Skateaway for sale/sail

Y’all have read our frequent references and thanks to Keith at Skateaway Design for his help in outfitting and optimizing Ravenswing. Today we’re going to talk about HIS boat, Skateaway. I had the pleasure of visiting Keith & Val’s waterfront property on the NJ coast for a sail on their catamaran and a thorough walkthru of the amazing trimaran Skateaway. They had successfully built other ocean boats before this, but Skateaway seems to me to be a life-achievement project. Rarely do you see someone think through their use-objectives, design to those needs, personally build in very high quality, execute and refine year after year, and actually use the object for many enjoyable years.

This boat is light, strong, seaworthy and fast. Fully outfitted it sails at about 6,000lbs. Geez, that’s 3,000lbs LESS for 4′ longer than Ravenswing, and our boat feels rather sporty. There’s a long list of racing accomplishments available. And it was a treat to look at the photo albums of Val’s documentation of the building process.

Here are two walk around videos of the boat:

The interior is clean, comfortable and simple. Everything inside is about as low maintenance as you can get; it’s meant to go sailing long distances and not spend time fussing with gear.

Look closely and notice details like the dining table storing up on the coachroof, with a simple thumbscrew to bring it down in position. The bunks look great. Secure at sea, and your choice of daylight up in the wing areas of central cabin or snug in the forward and aft cabins.

Head is in the fore peak. No thruhulls or tanks needed = light weight and easy to maintain!

The cockpit area seems like a serious ocean safety place – it’s actually twin stations set very deep alongside the massive spine of the boat.

Clearly Keith has sailed many miles here and optimized the sail handling controls for solo or short handed work. It all made sense immediately looking at it. And he’s spared no expense on keeping up the finest hardware on this boat.

I was very interested in the rig, as Skateaway was one of Composite Engineering’s earlier big-trimaran custom carbon mast builds. These are the people building our mast, and we’ve also seen the quality of their work on Rick W’s Explorer 44 Round Midnight. These stiff, light, strong masts hold sail shape so well, making the boats very responsive to their sails. Skateaway’s mast is 58′ and has been through a couple of upgrade cycles. It’s currently outfitted with high end Hydranet sails.

What a treat to get to know this special boat. After so many successful sails, Keith and Val have decided to sell Skateaway. At this point he says they’re ok ‘de-tuning’ the whole high performance gig in favor of the cruising cat lifestyle.

Skateaway needs to find that special buyer; the sailor that wants serious ocean performance along with no-frills amenities. This is a pure sailing craft with seemingly zero regard for today’s distractions like fancy swim platforms, dolphin-watching bow seats, big hard dodgers, etc.

Who do we know that wants to do a major solo ocean race, or super fast minimalist cruising, or jump right into campaigning a crewed boat in coastal series? Help me get the word out for Keith about his one of a kind beauty boat. She needs to make another tri-mariner very happy. Send your comments and I’ll pass them along. Thanks!

PS. Next time we’ll update you from the visit to Composite Engineering, 10 months into Ravenswing’s mast re-do ordeal.

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All fair now

Yea, it took a couple of months to modify the daggerboard because there really wasn’t a deadline and we worked on it only when convenient. Here’s the end of the fairing process, almost ready for primer.img_0277

and finally into Interlux Perfection paint…

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Keith, I’m quite happy with the final shape:

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Final step will be to measure for the standing waterline inside the dagger trunk, and paint the bottom 1.5′ or so of this board with the same bottom paint (Petit Trinidad) the hulls got in November.

Well since we can’t go sailing, we keep our eyes open for other water fun.  Last week Colin led us on a hike along Yosemite Creek, originating about 8 miles north of the valley. It was pretty great to experience the creek growing with every little stream tributary feeding in. img_0336

After three hours of hiking we saw the acceleration towards the falls…

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Then you get to the cliffs’ edge, and hang on tightly to the railings. We had lunch with this Raven, and I was trying to get a photo of it taking off, still working on the elusive just-right artwork of “Ravenswing” to paint on the float bows of the boat. img_0319

And over the water goes, dropping 2,400′ to the valley floor. Griffin had never seen Yosemite Valley – getting their from the top down was an amazing experience – highly recommended!

