Friday, December 20, 2013

Our new Core Sound 20 Mark II, B&B Messabout 2013, Righting Test

CS 20 mkII under sail
During the Watertribe North Carolina Challenge (see previous post), we visited with Tony on his beautiful Princess 26, designed by Grahame Byrnes of B&B Yacht Designs.  As we socialized in the cabin talking about life and boats I mentioned that I was planning to build a Core Sound 20, Mk II and he responded that the prototype boat was for sale.  I was thrilled to hear it since I had followed the construction of this boat since the first plank was cut.  I immediately called Chick, the owner/builder, and arranged for a visit the next day.

In Chick's shop

Julie and I had a good look at the boat, Summer Breeze, and liked what we saw.  Chick is a fine boat builder and his skill was evident in the quality of this boat.  He was selling because he and his family were moving from the coast to the mountains.  On the 10 hour drive back home from North Carolina we decided to buy it. 

We planned the pickup of the boat to coincide with the anual B&B Messabout, an even that is attended by builders of B&B boats from all over.  There were visitors from Michigan, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania.  Boats included a Princesss 22, Princess 26, Core Sound 17, several Core Sound 20's.

Core Sound 20 Dawn Patrol 

Sun sets on the B&B Messabout

Beautifully crafted Core Sound 17.  All controls led to the aft cockpit.

Before we left we had a chance to perform a test of the waterballast.  It took three adults pulling on halyards and masts to get her over on her side.

It takes a lot of force to pull her over

Once down, it took about 5lbs force at the tip of the main mast to keep her down.

All the way over, still self-righting
popping back up

When we released the mast, the boat popped up like a cork, the mainsheet whipping through the air with a snap.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Watertribe 2013 North Carolina Challenge

At the end of September, Julie and I joined this year’s Watertribe North Carolina Challenge, a 100 mile adventure race in small boats.
We were supposed leave the beach at 7:30 am on Friday Sept 27, but the start was postponed and later cancelled  (the first time in the history of the race) because of high winds extending for three days or more.  We still had a great time meeting lots of fun and interesting people and camping and spending time near the water.

We made the 11 hour drive down to Cedar Island, NC on Wednesday and pitched a tent at the Driftwood Motel and Campgrounds in Cedar Island.  
North Carolina Bound
Our camping spot was beautiful.  It had a waterfront dock, soft grass and a small 8x8 shelter under which we pitched the tent.  By Thursday the National Weather Service was predicting NE 25 knot winds for several days.  A small craft advisory was in effect.  We rowed Creamcheese from the boat ramp into open water and then surfed down the breaking waves onto the beach.  I realized getting back out through that surf was going to be a problem for Creamcheese.

We had a great time making new friends, swapping stories about cruising and boat building and learning new tricks and training techniques.  

Creamcheese between a Vanguard 16 and WildBlue's Sirocco 15.

A custom trimaran, Leatherlungs' CLC Noreaster, a Sea Pearl

An old Moth converted to a trimaran - over 200sq ft of sail
on a 15' boat!

Sirocco 15, Core Sound 20 "Dawn Patrol" lands on the
beach in the background.

In the morning ...

Ah well.... next year.
The moth sails south

Preparations for Watertribe 2013 North Carolina Challenge

Preparation for the Watertribe 2013 North Carolina Challenge involved training and equipment upgrades.  We did our rowing on two small local lakes.

Practice for rowing the Harlowe Canal - mast down

Sustained 2.5 mph rowing with all gear

We did a capsize test to get comfortable with self rescue: Climb up on the deck, grab the mast and hang over the water.  Spalsh.

Prepare to capsize

Creamcheese floats high on her side
Swim around the the exposed bottom.  Reach up and grab the chine log.  Give it a gentle downward pull.  The boat pops back upright.

Back up, boarding from the stern
Swim around to the stern, climb into the boat.  Start bailing.  There will be about five inches of water in the cockpit.  None in the cabin.

Slot-top cover, halyard
I wanted the slot top cover to protect the cabin while under sail but the halyard was cleated down in the cabin which would have made it difficult to drop sail at a moments notice.  I routed the halyard through a raceline check block to a belaying pin set into the aft deck rail.

