Tuesday, 24 December 2013

2013 Sailing Slideshow

Some pictures from the sailing trips we went on in 2013 have been put together in a slideshow accompanied by music from Jim Fidler. Have a look.

To read about the voyages,:

Trip 2:
See "A Good Day Sailing" below.

Trip 3:

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Closing the 2013 Sailing Season

All good things must come to an end, as they say, including the boating season on Notre Dame Bay. It is not unheard of for us to experience a snowstorm near the end of October, but generally, we don't have to worry about winter conditions too much until December.

Some people prefer to get an early start on winterizing their boat, and have them high and dry before the end of September. I like to squeeze a bit more out of the season, and wait until the middle of October. This year, however, I intended to be one of the early birds so that I could get a jump on some projects to get me in the water earlier in the spring. That didn't happen.

The full moon in September shines down on Serenity.
Things can get busy at work in the autumn. The boat trailer had to be prepared. A crew needed to be arranged, and the tide had to be right. Launching the boat from the trailer is a challenge, but we have that pretty much figured out. Getting the boat back on the trailer is always an exercise in frustration that sometimes takes days.

Every year I try something different to see if that will be the fix. One of the problems is the location of the winch. Instead of pulling the boat forward, it pulls the bow down. This keeps the keel from slipping into the guide, and also does not pull the boat all the way up. There is always a gap between the bow and the v-stop.

The plan this time was to attach a 2x4 with a block on top to the trailer to raise the angle. I could also operate it from the cockpit, keeping my weight off the bow. Measurements were taken in the spring while the boat was still on the trailer, but the thing was not put together until it was time to haul out.

Boat hauler experiment. You can see how far the bow is from the stop.
I'm not sure if this setup helped or not, since there was still trouble getting the boat on the trailer, and it was still resting too far back on the trailer once the weight was on. The winch was attached too, and it must have been too tight, again pulling the bow down. This setup will be modified by sistering the other 4' section of the 2x4, with it 6" higher. An eye bolt will secure the block's snap shackle to the new board. The rope could be taken around a cockpit winch too, if required.

October 26. Preparing the boat to come out. My dock was removed for dredging.

Anyway, on October 27, a month late and after much fooling around with the help of everyone nearby at the marina, we did get the boat out of the water and up into the parking lot where it could be pressure washed, and the mast dropped.

Serenity looks tiny compared to most of the other boats.

Getting the boat home involves about a 10 minute drive, but doing the final winterizing took a few more days, with weather and other distractions, like work. It was not until November 10 that I could declare Serenity ready for winter.

Tarped over and netted, fluids drained, trailer blocked.

Now a list of projects for 2014 can be written up, and plans made for future trips. It is also a time to watch sailing videos on YouTube, and browse the online marine stores for gadgets the boat absolutely must have.

Friday, 2 August 2013

A Good Day Sailing

On Friday, August 2, 2013, before 0930, three boats went out for a day of sailing. Peter (another one) and Jim were aboard a Bayfield 25, Steve was solo on his Challenger 24, and I was single-handing Serenity.

Departing Lewisporte

Jim is fairly new to sailing, and restored a 1960s era Alberg 22 after he semi-retired. This is his first season using it. Peter has been sailing about 70 years, and taught most of the sailors at our marina, as well as many in Ontario during the years he lived there. This was an informal training session for Jim. Steve has not been sailing all that long either, but he gets out on his boat fairly often, usually alone, so he is a competent sailor.

Shelby Lynn and The Dog House

This was my first long trip aboard my PY23 since 2008, and I'd made a few changes since then. I was also towing my dinghy, and that was a new experience for her. Winds were light as we departed, but I managed 3+ kts for a while. This didn't last long, however, and we had to fire up our engines to keep us moving.

Serenity and I, with Shelby Lynn ahead. (Photo by P.W.)

We had no set plans, just to follow the wind, and be home around dark. We considered going overnight, but the forecast was calling for showers on Saturday. That will have to wait for another time.

I'm slipping behind. (Photo by P.W.)

We were sailing in the Bay of Exploits, which is contained within Notre Dame Bay, on the NE coast of the island of Newfoundland. This is where I grew up boating. The waters are fairly sheltered, with many islands, and lots of safe harbours. The Lewisporte Yacht Club has about a dozen moorings scattered around, making it convenient to stop for a meal, or a night.

Shelby Lynn and Serenity motorsailing. Tiller-Tamer set, I'm able to stand at the mast. (Photo by P.W.)

The water is deep too, and you can sail right up to some cliffs. There are a few hazards, but keeping an eye to the charts will keep you in safe waters.

The Dog House sailing by Shag Cliff Island

We stopped for lunch around 1300 at Western Harbour, South Samson Island. It is a very sheltered harbour, and so popular that the LYC has 4 moorings in there. We rafted up on one. There was already a 40' sailboat on another, and a large power boat came in just before we left and took the third. I forgot to get pictures while I was in there, but did just as we exited.

