Tuesday, 10 November 2015

End of Season 2015

The weather has been generally colder this year than I can remember experiencing before. That certainly applies to this autumn. Previous years I've had the boat still in the water until November. This season I wanted to get it out as soon as possible, so I wouldn't have to worry about winterizing when it was too chilly. Work started on October 6, when the sails were put away and other preparations made.

October 6, 2015

The dinghy was secured on deck, and a few items carried ashore. Sailing time was over.

October 6, 2015

It would be the next week before the boat was hauled out. This was the easiest and fastest time yet. With the tongue extension, trailer guides, and roller extension in place, Serenity slipped much more easily onto the trailer. Then the hull was pressure washed as the sun set, but it had to stay at the marina for another while until some work was completed at home.

October 14, 2015

It was nearing the end of October before I had an opportunity to start rigging the system for lowering the mast. It was too windy, however, to drop it by myself then.

October 25, 2015

The Rust Bullet corrosion-control product I had applied before launching stood up better than the POR-15, but not as well as I had expected. There were a few places where rust formed on the iron keel, despite the 5 coats plus antifouling. Most of the staining looks to be flowing down from the join, so I'll have to see if there is more I can do there.

After work, on the first of November, the weather was fine enough to lower the mast, and bring the boat back home, although, it was getting dark.

November 1, 2015 - Mast down

November 1, 2015 - Serenity home

All that remained was waiting for a warm, windless couple of hours to put the tarps and netting on. That didn't happen until November 10.

Serenity is now ready for the winter. In the spring, I want to remove the excess layers of antifouling paint from the hull, and apply some fresh stuff. That job shouldn't be too time consuming, so I'm once more expecting to launch before the end of May. We'll see what happens in 2016, the start of the second decade with this little sailboat.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

2015 NDB Good Old Boat Regatta

The Cruising Club of Notre Dame Bay (CCNDB), in association with Good Old Boat magazine, held a regatta on the weekend of August 14-16, 2015. The original plan was to sail from the Lewisporte marina to a waterside restaurant in Hillgrade over Friday and Saturday. That route was modified after I suggested some alternatives during the final planning meeting. My suggestion was to spread the trip over Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday to make it more manageable for the smaller and slower boats, and also for people who had to work on Friday.

A possible itinerary.

The itinerary became Lewisporte to Western Harbour, South Samson Island on Friday, where all boats should be able to make it in before dark. As early as possible on Saturday morning, the flotilla would continue on to Hillgrade, with an ETA of between 1300 and 1400. There everyone would gather for a meal at the restaurant. After that there were several options, but the general plan was to start heading back, with an overnight in Moreton's Harbour. On Sunday the fleet could meet up in Western Harbour, Sivier Island, before completing the final leg to Lewisporte.

Serenity, Berdel, Timeless, Windrifter, PersuadeHer, Second Chance, & Dreamweaver.
Showa & Summertime.

As is usually the case with these things, it was difficult to get confirmation on who would be attending, and exactly what the finer details of the event would be. On Friday evening the boats in attendance on the LYC moorings were: Serenity (Paceship PY23), Berdel (Glen-L 30), Timeless (Moody 376), Windrifter (Mirage 27), PersuadeHer (Hunter 31), Second Chance (Bayliner 3788), Dreamweaver (Classic 40), Summertime (Bayfield 25), and Showa (Camper Nicholson 31). Each mooring group did their own socializing, but there was some dinghy shuttling between them.

Windrifter, Timeless, Berdel & Serenity.

On Saturday morning, a check of the weather forecasts had everyone reevaluating. There were to be stronger winds than had been previously indicated, with the possibility of showers, which would make the voyage somewhat uncomfortable, especially for the less hardy boaters. There was no hard rule that the flotilla must stay together, so while most decided to stay put, Summertime, Showa, and Timeless decided to carry on, and would meet up with Longwinded (Bayfield 36) underway. They had spent the night at Exploits Islands.

