Posts tagged keel

Waterborne Again

After two months, Idefix is back in her favorite element, and sailing! And I’m released from my forced labor and have a life again! Just in time for summer (read: 65 degrees and partly cloudy)! How wonderful!

All polished and ready to go.

The bottom didn’t turn out quite as nice as I was hoping for. Despite sanding and burnishing, there were still quite a few spots left with a bit of rough texture, and the rudder still needs work, but overall it’s not all that bad.

Shiny bottom paint, doing its thing.

So I threw my bicycle on the boat, dropped the boat in the water, and sailed out of Everett, headed for Kingston. A nice breeze filled the sails, the sun filled the sky, and visions of delicious crêpes being served to me by delicious young ladies filled my head. Soon the wind died, clouds appeared, temperatures plummeted, I couldn’t find my audio cable, and the docks at Kingston were completely full of horrid little motorboats. To make matters worse, I was coming down with a cold. So I had to anchor in Appletree Cove and gaze upon the crêperie and its delectable servings, just out of my reach. Instead I dined on some bread and the cup or two of water left in my water bottle, and went to sleep, rocked by ferry wake.

Nothing is quite so pathetic as a baby seal trying to stay dry in the wake of a passing sailboat.

The night wasn’t altogether unpleasant, and in the morning I managed to scrounge some nutella to put on my bread. I tried not to think of the delicious Belgian chocolate, caramel and pecan crêpe topped in whipped cream, or the black forest ham, mushroom and gruyère crêpe that could’ve been my breakfast had those infernal little stinkpots not taken every single available berth in the harbor, while I picked up the anchor and motored across the placid Sound to Shilshole. There I picked up a motley crew of WYC members and we made our way to Blake for a weekend of quiet solitude and contemplative meditation, like modern monks. Most of us survived with nothing more than a hangover and a sunburn, but Hawkeye had to be medevac’ed with a broken collarbone.

Hassan enjoying the tough sail back to Seattle.

On Tuesday I finally got to hoist some ragged old sails and try out the boat against some of Seattle’s finest at Duck Dodge’s Tropical Night. We got a good start and hung out with William Buchan’s Sachem for a little while the rest of the fleet chased after us. Eventually we sailed into some holes and got passed, by a couple faster/smarter boats. I still can’t keep up with the J/29s, the ones around here are all ridiculously fast.

Update from the Yard

Well, things are moving a lot slower than expected. Last post I was targeting early July for having the boat back in the water, but it’s now looking like early August. This probably isn’t entirely a bad thing since the fiberglass needs to dry out before I barrier coat it. In the meantime I’ve been working on the boat almost every day, removing everything under the waterline, down to bare fiberglass. I’m now working on fairing the hull, which is extremely tiring work. What’s amazing is the hull felt almost perfect to the touch, but slather on some fairing compound and a do a bit of longboard sanding, and a bunch of filled-in spots appear!

Faired part of the hull.

I’ve also filled in all the keel blisters and ground out some of the cracks in the flexy areas and glassed them over.

Note how all the other boats come and go but Idefix stays put.

Hopefully next week I can start barrier coating.

I’m also working on a French translation for this site, for my handful of francophone fans (stalkers?). Given how much time it takes me to get things posted in English, don’t hold your breath, this may take a while!

Like a Fish Out of Water

What a bicycle packed onto an Olson 30 might look like.

I rode down to the WAC last Friday night, packed my bike into the boat (!) and left the dock on what I think was my first solo sail on Idefix since getting back from Hawaii. Hit the Sound about 2215 and motored North until the wind picked up to 4 or 5 knots about a half hour later. I then had a quiet night of sailing in a light breeze, fighting the flood to Kingston, anchored in Appletree Cove and went to bed at 0200. It was relaxing to be alone on the boat, doing my thing on a quiet night. A couple thousand miles of singlehanding has definitely taken the edge off, although autopilot troubles made me sweat for a little bit as I left the dock. The wind was dead the next day so I motored against the morning flood towards Everett. There were all sorts of weird patterns on the surface of the water from the current, and I did my best to try to use them to get to my destination quicker, although I think I was only mildly successful. The currents around here are both fascinating and frustrating.

My colleague Brian, his wife Jamie and their twin 3-year-olds Jordan and Tatum met me at the dock in Everett and the wind picked up to 6 or 7 knots as we went for a little sail on Possession Sound. Jordan drove the boat for a little while and I’m considering hiring her as a helmswoman.

After 4 hours of sanding... white stuff is gelcoat.

In the afternoon it was time to drop everybody at the dock and haul the boat out. The bottom paint is in good shape, but the hull is covered in little blisters, which for a race boat is not a good thing… Olsons are known to blister if left in the water, so I’m going to sand the bottom paint and gel coat off, cover the bare glass with an epoxy barrier coat, and repaint. Hopefully the barrier coat will keep the blisters from coming back. This will probably be a couple weeks of extremely arduous work…

Blisters on the hull. I've peeled a couple off with a knife, revealing gelcoat.

There are also a couple bigger blisters in the keel. I poked one with a knife and water came spurting out, in the end I removed a quarter-size pocket of fairing compound. With that and the couple little dings in the keel, there will probably be a little work to do there as well.

Keel blisters.

I’m hoping to have the boat back in the water sometime around the first week of July, but everything always takes longer than I expect, and for now it’s strictly DIY – just me and the boat… The yard fee is $30/day, so the quicker I can get it done, the better!

Warrior’s Wish has arrived

Sailing Anarchy reports that Warrior’s Wish made it safely back to San Francisco. Ronnie and Ed have accomplished a true feat – sailing a 30-foot ULDB without a keel for almost 800 miles. Once again, Ronnie’s determination and energy get him through an unbelievable adventure. This guy is my hero!

Warrior’s Wish Unleaded

Some unsettling news came in from the Pacific this week: Warrior’s Wish lost her keel on the way home from Hawai’i. Unbelievably, Ronnie and his crew Ed have managed to keep the boat upright, and they’re motorsailing home.

The idea of losing the keel is one of those things that sends chills down my spine – along with running into something that pokes a hole in the boat. I’m not sure if Ronnie is the luckiest or unluckiest sailor I know, but one thing’s for sure: if he can bring his boat home from 600 miles out with no keel, he will have pulled off a pretty major accomplishment. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for him.

For updates from Warrior’s Wish, check out Ronnie’s website.

Stick is Stepped

The bilge, my home for the last couple days.

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.


Home-made backing plate with the "jock strap" plate bolted to it.

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.


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