Almost out of winter

It’s cold and raining again here in NorCal, but we can hear the lure of warm Mexican waters calling Ravenswing soon. Gotta get all these sea-going projects done!

The autopilot got an hour or so under sail on its second day. It was tested a little by the messy chop of a big ebb current and an out-of-balance sail plan with full main and no jib. So far, so good – this thing is making singlehanding the boat reasonable.

Note the nice straight track in the wake.

Sharp eyes will ask why the Raymarine logo on the radar is facing forward. Wouldn’t they want to advertise out to the sides? Seems the boat builder wanted the cord to exit the side of the tower, and the radar is round anyway, right? A month ago Charlie, Anton and Don wondered why the Bonita Channel buoy was on the wrong side of the radar screen. I Finally downloaded the Raymarine manual and the plug is supposed to face aft. Oops. That got rotated, and we installed the public address hailer / foghorn that day.

Today we finished a couple of very satisfying projects. First up is securing the cockpit area with stern lifelines. It’s all synthetics, and the two orange stanchions used to be the original steering connecting rod. That thing was overbuilt, and was the perfect diameter to fit the stanchion bases made years ago.

We needed just one piece of metal to anchor the lifelines at the beam/float hull joint. The stainless steel tabs that were the lower diamond wire connectors on the broken mast got a date with the drill press, cutoff wheel and grinder.

Then it was time for 8 dyneema loop splices done in place, dodging the rain.

Project 2 is a line-handling solution at the very busy cabin top winches stations. Now that the first and second mainsail reefing tacks and clews come back, there are about ten lines of each side sharing a single winch. I pondered a bank of clutches or jammers or cleats, but had fun going old-school instead. Belay-pins, but sitting in a carbon rack!It was supposed to be sexy exposed carbon weave, but the square tube shape was tricky to mold and there were various little wrinkles and gaps, so they needed fairing then paint like everything else. This all got started last June visiting Skateaway when Keith impressed on me the problems with leaving heavily loaded halyards in the teeth of rope clutches during ocean passages. So now the sails will be raised and trimmed with the help of the clutches, but once underway the lines get cleated on these new pins then the clutches eased off.

When the rain is falling we go in the cabin and pick up the electrical tools. Last time you saw the little lithium battery balancing boards. Now we have the CellLog which measures the voltage of each 400amp hour 3.5volt cell grouping.

This monitor is fed by the little red wires (yes Anton I fused each one) strapped along the battery-holder braces.We bought this fancy chartplotter system and I’m old enough to freak out that it didn’t come with a manual. The online version didn’t make it clear that the charts seem to require the microSD card to stay in the unit in order to be used. So again, to those of you who sailed with this thing, I figured out today we DID have the detailed charts in there. Just needed to switch the viewing source. I think we’ll step up to the Navionics charts that we’ve come to really like on the iPad/phone.

So, Mexico is on the mind because Jim is sailing the Banderas Bay Regatta today, and I had a great recon trip last week to visit his Puerto Vallarta house and check out where we intend to sail the boat about 11 months from now. Here’s the view from their front patio. We visited all the primary guest marinas, and I’m leaning towards the vibe at LaCruz / Punta Mita. There’s also a very good free anchorage with easy town access. Ravenswing got ‘cleared’ to enter the MexOrc races next March. Hopefully in a different class from the MOD70 tris!We even made time to visit the embroidery shop, and they did a great job translating the boat’s graphics to crew-wear.

OK, we can see the finish line in Mexico, but we’re going to have a great spring here…

RickH, if you’re home next week let’s get out the Gate late in the week. Anyone else wanting to join, give me a holler.

It never gets old

… seeing first timers enjoying a good sail, that is. Say hi to Jen and Tim, business colleagues from Chicago. Jen hadn’t driven a boat before, but something told me she’d be a natural at the tiller.

Her husband got a bit of film for us https://youtu.be/x6LKdtwzrIc

Early November was remarkable weather. Afternoons in the low 70’s with warm gentle breezes. Perfect weather for easing Ravenswing in to the groove with the new rig.

Jeanne, Leslie, Ron and I had an enjoyable Friday. The ladies want more boat speed. We found plenty in the Slot, but it was chilly so we headed back to the north bay.

