Boatyard punchlist

Ravenswing came to the Spaulding Boatworks yard for minor repairs to the deck and port float hull from the mast fall. We had a small list of “well, while we’re here…” things to do. 

First up was maintenance and installation adjustments for the engine. In retrospect we should have bought an extra-long (30”) shaft, to get the propeller lower in the water and avoid some of the cavitation we’re experiencing in waves. With some surgery we could lower the motor 2.5” in its mount box. 


Then we bought longer control cables to facilitate routing them up higher out of the way in the equipment room. Also changed the lower unit oil for the first time; it was in good shape after the break in period. 
The big task turned out to be a redo of the escape hatch. It had been installed with the hinges on the forward edge, but when it opened, the swing was deep through the water. Also, the hull recess didn’t properly match the metal hatch frame, and I had offset the hinges a bit to compensate. Which of course had led to some water getting past the seal at high speeds. So what we thought was to be a couple hours maybe for hinge adjust and reset turned into a job across four days. The hull flange had to be chopped 3/4” along the top and then that offcut bonded down on the bottom edge. Then the hull had to be rebated around the hinges for the new (proper) swing pattern. We think the hatch will just clear the water now when opening. 

Those pics show you the new black Petit Trinidad bottom paint. Gone is the snazzy white look,  but this proper bottom black looks pretty serious. And we paid the yard pros to do a real boot stripe this time. (Straight, unlike our amateur wavy job last year).

We’re tackling our daggerboard vibration / howl issues in two ways. First is stopping the slop when the board is down. The trunk is 88milimeters wide inside, except for the top and bottom three inches that had extra glass wrapped over from the deck (and hull bottom) into the trunk. The hull builder did that for strength, but not to the plans, and it made the opening only 81.5mm. I made the daggerboard head (via shims) just a hair under 81mm to fit the opening, allowing 6.5mm slop once the Board was down. So to compensate we ripped long 3mm clear fir shims to bond on each side inside the trunk. They got epoxied coated and painted on the workbench, then epoxy-putty bonded in. That was tricky; buttering the 5’ long pieces and carefully sliding them up into the trunk, not letting the putty hit until the placement was right. Four went on each side. Bottom paint still needs to be applied to these inside the case, up to the waterline. 

Part two will be some reshaping of the board, to be tackled when we take it back home after weighing the boat. 

Final finish paint to the deck repairs went on Saturday so we could launch today.  But a 9am call from the manager informed us that paint didn’t get warm enough and had glazed over dull. So they’re redoing it, hopefully for a Wednesday launch. Also meaning we still don’t have the boat’s weight for the mast builder. 

On Friday afternoon I helped the project manager attend to the 54-yr old hydraulic scale. Turned out to be a simple low-on-fluid problem. As the sun was setting we hatched our plan to check the calibration. Here was our victim. 

The data plate shows its curb weight at …6,970lbs. Crazy to think that little forklift weighs close to our 40’ x 28’ boat. Anyway, up it went

And the scale shows …

… a very accurate match to the tagged weight. Certainly good enough for our mast-build needs, and we’ll put this scale in the crane rigging on Wednesday. 

As much as we need fall rain, we’ve had enough to totally screw up this haul out trip so just another 36 hours sans rain would be great. 

Anybody wanting to go for a motorboat ride Wednesday, Sausalito to Richmond, get in touch.  

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It took 25 men…

Thanks for your patience everyone while things went quiet over here. Ravenswing has made various short daysails but we’ve had a lot of business and family commitments this fall. In mid September we convinced Charlie to tow his F27 TriChi to theSummer Splash multihull gathering in Southern Cal. After racing to Catalina, the skipper gets to anchor in a whole fleet of fast-movers.

It was a great weekend – thanks again Charlie and Jim. It was bittersweet to NOT have that be Ravenswing’s first coastal trip, but the boat was not at all ready for ocean work. In Marina Del Rey, walking thru the trailer yard Jim said, “hey, there’s a little MacGregor powersailer like yours in the ’90s”. I got a few steps closer, and dang if it wasn’t our own time capsule! Kind of sad that it’s sitting there neglected, but also a trip to see it exactly as we sold it 20 years ago. Weird. 

From LA it was ‘more west’ … at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum I was reading about the first Chinese junk that sailed to England in the 1840’s. 

And we thought Ravenswing has some heavy helm issues – imagine their nights at sea:

We don’t know how far sailing will take us, but the Hong Kong Yacht Club would not be a terrible stopover. 

