Wednesday, January 31, 2018

________________________ CHANGING STOVES ________________________

This (above) is my yacht 'Mariner's stove. It is a primus stove that uses kerosene under pressure (Stored in the tube on the bottom of the stove). The kero burners are pre-heated at their bases with meths which has the effect of vapourizing the kerosene which then burns with a clear blue flame. When they are in good working condition they are great little stoves and I love them. When they get old and worn they develop a number of alias's - 'Flame Thrower', 'Grenade' and 'Bomb' come to mind. New Kero burners for primus stoves are now available again but they are very expensive and have to be specifically imported into NZ.

So reluctantly I modified the old primus by lowering the burner tray and purchasing a couple of gas camping stoves which fitted neatly into the recessed trays. I don't much like gas on a boat but I thought this might be a compromise as I would only be using small canisters rather than having a professionally fitted installation complete with a large gas bottle.

Right from the start I had a bad feeling about what I was contemplating. Instead of listening to my gut instincts I simply forged ahead. I sobered up when I read the instruction leaflet that came with the camping gas stoves, which gave this advice:

- "This appliance uses oxygen when in use. DO NOT light or use indoors, in a tent, vehicle or other enclosed areas. A fire or carbon monoxide poisoning could cause injury or death" - Yikes!

- " DO NOT obstuct the flow of combustion and ventilation air. - OMG !

- " DO NOT use any windscreen (ing) with the stove. Any windscreen, including a standard windscreen, may cause the canister to explode. - Fucking hell !

- " DO NOT use the stove.......... in close proximity to another stove, or near any heat, fuel or ignition source." - Shite! You mean I have two bombs side by side!


- Sounds as though if I was to take the gas option I would have a stove ensconced in my boats galley with the explosive power of an Exocet Missile! Yikes! and Yikes!! again!

Only a fool would not take this advice. So I used that old adage that changing my mind is a males prerogative and went in another direction.

So shipmates, I did the research I should have done right at the beginning of this little sojourn and decided to change fuel.

I have purchased a new stove with a couple of nifty adjustable pot holders. It's a Swedish built Dometic 3000 two burner stove specifically designed for use in tents, campers and boats. It burns meths which is not pressurized in any way which is a big safety factor. It eliminates the pressurized flare ups that can occur with a primus. Any meths fires can be put out with water.

According to the Utube videos I have viewed and literature I have read a meths burning stove is the safest option available and has the advantage that meths can be extinguished using water in the unlikely event of a fire. The only disadvantage that I can see is that meths doesn't burn at the same fierce temperatures as gas or kerosene, so the kettle will take a little longer to come to the boil..... but shipmates if you are a sailor traveling everywhere at 6 - 7 knots or less, what's the bloody hurry?

The big advantage is that the stove is relatively safe, simple, easy to use and fits neatly into the modified gimballed frame of the old primus stove. It is also a compact, non intrusive and reasonably attractive looking little unit.

So I am happy to have this job ticked off the list. One down, three more jobs to go and then we can go sailing again.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

___________________________ RACING AGAIN ________________________

This week I raced 'Slipstream' for the first time this year (That's us on the left with the distinctive roach in the mains'l). The wind was very light, at times dying away to nothing. The most important part of the whole exercise was that the new self bailers I have installed didn't leak!! Excellent!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

_________________________ RACE READY ____________________________

 'Slipstream' is now race ready. The work I have completed on her includes:

- Raising the splashboards to the regulation minimum 65cm height including new varnished trim.
- Fitting varnished wooden trim around the cockpit perimeter.
- Lengthening the cockpit floor slates to the regulation lengths. This will also help to strengthen the hull and help it hold its shape.
- Painting the deck and cockpit, including non skid paint on the cockpit floor and on the hiking area of the deck.
- Fitting two new Anderson self bailers in the cockpit floor.
- Having a 'D' ring sewn into the stern end of the hiking straps allowing them to now be adjustable.
- Removing the laminated crossbeam with its heavy traveller and car and replaced it with a simple adjustable rope system.

 New Anderson bailers.

 Stainless steel 'D' ring.

 Simple light weight adjustable main sheet track.

Non skid areas on both side decks and cockpit floor will keep me from slipping and sliding.

