Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Time to get back to work.

Christmas and New Year are been and gone, done and dusted, but the year is still young and full of possibilities.  Weather being one of the things that affect us, this year started off with a serious storm combined with the highest tide we’ve ever seen.  On an exceptional spring tide my seawall gets topped by a few millimetres, there will be a puddle or two on the grass but that’s all. This time though the “Wolf Moon”, that is a full moon when the moons orbit is at its closest to the earth, combined with a spring tide pushed higher by a storm driven onshore wind, and that exacerbated by the low atmospheric pressure associated with the storm meant that at high tide we had the water about 300mm higher than any previously seen.
It didn’t come up to the floor of the boatshed, but I’d spent the morning running around lifting lumber, power leads, storage boxes and such,  and watching as the level rose and rose. 
At its peak it was about 100mm over the dock, and 300mm over the grassy area where just a few days before, our daughter and family had been holidaying in their tent. That would have dampened their spirits!
So, no damage, other than chasing the neighbours kayak down the river and bringing it back, but I’m told that this is likely to happen more frequently in the future. Both storms coming down from the tropics impacting the coast here and the tide surges that they push.  I see that there are areas of the Tasman and Pacific, out there in the open ocean that are up to 6 dg C warmer than normal, that’s a lot, and the heat energises those storms which in past times would have run into the cooler waters and dissipated.
So, although where I am, we’re pretty sheltered, it’s a sobering thought. Tropical cyclones and super king tides, I have double dock lines and am making moves to shift things up out of reach of the weather and water.

A bare three days before this hit, Daughter and family were here for a few days, camping up on the grassy area at the end of my dock. We all of us had a good time, the two girls ( 3 and 8 ) getting their first taste of being out on the water in a small boat.  Sarina taking her girls out in Dennys sit on top kayak, beginning lessons on paddling for 8 year old Aysha who might be up to a solo next time she visits.

 There are times when being a grandfather is one of lifes best treats.  Thats our daughter Sarina and her girl Aysha out in Dennys 'yak, Indy the dog watching to make sure that they're ok, while I stay close enough to be there if needed but far enough away to have them think that I'm confident in their abilities to stay upright. It was evident after a few minutes that my concern was unwarranted, but it was really nice to be out there on the water with them.

We took the family out to Tiritiri Matangi island, about 15 miles away.  Thats a bird sanctuary run by our Dept of Conservation which, with the help of a team of dedicated volunteers have reforested most of the island with native flora, then introduced rare and endangered birdlife.  Its a lovely place to visit,   http://www.tiritirimatangi.org.nz/    Extraordinary scenery and the birdlife is not at all bothered by people so they can be viewed from quite close up.

There are several events coming up, one being the Mahurangi Regatta on the 3rd of Feb, that’s one I cant miss, 250 or so classic and small boats parading ( they call it "racing", but its too close in to get really serious) up and down the river, meeting friends on the beach, sailing a small boat in among all those lovely old vessels, it’s a great day out and one that I have attended regularly for many years.

Kenepuru Kapers, the second of what we’re hoping will become a regular cruise in the Marlborough sounds, this year its in Queen Charlotte sound, and a small group of hardy mariners are planning to sail across Cook Strait to attend.  Here’s the link to their facebook page.  https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=kenepuru%20capers

I’m hoping to get Spook out this season, she’s been sitting under her tarp feeling neglected for the past couple of seasons, so in a week or so she’ll be towed around to my mums place where I can get an electric lead to her, have all her varnish sanded off and recoated, the trailer checked out, her rig overhauled, and a few other jobs done so I can keep her on a mooring for the summer. Within a few hours sail of here I’ve a choice of some thirty sheltered anchorages, friends on several islands, a part of the coastline that I’ve not explored for many years to look at, and its past time I was out there sailing her again.

We’re planning to do another sail across to Kawau Island in March, I think I can make that ok, Spook will take maybe three or four days to get sorted, I can launch her at the yacht club at the mouth of the river and bring her up here, set up an anchor off the end of the dock and put a running line out.

Denny is here for the weekend, I’d promised her something special as  Christmas pressy, we’re all booked, and she’s not got a clue as to what it is I’m planning, it should be fun, its something really different. I’ll report later on.

Long Steps is making progress. Slow and not very steadily but there is progress, this morning I glued parts of the cockpit sole in, the “wing” pieces out to the sides in the cuddy. I’ve started the tedious task of coating everything that wont be seen once the “tops” go on, have begun the tiller pivot structure, and have begun painting the patches that will be behind some of the fittings that have to go on early while the backs of them are still easily accessed. 

 The compass binnacle, it hides the scupper into the footwell ahead of it, plus supports the rowing footrest ahead of it. That footrest will be hinged to fold down flat to enable me to move back and forth past it without tripping over it.