Summertime heading off.
Showa getting underway.

Timeless was the largest boat in our mooring group, and had been one of the first to arrive at South Samson. This meant that they were the vessel we were all rafted off of. Before they could be let go, all the rest of us had to hook up to the mooring, and ready lines to reattach to each other. I used my dinghy to feed the lines through the mooring eye, and and generally supervise the procedure. This meant, however, that I didn't get any pictures of Timeless leaving. Not long after hitting open water, Jim, aboard Summertime, reported back over the radio, that even well reefed down he was able to maintain hull speed. Their passage would be fast, but rough.

Blaine working on making Timeless ready.

This left six boats on the moorings. We had considered making the approximately hour long sail over to Exploits Islands, but eventually decided against it. Even though it was very protected from the winds in the harbour, it was still choppy most of the day. During the calmer periods people would row or motor around a bit in their dinghies. I had to go ashore several times a day with the dog, so I was getting lots of exercise.

From 9 boats to 6.
Windrifter owners Mike and Arlene.
Berdel owners Bert and Delcie.
Lucy the Sailor Dog.

One of the bad things about Western Harbour, South Samson is the lack of cell phone signal. It is weak and intermittent. Roxanne's phone was the most consistent, so she was our contact with the outside world. Via texting, we learned that Joanne and Steve Gill were going to sail out to join us aboard Shelby Lynn (Challenger 24). It was an unpleasant trip for them, but they arrived safely around lunchtime. Again, we had 4 boats on our mooring.

Relaxing after supper.

During one of my trips ashore with the dog, I gathered up some firewood so that we could have a beach bonfire in the evening. Members of our mooring group paddled over just before dark to get things going, and some people from the other mooring came shortly after sundown. Unfortunately, high tide happened at the same time, and made our seating area rather damp. After the fire, with wet feet, we rowed back to our boats, while enjoying the bioluminescence in the water from our paddles.

A fire on the "beach".
Shelby Lynn, Windrifter, Berdel, & Serenity.

The forecast for Sunday called for reasonable weather in the morning, but with winds increasing throughout the day, and the possibility of rain showers. With that in mind, 3 of the boats on our mooring decided to have an early breakfast and get moving. The others would follow later, as they were ready.

Berdel motoring back to Lewisporte.

Even though the weekend did not go exactly as planned, the event itself was a success. The first Good Old Boat Regatta in Notre Dame Bay brought together various types and sizes of boats to explore and enjoy our waters. We are looking forward to doing it again next summer.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Cruising with Troubadour

One of the things I like to do is take new sailors, and any unfamiliar with the Bay of Exploits, around to the various harbours, coves, and anchorages. This summer is the first for Tracey and Brad as sailors, and with their Nash 26, Troubadour.

For the weekend of August 8/9, we decided to do an overnight trip to Knight's Island. They would travel together aboard their boat, while I led the way solo aboard Serenity. With wind and tide generally in your favour, this is about a 2 hour run. On this day the wind was not of much help, and not being in a huge rush, it took us about 6.

Since I reached Western Harbour first, it was a great opportunity to practice picking up a mooring ball while alone on the boat. That went well in the calm conditions. Tracey and Brad soon joined me, and we went about making some supper. Somewhat tired after the time underway, we all turned in not too long after dark.

The next morning I awoke at about my usual time, and went about making myself some breakfast. Even after I was cleaned up and ready to get, there was still no sign of life on the neighbouring boat. Not wanting to disturb them, I disconnected the lines, and let go of the mooring. It was then that Brad poked his head up through the companionway to our shared plans and say goodbye. They would be another couple of hours. 

Clearing the harbour at about 0800, I was greeted by a grey and fog covered world. My boat has no radar or chartplotter, so I mostly rely on chart and compass for navigation. There is an old handheld GPSr, which I have had since 1998, that can hold a few waypoints and routes, but it needs to be setup again. I suppose I could also use the navigation software in my smart phone, if I needed to. Anyway, I always have a chart close at hand. For the first hour I also kept a close eye on all my safe compass headings.

