Saturday, June 9, 2018

____________________ WALKING THE PILGRIM PATH ____________________

Let Me Not To The Marriage of True Minds
Sonnet 116 - William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring barque,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

_________________ ............. THEN THERE'S PLAN B ______________________

When it was all done and dusted (see last post) the 'fix' only half worked. The saw cut/glue line Plan A did take some of the bend out of the dagger board but not nearly enough. So I hauled out Plan B. This plan (see photograph above) is pretty self explanatory. The insert (right) is a piece of Iroko timber which is very strong and upon which I staked my implacable non bending hopes.

I screwed blocks along one side of the Iroko insert and then taped the job up. I then screwed the dagger board down onto the blocks which removed any bend in the board.

This approach has removed more of the bend in the board, but by no means all of it. So I have had to let go of the idea of this board being a complete spare for the Zephyrs main dagger board.

I have now shortened the board considerably, rounding the forward leading edge and the bottom of the board. This has removed most of the twist and bend. The board can now be used as a very heavy weather board for the Zephyr or perhaps a main board for 'Scout' my clinker sailing dinghy.

The photo (above) shows the comparison in size between the two dagger boards. On the left of the photo is a cedar 'blank', in four laminations, that I have glued up which shows the correct way to make a dagger / center board. I have alternated ( 'end to ended') each lamination so that the grain of each piece can counter any tendency of its neighbour to bend or warp.

Given time shipmates I will complete that blank and have a dagger board whose straight as a die sight line will compare on equal terms with any world champion plump line and its plumb bob you might want to choose.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

________________ STRAIGHTENING THE DAGGER BOARD ________________

While trying to sort out the mixed racing results in the early months of owning my Zephyr I took a look along the leading edge of the dagger board and found that it had an alarming bend in it. The board was also shorter than the rules allowed. My response was to build another longer straight dagger board. The object of this piece of woodwork is to straighten the bend in the original board so I can use it as a spare. I will also use it as a heavy weather board where there is an advantage in having the boards draft reduced.

The fix is a little counter intuitive. Running a handsaw up the middle of the board reminded me of the other counter intuitive action I took when installing a self bailer in the little Starling I used to own. This involved cutting a hole in the bottom of the boat, an act I had to think carefully about, then swallow hard before proceeding.

Once the cut had been completed I taped both sides of it. I also taped up the strong back (right) to which the dagger board was to be clamped.

The tape will stop the dagger board, G clamps and strong back from becoming glued together. After mixing up some West System glue I forced it into the saw cut with a putty knife.

Clamping up the solid wooden strong back has straightened the dagger board. When the glue has gone off and cured I will remove the clamps and tape and tidy the glue line with some sand paper. I am hopeful that the glue line will be strong enough to hold the board nice and straight and stand up to the rigors of its use as a dagger board - time will tell.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

_______________________ IN THE EARLY WORLD _______________________

"People Among Chameleons" - Marker pens on white board. Copyright of the Artist - Zane Smith.

The artist is four years old. His interpretation of the background elements in this work changes with the telling on a daily basis. The people of fluid identity in the foreground are a mixture of family and pre-school friends.

Technically this is another brilliant work by the artist. Note the deliberately restricted pallet, the well placed major themes and elements and the use of symbolism. This is a bold and decisive statement by the artist as he leaves the "Scribble Stage" and emerges triumphantly, like lightening out of a clear blue sky into the ''Schematic Stage" of children's art. We look forward with eager anticipation to his seismic emergence into the "True To Appearance Stage" with its attendant dazzling Kilauea energy  : > )

This work is for sale by auction with a conservative reserve price of NZ$1million ....................... Nah, it's not for sale, not only because it's priceless but because it got wiped off the whiteboard yesterday with a piece of cloth. That's the thing with white boards, here today and gone tomorrow as the artist rapidly experiments and develops. But grandads got a cunning little camera that comes in very useful. Thus reviewing, reflection and posterity are all satisfied. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

_________________ LATEST UPDATE ON 'AUTUMN LEAVES' ______________

Al Steads' 'Autumn Leaves' build is progressing well and looking real good. You can see more here:

As I have indicated on a previous update - to see the photographs on the site you have to register (easy and no big deal).

This boat is a very special design by John Harris that presses a good number of deep nautical intuitions in the hearts of shipmates everywhere. Can't wait to see her launched and sailing.

