Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tanzer 16 Jib Blocks--They should just give you the boat.

Tanzer 16 Jib Blocks--They should just give you the boat. --  April 17, 2014 -- When I decided to get back into sailing after 30 year plus years, I couldn't believe how inexpensive boats are.  They're plentiful, cheap, and many of them well maintained. (I have a theory about sailboats and the Shadow Fax Generation, but that will wait till another day.)  You can tell my 30 - 40 year old Tanzer 1306 was sailed hard, but it was always stored dry-- the guy before me did a fabulous job on the bright work.

So what do sailboats have in common with computer printers?  Toner is so costly they should just give you the printer. But toner is dirt cheap compared to sailboat fittings and sails.  Tazner 1306 came with a sound hull, a serviceable trailer-- the tires were shot, but it had a new axle and bearings and the rust wasn't too bad--not like the old C-Lark.

The sails on 1306 were worn out, and many of the fittings were mismatched, ugly, or didn't work very well. The boat cost $1600 plus a couple of hundred for license, tax and transfer.  At this point there is a new jib prox $500. New main, prox $900.  A year from now probably a new Genoa  figure, maybe, ugh $700.    If things go well, we will add a spinnaker in a year or two  so probably  another thou there--actually more, we'll need a pole and rigging!   These are the highlights--doesn't even cover the weekly trips to West Marine and the on-line orders.

Point in case.This pair of jib blocks (that's right the little disk is a quarter) cost $210 and some change. Clearly suppliers should just give you a good used boat so they can sell you stuff!

Today's Cliche:  Things are a lot more like they used to be than they are now.

I just bought a new lawn mower with a Honda engine for just a little
more than these two blocks cost.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Boom Topping Lift for Tanzer 16

Boom Topping Lift for Tanzer 16 -- April 14, 2014 --  Wouldn't it be nice if the boom were up off the crutch when you were launching?  Wouldn't it be even nicer if the main had a few gaskets holding it tidily to the boom while you were trying to get the rudder in the working position, straighten up all the lines, and get the main hoisted?

It would be nice.  If you had a back stay, you could just rig a little clip to hold the boom until the main was up.  But, you don't have a back stay.  You have two choices.  You can get a boom kicker that holds the boom up from the bottom of the mast--basically a springy stick that goes in front of the vang. (Costs about $200)  Or...

You can rig up a line from the top of the mast to the back of the boom--a topping lift. (Costs about $10.)

I just got a piece of aluminum bar stock and drilled some holes that matched the sheave axles on the masthead fitting. The counter-sinks were made by using a 1/2 in bit.

Then I mounted on the masthead--taking care not to drop the sheaves into the mast (Wouldn't that be fun!) by pushing the old axles out with the new ones.  It turned out this was a good piece to add to the masthead.  Some time in the past the mast got dropped and there is a crack in the casting.  It has been repaired with JB Weld, but another mending plate wouldn't hurt.

So now I have run a 50-foot piece of 1/8 Dacron cord.  I will step the mast next week to insure that the topping lift doesn't foul the halyard.  It did occur to me that there is the opportunity for a nice little piece of whimsy--the lift could be used as a hoist for silly little burgees and flags.

Today's Cliche:  Never steal more boat chain than you can swim with.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tanzer 16 foredeck cleat for mooring or towing

Tanzer 16 foredeck cleat for mooring or towing -- April 9, 2014 -- (Two years after installing this cleat, I removed it.  We never needed it for towing and it was in the way of the spinnaker gear that we added in 2015.  Mooring was a little less convenient, but there were plenty of "ok" alternatives.)

We needed a foredeck cleat for mooring after launching, and it had to serve double duty.  It needs to be sturdy enough so we can accept a tow back when the winds die after a Thursday evening of racing.  It seemed unwise to put bolts into the structural member in the center of the foredeck so we came up with an oak plate that could be screwed in on both sides of center.

1.  Obtain the curve of the foredeck by shimming up a straight piece of plywood and scribing a line with the flat side of a carpenter's pencil on the deck.
2.  Use a spindle sander to sand to the top of the line--this is the pattern that was transferred to a flat piece of oak and shaped on the spindle sander.
3.  Add a nice little round-over to the plate on the router table.
4.  The plate ready to be installed.
5.  Crawl under the foredeck on your back,/face up--no easy task--and install backing plates, fender washers, small washers, and aircraft nuts, while crewmember Tony holds the screws.
6.  The finished cleat with a generous amount of caulk.  We think it won't foul the spinnaker downhaul if we ever get a spinnaker.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Bow line--another detail

Bow line, another important detail -- April 6, 2014 --Unfortunately half of dry sailing is the trailer--the set-up (30 minutes)  the launch (10-20 minutes depending on the line) --retrieval (15 minutes) --take down (15 minutes) --drive home (40 minutes to 2 hours depending on the beer situation). 

The launch ramp in Olympia has a floating dock--nice.  It is four and half feet higher than the ramp--not so nice. Once you push the boat off the trailer you have to hand the bow line up to someone on the dock.  Or, if you launch by yourself at 2:30 pm on a Thursday, you have to jump up on the dock, tie up the boat so it is out of the way for the next launch, jump back down into  the cold, dirty water, run to the truck and go park it.  (The advantage to a deserted dock is that there is no audience to watch you back down the ramp.) 

Just in case you drop it, you need a bowline that floats.  You need a bowline with a stainless snap hook so you can get it out of the way once you're out on the water.  A dorky little detail, but one that will really spoil your day if you don't take care of it.

Polypropylene  seems to work the best.  It floats, it doesn't stretch, it's easy to splice
and it doesn't usually tangle up in a propeller.  I like a line that is 20 - 25 feet long.

Coming up: A bow cleat suitable for towing.  A new main is ordered.

Today's cliche.  "Friends come and go; enemies accumulate."