Evil, awful fiberglass: Grinding the old thru-hulls

30 Nov

 It may be the single greatest advancement in making sailboats affordable but fiberglass is horrible stuff to work with! Here you see me emerging from the forward anchor locker where I’ve been grinding a 2sq-foot section directly into my own face. Even with a shop vac sucking air out of the compartment it would so rapidly fill with dust (which was also filtering into my foggy goggles via the ventilation holes) that I was doing most of this by feel. No doubt the wost job yet on the boat but we’ll see what’s to come…

This was just a quick ...

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Wings, the Next Generation

29 Nov

Wanna have some fun? Set Paul Cayard loose on the subject of America’s Cup 34, some re-imagined and surprising wing-control mechanisms, and the terrors of San Francisco Bay in full cry. The custom AC72 catamarans of 2013, he says, will be 30 percent more powerful but “much less stable” than the AC45s that sailed three events this year on the America’s Cup World Series circuit.

And occasionally failed to maintain verticality.

Cayard’s home waters, where the Cup will be sailed, are known to be a windy spot, and when the ebb tide works against the seabreezeone sixth of all the ...

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CARIBBEAN 1500: Katahdin Checks In

25 Nov


Good news: I’ve heard back from my people and can now share some pix and verbiage on how the voyage south went for Katahdin.

Rather than paraphrase, I thought I’d share the raw dispatches.

The first e-mail I received was from crew member Tom Trump (who also provided all these pix):

Onboard Katahdin

The Katahdin story is pretty vanilla. We had light stuff until we had motored through most of our diesel. We were actively discussing contingency plans, but picked up the trades in the nick of time. They were SE for the first 2-3 days and we were sailing just off of close-hauled, ...

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Working on the boat: Painting prep and water-tight hardware installations

24 Nov
Having a crew to help sure makes for short work
Yesterday was a very productive day! I had not one, not two, but three helpers out for the whole day and we got quite a lot done.
After having found water damage in some parts of the deck core we earlier pulled all the deck hardware, where possible squirting in thickened epoxy to fill gaps in the balsa core. Now we’re trying to protect this core from points where anything enters the deck and water might seep in. In the case of through-bolted hardware (mainly stanchion bases, for us) this ...
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CARIBBEAN 1500: The Fate of the Fleet

24 Nov

Caribbean 1500 fleet in Hampton

Having been left behind on the dock, I’ve been obsessively following the progress of this year’s Caribbean 1500 via the rally’s online tracking page. For much of the fleet it has been slow going. After prudently waiting the better part of a week for Tropical Storm Sean to go away and then for a cold front to pass through, the rally organizers launched their ducklings the Friday before last (Nov. 11) into the heart of a big high-pressure cell. The fleet enjoyed one good day of wind, but then burned much diesel fuel as it worked its way south looking ...

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The Cape Dory 28

24 Nov

Between the years of 1963 and 1991 Cape Dory Yachts built over 4,800 boats. Designed by Carl Alberg during a time when the newly booming fiberglass pleasureboat industry was churning out the beamy, lightweight cruiser/racers which so disastrously failed in the 1979 Fastnet race, the Cape Dory 28 really stands out. It is unequivocally a cruising boat, built with the conservative full keel and hefty displacement which gave Alberg a name as a designer of production boats which simply sailed well.
There are myriad benefits to the heavily ballasted full-keel designs which made Alberg famous, many of which are very ...

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BELUGA BOOGIE: Whales Dig Naked Lady?

22 Nov

Swimming with beluga whales

We’ve already discussed how beluga whales like to groove to mariachi music, so I’m not too surprised to learn that they might also enjoy swimming with naked ladies. The lady in question here is Natalia Avseenko, a yoga expert capable of free-diving for extended periods in sub-zero water temperatures. The goal of this exercise is to “tame” the whales.

The venue is the Utrish Dolphinarium in northwest Russia, an entirely suspect organization that apparently domesticates wild cetaceans for export.

Swimming with beluga whales

Swimming with beluga whales

If you ask me, these whales don’t seem to be enjoying Natalia as much as that other whale enjoyed the ...

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The Good/Bad Old Days of Hand Drafting Part II

21 Nov


My last blog entry on hand drafting received more hits than my best previous blog entry by over 120 hits. I thought I was blogging on an arcane art that was esoteric to say the least and would have very little wide spread interest. It was, to my eye, a pretty self indulgent blog entry. I was really surprised in the interest it attracted. So I have decided to do a Part II and go into a little more detail on the tools that were common place in old design offices. I have enlisted the help of my cronie pool ...

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Takeaways San Diego

20 Nov

The big show was on San Diego Bay, right off the Broadway Pier, but for those who found it, the big WTF was tucked into Scripps’ Nimitz Marine Facility on Point Loma and scheduled for sea trials soon. Lots of interconnectedness, and more later . . .


Photo by Kimball Livingston

Think, computer-controlled wing mounted on a conventional trimaran. Harbor Wing Technologies at work on a consumer product. More later, but first . . .

Does Mikey like it?

I keep forgetting these races are horseshit.

I’ve seen some exciting racing at the America’s Cup World Series in San ...

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Finding My Cape Dory 28

18 Nov

As the weather warmed up my first spring in New Orleans I began to realize how many derelict old sailboats were for sale in the area. It didn’t take long to revive longstanding dreams of finding an old boat to repair and take south. Once I started searching in earnest though I quickly found that despite this abundance it was no easy task to find a boat cheap enough yet within reasonable limits of decrepitude. With my experience largely contained to the well-maintained boats my family has lived on I was astounded by the sheer number of things that can ...

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