Floored

A very gracious friend gave me a dozen teak boards of random width that he had inherited. If there is one wood I save every scrap of, it is this, especially the real article, Burmese. Retail now demands $28 a board foot. The gift was significantly weathered and 1″ thickness netted 3/4″ once run through the planer, but then looked good as new. 3/4″ duplicates Luna’s oak cockpit floor dimension. Rough use by this owner warranted either a ton of sanding and varnish, or better yet, replacement. Alternating and changing the width of the slats has made it more comfortable on the feet. Raw teak offers great traction and … no varnish. Functionally this is a big improvement and the appearance certainly satisfies my eye.

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Before

 

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C

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Wet and almost complete. Note leather “beer” straps between frames above seat.
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the improved result

I salvaged the bronze screws from the originals which I’ve kept in tact, but with steel screws. Last night I tested their psychological impact. Dragging the anchor chain across them didn’t bother me one little bit. I call that value added. Success.

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Ducker Preparations

In order to proceed with the Ducker hull, I need more room in the garage. So, last month I added a small addition to the backyard shed we built 10 years ago. All of our gasoline equipment, tools, cans, etc. are now housed there. I wagged an estimate of $650 in materials to complete the space. It ended up more like $800. That’s $14.25 a SF. If you threw in my free labor in there I guess you could triple the cost. The worst of the project required digging 2 holes for the outboard post footings. Nothing but hard clay and rock (lots of rocks). Thankfully I had my 18 yr old son and his buddy to sweat the digging with me.

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The low slope roof just sneaks under the existing gable window. 30# felts are under the shingles. The Hardi Plank siding was nasty to cut with circular saw or jig. Finally, I discovered that 3 scores with a utility knife on both sides allowed for a clean enough break without all the dust. Some policing of the adjoining grade still needs to be done. Also, the soffit vents are still missing, but we can move on now.

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In the interim, LUNA’s hatch has been repaired, again, and both the boat hook and bilge pump handle have been stripped and varnished.

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Next up: can we make UNA a boat cover out of Emily’s 2 awnings? Solving that will allow UNA to stay outdoors temporarily while the Ducker hull takes shape. I may begin with the spars and other parts before that.

Mobjack Pursuits

Just out off the marina, we hoist and flattened LUNA’s mizzen. A CS 36 passes on a beat  downriver. We raise the main, then jib and give chase. Within a mile we close the +/- 100 yard gap, duck just to leeward of the chase, pass and reach off across Mobjack. Not bad for an old wooden boat. Maybe the CS wasn’t racing, but we were. He certainly messed with his sails as we bore on. “We” being my pal Huck and me.

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in pursuit
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crew “off watch”

 

Catastrophe Averted

After loosing the main halyard up the mast weeks ago, the state of the varnish on the main mast troubled me. Last week I had the mast pulled, hauled the 34′ stick on my 19′ F-150 home, stripped the spreaders, added 2 coats of epoxy and finished with 3 coats of Brightsides paint. The mainsail track was removed and the entire mast given 3 fresh coats of Petit’s Z-Spar Flagship varnish. Last Friday I returned to the boatyard (name withheld for reasons soon to be clear), painted Luna’s bottom, wax ringed the opened seams, and reinstalled the mast the following day without event. However, the removal of the mast was nearly a literal bust. Thankfully many hands were available. This video was taken by a new friend, Tim, as held one of the control lines. It is the only record I have of the work. Wish I had taken a photo of the mast travelling contraption I used, perhaps next time. Hauling the long stick upwards of 70 mph for 75 miles took some consideration.


Anyway, many hands averted what could have been a tragedy. For the record, I had remarked that the block and tackle looked to be from Magellan’s Victoria. I was assured that there was at least one more lift in it. Little did I know how close to the truth I was.

Onancock to Mobjack

After an exhilarating sail the day before, our slide out of Onancock for home was dreamlike. Logged over 40 miles in 9 hours that day. Not bad for a little 28′ boat. She moves.

Here are some clips from the journey back to Mobjack-

Tangier to Onancock

It is a rapid beam reach under full sail from Tangier Light to the town cut. Luna with full sail is overpowered, sails on her ear, but easily steers. Before beating to weather in the narrow cut, I drop and furl the main. We easily tack 4-5 times to reach the Chesapeake’s “Venice”. The wind is still gaining force so I attempt to coast up to one of the crab shacks and then ready the outboard, but as I drop the jib, the boat stalls out (I later realized we’ve not 4′ of water) and we stop 5′ short of a piling. Frantically I race back to the cockpit to mount the outboard, but not before I’m aground on the opposite side of the channel. With the mizzen still up, the boat is heeled and sticks to the bottom.