Monday, May 7, 2018

__________________ A SMALL BUT USEFUL BIT OF KIT __________________

The useful bit of kit in question is centre picture. It is a small cheap (Around $NZ45.00) solar panel I purchased from Super Cheap Auto here in Whangarei. It doesn't re-charge the battery in the usual way, it simply feeds a very low powered trickle charge which maintains the existing charge that is in the battery. This means that if the boats motor is idle for any extended time I don't have to worry that the battery will go flat.

The leads from the solar panel plug into a 12 volt socket that I installed next to the boats battery isolation switches. The positive and negative wires bypass these switches and attach directly to the battery terminals. Because there is no chance of the battery being recharged  there is no need for a battery charge controller - the battery being charged in the usual manner by the diesel engines generator. Shipmates; it's a small but useful bit of kit.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

__________________ JOB COMPLETED (TOUCH WOOD) __________________

Yesterday I reinstalled the fuel tank and connected up all the hoses and connections. Although the installation was simple enough it wasn't an easy job because the tank is sited behind the engine and aft of the access panel in the cockpit floor making work difficult.

This morning I filled the fuel tank with diesel as far as half way up the filler pipe. This means that the diesel level is well above the tank. I checked the top of the tank (where the leaks have been fixed) immediately, and later today around 5pm. All is well so far without a hint of diesel fuel. You can see the fuel tank in the bottom photo in the background. If the tank shows no signs of leaks tomorrow I will replace and re-seal the cockpit floor and continue with a couple of other jobs.

The main jobs are: 1 - Reconditioning one of the hand operated bilge pumps. 2 - Installation of  the new stove. 3 - Haul out for a scrub and anti - fouling paint. Then I will be sailing. Can't wait.

Friday, April 27, 2018

__________________ REINSTALLING THE FUEL TANK ____________________

'Mariners' small dinghy has always talked to me soothingly during times of spanner throwing difficulties - today she sang me 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters' - Ya gotta love a singing dinghy.

At the point where I was about to go for a sail after all the work I had completed on 'Mariner' last year I found there was a leak in the diesel tank. I wasn't able to deal to the tank right away because we were headed off overseas for the birth of our second grand child.

A couple of days ago I took the tank out. As the tank was installed before fitting the engine the only way to get down into the engine space to take the tank out (and to re-install it) is to remove the engine - and I'm not going to do that. The only solution to get the tank out was to spend a very long time lying on my stomach on the cockpit floor with my head upside down trying to use a socket set and various other tools to unbolt the tank and detach all the hoses and pipes. The tank fits under the cockpit floor to the right in the photo. Re-fitting the tank is going to be just as awkward.

Today I picked up the tank up after it had been repaired. The leaks had been in the top of the tank. It was only a couple of pin hole sized faults in the welding which should have been picked up IF the tank had been tested for leaks after the welding had been completed - don't get me started!

The diesel fuel tank is now back on the boat awaiting my acrobatic head-standing ministrations, but with three days of rain forecast it will be next week before I can get it fitted. I have taped down the access panel, fitted a small cover over the cockpit and hope that will keep the water out.

A sail (albeit an Autumn sail) is on the horizon and I am looking forward very much to that. On that day I am sure I will be serenaded by the dinghy with an appropriate song - she will probably sing 'I Did It My Way' without specifying who the "I" is - certainly not Lady Luck, at this point in the proceedings - possibly the "I" is Mr Karma, although what I have done in my past to deserve all this gymnastic grief is beyond my reckoning! (Actually there is quite a lot, but let's not go there).

Saturday, April 21, 2018

_____________________ A JAPANESE BUCKET LIST ____________________

I spent the best part of today helping my good mate Bernie rig and check that this old time 'X' Class three man sailing dinghy was all shipshape and Bristol fashion. In their heyday the 'X' was one of New Zealands premier racing classes that raced annually for the coveted Moffat Cup.

The boat has been advertised on NZTradeMe for some time with the final price being the princely sum of NZ$1500, which is actually tantamount to simply giving the boat away - which shipmates is a real sign of the sailing times.

The boat has been bought by a group of Japanese who have a bucket list. One of the items on the list  is the desire to sail a New Zealand 'X' class yacht in the notoriously stormy Cook Strait of New Zealand. Ye Gods, wonders never cease, but who am I to make judgements on other peoples Bucket Lists? Negotiations and dates have been finalised through a local interpreter and the boat is to be picked up this coming week. Bernie and I completed a comprehensive pre-sail / sale check this afternoon and she's all good to go.

I wish the Japanese Bucket List crew the very best of luck in their sailing adventure in Cook Strait and only hope they don't try to sail in any weather comparable to the stormy conditions we encountered recently at the 2018 Zephyr Nationals in Wellington. I shall await news of their adventure with keen interest.

