The mad rush

The Ravenswing build has been way more than the Carters bargained for. Years have long passed since our initial voyaging target dates. But the past few weeks have turned the corner, and we’re hitting the punch list hard in preparation of a September 8 departure from San Francisco towards the Channel Islands in southern Cal. Jim spent a week aboard earlier this month, including a successful overnight trip to Half Moon Bay. Exiting SF Bay in steep chop and upper 20’s apparent wind was a good shakedown. Finally got a first good anchorage photo shoot :)From the dinghy we asked locals for a dinner spot. Turns out she’s the membership director of HMB yacht club. I’m riding in from the dinghy dock on a cable barge. Great getting drinks with these folks. After returning to Richmond, we then set off to China Camp (inside SF Bay) to find Drew’s family, the F27 Papillon crew. Weather was amazing and much fun was had with the dinghys (we have matching Takacats).Anton drove over to join Ravenswing and Charlie sailed F24 Stingray over. Ravenswing’s first dinner party was a hit. Yes, the Bimini top was great to have at anchor. So of course there was a sewing flurry before Jim came to visit. the blue one was part of the used unit we picked up for $120. Just kept cutting and reseweing it until it was a usable pattern for our shape. Next we built a new jib bag, as the crew will tell you the first one sucked (too tight). But not to waste anything, the first jib bag was easily modified to become the new stay-on-deck roller Reacher bag. Thx to Round Midnight for that idea!We’ve also been quite focused on safety gear. The jack lines got fitted. They install easily and get put away when not needed.

The rudder finally got its permanent fix for the proper fore/aft take setting. Instead of shiming the cassette, the rudder grew an angled wedge up where it rests underway inside the cassette. Not particularly pretty but totally effective. It sailed great in the snot to Half Moon Bay.

The float hulls have had bouts of “stale air” in the three years since launch. They finally got solar vents. Put them in the hatch doors, so as not to mess with the hull decks.

Just before the China Camp trip we received the replacement electric controller for the fridge/freezer compressor. Ouch, that was $300 shot thanks to the failed escape hatch in June that salt-water soaked the equipment room under the cockpit. Fridge unit is working fine again and right now we’re creating the divider to separate freezer from cooler/refer side.

And yea, also had to replace the Lavac toilet bowl after dropping the original during the paint job of the revised water closet floor. This is the new version with a more robust hinge and seal setup. If anyone out there needs original Lavac lid parts, holler.

The co-owner agreed to poke her nose out the Gate, aided perhaps by her elder son’s encouragement. Thank you Ravenswing for giving us good times together. I’ll explain next time why Colin was able to come aboard unexpectedly…

A good workout

I left you guys hanging, I know. But who gets a nasty chest cold to start July? Dang, that thing hit me hard for a few days.

The Napa Marina team put Ravenswing back in the water on Friday, and Carlos joined me Sunday to cruise down river and back to Richmond. While underway I finished up plumbing the newly added cockpit 2nd drain while Carlos drove us through deep enough water. The Napa River shoals get a little tricky. We got in a nice wave with Pam, owner of a lovely Cross 42′ tri and co-owner of the bay’s Adventure Cats charters, as we motored by her place.

Backing up a step, yes we got the rotator arm and the jib back also on Friday. There are now six bolts plus the strengthening cross hatching, vs the original two pivot point bolts. Works great so far.

It was pretty windy in Vallejo, which with the ebb current, means San Pablo Bay was set to be sloppy. So we set the main at first reef and charged down bay into the stiff southwest wind. We made 9-10kts going to weather, and with spray flying everything got a good two hour test. Carlos did a great job with sail trim, particularly as I was distracted keeping an eye and ear on recent repairs / upgrades performances. The escape hatch area was to leeward in the chop for three hours, and was bone dry inside.

We got to the central bay by 3 and while Carlos thought we should go blast around, I just wanted to put the boat away and was feeling crappy (the cold was setting in). But of course after this successful 40 mile trip, the engine died while making the final turn towards our dock. Thankfully we coasted into the wind and fended off / lassoed an empty dock, found the fuel hose problem, and got tied up where we belong. Damn, in just three years the gas tank – to – outboard hose was destroyed by ethanol in the fuel. Will replace all that tomorrow.

