Posts tagged boat prep
I’m finally getting around to cutting some of the footage from the 2012 Big Pacific Adventure, and I thought this little clip might help some of the people preparing for this year’s Singlehanded Transpac and Pacific Cup races, so it’s the first to go up. I threw in a few gratuitous sailing scenes just for fun!
I had a fitful night on the boat at CYC. There’s enough swell in the harbor to make the boat tug at her moorings, with all the accompanying creaking and groaning, and it was quite a chilly night at the mouth of the Bay. Of course, this is ridiculous in comparison to what awaits me the next couple days, with 25 knots and 12-foot seas on the beam, and cold ocean water breaking over the boat, and inevitably getting into everything.
The day started with some intense prep work in anticipation for Idefix‘s final inspection. I walked over to Adam Correa, a very cool dude racing a turbo’ed international folkboat liveaboard, and bummed a couple garbage bags off of him. A couple minutes later, Rob Tryon, race co-chair, walked up to me and asked me to produce some garbage bags, and I showed him the devices. He joked that he now had to seal my propeller shaft, and I told him he’d have to go to Seattle for that, at which point he shook my hand and wished me an awesome trip to Hawaii!
The rest of the day was spent dealing with some small rigging tasks, putting loc-tite and seizing wire on all the shackles, taping up all the pins, and lubing the tracks. There was a big fancy lunch and send-off party where lots of nice things were said, then a skipper’s meeting where we all went over the rules, then some more rig prep, last-minute provisioning, and dinner with my parents.
One of the fun things I did today was wander the docks and take pictures of some of the other boats and skippers. Here’s my direct competition:
That’s it, start at 11:05 tomorrow!
A lot has happened in the last week, and I’ve had spotty access to internet and little opportunities to post an update. Last Wednesday, Idefix was loaded up on a trailer and towed to Alameda, CA. Huge thanks to Tony for use of his truck. The ride was so solid we could barely feel we were pulling anything. Big thanks also to Peter for driving the truck and trailer back to their owners. And of course there’s my mom, who flew out to Seattle to drive down with me and help me get the boat ready!
We had all sorts of trouble getting out of Seattle: the trailer didn’t quite fit Idefix‘s narrow bow, so we had to improvise a shim for the front pad, and the trailer’s brakes had a broken wire that took several hours to locate and fix, so in the end we left about 4 hours late, which put us right in the middle of rush-hour, and cost us an extra hour getting out of downtown.
This was the first time trailering such a big load for me, but it all went well, and after 820 miles and a 4-hour rest at the grandparents’ place in southern Oregon, we arrived in Alameda. The boat spent the weekend in slings, so I could replace the speed transducer and fair a little gash in the keel, and launched Monday morning. Rigging it was fairly quick, and soon we were sailing up the Estuary to our slip! Now comes the hard work of cleaning up, stowing gear, connecting the final pieces, and getting her ready for her inspection.
I also got to meet a handful of the other racers and they are a great bunch. Ronnie and The General are on the same dock as me, so I’ll be seeing plenty of them before the race.
The weather this weekend was pretty horrific, which isn’t atypical for springtime in Seattle. Peter and I still managed to get a lot of work done on the boat, installing the sea hood, solar panels, and speakers (mostly to boost the AIS alarm volume, but also so we can cross the Pacific in style!). I spent a lot of time on the sewing machine stitching the jacklines and spinnaker net.
After three days of nonstop rain (most of it falling during the three hours we were struggling to get the solar panel fitted on the back of the boat), it finally cleared up, the wind picked up, and we took the boat out for a spin, testing the new heavy reaching chute, calibrating the autopilots, and swinging the compass. Everything went off without a hitch, and we even got to test some creature comforts like the beanbag chair and quarterberth “lee cloths”. There’s still a bit of wiring to do, and probably a couple little mods to help with storage (the Olson 30 really wasn’t built with storage in mind), but overall the boat is starting to feel capable of a real voyage.