Then there was a fantastic Sunday outing with Bay Area Multihull legends RickWS, Carlos, Chris, Truls and Rafi. Six skippers , each knowing what’s best… we found ourselves laughing after Carlos had to quip, “I know how to drive the damn boat, guys”. Yes, he does.

GG bridgeRafi Chris x1200Rick Carlos x1200Truls x1200This was only the second time we’ve had the Reacher up (big blue sail), and big thanks to ChrisH for slacking the halyard way off to curl the luff once we turned downwind. This thing makes a great chicken-chute that way! Here you go, framed up with The Rock (Alcatraz prison)I didn’t drive that day, instead I roamed around the boat looking at new-to-me vantages. The best was the aft cabin – Rick is right, that’s going to be a nice spot on passages.

So while we’ve really enjoyed some sailing, fit-out work continues. We found SailTimer.com, a solar powered, wireless wind sensor that functions independently of mast rotation. The idea sounds too good to be true! We installed it before the mast stepping, but it wasn’t spinning freely. We think it got bumped the morning of the mast stepping and I didn’t notice it was tweaked. Carlos volunteered to go get it. Now that’s a dedicated sailor :)The installation instructions did not warn about Bluetooth being dependent on line of sight. I put the unit in the middle of the masthead for strength, etc, but the crane on the aft portion, including a big steel sheave pin, is blocking our signal down in the cockpit area. Argh. So the SailTimer folks just sent us an offset arm so we’ll move the unit in to clear air about a foot aft of the main sail track. More on this topic later.

I didn’t have the heart to tell you guys earlier, but the first time we sailed the new mast, the rotation control arm ripped out of its too-slight mounting setup. We’ve tried to control rotation with various straps; it’s worked somewhat, but also put some nasty rope burns into the nice paint job. Dang. Keith and I have discussed it and decided an interim fix is to drill much deeper in to the mast foot internal G10 web, and this time epoxy the bolts in place. I made a slurry of epoxy thickened with bonding fibers, and syringed it in there. Keith, I kept the black plastic spacers because of how the metal shape fits the mast. Plus I think they help with shock absorption. But I did go another 1/2″ deeper than we talked about.  We’ve sailed it once in light winds, and it worked fine. Time will tell. img_1238

Before putting away the sewing machine, we modified an old sail bag to make a stay-on-deck bag for the rolled up reacher. Got this clever idea from Round Midnight!  Once the roller-furled sail is dropped back down on deck, it gets folded in to this bag and stored right there ready to go again. img_1237We also added this 3′ long leader to the reacher control sheets – this helps pull the sail around the forestay during tacks or jibes. I’ve known about this for spinnakers, but just realized we needed it for this sail too. img_1229And one more shot trying wide-angle to get more sense of the two sails working together…img_1232This one is for John Franta at Colligo, and Keith at Skateaway Design, for showing how well our bowsprit hardware came together and makes this sail easy to manage. img_1241

Also in that photo is the new Rocna Vulcan 15kg (33lb) anchor, attached to 110′ of 5/16″ chain and 200′ of 9/16″ 8-braid rode. The Lewmar ProFish 1000 windlass handles it well, and we’re finally feeling good about our primary anchor setup.

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Charlie and RickH took the boat out the Gate to the LightShip buoy, a few days in to the Paradise fire smoke invasion. Quite eerie to be sailing on SF Bay wearing particulate masks, and upon getting  about five miles out, we could not see ANY of the coast. This fire has been awful to so many thousands of people, and it put a hideous smoke layer across a large part of the state. From our front yard – normally we’re looking at Mt. Tamalpais in southern Marin here. We bugged out, heading for Griffin’s place in Colorado. img_1244

A curiosity stop at the Bonneville Salt Flats along I-80. No race cars, as the BLM shuts it down during winter due to slushy salt, and recreates the 10 mile race track each spring.  img_1246

