Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Starling Project - Part 36

Another days work. I have now almost finished sanding back the center board, rudder blade and rudder head. The rudder  blade was originally painted but I am going to varnish this part of the rudder this time round. It will save another round of primer, undercoat and finishing coats of paint. The rudder head is too marked and showing too many repairs to varnish, but that's ok as it will blend in painted the same colour as the hull.

It's small tasks such as this, one at a time that marks the boats renovation. The boat didn't have a tiller when I bought it so I will have to make a new one. Tomorrow morning I will give the hull another coat of white undercoat before a final sanding and finishing coats of white paint.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Starling Project - Part 35

 Last coat of grey primer paint. Progress is a bit slow with the painting as I am making sure I give the paint plenty of time to dry in the cold temperatures. In the meantime I have been fixing up the alignment of the rudder pintles and gudgeons on the stern of the boat. Who ever was responsible for the original alignment must have been drunk at the time.
The grey primer was applied with a brush. I am using a small foam roller for the white undercoat in an attempt to get a better finish minus the imprint of brush strokes.
 First coat of  white undercoat. Painting is not my forte and the results never match my enthusiasm. I enjoy the job of painting but I am always a bit disappointed with the result. Unless the paint is sprayed on with a paint spray gun it's almost impossible to get a really smooth finish.
  Sanding the centerboard. The handle has been removed for repair. I have fitted this small vice to a low work bench. I am able to sit down at the bench as I work. Very pleasant when the weather is behaving itself.
The Venturi self bailer is finally permanently installed. There is a black rubber seal between the bottom of the bailer and the bottom of the boat.
Two of the rudder gudgeons holes at the bottom of the photo had to be filled and re-drilled. All the holes at the top of the photograph had to be filled and re- drilled - such is the detail that is required when trying to make a good job of restoration, and to get the rudder working correctly.

Friday, September 25, 2015


My yacht "Mariner" in pirate mode in about 25 knots of wind - full main and working jib.

If I became a pirate it would only be so I could "Borrow" other peoples yachts to take for a day sail -  (So many beautiful yachts, so little time) - Who would argue with that sort of piratical calling? (I would of course be a good pirate and always return the boat).

Thursday, September 24, 2015

.............................. SVEN YRVIND - SAILOR EXTRAORDINAIRE ............................

Sven Yrind (born April 22, in Gothenburg, Sweden as Sven Lundin) is a Swedish sailor, boat builder and writer. He is famous for sailing alone across oceans in tiny boats of his own design.

Yrvind has made several ocean crossings in his tiny boats. In 1980, Yrvind rounded Cape Horn in 'Bris II', a 20'/5.90m boat of his own design, alone and in the middle of winter, a record for smallest boat to round the Cape. This achievement won Yrvind the 1980 Royal Cruising Club medal for seamanship. In the Roaring Forties he alleged collided with a whale.

Yrvind designs and builds the boats he sails. The boats lack all forms of electronic communications equipment.

  • Yrvind built his first boat 'Bris I' in his mothers basement 1971-1972. The boat's size was determined by the size of the basement: length 6.00 meter, width 1.72m, depth 0.40/0.90m.
  • 'Bris II' was built 1976-1978 with the dimensions length 5.90 meter, width 2.40m, depth 1.40m.
  • A later boat, 'Yrvind', at an ambitious 4.1m, eventually turned out to be too small and too slow to make major ocean passages in cold waters.
  • Sven's 'Yrvind 1/2',  is a 4.8 meter design inspired in part by Matt Layden's "Paradox". 'Yrvind 1/2' is built of divinycell, fiberglass, carbon fiber and epoxy. Sven set sail in 'Yrvind 1/2' for Florida on August 11th, 2011.
  • Sven is currently involved with building and sailing of yet another very small (under 4 meter) boat....... see his website www.yrvind.com/

[ I think that Sven Yrinds approach proves yet again that you can have fun and adventures by keeping things small and inexpensive ] 


 Sven Yrinds philosophy of life makes interesting reading: 

A SERMON -  Sven Yrvind -  June 15, 2014 -  (From www.yrvind.com/ ) 

I started searching in earnest for the ideal little cruiser in the autumn of 1962. In May the same year I had bought a 15 feet open working boat typical of the province of Blekinge. I had rigged and built a deck house on her and moved aboard. I now had a home.