With only 5 weeks left to go before casting off for the delivery to San Francisco, the last couple weeks have been pretty busy with prep work of all sorts. I spent about 4 hours this weekend hanging from the mast. Step one was trying to feed the wiring for the wind vane, masthead lights and VHF antenna down the inside of the mast. It got caught up a bunch of times and we ended up losing the messenger line, but eventually we prevailed. Once I got back on the ground I tested the lights and to my consternation the tricolor refused to work! I was pretty bummed about this, but slept on it and remembered that the fancy light has a sensor that shuts it off during the day – It’s not broken, it’s a feature! While I was up the mast, I had to replace the protective cover on the top of the forestay. I’ve only sailed the boat 3 times since putting the stick back up, but the halyards had already chafed through the 1/8″ fiber-reinforced hose like it was butter, almost exposing the Dynex Dux! I wrapped the forestay in (expensive) Teflon tape, then snapped on the old Harken chafe protection, and put on a bunch more Teflon tape, which I think makes for way better chafe protection than rigging tape. I hope I’m not going to regret using rope for my standing rigging!
Some Pacific Cup boats had scheduled a SSB radio test with boats in California and Oregon, so we pointed our antenna South and tried to call in, but couldn’t make contact. Peter and I could hear a bit of faint chatter in the static, but no distinct words. Then Fri boomed in loud and clear from Seattle, first calling California Girl, then Idefix. We answered, but it didn’t seem our message was getting through. Later, Norm the radio guru strolled by and gave me some pointers on the installation that might help. Hopefully I can get this thing working…
Finished off the day drilling 16 holes in the deck for handrails, routing out the core and filling them with epoxy. We’re getting pretty used to this whole making holes in the boat thing!
One item I wanted to take care of before putting the mast in was some sort of reinforcement for the deck. The underside of the deck is currently strapped down to the front of the mast with a turnbuckle, but a lot of Olsons race with an aluminum or carbon fiber “beam of destiny” bolted between the chainplates. Unfortunately, this restricts passage to the area forward of the bulkhead, which I don’t think is worth it, especially for 6 weeks of sailing on the Pacific. I decided to do a compromise and create a carbon fiber rib in the deck just forward of the mast. This is against class rules, but I figure the odds of my racing the boat in a class event are pretty low anyway, and the boat doesn’t meet the rules for a number of other reasons.
Peter and I spent Thursday night sanding away the paint and into the glass, which created a gigantic dusty mess throughout the boat. On Saturday morning I set up all the bagging equipment and cut the carbon and trimmed the foam, which I had previously shaped. We then used some spray adhesive to stick the first couple layers of carbon overhead before wetting them out. Some more adhesive got the next layers sticking too, but the foam just wouldn’t stick to anything, so one of us had to continuously hold the rest of the assembly against the cabintop while we finished the layup of carbon, then peel ply, breather, and the vacuum bag. Getting a good vacuum was very tricky, even after I realized I should plug the holes for the jib track and downhaul screws in the cabintop.
When the first layup went off, we tore off all the bagging material and did it all over again to add a couple more layers of carbon. This time the vacuum was solid right from the start. Tearing off the bag a couple hours later was very satisfying. There’s a slight misalignment between the two pieces of foam I used, but overall the beam looks really solid and I think it will stiffen up the boat nicely and keep the deck solid for a while.
Finally got the mast back up this weekend. Progress on the rigging was really slow. Here’s an overview of what’s been done to the boat in the last few weeks:
Keel Nuts & Bolts
I spent a couple days cleaning out the bilge with a toothbrush, cleaning off the threads on the keelbolts, and replacing nuts and washers. The keel bolts are all in good shape, except the big one, which is heavily corroded. This is probably because it’s almost impossible to fit a 1.5″ socket on it to remove the nut, and the bilge pump inlet sits on top of it, which probably keeps it wet. Unfortunately, this is the one that the lifting eye fits on. There seems to be plenty of steel left, but I’ll be pretty nervous if I ever have to use a single-point hoist.
I removed the old chainplates, filled the bulkhead and deck with epoxy, and redrilled holes to the new chainplates. Unfortunately, a bunch of the epoxy didn’t cure completely hard. I have no idea why. It seems like it will seal all right, so I’m just going to leave it in, but it’s a little soft, and a couple years down the road I might have to redo it. Made some chainplate backing plates out of 1/4″ aluminum and put the new chainplates in with new hardware all around.
Read on for more boatwork.