 Yes I know, I should have thought of it before I put the king plank in, but a large part of boatbuilding for me is sort of "thinking aloud" and I hadn't quite figured out how I was going to pivot the tiller or to mount the boomkin before I put the tiller line tunnel in.  Now I've thunk it through the tiller will pivot on a pin going through between that rectangular piece and the curved piece underneath it, the after deck will curve around and over the rectangular bit which is to be trimmed back some.
Note that the tiller pivot will slope to match the slope of the rudder pivot so I can use solid pushrods between the yokes rather than lines.  Why? I've not done it that way before and want to try it out.

Just a general view of the mess, in fact I'd just been through with the vacuum cleaner, (Shopvac, I found one on on special for $60, its a lot better for this work than a domestic one, it can swallow big chunks of wood, shavings, heavy paint dust, even water. I'm sure that there are better ones but not at that price)  
Note that the cockpit floor doesn't get fitted until the boats been rolled over and the skeg fitted. While she's upside down the bottom will be fiberglassed and she'll be painted up to the gunwale. I'm not looking forward to the job of flipping her, but it will happen, the plan is to suspend her at each end from the rafters and just spin her, then sit her on some padding of some sort. 
There's lots to do before that happens though.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

It will be new years eve here tomorrow, so here's a progress report on Long Steps.

All the very best wishes to everyone for 2018, may good fortune and happiness be yours wherever you are.

Christmas time is busy here, engineering customers wanting to get orders out the door needing machinery running again,  family to visit, a bit of sailing to do and my dog still wants to take me for a walk every day.
But 25th Dec has come and gone, I’ve managed to keep the sander and the paintbrush going on small things around my ship, Kairos, and I’ve even done a tidy up in the shop.

Consequently drawing and boatbuilding has been on hold to a certain degree, so there is not a great deal to show.

But, here is what has been done.

First of all the tiller line tunnel is all complete, the beginnings of the tiller pivot is there, and the hatch into the lazarette is in place although not fastened yet.
Some will note that I’ve put a single hatch in there rather than the two shown, but there are reasons. One is that I only had one in my store of parts, and didn’t feel much like buying another. Two is that I want to build an anchor well in under the tiller, while its not usual to carry the ground tackle back there, there will be a monster truck battery up in the bow and I want  to even the weight distribution out, and  the third is that given the anchor well being there I’m going to bridge the gap from the well sides out to the stringers with small seats so I can lounge back there with an arm draped over the tiller when on a broad reach or running downwind.
Those seats would not leave enough space for a workable hatch through that bulkhead, so it all works out.

Yes, I changed my mind, filled original pair of hatch holes back up and hacked out a central one. The anchor locker will be just below that white hatch and come out just into where the old hatch openings that you can see are. The seats will go from the walls of that out on the level of the black line you can see out on the right of the pic. The "tongue" sticking out is the lower support for the tiller pivot pin.

Next, I’ve started on the rowing footrests, they are a single piece of 12mm plywood, cut to fit across the removable “footwell” section of the cockpit floor and shaped so it will still allow visual access to the compass, and have high enough “rests” for the feet. It hinges down flat when sailing.

The rowing footrest, just rough cut at this stage, will be hinged to that removable deck over the footwell, and it is to be supported by the compass binnacle in the middle, and a pair of cleats on the seat fronts. Rowing without footrests is not really much fun, but permanently mounted rests would be in the way when sailing. Hence the fold down setup.

Third little thing, I’ve put the nosing piece on the port side seat, that has a carefully made profile on it that lessens the stress on the underside of the thigh when seated, and it traps the rowing seat between the underside of it and the rowing seat support rail.
That rowing seat can be moved forward and backward to any position needed, rowing, sailing, cooking or whatever, but it has to go out the ends of the slide as it cant lift out, so its secure.
Thats visible in the pic above, next to the Whale Gusher hand bilge pump, one of a pair to be fitted in addition to an electric 800 litres a minute one.
No, the gusher wont be mounted there, it goes on the end of the seat  with just the handle sticking up back toward where the coaming will be.

I’ve also got the towing eye in place, it’s a big heavy 10mm stainlesss steel eyebolt, 185mm long, with a 25mm inside diameter eye. It’s a big lump, but its possible that Long Steps might be under tow at some stage, so its strong.
I’ve counterbored the hole through the stem at 30mm diameter, and 30mm deep, filled that with epoxy filler and run the drill through it again. I’ve also proofed the hole for the rest of the way through the plywood stem.
The filled area will have a small countersink in the face, then a 3.2mm neoprene “o” ring will be fitted over the eye bolt, coated in anhydrous lanolin and the whole thing done up tight.
At the inner end, there is a grown crook, I think its from where two similar sized branches met in a fruit tree of some kind, and I’ve bandsawn it to shape to fit between the third pair of stringers up where they meet the stem, and run some really big screws through the stringers into it so it will carry the towing load out into the main structure.