 Fresh and bright varnished trim helps break up the paint job.

On Tuesday evening racing begins again at the Onerahi Yacht Club, so I will pop 'Slipstream' on the road trailer and head off for some sailing training - The Zephyr Nationals in Wellington are only four weeks away! Yikes!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

_______________ PLEASE EXPLAIN MR EDGAR DEGAS _________________

Edgar Degas said, "Painting is easy when you don't know how, but difficult when you do". Obviously he never painted a Zephyr sailing dinghy.
Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do. Edgar Degas
Read more at:
As I have mentioned before, painting is really not my forte, so happiness and contentment for me in this context is a simple job well done. Today the paint brush, the tin of paint and me enjoyed an easy alliance. The results are a huge improvement on the first painting job I completed on 'Scout', which looked as though I had painted the hull with a yard broom.

I have painted 'Slipstreams' deck and cockpit using a foam roller and 'tipped off' any bubbles with a paint brush in the recommended way. The quality of a paint job is dependent on good application and thorough preparation. This time round all went reasonably well.

I will paint the working area of the deck and cockpit with a non skid deck paint in a slightly darker shade of grey.

As usual 'Murphys Law' came into play. As soon as I started painting, the wind rose and little seeds from a tree started to blow into the carport and float down onto the fresh paint. I hastily put up a couple of tarpaulins which happily stopped what could have been another painting disaster.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

______________________________ SCOUT ____________________________

Today I bolted on 'Scouts' name plate. I like the name 'Scout', it sounds purposeful and active. It has an eyes wide open feeling to it; a tugging at the anchor chain let's go sailing feeling.  I know without a doubt that admiring glances would be cast in 'Scouts' direction if she were to sail in company with Arthur Ransomes' purposeful 'Swallow' and 'Amazon' - no doubt about that at all Shipmates. All I need now (apart from rudder and sail) is a spy glass and a parrot.

After gluing on the splashboard alterations to 'Slipstream' and the nameplate to 'Scout' I pulled both boats as far forward in the carport as I could as a major storm is approaching Northland from the Tasman Sea. The whole country is in for a bit of a battering. While the storm is raging I shall read, meditate, and think about a name for the parrot.

Monday, January 1, 2018

__________________________ STREET LEGAL __________________________

 Two brand new Anderson self bailers replace the old leaking ones.

In about six weeks I will be trundling off to Wellington to race in the 2018 National Zephyr championships. But before I do this I want to get 'Slipstream' completely compliant. Although she has a current measurement certificate that will be acceptable for the the championship I want to make her completely street legal. On the measurement certificate there are three areas that are noted that fall short of complete compliance. Because these issues do not give 'Slipstream' a competitive advantage a measurement certificate was issued with the non compliant areas noted.

The three areas that I am currently rectifying are:

- Lengthening the cockpit slates to span the complete length of the cockpit. I am happy to do this as it will strengthen the bottom of the hull. As you can see in the photographs this work is completed expect for the sanding and painting.

- Gluing an internal wooden bead around the face of the cockpit at deck height. This will give a good edge for my fingers to get a hold onto when climbing back into the cockpit after a capsize. The sanded areas around the inside of the cockpit in the photograph show where the new cockpit trim will be glued.

- Attaching some timber trim to the top of the splash boards as these are slightly below regulation height. The extra height will give more area to the splash boards and help them to do their job of keeping water out of the cockpit.

All the timber trim that I am using is cedar which is strong and light and shouldn't add any more weight considering that I have already lightened the boat by removing the large varnished laminated wooden crossbeam that has supported the heavy aluminum main sheet track (see photo below). I am going to use a light weight rope bridle with adjustment controls which has become common practise.

 When completed the only way to improve on 'Slipstream' will be to purchase one of the new immaculately built fiberglass Zephyrs complete with a beautifully varnished deck that are becoming very popular - now Shipmates - there's a shipshape new years resolution!

In terms of keeping weight out of the boat, the installation of two new self bailers that don't leak will also help in this area. With a little bit of fitting and painting to do we are almost good to go. I will soon be out on the water doing a bit of training and getting race fit for the National champs and the unpredictable Wellington weather.