Eventually, the fog lifted, and the world got a little brighter. It was a rather pleasant motorsail back to Lewisporte, and nice getting some use out of my sailboat. Along the way, a few short phone videos were combined into one covering the trip. You can find that here or on my YouTube channel.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

A Sail with Shelby Lynn

July 2015 in Newfoundland was one of the coldest and wettest in decades, so there were few opportunities to do much outside all month. August 1, on the other hand, was much more like a normal summer's day, and seemed to herald a change in the weather for the better. Lost sailing time had to be made up!

Shelby Lynn with Steve and Mike.

There was not a lot of wind, so both Serenity and Shelby Lynn were motorsailed. Bert came along with me, while Mike accompanied Steve. Our initial plan was to visit Western Harbour of Knights Island, but with our progress being so slow, it was decided to divert back through Birchy Tickle and make our stopover Western Harbour of Sivier Island. The important thing was to not be too late returning to Lewisporte, since the women were in the clubhouse preparing supper.

Bert at the helm of Serenity.

On a mooring at Sivier Island we had a little break and a lunch.

Various methods of avoiding the camera.

I made another attempt to do some videos. This time there is some narration. Here is heading out...

And here is coming back...

Room for improvement.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

A Sunday Sail

A little experiment. While out for a relaxing harbour sail, I decided to try shooting a video with my phone.

This could be the start of something...

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Slot Cover Check

It was a cool and overcast Sunday afternoon, but the winds were light. That made it a great opportunity to check the modification to the mast slot gate. Other things on the boat could be done as well, like running the reefing lines.

Result? The change to the cover is a success. Raising and lowering the main sail is much smoother now. The slides still get stuck occasionally, but I'm very close to finally having this issue solved.

Once the cover has the excess metal trimmed away, and made a bit better looking, the slides catching should be eliminated. After that the attachment holes will be retapped, and two small stainless bolts will replace the brass screws.

It was an enjoyable and successful couple of hours on the water.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Keel Rust Repair - Take 2

Serenity has an iron keel which can rust, and must be protected from the air and salt water. Back in 2007 I coated the keel in POR-15. Perhaps my preparation was flawed, or not enough coats were applied, but after a couple of years rust started to bubble through the antifouling.

I'd just pressure wash off what I could, and cover it up with antifouling paint to get another season. After a while the amount of iron being lost became a concern, and it was time to tackle the job from scratch again.

Doing some "research", I came across a different product called Rust Bullet. It wasn't in stock at the local marine store, so a week of waiting was required for it to be shipped in. In the meantime I did some other odd jobs on my boat, and helped out on boats at the marina. It was also a good time to get a head start on grinding the keel.

Not wanting to have to repeat this job any time soon, I took the grinder to the iron ballast three times in total. There was as much exposed metal as I could uncover, and it was looking a good deal smoother. Then I scraped a wire brush over everything, and wiped it with a dry shop cloth. From there three coats of Rust Bullet were applied, after waiting at least four hours between them.

There were a few bumps in the surface from blown dust, dead flies, or whatever, so I decided to do a sanding before the final coat. The instructions recommended letting the product setup for 72 hours before doing any smoothing, so it sat like that for three days.

When sanding time came, I'd been late getting home from work and we were having occasional showers. During a break between the precipitation, some supplies were found, and I crawled back under the boat where it was still dry.

The first job was to knock down the high spots with a scraper. Then, from my limited inventory, a course belt from a sander was used. To finish it off, a mesh sanding strip was placed in a block and everything given a good going over. It was looking pretty nice at this point, and ready for more paint, but daylight was fading.