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pilings missed and crab shacks

I start the engine readily, throttle up and walk forward to help the bow shake loose. However, because I forgot to add the motor bracket’s strut, the engine breaks  free and douse itself just as I grab the motor. Only the tether keeps me from losing the new engine. After setting the engine in the cockpit, Big T motors past. We try twice to yank Luna free. No luck. T’s 4 hp engine has enough to do keeping her in the wind. A 50′ motor catamaran passes by and all crew give us a wave. Keeping my fingers clutched I just shake my head. Now, I’m ready to haul the main up and sail off just when a kind waterman in his skiff “Miss Stuart” offers a tow which we accept. He takes us back to the piling we missed earlier and ties us to it. I reinstall the engine (with bracing bracket) and slowly try to turn it. It’s frozen. At this point I’m expecting the worse, but decide to drain the carburetor after which the engine seems to rotate. A harder pull and it fires up. Distrustful of it continuing to run, I allow it to for several minutes before casting off. The problem now is that we are again aground on the other side of the channel and can’t release the line from the piling. Had I been alone, I would have had to get wet or leave the dock line. Fortunately Kevin can sneak his boat in and untie us. So, once again we’re off and search for a crab sandwich. After a few futile attempts to dock, I suggest we head on to Crisfield or some place east. Agreed, we motor back toward the Sound.

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Kevin and Big T

We fight the wind and waves to reach open water. My little engine barely has enough push to get there. I quickly raise the main as I think a stone jetty will claim Luna. We are quick to get clear, but soon realize we’ve too much sail. Waves are pushing 3-4′. I decide to raise the jib and allow it to luff before dousing the main. As  I drop the main, a jib sheet snags a rear hinge of the forward hatch and pulls it loose. With that, there is no going to windward. Water dousing the bow could quickly ship too much water. I see Kevin is struggling with his main. Neither one could help the other if need be. I feel I need to save my boat and decide to run with jib only. I lose sight of Big T. My VHF gets doused. Phones are useless. I begin to wonder if T is still floating. Winds are 30-35 and gusting. A 2 hour sleigh ride for Luna begins. The GPS shows almost 12 knots a couple of times. Once I realize how well she is handling the seas, my fears subside as we roll south of Watts Island and into the long 8 mile creek to Onancock. All the way the wind is howling, even at the town itself. We anchor and take a breath. Not able to hail Kevin by radio, phone or text, I decide to call the Crisfield Coast Guard Station. I give them T’s description and last known where-a-bouts and state that I suspect she was back in Tangier. An hour later Kevin confirms this by text and I call off the search and air rescue. I’m completely soaked and salt is on everything outside the cockpit. With a change of clothes, a couple of beers are in order before dinner and an early sack time. By 2100 I’m in the berth. As sleep falls, I rehearse the afternoon’s events and decisions. I make a list. What a day, a lucky day. I’m proud of Luna. LFH designed a “sensible” boat. She done good.

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View from a quiet cabin

Mobjack to Reedville

Sailed LUNA last week for our first overnighter of the year. From Mobjack we had a plus 45 mile run to Reedville where we met Kevin with his Capri 22, Big T.

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Storm passed off New Point Comfort

Shortly after Stingray Point, the wind died. We motor sailed and eventually spied Kevin off Reedville. He had been just north of the Potomac the night before coming from Cambridge, MD.

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New engine and modified bracket

Entering Reedville is the last remaining stack of what was over 20 from fishing processing plants. Built in 1902, this one now serves as a “gateway” to the town and is lit at night. In danger of collapse, the icon was saved by the community and Omega Protein fishing company to memorialize a part of the town’s history.

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Reedville’s smokestack icon

We anchored off the town’s water tower, enjoyed a swim and watched the sun set as the evening cooled. The nearby boatyard had some classic old workboats.

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Kevin and Big T
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LUNA

With Luna’s new 4″ berth cushions, sleep was easy. However, at 5:00 a passing workboat shook things up. I thought someone had climbed aboard. I sacked out for another 1.5 hrs when I decided to make coffee and take a short sail up the creek to seek out a college friend who I hadn’t seen in forever. I knew he had a Corsair trimaran, so locating his pier wasn’t hard. As we coasted up to his dock, he threatened to shoot. In apology he offered coffee and we caught up before saying goodbye to wake up the world’s heaviest sleeper, KMac. A quick passing rap with a boat hook on Big T’s bow pulpit got him stirring.

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The fresh morning breeze takes us out into the Wicomico and Bay. Setting a course for Tangier Island, we head dead downwind. I devise a whisker pole using the boat hook to sail jib and main wing and wing. Luna practically sails herself for hours until we seem to be headed for the same point and time where both a tug  and cargo ship are headed. We first bear off close behind the tug whose following barge make a slick of the sea. The huge prop wash pushes us around. We then have to head up and cross behind the container ship as it’s wake lifts and lowers us like an ocean swell.

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passing tug towing barge
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southbound container ship

Around 1100 Tangier’s houses emerge from the Bay. Winds and seas begin to build. Not certain the western approach has enough depth, we elect to sail south around Tangier Light, up the Sound and into the town cut east. We think we have arrived, but the remainder of the day is going to get a lot more interesting …