POST SCRIPT - The sale fell through (long convoluted story), but they HAVE bought an X Class in Wellington and apparently the plan is to sail across Cook Strait to the South Island which is a change of plan from simply wanting to sail in Cook Strait - Bloody Nora and dearie, dearie, dearie me is all I can say - I await news of this adventure with baited breathe and shall pray hard for a fair wind and calm seas.

Friday, April 20, 2018

______________________________ POEM ______________________________

  Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening  

By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,  
And miles to go before I sleep.

Monday, April 16, 2018

____________________ JOHN GUZZWELLS 16mm FILM ___________________

Yes shipmates, this is John Guzzwells little circumnavigating yawl 'Trekka' that he built in Victoria, Canada all those years ago. Trekka, Guzzwell and their voyage is significant to sailors for a number of reasons.

- In terms of the history of sailing the Laurent Giles designed 'Trekka' was the next step in proving that small light displacement yachts were sea worthy enough to complete long voyages. Trekka is the bigger sister of the Giles designed 'Sopranino' which completed a transatlantic voyage crewed by Colin Mudie and Patrick Ellam. Both these boats are the legacy of the light displacement possibilities explored by John Illingworth (and others) with boats such as 'Myth of Mallam'.

- At the time of her circumnavigation (1955 - 59) she was the smallest boat (20' 6") ever to have completed such a voyage. After his circumnavigation 'Trekka' was sold to Clifford and Marion Cain who completed another circumnavigation in her during the 1970s. A sister ship to 'Trekka' named 'Thlaloca' built and sailed by Hein and Siggy Zenker also completed a circumnavigation in the 1970s. Their exploits are detailed in Zenkers book 'West! Sail West, Man'. These adventures cemented the fact that small, well found, light displacement yachts could make safe long ocean passages.

- Within the classical period of small yacht circumnavigations (Beginning with Joshua Slocum and 'Spray' and ending when circumnavigations became somewhat ubiquitous) we can read in the associated literature how the paths of various circumnavigators crossed and how they shared experiences along the way. But in the case of John Guzzwell and the celebrated voyagers Miles and Beryl Smeeton the sharing morphed into collaboration and possibly one of the most dramatic of small boat adventures. This adventure took place when John Guzzwell crewed for the Smeetons on their ketch Tzu Hang which while on a voyage from Australia to the UK was pitch poled, capsized and dismasted in huge seas while approaching Cape Horn. The story is captured in Miles Smeetons book 'Once is Enough'.

Film of 'Tzug Hang' and the Smeetons shot by John Guzzwell in the Southern Ocean a few minutes before they were bowled can be viewed here:

I read this first edition of 'Trekka Round the World' when I was 12 years old. The book left a lasting impression on me. I remember completing three back to back readings of the book.
Today I completed my second reading of this (above) the second edition of the  book which was re - published by John Guzzwell in 1999.  It contains an expanded text, a very interesting 'Afterword' and two informative Appendixes.
'Once is Enough' is an enthralling tale of courage and endurance. After the dismasting of Tzu Hang and her repair in Chile, the Smeetons (This time minus Guzzwell) set out for the Horn once again, were caught by a huge sea and were rolled, capsized and dismasted. Many years later they conquered the Horn (this time sailing from East to West), an adventure told in Miles Smeetons book 'Because The Horn Is There'.

What is interesting (and perhaps sobering) is that these ocean passages during the golden age of small sailboat voyaging were all completed without Life rafts, SSB radios, EPIRB, GPS or many of the other compulsory so called modern safety requirements. The safety was inherent in well designed, strong, well built and competently sailed small yachts.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

_______________________ OYC ENDURANCE RACE ______________________

Today I raced in the Onerahi Yacht Club Endurance Race. This race closes the Summer season of racing at the OYC. There were 16 yachts of a wide variety participating in this handicap race - various catamarans, Lasers, Ok, 470, Jolly Boats, Flying Fifteens, and a variety of other sailing dinghies. The race started at 10.30am this morning and finished at 4.30pm this afternoon. I raced without a stop for 6 hours. At around 3pm I lost my concentration and capsized when gybing. I took on a few mouthfuls of salt water and lost my hat - but never mind because I won this 6 hour marathon race on handicap. I am now off to bed. I think I may sleep for a week.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

___________________________ HOT DIGGITY __________________________

Tonight Christine, Lynn, Bernie and I went and had a meal together at our yacht club (Whangarei Cruising Club) and listened to a visiting Blue Grass Band called 'Hot Diggity' - New Zealands only all female Blue Grass band. Of their genre of amateur musical bands they were a very good example. This Utube video is not from tonights performance but it is "as good as" (as the saying goes) as an example of their performance. It displays the ambience and informality of local 'Hot Diggitys' gigs as they make their way around New Zealand entertaining Kiwis and showing off their enthusiasm, virtuosity and musical talent.

