Archive for May 2022

The title is appropriate for the sailing and for the boatbuilding but first the sailing.

Last Wednesday I had every intention to do a boat end start for clear air and a lane out of the strong incoming tide. Everyone else had the same idea and while we had a close hauled line to clear the stern of the committee boat there was an impenetrable wall of Division 1 yachts and other than breaking rule 14 and giving them all a nudge into the start boat the only choice was to let them all break the rules.

From our position down the line we were blanketed by the bargers and a long way from clear air. Well that is the end of the story. We never broke cover all the way to the top mark and were second last to round in conditions we usually enjoy.

The work home provided some relief and we had some very good angles coming into shortened short course finish line in Rose Bay. Others had equally good angles so we made little ground.

We are left to ponder how different it would have been if we had clear air and kept out of the tide as planned.

Back on the boatbuilding I have been bogging the water tank lids and the settee shelves to the stringers ahead of fixing the ply sheeting. Bogging in shelves takes time especially as each shelf meets the angled stringers at different angles. Nevertheless the job is finished and the next sheet of ply is ready for each side.

Settee area shelf bogged to the stringer
Keel floor 1 bogged to the chainplate frame, the water tank top and the tangent stringer
Keel floor 1 bonded to the tank top and the tangent stringer
Ready for 12 mm ply plating in the chainplate area

Other jobs have been progressing at pace including the rudder port reinforcement at the deck level and completing the plywood panel that separates the quarter berth from the locker. This panel had to be extended down to the hull skin and the join glassed both sides. For good measure the cleats that will support the bunk tops have been glued to the vertical panel so that the whole panel can be primed next time I am in the painting mood.

Rudder port reinforcement at the cockpit underside, corner join glassed and primer everywhere
Quarter berth plywood with cleats and glassed joins ready for primer

Since the last blog the bare plywood in the quarter berth ante room and the head has been primed, sanded and spot patched so the interior has a semi finished appearance and the plywood has a level of protection from the elements. I had hoped to do a second coat of primer but in the cool conditions it was insufficiently hard for machine sanding so I have let it cure and done extensive preparation for the second coat. I think that will be more successful as the finish is already very smooth.

There were extra cleats to be added to the plywood in the quarter berth and cockpit locker and a 12 mm doubler for the bottom of the locker to take the tie down points for the heavy equipment. So soon there will be a 75 mm strip of 24 mm plywood to take the straps that will secure the 16 kg spare anchor and the chain attached to the rode.

Primer to the quarter berth and head doorways

The potential damage from the heavy anchor always concerns me and on Passion X I have added Tasmanian Oak hardwood strips to the top of the stringers. The Tasmanian Oak is stock trim from the local hardware store and is an ideal timber for the task. I also use this timber to make the tracks for the sliding doors in the galley as it is tough and machines well.

Looking ahead I am inclined to complete the next sheet of plywood on each side before moving aft. Once fixed I can do the epoxy glass join inside and out and glass the chainplate frames to the skin. There is a total of four layers of 450 gram double bias to go over the connection and before the epoxy glass is too hard I would like to do the fairing and prime the shelf area behind the settee.

To be honest I will be torn between finishing the settee area and doing more external ply and the weather will play a big part. The settee area is well protected so it would be sensible to use any fine weather to complete the ply towards the stern where the transom sticks out from under the awning.

Prior to our Wednesday RANSA race we took Passion X for a speed trial under motor. This is my test to see if the hull is clean and she passed with flying colours. We achieved a tide assisted speed over 8.6 knots and the two way average was well over my 8 knot minimum requirement so she was good to go.
Pre start the westerly gusted up over 20 knots well in excess of the forecast 15 knots but as the start was downwind we elected to start with the No 1 heavy genoa. It was a good decision as the wind abated and we never saw 20 knots for the rest of the day. We did get the forecast dead square run to the top mark and by staying away from the crowd arrived with the leading yachts.