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Visiting the park during waterfall season is magical. If you’re in to water. :)

Next up on Ravenswing is touch-up painting around the new starboard side port lights (windows) – recall that repair from a few months back had to be suspended because the weather at the marina has been too cold for the LPU paint to ‘kick off’ and turn glossy.

And a big hurrah! to Arlene and Glenn for sailing their Lagoon400 cat Wahoo from the Caribbean to her new home on the Chesapeake. Sounds like they had a great 1,300 mile run northbound. Hopefully they’ll let us raft up at their swanky looking dock (nice house!!!) You can check out their adventures here:

https://wahoosailing.wordpress.com

 

Dagger Bagger

Sometimes it’s possible to worry too much about these projects. Last time we wrote of not knowing a reasonable technique for bulking up the daggerboard shape. After some careful measuring, it needs 5/16″ at the most, and most of the add will be 1/4″ or less.

We dug around in leftover building materials for some 1/4″ divinycel 80 (5lb density) foam core that had been saved for anymore interior panel making. Fortunately for timely efficiency (hard to get this stuff quickly) there was just enough.

The little pile of scraps was all we had left of three 4×8′ sheets from 2015.

Next we made a fresh vacuum bag with the last of the Stretchelon plastic, but it wasn’t quite big enough. So for a first, tonight we’re trying standard 4mil plastic sheeting from the hardware store. For a simple, flat part like this it’s working fine.

Thanks again to whoever dreamed up laminating curved panels under vacuum pressure. So satisfying to watch it work. This extra foam core will be very well formed on to the board.

Along with running out of vac bag film, we’re out of the fabric breather that lets air flow inside the bag, and soaks up excess resin. A quick web search at lunch today turned up an airplane builder who uses paper towels! He said use four+ layers. It was soooooo much easier to keep in position tonight, and nearly free. We’ll let you know next time how it worked.

In that last shot notice the darker seams in between the pieces of tan foam. That’s epoxy being forced up, and that will make the shaping process more difficult. The tools need to move between the hard glue lines and softer foam without gouging. There’s the downside of using all the scraps instead of single full sheets. We’ll just have to be careful.

Jim’s least favorite boat!

195F586A-0399-4B6B-9336-B76111DFBEE8The game plan for Ravenswing’s dinghy is the folding 10’ Portabote and 4hp motor we found “barely used” on Craigslist a few years back for $700. The plastic hull folds flat and secures nicely on the nets. But the original heavy plywood seats and transom were a big bummer. A wise man would have coughed up the $1700 at the boat show for a new one, but no, we thought “we can just quickly redo those in foam core!”  Well over a year later that little project finally concluded. Still need to install the replaced motor choke parts scavenged at Bill’s Outboards in Sausalito last year, then we’ll go find out if Jimbo’s little nemesis boat seems any more realistic as the voyagers’ launch.

If you’ve crewed with us, you know my pain about the one piece of gear placement that had unintended consequences. The main sheet base blocks  in certain situations bang directly on the hull. 7EEC58DD-7551-4FE8-825E-A52206012971Here we prepped the area to mold some Kevlar protection pads.

199CE6A9-BF32-48DD-9A31-863F85F90CF6290329F1-AE6E-4142-BAA9-72CE2920F60FThey’ll get some paint and then get sticky-taped in place.