Of course the evening was not all about Blue Grass music. Over a beer or six, Bernie and I planned our strategy for tomorrows six hour endurance race at the Onerahi Yacht Club where we will be competing in our Zephyr sailing dinghies.

As the evening progressed and the instruments and voices wove their contrapuntal and harmonic paths and as the lyrics soared to the rafters and the beer flowed it was amazing how our predictions of tomorrows personal sailing performances rose in unison to the driving rhythm. Shipmates, such is the sailors life.

If I purchased a brand spanking new fiberglass Zephyr as a celebration of the sailing life I feel the name 'Hot Diggity' has a rather nice ring to it.

Friday, April 6, 2018

_________________ MORE REPAIRS AND ADJUSTMENTS ________________

I am onto the second round of repairs to the booms goose neck. In the OYC champs I gybed heavily and ripped the goose neck off the mast.

The first fix was to simply rivet the goose neck back onto the mast. This was unsuccessful. After a couple of races the new rivets came loose. I think this happened because the rivet holes had become oversize due to corrosion and damage.

The new fix has involved making and riveting a new aluminum plate over the damaged area. Strengthening this high stress area provides a new base for the rivets. I have also added two more rivets to the goose neck making 6 in total.

 Other adjustment include:

- Adding a long bungy cord attached at the vangs position on the boom through a pulley at the bow and back to the vangs position on the boom again. This arrangement helps hold the boom out hard on the side rigging when running or broad leading before the wind. This arrangement is especially helpful in light weather.

- I have altered the mast step slightly at the base allowing a lot more rake in the mast. Raking the mast helps boat performance to windward. This is especially so in heavy weather when combining mast rake with a flat sail produced from mast bend induced by the boom vang.

- Tightening the rigging screws so that I am not sailing as I have been doing with a lot of slack in the leeward rigging. I will be able to adjust mast rake from the raked position to a vertical position using the fore stay adjustment now without the whole rig rattling around as it has been doing.

This Sunday I will be sailing in the Onerahi Yacht Clubs 6 hour endurance race - plenty of time to see if the repairs and adjustment I have completed will make a difference.

Monday, April 2, 2018

_______________________________ POEM ______________________________

 Henry David Thoreau

Within the circuit of this plodding life
There enter moments of an azure hue,
Untarnished fair as is the violet
Or anemone, when the spring strews them
By some meandering rivulet, which make
The best philosophy untrue that aims
But to console man for his grievances
I have remembered when the winter came,
High in my chamber in the frosty nights,
When in the still light of the cheerful moon,
On every twig and rail and jutting spout,
The icy spears were adding to their length
Against the arrows of the coming sun,
How in the shimmering noon of summer past
Some unrecorded beam slanted across
The upland pastures where the Johnswort grew;
Or heard, amid the verdure of my mind,
The bee's long smothered hum, on the blue flag
Loitering amidst the mead; or busy rill,
Which now through all its course stands still and dumb
Its own memorial,—purling at its play
Along the slopes, and through the meadows next,
Until its youthful sound was hushed at last
In the staid current of the lowland stream;
Or seen the furrows shine but late upturned,
And where the fieldfare followed in the rear,
When all the fields around lay bound and hoar
Beneath a thick integument of snow.
So by God's cheap economy made rich
To go upon my winter's task again.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

____________________________ SEA FEVER ___________________________

SEA FEVER - John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

This beautiful little Knud Reimers designed 'Tumlare' class yacht ( Tumlare is Swedish for Porpoise) isn't a "tall ship" and she has a tiller rather than a ships wheel - but shipmates the sentiments ring true all the same.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

____________ CANOE YAWL 'AUTUMN LEAVES' 2018 UPDATE ____________

Shipmates, you may remember a couple of raves (or is that rants!) regarding Chesapeake Light Crafts 'Autumn Leaves' canoe yawl designed by John Harris. I have posted about this little packet a couple of times here:


I have been wondering and searching online ever since the design became available for any photographs of a new build to this design. Then bingo, yesterday I received a comment from Al Stead on my 'Autumn Leaves' - Update story. Al encouraged me to take a look at his postings on the BYYB site. Al Stead is either an American or Canadian who I think lives somewhere in the Great Lakes area. I am only guessing this based on his postings regarding his build of 'Autumn Leaves' on the Back Yard Yacht Building site (BYYB) here:

The BYYB site is a free forum, but you have to register and get a user name and password to be able to view Als' photographs and read his narrative. It is well worth the small effort.