Finally after 12 days in Asia humbled by the scope of port automation projects like this in Quingdao

attention came back to the boat. Thinking more about the heavy-effort steering, we realized that in building the rudder cassette we didn’t compare the F39 plans’ for gudgeon height above the water to our custom F36 stretched stern. The result is not enough forward rake ahead of the pivot point, so all the water force is transmitted through the tiller. See the red line drawn on the rudder here – that’s how much surface area in the water should be ahead of the pivot.

Here the straightedge shows how much we actually created (the left edge)

So now we will make a permanent shim inside the cassette that tilts the rudder to achieve this

Good news for the folks who’ve helped on this – there’s enough room in the cassette to make the needed insert, and hopefully not cut in to the amazingly strong and complex carbon work. 

The other major change is to walk away from the linkage & pivot steering system. We reported 2+ years ago about not believing a simple straight tiller to the rudder would work.  But we haven’t been totally happy with the gear, and decided to mock up a simple tiller approach:

Charlie and I strapped this junk in place and pulled off the dock to find out if the tiller can swing far enough side to side between the tower legs. Yea! The boat can still spin in its length and is sufficiently agile at various engine / hulll speeds. The existing gear actually lets the rudder turn too far, causing stalls or being a brake. We’ll set up the new tiller for soft landings on the tower legs to safely limit the rudder travel. That’s the new theory anyway. 

A question for the engineers / experienced out there- what shape will make the strongest tiller that is narrow side to side ?  We want the maximum distance throw up against the tower, so a skinny tiller is important. Charlie’s suggested some type of carbon I-beam configuration. Square tube? Round tube? What do you think?

She likes her boat 

That’s the co-owner in the purple hat, enjoying her first sail on her new ship. And how nice to share the day with her pal Leslie!

As a student sailor, Jeanne asked for a job aboard but I countered with asking her to get a feel for the boat on all points of sail without worrying about techniques or traffic. Charlie came to sail (already the Ravenswing veteran co-driver) and RickW sailed aboard for his first time. 

The Marin waters provided ideal sailing today – flat seas, lots of boats to catch, breeze to charge upwind at 9kts, and full sunshine. With lots of hands aboard, the owners got to relax and check out various places to sit. Jeanne is the first to sail from the aft swim steps, and it’s a great little spot. With the jib reefed, the clew is up high yielding lots of comfortable foredeck. Compare last week’s photo with this and see we got the excess sail properly tied and zipped in to its cover. 

Full main and reefed jib is very comfortable with apparent wind in the teens. So much to learn about trimming this mainsail; here it’s getting better but you’ll see we couldn’t get halyard tension:

If you can zoom in to the top you’ll see SOMEone attached the 2:1 block for the halyard to the wrong spot on the fancy Skateaway Design headboard, so we lost 5″ of upward travel. Fixed that back at the dock afterwards – the day was too nice to stop, douse the sail and redo it underway :)

As we headed for Sausalito I wrestled my tiller away from the guys and spiced things up with a full charge up the channel, way above the motoring speed limit, dodging all forms of watercraft. The crew anxiously called out every boat and paddle board as if I was a blind man, but we kept on to go get a view of Tom Siebel’s Mod70 tri Orion, Sig45 open deck luxury racing cat, and huge Protector with four 300hp outboards. Wow does that guy put millions in to the sailing habit. 

So while the super rich have staff to keep their boats expertly tuned, the mere mortals have to solve their own heavy weather helm. This morning we installed the shims on the daggerboard head. Definitely tightened the board in the case, but it didn’t help the rounding up. So now it’s on to making rudder changes. Rick is concerned the trim tab may be to blame, and we’ll get the original rudder painted this week to try on Labor Day. We’ll make a new spacer to push the top of the rudder aft and the bottom forward; the axis point may be wrong. Still a worry to solve this nagging issue. 

To cap the day we headed north towards San Quentin in a breeze that did some gusting off the Marin shore. Rick was driving, with his handheld GPS as a speedometer. It’s like a drug, you just want more knots… The water was fairly flat so we cracked off to a reach and hit the gas pedal a bit. 14kts was pretty easy. That’s her new ‘personal best’, and only a reefed jib and baggy main luff

But the best part of the speed run was Jeanne in the cabin enjoying the excitement from a comfortable window-side couch; we’ve come a long way from scary wet rides on the F27. 

Tinkerers, let’s hear your thoughts on the noisy dagger. It’s shimmed and it got that slanted trailing edge a few weeks ago. At 14kts it makes a bloody racket. How are we going to quiet this down (without hiring MOD70 Orion’s shore team)?