Today’s job was installing the replacement / upgraded toilet. The Lavac system is great; very simple and effective. But the older model had fragile porcelain tabs to hold the seat bolts. One of them got broken during the holding tank change job, and the glue job failed recently so we lost vacuum. So now Ravenswing has the modern Lavac, which looks sturdier in the key places. Once we finally get moving south this fall, I am assured we’ll have plenty of jam for the peanut butter. Stone fruits are in high season here in the Carter-Corchero orchard :)

Hope your 4th was good. Bittersweet here though as we said goodbye yesterday morning to 40+ year family friend George Cunha. He liked to sail both on the bay and on remote vacations. He gave it a great 92 year run. Godspeed George!

Thank you again Napa Valley Marina

This place is great for the Bay Area larger-Multihull crowd. Yard foreman Mike calmly figures out how to haul our funny shaped boats, and they have the skills to tackle most any repair type. I finished up the new orange boot stripe Tuesday evening and they bottom-painted Wednesday. Today Ravenswing went back in the water. The two main modifications came out swell. Keith will like this angle, showing how the temporary escape hatch cover is flush with the hull. The real one is back home for final fairing and paint.

The tiller got a batch of 16oz carbon uni filaments placed on each side, as I think we’ve felt a bit of sideways flex under tough conditions. Just another thing that needed an orange repaint anyway! Yeah locals, legendary crew Dan M came out and was immediately put to work. He wonders why it’s called peel-ply, when it doesn’t seem to peel so well…

This guy has made many a tri skipper look good in Bay and coastal racing :). Anybody recognize what shirt he showed up in?

Note to self: Bottom paint history so far was 1) the original Pettit Vivid white debacle, launched 6/2016. 2) sand down and two coats of Pettit Trinidad SR 11/2017

3) light sand and one coat of Pettit Trinidad Pro 6/2019

Orange accent paint is now Alexseal International Orange (hoping this two-part holds up much better than the Interlux bright side before).

The jib gets picked up tomorrow, after some minor leach repair where it rubbed on the old mast’s diamond wires.

And we’re counting on Bay Marine having completed the upgrade to the mast rotation control arm. Without that getting reinstalled, there ain’t no sailing this weekend.

Suction

The vacuum pump got a workout this weekend. Pulling the vacuum on both sides of the hatch area at the same time was pretty fun fabrication stuff. This one came out very nicely. Fairing went quickly in the hot weather, and the new work got a first primer coat Sunday eve. The stronger gudgeon post looks like it should have always been there.

Tiller and cassette warming in the sun to bake their epoxy tweaks.

Will pick up some Alexseal two-part paint tomorrow and replace all the faded orange highlights on the boat. That’ll spruce things up for the fall southbound journey.

good progress

… although this is taking longer than I guessed!

The escape hatch frame is faired in now, ready for carbon fabric lamination tomorrow.

Here’s the expanded pylon / rudder gudgeons post, with all the new foam core in place.

Today the 16oz carbon unidirectional filaments went on front to back, side to side, and diagonally from the top of the upper gudgeon area.

My plan tomorrow is to cover all of this, and down the vertical face of the swim step, with 12oz 45/45 carbon weave. That will wrap up the upgrade, plus a bit of fairing and paint this weekend.

Multitasking

We’ll do quick updates from the boatyard, as some of you are keen to keep an eye on these upgrades.

The rudder base post is an obvious two step task. Once the paint was removed I could see the center web lamination wasn’t strong enough. The gudgeons haven’t budged; it was the area in between the top and bottom that failed. So first today was repairing that laminate by adding two wraps of 12oz BD carbon. The gudgeons themselves are nice and burley. Here’s a look with the paint stripped off. So now it’s back to as-launched, and part two is forming transverse bracing from the top gudgeon down to the back deck. Lots of playing with foam core today, including some last scraps hot-gluing before bed tonight.

The escape hatch new outer frame and water-sealing ring were glued in today. Lamination skins will happen tomorrow.