Motorsailing out of Western Harbour

From this point on the wind began to fill in from the east. We tacked our way through the tickle between North and South Samson, emerging on the other side to about 10 kts. Serenity peaked at about 5 kts, with the inflatable in tow, and I was pleased with that.

We had a good time sailing across the run to Intricate Harbour. This was my first time entering this cove, and it lived up to its name. There are rocks and small islands all the way in, so you have to snake your way around. No hidden surprises, however, so if you don't see it, you are probably ok. This is where we had supper.

Rafted up for supper

We could feel the wind picking up while we were on a friend's mooring, and looked forward to a good sail back home. Steve switched to a smaller sail there, and I should have reefed either my main or my jib at that time too, as it had become quite a bit rougher than we had experienced up to now.

Intricate Harbour

After exiting Intricate Harbour at around 1900, it was a fairly straight shot back home down the main shipping channel into Lewisporte, called Sloop Run. Winds were generally on the beam most of the way, at about 15 kts. There were lots of whitecaps, and a fairly big chop building with the 5+ NM fetch across to the nearest shore. There were no pictures by me from here on. Handling the conditions alone did not allow for such distractions.

After motoring out, I put up the main, and decided against using the full jib, so I ran up close to shore for some shelter, and put in the jib's reef. It was an ugly jib, but it was smaller. I need to find a better way to reef it. The unused portion at the bottom was dancing around all the way in. At least the boat was balanced, heeled over no more than 15 degrees, and was often hitting 6 kts, towing the tender and with both outboards still in the water. I saw over 7 kts on the GPSr at times, as we caught a wave to surf.

Shelby Lynn enjoying the breeze as the sun begins to set. (Photo by P.W.)

This is where I most enjoyed the trip. It was my first time in such conditions aboard my PY23, and I was pleased how she handled it. Being the smaller boat, and having stopped to reef, I could not keep up with the other two, but we were comfortable, and making good time for us, the boat and I. About 1/3 of the way down the winds started to drop out, and my speed went from 6 to 5, so I let her drift while I rearranged the lines to switch back to the full jib. This was also a good time to lift the main engine out. We gained our knot of speed back.

By the time we were halfway down the run, daylight was diminishing. This was part of our plan, as we wanted to give the new guys some experience sailing at night. I was well behind by now, so the Bayfield came back to check on me, and also to extend their time on the water. It wasn't long before I was being pushed around by waves I could no longer see, and following the red and green lights which guide ships into the harbour.

Our route - clockwise

Then, like a switch turned off, the wind was gone. I had to drop the outboard back into the water and motor the rest of the way in, with the stars overhead. It was close to 2330 by the time I was secured to the dock, and after midnight before the boat was put away, and I was ready to head home. I could take some more days like that...

Monday, 29 July 2013

Engine Support

Serenity came with an old Mercury 6 horsepower, 2 cycle outboard. It was unreliable, required mixing the fuel, and the short shaft allowed the prop to lift out of the water when someone went forward. After having the engine cut out several times while trying to dock, a potentially dangerous situation, I went on the hunt for a new motor.

Original outboard and bracket. First launch in 2006.

The boat is small and light enough that a 4hp will do under calm conditions, but this being Newfoundland, calm is uncommon. A rule of thumb is 1 hp for every 500 pounds of displacement, so another 6 would have been fine. The deal I found, however, was on a new, but old inventory, Johnson 9.9 hp, long shaft, 4 stroke.

This new outboard weighed almost double the old one, and the original adjustable bracket struggled. The springs did little to help with lifting, and it had a lot of play which sent vibrations through the hull. Another upgrade was required.

In 2008, a new bracket was installed. This model has much heavier springs, making raising and lowering the motor almost effortless. It also has more substantial arms, so vibration transmission is lessened. I just should have bought one with longer arms. If not careful with positioning, the prop liked to take chunks out of the rudder.

New outboard and bracket in place. Preparing to launch in 2008.

I noticed a bit of flexing in the transom with the new setup, so in May of 2013 I decided to beef up the support backing and push the bracket back away from the rudder with a wooden spacer.

That 3M 5200 was difficult to unstick!
A test fit.

The block of wood extension was coated in Cetol, and then given a couple coats of epoxy.

Generous amounts of sealant were applied to the new 2" straps, and allowed to mostly set up prior to installation. I hoped it would help a little with vibration isolation.

New aluminum straps with sealant applied.

Accessing the nuts requires crawling into a cockpit locker and laying on the hull. It is a tight squeeze, and an unpleasant task for someone as claustrophobic as me.
The original straps

New straps, with the old ones on top. A significant size difference.

Then everything was bolted together with some fresh 3M 5200, and I was ready for another season.

Serenity now had a much more suitable engine bracket, better reinforcement for the mount, and the propeller was pushed just enough away from the rudder that I was no longer chipping little pieces out of it.