Took a break to sail a wonderfully well-behaved little boat, Camille, a little fatty who’s grace holds no surprises. On her clothesline mooring now, she waits for this weekend’s fun and the weather looks obliging.
Made a short video playing with the phone’s iMovie app. Upon seeing a partial clip, my buddy Jay says, “Dogs really do like cats!”
Our Tartan 27 has already proven to be a capable little vessel. The small sturdy bird commonly referred to as a “Chickadee” seemed an appropriate name for our tiny ship. Additionally, my momma used to call her 4 babies “chickadees”. So, yesterday we made it official.
Afterwards we took a short sail upriver and back.
In studying the sail plan, I realized the shrouds were backwards. Added to that, the spreaders were sagging as their support rod going through the mast was upside down. 2 of my sons cranked me up the mast to fix the latter. The fix required disconnecting the various shrouds while suspended and healing the boat to counteract the loose rigging.
Chickadee’s rigging is happy now. It’s not drooping and is properly tensioned. Her main sheet is new. The other was half the needed length! (That escaped my notice in surveying.) The Cubic Mini stove install is nearing completion. So, we’re making small improvements while keeping her working. Very satisfied with the boat! More later.
Running the engine to charge batteries is a poor solution at best to deliver amp hours back into the cells. A shore powered multi stage charger is far better. So, I added a Powermania 12 amp 2-bank “smart” charger that plugs into an appropriate extension cord led forward in the cabin and up through the bow dorade to pier supplied electrical power.
Other adds/fixes are:
Battery monitor: Xantrex LinkLite. This effectively a true amp hour “fuel gauge” to know the state of the batteries.
12 volt/ USB outlets for all the 12v components now used from phones, cameras, speakers, handheld VHF, GPS, etc.
Bilge pump switch works now in manual mode, but automatic mode will require a float switch of some sort. I’ve a Water Witch switch from Luna that may serve. The wine glass bilge may be a challenge. We’ll see.
VHF Radio: a Uniden waterproof (overkill?) VHF radio is now mounted and powered. The masthead antenna will have to wait for a Spring haul out.
May need a few more breakers as instruments and autopilot are added, but for now the boat is much improved. More later-
Hull Type: Keel/Ctrbd Rig Type: Masthead Sloop LOA: 27.00 ft / 8.23 m LWL: 21.42 ft / 6.53 m Beam: 8.58 ft / 2.62 m Listed SA: 376.00 ft2 / 34.93 m2 Draft (max.) 6.33 ft / 1.93 m Draft (min.) 3.17 ft / 0.97 m
Displacement: 7,400 lb / 3,357 kg Ballast: 2,400 lb / 1,089 kg Sail Area/Disp.1: 15.89 Bal./Disp.: 32.43 Disp./Len.: 336.14 Designer: William Shaw at Sparkman & Stephens
Construction: Fiberglass First Built: 1961 (Chickadee is hull #471 built in 1974 at Douglas & McLeod in Grand River, OH) RIG AND SAIL PARTICULARS I: 34.65 ft / 10.56 m J: 9.83 ft / 3.00 m P: 30.50 ft / 9.30 m E: 13.50 ft / 4.11 m SA(Fore.): 170.30 ft2 / 15.82 m2SA(Main): 205.88 ft2 / 19.13 m2 Sail Area (100% fore+main triangle): 376.18 ft2 / 34.95 m2 Sail Area/Disp.2: 15.90 Est. Forestay Length.: 36.02 ft / 10.98 m
I’ve too many excuses with little reason behind any of them to explain my love of boats. Simply, I feel dead without them. (I apologize here and now Luna). Last summer I saw a boat advertised for sale that I’ve long admired, the Tartan 27, “classic plastic”. She was in Annapolis. Couldn’t get up there. By chance a month or so later, a family wedding was nearby. The boat was still available. Hmm. Perhaps I could escape during the reception? No one was going to ask me to dance. I’m a bit of a one trick pony and the Chicken Dance is out of fashion (was it ever?). Would have been bad form I know, not the dance, the disappearing. I suppose all was for the best. Luna needed a new home first. It seemed a long 3 months getting that done. Was quick really. Once accomplished I felt maybe I was done with “in-the-water” boats for awhile. The best day in a boat owner’s life … No such doing however. In short order I began thinking about the little Tartan. Yet, the ad had disappeared and I had lost the contact. So, I joined a T27 group to inquired of others on the market. Sadly, most were dogs or too much in the “project” category. Then favor shined. The son of the summer boat saw my post. “Faith” was still waiting. After several calls, 2 trips north and2 minutes of deliberation, the sweet little girl became ours. Getting her is a long 3 day journey. Add our December weather to the mix and none of it makes sense.
The first attempt was aborted after I got the rental car loaded. Optimism didn’t prevail. “Faith” became “Chickadee” and one week later a 3-day window opened. It was quite cold with small craft warnings, but no rain. The clear skies brought winds from the starboard quarter to offer a firm push home. Lunacy! Here are our 2 days getting south. A third is to come. Merry Christmas!
