Tuesday, February 20, 2024

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< A CERTAIN IRONY >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

My OK Dinghy was rammed on the start line by a small keel boat. The collision was an event that (To quote C. S. Lewis)  " came like lightening out of a clear blue sky". 

But first a bit of background before I describe the repair and explain the irony.

This, shipmates is my OK Dinghy on its road trailer showing the first version of the 'stone guard'. The purpose of the stone guard is to protect the hull from stones and general road detritus. 

This is the second version of the stone guard, which is simply the first version with an extension that  gives protection to the whole hull. So far its protective purpose has worked very well and also provides a more stream lined towing experience.

This is a sample picture of a small keelboat called a 'Flying Fifteen' at speed. When a Local Flying 15  hit my OK Dinghy on the start line a few weeks ago it wasn't going much slower than the boat shown in the photograph. This, below, is the result of the collision.........................

The situation was a classic case of barging at the start line. The F15 skipper did have enough time to bail out before the collision, but in the heat of the start line battle chose to risk it. When he realized that his maneuver wasn't going to work, it was too late. There was a loud bang resulting in my boat becoming impaled by the bow of the F15. Suddenly, I was looking at about a metre of his boats bow protruding into my cockpit. As I grabbed the F15s bow and tried to push it back out of the cockpit the race officer on the start boat next to me (I had got a good starboard tack start at the windward side of the line right next to the start boat) said "You're lucky he hit you in the cockpit, any other part of the boat would mean taking the deck off to fix the hole" - - - at this point a very loud and emphatic voice in my head shouted to me, "I don't feel very F*^%#King Lucky!!!!!

Being a good boat builder and restorer myself, I could have repaired the boat. But when my good friend Don, a boat builder and restorer of the Stradivarius Violin quality offered to do the woodwork part of the repair, I accepted. My part of the repair would be the fairing and painting bit.

In the above photograph you can see that a 'picture frame' has been glued on the inside of the cockpit. This provides a rebate effect into which a panel of plywood is inserted and glued.

Before going ahead with the paint job I got the repair looked at by a professional spray painter with the idea that (on second thoughts) I might employ him to do the job. In the end the cost was a bit prohibitive so I decided to do the job myself. Four coats of 'Durapox' later, a first sand with 240 grit, a second with 320, a final with 1200 grit and I was ready to go sailing last weekend at the OYC Champs. 

Job completed and ready for sailing. I am pleased with the colour matching which is a function I guess of the consistent application of the paints formula during the manufacturing process. This is a certainty that cannot always be relied on between different batches of paint of the same colour - Durapox paint (Made by Resene Paints in NZ) seems to be pretty consistent as the original painting was completed in circa 2017.

I am now waiting a couple of weeks for the 'Two Pot' epoxy paint to harden completely. When hard, I will cut the surface with a good quality cutting compound before doing a final polish. I am glad I did the paint myself as I learned a lot about using 'Durapox', about colour matching and painting the tricky transition zone between the old and the new - all things that will no doubt come in useful in the future. 

Durapox is a bit of a wonder paint used by high performance boats including the Americas Cup boats. It's an all in one primer, undercoat and finishing coat. The final cut and polish gives the surface a high quality smooth shiny finish that is hard to distinguish from a fiberglass gel - coat finish.

It is ironic that I went to all the trouble to extend the protection on the road trailer only to be 'T - Boned' on the water!! Shipmates - such is the life of the sailor.

Finally, an enormous thank you to Don - you're a legend.



Steve-the-Wargamer said...

NICE repair! Shame about the damage though... I take it there was no protest committee?? :o))

Alden Smith said...

No, perhaps I should have made an official protest but I didn't, I simply retired from the race and went ashore to survey the damage. I was pretty shocked and alarmed at the fact that if the F15 had hit me in my spine, things might have been a lot more serious. The skipper of the F15 was absolutely mortified and deeply apologetic. Accidents happen - part of the reality of being alive in general and competitive sailing in particular - but if he hits me again, I may not be so philosophical about it : >).