Keith, the Bomar hatch was pretty tall, so the old recess is too deep for this new approach. I’m not going to bring it out flush with the hull, but rather just finish a nice transition slope. Yea it will be a circle in a square but it won’t look bad and anyway the thing is hard to see under the nets. It’ll be very strong this way. Any thoughts on what adhesive to use to apply the neoprene gasket to the new hull ring?

Project 3 is some minor improvements to the tiller and rudder cassette, and then a repaint. The Interlux Brightside was a fail, as the nice orange faded badly in less than a year. Thinking of switching to Alexseal- they have a nice premixed Int’l Orange color…

Still sea-trialing…

Jim drove down from Medford to take a Delta cruise on Ravenswing, to start getting used to the navigation and safety gear. Tuesday we had a great sail around Treasure Island. The wind went light by the Bay Bridge and we were hoping it would pick up to get us back to Richmond sans engine. Careful what you wish for in SF Bay. Ten minutes later I was regretting not taking a reef. It was a wet and nasty ride across The Slot, and what became more boat trials. Found three things that need big changes. 1) the mast rotation control arm bent its 3/8″ in-mast mounting bolts. It’s now in the Bay Marine metal shop getting upgraded. There will be five attachments to the mast, instead of the original two.

2) The rudder gudgeon tower was flexing side to side, and actually began cracking some of its fiberglass laminations.

I motored up to Napa Marina early Sunday morning, and today began the strip down for a reinforcement rebuild. This all happened because we didn’t build the kick up box in Farrier’s plans. He wrote that a permanent bond to the hull of the gudgeons base is fine, but the plans didn’t detail it. I didn’t consider the lateral forces the rudder would transmit to those gudgeons, thus the flexing (BAD) post. For any F39 builders, I’ll say that the lamination schedule in the plans is INSUFFICIENT for these side loads. Please feel free to write /discuss this, as sadly there’s no Ian Farrier to question to anymore. In the coming days we’ll see how this fix goes.

3) the emergency escape hatch was forced OPEN by the short chop waves some time during that blast reach Tuesday. As the wind subsided past Angel Island, the boat felt sluggish so I went below to look around. Holy Shit, the damn hatch was open and waves had been firehosing in. It screwed up the new fridge (yet to diagnose), soaked the aft cabin and generally brought somewhere in range of 50/100 gallons aboard. Thank goodness it was (like the 2017 mast), very close to our marina. Wednesday was written off for boat cleanup. Salt water got everywhere. Yuck.

The hatch was purchased by Howard the hull builder and I had checked it off the list as done seven years ago. But looking closely at it now, it’s dangerously misused as a hull-side hatch. Should only be a light duty cabin top install. The two plastic legs barely grab the frame. It’s gotta go. Skateaway Designs provided us the drawing for a proper ocean safety hatch, and I’ll be relieved to NOT see the water racing by anymore. That stuff is cute for watching fishies in a pretty anchorage, but No Thanks at 20kts and nasty weather. Over the weekend i started making carbon and foam parts.

The square piece will get bonded to the hull where the old glass hatch was. There will be an outer door that’s flush with the outside of the hull, and an inner door panel facing into the cabin. Kieth, that third photo down shows you the perfectly flat stopper ring that will take the neoprene for the outer door panel. Pretty happy how that’s looking.

PS – the stack of triangles is a teaser of some new shaping for the rudder gudgeons tower.

So this is Ravenswing’s third haulout since her marvelous launch day 3 years ago. Today we tried out the rail trolley at Napa.

The veteran manager Tom hadn’t done a Multihull backwards there. It was a little tricky but now the stern work area is easy to get to. Otherwise it would have been WAY up in the air hanging over the steep ramp.

I’m telling you guys – seriously – I spent a few hours looking at everything that makes her go, asking the gods, “what else”? needs attention before heading south. We’ve redone the daggerboard, rudder, Autopilot, mast, boom, tweaked sails and running rigging, continue to refine electrical and plumbing. I think these current three reach the end of my worry list. But go ahead, anyone who’s sailed with us, do you have any concerns for us? Let’s get all the bugs out now.