At my next opportunity, two more coats were applied, for a total of five. Once dried a few hours, the boat was towed down to the marina. While waiting a day for the final coat of Rust Bullet to dry, the mast was stepped, engine and rudder attached, and various other little jobs completed.

The next day, while on lunch break from work, I bent on the sails, and generally got the boat ready to launch. That evening, the scant amount of green antifouling remaining in the old can was used up patching the upper edge, while the new blue antifouling paint went over the freshly sealed iron keel. No one would see the clashing colours once it was in the water, and the green will all be scraped off when the boat comes out.

Launching the next day didn't go smoothly, as per norm. The nut fell off the jack wheel somewhere along the way, and the bolt slipped out on the ramp, essentially acting like a flat tire. Someone had a small hose clamp we used to hold it in place to finish launching. After checking the boat for leaks, and making sure the motor was working properly, we moved over to the dock.

Next up, tuning the rigging, and making the boat ready for sailing and living aboard.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Mast Slot Gate Evolution

There is an opening in Serenity's mast, about half a meter above the boom, for feeding the main sail slides into the slot, and it has been a source of aggravation since I have owned the boat.

The gate/cover the vessel arrived with was just thin plastic with a narrow metal bar and a single screw holding it all in place. It was next to useless on anything but the most windless of days. Whether raising or lowering the sail, the slides would pop out. This often left me struggling to get the main up, or dealing with sail all over the deck.

After a season or two with that, I used some galvanized metal, to cut a suitable piece and tried that as a cover, using the same screw and strip as the plastic had. It was better, but still would not keep the slides in place with very much wind blowing.

Two years ago I bought a small piece of aluminum, shaped it to the mast, and tapped holes for two screws. This was the best and most solid solution. Then I had the main sail refurbished, and new slides put on. These slightly different slides liked to catch on the opening under cover, once again making raising and lowering a struggle.

One of my jobs for this year was to modify the cover to allow the slides to slide more freely. What I did was make two cuts into the plate, and bend it into the opening until the inside edge lined up with the inside edge of the slot.

This is currently untested since the mast has not been stepped yet this year. If it works, I'll improve the look of the plate and call the job finally done. Watch for a follow-up in a few weeks.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Trailer Improvement

One of the issues with the boat trailer is the location of the winch. It is much too low, and forces Serenity's bow down when hauling out. When the trailer comes out of the water, the boat is then sitting too far back to be safe. That means rigging up something to pull the boat forward before dropping the mast and driving home.

Last year I used a couple pieces of 2x4 to make an extension. With a block on top, a line could be lead from the bow back to the cockpit. This may have helped the situation, but the truck brakes failed on the ramp, and the situation got a little messy.

So, to helpkeep the bow up where it belongs, I decided to raise an existing roller by a few inches, so that it actually touched the boat. It was just a matter of drilling some holes in some steel, and bolting it all together.

I'll paint is all later, but now I'm one job done closer to being able to launch.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Launch Delayed :-(

I really wanted to have Serenity in the water before the end of May. It would not only extend the sailing season, but get the boat out of the way of the big construction project at home. Things seldom go according to plan.

The PY23's hull has a thick and flaking buildup of antifouling paint. Also, the iron keel has mostly rejected the POR-15 applied in 2007, and has been rusting profusely for the past couple of years. I wanted to just touch up the paint for this season, and strip the hull in the autumn. Unfortunately, the local marine store did not have a matching colour of antifouling paint, so I had to buy something else.

Now the entire bottom needed to be covered, and the project time requirement increased. Rather than just waste the new paint, I decided that the stripping had to be done now, including taking the iron keel down to bare metal.

There is a job to do on the trailer too. Just need time and weather to cooperate.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Pre-Launch Jobs for 2015

In a previous post I listed the jobs to be done on Serenity this year. The ones with the highest priority are the ones which keep the boat out of the water. Next are the ones that keep the boat at the dock, Anything else can be done when I have the time. Basically, do what you have to do to go sailing safely first.