I left Sweden as Captain of my own ship. In one of Copenhagen’s canals I had found a safe place for my boat, and it did not cost anything; yachting was at that time not commercialized. I had discovered a way of life that suited me.

In those days it was an odd thing to live on a small boat, but I had my reasons. Dyslexia had prevented me from getting a formal education and during my compulsory military service it soon became evident that my bosses and me had different ideas about how war should be conducted. I ended up in a maximum-security prison. I was cocky and did not behave. To punish me they added one more day of imprisonment for each day I misbehaved.  “We will break you”, they told me.
I did not crack and finally they gave up, I was told to sign a paper stating that I was psychopath. If you sign this; we will let you out”, they said with a sly smile. I signed – they let me out. It soon became evident that my certificate of psychopathy was useless. I chose to be Captain of my own ship.

The mass of men has historically traded freedom for economical growth and comfort. I do not agree.
True, our comfort has increased beyond imagination – but so has our enchainment. Mankind’s biggest catastrophe was the agricultural revolution. Then came the industrial revolution. Now we live in the consumer society. Shopping has become an entertainment. We now have comfort but comfort is not happiness. Momentarily it’s agreeable, but in the long run it makes you lazy, fat and bored.
Its much better to spend energy, because the only way to get energy is by spending it and energy makes you happy and healthy – even if the effect is not instant.
Inventions have made mans growth fantastic. The earth had only a few million inhabitants at the beginning of the agricultural revolution. When I was born we were two billion, now we are more than seven billion here on the earth. The more people; the more rules and regulations; thousands of them now restrict our freedom. The earths natural resources cannot feed that many. When I was a child I ate real food; now they feed us synthetics and its not healthy.

The kind Jesus said: “Look at the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. They do not worry.” Before the agriculture revolution that was true. We did not worry because we did not have anything to worry about. We did neither sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns. Now even young people worry, and rightly so; they worry about jobs, pensions, environment and the earths future.
A realistic alternative to this boring consumerism is to build a small well-conceived cruiser and head out to sea. There out on the big, blue, wet, deep, endless, living ocean, far from land and bureaucrats there is little to worry about; there you can find peace and a life mentally similar to that of our ancestors.

Our gene pool has not changed since then but breeding has selected people that can stand working in mines, factories and offices. The price they pay is an unnatural life stimulated by consumerism, tobacco, alcohol, pornography, violence, gambling, radio, screen watching and other harmful habits. In the process of economical growth thousands of freedom loving people have been killed by alcohol and other means; it has been a brutal history. A few free spirits have found a way to survive this calamity. May be you are one of them?

When an animal is stimulated dopamine is released. That is pleasant. The problem is with the brain full of dopamine the body reduces the size of the receptors in order to restore homeostasis. Consequently more and more stimulants are needed to get that same pleasant feeling. Mankind with few exceptions is trapped in this over stimulated world; detoxing is slow and painful and calls for willpower and character.

Animals are only bored when caged. If they are let lose, nature stimulates them and their harmony will soon be restored. In the same way nature will stimulate small boats sailors. Out there, away from our societies harsh influences – when enough time has passed – adaption cannot be rushed – our senses becomes more sensitive. We begin to hear our inner voices. Phenomena we previously did not notice emerge as important. In short we, like free animals, becomes harmonic and tranquil just like we were meant to be.

I repeat, this is one alternative to a stressful city life. Go build a small, simple, well-conceived boat and sail the oceans. Leave entertainments and communications behind and you are soon ten thousands years back in time and can like the stone age people live a hard but harmonic life.