A sailboat on a day like this in a place like this is hard to beat.  Leslie’s getting a big view of the Oakland / SF bridge; it’s your turn readers, just drop us a line. 

We shouldn’t be fabricating on the last day!

Fish or cut bait, so they say. It’s time to go sailing, even if a few interior trim details aren’t done, or the plumbing isn’t 100% complete. But the last shop / building day began with making custom clevis pins for the steering system. 1/4″ SS rod here getting cotter pin holes then cuts to eight 2-3/4″ pins …

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So while Install Steering was intended as a one hour repeat of work done many months ago, final parts and tweaks took all the way to 3pm. All good now and the steering feels great – the water will be the real judge.

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During the daggerboard edge refinishing we also squared up the bottom to a nice knife edge. I am further incentivized to keep this thing from touching ANY underwater obstacles. No repair hours, please.

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And here it is yesterday, painted and heading up on deck. This is NOT a trailer boat :)

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We got in on deck and stood it up to drop in to its trunk, but after repeated tries / angles we couldn’t clear the roof. We’re not confident that the dagger shape is the same as the cutout in the hull bottom, and if we need to enlarge the slot we need to know NOW, with time to rebate and re-epoxy. So Jeanne and Griffin made patterns from the actual daggerboard and we messed about enlarging the slot a bit tonight.

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Epoxy seal went on tonight, primer in the morn and new bottom paint tomorrow and Sat before launch. That’s cutting it close.
Leslie took a whack at the motor controls and this all mounted nicely. Looks easy but the cables and wires passages through the boat were tough. Many more hours chewed up there.

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So that’s a wrap, and transport activity starts in the morn. The must-do punch list is short, and bigger bolt-on items can come later in June and July.

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If the logistics go as planned (boat hull fits on the trailer, for example) we’ll be floating by Sunday. Let’s hope all the wheels actually roll this boat to the water! Stay tuned.

Working the punch list

So it wasn’t great planning, but the boat builder took off for the mountains a week before launching, leaving his dear wife and friend to tackle 100’s of fit&finish details. THANK YOU, ladies :)  Griffin and Greg supported the racers of the Lost & Found Gravel Grinder, including driving the 100 mile sweep land cruiser to pick up stragglers, fix bikes, etc. Great event from an outstanding organization – Sierra Buttes Trails Stewardship.

Last week’s boat work highlights:

The pulpit got it’s feet cut from a multi-layer laminate of 1708DB cloth, then bonded on to the tubes:

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The bolt holes in the hull were finished, so we can launch without the pulpit and take time to finish and paint it later, then it will simply bolt on at the marina. Done for now!

Leslie got to build her first vacuum bag composite parts. We tackled the companionway hatch boards.

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that’s medium density (5lb) foam, with high density foam inserts for the lock areas (yellow foam). Inside face of these boards is some extra heavyweight carbon uni plus a glass surface layers. Outside is kevlar cloth with a glass wear cloth outermost.

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These probably won’t get done this week either, so we’ll whack something temporary out of plywood, and get back to these post-launch (see the pattern here?)

The mast base came back from welding working out exactly as planned. I was worried about aligning the holes for the big pins to hold the halyard turning sheaves, because of that 7 degree rise we talked about earlier. But once back on the bench it was obvious that the holes were in 90 degree alignment. So a few hours of careful drilling various needs and Griffin’s excellent wire brushing, and this was handed in for anodizing. The daggerboard is done too, so this will all get trial fit Wednesday.

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Ever since Jim Antrim designed the rudder’s self-steering trim tab, we’ve avoided the problem of how to affix the tab to it’s steerer tube. No metal-to-composites solution seemed to make sense. One day recently Charlie and Geoff visited, and we brainstormed up a fiberglass pin solution. So the other day, facing one of those, “well, just gotta go for it” moments I started drilling holes in a rudder that would cost at least three grand to get replaced by a pro.

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There you see the tab separate from the rudder body. One carbon tube was built in to both the tab and the rudder (above). Now a second tube slides in but has to get affixed to the tab and stay loose-fit in the rudder body to rotate. The red rod is fiberglass that we cut to make 3 cross-pins thru both tubes in the tab area.

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these plugs got little carbon ‘butterfly strips’ glued over the top to keep them from sliding out, then they were faired in. (note to self – next post record the exact placement inches, and remember the tiny divots that mark the pin centers in case they ever have to come out).

Griffin shared the load on doing the bottom paint. I was so “over it” from all the fairing and primer work, so it was great to have a partner to crawl under the boat and paint about 2″ from one’s face. It all looks good, so of course now I want to make a bit more time to burnish it in to a fast racing bottom this week!

