Spring Modifications

Here’s some modifications I’ve been doing lately. My first child, Henry, was born in April so things have been happening much slower than usual! We’re going up to New Jersey in July to visit my wife’s family and I plan to take the boat along… I’m thinking I’d like to get a long daysail in on Barnegate Bay.

Changed out the leaf springs on my trailer for a pair of 500 pounders. This has made the ride much smoother.

Fabricated some aluminum fenders to replace the broken sheet metal ones. I slipped them into a batch of metalwork I made to be powder coated, so I should get them back soon.

Rigged up a pulley system under my sunroom so I could touch up the paint on the hull that I scraped off going across the sandbar at Ocracoke Island last year. I also got around to getting the boat registered so I can use a motor! I hand painted the letters which was a lot more difficult than it seems.

Mast and bilge pump

It’s been too cold lately to varnish in the garage, so I set up the mast in the spare bedroom. I put on five coats of Helmsman spar urethane, probably not as good as real spar varnish but I’ll give it a try this season. I can’t imagine it’ll be a problem for a garage kept boat. The fiberglassed section is a little noticeable, but not too bad.

A few times I’ve buried the rail while trying to bail out water in a blow, so I thought a diaphragm pump might be a more sedate way of keeping my feet dry. I’m thinking I’ll have a pipe go to each side of the boat where the water collects, a diverter valve in the middle so I can select which side to pump, and a check valve on the ends of the tubes to keep water from draining back in. Pumping the water into the centerboard case seems like a tidy way to do it. I’d like the pump to be centrally located so I can work it on either tack, but this option looks like it’ll take up too much floor space and the plumbing might be awkward.

Back here on the sternsheets looks pretty convenient, although the handle would need to be lowered to accommodate the sleeping platform. Looks like there’d be a lot of awkward plumbing for this option too.

Underneath the main thwart with the handle just sticking through is high on the list. It’ll be mostly tucked away and the plumbing runs will be short.

I think I’m leaning towards something like this. The handle should be a little easier to work and it’s still out of the way. Next I need to figure out what plumbing parts I need. The threads on the pump aren’t NPT and I have no idea what standard they are other than 1-7/16″ – 6, so I might see if I can 3d print some custom adapters. Failing that I could machine some.

Now that I’ve typed all that out about the bilge pump, I’m wondering if a single flexible hose and check valve would be better. Since I’d need to lean down to work the diverter valve I might as well just clip a hose onto the frame where the water collects.

Improvements

Here’s a few improvements I’ve been working on lately.

Got the area around the new hatch painted and the hatch installed with butyl tape. The #10 screws on the sides fasten to the new stiffeners I added underneath and on the ends are machine screws through the 1/4″ plywood sternsheets. This will really improve access and keep the bilge water out. I faired the front well enough you’d never know there used to be a hatch there.

I epoxied an oak peg onto the top of the mast when I was experimenting with my topsail, but it ended up not working very well. It was too hard to slip a loop of line on the topmast around it, and using it to route a halyard didn’t work either. Plus it also tended to mess with the set of the jib halyard turning block.

I chiseled off most of the peg and sanded the rest smooth. I need to figure out something for the topmast halyard, there might be just enough room for another beehole in the middle.

The boom jaws have been gouging the mast a bit so I sanded back the varnish and will epoxy some left over 6oz fiberglass around once it warms up. I knew keeping the scraps from fiberglassing the hull would come in useful someday!

I also plan to touch up the paint and varnish, but that’ll have to wait for warmer weather. It’s been freezing here in Virginia lately and it doesn’t look like it’ll let up any time soon. The topsides are in fairly decent shape, but there’s a few spots underneath that got worn off when I dragged the boat across a sandbar at Ocracoke last summer.

Winter Modifications

Sailing season is over, so now it’s on to the winter improvements! The last major modification I can think of is to remove the hatch on the front of the sternsheets and replace it with a big rectangular one on the top. I’ve had trouble with water seeping through the seal when the boat gets a few inches of water inside which is why I bought an auto bilge pump for my most recent trip to Ocracoke. A larger hatch will also make the space a lot easier to access for storage.

I jigsawed a hole for a 14.75″ x 10.6″ Seaflo access hatch and stripped back the paint. I had to cut through the central stiffener and unfortunately the 1/4″ plywood is a little too flexible for my liking. It might be ok once the hatch is bolted in place, but I’m going to add a .75″ x 1.5″ stiffener on either side of the hole.

You know that box of wood scraps we all have that are probably really not worth saving? I found my 6.5″ diameter discs from when I cut the holes for the original inspection hatches! I beveled the edges a bit as a “weld prep” and epoxied it in place with thickened epoxy. Packing tape kept everything flush. I also epoxied the two new stiffeners along either side of the hole.

While I was epoxying I added some drain holes to the motor well. I used a large Forstner bit and intersected the floor of the well a bit. Then I filled the holes with thickened epoxy and drilled again with a smaller bit. The holes came out right at floor level, so they should drain nicely.

I tested the glue bond on the piece I cut out for the access hatch and was very pleased to find it took about 5 decent whacks with a 3 pound mini maul before breaking off. This was purely a mechanical bond since both pieces were encapsulated with 3 coats of neat epoxy before later being joined with thickened epoxy. A chemical bond is stronger but it really makes no difference since the plywood failed along the entire joint.

 

Ocracoke

In mid September my wife and our parents went down to Ocracoke Island for a week long vacation. We stayed in a cottage on Lighthouse Road and had access to a dock at the southern end of the harbor, so of course I brought my sailboat. It was a pretty windy week, but I did manage to get out on a long daysail. I ended up going 41.6 miles to nowhere in 8.5 hours. My average speed was 4.8 mph and I hit a new top speed of 9.2 mph!

https://sailingmoga.com/ocracoke-2021/

Cape Lookout Lighthouse

My wife and I are down at Atlantic Beach in North Carolina on vacation and on Saturday I went on a daysail to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse on the South Core Banks. To get there I circled Shackleford Banks which meant I had Moga out in the Atlantic for a few miles. There were tons of boaters though, more than I’ve ever seen. I went 32.7 miles in 8.5 hours with an average speed of 4 mph.

https://sailingmoga.com/cape-lookout-2021/

Snark

It’s been too hot to sail lately, but I did take a friend Steve’s Snark out at a July 4th get together. This boat is 11′ long and made entirely of styrofoam. It is surprisingly fun and quick to set up and it’s got me thinking of a car toppable skin on frame sailboat someday.

My buddy and I both sailed it and our combined 380 pounds was just a bit over the max capacity of 310. We had water pouring over the bow at every wavelet and the boat twisted a fair amount. I later took it out about a mile and a half into the Rappahannock with no problems.

Apparently you could mail order the boat for $88 and the carton flap of Kool cigarettes. Free shipping!