My heart soared when I viewed photographs of the build (there are a lot more on the BYYC site), because she looks even more interesting and enticing in three dimensions. I think she is a right little cracker of a boat and I am now more determined than ever to build a canoe yawl to this design some time in the near future.

Al Stead is aiming to get this little gem of a canoe yawl in the water in the next few months. I will be keenly watching Als' progress as he completes what I strongly believe is going to be a very capable shoal draft sail boat. In my book, this is truly a design that dreams are made of - and because of the relatively simple construction method those dreams are very accessible.

I think this little boat is a very worthy descendant in the Canoe Yawl tradition begun all those years ago by Albert Strange, George Holmes and members of the Humber Yawl Club in the UK in the 1890s.

I eagerly await her maiden voyage and an assessment of her performance under sail!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

________________________ GEAR BREAKAGES ________________________

 Rivet holes exposed after the goose neck fitting sheared off.

Last weekend I raced in the Onerahi Yacht Clubs two day, 8 race annual championships. There were 4 races on each of the two days. I came second in my division but not without incident. It blew very hard over the two days, these days being just before the downgraded Tropical Cyclone 'Hola' arrived. During the second to last race on day two, I gybed heavily and sheared the booms' goose neck off the mast. As you can see from the above photo the force of the gybe popped all rivets holding the goose neck to the mast.

 Goose neck fitting before reattaching with new rivets.

I continued racing although my speed to windward dropped as the boom lay on one side of the mast not unlike the boom of a lug sail rig.

Double sheave pulley with rope attachment becket.

As I continued sailing there was jerking of the main boom again and a rattle. The pin that held the mainsheet pulley becket (black plastic roller above) that the mainsheet ties to somehow fell out (probably due to all the flapping and rattling during and after the punishing gybe. The bowline I tie  that holds the mainsheet to the becket stopped the mainsheet from running through all the mainsheet blocks, and I continued with reduced purchase on the sheet. Luckily the pin and the little plastic roller fell into the cockpit and I was able to reassemble it after the racing was completed.

After the race when the goose neck failed and with one race to go I had the choice of either retiring from the racing or continuing and completing the last race. I chose the latter and tried to tie the goose neck back on the mast with a piece of cord. I succeeded in doing so but not before capsizing the boat while standing forward in the boat in a gale of a wind (first time I have capsized the Zephyr) ...... the boat went over and I went under with a big splash. Unfortunately the mast dug into the mud on the bottom and bent the wind vane which I had for the very first time attached it in its alternative position at the top of the mast. But despite everything I was able to right the boat and roughly tie the goose neck to the mast and complete the last race.

 Reattached goose neck filling.

I have been able to re - rivet the goose neck back onto the mast, fix the becket on the main sheet pulley and was able to sail again yesterday in the regular Tuesday twilight series. All the gear worked well again and we are really not that much worse for wear.

The OYC champs and the Tuesday twilight race were both held in high winds and I am pleased with the improved speed to windward in heavy air I am achieving since setting up the boat according to the advice I gleaned from Andy Knowles while sailing in the NZ Champs at Worser Bay. The Zephyr is a technical boat, challenging to sail well, and as I have said before I have only scratched the the surface of what's possible. Only time will tell whether I am able to race the boat at the top of its potential performance - in the mean time I will be enjoying immensely finding out!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

___________________ SARTORIAL CONSIDERATIONS ___________________

"Been there, done that, got the T shirt", is how the saying goes. I didn't ever think I would find myself getting caught up in that kind of 'hoop - la', but I am glad I did. It's a very nice (and useful) 'keep sake'. A 'keep sake' shot through with the wind blown memories of a hard contest in tough conditions on Worser Bay Wellington in 2018.

 Nice Zephyr graphic on the back of the shirt.

Courageously I ordered an 'L' rather than an 'XL' size. This has meant that when engaging in conversation whilst wearing my commemorative shirt I prefer to display a frontal rather than a side  profile (The side profile is somewhat reminiscent of a Blue Whale). But shipmates you know that hope springs eternal within the bosom of this overweight dinghy sailor. By the time I am race fit and down to weight for the Zephyr Nationals in Tauranga in 2019, this shirt will fit me like a glove. I will be as sleek, lithe and wily as a Whangarei racing sardine and this shirt full of memories will ripple on my six pack with the subtly of a slow gybing spinnaker. LOL!