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.

Pounding on the ocean

Don and I set out across a glassy SF Bay today, looking to learn more about the boat’s new electronics. With only a few knots of breeze we could focus on selecting navigation targets and pointing the autopilot in the right direction, given the strong ebb current and a big ocean swell coming in the Gate. (And yes, the radar works fine after that 90degree rotation last week). But out on the ocean, past the Pt Bonita lighthouse, we found some wind. We headed out to the Lightship buoy, where large ships pick up their bay pilot about ten miles outside the bridge. With apparent wind in the mid teens, a big northwest swell and a short period southerly wave train, a couple of the tacks were launch conditions! Kudos to Don for a) not freaking out when we slammed down off some waves, b) not barfing, and c) learning to drive in waves big enough to affect the wind angles on the sails. I did not test the autopilot in that sea; will need another session for that. Once we turned for home there was just enough wind for a bit of surfing. By the time I got this video rolling we were back across the SF bar and the seas had flattened out.

Jim, it was a really good confidence builder day for what’s ahead this summer. Except it was probably warmer, with a beautiful blue sky.

Got to use a new steering stick today, which worked great.

That’s a carbon 5′ model, but not the $325 one from Nacra. Instead, in cartersboat style, “ah we can make that much cheaper!”

First up, a $14 filament tube from Tap Plasticsthen a 6′ piece of tubular braided carbon from Soller Composites (easy find online) for about $10, and $13 of their tubular shrink wrap. Rough sand and alcohol clean the tube for epoxy grip, then slide on the carbon and zip tie the ends to hold it tightly in place. Make a big mess by hand messaging the epoxy in to the weave. Be very manipulative- remember my rant a few months back about properly saturating carbon cloth.

Slide on the shrink stuff and heat gun it. DON’T make my mistakes (ahem, Waltonsmith) Try with a broken heat gun then revert to a torch which burns holes in the plastic Or order a size too big so it doesn’t actually shrink quite enough. You’re supposed to simply peel away the plastic after the epoxy cures and have a fine finished shaft. Or around here, like everything else, you add an hour of sanding to your life.

The end fitting was repurposed from another stick, so that was ready to go. We then splurged on a sexy SF Giants orange baseball bat grip tape. You’ll just have to see it.

On Monday this week we traded in our too-heavy dinghy outboard for the shop owner’s personal (read really well maintained) 53lb, 9.8hp tohatsu. That’s an amazing power to weight ratio, and this is a game-changer for getting it on and off the boat, and into the car for local rides. Drew will note the very clean spray area (this is after taking out the wedge – mine did better without it but maybe because of no cav plate finds yet?)70lb Lola and I had the Takacat up to 17kts, so this feels plenty fast for Ravenswing’s excursion boat. I told Jeanne we finally had this item on the list properly sorted.

Got to race last Sunday on RickWS’ 44′ tri Round Midnight. The weather was ominous but we stayed mostly dry and kicked some ass. Rafi’s F31OneDesign looks great out there. Our boss in red, and Carlos the XO of the boat. I was very excited to finish a few seconds ahead of the new fully foiling tri. We have two of them here so far and hopefully SFBay becomes a showcase of this new tech. But this race wasn’t enough wind for them to fly away from the rest of us. (Check out the helmets!)We finished the day headed back to Rick’s Oakland dock with a close up of a huge container ship. The tugs are tucking it in between the others under the cranes.

Finally, thx to bro-in-law Joe who was working today on the Santa Cruz 50 but made time to snap Ravenswing just before the wind piped up. First time we’ve seen this perspective and we’ll look forward to action shots this summer!

Pelagic Magic

Yea! Got to drive the boat back in to the harbor by pushbutton today. That means the Pelagic Autopilot is working.

Let’s pick up the bracket build from last week. The triangle gets its center panel. Then it’s down to the boat for a trial fit.

Another couple of days for epoxy curing to bond in the brass carrier bushing and some fairing work, and today it was ready for install.

Yes, those holes in the deck near the bottom of the bracket are from the first bracket attempt. They’ve been epoxy-putty filled but can’t get repainted until the weather warms up.

Today was actually the second try using it; the process lasted just a few minutes the first time when the vertical tube bracket proved unworthy. But on that day the controls seemed really screwed up, and the problems repeated today. The machine seemed to have port and starboard reversed, despite all attempts to run the compass orientation routine. A quick phone/web search got a number and in just a few minutes I luckily caught the inventor who diagnosed the issue as reversed polarity – just switch the power wires to the drive motor. With no traffic and light wind in the Richmond Channel, I hopped to the swimsteps with screwdrivers, and five minutes later fired it back up to perfect functioning. The video clip here is flat water and only a light breeze, so the results were perhaps easy to get. It’ll be great to really go test this thing with full sails and some nasty bay chop.

For the Presidents Day holiday we pumped up the Takacat in Sausalito for some zooming around. Found F27 Papillon on her way back in from the Potato Patch, looking good. Drew had his 10yr old son and an Opti sailing friend driving the FBoat. LOVE to see the magic being passed along to the next gen. :)

A few of you have been to our house in Novato. Who knew we got lake front property? The hi volume rain storms have created this across the street…

It’s flooded Hwy37, closing it westbound for five days now. I write to you tonight listening to the traffic of a four lane highway now diverted right by our bedroom. This sucks. Maybe I should just get up and start building a boat dock by the full moon.