Friday, April 26, 2013

Ideas –Friday, April 26, 2013, Mazatlan, Emerald Bay, Mx – The new U bolts arrived before we left, and UPS delivered the new sail numbers while we have been here. 

No doubt we needed this vacation. We both worked almost 28 straight days with no days off before we left.  The first few days here we slept 13 hours and had to spend the day relaxing just to take another nap.  But, after 10 days, we feel pretty rested.  The last few days I have been waking early and waiting for daylight so I can get coffee and walk four miles.  Spend a good deal of time thinking about how to keep the C-Lark from going turtle.  Once we get the hang of racing the thing, we will want to win.  We should capsize now and then—if we don’t ever capsize, we aren’t trying hard enough. 

From reading it seems the biggest problem with C-Larks is that, once they go over, they like to turn turtle (mast pointing straight down).  If you are really quick, you can feel it start to go over,  loosen all the sheets, hop over the side, stand on the centerboard and pull it back up.  Let’s get real! I’m 66, I have always been a bit clumsy, and that hasn’t improved with age. 

To prevent the turtle some sailing clubs use mast head floats—styrene foam balls attached to the mast head, or, for a couple of hundred bucks, you can buy a mini air bag that sits on the top of the sail and  inflates when it hits the water—both obvious, and ugly, give-aways.  Probably not a good solution for a guy who spent $700 to have a scratch removed from the Miata bumper since it interfered with my “old-man-posing-in-his-convertible” thing.  If you haven’t picked it up by now, I am more vain about the appearance of my stuff than my person.   

But  it did occur to me you could just put one of those water noodles inside the mast.  It would fit the space nicely; you wouldn’t have to worry about keeping the mast sealed water tight.  I will have to check this out with some people smarter than me. 

The vertical post holds a bit less than .5 cu feet of water--about 32 pounds.
Other ideas:  The upright trailer member that holds the winch, bow chocks and mast supports was full of water when removed from the trailer—obviously it needs a drain hole at the bottom.  Thinking about putting foam plugs in the trailer beams once they are reassembled.  They were just as rusty on the inside as the outside—plus, of course, adding some drain holes just in case.  Read that galvanized bolts last twice as long when they are painted.  Once the trailer is reassembled, they will get a coat of Hammerite.  Pretty sure we’ll just rebuild the bearings while the trailer is torn apart anyway.

There is plenty of metal left, but the inside of tubes are pretty nasty.
Well, four more days of vacation—plenty of time to think about finishing the trailer, painting the boat bottom, mowing the lawn, and burning our pile of debris.  Plenty of time to think about Susie’s counter top and dishwasher—plenty of time to think about Marja’s upper cabinet.—Patti wants to do three weeks in Mazatlan this fall.  It’s nice here, but I’m not sure I can handle that much rest.

Yes, it is tough duty-- but somebody has to do it!  This is just the southern pool at the far end of the resort. View is from our 4th floor room --that would be 57 steps if you don't take the elevator.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

No small sailboats --  Saturday, April 20, 2013 – Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico.  In Mazatlan you can para sail behind a power boat, ride in a Pulmonía (a VW with a cool body only allowed in Mazatlan).  You can go deep sea fishing, you can go bottom fishing, ride a zip line, visit a Tequila distillery or take dozens of other tours.  Or you can just rest and be waited upon.  What you cannot do is rent a small dinghy and go sailing.  I found out why yesterday. 

The bottom fishing trip takes you out five miles and you catch a few fish.  Fun.  You also catch on that almost all the protected waters behind the two islands are used for commercial traffic.  Everything else is right out in the ocean.  As soon as you leave the marina you have an open fetch all the way to Hawaii--wherever.   Today  was calm; the gentle, rolling swells were only four to five feet, remnants of last night’s 30 knot westerly wind.  The chop was created by the 10 knot breeze from the south.  So we got a little roll and pitch--no yaw.

These fishing boats are no nonsense, and built to take it, and they are immaculately maintained. Two big Mercs move them over along at 20 mph or more.  The skipper and his deckhand have faces the color and texture of saddle leather.  They know how to dislodge a grapple anchor from the rocks.  Puking passengers are only mildly amusing.  No wonder you don’t see many boats or boat trips offered other than the fishing. 

The fishing?  My gringo companions got very sick.  The fishing was poor; we caught a few snapper, a couple of perch, a trigger fish and one piraña.  The pelicans were fun.  The crew took the fish home. I didn’t have to clean anything--in fact they wouldn't even let me touch my shrimp bait. Patti didn’t complain about the smell of fish in the house.  Great day!

