Fixing stuff

February for Ravenswing so far is about tweaking – some little, some big. And trying not to get frustrated about the hours spent in 2015/16 doing it wrong the first time :)

Fresh water is carried in two 23 gallon Nauta flexible bladder tanks. Spots for each were built along the hull under the dining settee. But we had trouble with the closer-to-the-pump tank collapsing / air-locking as it emptied but didn’t draw well from the forward tank. Also, we flush the toilet with grey water captured in a Plastimo flexible tank from the galley sink. That sink drain has a diverter to choose overboard discharge or grey tank filling. But the spot for the grey tank was cramped, so the toilet pump was not getting a strong rinse water flow. Taking a fresh look at things, the Tank Stack was born this weekend. The saloon/settee table makes it tough to get into the large, deep locker under the forward seat tough to get in. It’s a bit of dead space. At the bottom of that locker was already the forward fresh water tank. Then there are two “levels” of removable shelving above the water tank. We moved the grey tank onto the mid level and the 2nd fresh tank to the top level. Here they are, starting bottom-up…this dance only took four trips to the hardware store for numerous new hose pieces, clamps, etc. Both the fresh water and toilet rinse work really well now. (Hold that thought, soon we’ll have a holding tank fix for your entertainment)

Also this weekend was tackling the starboard main cabin port lights (the incessantly leaking windows). We installed them with Sika 275UV and screws. This was a bad combo and we suffered crazing in the polycarbonate around the screw heads, and condensation issues where larger sections of the window ran over solid sections of the cabinsides. We’ve since learned, or decided anyway, that the modern Very High Bond tapes are sufficient for these port lights. And despite the original intent of sleek-looking faux one-piece glass as seen from the outside of the boat, the new windows will be cut 1″ larger than the holes in the boat, and the whole area will still have the black background. The ‘no fasteners needed’ decision was backed by how well that Sika is holding the original panes. A real bear to get them off! Including actually breaking away fairing/primer/paint in a few spots. This mess was a couple hours cleanup, including filling the 30+ screw holes, which three years ago had been carefully over drilled from the cedar core and replaced with thickened epoxy. And now we’ve filled those same holes to make them disappear :)we made paper patterns today and will get them to Tap Plastics when they reopen Tuesday. We made the original set from a 4×8′ sheet of markelon polycarbonate, but this time we’ll pay the pros to use their special saws and routers.

Keith reached our mast builder the other day; bad news is they haven’t started the two masts ahead of ours. Good news is they are geared up to build them concurrently- some efficiencies in assembling – and the owner says he’ll be delivering ours on track this spring. Sure would like to see some carbon being laid out though!

I had a pleasant light-wind sail on RickWS’s Explorer44 tri Round Midnight last week and the conversation has me thinking I need to copy his reefing system. Jimbo knows we struggle getting Ravenswing’s reefing clew under control with that little winch on the boom. I have time to modify the boom and deck right now, so we’re considering running the reefing clews and tacks back to the primary cockpit winches. Need to figure out how to turn the lines from the inboard boom end down towards the deck; how would turning blocks mount? Maybe the new mast rotator arm should be mounted forward of the mast, not aft as it was before…

Fellow plotters and schemers, how would you set up the boom and deck for cockpit-handling of reefing lines on this boat?

4 thoughts on “Fixing stuff

  1. Re the reefing lines I may well have the same dilema with our recently aquired 32 foot I will be interested to see what you decide to do. On our boat all the reefing lines terminate in a spagetti like pile of rope lying on the cabin top with no obvious way to lead any of them to winches or to secure them to cleats. I had thought that one possiblity might be to mount a winch on the side of the boom near the mast, with ‘steamlined’ slots through the boom wall for the clew lines, as we have for some of the halyards. Also maybe some pulleys to connect the tack lines to the boom mounted winch. However, you have found a boom mounted winch unsatisfactory – is that only because your boom winch is too small, or are there other reasons? On our boat there are three reefs so three tack lines and three clew lines and connecting all these to the cockpit winches would seem to require rather a lot of pulleys and rope clutches. A lot of complication just so that you can stand in the cockpit reefing the sail rather than standing a few feet further forward for that operation – but having never yet sailed a yacht in my life I may not be understanding the real issues.


    • Hi John, I think your plan for the pass-through slots on the boom, leading to the boom winch sounds fine. That’s exactly what we have today, and it does work with two or more crew. I think the limiting factor is the size of one’s mainsail; a 32′ boat should have a main that can be reefing-controlled in this manner. On Ravenswing, the boom-winch has proven to be too small, and it’s more than a few feet from the standing position at the mast back to the cockpit. In heavy weather it’s a “big trip” out around the dodger and climbing up on the cabin top. All of this is difficult for a single-hander, and I often end up sailing alone in our very windy San Francisco Bay. I’m looking at turning these lines back to the cockpit with a clever bunch of slippery static blocks, rather than full pulleys.


      • Thank you very much for your response. I think our boat has fairly large sails for its size – I think about 40m2 main and 20m2 jib. I realise now we probably have the wrong boat for a couple of complete novices, neither particularly physically strong, but we probably have to make the best of that, at least for the time being. I don’t know how to pick a size for the boom winch but I expect that if I ask the local Harken rep. he is unlikely to recommend one that is too small. What happens if your winch is too small, does the rope slip in the self tailing groove or is the handle too hard to turn? I can see the need for three clew lines, one for each reef, but if reefing is to be done at the mast I wondered about having just one tack line with a hook on the end and maybe a sort of stick so you can reach up and hook it into the next reef point position. We have a remote control for the autopilot but I dont know if it is realistic to steer the boat with that while reefing at the mast. We dont intend to sail single handed but if one of us is out of action for some reason….

        I read your blog with interest, a tremendous effort to build such a large boat, the same goes for other home builders who somehow manage to complete these huge projects.


  2. John, a boom which ideally is self-tailing, as you need one hand for cranking and the other to hold yourself steady. Does not work well to crank and hand-tail your own line when in conditions worthy of reefing. Our winch isn’t big enough, but you don’t want too much weight up there. For the tack, forget the stick idea. Instead you might have a simple pull-down line beginning at the uppermost reefing cringe (hole) and passing down through the other two, terminating at the mast base or boom. You could pull this down by hand to the desired position, then hook a cunningham / downhaul to the tack cringle desired. Yes, the autopilot should do the steering job, but also remember that “heaving to” is the best move – no electronics needed and it’s very safe – study up on that and practice it once you guys start sailing the boat.

    Thank you for the sentiments on Ravenswing. This typing is form of therapy I haven’t quite figured out.


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