Traveling in one’s “land yacht” can be dangerous. This photo is just a few minutes after a rather harrowing fish-tailing incident eastbound on I-80 just over the continental divide, an hour before Laramie, WY. Ice on the freeway and 40kt wind gusts busted the trailer loose from the road. Huge thanks to Chrysler’s traction control and Jeanne’s purchase of a fancy Blue Ox anti-sway hitch system. That gear kicked in and we managed to NOT leave the road or have the two 50mph semis hit us as we swerved and corrected out. The whipping action deployed the entry steps, and threw groceries, dog food, etc. all around inside the trailer. It took a few hours to calm down from that one. Don’t drive these things on ice, people!!!  And if you do, don’t be the idiot who didn’t have the truck in 4wd and thought he could drive the same speed as the big rigs. NOT. img_1252

Finally tonight, a little preview about an exciting package arrival.

That’s our Pelagic Autopilot. Designed and sold here in the Bay Area by a small company owned by offshore sailors. They do one thing – make robust, simple sailboat steering helpers. We have significant fabrication work ahead in December to make the necessary mounts, so this may take a while. We were tipped off to this by a sistership, as this autopilot worked great for John and Melanie as they sailed their F36 across the to the South Pacific in April.

Happy Thanksgiving to your families. A lot to be thankful for. Peace.

 

Boom, version 2

Happy July to you. We did a bit of work on Ravenswing in June, so here’s a recap.

The daggerboard got the bottom paint for the section that rests below the standing water line.

Griffin and I took it to the boat, and darned if it didn’t get stuck in the case. It’s about a millimeter wrong, so we have a bit of shaving to do for a proper, snug fit. Nuts.

Next up is a set of upgrades to the boom. The outboard end with the turning sheaves for the outhaul and clew reefing lines didn’t do a proper job of separating and fair-leading the lines. Now it will get a proper fitted sheave box:

Under heavy sailing, we’ve had some flex in the boom’s walls, so we’re beefing up the bottom side bridges with carbon uni straps.

The reefing lines for the sail’s clew points were terminating on the boom with clutches and the winch to crank in the reefs. As Jim will tell you, that was a less than ideal set up. We’re now going to bring the mainsail reefing controls back to the cockpit. (Similar to Round Midnight’s setup, Rick). So off comes the custom pads we built a couple years back.

Back on deck, various sail handling details continue. Showing you a new cleat for the reacher sail’s furling gear to explain the new way we’re putting any holes in the deck or cabin sides. Drill oversized, swab the hole with epoxy, and bond in a bit of fiberglass tube whose inside diameter fits the part’s necessary hardware size.

Finally, a note for Arno for his fantastic new Thriller. We’re really happy with these Armstrong deck inspection hatches. They fit and seal really well. But because they don’t have any frame, they’re untethered when removed. I imagined dropping one of these at sea, and ran for the drill and a bit of string. Just a thought, Arno!

Dodging the rain

Yea! We’re finally getting some decent rain in Northern California. I have no problem bowing to nature in this case, even if it does screw up boat projects. In between showers, we’re getting stuff done. Here are the main sheet block pads done, installed with some leftover windshield super tape.

The starboard main cabin ports got their new polycarbonate pieces. This is 1″ Very High Bond 3M tape, then Sika 295 black sealant around the outside edge. the center one with the big cutout gets a ‘floating’ Lewmar opening port reinstalled next time I go down to the marina.

RickWS, I think we’re ready for baking, as 1.5yrs after launch I’ve finally hooked up the propane. The locker was built into/under the cockpit lazarette, and it sticks down into the equipment room alongside the freezer box. For service, it needed an overboard vapor drain, an electrical pass thru for the tank on/off solenoid, and one for the gas line.

Just need to fill the tank on that next drive to the marina and test it all out. Jeanne is on boat-strike until we can boil water for afternoon tea.

Also completed are those watertight Armstrong inspection hatch covers. First a look at the 10″ ones on the float bows.

So far in the rain both have stayed bone dry, so this looks to be a good fix on a previously poor execution. Here are shots of the 7″ aft ones; these required grinding away the original built-up bases for the old style ports, plus filling in the bolt holes. I’ll try to remember to get a photo of the one-piece Armstrong plates so this all makes more sense.

