Friday, March 29, 2013

New Gear: Mast Mate

Mast work is one thing I've been looking at with a cautious eye since I started shopping around for a boat.

I used to have an Amateur Radio tower with a height of 77' in my backyard at my last house I had. I'm used to climbing the narrow tower at that height. Of course, being firmly set in the ground with 60, 60lb bags of concrete and guy wires attached to earth anchors, it certainly wasn't moving. It had a nice view from the top too.

That concrete base is 3' x 3' for size comparison

Now, the idea of getting to the top of a mast I wasn't sure about. I'm expecting there would be a lot more movement at the top of a boats mast than the top of the radio tower. While reading various things around the net, it seemed the main methods used involved another person hoisting someone up. Since I am likely to be doing a lot of stuff around my boat without much, if any, help, I decided to find something for the solo/shorthanded sailor, a Mast Mate.

I've seen it advertised and seemed to have good reviews on some forums. A recent post of SV Sundowner getting new standing rigging showed it in use and I thought that it looked like it would work out well. I went ahead and ordered one that would accommodate my mast. After ordering online, I received a phone call shortly afterwards to finalize the order and it just arrived today. I still have the climbing belt left over from the tower that I can use with the Mast Mate.

Here are a few pictures I just took to show the package I received.

I attached one of the shackles temporarily to show how it is done. Once I order the appropriate size slides, I will attached them all.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Joshua Slocum: A Bit of History

Joshua Slocum video showing what he did during his life.

You can even find his book "Sailing Alone Around the World" on Amazon. It's a very good book that many have read and enjoyed.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sewing Machine

On a previous post, I was talking about wanting to do some canvas work. I researched sewing machines that were popular and went ahead and ordered a Sailrite LSZ-1 sewing machine. It came in yesterday. I ordered some other accessories to go along with it and everything came in large boxes. The black transport case and the machine itself came in to individual boxes within a single large box. It was pretty big and heavy. Another box had accessories that I ordered along with it. I ordered a yard of 60" Marine Grade Sunbrella, Linen color. I got only one yard to start off with smaller projects at the moment as I learn the machine. I got a white 1" binding strip to go along with it for the edge to give it a nice finished look. At least, that's the idea. In order to cut Sunbrella, I ordered one of Sailrite's hot knives too.
It's a heavy machine. In the accessory kit I ordered included the heavier balance wheel and that is pretty heavy itself. First impressions, it looks like a good solid machine that will last some time.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Handrails Installed

I went to the boat yesterday and spend the day there. By spending the day, it was around 8hrs or so.

I've been working on a college class for the last couple months. I've ended up getting a few weeks behind and working on it at home gets old and felt a change of location would be helpful. It was a productive day and happy it turned out well. I got some school work done and even did a little work around the boat.

It was a pretty warm day too. It got almost 70F so it's a sure sign that spring/summer is right around the corner.

While at the boat, I thought that it would be a good idea to get the handrails back on the boat. The tarps that have been covering the deck were wearing down and the ties holding them in place were breaking too. I ran back to the house and got the handrails. I also went to Home Depot and bought a countersink bit.

I taped the underside of the holes on deck to keep from dust getting all over the inside. It worked out pretty good when cleaning it up afterwards.

I drilled out the hole with a countersink. I read somewhere that countersinks help when sealing the hole with butyl tape, that I used here.

I placed the bolts only slightly above the deck and placed butyl tape around each bolt.

I was able to get everything back on the boat and happy that I have varnished wood on the boat again. Even though many of the bolts were still covered with plugs, they still lined up and got tightened without any issues.

Not long after I installed the handrails, I was looking at the sky and thought they were looking a bit dark. I also remember the forecasts were expecting rain. I repacked things back in the truck leaving the tarps from the boat on the side of the deck and on the way back to the house, it started to rain.

Today, I went to check on the handrails since it was raining all night. Everything with the handrails appeared to be dry. The only wet spots I found in the boat was by a porthole where there was previous water damage and space just below the companion way. I tightened the closure on the porthole hoping it will help and left the boat.

Even with this work, I still did some reading and homework and finished some homework.

I also did a dry fit of the thru-hull and seacock to make sure I had cut enough threads off the thru-hull and it on the hull. In order to keep the thru-hull in place, I used the boat hook that came with the boat against the fitting and a camper that is next to the boat.

I tried out the seacock, everything fit fine. When I'm able, and it's warm enough again, I'll take the epoxy supplies to the boat and install it. Priority right now is the school work and I still have several weeks of this class before I start the next one.

Friday, March 8, 2013

REFIT Plan: Canvas

I've been looking at the fabric on the boat and see that it is well worn and in some places, frayed too. Since many boats use Sunbrella brand fabrics on their boat, what I have appears to be Pacific Blue which seems to be a pretty popular color considering so many boats have it.

Forward Hatch Cover

Tiller Cover

What I've been looking at lately is to change out my fabrics on the exterior to Sunbrella's Linen color. It's a nice tan that will really lighten the deck space.

What to change.

Well, the forward hatch, shown in the picture above would be replaced, along with the mainsail cover, winch covers, tiller cover and looking to add covers for the deck handrails to protect the recent varnish work. There's also a dodger, which I haven't seen yet as it's stored in the head and just haven't pulled it out yet. I'm also looking to someday have a full boat cover.

Down below, the cushion fabrics, while decent condition, look to be a bit dated. I'm also looking at using a lighter color, whether linen like on deck or patterned, it's something I'll look into when I get to that project. I'd really like for everything below to match. I might change out the foam too which currently has a yellow foam with white batten.

The red cushions are for the quarterberths

How to do it.

Many people look at getting new fabrics and go to a professional. Personally, I like trying to figure things out on my own. I like the idea of learning all the systems on my boat and will help me when maintaining everything too. I've been looking around on Cruisers Forum and Sailnet to get ideas on sewing machines. I decided to get a LSZ-1 along with some accessories from Sailrite. I like the features of the machine and that it can also be used manually when power may not be available. What's really nice about Sailrite is that they have many how-to videos on their website. They will be helpful when learning sewing techniques and ideas for projects.

Another source I'll have for ideas will also come from a Sewing Group on Cruisers Forum. It's just getting started and will keep growing as interest continues.

While this will be part of my refit I hope to start in a few years, I may still do a few projects in the meantime.