To sleep in the cabin while it was wet, a simple vent made out of PVC pipe and a recycled Philadelphia Cream Cheese container.  Pun intended.

cockpit storage pockets, netting in the cabin
I added canvas pockets in the cockpit and storage netting in the cabin.

bronze oar hardware
We started the year out with galvanized oarlocks and oarlock sockets, but these were squeaky and dirty.  It didn't take too many miles of rowing to convince us to switch back to bronze.  I added leather buttons on the oar leathers and tennis racquet "overgrip" tape while I was at it.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fabric slot top cover for Creamcheese

Slot top cover for a Michalak AF3
For our spring cruise this year, I made a slot top cover to keep the rain out of the cabin while sailing.  The project made me learn about new fasteners and new techniques.

As usual, Sailrite videos helped a lot.  In particular I learned how to make the boot top by copying from a  mainsail cover.

Mast boot

Finished product

Installation details
With the cover on, it is difficult to get into the cabin.  I think my next project will to make a new version  which is more like a dodger.  It will be fitted around a fiberglass hoop and have a vinyl window forward so that someone can sit up in the cabin and see forward.
Future project - a dodger

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A mooring cover for The Drascombe, Tenara thread

Mooring cover for our Drascombe Longboat
Having met with some success in my new hobby of canvasworking, I decided to give my father the Christmas gift of a new mooring cover for his Drascombe Longboat.  Since the cover will be out in the brutal Florida sun most of the year, I chose Tenara thread, which is made of teflon.  My other projects have used v69 polyester thread which is strong and resists UV light more than most threads, but it still degrades over time and can loose up to half of its strength after a year in the sun.  Tenara on the other hand doesn't degrade at all.


Tenara is so slippery that both my sewing machine and my mother's couldn't get the top thread  tension tight enough.

I spent hours trying to figure out how to increase the top thread tension and finally got fairly repeatable results by putting the thread under a gum eraser that was rubber banded to the sewing arm.

Extra friction mechanism:
rubber band and gum eraser

Mama's sewing machine

My sewing machine, spool holder - prevents twist

Corner fasteners
Design features:
  • laced front panels
  • webbing reinforced spine
  • two 1/4" fiberglass hoops
At the slip

The cover is a success.  It keeps the rain in the scuppers where it belongs and protects the mizzen sail, mainsail and other cockpit items from sun and rain.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

2013 Spring Cruise - Smith Island

Safely moored in front of the Inn
Our kids were away the first week in April so we took the opportunity to go sailing around Smith Island in the Chesapeake bay.  As the date approached and we realized the night time temperatures were going to be in the low 30's, we decided it would be too cold to camp on the boat, so I started looking around for hotels or B&Bs.  After a few web searches and reviews on Trip Advisor, I spoke with Linda and Rob at the Inn of Silent Music.  They weren't yet fully ready for the season, but they graciously agreed to open early for us.  We promised to be low maintenance guests.

We put in at the MD public boat ramp in Crisfield, MD.  The ramp is next to the coast guard station, but also in a not-great part of town, so we parked the car at Somers Cove Marina in Crisfield, MD.  The staff were friendly and helpful.

Inn of Silent Music
Creamcheese at low tide
The winds were variable, temperatures in the mid 50's.  A storm front was due over the area in the evening and we hoped to make it the 10 miles to Smith Island before the storms hit.  It was a nice sail, and we didn't quite make it to the Inn before the black clouds came over.  Luckily all we got hit with was a light shower and an exciting broad reach under a double reefed main sail.  As we tied up to the dock, we were greeted by our hosts Linda and Rob, who helped us unload our gear and get settled.  After a hot shower, we went downstairs for a glass of wine and a delicious dinner.  When I had made our travel arrangements, I signed up for one dinner without any particular expectations.  Julie and I were  unprepared for how fantastic it was.  Linda is a great cook.

Our stay at the Inn of Silent Music was quite different from the camping adventure that we had originally envisioned - a delightful surprise.  I highly recommend this inn to small boat cruisers.

On the second day the temperatures were in the high thirties and low fourties, so we explored the tiny town of Tylerton and lounged around.  We spoke with a few watermen working on their boats and met Beau, a golden retriever who likes to walk around with a ball in his mouth for playing fetch.  Beau was temporarily living with Danny while his owner was away.  Danny talked to us about crab pots, oyster rigs and his 30' deadrise skiff.  This boat has a tunnel drive that allows it to travel in as little as 16" of water.  Powered by a 150 hp John Deere gasoline engine, it can cruise at 17 mph.

Amanda Lynn, a Deadrise Skiff with a tunnel hull
We learned a few local terms too.  For instance, the garboard (a plank close to the keel of a plank and frame wooden hull) is also referred to as the garbageboard, probably because it requires the most maintenance.  The deck of a deadrise skiff is called the ceiling.  Danny has a flock of about 20 ducks that he has raised from hatchlings.  They are free to go whenever they want, and can fly as well as the other wild ducks that they hang around with, but they never leave.  They will fly across the harbor but as soon as they get to the edge, they will plop down into the water as if they had hit an invisible wall.