This next one may sound insignificant, but there was actually quite a bit of angst and procrastination about how to secure the various cabinet / locker doors. Mainly because I was a bit afraid of hitting the wood veneer doors with a crude hole saw. Proceeded with caution and now the doors latch shut!

Along with hot water, Jeanne would very much appreciate solving the tough ingress/egress issues of this boat. We could hop around the F27, but on this one the beams, coamings and cockpit seats are all much taller. I need to make various transition steps as we’re just not spring chickens anymore. First up is widening the coaming where the aft beams cut in to the hull. This is an odd spot in the boat design, and the F36 we saw in WA last September had these covered. So here goes.

They will be a little tricky, as they can only be permanently affixed to the beam and not the hull, for potential de-mounting of the beams/floats some day. We’ll update as we go on this one.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… the daggerboard has been sitting under a tarp at home awaiting some reshaping work. We got the paint stripped and cleaned up the little work shed to tackle this, now that the weather is moving towards epoxy-appropriate warmth.

That’s an 8′ board in a 12′ shed, so the belly gets sucked in as one works. I’m pretty sure I built it to plan, but looking at it now, plus advice from the master Shipright during our Nov/Dec haulout, we’re thinking it really needs more bulbous-ness at the leading edge. We made a pattern of the hull pass-thru at the bottom of the boat while it was on land, and that is now transferred to a plywood cutout to use as a “don’t add more than this!” guide in this project. If anyone has ideas on how to attack this such that I work symmetrically, I’m all ears. Step 1 will be blocking and clamping it up on the trailing edge (leading edge pointing to ceiling) to at least be able to eyeball it. Here goes!

PS. Last time we reported on shore boat #1. Tonight I’m thrilled to report my dear sis Allie joined me on a trip to the SUP shop in Santa Cruz to look at VESL brand paddle boards. She was hooked and bought one while I shopped. Next thing I know, she’d bought mine too! Now that’s family love right there :). We can fight over the paddle board and the loser gets off Ravenswing via the portabote.

At 10′, the SUPs stick out the back of our new pickup’s 5.5′ bed, which of course sounds like an excuse to look for truck racks.

It was a bittersweet goodbye to the amazing diesel X5 bmw, but this Ram with the eco diesel v6 is powerful, comfortable and has averaged 24mpg over 6k miles, half of which were towing a 6,000lb trailer across the country. Yea, that’s my testimonial Fiat-Chrysler. You got this one right.

Summer sailing

IMG_4706This is why Mark Twain said the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. When that central valley convection machine revs up and the fog backfills, we head out in to COLD breeze. Charlie and I saddled up in warm jackets for a mid July afternoon.

IMG_4710IMG_4711IMG_4708Grey whales were in town; every day numerous boats headed for the Golden Gate Bridge area. We had 20+ sightings, some very near the boat over by Baker Beach, and some with big fluke flapping activity. Very humbling to be around the biggest of beasts.

 

A few days later dear sister Allie came to visit. Leslie joined for a warm afternoon sail between Richmond and San Rafael / Tiburon. Jeanne practiced her tiller steering, Leslie focused on sail trim, Allie soaked up the warm sun and soft breeze, and the build-finisher just sat back and reveled in the nice day the ladies were enjoying.

IMG_4719With two great sailing days done, it was back to work on various upgrades.  Thanks again to Darren for calling out the bogus sheave choice (it was a salvaged halyard exit box) that was galling aluminum on steel as the mainsail clew pulled the outhaul side to side. This led to a re-think on the boom-end sheaves and line-guiding. Much cleaner now…IMG_4744At launch time last year, Dean rigged up some long skinny lines to turn the outboard when needed, and everyone who’s sailed the boat has hassled with them. I decided synchronous motor-with-rudder steering isn’t necessary, so we’ve skipped the complex solutions (ahem, Carlos & RickWS :). Kudos to Charlie for this very simple idea – turning blocks mounted inside the motor carrier box, and jam cleats up at deck level. Works perfectly as intended!