That’s exactly what I decided to do there in Copenhagen in the fatal autumn of 1962? Then we were on the brink of a nuclear disaster. The world held its breath. The Cuban missile crises were in full swing. I had lost my trust in grown ups that told me to go out to fight wars or waste away my life in a factory. I realized that my boat was good enough for coastal sailing if I watched the weather, but for full fury of the open ocean she was lacking in seaworthiness. I started my search for the ideal little cruiser.
“If you have a problem; go to a library”, my knowledgeable friend – the killer, the dangerous man in the cell next to mine had told me. And the books, he said, “The world’s wisest men have written them.” Copenhagen was full of libraries. Since then I have been reading books, I have been building small good functional boats and I have been sailing the worlds oceans and I have made much progress in the search for knowledge, but due to the complexity of the problem I am still in search of the ideal little cruiser. The search continues…

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> MARY HARRIGAN <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

After viewing the new abode I don't have the money to purchase until this coming Saturday (See last post) I stopped off at my yacht club (Whangarei Cruising Club) and took a look at an interesting visitor. She is the beautiful husky schooner 'Mary Harrigan' from Pin Mill. She is an  L. F. Herreshoff 'JOANNE' design built, I think, by the famous Bud Macintosh on the east coast of the USA. Apparently (From internet information) the owner and the boat are now resident here in New Zealand.

An interesting aspect of this boat are the words 'Pin Mill' on the stern. 'Pin Mill' is both a thing:

"A pin mill is a mill that comminutes materials by the action of pins that repeatedly move past each other. Much like a kitchen blender, it breaks up substances through repeated impact. The mill is a type of vertical shaft impactor mill and consists of two rotating disks with pins embedded on one face."

........ and a place:

"Pin Mill is a hamlet on the south bank of the tidal River Orwell, located on the outskirts of the village of Chelmondiston on the Shotley peninsula, south Suffolk. It lies within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is a designated "

Maybe the owner is an Englishman with an American boat? or an American who lives at Pin Mill in the UK, or maybe there is a port in the USA called Pin Mill, who knows.... but I would be interested to find out the story between the two.

Mary Harrigan has an interesting pair of yard arms high on the forward mast. I would be interested to know how these are used. I can imagine it being easier to douse the two piece? downwind squaresail (s) by allowing the booms to go forward spilling the wind before furling them.

The building in the foreground with the rounded roof is our new club house. The sheds in the background are private boat sheds. Perhaps I should purchase one of these as a new abode instead of waiting until I win Lotto. I am told the odds of winning are greater than being personally struck on the head on Saturday by an asteroid.

Mary Harrigan is not the size of boat I would ever be able to afford to own, or really want to own ..... but I absolutely Love looking at this size and type. It would be great to have a sail on her! ........ how wonderful to prowl the decks at dusk and watch the stars appear as she sat solidly at anchor in some quiet bay - bliss.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Starling Project - Part 34

Today I wasn't able to work on the Starling because the weather is so cold the last of the Epifill compound I have used as fairing on the hull requires up to 94 hours to 'go off' at low temperatures. So I took a drive out to see a beautiful seaside house set amongst  Pohutakawa trees, complete with boathouse, boat workshop, beautiful sea views and 'Riparian rights' (It's own private beach). I will be purchasing this house when I win a few million dollars in this coming Saturdays Lotto.
While I was dreaming about something I can't afford the Starling was waiting patiently. I have given  the first undercoat a light sand and then applied what I hope is the last of any fairing compound.

This 'Epifill' compound (White in the photo) is taking its time in the low temperatures getting to a sanding stage. But never mind this gives me time to think how well she will look waiting to go sailing on the beach below my new house.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

--------------------- RUBY WEDDING - MARRIED FOR FORTY YEARS --------------------

Ruby Wedding
30th August 2015
Married forty years
I got up early this morning 
And made a cup of tea
It was a beautiful Northland morning
 A Sunday morning dawn
I made the tea, two cups, 
One for you and one for me.