The work home was now dead into the wind with lots of crossings along the way. Occasionally we picked a shift and maintained our position near the front. Foreign Affairs managed a break followed by Allegro and Cuckoo’s Nest and then there was a large group including Meridian and Joli from GFS and the two Sydney 36’s Amanti and Crosshaven. Krakatoa was close behind as was Britannia. Agrovation was unusually playing catch up having tangled their genoa leads.
There was plenty of action up to Steele Point when Amanti went in too close and lost a lot of ground. We went wide and were rewarded with clear air and a good line into the mark in Rose Bay. The beat to Point Piper was also busy and we were passed by Meridian and Joli but on the run around Shark Island we were first with genoa out to windward and went straight to the mark with good effect. The work down the back of Shark Island was the icing on the cake as Meridian and Joli were headed going into the mark. Behind us Crosshaven and Amanti were lifting all the way into the mark while the shift did not reach us.
Very fortunately Amanti and Crosshaven kept going on starboard well past the mark which allowed us to tack onto port and make distance to the finish. Joli and Meridian were caught with the starboard tackers carrying on too far and that cost them a lot of time.

Approaching the finish it was our turn for an unfavorable shift as we were headed on the beat to the finish so that we could not cross the line on port. Meanwhile Crosshaven behind was lifted all the way to cross the line before we could tack onto starboard. The line was terribly biased in favour of the port tack but we managed to hold on for a 2 second lead over Meridian and a 4 second lead over Amanti.

We were happy with our mid fleet finish on handicap and the close racing was a bit of a thrill.

Meanwhile back at the boat yard the several days of fine weather were put to good use. It was so unusual to be able to leave the tarpaulins off overnight.

The first task was to finish the and trial fit the quarter berth door so that the two door panels could be glued into position. First the adjoining panels had to be stiffened with straight planks so that the door panels would be both straight and in the correct alignment. Next the joins had to be masked to keep the ply clean and finally the glue applied. It took much longer than expected and was finished under lights at 6:30 pm.

Door frames braced every which way and plywood protected with masking tape.

At 1:00 am I was awake so removed the masking tape before the glue was too hard and early next morning was cleaning the surplus epoxy before it cured further. The result was pleasing so I took a few photos for the record.

Showing off the completed door frames

In preparation for fitting the shelves in the settee area the chainplate frames had to be trimmed to their final dimensions after which the laser level was used to establish the position of the cleats for the shelves. Each of the four cleats per side was fastened with 20 mm silicon bronze nails while the epoxy set and it was encouraging to be able to hammer the nails in with little bounce back. That shows how rigid the chainplate frames have become now that they are fastened to the water tank tops.

Chainplate partial bulkhead trimmed and cleats for shelving attached

Being anxious to protect the plywood from the inclement weather I purchased a HVLP spray unit to apply the epoxy primer. The section of the hull from the bow to the chainplates was then sprayed in a short afternoon. The spraying is a work in progress as I found it difficult to adequately cover the stringers without getting runs on the ply. For the first coat I compromised with a brush for loading up the stringers and with brushing out the runs. I think it will be fine for loading up primer on external hull and in the meantime I have plenty of interior on which to practice.

First coat of epoxy primer in the bow area

Between jobs I took delivery of another 70 litres of epoxy resin and an additional 16 sheets of plywood. If you said I was hoarding against future shortages I would not deny the accusation.

One of my jobs is to take photos for the record and I find that I have to make time for this activity as I tend to attack my list of jobs with a certain level of intensity. One catch up photo was the mast step support in front of the bulkhead and another was the interior view of the head doorway.

Forward section of the mast step support glued in position

Yesterday I was keen to sand the primer between the bow and the mast step and get on another coat but it was not to be. The primer is very hard and needs aggressive sanding to smooth the surface and remove the gloss. Also the first coat shows up any glue drips and any rough timber so the sanding took much longer than expected.

While up in the bow sanding I took the opportunity to finish the bob stay connection. The bob stay will be a dynex dux which is stronger than dyneema and the rope will be passed through a 12 mm hole just above the water line. The hole go through 8 layers of 12 mm ply and two layers of 15 mm hardwood which are wedges in the bow to bridge the gap between the tangent stringer doubles and the 48 mm wide bow knee. That is another job done and mighty strong too.

Primer in the bow area aggressively sanded also blocks to enclose the bob stay hole.