Local net fisherman working behind a natural rock jetty on an extremely calm day.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Number –of sorts –Monday night, April 15, 2013  -- Curtis at the trophy shop, Creative Artistry, came up with a hull identification plate to go on the boat.  The state requires a hull number .  We will be using 1219 on the sail.  While Patti packed, the winch base was reassembled.  The weather here is highly unsatisfactory (it sucks).  I think I’ll go to Mexico for a couple of weeks.  Not totally retired, but feeling kind of independent.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Almost – Monday, April 15, 2013 – Almost got the trailer finished, but time for a much needed vacation.  So far we haven’t had a day warm enough and dry enough to paint the boat. Right now the trailer is broken down to the carriage.  The frame is in pieces and half painted.  We will tackle the carriage when we return and start putting it back together.  Will see if dinghy sailing is available in Mazatlan, but haven’t seen anything in previous trips.

Notice the axle is up in the air--also just noticed the tires are two different sizes.

The beams are painted on two sides.  Just the carriage to go.

We interrupt this blog – Friday, April 12, 2013 --  I never much liked yard work, and right now it’s really a pain because working on the boat would be much more fun.  But, we have two acres of lawn, we will be gone for two weeks, and my neighbor is a nice guy.  He deserves to see a decent lawn since we don’t have a fence between our two back yards.  The whole lawn job takes about six hours.  Riding mower, push mower, string trimmer, edger, blower…  My friend Fred assures me that the lawn will not look so nice once the boat is in the water, he calls it “Sailor lawn.” 

The push mower has been acting like it has a stuck choke.  Starts easily, runs badly when it’s hot, emits black smoke.  Admittedly I am not great on maintenance, but I do change the oil, spark plug and blade once a year.  I have no idea how fix a stuck choke, but the boat calls and there is no time to take the mower in to get repaired.  The worst that can happen is that it won’t get any worse, so I pop the cover and look at the carburetor.  There is no choke.  The little rubber button you push three times squirts a little raw gas into the carburetor throat.  So why does it act like the choke is stuck?  An examination of the filter tells the story.  It is totally plugged.  It hasn’t been cleaned since we bought it.  Clean it out with a little raw gas; reassemble; runs like new. 

Ask Patti, “Hon, when did we buy that $99 Sears lawn mower?”  Answer:  “When we got married—23 years ago.”  Moral of the story:  Clean the air filter every couple of decades and you won’t waste time you could have spent on the boat. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Working the list – 3:30 am, Thursday, April 11, 2013.  Sometimes you wake up for a glass of water and you mind starts going, and you know that it’s a waste of time to try and sleep.  When that happens, I just get up and work.  The next day sleep comes easily.

Today I began working the list at 2:00 am.  The trailer bunks are assembled and waiting for carpet.  We’ll get some stainless screws and washers later today. 

One fender is painted.  The other is still attached to the trailer. 

Still lots of parts to be disassembled and painted.  Need to make a new spacer for the bunk attachments.  The other just wouldn’t come apart.

Sail numbers are on order—waiting.
Bottom paint primer is here—we need a warm dry day—waiting.
Bottom paint is on order—waiting.
Special U bolts for the trailer are on order—waiting.
Name plate for hull is on order—waiting.
Trailer lights—haven’t figured that out yet—waiting on me.

This project is really too big to work around our other responsibilities ie. taking care of the grand kids, working on the yard, running the business, going on vacation.  But, there is a list and we’ll just keep working it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Ready to paint -- Monday, April 8 -- Hooray.  Today more time was spent on the boat than the trailer. 

Every session the state legislature argues whether the state flower should be moss or mildew.  It actually rains less here than it does in New York or Kansas--it's just that we only experience true dryness in late July.  So with a burst of almost dry weather today, I rushed home to mow the lawn and finish sanding the C Lark's bottom. 

I almost got the lawn done.  The boat is ready for paint.  The little line of barnacle glue along the strakes will just have to stay.  The sanding is already through a lot of gel coat, and we're not going into the glass/plastic laminate.  Later on those little rough spots can be an excuse if somebody beats us by four seconds on corrected time.   I did wear a mask and carefully collected the copper on a tarp and vacuumed it into a bag for hazardous waste disposal.  But, mostly I am going with the notion that at 66 this is a minimal exposure and something else will kill me long before copper paint.