He had just built this dinghy. He thought that if he could build a clinker dinghy he would be able to build something much bigger - which he did. He was all long hair and flared jeans. He was a brand spanking new School Teacher. He talked about Education, Politics, Religion, the meaning of life, building boats and sailing with the intensity of an incandescent light bulb. Still does. He built his big sailing boat. Together they built something far more important. A life and a family.

She was a brand spanking new Kindergarten teacher. She drove a dark blue Morris 1100 which was destined to carry two tons of lead ingots for the keel of his yacht and a thirty seven foot mast strapped to its door handles in an illegal clandestine race through the night. Today she drives a dark blue Volkswagen Golf which she often ogles at with the same sort of satisfaction as his yacht ogling. When they first met she talked about Politics with the intensity of an incandescent light bulb and found that she walked on the same side of the ideological railway tracks as the young man with the hair and the flared jeans.... but when she talked about childrens education and developmental needs she spoke with a rare insight and passion that made it abundantly clear she was far ahead of her time. She still is. He was entranced. He thought she was beautiful. And still does.

Her engagement ring has a ruby at its center and is surrounded with diamonds. Her wedding ring is gold with diamonds and rubies. Very apt for a Ruby Wedding Anniversary. Life has expanded to include three children, a daughter and son in law, and a grandchild.

Often they are like water flowing to water. Often they are like chalk and cheese. Underpinning it all is love, affection, humour, tolerance, forgiveness, commitment and a certain amount of Ruby Red sheer bloody mindedness ! LOL.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Starling Project - Part 33

I have done a 'pre - fit' of all the main pieces of hardware to make sure everything is ok. This new mast step has two large self taping screws that screw through the deck plywood to the central deck beam. Before permanently attaching all the pieces of hardware they will be removed and the surrounding areas either varnished, painted or sealed with fiberglass resin.

Cutting holes in the bottom of a boat is always a counter intuitive exercise. This hole is for the 'Self Bailer' an ingenious device that empties water out of the boats cockpit while sailing.

The blue device is my old Makita jigsaw that I purchased in 1975. It did sterling service when I built my 30ft yacht 'Mariner. It's 40 years old and still going strong.

The 'Self Bailer' or 'Venturi' now fits snugly. It's bought into operation by lifting the locking / lifting bar (left) and pushing down the pivoting bailer (center). At speed a vacuum created by the 'venturi' effect pushes water out. These devices are very efficient and quickly empty quite large volumes of water out of the cockpit.

The mainsheet track screwed down without any major problems.

I had to drill and chisel out slots for the chainplates between the outer rubbing strake and the deck. The chainplate fastening screws attach through the plywood into 24mm thick backing blocks.

I trimmed the very pointy end of the deck at the bow and attached the forward combination chain plate and carrying handle.

On goes the first coat of undercoat to the hull. The hull will be painted white. When she is turned right side up all the hull painting will be complete. She will then be ready for the last coats of deck varnish, a finishing coat of paint in the cockpit and the permanent fitting of all the deck hardware.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Starling Project - Part 32

Here I am planing the mahogany mast step down to its designed 20mm thickness. The new stainless steel fabrication to the right fits on top of the wooden mast step. I have modified this mast step fitting slightly. The two holes in the base combine with two pins in the bottom of the mast to stop it from rotating. These two holes are in the form of sealed stainless steel tubes which will stop water ingress into the wooden mast base. The 6 holes in rear of the stainless steel base allow for the attachment of sail adjustment pulleys.

The wooden mast base has been glued to the fore deck. I have glued wooden plugs onto the top of the attachment screws to stop any salt water playing havoc with the fastenings. I noticed when I dismantled the Starling at the start of this project the amount of corrosion on fastenings despite apparently having been sealed with glue or filler.

The trim for the top of the centerboard case has been glued on. It's awaiting a good sand and a few coats of varnish.

The main sheet track is supported by two wooden bases fastened port and starboard on the transom.

