What do you call the remote office?

Working from home? Virtual desk? We’ve realized it also means working on your boat at your house but your boat’s in LA. The final pre-Mexico punch list includes time on the sewing machine. Recall last month leaving the Golden Gate, the Pacific ripped away our Lifesling bag. Too stubborn to spend $100 for another bag that will just degrade in the sun, we watched the Sailrite how-to video. Came out pretty good. At least making it custom allowed for a better attachment technique. It will now be secured over a stern lifeline.

The forward V-berth has a nice foam mattress but it’s been a total pain to try making it up with normal bedsheets. Step one is a set of proper cushion covers. The co-owner had earmarked a roll of upholstery fabric for giveaway. It was the perfect amount!

The pile of stuff to take to Ravenswing grows. Doing our darndest to cancel anything truly unnecessary. But things like the water filter, dinghy lock, smoke detector, new solar panels and the Iridium satellite comms fixed antenna gotta come along.

The prior post left you wondering how the upgraded solar panel mounting would turn out. That went well, although it did take a couple more days. Here’s that “trough” of glass/carbon cloth put to use:

That’s 24 little feet, 6 per panel. It all seems quite secure now.

That work session also included marking the entire 340′ anchor rode in 20′ increments with bright yellow spray paint, and setting up the anchor bridle semi-permanently for easy, frequent deployment. Quite happy with all that now.

The cut, fair, paint job to remove the old steering bracket got finished. Looks like it was never there. The cockpit sole got a sanding and repaint. That was really bugging me. Happy now. Also finally painted the emergency escape hatch, and added more neoprene rubber to stop the little bit of super-annoying leak.

Also in that photo note the solar shower heating up. Thank you Drew for the tip on a better, bigger one. Hung from the boom and with an extended supply line, this provides an excellent hot water flow thru the ventilation hatch overhead of our shower stall. I actually had to wait until the evening to use it because it got warm. Around 105F, like almost too hot to bear hot tub. This will do just fine until the boat goes to cold weather places.

An earlier sewing job had been a cover for the Bimini. That fit fine and looks much better than the beach towel we used on the Cal coast sail. 

Here’s one for Dan, who valiantly tried to reboard the boat from the water in Catalina. That’s when we realized a proper ladder was urgent. That came out less than a pound, and it’s not going to rust / corrode.

And we finally got to hoisting the tiny (storm) jib. Although it was only with zip ties as hanks, I think this thing could work well above 30kts, so we’ll make up the needed 8 soft shackles and keep it aboard. Keith, I’m rigging up a 4′ long pennant, putting the tack of this thing a foot above the bagged primary jib. But looking again at these photos, maybe it needs to come lower for the right sheeting angle? Hmmm. Overall, it’s about half the size of the primary jib’s reefed deployment. So I’m thinking it’s for steering during basically bare-poles kind of days.

RickH, thank you again for the generous repurposing of your folding bicycle. It is VERY happy in its new place. It’s very light, yet rides close to a real bike. Fantastic for getting around San Pedro during the week spent working down there. I think it’ll be great to have in Mexico. We’ll do our best to fight off rust!

Right now we’re many hours in to setting up the Iridium Go satellite communicator. This stuff is expensive and confusing, but once it’s working we’ll have telephone, texting and basic email service anywhere. We’ve purchased through PredictWind so that weather forecasts will come to the boat wherever we are. This is a really exciting development. We’ll try hard to have the tracker system running for those who want to follow Ravenswing progress southbound. Stay tuned.

In between work days we hitched up the land yacht and got up the Mendocino coast. What a peaceful place. This girl was diggin’ the picking at Ft Bragg’s Glass Beach. That’s a little silver lining to everybody throwing their trash in the ocean 50 years ago. Yep, they just dumped it over the cliff for a very long time.

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.

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…

Future Crew

Say hello, sailing world, to Westley. Born perfectly yesterday, 10lbs, giving our sis / his Mom a run for her money. His Dad Joe is a sailing captain, mom owns a Santa Cruz 50, Aunt & Uncle with Ravenswing; well let’s just say he has some sea miles ahead of him.

Westley doesn’t need it yet, but the rest of the crew wants the toilet back. Work proceeds.

Second coat of paint went down today, and all the new hose routings were cut to fit. One more paint coat and the plumbing reinstall this weekend will put the head back in business.

Highly-credentialed multi-huller Jeff visited with his soldering iron during a road trip this week. He donated these resistor boards to the lithium battery cause, and did expert wire connections. what you’re looking at (the green circuit boards mounted above the batteries) are charge balancing modules to regulate the pace at which the four “cells” of this battery bank rise in charge voltage. The risk in an LiFePO4 bank is the cells getting out of voltage balance from their neighbors, and potentially ruining sections with out-of-range values. With these little control boards, when one cell reaches 3.6volts (its full charge), the incoming voltage is converted to heat in those blue resistors. That cell is effectively bypassed from further charging while the others catch up. That’s as simple as I can say it, but there’s more going on with the numbers. It’s a crude version of a Battery Management System, and we’re judging it sufficient for our solar-only gentle charging regimen. Coming up soon we’ll install the CellLog that monitors and alarms each of the four cell voltages that get out of range. That will complete our safety installation.