The sanding pattern pretty well defines the baracle
growth and thus the true waterline when the boat is
only holding rainwater.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Grinding detail -- Sunday, April 7, 2013 --The sun came out long enough to sand one square foot of bottom.  Really glad this is a little boat.  The slow grinding work on the trailer continues when I can steal a few minutes from grand parenting obligations.  Literally grinding.  The nut splitter won't fit around some of the nuts so the heads had to be ground off.  It take take a bit more than 20 minutes each. We leave for Mexico next week—work is piling up with the little retirement business.  Well, now I have to tell myself what I tell the home repair/renovation customers.  “It will be finished when it’s done.”
The fenders looked like this. The insides were painted with black
Hammerite.  The outsides were sanded and primed.  Might paint
them the same color as the boat bottom.

The roller shafts were peened over so now we
need to drill holes for cotter pins when they go
back in.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Bunk brackets – Saturday, April 06, 2013 – Rain—lots of rain. By starting at 4:30, I steal a few hours for the boat.  So work goes inside the shop today, specifically work on the bunk brackets.  They were just too far gone to reuse—had to fabricate new ones.
Much easier to handle as one long piece, and easier to clamp the the table.
The shop really isn’t set up for metal—no metal band saw, no welder, no oxy/acetylene , but with a little ingenuity and some hacksaw work, a few simple tasks can be completed. It’s easier to work with a long piece of metal than a short ones.  Clamped a piece of angle stock to a piece of scrap wood, clamped that to the table of the drill press, drilled 12 holes, and then cut them apart.  Of course had to dress up the edges and corners with a file—seems like a waste of time, but for a few minutes work now, you don’t have to deal with cut fingers later.
How to drill sharp metal safely--not pretty--but effective.
.  Now to let them rust a little and apply paint.  In the meantime the bunks themselves can be remade with some exterior plywood and carpet. Just one of those deals—I didn’t really want to spend all this time on a trailer, but once we start racing, I don’t want to have to spend a lot of time messing around with a balky trailer.  Pay me now or pay me later.  I’d rather pay up on a rainy day than a sunny day when we should be sailing.
The new ones should last longer than me.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Too many tools --  Thursday, April 4, 2013  -- I bought a nut splitter.  I have many thousands of dollars invested in tools,  There are so many tools in the shop that it is almost embarrassing. But, for the boat trailer, I needed just one more.  My wife, Patti, thinks I buy tools like she buys shoes, but she’s wrong.  Getting a new tool is not about buying a possession.  Rather, it is purchasing the power to solve a problem.  In this case the problem is rusted nuts on bolts—more than 30 rusted nuts.  Yes, I could have solved this problem other ways.  The nuts could be removed with a hack saw—labor intensive—about 20 minutes each and gallons of sweat.  They could have been ground off—less sweat but the same amount of time.  Or, one could just slip the splitter on the nut, tighten up the bolt with a ratchet and break the nut free—about 1 minute each.  I spent the first 2/3 of my life trying to make do with the tools at hand—now I just get what is needed.  Life is too short to drink cheap beer, work for mean bosses, or use crappy tools.

Hard to find--but worth it.

Squaragonal U Bolts

Squaragonal U Bolts  -- Thursday, April 4 -- It's raining and the boat is outside, and I can't sand the bottom with an electric sander, so I went searching for square U bolts.  Local sources only have stainless.  At $15 a crack (without nuts and washers) that's a bit spendy for this project, but some galvanized were available on line for about eight bucks each.  The trailer needs six.  They are on their way.  Regular galvanized bolts are readily available at Tacoma Screw so we'll get those as we need them.  (Bolts from a genuine fastener store are about half the price of Home Depot.)  When the handy man work slows down a little, the trailer will get torn apart.  We have a two-week vacation in Mazatlan coming up-- a bottom to paint, a trailer to refurb, and sail numbers to be applied--a lot of work.  It doesn't look like we'll be ready for the first race in May--Dang it!  Probably a good thing no sense making your first sail a race; we'll screw up enough just trying to tack up the channel.

Hope that 3 1/16 on the B measure is correct -- could be 3 1/8--we'll see.  Suppose you can always bend them out just a little.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Symmetry good—Rust not so much—April 2—my obsession with symmetry is temporarily satisfied.  Finally all the pieces for the traveler car are in order. It only cost about $50 to make all the little pieces pretty—sometimes neurotic behavior comes with a price.

The trailer news is not so good.  They want $500 to sandblast the trailer and another $500 to paint (not powder coat) it.  A new cheap trailer only costs about $700, a good galvanized about $2000.  Those options are too much for this project. So, I guess it will clean it up as best I can and try some Rustoleum paint.  To that end a nut splitter was purchased last night.  The tentative plan is to break it down, replace the damaged bunks, paint the parts and reassemble with new galvanized bolts.