Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tanzer 16 Racing -- Handicap Chart in the Boat

Tanzer 16 Racing -- Handicap Chart in the Boat  -- July 26, 2014  We keep several sheets of paper in the boat, Tanzer 1306 (no name as yet).  Of course they are laminated.  We keep them handy, attached to a clip board.  They include the race course chart and a nautical chart (yesterday) The starting sequence, a shortened copy of the rules (only a few rules), and today we added this.

It's an abbreviated chart of the handicaps relative to our races.  It shows the time owed by us or owed to us for the boats we see all the time. We used 15 minute increments for the calculations.  It can be  helpful to know that the boat you seem to be beating is really 15 seconds ahead of you, or that the boat that is kicking your butt is really behind you and doesn't need covering as you approach the finish line.  Not a big deal but improving is about taking care of all the little stumbles on your way up the escalator. (metaphor from the other day)

Today's cliche:  I remembered and forgot, or I forgot to remember, or I never tried to remember;  I can’t remember which.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tanzer 16 -- Race Course Chart for Dinghy Sailing

Tanzer 16 -- Race Course Chart for Dinghy Sailing -- July 24, 2014 -- Read somewhere that sailboat racing is a lot like running up the down escalator. The winner will be the one who stumbles the least.  Finding the marks of the course wasn't a big issue last week since we had so many boats in front of us.  But it has been a stumble when we get a good start; sometimes it's hard to remember which dolphin and buoy are which.  We decided to make up a better chart to help us.

Here is the club issued chart of the marks. (1)

Here is the nautical chart of the area. (2)

Here is our own hybrid chart of the racing area--with a few helpful notes. (3)  It is laminated and kept in the boat with the nautical chart on the back side.  Budd Inlet has some interesting shoals and more than one race has included boats aground.

Today's Cliche:  If you don't care where you are, you're not lost.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tanzer 16 Racing -- Odd Start -- Learning to Race Together

Tanzer 16 Racing -- Odd Start -- Learning to Race Together  --  July 18, 2014.  We finally got to race last night--our first time this year.  The wind was great!  We were not great -- not even a little.  The list of excuses is long, but bottom line we (me really) did not get the job done.  In the first race we beat three boats sailed by people who had no idea how to sail. In the second we did better, but finished last because the greedy helmsman (me) tried to beat 5 boats to the first mark and touched it--ouch-- one more inch and we would have cleared!

The start was weird as can be, and I didn't think we had enough experience to cut the line fine enough to get a good start on starboard tack.  That was a good decision because even a couple of very skilled sailors, pointing as high as they possibly could didn't cross the line on the upwind side of the starting buoy.  The Lasers are so interesting.  They just kind of idle by the line and then accelerate when the gun goes off.  Some of them will even capsize their boats to keep from moving over the line.

The only start harder than this is a down-wind broad reach start with lots of boats on a short line.
Only a few starboard tack boats made a clean start--we were not among them.
In our post-race debrief at the Fish Tale Brewery Tony asked me what we needed to do.  The list is long, but the summary is we need to do everything we did, but better.  I need a stronger arm so I can actually adjust the traveler when the wind is blowing.  Fred needs to work the mainsheet for me and keep it flatter on the upwind legs.  We need to tack sharper--it takes way too long to get the jib over, and I compensate by over steering to keep us moving so we lose about 40 feet on every tack.  I need to get us better starts.  Getting Tony a thinner life jacket will help since his jacket keeps getting hung up when he slides across the cockpit.

Some things we did well.  Before the race we practiced jibing in 10 -15 knots, and that is much improved. All the jibes were controlled and most were pretty darn smooth. The new sails allow us to point as high as all the competition.  There were times when we were gaining on 420's, O'Days and C-Larks on up wind legs.*    We gained on lots of boats going down wind.  Before and after the race, we were much quicker getting the boat off and back on the trailer.  Summary--pretty unsatisfactory performance--all on me., but we didn't look like clowns the way we did last year in the C-Lark.  This is a much better boat for old guys.  We will get better.  This is just part of paying our dues.  We came, we sailed, the wind was good, the beer wasn't bad--a pretty nice way to spend a Wednesday evening.