With not enough time to paint I rounded the corners of the cockpit underside in the quarter berth ready for a layer of double bias glass to reinforce the join and stiffen the floor. This is over and above the ISO requirements but I did the same on Passion X with excellent stiffness resulting.

Today is Friday and the rain has returned with a vengeance as if to make up for the sunny days. The ground around the hull is more boggy than ever but I was able to glass the underside of the cockpit floor and prepare all the element for the rudder stock ports.

Looking forward to the coming days, rain is forecast for a week. That means no ventilation for spraying epoxy primer but I might revert to the roller and brush method in areas where there is adequate ventilation. In this way i might get most of the bare timber covered before I move on to installing extra plywood.

I cannot recall a sailing day with more random wind directions than yesterday. We made a good start at the boat end but on the first header the pin end yachts crossed and in a few minutes Amante was so far ahead she was in a race of her own. For a few tacks we crossed tacks with Fidelis but when she sailed over to Steel Point she came back on a big lift on starboard. To cut a long story short we short tacked the middle of the course and while generally on the lifting tack both sides won out big. The run home brought no relief as the breeze died and shifted so that by the time we were supposed to be running home we were beating into a dying breeze. As painful as it was we kept trying but the conditions provided no relief.
As well as the fluky conditions I suspect that either the propeller did not feather or we picked up some garbage on the prop but whatever the reason we managed a last place on handicap only beating the did not start yachts.

Thankfully the boat building is going better than the sailing. Since the last post I have finished the cockpit all the way to the transom and that means the quarter berth is finished too. The forward side of the mast step is installed and the doors to the head and quarter berth are well advanced.
The doors have taken longer than anticipated but at the same time I have been rather particular with the details and as a result the complete door assemblies are almost done. All that remains is some trim on the 9mm doors to stiffen them and the hinges and catches. Given the miserable weather we are having I may well finish these in the garage as a rainy day job.

The cockpit is completed as far as it will before the yacht is turned.
The king size quarter berth
Doors under construction on the garage floor
Trial fit of the head door assembly, Still needs 2 mm trimmed off the side of the panel

In between larger jobs I have been filleting and sanding in the bow from the stem back to the mast step and with another half day of sanding should be ready to spray a lot of epoxy primer around. The primer will protect the completed parts of the hull from the wet and damp weather should it persist.

What a glorious day for the first race of the RANSA Winter Wednesday series! The race had it all with sunshine and better winds than forecast with enough shifts to keep everyone on their toes.
The first leg was into the eye of the wind and while windward leeward courses are not our strong suite we did get a good start at the pin and took the opportunity of the first flick in the breeze to get back across the course. Allegro with new antifouling was out of the blocks strongly and held her lead over us all day. Agrovation, clearly in a class of her own was soon in the lead through good boat speed but also picking the first shift to the east to perfection.
We were happy to be crossing tacks with Amante, Foreign Affairs and Crosshaven and to keep in touch on the long slow run home. Only the nimble Brittania popped our bubble when she sailed around us going into Rose Bay and did the same to much of the fleet to the finish to win on handicap.
I am content with our mid fleet position and happy that everything worked as it should.

The sailing did take second place to the boatbuilding this morning as I was determined to complete the front section of the new cockpit design on the new yacht. I rose early to finish what I could not do yesterday due to the complexity of the shape around the front of the cockpit. The cockpit narrows from 850 mm to 600 at the bulkhead so that we have more headroom in our enormous quarter berth. Now that we can see the berth in real life any complexity is well worth the effort. Now that we can see how much extra cockpit room is created by taking it right to the bulkhead we are very happy.

I have rotated the photo so you can see the longer cockpit and lower sill on the companionway. Pretend the dirt you can see at the top of the photo is sky.

There are not a lot of photos because I have been working to dark and the sun sets not long after 1700 hours in our valley.

Settee berth top and water tank top photo taken after dark

Water tank side finished before sailing at Gosford on Saturday

Quarter berth and cockpit side is a full width sheet of 12 mm plywood. This shows part of the enormous quarter berth. Photos next time.
Mast step components pre glued and cleaned up prior to installation