Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Missed the first race--but didn't miss it much

Missed the first race--but didn't miss it much  -- May 27, 2014  Back on May 8 I had the boat hooked to the truck; we were ready to go racing. Then I broke my arm doing a last minute task that could have waited.  So of course we missed the first race--the one with almost no wind and lots of cold rain.  We were sorry to miss a race, but, if you had to miss one, this was it.

Even the Lasers struggled to find enough air to move.  Photo by Frank Neumann

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tanzer 16 (Overnighter) Hinged Mast Step

Tanzer 16 (Overnighter) Hinged Mast Step --May 22, 2014 -- Continuing to search for information about hinged mast step arrangements on Tanzer 16's and other small boats.  It hasn't become an obsession yet, but getting there. Found this picture of an Overnighter for sale.  You can see the hinged mast step on top of the cuddy cabin and the supporting structure below. Interesting how the forward area has been modified to make a floor for the cabin.  (The more I look at this, the more I think the Overnighter was maybe not one of  Mr. Tanzer's best ideas.  Why turn a sports car into a travel trailer?)

A king post supports the cabin under the hinge.

Here is a different view.

I did put in an offer for a really rough Tanzer 16 for sale in Seattle, but it seems like it sold for the rehab price instead of the parts price.  The ad is gone, and he didn't even call to dicker a little.  Good!  It should be out sailing if someone can make it happen.

Today's Cliche:  You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him marry a fish.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Tanzer 16 Mast Raising -- Lifting Handle

Tanzer 16 Mast Raising -- Lifting Handle -- May, 19, 2014  -- After stepping the mast twice in the rain, it became obvious that the first iteration of the mast lifting handle wasn't stout enough.  The first one looked like this.

The plywood delaminated and the metal wasn't quite heavy enough
although it would have worked if it had not been bent.
The new one looks like this.

This handle is made from solid poplar.

We haven't tried it at the launch, but it fit nicely in the driveway.

Today's Cliche:  Lovers and good deals are a lot like buses.  Another one will be along in 15 minutes.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Tanzer 16 Hinged Mast Step --early models had them

Tanzer 16 Hinged Mast Step --early models had them -- May 16, 2014  -- While writing about building a hinged mast step, I speculated that one could cut down the mast a bit and mount it on a tabernacle thus creating a much more convenient hinged mast step.  (see Tanzer 16 Raising the Mast Single-handed   --  May 12, 2014)  Just because there was nothing better to do while I wait for my arm to heal, I studied the plans in some detail wondering how one would set about such a project.  Whoa!  Johann Tanzer had already thought of it and done it.  Here is a little note buried in the middle of the mast dimensions.

The note refers to a king post on older models.  Why--To what end?  What did it look like?  How was it attached? We know it anchored two parts: 57 and 63.

A bunch of hours later the answer was found on a You Tube video Sailing at Beaver Lake 2012, posted by jaybender.  The sail number is 378 (an early boat), and clearly it has a hinged step that would make a portable hinge unnecessary.

Here's a closer look. Fuzzy, but definitely a hinge.  

So now the bigger mystery --did Tanzer change the mast to make a simpler rig, a rig less costly to produce, or did it not work so swell?  If it works, it would sure be a nice retrofit on #1306.  Better pictures and more detail welcome.

Today's Cliche:  No good deed goes unpunished, but it's likely to go unnoticed.

Next post --Trailer lights that actually work --most of the time.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tanzer 16 Raising the Mast Single-handed - part 4 lift the mast, handle

Tanzer 16 Raising the Mast Single-handed  - part 4 lift the mast, handle  --  May 14, 2014 -- Now the mast is upright, and the forestay is secure to the trailer winch via the gin pole.  The side guys are in place and the temporary backstay is in place.  Time to lift the mast onto the keelson and attach the standing rigging. There will be one moment when it's just you holding that whole thing in place.  This is where I wanted to reduce the risk.