IMG_4743IMG_4742Another (potentially dangerous) annoyance has been the lead-angle of the mainsheets into their winches. The lines come in a bit high, and if we’re not careful it has caused override jams. A bit of staring and thinking realized the approach is all wrong, and let’s change the angles both vertically and horizontally. These cheek blocks are now installed, and will be test-sailed tomorrow:IMG_4741

We’ve had some big wind in the marina, making work-on-the-boat afternoons tough. See the blue tape on the hardtop, where the boom hit by accident. That fiberglass repair was done under duress of a stiff 20+ knot wind kicking up whitecaps inside the harbor. I actually got a bit seasick hanging off the back installing those motor steering lines. IMG_4745So with the summer chill in the bay, we said a big YES to Jim’s crew call for the 2017 Southern Cascades Regatta at Howard Prairie Lake above Ashland, OR. Headed up I-5 past Redding, thanking the inventors of automobile air conditioning… (ignore the speedo please)IMG_4764Look what we find on the road in Talent, OR – our never-fell-out-of-love Origami!!!IMG_4758When Jim took her back home to OR from Sausalito three years ago, new sails and a number of cosmetic must-dos were diligently tackled. This F27 is doing great, 26 years after launch, in full fighting form.origami under spinThe race committee put us in the Open Centerboard class, ironically making a well-sailed Lido 14 our primary competition for the weekend. We traded bullets through six races, and the final tally was a single point apart. Before we get to that, remember that mountain lake sailing often means waiting for the wind to fill. Trust me, there was only one boat in the regatta with portable cabin-top speakers blasting Crazy Train and Highway to Hell, trying to get the wind to blow. When that didn’t work, we buzzed the race comm, Ultimate 20 and Laser fleets with Kenny Rodgers karaoke. Apparently The Gambler was the ticket. kenny rodgers karoikeAfter enough screwing around, we focused in on clean racing and managed to bring home a nice first place trophy for the skipper. It’d been a long road of “first to finish, but you lost” handicapping, so this regatta win was sweet.  Thanks Eric and Jason for good times!first place

Back on the bay, Ravenswing sits ready in her slip for a weekend of sailing. It’s time to focus on coastal transit preparations, and submitting that BajaHaHa entry.  If any locals want to join Jim and Charlie for a sail Sunday, give us a shout. We’ll introduce you to our humble mascot – just right with a thrift-store price tag and balsa wood featherlight stance. IMG_4739PS – I can hear you from here, singing “son, if you don’t mind me sayin’, I can see you’re out of aces. For a taste of your whiskey, I’ll give you some advice…”

online again…

Hello followers of Ravenswing,

Thank you for not “unfollowing” during the three month hiatus of this site. We had to put the boat and sailing aside for the spring due to our housing issues, land-travel and business focus. The Carters have been juggling a lot of balls in the air. So it was very nice to get back on the water last week and we’ll get you some sailing shots in the next post. Today we’ll pick up the story where we left off in April.

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with the bowsprit installed (see it hinged over to starboard in the first photo) we hoisted the reacher on its Coligo furler for the first time. Everything checked out, but it was a struggle even at the dock in zero wind to get the furler attached and keep the sprit from collapsing into the water. We snugged everything up and took it sailing. The sail worked fantastically – this thing will be an easy to fly, high performance friend of the boat. (but the color turned out too close to Dodger blue!). After setting new ‘personal best’ boat speeds up near 20kts on flat water in the south bay, we went to furl and drop the sail on deck, but the pole fitting at the bow gave way again putting the furler under the boat at speed. Such a mess and I was convinced on the spot to re-think our bowsprit pole deployment orientation. We’re going with the tried-and-true style that served so well on the F27 – inboard pole end pivoting on the vertical axis. So we’ll put away the lovely aluminum cone for another boat some day, and it was back to the chop & table saws, grinder and drill press to fabricate some heavier aluminum tangs.

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In the last photo, the piece with the empty hole thru a plastic bushing is waiting to get bolted to the existing tangs on the bow of the boat. All this isn’t ideal, as we’re now having to turn the whole works 90 degrees, but i think it’s strong and won’t look too bad. Now we have to shorten the whisker stays to fixed lengths (they were adjustable in the original configuration, and change the bobstay from fixed to a block & tackle purchase system. More splicing to do this weekend.

