Monday, September 19, 2016


The great wheel of the seasons has turned.  The Earth is now at the 21:00 position in its orbit (yeah, I know it's arbitrary, but that's how I think of it.  Oh, and that the Earth orbits counterclockwise makes my internal vision even more incorrect.)  Day and nite are equal length; sunset and sunrise occur at 06:00 and 18:00 solar time.  Even at noon, the sun is perceptibly lower in the sky.  All the signs are there:  it is Fall.

And looking realistically at what is on our plate for the remaining few nice days of the year, we won't get Eolian off the dock again in 2016.  So, we have brought the winter fenders to the marina and are doubling up our docklines in preparation for the gales of winter, which are sure to come.  I didn't get to diving on the prop to put on a fresh zinc this last weekend because we had the pleasure of running into Grant and Laurie of s/v Shadowdance, old friends from Shilshole...  and let's be honest here...  I didn't really want to jump in the 51° water either.  So I still have that to do.

It was a great year tho, with week after week living at anchor in the San Juan Islands, some spectacular sails, and 50 crabs in the freezer.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Room in the Reefer


I am guilty as charged.

Yes, there has been an unconscionable gap in posting to this blog - it's just that not everything in our lives is related to boating, and a bunch of that stuff came up recently.  OK, enough of the Mea Culpa.

Eolian's refrigerator compartment is huge for a boat.  But because it is so tall, much of the space in it either goes to waste, or we spend a long time sorting thru piles of things in there with the door open, looking for something.

Something had to be done.

I decided to make a shelf that would add 50% to the horizontal storage space in there, and put some of that vertical space to use.  Because I am a professional scrounge, I have a good collection of teak scraps discarded by others, gleaned from the dumpsters.  I brought some of this, and a collection of tools to the boat:

Some of the tools

Making a mess of the dock
In a project like this, it is important to make dimensional decisions that will fit with what you plan to store in the reefer.  To that end, I think I may have disturbed some folks at Safeway by walking around with a tape measure, measuring beer boxes, soft drink cartons and other things.  It was kind of surprising to see the variability in carton sizes, even for canned drinks.

The trick in building this shelf was that it needs to be removable, yet it needs to stay in place with a load of food on it when the boat is in a seaway.  I was most worried about the shelf tipping over toward the door when on a starboard tack.  Here's how I dealt with that:
  • The left-hand support bracket has a foot that goes all the way to the door, about twice the length of the bracket.  With this extension, it would be very difficult indeed to tip the shelf on this side.
  • On the right-hand (aft) side, I made the last of the shelf boards extend behind the holding plate, preventing any movement on that side.
Finally, to lock things together when it is in place, I made rabbits in the top edges of the support brackets to accept a rabbit on the cleats on either side of the shelf.  When the shelf is installed, it cannot move toward or away from the door because of these interlocking notches.

Three pieces, with clever interlocking

Yes, the shelf slats seem to be sort of unevenly spaced from side to side.  This is because the left-hand side of the reefer is deeper than the right-hand side due to hull taper.

Sadly, in my first attempt at making the side brackets, I failed to take into account that the rear wall of the reefer matches the hull contour.  So I had to redo the brackets.  In fact, every board was custom cut and fitted because of the hull contour and because the hull is tapering in as you go aft (to the right in the picture).

But in the end I got it.  And we've added 50% to our reefer storage.

Et voilĂ !
Seems like a pretty small thing for a day and a half's work.  But there was a lot of thinking and trial fitting.  And that beer box is no longer full...


Monday, August 8, 2016

Bimini Canvas: Cost

In the "last" post (OK, now this one is the last post...) on the bimini canvas renewal, Kelvin asked what the final cost was.  I'm afraid I can't give that because I used some supplies from earlier projects.  But what I can do is to make an estimate on materials costs, based on the Sailrite catalog I have here on board (check the Sailrite website for current prices):

Item Quantity Unit Cost Extended Cost
Sunbrella, Erin Green, 46" wide 10 yd 16.95 169.50
DuraSkrim 10 yd 2.95   29.50
Binding tape, 3/4", Erin Green 80 ft 0.50   40.00
Zipper, #10, 48" 6 7.50   45.00
Zipper, #10, 60" 4 8.70   34.80
Zipper Pull, #10 10 1.70   17.00
Zipper Stop, Stainless 2 packs of 10 2.50     5.00
Common Sense fastener, male 50 0.60   30.00
Common Sense fastener, eyelet 17 0.195     3.32
Rivet 100 0.15   15.00
Seam Stick, 3/8" 1 8.95     8.95
Seam Stick, 1/4" 1 6.95     6.95
TOTAL $405.02

I also bought some tools that, tho they were used in this project, will be used again in future projects.  I don't know if these should be charged against this project or not (you decide), but you should definitely have these tools to do the work:

Item Cost
Rivet Setting Tool Kit 89.00
Common Sense Eyelet Hole Punch 69.50

I did not include the cost of the thread because I bought a large spool years ago and have been using it since.  You definitely want the Teflon Tenara thread or equivalent - it will outlast your boat.  Don't settle for polyester thread.

And finally, you need a heavy-duty sewing machine to handle this.  I heartily recommend the Sailrite LS-1 or LSZ-1 (zig zag - if you intend to sew sails).  They are expensive and worth it.  We got ours used for less than half the new cost.

Previous post in this series


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What is it about dark gel coat?

Cleaner/wax application half done on the sheer stripe

What is it about dark gelcoat colors?  They seem to oxidize so much more quickly than the white.  Red is the worst, for some reason.  Dark blue is a close follower.

Could it be that their color absorbs infrared (heat) radiation more readily, making them hotter?  (Chemical reactions double in rate, roughly, for every 10° rise in temperature.)

Could it be that the white pigment (almost assuredly titanium dioxide) does a better job of protecting the interior resin from UV than the pigments used for the dark colors?

Or could it simply be that oxidation on white doesn't show because it is, well, white?  Actually, having rubbed out Eolian's entire hull several times during our ownership, I'd have to say that the oxidized layer on the white is definitely thinner than that on the green.

So I kind of think there is something special going on with the dark colors.  It is that way for automotive paint too...  the dark colors, and especially red, fail first.

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