Town dock at Tylerton, MD on Smith Island

Danny's work shed, with oyster rake, crab pots and a few
of his ducks 
In the afternoon, I took the boat out to try out the reefs in 20-25 kt winds (see previous post).   After a leisurely sail around the town, I returned to the dock under sail, tied everything up, walked 30' to the inn and joined Julie, Rob and Linda for another evening of great food and good company.

On our third day, we decided to sail to some of the other parts of Smith Island.  After a yummy breakfast, we geared up (temperatures still in the 40's) and beat upwind through the narrow channel that leads from Tylerton to Ewell on the northern part of Smith Island.  Tylerton is a town of maybe 60 families.  Ewell seems to be about twice the size.  

We tied up near the town dock at the restaurant that was still closed for the off season.  The town had a different feel than Tylerton but was a nice place to walk on a sunny, chilly day.  From Ewell, we walked the one and a half mile road through the marsh to the town of Rhodes Point.  A trash fire from the town dump had jumped the road and was burning in the marshes.

Marshes, marsh fire
While walking around Rhodes point we talked to a woman whose family had stayed with their home during Hurricane Sandy.  The water had risen three feet above her front lawn, with waves crashing onto her front door.  She said she didn't plan to do that again. 

We stopped for a while to help a church group from Mechanicsville, VA that was cleaning up the washed up debris from Sandy.  They come every year to help and this year there was plenty to do, even though the hurricane had hit over six months previously.

Rhodes Point, MD

On our way back to the boat we passed a house with a chesapeake gunning skiff (sometimes called gunning punt) sitting in the middle of the front yard.   Notice the big yoke on the thwart - it is for mounting a big punt gun.  These guns were essentially seven foot long portable cannons that could be loaded with enough birdshot to kill hundreds of ducks or geese in one shot.
Gunning Skiff in Front Yard

The hull shape of this boat is very similar to the Louisiana pirogue of my youth with the exception that there is almost no rocker in the gunning skiff, whereas the pirogue that I had when I was 13 had about 4" rocker over a length of 12'.  Smith Island is a lot like where I grew up in the Cajun country of south Louisiana.  The geography is very similar and the types of fishing are virtually identical.   There is the same pragmatic, self reliance and independence.  

Tied up in front of the Inn

We had a lovely broad reach back to Tylerton and yet another evening of good food and conversation.  The next morning we got up early and after a "light" breakfast, we sailed back to Chrisfield and home.

A "light" breakfast

Back at Crisfield, MD

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Third reef sailing report

After our spring cruise in the Core Sound last year, I decided to sew a third reef into our sail.  I finished the improvements in the fall but didn't get to test it out until our 2013 spring cruise last week at Smith Island in the Chesapeake bay.  I had been unsure whether the third reef would be worth the effort and now I have answers to my questions.
Tied up after an afternoon sail

The third reef was awesome!  

It was sunny, cold and windy, with northerly winds from 15 kt to 25 kt, sometimes gusting to 30 kt and daytime temperatures in the 40's.  We were able to comfortably sail upwind with no gymnastics on the windward rail.  The new mainsheet also worked out well and while my hands are a bit raw from working in the cold, the cam cleats and heavy nap of the rope were a joy to use.  We met a few watermen while staying on Smith Island (more about that later) who were surprised to hear that we were going out in such weather.

Q: Too little sail?
A: It was just right.  We were able to tack upwind during the worst of the gusts.  The forecast during the first test of the third reef was 15kt to 20 kt gusting to 25.  Our average hull speed was 3 mph with bursts to 3.5.  Creamcheese's best upwind speed is a little over 4 mph.  I estimate she pointed about 50 to 55 degrees off the wind.  Her best upwind performance is 45 degrees, but she is always faster at 50 degrees.

Sailing upwind
(taken during a lull)
Q: Lee helm?
A: Happily, there was no upwind lee helm but instead the perfect amount of weather helm - about the same as with the full mainsail.  I don't understand how moving the centroid of the sail 19" forward can have no effect but I listed my hopeful explanations in my original post about sail math.  Another possibility is that even though the sail centroid moves forward, the center of effort is very close to the mainmast and so doesn't move very far.  And because the sail lacing gets slack (see picture), the luff of the sail is actually about four inches from the mainmast, thus moving the center of effort four inches aft.

First sail with three reefs tied in (taken during a lull)