We also squeezed in some minor interior work. Jimbo will enjoy the new in-counter garbage can, made as light as possible with scrap fiberglass cloth. IMG_4474IMG_4418IMG_4417

Joe and Vanessa found a clever way to ventilate under boat bunks – use rigid landscape matting that creates airflow channels. Plus it gives a slight bit of cush to the works. Love this stuff! (self-reminder to pay Joe our share)

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After this Jeanne and I went to the foam store and tested out various formulations, ultimately choosing a very nice six-inch tall piece that feels pretty darn close to a luxury home mattress. The foam store owner was surprised by the precision of our cutting pattern – most people just ballpark it. We explained the training of years with Farrier’s plans – no shortcuts! She got a laugh.

So the boat sat basically untouched in May and June while …

we flew to VA for Colin’s college graduation – he’s a nationally licensed Paramedic now – so proud :).  Then drove 2800 miles to Boulder for Griffin’s 21st birthday (yes we did some scotch / whiskey introduction that night).  Bought four new trailer tires for the tiny house unexpectedly in Cheyenne.

IMG_4623the boat-builder made two more trips to South Africa for business (but did squeeze in an animal park visit one weekend :)

IMG_4652and headed back into the Sierra for board-member duties with our Trails Stewardship group in running the Lost & Found Gravel Grinder bike race, including perilous remote countryside stops for the sweep van driver.

But most importantly, June was our time to change homes. Our Santa Rosa house is still under repair, now targeting a mid-August finish, but not for our re-occupation. We’ll sell it asap because we’ve relocated to Novato, CA to a comfortable house on an acre with lots of fruit trees, gardening and north-bay views. There are two guest rooms for our sailing friends, plus the aft cabin on the boat 25 mins away, so just let us know when you’re coming to visit.

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Taking a break from unpacking boxes, I snuck down to the boat only to find Ravenswing covered in bird poop, looking very sad. Two hours of hands-and-knees scrubbing brought back the shine, and she’s finally back sailing here in July.  Lots still to do before we head south in October (or possibly mid Sept) to be in San Diego for the start of the Baja HaHa at Halloween time…

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Who really ever finishes, anyway?

Dad, Joe and I stood on the Federal dock in Sausalito, joining thousands of fans watching the launch of the Matthew Turner. IMG_4319

Pretty sure we showed you this build in progress a couple years back, and it was truly amazing to see the community coming together to create a tall ship the old fashioned way. They recorded something nuts like 150,000+ hours of volunteer labor. We visited the build shed many times, but I always had to sit on my hands and not pick up a tool, because if I had, Ravenswing would have taken ANOTHER few years. So it became a quiet little footrace in my head instead. Gotta Launch Before the Turner. And it turns out to be another example of best intentions, but we put our boats in the water before they’re really done. Something about that expensive shop rent generally creeps in…

The Call of the Sea Foundation will have an incredible flagship soon, with the Matthew Turner as a working classroom. Check out this organization, what an amazing way to spend some vacation days.

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We used the rainy season to tackle the ‘bolt-on’ things that needed finishing and painting. Our damaged, empty house has become a paint studio. First we splattered orange highlight all over, and most recently it’s been grey and white for the interior redo of our little Nash travel trailer. The tree fell on the house exactly FOUR MONTHS ago and reconstruction has still not begun. Damn you, State Farm, for dragging the builders through a painful bidding process. But, complaining aside, decent looking boat parts have finally emerged for installation. First up tonight is the bow sprit.

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That’s the extreme forward end, with Keith’s beautifully machined and anodized aluminum doughnut. The spinnaker tack is exiting from inside the pole, and the ridge surrounding it holds the two whisker stays and bobstay.   Here’s the to-the-boat end:

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Spin. tack exits the pole and runs along the deck. The little blue line wraps around the delrin receiver at the bow. Drew was right, this small line did not hold up to the windstorm last week, and was replaced today with a bigger piece of dyneema. Finally installed this afternoon:

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Keith, the bobstay is perfect – thank you! I like the luggage-tag bottom end, and we’ll keep an eye on it for chafe against the bow stem. The delrin receiver at the bow definitely needs to be pinned to stop unwanted rotating; need to do that before we hoist the sail. I’m very concerned about how we’re going to get the reacher furler installed and removed underway. Farrier’s plans call for this pole to swing to the side, but it’s unlikely the setup will reach far enough for handling the extreme end. Eager to test this soon. Thinking of adding a centerline bow cleat dedicated to the two adjustable whisker stays, so we can easily move the pole tip side to side while standing on the bow. There’s a built in backing plate just above the captain’s forward berth, itching to be used.

