Too Stinking Hot!

After last week in Maine, this Virginia summer has been hard to take. However, each time I sail UNA, I always come back with lessons and frequently a few more things I’d like to fix/change. None of these things concern the design. They are generally tweaks of detail. One lingering item on the list regards the floor boards. Varnished douglas fir is treacherous. Sprinkling salt in the last coat eliminated the slip, but the floors always felt damp despite repeated scrubbing. The salt was expected to dissolve away. Since I lucked into some teak (can’t beat free), I thickness planed some boards, cut them to shape and routed their edges to replace those existing.

I like the results and they feel great under bare feet. The center bilge access boards remain.  They look fine and I didn’t want to fix them yet. Too stinking hot!

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New anchor box: Walmart flexible rectangular milk crate

Also, my previous anchor bag, a modified cotton laundry hamper, never dried out. Found a good practical substitute. As a bonus, it can double as a lobster pen on the next trip north! $5 a lobster was awesome.

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I’ve loads of photos and videos to make sense of from our trip north so, stay tuned.

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A July Morning and Luna

This season’s sailing has been thin, but when it has shown, it has been phat. Here’s last Sunday’s delight-

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Luna has provided some nice sails over the past several weeks. Got to see some of the Old Bay Club in Kinsale this past weekend (thank you again Francie and Floyd). Lots of good food, drink and some fine sailing. I arrived with my pram Gigi and had fun rowing and sailing her Sunday morning. Saturday, Bob let me have his Caledonia Molly’s tiller and I did not give it back until we had returned from a trip out to the mouth of the Yeocomico where we beached for lunch and waited for the wind to return. All was delightful. The rains hit when we weren’t sailing. This was our second weekend there. Good friends. Very relaxing. Hats off to Jim and his Coquina. I could not quite catch him on the Saturday ride home. Well done.

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As a side note: Bob’s CY is the first Caledonia of the several I’ve sailed now (lug yawl and gunter 4 strake versions) that handles closely to UNAMolly’s foresail appears higher peaked, her keel may be a tad shorter, those differences and her 7 strakes may allow her quicker tiller response. As competitive sailors, we can’t credit performance to the helmsman, so we frequently look elsewhere. An email to the prolific designer Iain Oughtred may offer more reasons (excuses?). If given, I’ll report back.

A Miss and a Kiss

Apparently Luna narrowly escaped. Tuesday night was rough in our backyard. High winds blew over the temporary shed. Without the weight and anchor of the trailer, it was merely a matter of time. Just glad it wasn’t last week as I moved the boat in and out of the shelter. This made disassembly easier.

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The table saw under the blue tarp took a beating. All repairable, but its a rusty mess now. I think it took me 2 hard days to erect the structure. In only 2 hours a hammer and cordless drill put the whole thing away. Now maybe we can get some grass planted in its place.

Luna now floats and is much happier. So am I. Who could blame her? All boats lose their dignity on the hard.  I’ll make it up to her. We’re going sailing a lot this summer.

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Mother’s Day Reprise

So much of the “now” is fake, demanding attention, here today, gone tomorrow. As I’ve wrestled to get Luna water ready, furtive thoughts pry, “Is she worth it?” This morning I brushed on a second coat of Petit Trinidad ($250/ gallon paint. Only 1 needed). Yesterday’s coat was rolled and tipped. Got to get that extra fraction of a knot? No, but darn if it doesn’t look better. Wetting the cooking driveway hopefully delays the planks drying. So much to learn about true wooden boats. Loading the mast and installing road supports for tomorrow’s trip east takes no small effort, a two-man job. Glad I have sons to help. Conceptually many simple task s have taken a week of days. In this hurry-up world, is she worth it? There’s varnish yet to be spruced. Yet, she is going back better.

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“Worth” for me all comes down to passion. Not the task to get there, but the reward for the effort. In two nights I plan on enjoying the evening with Luna … somewhere … at anchor, dreaming about distant horizons. Nothing is more divorced from our hectic world than floating in a loved boat. For that joy, I owe so much to my mother. She allowed me to spend so many hours in a boat as a child. I was hooked at an early age. My soul is rooted to the bottom of a boat. I can’t shake it. Don’t want to. This is real. Thanks Momma. I love you-

Closer to Launch

Somewhere, some time ago, I read that an unused boat suffers more than one put to use. This is true.

Several weeks ago I began the process to get LUNA to water. We’ll try a mooring for her. That “official” process was a genuine pain. Too much government and all run poorly by design. Anyway, my little boat “suffered” 16 months under cover in our back yard. Despite occasional watering below the waist, a canvass shed with ground floor, her cedar planks had opened to the point where caulking separated from planks. This was in part due to the nature of the wood, but mostly from life out of water. I had reefed seams before, cotton caulked those needing it and payed all with Interlux brown seam compound three years ago. After talking to well known Maine boat builders Alec Brainerd and Doug Hyland, I determined to take a slightly different tack. Both recommended the same brown compound but split 50/50 with roofing tar. This should be more pliable and sticky.

Alec went further in giving better storage design:

“…  I would recommend adding walls and a roof to your shelter.  The side and back walls can be boards or plywood or whatever and should be spaced 4″ up off the ground for ventilation.  The roof needs to be insulated with something like 1″ blueboard, and then congregated metal would probably be least expensive.  Light color materials are best for both walls and roof.  Put vents in the gable ends of the roof but no windows anywhere.” 

Now I have impetus to start a boat barn.

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LUNA does have a new dress topsides, her name is crisply set, the battery monitor now works (missed a wire before. Ashamed to admit I stared at that wiring diagram too long) and she now has a bilge pump counter. That will be crucial as I plan to keep her on a mooring. In this push, many small details are getting don. As I get her back in shape, I remember why I fell in love with her. She is such a beautiful boat. Launch is in 10 days. Much to do, but all doable. More later-

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