Friday, October 26, 2012

Sail underway

Sandra and Chuck at Duckworks strong-armed their sail-maker and made him make my 40sqft sail on the spot and ship it to me.  WOW!!!  The sail for Nemo is underway...  It should be in Aruba by next week so that I have it in my hands after another week (due to our dreadful customs processes) (which take more throughput time than making and shipping the sail to Aruba!) (oh well, what ya gonna do?).  The sail is very small so did not take much capacity and the sail-maker was idle right at my order moment, so I just got very very lucky, and thanks to Chuck and Sandra's insistence of course!
The centerboard case is being fabricated.  Glued it up yesterday together with the handlebars on the centerboard itself.  It all fits beautifully.  On top of the handle a nicely varnished cap of pine will steal the show.
Next step is to cut a hole in Nemo's bottom. That may hurt a little. I intend to protrude the case and glue it to the bottom with doublers and to the seat panel.
Not sure if more attachment points are necessary to fix the casing in the boat. I am thinking of a triangular or rounded knee flush with the seat to hold the case better in case of lateral forces.

A grounding will be bad for the boat no matter how the case is protected.  A dagger-board has that weakness. A rotating centerboard would be better of course but would also take up more boat-space  which we do not have in this small vessel. So I have to just be careful approaching the beach (like the old days with the Sunfish) and pull up the dagger-board before it is too late.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

CB slot and Sail

The necessity of a centerboard instead of a leeboard became clear on my last trip with Nemo. The hassle of switch the leeboard from one side to the other during or right after a tack or jibe causes loss of leeway and the boat is too small to juggle all the lines, centerboard and rudder helm in a small space.
So I decided to make a centerboard for the leeboard.  Simple fibered sides with spacer blocks, epoxied to the center seat's side panel, giving it stiffness.  The boat will receive a nice cut along its bottom.  strengthening the lower aft corner and the top forward sections with extra glass for any possible groundings.  The centerboard will have two strips glued at the top creating a "T" so that it can me pulled up.

The lug-sail is being ordered with Chuck at Duckworks; he is really a great help with figuring out what is best for Nemo's sail.  Right now we are looking at the following setup:

I have ordered stuff there before and really like Duckworks' collection of materials, prices and service levels. 

So for now the upgrade of Nemo to become a racing sailing dinghy is going full speed ahead. :)=)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

First Sail

Could not stay landbased.  I had to take Nemo out sailing with whatever I had.  A small bluetarp square sail which I made was rigged and off we went...  Reaching, fast, approaching the mangroves quickly. Tried to tack, not enough speed for that, so I jibed, switched the leeboard, tried to tie it, lost lot of height in the process, before I reached the outer edges of the bay grabbed my oars and started rowing back. All in all about 30 minutes of action. Good thing I had practiced rowing last week. This time there was a blow against my effort but still made good headway, with sail flapping around my head.

Many lessons from this first quick sail.
  1. She sails quickly due to very little resistance
  2. The mast seems to be very good as it is.
  3. The lines used are not good because they stretched, causing the gaff boom to lower, causing the sail to lose its good form. I have to find a good line and add some cleats so there is a place to tighten the line.
  4. the center point of the sail is too far forward relative to the position of the leeboard, making it very hard to sail close to the wind and tack. 
  5. The leeboard on  rope is not handy.  I want to tack and just leave the leeboard where is. The boat does not heel so it is not necessary to change the position of the leeboard. A bracket to hold the bracket on two places, maybe such that it can be rotated backwards when needed, like when beaching.
  6. longer oars are needed, already ordered 7.5' ones, and a manner to fix them when not in use.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Just a quick update on the conversion of Nemo from motoring yacht to sailing dinghy.
My daughter and I painted the ends of the mast and sprit boom with a oil based primer. The mast did get unthickenened epoxy on the bottom section for abrasion.  The centerboard, which was partly fibered, and epoxied on the bottom 3/4 th part, which will be in the water, also was primed with oil based house paint. I am doing these experiments with paint primer and epoxy to learn what will happen in practice.  It is much cheaper and easier to use housepaints than the polyurethane paints and since the boat will be on the trailer most of its life, we can do this.
Also a mast collar was fabricated and finished and will be epoxy glued to the deck and painted with oil primer and glossy finish.
Mast step was epoxied again today and will be glue-fitted tomorrow.
Holes will be drilled in mast top and boom to hold sales and snotters tomorrow.  The wind is very low thesxe days so I will also make the gunter sail of 45sqft by Saturday.
Pics... naaaah, who wants those?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Gunkhole row

After working on a dolly half a day to enable easier exiting out of too narrow gate, the trailer is too wide, Nemo is not, so I have to separate the two which is a slight hassle, I can be on the water in about half an hour. The oarlocks were placed on both gunwales earlier in the day after adding small blocks below the gunwales for better backing.  Epoxy sets really quickly here. The pics will do the rest of this post:

I weighted the rough cut mast and it weights less than 10 pounds.  For a 6cm thick mast it seems OK.  Just have to keep the boat right up as much as possible to prevent a knock down.  But before the tipping point is reached around 45 degrees the gunwales will be below the waterline so we will have another issue...  Will have to test that is shallow water and see what she does.  A turtle or will she simply lay there on her side.  But before all that, the mast needs finishing, sanding mostly.  Deck hole, waterproof that with epoxy and paint (looked into leathering the mast-hole but cannot get solid brass nails.  And I am worried about nailing into the deck causing possible water intrusion. Maybe a nice wooden collar around the hole as a primary barrier for water entering the mast hole.  The mast step has been laminated and will be drilled (including water drain hole in the bottom) epoxied and fitted this week.  Rudder and leeboard will be primed and finished with oil paint.  Let's see if we can get Nemo under sail next weekend.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Conversion to sailboat

After taking Nemo for some sculling sessions, which did not work out due to a to short oar, i have been busy converting Nemo to a sailboat. Putting a 2hp engine behind her was a stupid idea. I wanted to get on the water and then an engine was the fastest route. But also the noisiest. So a blue tarp sail of about 25 sqft for a sprit rig and a sportier 50sqft one for a standing lug setup. I intend to use the same sprit boom and mast for the lug rig as well. The mast is being fabricated from 3 planks and will be 9 ft long, 6 cm diameter. The sprit is 6 ft long and 4 cm thick. Testing what works and how she sails before committing to a dacron sail is the plan. A barndoor style rudder and a leeboard with 3 lbs lead built in will track her, hopefully, windward.  We are expecting very bad weather in the coming days so i may not get her on the water for trials this weekend. But i may just go anyways, just to checkout how she looks with sails.