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(there just might be a bit more orange showing up soon…)

This road has been long enough for each of the Carters to pass four birthdays during the build. No more teenagers to launch this boat!

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Three more days in the shop to finish up steering, motor controls, daggerboard install, and paint for rudder, stern tower, beams undersides and companionway details. All that and a lot of little finish things (like 1/2 the plumbing!) make it a crazy home stretch. Charlie has the game plan for logistics in Napa, so now we hit the gas for a Saturday boat assembly.

PS – no shop time was sacrificed in the making of this post (typed as a passenger riding back from Sierras :)

State champs!

Gratuitous cross promotion here as we can’t help but shout about niece Molly Carter’s high school varsity lacrosse team winning Northern California state tournament this week. The final game saw frequent scoring, lead changes, many minutes tied, capped with Novato breaking the 9-9 tie literally as time ran out to win the title. Fans rushing the field, dogpile of players, people crying – the whole enchilada. Molly played a lot of minutes as a freshman, so it’s big shoes to fill in the coming years :)
Here with her brother Mack and the champs medal.

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Back at the shop we had a big weekend of putting stuff together. There are 7 thruhulls; 3 below the waterline and 4 drains for sinks and pumps. First some BoatLife bedding caulk…

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Press them in, deal with the backing plates and nuts inside, and wipe away the excess goo. Came out fine.

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The only regret is buying the mushroom head fittings instead of the flush heads. That call was made over a year ago because I was insecure about cutting the 45 degree chamfers. In retrospect it would have been pretty easy. So here’s a tiny bit of robbed speed we’ll suffer.

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We’re also tackling any last fabrication parts, including this plate inside the cabin that holds the daggerboard down-force turning block inside the dagger trunk. This will get carefully sealed and primed to avoid electrolysis as much as possible.

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Luis in Lisbon asked about the opening ports. These are Lewmar Flush Mitre #3s:

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20160523-184549.jpg they don’t really match with the wood trim inside, but we’ll love the ventilation and they look good blending in with the smoked Lexan from the outside. Also, these windows get more obscured by nice fabrics coming. Way to go Jeanne and Leslie for a whole Saturday of magic with foam blocking.

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Patterns are being made for these pretties…

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Now that the labor for hardware is done, we’re happy to have invested extra time in making backing plates, cutting individual bolts to fit in to acorn nuts, etc. The trim is looking pretty good according to recent visitors.

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I’ve only ignored Keith’s excellent advice once, which was him saying it’s not worth building a pulpit. I haven’t had good luck with schedules, costs, etc with welders, and since the mast base is out for ransom right now we decided to utilize on hand materials and knock this off the list with labor. It also means we can feel ok about it as an experiment, and modify/change sans-guilt later.
Grabbed some thin-wall (schedule 200) 1″ PVC plus 90degree PVC conduit bends and epoxy putty / light glassed them together. Decided to use the heavy carbon uni we had purchased to make a bow sprit long ago. And the leftover 5oz uni 2″wide roll for spiral hooping around the uni. Then cover it with a light fiberglass sleeve and this nifty shrink-wrap tubing from Soller Composites in New Hampshire (ok, we did spend about $30 on new materials for this project)

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Here it is part way thru the heat gun process. The film shrinks 2:1, spurring away bubbles and leaving a nice surface.

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Because these are working from a 45 degree bend, it was pretty easy to line up the foot cut and site these on the deck.

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There is also a cross bar intersecting the forward slope tubes, ahead of the forestay. Along with structure strength, it will catch the lowered furled up reacher.
Tonight we’ll make a sheet of three layer 1708DB that can then be cut in to four of these ‘feet’

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We’ll show you in a few days how the feet become bolting flanges on to the tubes.
Meanwhile, the daggerboard is getting a bit more shaping love. After applying Coz’s clever guide tool, we realized that the port size was a little flat compared to starboard. Now THAT would have slowed things down. So we’re being careful with this shaping job (that should have been done last year!)

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If you’re following this story and want to be around at the beginning of the boat’s water life, come on out. The basics are:
Fri June 10: morning: drive beams trailer to Napa then set floats on ground at Napa Sea Ranch (launch site). Deliver mast to Napa Valley Marina (a few hundred yards away). Evening: take empty boat trailer to Santa Rosa and transfer main hull from shop dolly to boat trailer.
Sat June 11: drive main hull to SeaRanch. Lift and bolt beams to hull, on trailer. Lift floats up to waiting beams. Install engine and nets. Expect at least all day.
Sun June 12: finish boat assembly items. Go to marina and dress the mast (halyards, diamonds, shrouds, etc)
Launch the boat!
Monday June 13: motor to Napa Marina for mast stepping.
Go sailing, God willing.