My pre-launch jobs were:
  • remove all thru-hulls and install backing plates
  • Modify trailer to improve launching and recovery
  • Reseal the iron keel
  • Touch up anti-fouling

I decided that the first one was not necessary at this time, since there has never been a problem with the thru-hulls, and it was something that could wait until the boat was hauled out at the end of the season.

The third item I have no idea what I meant by it now. I won't be unbolting the keel, and it looks tight around the join. Maybe I'll remember next year.

The trailer modification for this spring is to put a roller under the bow to keep it in the proper position. The trailer's winch is mounted much too low, and causes the boat to be improperly positioned when it comes out of the water. It can sit so far back on the trailer that it is aft heavy. This is unsafe for towing and in the yard.

There is a roller on the trailer under the bow, it's just too low to do anything at all. I purchased two 20" pieces of steel flatbar, and will extend it up to a position that should make positioning easier.

That means just slapping on some antifouling and dropping the boat in the water. It looks to be an early launch for Serenity this year.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Winch Cleaning

There are some jobs on the boat that seem to get put off year after year. As long as there are no issues, other tasks take priority. One of those, for me, is cleaning and lubricating the winches.

I've owned the boat for 9 years, and it has never been done. Some people suggest that it should be an annual thing, but I think that for the length of our season, and the amount of boating I get in, that it can be stretched to 4 years. That means that I should have already done it twice.

It is not a complicated procedure. For Serenity's Barlow 15s, disassembly requires removing a single screw, and it all slides apart. There are no gears to be concerned about. The biggest worry is not losing the pawl springs.

A proper cleaning probably involves soaking the parts in a solvent, using a brush to get into all of the crevices, and giving everything a proper cleaning. I just used a paper towel to rub off what I could, and a flat head screwdriver to scrape off what was more resistant. At this point anything was an improvement, and I didn't have that much time to put into it before dark.

The winch was dirty. Much of the old grease was hard and useless. Only one pawl had much sign of life. The other two were very lethargic, and refused to snap promptly back out. This winch was not too many seasons away from failing to function at all.

After the cleaning, some light oil was applied to the pawls, while everything else was coated in a white PTEF lubricant. After being put back together, there was a noticeable improvement in the functionality of the winch.

The entire job took me about 90 minutes. If it was done more regularly, the cleaning would be done much faster. The next time I'd expect to spend less than an hour at it. That is, as long as I stick to the 4 year maximum cycle. Have you done yours lately?

Update 2015-05-15

Cleaned the starboard winch today, and it was actually worse than the port one. It might not have even lasted this season before giving problems. Something I forgot to mention, check the winch screws/bolts. All of mine were a little loose. That's the jib winches taken care of. The Harken B6A halyard winch is only a couple years old, but I might as well look at that one while I'm at it.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Starting Ten Seasons of Serenity

May 2015 marks the ninth anniversary of my purchase of a 1977 AMF Paceship PY23. It also means that this will be the tenth sailing season with Serenity. From 2006 to 2015 the boat has been an ongoing project of repairs and upgrades. It has consumed more than its original cost in parts and materials, meaning that if sold, I probably couldn't get one third of what has been spent on it back. The market was stronger then too, and today I can buy something 26' long for the same price. Still, you don't buy a boat as a financial investment. It is an investment of a different sort.

Serenity travelled from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland in May 2006.

One of the major advantages of a smaller sailboat is the ability to trailer it. At under 2500lbs (1130kg), it doesn't need an especially large tow vehicle. I am able to launch and haul-out Serenity without having to call in a crane or travel lift. I also save winter storage fees by keeping the boat in my driveway - a more convenient place to work on it than at the marina too. My cruising options are extended as well, since it can travel in a few hours on the highway, what would take days or weeks to reach by water. Still lots of places to see in my home waters yet though.

A portion of my cruising grounds. About 20NM before reaching open ocean.