If you are 6'3" and strong as an ox, you can probably skip these next few posts.  This is how I did it; it worked for me.  It's up to you to determine if you have the skills, knowledge, and strength to do this safely.

I woke up at three in the morning and realized this final step would be a lot easier if the mast had a handle--so I went out in the shop and made one.  It looks like this:

To hook the handle, I put a  #12 screw 15 inches up from the bottom of the mast. The handle fits on the mast like this:

Given my height, 5'7", this allows me to bend my knees and grab the handle and stand up straight--all the lifting is done by my legs while my hands and arms are focused on positioning..  My left hand is up higher on the mast to help with stability. All I had to do at this point was lift the mast up out of the hinge and set it on the keelson, slide it forward, and latch the gate.

I should add that I tried to add some fore and aft preventer lines at the bottom of the mast, but they were more a pain in the butt than they were useful.  I don't bother now.

Once the mast was locked behind the gate, I could hook up the forestsay and shrouds (see post May 2, 2014) at my leisure, unhook all the set-up gear, and get ready to go sailing.  Yep--it is a slow process--but for me, worth the trouble.  It does get quicker with a little practice, but it will never be as quick as some big moose of a guy just grabbing the mast and sticking it in place.

Take down?  Just do it all backwards.  Carefully.

Next Post: Johann Tanzer already had this figured out.

Today's cliche:  If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Tanzer 16 Raising the Mast Single-handed - part 3 hinge, ladder

Tanzer 16 Raising the Mast Single-handed  - part 3 hinge,  ladder  --  May 12, 2014  -- In part two we had the mast up, but the butt of the mast had damaged the bulkhead.


If you are 6'3" and strong as an ox, you can probably skip these next few posts.  This is how I did it; it worked for me.  It's up to you to determine if you have the skills, knowledge, and strength to do this safely. 

So clearly there needs to be a third iteration.  This system won't work until we devise a mast step hinge in a boat that wasn't designed for a centerline hinge--the centerboard trunk is in the way.  The answer is a portable, removable hinge that sits just to starboard of the keel.  After the mast has been stepped, you can put the hinge in the truck until you are ready to lower the mast.  After a full six-hour morning of dinking around, this is what the hinge looks like. *

The base is made from 3/4 plywood from the scrap box.  To  get this shape start by cutting a triangle of cardboard that will lay flat on the starboard side of the keel on the boat floor. Then spile to get the outboard shape.  Once you have that pattern you can spile (scribe) it back to get the bigger shape.  I tried to find an explanation on the internet for you, but they all over-complicate a simple procedure--try to find someone who can demonstrate spiling for you. The port side of the base needs to be beveled to match the angle between the keelson and the floor--use a carpenter's bevel gauge. The end view of the hinge base looks like this.

Exaggerated of course, but you get the idea.  Use a table saw to cut the left/port/inside bevel.  Use a band saw or jig saw to cut the bevel that touches the inside of the hull.  Use a tool like this bevel gauge to determine the angles you need. 
Since I have a lot of time on my right hand these days (I broke my left arm--different project), I made up a simple spiling explanation as a separate page. 

The tube part of the hinge needs to be cut so that the walls end up vertical  when the mast is in the upright position.  Use the same angles to cut the pivot arms.  You can use your bevel gauge to get the angle for the first cuts on the tube (4" ASB pipe).  Then you will have to fuss around trimming up the bottom so it rotates freely.  I used a 1/4-inch rod to make the pivot axle.  A circle of 3/4-inch plywood made a platform for the mast butt to sit on.  When the hinge is complete, set it inside the boat.  The next step is to insert the mast.  A tall ladder helps--the taller the better.

This is how the mast looks inserted into the hinge.  The weight of the mast and pressure from the trailer winch force the mast down into the hinge and keep it there.
Now go ahead and attach the guys and temporary back stay to the mast--loose loop--you have to retrieve them when the mast is up.  Keep the shrouds and topping lift lashed to the mast to keep them out of the way.  Secure the side guys.  You won't need to secure the temporary backstay until the mast is upright. 

