Monday, March 29, 2010

The "BALCK FLY" Dinghy 4: Dacron Skin Installation

I've been procrastinating doing this job, but every time I walk into the shop, which, being retired, is about a gazillion times a day, I feel a twinge of guilt for not forging ahead and just ... well .... doing it!

So this morning I decided to set a date for the task, and suddenly thought: "Why not right now?"

The first thing to do was re-read the instructions that came with the plans.

The plans recommend laying the Dacron cloth over the hull on a bias, so the material can be more easily stretched around the curves. As I only had about 1" to spare in cloth width this was not an option, so the cloth was run lengthwise along the hull, and held in place with a few spring clamps.

The next step was to bond the material to the gunwale, shrinking it as I went along, starting in the middle and working both ways. What worked best for me was to heat the area from the gunwale up to the first stringer, preventing too many puckers close to the glue joint on the gunwale.

The "BLACK FLY" Dinghy 3: Heat 'n Bond Tape and Kevlar Roving

The next stage is to apply this magic glue/tape from the craft store, and then attach the Kevlar roving. Frankly, Charlie, I'm feeling really skeptical about this whole 'rinky-dink' process. I just may skip it and buy some Ballistic Nylon and proceed from there. But a little voice in my head keeps telling me to go ahead and try it anyway ... I've got the materials, so what's to lose?

The tape goes on easily enough, but it's hard to keep the skeptic in me asking if this stuff is all I want between being nice and dry, or a first-hand experience of severe hypothermia.

The hardest part is picking off the paper backing, which is easier to do if you tear the tape rather than cutting it. Overlapping the joints appears to be OK, as the stuff is so thin.

A strip of tape is also put along the centerline of the bottom, and around the centerboard slot.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Boat Spring Cleaning

Having the boat in the water 12 months of the year, and sailing it 12 months as well, takes it's toll on the exterior appearance.

My bottom paint is only one year old, but seems to last at least two. I'm using the same stuff I put on a boat (since sold) seven years ago that was hauled out for the first time last week. Apart from a few barnacles along the waterline, and a small family of muscles on the bottom of the keel, the paint was still working well. And the boat does not go out that often! The paint? Pettit Horizons Black. Works for me :-)

My whole flurry of boat cleaning activity was caused by the marina finally getting fresh water piped to every slip.

Friday, March 19, 2010

HARKEN Jib Furler Installation

Thanks to Brett Hasbrouck, the General manager at Hayn Marine, and Robert Jones of Defender Marine, I received my replacement crown rings in the mail. Now it was time to get to work. Don Casey (This Old Boat) says a furler installation should take a professional rigger about six hours.

Rather than use a Bosun's chair, I rigged my ladder, as I did in this photo of the boat taken in 2005.

The first job was to make the new forestay from 7/32" 1x19 wire and the Hayn Hi-Mod swageless fittings. After bracing the mast the old stay was removed and stretched out between two screws driven into the deck.

An 'eye' fitting was attached to the top of the new wire, and a turnbuckle rod to the bottom, being very careful to get everything the same overall length as the original stay.

The Harken manual has a length calculation sheet that makes the whole process very easy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Vega Standing Rigging Overhaul.

I've finally decided to address an item on the boat that's been concerning me for some time: replacement of the forestay, hidden for years under an ailing and worn out CDI furler.

After removing the old furler I decided I didn't want it back on, so spent some time researching and decided on the Harken MKIV Unit 0 model.
My rigging wire appears to be the original sized 5mm diameter 1x19 stainless steel wire. The nearest size to this is Imperial measure  3/16", which is slightly smaller, hence weaker. Given the fact the wire is completely enclosed by the furler foil, and subject to more strain with the weight and windage of the furler,  I chose to upsize to 7/32" wire.

I've always wanted to try swageless fittings for the wire ends, as they make it possible to repair rigging in the field (ocean?) without extensive tools. More research here convinced me that Hayn Hi-Mod fittings fit the bill.

They have re-usable innards, and a unique crown ring that holds the outer wire strands perfectly even in individual grooves.
Unfortunately they arrived with the wrong sized crown rings, so I've been busying myself overhauling the rest of the standing rig, while I wait for the correct ones to appear.