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.

June boat work

Our attention is back on Ravenswing here in June. I still owe you a post on the F36 Hecla delivery trip, but the teaser is that near Cuba we had to turn back due to rudder problems, and Jeff’s boat is in Florida getting some repairs / upgrades. No Belize this time.

Back home we had the start of the inaugural California 500 race to San Diego, with three 70′ tris going at it. Maserati spent her dock time at our Marina Bay Harbor, so we got a look up close on Memorial Day. Very interesting to look at the retrofit foiling gear on this ocean-crossing racer.

That day was a treat because of hosting nephew Westley’s first boat ride. Reefed main, no jib, Autopilot and a light breeze made for the perfect mellow day for granddad/grandkid. The siblings enjoyed catching up too. Some day, Westley, I’m sure you’ll be shaking out the reefs and calling for the big Ravenswing spinnaker!

The boat is getting ready for a run up the Delta this week. It’s hot, so getting the Bimini sorted out was this weekend’s first task. We bought a used one and the blue canvas is being experimentally cut/sewn to find the right pattern for a new one. We’ll sail it this way to see if the boom clearance will work.

Finally got the dedicated running-backstay winches installed today. This already feels like a great addition. The windward side will handle the backstay, and the leeward stands ready for barberhaulers or any sheeting duty. This also got rid of the slightly awkward trade off with the mainsheet tails.

Also notice in a couple of those shots the snazzy grey winch covers. The big sewing machine needed a tune up mid project (back in April) and we celebrated its return finally finishing

the 5+ year old Sailrite kit. Eventually I’ll get all these details done!!!

The long rainy season here had me rethinking how to keep the float hulls dry, and cross ventilation through the watertight interior bulkheads is a challenge. Decided to make breathing ports via 2″ pvc, to be left uncapped during storage, but plugged up underway. It does add a pre-sail item to the boat prep list, but this is an easy one; just hand screw in the plugs.

Another milestone was finally powering up the fridge/freezer cold plate system for the first time since it was installed three years ago. It’s been on a week and the solar panels are easily staying 100% ahead of it (with no other power use sitting at the dock). There’s an ice tray in there this evening and I’m excited to get back to hopefully find cubes ?!

Some visitors to the boat have frowned about the forward beam mounted solar panels. Well I didn’t really like it either, so we compromised some hull deck space and moved them out here (on both sides of the boat). This is way better.

So that means the four 100watt panels are (2) on aft float decks, (1) port float forward deck, and (1) on the hard dodger. We’ll monitor and report on solar generation during the Delta trip.

Sights are now set on the September departure in time for the MultiMarine Summer Splash event to Catalina Island, Sept 13. I’m sure time will fly as we move towards Mexico!