The taller the ladder, the better.  It gives you a head start on raising the mast and forces the hinge into position.  Later I replaced this heavy Little Giant ladder with a much lighter 8' aluminum step ladder.
Now you can start raising the mast with the trailer winch while adjusting the guys to keep the mast centered.

With the mast all the way up, take a deep, well-earned breath.  Now you need to pick the mast up and drop it on the keelson.  But first you will want to invent a handle.

Next:  Part 4, Let's get the mast stepped--make a handle, and bag the restraining lines--they don't work  very well.

*If had lots of money and more metal working skills, I'd put a metal tabernacle in the boat,cut down the mast, and add a hinge plate on the mast base--then I would add a pair of cleats that lined up with the hinge.  Then one not-so-strong person could step the mast in 10 easy minutes.

Today's cliche:  Compared to understanding, knowing is rather trivial.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tanzer 16, Moving a 400-pound boat with one hand

Tanzer 16, Moving a 400-pound boat with one hand -- May 11, 2014 -- Still bummed about breaking my left arm, but couldn't just leave the boat just sitting in the rain collecting fresh water. With the help of this little trailer dolly, using only my right hand, I pulled it up a slight incline.  Thankfully our driveway is paved.  Then it was pretty easy to back the trailer down a slight incline into the enclosed carport we call the covered bridge. Total weight of boat, trailer and gear has to be at least 700 pounds.  Also very useful for my fishing boat.

Fifty bucks well spent -- Harbor Freight.  

Today's Cliche:  The squeaky wheel gets the grease, but it's the first to be replaced.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Tanzer 16 Raising the Mast Single-handed - part 2 guys

Tanzer 16 Raising the Mast Single-handed  - part 2 guys  -- May 9, 2014  --  When last we left this project, the mast was here.  (See post May 7, 2014.)

If you are 6'3" and strong as an ox, you can probably skip these next few posts.  This is how I did it; it worked for me.  It's up to you to determine if you have the skills, knowledge, and strength to do this safely.

At this point the mast started to swing to port and starboard--obviously We needed some guys.  The couldn't be the shrouds.  There is no place to fasten them.  You can't use the shroud chainplates, that space is already taken up by the gin pole.  Besides that wouldn't work very well because ideally the guys should be on a straight line connecting both guys and the bottom hinge of the mast. (That way the triangle would stay the same as the mast went up and you wouldn't have to adjust the guys.)  Well in this case, there was no hinge; the bottom of the mast was just sitting on a big cushion.  (This would turn out to be a huge problem in a few minutes.)

To solve the swaying problem I rigged up some guys out of 1/4-inch polyester line.  Luckily I had installed some midship cleats for mooring, and they provided anchor points on the deck.  They weren't lined up with base of the mast so they had to be adjusted every 12 clicks of the winch.

The first time I just tied the guys to the mast.  In subsequent iterations the  guys had loops at the top and snap hooks.  The main halyard connected to the snap hooks and I had a way to put the tops of guys high on the mast and lower them when I had the mast up--the higher the better!

Here is what the sway looks like from the back.  If you doing this by yourself, you raise the mast 12 - 24 clicks, then you adjust the guys, then 24 more clicks...and so on.

This picture shows the guys in the lower position before I came up with the
halyard rasing idea.  This was also before I got a taller ladder on the job.
So finally I got the mast in the up right position.  It was slow, but at no time was the mast out of control. Once I got it up, I picked it up, it wobbled, but I got it on the step and secured.  That's when I discovered that the mast had slipped off the boat cushion during all of this messing about, and it had punched a small hole into--not quite through, the bulkhead.  Shit!  Back to the internet for ideas.

Fortunately the hull was not compromised in any way, and this is pretty fixable.
Next post:  Making a hinge -- a tall ladder is helpful.