We found some time to get back to the navigation system. Today was the first time to fire up the radar dome since purchasing it from a San Juan Islands f-31 about five years ago. Anxious moments when we hit the power button on the chart plotter…

And with zero operating knowledge or adjustments, up came…YESSSSSS! As soon as the autopilot install is done, we’ll get out and test/tweak/learn all this gear.

Final carbon work on the autopilot mount:it’s bonded together now, faired and primed. Paint coat tomorrow if this rain departs for points east.

Last Sunday Dad and I were on the Bayshore freeway and I thought I spotted a huge mast. On the way home, we exited towards the Oracle campus, on the hunt for Dogzilla. Visitors to our Santa Rosa build shop might remember I had this boat’s photo on the door for inspiration those years.

We all know what it took to build our new 54′ mast. This one is 223′, got used for one regatta, and now serves as a statue. Now that’s rich-guy extravagance.

Finally found the right bird

For whatever reason, it took all these years to finally find a style for carrying the boat name out to sea. We’d get close, but disagree a bit as a couple, and put down the pens for a few more months. This afternoon the co-owners instead struggled with getting the vinyl transfer done. But then you set down the squeegees, step back 20 paces, and enjoy the view. Hope y’all like it. We do :)

Protect your daggerboard with a crash bumper

Ian Farrier’s plans provide for a very strong daggerboard trunk that extends all the way through the boat from the deck to the bottom of the hull. The rectangular head of the board fits snugly inside the rectangular trunk, holding the dagger steady under sail. But what happens when the dagger strikes an underwater object? Ian designed in a weak point into most of his board’s plans, ie they shear off at the hull line rather than rip apart the trunks from the force of the blow.

Now go back a few posts to trimaran Skateaway. Keith designed in a big wedge behind the daggerboard, sitting inside the trunk, that acts as a shock absorbing bumper. I think it’s about 5″ fore/aft at the bottom, and tapers going up. He claims that in 20 years of hard sailing in shoal areas where groundings are common, the system has worked flawlessly in protecting both the board and trunk.

Recall a couple of months ago when we reshaped our dagger, we cut 1.5″ off the trailing edge to get a better aspect ratio (more upwind lift). But I also did it to make room for a shock absorber. After a full Saturday at the boat yard, we spent an hour on the garage floor… (dang, I miss having a workshop! I wonder if Fram / Henny has that problem now too?)

That’s four layers of 12oz biax glass to form a trunk-length strip for holding the shock absorbers.

We had ordered a 6″x6″x3″ block of neoprene rubber (60 durometer) from McMaster. (Forget that 10% tolerance on the website; this thing was dead-on the advertised 3″ wide). Tablesaw literally burned rubber like an American Graffiti outtake.

These relief holes are a key part of the shock absorption. The rubber is heavy and expensive, so we compromised to this amount which will protect the board from about 2/3 deployed through fully deployed. Further up in the case the bumper is backed by wood blocks, ie what we had on hand.

It slid just right down the trunk, behind the dagger, glass side out.

The black plastic plate is affixed to the bumper, and the plate simply screwed in to the upper rim of the trunk. From the bottom looking up, you can see the lowest rubber bumper and the glass plate behind the dagger. The dagger exit slot is about 2″ too long now. We didn’t have time in this haul out to fill in the gaps. Maybe next time, for max underwater efficiency.

Don’t worry that the board looks off center in the photo. It was being forced to one side at the time.

So, to you F-boat plan holding builders out there, I challenge you: Ian’s not here to debate it with us, but why not make room for a bumper in your dagger trunk? The auto industry figured this out in the 70’s. At least we can hide ours. Make your case two inches bigger? Reshape your dagger to get a 9:1 aspect ratio. Ian designed the F36/39 board too long fore/aft for its width. Today’s foils have proved it. So perhaps fill the rest of that case with this idea!

Back when we launched Ravenswing, Charlie made an excellent CrazyCrane in the back of his pickup to help us get the floats into position on the beams. This time we needed a way to get the dagger up and down a couple dozen times for all this retrofit work. We’ll just call this one DingleDerrick. I asked the yard boss to just leave the huge crane over the boat for the weekend. But he said no, there’s no boom brake and the wind is being weird lately. So they craned up two hideous old horses on deck and pointed me to the woodpile. Got to love the DIY boat yard.

They even let me play with the gas powered pressure washer, and the boat bottom got blasted clean. The above shot has the dodger in its new top-sides matching grey. Warning here to never use the one part Interlux Brightsides paint for mixing bright colors. Our 1/2 yellow, 1/2 red Ravenswing Orange faded severely after just one summer.

Three hard days done in the yard. Labor Day is easy – applying the new graphics, running some solar panel wires, swapping the engine prop then bugging out to celebrate Dad’s 81st. Last month we finally got his boat out of her slip for a much needed shaking of the cobwebs. Selfie time…

Those smiles were a pretty good recovery from what we found upon entering the cabin that day.

I’d heard the expression “the floorboards were floating” but never really got it. Amazing what a dripping prop shaft seal and failed bilge pump can do in a few weeks unattended! Sorry Dad, I’ll stick to my three hulls / no lead setup :)