I’ve a few of these curves and crooks, thanks to my friend Bill who’s moving house to a smaller space, he’s kindly passed them on. Thanks Bill.

That’s about it for now, but if anyone can find some Rotring Rapidograph Kapillarpatrone MF black  ink cartridges I’d be very grateful, the New Zealand importer cant supply and neither can the major mail order suppliers.  The standard ink doesn’t work on polyester drafting film and if I cant get it, that’s about two grands worth of pens that I have to replace with Mars ones.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Best wishes to all.

For some its Christmas Eve here in New Zealand,  for others its midwinter and the beginning of the rise to springtime, for us here its full summer of course, but in any case it’s the festive season whichever way you see or celebrate it.

For me, a new year is only a few days away, and the new years resolutions involve family, adventures planned, boats in build to complete, a major paintjob on the old ship on which I live, and boats to draw plans for. 

I’m hoping to spend more time out sailing this season, last year saw me travelling in southern Chile so I “lost” a lot of the time I’d have had over the summer and didn’t get out much, but as of last weekend we’ve already begun cruising with an overnight trip out to a popular island just north of here. There will be more of this!

So, from here, all the very best for the season, the new year, the winter or summer whichever applies, best wishes for a year in which things go well for all of you, best wishes to, to your friends and family, and best wishes to all those who venture out on the water.

May good luck go with you wherever you go.

John Welsford
Weiti River,

New Zealand.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

‘Tis full summer here, we’re getting unusually hot weather, dry and often windy.  It was 30 deg C a couple of days ago, that’s about 85 F, much hotter than we’re used to.
But the beaches are crowded, people are out and about, especially in the evenings, my dog is flat on his side in the long grass under a shady tree and I’m having to refill his water bowl a lot more frequently than usual.

Summers here, and its going to be a good one.  The Kenepuru Kapers dinghy cruise is on again, here’s a video from last time which shows what we got up to last time, thanks Hamish. https://vimeo.com/225650216

For those who’d like to join in, here’s the facebook page,  last year was a real treat, I spent much of the  time with Brian Hogg on his 6m Whaler “Emeraude”, there is plenty of room to sleep on board, he’s a pretty fair cook and we got along famously.   For dates and more information ---

The Lake Rotoiti Classic Boat Festival was on the day after we pulled out of the water, and we, in Emeraude, managed a very handy win in the sailing race, helped by very gusty and strong winds on a course that took us out into the worst of it.  Emeraude handled that well. Sailing on my own designs is a treat, I learn a lot from that.

While several of us are planning to cross Cook Strait on the boats own bottoms, buttthat doesn’t prevent others from crossing on the ferry and either launching at Picton and meeting the rest of the  fleet at a pre arranged place, or for the mainlanders, joining us where suits.

Last year was four boats, six people, and we had a very relaxed and enjoyable time, with the occasional “learning experience” to keep it interesting.

In the meantime, next weekend, a couple of us, with anyone else who wants to join in, are sailing from Sandspit across to Kawau for the weekend,  Haddon and I hope, Anthea, will join us on Saturday, and more are welcome.
Breakfast/brunch at Kawau Yacht club on Sunday, probably around 10 am or so. Good food and a lovely place.

15/16/17 Dec, the tide is helpful, and I expect that we’d be leaving Sandspit mid evening, so if anyone has to finish work and drive on up you should still be ok for water in the estuary.

Then there is the Mahurangi Regatta of course, the biggest classic boat event in NZ and a mind boggler for those who’ve not been there before.  I’m planning to take Spook up there, my 18ft on deck gaff sloop, Ive not sailed her much of late and its past time I did. She’s a sweet little ship and deserves more than to just sit on her trailer dreaming of the sea.

That event is on January 27th next. 
There are a lot of small boats based on the beach, which by the way is a great place for a family picnic while the boating events are on, the small boats race the same course as the big boats (which is exciting, having a 70 foot gaff cutter bearing down on you when you're sailing a 12 footer is a bit intimidating but accidents are almost unknown) but once around instead of twice.
There are rowing races as well, events for the kids, sandcastles, egg tossing and a fairly serious tug o war event.  One of the best days out of our summer.

I’ve just had a call from Marcus Raimon telling me that there is a move afoot to include a “Small Ships” class in the annual Tall Ships event in the Bay of Islands, this would be for sailing boats under 6m, of somewhat traditional type, the rules to be set sometime, and its quite possible that this summer that class could be included on an “informal” basis, with the next event including it “officially” if there is enough interest.

Jan 6th.  Pathfinders, Navigators, Houdini’s, SCAMPS and Pilgrims, all would be very suitable.  The party after the race is ledgendary!

I’m thinking that the “Summer of the paintbrush” had better include some new varnish for Spook, new wheel bearings on the trailer and a tidy up for the dink (My prototype Scraps) . Its about a three hour tow to get up there, I can do that.