

I will head to the club tomorrow and rig it to launch. I may launch it too if someone is there to catch it for me. I also plan to rebuild some of the stairs that are in very bad shape. They all are in bad shape so it may take me a while…

Dock install.

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I picked up my pass to get into the yacht club today.

That was after helping my buddy Knoal (Not his real name.) take some drywall back to the hardware store and pick up 18 2×4’s. All this we tied to the top of my SAAB. i have roof racks… So it only kind of looked Hillbilly. I hope. Knoal has been working on a studio for a local artist and I’ve been in and out visiting and dropping things off. (That’s where my utility trailer was.)

Today I asked him to give me a hand after we finished the stuff at the job site. He said sure.

So I took him out to the yacht club. There’s lots of stuff to do out there… I knew I could come up with something to do.

We made a stop at one of the club members houses on the way so I could get my new pass to get into the club. It’s a RFID card that opens the gate. In the past I had to use a window sticker and go through the gate that was staffed. (On the long weekend that can take 20 min! That’s just sitting in line while people fill out the paperwork for a camping pass.) Now I just wave this card and drive on in.

The real reason I took Knoal to the club was to put my dock in the lake. It’s a two person job and I knew Heidi would be tired after a week of herding kindergarten kids. She stayed at home with Jasmine. I knew Knoal and I could get it in in a reasonable time. Even knowing that Knoal had no idea what we were to do. It’s not that difficult. Just awkward and heavy.

I keep my dock on an earth berm at the club in the winter. I do this because it is easier to get it off the trailer. Also get it back on in the spring. The dock is 8×12’ and has a 2×6” wood frame with a plastic deck. Under the frame there are 8 plastic barrels that keep it afloat. So there’s no way that 2 people can lift it without mechanical aid. My choice for mechanical aid is my Jack All Jack. It’s good for 7000lb. That’s plenty.

I place the jack on the trailer after I get it in place to back it under the dock. Then I jack the dock up from the trailer so I can get bricks under it to hold it up high enough to slide the trailer under. I place the bricks about the middle of the dock, let the dock down on them and back there trailer under. I also use the winch that is on the trailer to pull it on a bit and help hold the dock in place. I only put it on about half way. So there is about 6’ hanging off the back of the trailer.

I started pulling it today and one of the eye hooks on the dock straightened…Not good! The hook and cable shot back and fit the back window of the car. So I decided to put the pole that goes through the eye hooks that the ramp hinges on in it’s position. that way when I pulled it again I was pulling on 5 hooks instead of 1. That worked much better.

We took the dock down to the main dock area and launched it without the aid of a main dock. (There not in place yet.) Once it was in the water I went to get the club barge and brought it back to float the dock over to my spot.

Floating it into place went well even with the 15 km/h wind pushing us to one side a bit. We got it into place and installed the ramp and then I went to get the post pounder and the ladder. yes I use a 6’ step ladder on my dock… I make sure it and the post pounder are tied to a line that is also tied to the dock just in case… I need the ladder to get up high enough to put the post pounder on the poles and start pounding to get it low enough to pound without the ladder.

There’s a trick to getting the dock installed strait. One has to put the two outer poles in first without pounding them down. When their in we can adjust the dock by pulling the poles from side to side. Once the dock is straight and one pole is straight I pound that pole. The off to the other side to straighten the pole and pound it down.

The last two poles don’t take as much to get in. There  only 8’ long. The outer ones are 16’.

Once all the poles were pounded in We tried the dock to the short poles on land to help keep it straight.

Done! It’s in and solid.20150424_193455

Tomorrow I will get the sailboat in the lake and go for a sail! It’s been a long winter and I really miss it.

Finding Ice and Anchors.

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Ice charts for the Great Lakes. http://iceweb1.cis.ec.gc.ca/Prod20/page3.xhtml

I came across that site by mistake. It’s bookmarked now.

It looks like there is still thick ice in the North Channel. I’m not surprised. (It snowed 2” here last night. I’m glad I kept one snow brush in the car.) lake Erie is looking almost clear as well as Lake Ontario. I bet the water is near 0 though.When I was out at the club on Saturday and Sunday I noticed a drop in temperature as I got closer to the water. Sunday was the worst with wind from the East coming off the lake.

Tomorrow is looking flat. The temperature hardly changes through the day…flat line temp I haven’t seen the in a long time. It is supposed to go up gradually each day after that and hopefully not get back down to the – #’s again. Hopefully…

I picked up a new anchor today. It’s a 22lb Delta.20150423_184706 20150423_184627 Galvanized instead of the shiny stainless steel. Price was a factor for choosing galvanized. Stainless prices are just crazy!

I chose the 22 lb anchor because it is the next size up from what is recommended for my boat. The 14lb will work but I want our charterers to sleep well at night knowing there is more than enough anchor out their. Also it’s added insurance against dragging. I don’t want to have a boat go aground.

Tomorrow the conservation area that the Yacht Club is in opens. I pick up my car and boat passes and get to get busy on getting the dock in the lake. I’ll have to get a buddy to help me get it in. It’s precariously sitting on a couple plastic barrels right now and needs to be loaded on to the club trailer to get it to the water. It just fits on the trailer. Only about 1” of room to spare on each side between the sides of the trailer.

I need to jack it up and get the trailer under it perfectly to get it on. It doesn’t go on all the way. Just about 1/3rd of the way. I then tie it to the front of the trailer and use the winch to help keep it in place. It floats on and off very easily. the tricky part is getting it on from the ground.