Carlos and I motored over to the sewer pump out dock for the maiden attempt at that task. Of course the big pump was broken. Tried again the next week and up came the unmentionable flow, although just for a moment. After checking all the pipes I could not figure out the lack of suction, and decided to blame the marina for not really fixing the pump. A few days later the head compartment smelled a little ripe so I removed the inspection port cover above the tank area and grabbed a flashlight to peer down into the holding tank. OOPS, the nifty-idea sight glass that we bonded on the inside before permanently joining the tank sections had, of course, been yanked off its mooring the moment the pump got achieved enough vacuum, and will now live in the bowels (I’m not sticking my hand in there!!!). Luckily there was just enough clearance between the tank top and under the toilet shelf to slide a new piece of clear plastic and the right permanent tape to seal this back up. Yuck. 837DB4DD-7CDA-4FA0-A564-04CD62AD62C2We expected to show you new starboard side portlights by now, but the Bay Area FINALLY got some real rain so our al -fresco boat is taped up until the sky dries and sun warms enough for painting to resume. 0249F9A0-AEC7-4F56-B606-4A44B07A4CD3The word from MA is optimistic about our mast getting in to production finally. Haven’t seen photos of carbon on the mandrill yet, but we’ve been assured that’s imminent.  Meanwhile, to stay somewhat sane, we’re taking some rides on OPB.  Rafi upgraded from the Corsair 750 to a really nice F31 OneDesign, ex-“F-bomb” out of San Diego, now LookinGoodII and it’s fast as hell. That’ll get the other bay 31s to take notice. We had a very windy Sunday afternoon South Bay blast, and the mutinous crew demanded the new skipper figure out how to reef the large main :).

And a big thank you to skipper Bill of Dragonfly 1200 Emma for taking me as his crew in Saturday’s double handed Corinthian Race. I didn’t bother bringing the Sailing Instructions because the boat sports her own printer! I was expecting a gentleman’s leisure race, with the fine leather couches and all. Well, we had some issues with the electric winches and the scrawny crew’s muscles. Let’s just say that 65’ mast and big sails are a darn good work out. The appreciative skipper provided a nice dinner and snazzy new crew shirt, so all was well. Emma is a beautiful craft and we encourage all local tri fans to get out there with Bill when you can.

For followers of Farrier Marine’s Philippine progress, the F33 Carbon made it to SF and Gary Helms brought it to the Bay Area Multihull Assoc annual meeting. It’s for sale (295k) and absolutely amazing looking. 33’ of ocean ready rocket ship. Strap in and blast away!  Go talk to Gary!

Return to boat-building

Well, this post is dedicated to the folks who wrote when we launched Ravenswing they were sad the build-blog was over.  The silver lining of losing our first mast turns out to be an opportunity for a fresh crack at “getting everything right”. I watch (via the web) other builders meticulously keep their boats in the workshops until they are truly complete; our path was different – we had enough boat to go sailing, and by mid 2016 we wanted out of the $925/mo shop rent. In retrospect it would have been a crazy push to get to Mexico last October. Here in early 2018, the boat-builder hat is back on and things are getting done with as-professional-a-job as we can muster.  When we finally step that new mast, Ravenswing will be ready for adventuring.

I apologize for leaving you hanging back at the boat yard!  Here’s what happened when we put that calibrated scale in-line under the launch crane:IMG_5143That 9,300 INCLUDES about 500 lbs. of liquids (water, gas and sewer) that were not able to be removed due to weather just before the haul out. Most everything else was aboard – full galley, all sails, boom and rigging, uninstalled wind vane and furnace. So we’re looking at 8,800 + 300 for the new mast + an autopilot, water heat exchanger, solar panels, 100 lb. dingy & motor.  So we’re in the 9,500-10,000lb. range “dry” all equipped.

The bottom job looks sharp! That’s two coats of Trinidad Pro back bottom paint. And we paid the experienced hands to re-do the boot stripe. All better now. IMG_5145IMG_5141IMG_5146

I’m happier with the way the stripe & bottom wrap from bow to stern. A little hard to tell from the second photo, but the aft end looks good now. IMG_5147IMG_5148

So what does “actually finishing the boat” mean?  This will be the story for the next few months.  Here are the cabinet / locker doors that were built in Santa Rosa then sat in storage all through our house moves, etc. Just need latches still. IMG_5186IMG_5184

About the mast:  we awarded the fabrication job to Composite Engineering in Mass. back in October. They had hoped to start by Thanksgiving week. But here in February our mast is still down their list a bit. Conversations re: timing are happening; stay tuned. Meanwhile, we have some parts that are being re-used so stripping what’s left of the old mast required some ugly butchery.