*All we did is adjust the sheets properly, keep the boat flat,  and I focused on keeping all the telltales flying the right way--sail fast--pretty basic!

Today's Cliche:  Never share a foxhole with anybody braver than you are--never marry anyone crazier than you are.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tanzer 16 - Replacing Sail Slugs--Ouch

Tanzer 16 - Replacing Sail Slugs -- Ouch -- July 15, 2014.  You just have to hate this.  Spent the morning cutting off the bindings that hold the 11mm sail slugs on the brand new main so they could be replaced with 3/8 inch slugs using plastic shackles.  Darn shame--beautiful workmanship--super strong, but I didn't want to take the time to send the sail all the way back to Ben in Quebec to have it redone.  So now to pick up a couple of longer metal shackles at West Marine, and we should be ready to use the sail on Thursday.  Lesson for me here, I guess, if you are having your sail made far away, double check the slugs and bolt ropes to see if they really fit.  Sending some samples would have saved a lot of time.

Want to be reaaaally careful here not to put a cut in the sail.

You need to tap the shackles with a small hammer to close them.

Still trying to keep the sail clean.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Could a Tanzer 16 Mast Float--Theoretically -- Maybe

Could a Tanzer 16 Mast Float--Theoretically -- Maybe -- Not Likely -- July 5, 2014.  Working on a different project and a different post about the hinged mast step yielded an unexpected conclusion--Maybe a Tanzer mast could float--I doubt it since so many Tanzers are sold without rudders and there are more than a few tails of turtles.

The inside of the mast is filled with polystyrene beads.  I assumed it was to keep the water out, not to make the mast float.

These beads are forty years old and down at he bottom of the mast so lots
of water must have worked its way down there.  The ones at the top
are much lighter in color.

But--here are the numbers.  The inside of the mast extrusion has an area of approximately 4 square inches. So the volume of the inside of the mast is 4 sq in x 24 ft x 12 in/ft which equals 1152 cubic inches.

Water weighs .03606 lb/ cu in x 1152 cu in = 41 pounds of water.  So if the mast were filled with water, the whole mast would weigh 31.4 pounds (weight of mast) + 41 pounds of water = approximately 72 pounds.

BUT--if you filled the mast with beads, it would support 1152 cubic inches x .3606 lbs/cu  41 pounds (10 more pounds than the weight of the mast)--so theoretically the flotation in mast might cause it to float--but it doesn't.  One would suppose that the weight of the two wet sails, the standing rigging, and even the weight of the boom would add enough mass to insure that given a few minutes in choppy water, the mast is going to point toward the bottom.

To calculate area, I just found the area of the rectangle and
deducted the triangles that were not inside the mast.  It's
very approximate, but good enough since we are just

The good news:  If you keep the beads in the mast, and act quickly you can usually right the boat.  The bad news:  If the mast fills with water there is almost no way you could get it back up--and, even if you could, with 72 pounds 24 feet above the boat it would be so unstable that almost anything would knock it back over.

The take away:  If you are dinking with mast, keep the beads inside -- which I am and which I will.

Today's Cliche:  Attitude is 90 percent of everything--but new sails help.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tanzer 16 Great Little Boat, Great Sail--Issues with new main

Tanzer 16 Great Little Boat, Great Sail--Issues with new main -- July 3, 2014 -- A steady 10-knot wind blew out of the W all day--at times there were prolonged periods of 15 knots and  now and then a gust of 20.  No  clouds--not too hot.  A rare and wonderful sailing day on Puget Sound.  Normally, clear skies over Budd Inlet usually mean not much wind until evening.

Me.  The camera is pointed north.  The Olympic Mountains
on the left horizon.

 Luckily Fred and Tony decided I needed to go sailing; my arm is heeling, but no way I could rig the boat by myself.  With that much wind, it was nice to have three guys worth of  movable ballast in the boat. We sailed north close hauled  for an hour at max hull speed (guessing five knots) We did it on just four tacks thanks to the NW breeze.  Thought we would have an easy down wind or broad reach ride home, but the wind shifted to the SW so it was a beat out and a beat back throwing a nice flat wake all the way.