Mrs. Carter called the ball on the hard top paint, and the orange highlight rocks!

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Sharp eyes saw six little dyneema loops sticking out of the orange top. Those are attachment points for a solar panel. No bolt holes needed now. The bits of rope were pulled through drill holes then flared out on the underside, and epoxy sealed.

If you go back to the February picture of us driving bundled up, you see the original height of the radar. Which would have sent microwaves into our brains. So thanks again to Sewell Mt. Bob for the windsurfer mast offcut that became a radar tower extension. Got it all painted and delivered to the marina. I set it down on the pavement while getting other things out of the pickup, and a little zephyr knocked it over. Nasty ding in the foam core and fancy paint:

IMG_4304That photo is the next day, back at home for touch up, interrupting work on the Nash (aka tinyhouse). A few days later, it was back to the boat, this time carried carefully.

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Just under the radar we’ve mounted two LED deck lights, which really flood the place with great work illumination. They can also be pointed up at the sail for visual signaling at sea.  It’s a lot of light for small power burn.

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Seeing the engine gauges reminds me we figured out how to change the motor oil with the outboard leg lowered down into the dinghy and a bucket. But suzuki does NOT make it owner-serviceable to change the oil filter. Argh. going to need to research that one, as I couldn’t find it poking around the various powerhead components (20hp 4 stroke EFI).

The steering is officially finished with the simplification project. Just a big ‘ol orange tiller now, with molded in receiver for the extension handle.

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The helm is extremely responsive and direct-feel. Time will tell if we’ve made the right choice, compared to all of the elegant, elaborate steering systems on the other F36/39’s.

For the note-to-self file, our new orange color (steering, bowsprit, dodger) is equal parts of these two Interlux colors. The Brightside one part is much softer and will wear out faster than two part Perfection, so next time we’ll look to see if the better paint comes in red and yellow.

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For my friends out there who will still be building F36/39 float hulls, perhaps you can make your center compartment soles early in your process. There have been many painful sessions doing various jobs finishing the floats, painful because of squashing ones feet and legs into the sharply pointed float bottoms. We have now built proper floors, and will enjoy them for a long time. I just wish we had done it BEFORE the big chainplates, beam sockets, hardware prep, etc. jobs.

We had to clamp up a 2×4 extension to the 8′ lamination table in order to make 99″ x 16″ floor sections. IMG_4305

Then in the hulls we ripped some of the leftover original cedar planking for 35-degree flooring sills. Puttied and taped those down and let them cure for an afternoon. IMG_4359

Note how they’re asymmetric to the hull shape. If we had done this job back in the build shop, we probably would have made it all parallel. But in the floating boat, we realized, hey, let’s make the soles level for user-comfort! We’re not going to permanently install these big boards. They’ll just rest on the stringers so things can be easily cleaned underneath, or even removed if we’re crazy about racing weight someday. And yes, we took a little more time to make bilge-access panels (that still need some primer).IMG_4360

Unfortunately, you’re seeing some mold spots on the right side of that photo. The floats get excessive condensation buildup, so we’ll add some solar-powered vent fans to the hatch covers this summer.

OK, that’s the update. Hopefully we’ll get back to more frequent posts including more sailing action reports. Congrats to Drew for driving his F27 Papillon to WINNING the Doublehanded Farallons 2017 multihull fleet. After hearing his great story, he suggested this year’s Delta Ditch be Raveneswing’s racing debut.  That’s a fine idea, Mr. Scott! Time to apply for that PHRF rating…

I know I promised the lithium battery system description – stay tuned, as Anton edited my schematic today and it’s not quite ready for prime time. Getting close.

Locals, let’s go sailing next week, once the rainstorm clears out. Maybe Thursday afternoon. Let me know if you can make it.