I’m afraid Luna’s brightwork got the best of me. Call it “varnish anxiety”. Its a real thing! As much as I worked toward it, her brightwork exterior was shaping up to be a losing battle. In some respects it resulted from poor product selection (8 coats of Le Tonkinois finish didn’t), but honestly I was short changing the time she deserved. Initially, my reaction was to sail the boat (boy can she) and forget about the shine, but that is no way to treat a beauty you’ve been given stewardship over. While I had improved some things: new sails, engine, cabinetry, etc., her varnished edges outside her full length cover were taking a beating. I had considered finding a barn to house her until some other projects got out of the way. Ultimately, I elected to put Luna on the market hoping another would look after her now. Not surprisingly, the first prospective buyer who laid eyes on her became the next steward. He’s retiring, will have more time and, I believe, earnestly wants to take this lovely vessel on. The new owner lives only 30 minutes from where Luna was moored. Perhaps, as some consolation, I can look forward to seeing her revived and all dressed up once again. I hope so.
Here is our last sail together. Bittersweet to say the least.
Attendance by the Old Bay Club was light, but the fun was invariable. Molly, Zephyr, Ginger, English Tart and Una sailed out of Belle Island State Park on the Rappahannock River. Winds were variable. Friends constant. Meals delectable. Glad we went.
Camille: Hull #713 was built in 1958 for a Mr. Cramer of Padanaram Harbour, South Dartmouth, MA by the Concordia Company along with 64 sister boats that same year. Other owners have been Francis Welch of Manchester, MA, Harry Holcomb of Franktown, VA and most recently Keith Meyer of Gloucester, VA. Construction is of white cedar carvel planked on white oak frames, keel and stem.
Hull Type: carvel Rig Type: Gaff cat LOA: 12′-4″ LWL: 11′-8″ Beam: 6′-1″ Listed SA: 140 ft2 Draft: 24″(bd down.)/ 8″ (bd up.) Hull Weight: 375 lbs. All Up Weight: 450 lbs. Designer: John Beetle 1921 Construction: Wood (carvel on steam bent frames)
Anniversaries come too often. Every year! The one for marriage is particularly daunting. What do you give the girl who has given you so much this year? More diamonds? A new vacuum cleaner? You see my dilemma. It is easy to get in a rut, but how many appliances can one women own? This year I’m not sure I played it safe, but I hope both wheels aren’t in the ditch. No, not a new car! You crazy? However, I may be closer to one end of the spectrum of desires. Anyway, in looking across Craigslist (Yes I said it. Should I have gone to Wally Mart?), I found a 1958 Beetle Cat, in much need of love. Despite its disheveled condition, it brought to mind the simple joy at 9 years old when I sailed my first boat, a similar small craft called a Turnabout. I’ve long thought that if I could place anyone at the helm of such a boat, they’d be hooked on the joy so many know. But as a gift to your wife?! I know. I know.
Well, I went to see the little 12′ boat anyway and determined there was too much involved, thanked the seller for his time and left. The mistake was that I had taken pictures and continued later to gaze at them. This boat wasn’t so horrible. Look at that “moccasin” sheer (Thanks Peter). Before long I had a list of repairs and, predictably, had rationalized a second visit.
The now 4th owner had her for several years, but said he’d never launched her. Before his time the hull and deck were glassed in 1986, not something generally done to a wooden boat, but it just may have been this one’s salvation. After sounding the hull and reassessing that list, my offer was accepted. “Watermelon” was secretly hauled home. Her color scheme befit her name, green, pink and beige. That had to go. Renamed, “Camille”, after my girl, the ownership stuck and a commitment began. All the bronze hardware mounted to the spars was removed to soak in antifreeze held in a crock pot (no, not the one from the kitchen). Decades of varnish sloughed off overnight. Removing the same layers from the spars chemically proved too arduous. Scrapers, a hand plane and sanding worked faster. Mast hoops were stripped and restored with a “boat soup” used on my kayak paddles. The hoops are now a nice contrast to the varnished mast and slide much better. Perhaps the biggest task was repairing the broken fiberglass cracks parallel to either side of the keel at the centerboard case. This required cutting out old glass, fastening stainless screws from keel to case, bunging holes, fairing all with epoxy and wood flour and then tapering two layers of glass from keel to inside of case. One item not foreseen was a swollen centerboard from old rusted iron drift pins. After some scraping and discovering rot there also, I elected to make a new board. Three layers of Okoume marine ply sandwiched epoxy and glass between. Lead was cast in a cut out and the entire thing glassed with an epoxied and graphite mix.
Topsides were primed, sanded and given 3 coats of Interlux Brightsides using the roll and tip method. A portable garage kept dust and bugs to a minimum. One more coat of bottom paint, and she is going for a sail. The remaining interior cleanup can come along later. So far I’ve 4-5 solid days in the effort. She’s starting to shine and debuted this past Sunday. As insurance a long loving letter accompanied the presentation. Hard to believe, but the sentiments were reciprocated. I had a feeling. Camille was too pretty to cast off.