Monday, September 26, 2016

A Plea For Help

Eolian is a ketch.  And her mizzen boom extends out considerably beyond the stern rail.  As you might expect, this makes putting the sail cover on the mizzen rather a difficult proposition.

For 19 years I have been standing on the stern bulwark, draping my right arm over the boom and inching my way out until my body is at nearly a 45° angle.  Then, using only my left hand, I have to make up the common sense fasteners at the end of the sail cover.  Not exactly the safest thing I could do.

And now, arthritis in my right shoulder is making that a painful activity as well, as you might imagine.  Combine this with the fact that besides me, the mizzen sail cover is also old and rapidly failing (will it survive the storms of winter?  Who knows?), and well it is obvious that something needs to be done.

It's new sail cover time.

And in the intervening 30 (40?) years since that sail cover was made, a new idea has appeared:  the Stack-pack sail cover.  It really is a new idea, and like all new ideas, there are still some kinks to be worked out in the design, for instance where the cover wraps around the mast.  A walk around the marina will show you that there are multiple ways to create a stack-pack cover, and that standardization has yet to occur.

Flush with my recent success with creating new roof panels for our bimini and dodger, I am going to tackle making a stack-pack cover for our mizzen.  But before I start a project like this, I need to have the whole design in my head.  And I am not there yet.

For me, the critical part of the design is the attachment of the lazy jacks to the cover.  Should there be straps that they tie to?  I've seen several like that, including the custom one that Ullman Sails made for the Sun Deehr 56 across the dock from us.  Wouldn't the design be stronger if the straps somehow wrapped around or supported the battens?  How to actually do that?  Should the batten be at the highest point of the side of the cover? Or down the side a little like on the Ullman cover?  If I support the sail cover with webbing wrapped around the batten, won't it naturally try to be the highest point of the cover?  See, my concept of the stack-pack is that the lazy jacks, the battens and the webbing form a framework, and that the fabric is just a cover for the framework.

Sailrite, my go-to gurus for marine canvas, have a video up covering construction of a stack-pack, but it appears that it was their initial design that they documented in the video.  Their lazy jack attachment was made by burning holes in the fabric and tying the lazy jacks thru them around the batten.  That satisfies my desire to have the lazy jacks support the batten, but seems unnecessarily crude.  And there is nothing to keep the lazy jacks from creeping up along the batten until they are at the upper edge of the burned holes in the fabric, and then pulling on the fabric, making wrinkles.

So.  This is a plea for help. 

I can't start the project until I solve this dilemma.  If anyone of my readers has a stack-pack sail cover that addresses this, or better yet has constructed a sail cover that addresses this, I'd love to see pictures of how it was made, in particular how lazy jack attachment and batten support were done.


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...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...