The stainless steel main sheet track spans the stern. I will attach it with some self taping stainless steel screws. The tiller will protrude through the central area. I feel I have now completed all the really big tasks. What's left to do is mainly light work - no more big sanding and construction jobs.

Yesterday I went and visited my cousin Stephen who runs the Onerahi Yacht Clubs dinghy racing programme. He gave me a some valuable information regarding official Starling Class measurements (position of the mast post etc, etc). He said that the Tuesday 'daylight saving' evening  racing series begins on October 9th. There are a number of Starlings that race in this series. I may not be ready for the first race but I now have a date as a goal to work towards.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Starling Project - Part 31

The chocolate brown West System fairing compound has been sanded back. It was a pleasant enough job as the compound sands reasonably easily.

 You can see where the Dynal tape has been exposed and the fairing compound has leveled the area between the tape and the plywood. I am not as concerned about any change in shape to the hull as I was previously. A large amount of the stuff was sanded off and I think any distortion to the lines of the hull are minimal.

Here I have applied a final coat of fiberglass resin. The Dynal tape is very hard and tough and should protect the chines and keelson from any hard knocks.

This coat of resin has dried. When it is hard I will sand it lightly and then apply the first coat of undercoat paint. While I am waiting for it to harden up enough to sand I will turn the boat over and continue with some other tasks.

Monday, September 14, 2015


In the current Aotearoa New Zealand change the flag debate; this flag (above), the so called "Red Peak Flag" is a design that has gained some traction. Apparently 50,000 supporters have signed a petition asking that it be included in the final 4 designs that were chosen from a long list of 40 contenders. Personally I think it is an appalling design, but it does have the backing of noted artist and cartoonist Dick Frizzel and other notaries. There is a call now for this design to be included with the other 4 shortlisted designs for the final vote. There is a possibility that this may happen, except that both major NZ political parties are using the flags inclusion to play 'Dog in the Manger' politics, the nature of which is simply too tiresome and convoluted to comment on here.

Despite my personal dislike of the 'Red Peak' flag design, its symbolism is important because it does tell a distinctly Aotearoa New Zealand story. Designer Aaron Dustin says his design "Evokes the Maori myth of Ranginui and Papatuanuku, the sky father and earth mother who lie locked together." The problem is that this story has been flying on another flag for 25 years.

In my opinion, it could be argued that to use the 'Red Peak' flag as a vehicle for the Maori creation myth is another example of neo colonialism, especially when there is a pre existing flag that tells exactly the same story, was created by a northern Maori group in 1989 and contains symbolism that explains the myth in a more substantial way. Also to my aesthetic sense the curves and symmetry of its design leaves the toy shop jigsaw puzzle likeness of  the 'Red Peak' design far behind in every aspect.

The full story of this flags symbolism is told in its colours and forms:
BLACK represents Te Korekore (the realm of potential being). It thus symbolises the long darkness from which the earth emerged, as well as signifying Rangi - the heavens, a male, formless, floating, passive force.

WHITE represents Te Ao Marama (the realm of being and light). It symbolises the physical world, purity, harmony, enlightenment and balance.
The spiral-like KORU, symbolic of a curling fern frond, represents the unfolding of new life, hope for the future and the process of renewal.
          RED represents Te Whei Ao (coming into being). It symbolises Papatuanuku, the earth-
          mother the sustainer of all living things, and thus both the land and active forces.

As a whole, the design represents the balance of the forces of nature, masculine and feminine, active and passive, potential and physical, air and earth. It can also be interpreted as symbolising the white cloud rolling across the face of the land, AOTEAROA, which is the Maori name for New Zealand,

The only problem with this flag created by the protest group Te Kawariki in 1989 is that it is the "Tino Rangatiratanga" (Maori sovereignty) flag, which makes this choice highly controversial --- But if it was up to me! This would be my choice.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Starling Project - Part 30

The hull was glassed with  Dynel tape using West System 105 Resin and 206 Slow Hardener. I should have applied the fairing compound 'wet on wet' or when the resin had 'tacked' off but I only found out later that this is the usual technique. This would have saved a lot of sanding and re-application of resin.