Today's Cliche:  Opinions are a lot like butts; everybody has one.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Tanzer 16 First Race -- broke my damn arm

Tanzer 16 First Race -- broke my damn arm -- We were spposed to race at 1830 tonight.  The boat sat in the rain.  I broke my left arm at 1400--man does that suck!

Found out I had broken the same arm once before and didn't know it-- I think it happened in Viet Nam. Vaugely remember a month when my arm hurt like crazy.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tanzer 16 Raising the Mast Single-handed - part 1 gin pole

Tanzer 16 Raising the Mast Single-handed - part 1 -- May 7, 2014 --  Six things can happen when  you step the mast, and five of them are bad:  You can drop the mast and break it, you can break the boat, you can be hurt, your vehicle can be wrecked, you can hit power lines,...you can successfully step the mast.  Come to think of it there are way more than five bad things.

If you are 6'3" and strong as an ox, you can probably skip these next few posts.  This is how I did it; it worked for me.  It's up to you to determine if you have the skills, knowledge, and strength to do this safely.

The Tanzer is a great boat, and part of that greatness is its simplicity -- non-tapered mast, no spreaders--but that mast is one heavy momma (31.5 lbs minimum) -- and it's long, about 24 feet.  At some point you have to get this thing up at the vertical, then pick it up at the bottom and drop it on the keel while it is spiraling around in mid air 20 feet above your head..  Luckily, I have never dropped it, but it has been close every time I try to get that 1.25-inch wide fitting over the top of that 1-inch wide keel piece. I see where my mast was once dropped and the head piece was repaired. Tired of the close calls and uncertainty,  I set out to devise a less tricky/dangerous way of getting the mast in place.  Did I mention that taking it down is even more difficult?

This is the story that unfolded over 2 1/2 days, and I will tell it to you chronologically so that if you decide to make a similar system for your boat, you might avoid some of the issues I had.

I looked up gin poles and mast raising.  I have seen this done so I had a general idea of how it would work. Before boom trucks were so plentiful, every carpenter, logger, and sailor knew how to use these handy devices. I decided on an A-frame design and made it up out of 2x2 stock, some plywood, and hardware.  It looked like this. The legs fold in so it will fit in the truck more easily.

The loose ends fit into the shroud chain plates.  The legs need to be as long as possible, but they need to be short enough so the finished frame will fit inside the forestay--so you will have room to fasten the forestay when the mast is up.

Number 10 machine screws fit nicely through the holes.  You will  need to dink around a bit to get the angle on the bottom of the legs right.  You need to keep the holes close to the bottom of the leg so it can rotate and not hang up on the deck.  Double check; make sure the legs can rotate without getting hung up on the deck.  If it can't rotate freely, you could punch a hole in the deck.

The top of the A-frame will need plates of plywood top and bottom.  I put a two by four cut to the angle of the legs on the inside.  I just wanted a bit of reinforcement, but it probably isn't necessary.  You need a loop of line on each side of the top plate.  One will fasten to the jib halyard, the bottom one will attach to the trailer winch.  I swapped out the wire on the winch drum for some softer poly rope.  I realized that at some point the line will rub on the edge of the boat.

The legs pivot on the bolts that go through the top and bottom plates.  I used 1/4-inch bolts.

I left a little extra rope on the halyard side so I could adjust the length.  This turned out to be quite lucky as I needed a tail to pull the A-frame.  In use the A-frame gin pole looks like this.  I thought I had it knocked at this point, but there were a few more things to invent--I'll show you why this first iteration was almost a good idea on the next post.  jim

The trailer winch is attached to the gin pole.  The jib halyard is attached to the top of the gin pole and cleated off of course. The taller the ladder you can have to hold up the mast, the better.