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A half hour of careful angle-grinder work finally yielded the permanently-embedded mast rotation ball receiver cup:

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This’ll get bolted to the bottom of the new mast, then the white plastic (delrin) cup inserted and greased to sit atop the mast step ball.  We’ll spare you photos of the mind-numbing job removing all 150+ Tides Track mounting brackets which we had painstakingly tapped into the mast mid-2015.

With apologies to those of you suffering severe winter, but it’s been pretty glorious in sunny CA. We set down the boat tools for a weekend of pruning the fruit trees and creating a new bed for raspberries and boysenberries (pretty sure Pop smiled down on us) IMG_4944IMG_4943

Colin got a brief break from his (fantastic) Raleigh, NC Paramedic job to come see the new home base. IMG_5155Just a bit after Ravenswing got back to her slip after the boat yard, the elder two hit the road in the travel trailer for five weeks. Spent Christmas in Raleigh (Griffin flew out), and  for New Years the boys tried their hands at some anti-aircraft duty on the USS North Carolina. IMG_5283

But I was most impressed with the helmsman’s job – seems one must have command of all the faculties when this is the view from your wheelhouse!IMG_5281

The USS NC played a significant WW2 role in the Pacific and is a really interesting museum – worth the drive.

So yes Ravenswing missed another Three Bridge Fiasco, but that was a wind-bust for most of the 350+ entered boats. Only three finishers, I think, two of which were our bay’s quick F25Carbons.  At least we still get to sail while Ravenswing awaits her spar. Thanks to Dad and his good ‘ol Catalina 30. A mellow November day aboard Maggie; sure beats shoveling snow. IMG_5140

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.  

From the bottom up

We launched Ravenswing last year from a trailer. Everyone has had the visual perspective from the water level, or up from a high pier. Today we got to see the boat flying overhead. And it was nerve-wracking!  Thanks to Drew, Dean, Joe and RickH for humor that helped relieve the tension.

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Those shots show the white Petit Vivid bottom paint after 15 months in the water. To be fair, we hadn’t scrubbed since the mast came down in August. But that paint is NOT for stay-in-the-water boats, in my opinion. This week we’re going with Petit’s Trinidad with Ingersol anti-foulant. It’s on a high percentage of boats around here. And we’re going with black, so the boat will look a bit different.

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The boat stayed suspended in the slings during the crew’s lunch hour, and then a proper power wash to get rid of the growth.

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That’s Bryce in the plaid shirt. He ran the huge old electric crane, and expertly taped off a new boot-stripe / bottom paint line for the crew to start on tomorrow. Basically, when we painted for the first time last year the brushes “listed aft” a bit. The bow is fine, but the stern is about 3″ too low (at least it was just-barely above the standing waterline).

What didn’t happen was getting a weight. The plan was to use Myron Spaulding’s 1963 hydraulic load cell, in between the crane hook at the slings. IMG_5095

Unfortunately it hadn’t been used in at least five years and was low on fluid. And the load cell must be laid on its side to fill, which wasn’t going to work with a four ton boat hanging from it. So we’re scrambling to find a modern load cell to rent/borrow before launching next week.

We walked through the dismasting repairs with Bryce and work will start tomorrow. While the boat is out, I’ll focus on daggerboard further fairing and trunk shimming, re-orienting and fixing the hinge on the escape hatch so it swings up instead of aft, doing some motor maintenance, minor stress-crack fixes to overly thick fairing areas, and if there’s time, get some graphics onto the float hulls.

New to the website here is a collection of videos. The page will always be up in the top navigation bar, and hopefully this link will work so you can see Ravenswing in mid-air today:

https://cartersboat.com/ravenswing-videos/