When the Dynel Tape and resin was cured it was sanded to provide a key and a light coat of resin was applied. When this had 'tacked' off West System 407 Low Density Fairing Filler was added to a mixture of the 105 and 206 until it had the consistency of peanut butter. This mixture was then used on the hull as fairing filler.

The hull now has the appearance of having been smeared with molten chocolate.

Because of the cold temperatures I will wait about four days for the fairing mixture to fully cure before completing the last fairing sand and then the application of one final coat of resin.

On reflection and after the huge amount of work and expense involved I think what I am doing here is a bit of 'overkill'. I should have just painted the hull after the initial light wood grain fairing with the white Epi-fill fairing compound. But having said that, I haven't used West System products before and the experience I have gained will come in extremely useful for a number of small 'Stitch and Glue'  designs that I intend building in the future, so it's all good and nothings lost. The little white 7 foot P Class yacht hanging in the rafters above the starling doesn't have any Dynel tape protection on the chines and she has done well with some at times, pretty rough treatment. So I have learned two lessons here for which I am grateful and with a bit of luck and common sense I won't repeat.

While I wait for the fairing compound to set I will work on the rudder and centerboard which require a bit of attention.

I had to smile when I read the instructions on the West System Resin container which advised that the mixing and application of the resin and hardener should be done in a well ventilated space. With a cold Southerly wind howling through two sides of my carport and raindrops of a size to please Noah coursing down I had more ventilation than I knew what to do with!

Sunday, September 6, 2015


The current New Zealand flag (above) incorporating the stars of the Southern Cross and the British 'Union Jack' in the top left hand corner.

This is a photograph taken by my son and posted on Instagram. It's an image by the talented Kiwi artist Dick Frizzel. The photo is of a Maori Tiki image expressed in the medium of a neon sign. It is vibrant, arresting and interesting. Maybe we could replace the Union Jack on the current NZ flag with this image. The image has its roots in the culture of our Tangata Whenua. It is strong, striking, vibrant, culturally relevant, unique to Aotearoa and distinctively Kiwi..... it would be a wordless way of having AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND written on our flag.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Starling Project - Part 29

The hull has been turned upside down and given a sand with the orbital sander. Using a putty knife I have begun to skim the plywood surface with International Paints 'Epifill' which is an epoxy filler. I did this to fill in the grain of the plywood, still apparent even after a good sand.

The second photo shows the epoxy filler applied to the whole hull. Despite the relatively large surface area it didn't take very long to do and was quite a pleasant task. The object of the filler is to help create a smooth surface. Slippery smooth painted surface? - Slippery, fast little yacht.

The last job was to glass on 100mm wide Dynel tape on the keel and 50mm wide tape to the chines.

My final decision after a lot of procrastination has been to put Dynel tape on the keel and chines rather than fiberglass the whole boat. Apart from the expense, time and additional weight involved I decided that it just doesn't need to be fully glassed. The glass tape is in vulnerable heavy duty wear areas and should be sufficient to protect the hull. The next stage is some sanding and fairing along the tape lines and then a coat of undercoat paint.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Starling Project - Part 28

A sailor with a bent for restorations can never have enough sawhorses (Or tools of every description and anything else that might come in useful). If you are a: "I think this might come in useful one day" sort of person, you will be in a good strategic position if you ever restore anything.

I have built a boat cradle with each independent end firmly attached to its own saw horse.The fore and aft parts of the cradle are covered with 100% pure Merino New Zealand wool carpet (Nothing but the best).

Over she goes ready for the next stage. The only time she will be in this upside down position again will be if I happen to capsize whilst sailing..... and roll on the sailing days...... today is the first day of Spring here in New Zealand, so I had better hurry up and make sure I am ready for a sailing summer.