Let us know if you want to details/directions/a role in the process.

The new boat will first dock at Charlie’s house on the Napa River, and within a few days make its way into the bay for a summer dock. Probably in Richmond but we’re still poking around. There will be MANY “sea trials” sailing days and you’re all welcome to come along. We’ll be posting times via this blog, so sign in for updates if you haven’t already.

18 days to go. And the list is still long. I have an evening of tanks and hoses to go join together!

T – minus three weeks!

Ok friends, start your countdown timers ’cause we’re setting the launch date for the June 11/12 weekend. Many self imposed deadlines have come and gone over the past four years, but today we can actually see the finish line. While y’all are grilling, drinking, riding, sailing, etc for Memorial Day weekend, we’ll be hitting this punch list hard.

20160518-224539.jpg That’s the list on the shop white board, and of course there’s another dozen or so items in the margins of the little orange notebook the builder carries around :) (eg fix the flat tire on the trailer holding the beams out in the driveway)

All deck hardware is just about buttoned up now. About an hour more of securing a few more bolts to go. Ventilation should be good inside, with three deck hatches, the two companionways, a dorade up front, two opening ports in the main cabin, two in the bow, and three in the aft cabin.

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The all-stainless steel purchasing for sailing hardware has Jeanne appreciating the “boat bling” look. All this stuff cost about like buying decent gold and diamonds, but hopefully the enjoyment per hour is well spent on the sea side of the equation.

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Last year we wrote about concerns of the captive-pin mast base, especially after seeing the same design as our mast’s step having cracked on the Contour34 tri. Recall the Keith at Skateaway set us up with a receiver cup at the bottom of the mast. Yesterday we finally tackled designing and building a replacement mast step. Farrier’s F39 plan isn’t quite right because he has the halyards on either side of the receiver ball, while we built our mast for them to exit just aft of the ball. So we used Farrier’s load solving but did some shape changing. Things were a bit tricky because the deck slopes about seven degrees off level and we want the ball to sit close to level with the water. Here’s the one we’re replacing. Missing in the photo is a high density plastic insert carved with a cylinder to accept the round steel pin from the mast. Note the old piece is stainless steel.

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So first on paper, then mocked up in wood. The plywood chunk at the left represents the deck slope.

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Next was sharp blades on the chop saw and table saw to cut shapes and make the 7 degree bevels needed. Ouch, $125 for about 2-1/2 sq feet of 1/2″ and 3/8″ 6061 aluminum.

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Took about three hours last night to cut and sand/grind everything in prep for the welder this evening.

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The welding shop was happy to get things properly prepped, with 1:1 scale drawing and a wood go-by mockup. We had left the proper 1/4″ fillet weld spaces at the seams – overall not bad for first time amateurs. Then the casually noted, yea we can do this in two hours; that’ll be $280, sir. After that it’s a stop at the anodizer, and this will be a $500+ part even though we designed it and cut it all out. Geez.

The bow area got its last big job, the forestay installation. Thanks again to Colligo for custom cutting this in titanium. Kind of a pity it’s hidden down in the hole. Keith will note the nice big ring nut to anchor the jib tack adjuster :)

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The bottom paint isn’t on yet because the thru hulls aren’t installed because one had to be special ordered from Forespar, etc (see how this works?), and we don’t want to mix up bottom paint until the daggerboard is also prepped. Last winter recall the America’s Cup foils building vet Cozmo pointed out the flaws in my dagger leading edge (“you know that sag will be slow, Carter” has been haunting for months ). He instructed on setting up a straight edge and re-fairing. Here goes: first see the problem gap.

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And got the leading edge of the board back to a straight line up and down.

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A quick phone call with the foil master tonight confirmed the next step is to make a careful wooden shaping jig cut from a proper foil leading edge shape (have that shape in the Farrier full size plans). He said we only need to worry about getting the right leading edge rounding, and a properly symmetric first three or so inches shape flowing back. So the jig can be short-legged, not pulled all the way down these very large daggerboard sides. A few more hours this week to go.

All the hardware backing plates are pretty woods inside – more photos next time- but anything outside is plastics. This 3/4″ high density stock from Tap machines very easily to make spacers under the rope clutches.

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This is the stuff we’re doing each evening now as the push to finish the list heats up. Very excited for Saturday when Jeanne and Leslie measure all the seating areas and map out the cushion foam we’ve been squirreling away for a couple years :). Curtains begin this week too. Yea!