It was July of 2006 before Serenity was launched. The first five or six weeks were spent fixing things and making the boat ready. It did not arrive in perfect sailing condition. The rest of the summer we sailed around the harbour and bay with weekends at Exploits Islands and Sivier Island. You can follow all of the activities from the first season here.

Roxanne at Sivier Island. We had some good times aboard the boat in 2006.

Serenity spent all of 2007 in my driveway. There just wasn't time when the weather was good, to complete all the pre-launch jobs. It got so late in the season, that it just wasn't worth the trouble and marina fees.

POR-15 coated the iron keel, but no launch in 2007.

I had my own truck for the 2008 launching, and it was good not to have to borrow one for the job. It was near the end of June, but that still left four months of sailing. The issue that season, however, was that I was away for work for half the summer. On top of that, there was a disagreement with the marina management which made it uncomfortable to be there, and I was afraid to move the boat from the berth in case I wouldn't be able to get back in. To summarize, about a week after being assigned a dock, they tried to move me to one that did not have enough water to completely float the boat at low tide, plus there was a chain across the approach that would catch the keel.

Serenity being launched in 2008.

2009 was another dry season. Things hadn't improved at the marina, and it was better to avoid the place than enter another battle. I was able to borrow a boat, or sail with other people, but the summer was mostly spent doing things on land.

The boat just taking up space in the driveway.

As of this writing, I cannot find any pictures or references to Serenity being on the water for the summers of 2010 or 2011 either. I didn't think it had been out of the water for so long, but it must have been. There was still lots of sailing, however, because I can usually find someone looking for crew, or willing to loan me their boat. I actually got a summer's worth of sailing in 2010 doing just one delivery from Halifax to St. John's. 2011 was the year I bought my first motorcycle, so I was somewhat preoccupied with that as well.

1998 Honda Shadow 750 ACE bought in 2011 with just over 14,000km on it.

2012 definitely saw Serenity back on the water, although late in the season. We had been involved in a fairly serious motor vehicle accident back in March, so boating was not a priority. It was into August before the craft was launched, but that still allowed for three months of sailing. A short season is better than no season. Things were different at the marina by now. More docks had been added, and I was able to get a nice berth location. The winter of 2012/2013 was the only one the boat spent at the marina. I worried, however, about someone breaking in or damage being done, and it was more difficult to work on it. Probably won't be doing that again.

Serenity at a temporary dock after being launched on 2012-08-06.

November 28 and the boat is all ready for winter at the marina.

The season started a little earlier in 2013, and it proved to be one of my best summers of sailing. Our outing on August 2 became the subject of the blog post A Good Day Sailing. I got to sail aboard several boats that year, including one visiting from France, see video. Being able to improve on that summer is now an ongoing goal.

Afloat two years in a row - a first!

One of the few pictures of Serenity under sail. (photo by PW)

2014 was an interesting time. My sister and niece came to visit from Ontario around the middle of July, and we spent a few days at Exploits Islands. I was also in a couple of races, although the wind only showed up once. At the end of the season I bought a 12' Petrel aluminum dinghy. It needs a trailer, however, and that will cost three times what the little boat did. Most spare time on nice days was spent preparing the grounds to build a new shed, not sailing.

Niece, sister, wife and mother making our way to Exploits.

Serenity racing in the fog. (photo by DL)

Lloyd sailing the Petrel before I bought it.

Looking ahead at the tenth season in 2015 there are no specific trips planned yet, but as usual, a wish to spend more time on the water. The ongoing construction of the new shed will take up a good amount of time, but the plan is to have the bulk of it done before the best boating weather arrives, usually around the middle of July.

April 22 and still a mostly frozen harbour.
As I write this the harbour is covered in ice, but it is melting quickly, and could well be out of the way by this weekend. If spare time and weather line up to get the pre-launch tasks completed, Serenity might be floating in its berth before the end of May - in time to take full advantage of season number 10.