Today's cliche:  Necessity is the mother of invention, but assumption is the father of screw-up.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tanzer 16 Second Sail continued--most of the stuff works

Tanzer 16 Second Sail continued--most of the stuff works -- May 6, 2012  -- Since we sailed last week, I have been working frantically to invent a way to step the mast that doesn't require super strength and moderate luck --  it works -- but the explanation is so long it will take a separate post or maybe its own page--trailer troubles too.  All is fixed and we are ready for our first race in two days.  To finish up the second sail and evaluation of the stuff done this winter:

Tiller:  The homemade tiller worked really well.  Unfortunately the hiking stick clip was on the wrong side and we took it off before we left the dock.  It is corrected now.  It really wasn't a big deal.  The Tanzer is so roomy that in moderate to light  breezes you can just straddle the stick and steer with your knees.  The helm balanced nicely by just moving our weight fore and aft.

The foredeck cleat worked fine.  The Genoa sweeps the deck and it did get hung up once in awhile if the wind was light, but a snap of the sheet corrected that.

The snubbing winch worked great.  Easy to sheet the jib from any position.  The dimensions worked out perfectly.  If you would like to have one made see earlier posts in March. We don't have a good cleat placement yet, but we seldom cleat the sheets when we are racing.

So that's it.  We think we're ready for our first race in this boat.  Next post: race results and how to raise the mast with a gin pole--as well as trailer lights that work.

Today's cliche:  A youth that isn't wasted is.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Tanzer 16 #1306 -- Getting Ready for 2nd Sail -- Trailer Troubles

Tanzer 16 Getting Ready for 2nd Sail --May 1, 2014  -- I bought the boat late last August and had already agreed to work the committee boat for the last two races. So we only got to sail the boat once last year before the early, extra-wet fall set in.  All the improvements we made over the winter were based on that one experience.  Now it was time to see if it was going to come together.

I decided to rig the whole boat in the driveway before meeting crew, Tony, down at the ramp.  First problem:  The new coupler didn't fit the ball.  Disassembled the coupler, reassembled it--didn't change a thing.  It fit--strange and mysterious are the ways of trailers.  Of course the lights didn't work--they worked fine last fall. Ninety percent of trailer light problems are the ground.  Checked it and came up with 60 ohms--replaced the wire and connection to the frame--.5 ohms'; yeah.  Lights worked, but not very well.

I'm not a big fan of "squishable" hard connectors.  I prefer to solder the wire
and then cover the fix with water proof shrink fittings.
The the lights  were really dim.  The bulbs were only getting about 8 volts.  The next culprit was a corroded contact in the plug on the bumper.  A little sanding on the contacts and we were up to 11.5 volts at the bulbs.  A new adapter will be added this week.  (Of course a bulb burned out when we launched because I forgot to unplug the lights.)  The obvious solution--detachable lights the way we did it on the C-Lark.  That fix is about a hundred and a half--but then you are done messing with it forever--money well spent.  Pumped a little grease in the Bearing Buddies, checked the tire pressure, and 2 1/2 hours later I got to start working on the boat and rigging.

One other improvement was a shroud stretcher to hook up the second shroud after the forestay and first shroud are hooked.  It is just a little clip on the shroud with a loop of rope.  You stick your foot in the loop, push down and it's easy to fasten the shroud to the tang.

It can be really tough to get the second shroud hooked up; I like to keep it tight so I don't have to adjust it every time. The shackle stays on the shroud plates, and the stretcher just clips on for the one minute you need it.
The topping lift worked great.  Much easier to deal with the main in the parking lot and hold the boom up out of your way.
The 1/8" Dacron cord was plenty stout to hold the boom up.  Now we could rig a boom
tent if we wanted.  It is set up so we could also hoist a flag or burgee.  Worth the few extra
ounces added aloft.
After a full morning of messing about, I was convinced that I could rig the boat and headed for the ramp to meet Tony.

The new main can't get here soon enough.

Next post:  The pedestal and snubbing winch, raising the mast alone is not for one old man, Jim screwed up the tiller extension.  Will this boat work for two old farts?

Today's Cliche:  The chances of failure increase exponentially as the number of people or parts increase. (jgs)  Corollary:  One guy with a rock is more reliable than a committee with a computer. (wvs)