Tony on the left; Fred on the right.  Camera is pointed south toward State
Capitol Building.  We used this one brief lull to take a couple of pictures,
otherwise it was hands on helm and sheets the whole time.

Bad surprise sail wise-- The slugs on the new main were too fat for the mast slot--don't know what we'll do about this--either cut a little off the forward edge of each slug or send it back or cut the slugs off and install new slugs with shackles.  I hate to use shackles because Benoit sewed each slug in place.  The current configuration is super strong and reduces wear on the sail.  We needed that new main!  The new jib wants to point 15 degrees higher than the old worn out main.  (In typical Jim fashion, I left the old main home so Tony had to sit with the boat all rigged while Fred and I spent 45 minutes going home to get the old main.) When we have all three new sails, we should be very competitive racers--well at least the boat will be competitive, us, we still need work.

Bummer--beautiful, well-built sail--slugs one or two millimeters too fat.
Lesson:  Have the sail maker send some sample slugs before the sail gets built.

Bad surprise docking -- good ending --  my crew had never sailed up to the dock straight into the wind in a narrow channel before--which required two ultra quick tacks in a very narrow channel (60'); apparently I am not quite the teacher I think I am.  The first time we got stuck in irons behind a government barge; we bounced along its side until we could sail backwards--luckily no big damage done (once scratch in the gel coat).  We learned.  We performed great on the second try --which was good since there was an audience.  We came screaming into the slip area, executed two very crisp tacks.  Let the jib fly, eased the main, wiggle waggled* the rudder and stopped exactly on the lee side of the dock where Tony stepped off and secured us.  I almost felt guilty that we got some oohs, ahs for our dandy seamanship.

The Tanzer is a great little boat.  It forgave our mistakes--almost blew a gibe--they guys wanted to try jibing in 15 knots.  The boat knocked down a bit, but a quick, controlled round up gave us time to ease the main sheet--one demonstration is worth a 1000 words on this maneuver.  Later we cut a shoal a little close (my fault), but the centerboard grounded before the rudder and we were able to sail off by raising the board just a few inches.  There is plenty of room in the Tanzer for three guys--no time on our knees.  Dang--what a great little boat!

Further observation:  The sooner we get a hinged mast, the happier we will be.  Still further observation:  Probably not a good idea to jibe in anything over 10 knots unless you have both of the skipper's hands working and/or an experienced crew.  *Wiggle Waggle-- (noun and verb) a highly technical nautical term meaning to shove the tiller back and forth quickly.

Today's Cliche:  Never make fast the mainsheet of a small boat. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tanzer 16 Overnighter--Project Boat

Tanzer 16 Overnighter--Project Boat -- July 1, 2014 -- Jon in Saint Petersburg, Florida read that I was thinking about building a hinged mast for my Tanzer 16 and generously shared some pictures of his "new" project boat a Tanzer Overnighter, sail number 441.  The seller was asking $825 because the boat was a "bit rough."  It is a  lot rough, and Jon got it for $550--about right since the boom, mast, centerboard, and rudder are worth that much, or even more if you part it out.  This is a real project boat:  Jon will need to re-repair a hole in the bow that now has a single layer of glass and way too much resin.

He has to deal with bottom paint. Then he plans to repaint the whole hull.

He will need new sails and new standing rigging--and (one assumes) new running rigging. And the trailer needs lots of help too, although it does appear to be a galvanized frame with nice, big wheels.

And, Jon will have to take care of all the other stuff that goes with a boat including some cockpit issues.  Jon has big plans sailing in Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Sounds like he is up to the task.  He started sailing when he was eight and works in a boatyard.  Lots of work, lots of potential.

Here are the hinge pictures I needed.

Today's Cliche:  Everybody has a great idea for getting rich that WILL NOT WORK. (4th corralate to Murphy's Law).