Monday, November 26, 2012

Last sail of the season.....

It was a balmy 30 degrees with NW winds at about 10 – 15 when we left the dock on what would be the last “Shackleton” sail of the season. Being that it was the 25th of November in Minnesota, one should not be surprised by the conditions. We sailed Clay & Pia’s Blue J, the First 260, southwest out of Wayzata Bay towards Excelsior Bay to dock at Maynard’s for a little warm up and then the plan was to sail back to Wayzata Yacht Club and haul Blue J for the season. Wayzata Yacht Club has their Shackleton cup which starts at the end of October and whoever makes the most runs to Maynard’s and back wins. Obviously this cup is named for Sir Ernest Shackleton, the Antarctic explorer. For more information on him and his exploits, you can find that here. Something fun to do when you are at 45 degrees North Latitude.

The three of us in Blue J and another club member Pontus, was sailing what we think is a Flying Dutchman but I have not been able to confirm that. Needless to say, he was sailing in a dinghy but a fast dinghy. We all had our PFD’s on and were wearing multiple layers as of course it was a bit chilly. The sail down to Maynard’s was pretty nice, not very eventful though there were a few gusts that hit near 20. Pontus kept up nicely with us and we never lost sight of him.
We got in to a slip at Maynard’s and headed inside. The Vikings were playing the Bears so the place was pretty crowded but, we found a table relatively quickly. I always find it amusing to enter that place from dockside in November. People look at you as if you just stepped off of the Space Shuttle or something. You over hear a few comments about us coming over via sailboat and you get a bit of a sense of “Damn right we did.” Anyway, we had some apps and we headed back out to the boats as the sun sets kinda early this time of year.

Pontus heading out of Excelsior Bay on Shambles.

We left pretty much at the same time with us ahead. As we got out of the bay and in to the main part of the lake, Pia looked back and said “Pontus is over.” Clay and I looked and his dinghy was turtled. We quickly furled the head sail and Clay got the diesel started. We dropped the main and headed back to assist. It only took us about 2-3 minutes, I think, to get to Pontus and his dinghy from the time we saw him over. When we got there he was climbing up on to his centerboard to try and right the boat. That did not work, so we grabbed a line and after two attempts got it over to him.
He wrapped the line around the center board and we slowly motored away to try and right his boat. I think I heard a small cracking sound but I am not sure, we knew quickly that this was not going to work. I am not really sure how but after we dropped the pull with the line idea, Pontus was able to get his boat on it’s side, but that was it. It was not going to right itself and I think Pontus had to be getting pretty cold even with all the layers, as his layers were now wet and the water temp was at a refreshing 45 degrees. He had probably been in and out and back in the water for about 10 minutes. As he was back in the water the decision was made to get Pontus on to Blue J and then deal with his boat later.
As we pulled Blue J around Clay told me to grab the small rope ladder from the starboard setee and clip it to the padeye at the stern. The First 260 has a partially open transom, enough room to slide a ladder or lines through but no way could a person fit. We got to Pontus very quickly; I would think that by now he would have been in the water about 10-15 minutes. As we got to him, Clay and I were at the transom and Clay told him to get a leg in the ladder and then we would pull him in. He struggled to get his leg in and as he was doing so all he said was “I am getting cold guys. I am pretty cold”. All he could do is pull himself  to the transom of the boat as his strength was going quickly as his body was going in to survival mode and pulling blood from his arms and legs to keep his core warm. We got him to the transom and I had his left arm pulled up as high as I could. Clay then came over and grabbed that arm as I slid over and reached down and grabbed his right. Clay said “OK I am going to just stand up as we pull.” Which I thought was a good idea as I was crouched over as well. We counted to 3, I think, and we pulled him up and on to the transom. I reached back and grabbed the bottom of his PFD and we hauled him in to the cockpit.
Pontus went below and I think Pia went with…. So many things happen in these situations you aren’t sure after the fact. Pontus got his boots off and said he was a little cold but OK and wanted to see if we could right his boat and then we would tow it back. We circled his boat a couple of times, even got the rudders hung up on the rigging but we were able to back off. At this point we were pretty much ready to just deal with the boat later and head back. I looked down in the cabin and noticed Pontus was shivering, I told Clay and it was decided then that we would head back to Maynard’s and get him someplace warm as quickly as possible.
Pia’s phone then rang and it was a friend of theirs that lives very close and I think had saw what happened. Clay made the smart call and called 911 to let them know that yes, there is a small sailboat on it’s side in Excelsior Bay but, no one was still in the water. So we headed for the Excelsior city docks which were actually a little closer than the docks at Maynard’s. Clay went below and stripped off a layer of his foulies and had Pontus remove some of his wet layers and put those on. Sean was waiting for us and helped us tie up at the city dock. There also was an Excelsior policeman at the dock and we let him know what was going on as I think someone may have called them or our call to 911 had him dispatched just to make sure all was well.
So Sean took Pontus to his place to get warmed up and we headed back over to his boat to see what it was doing. It was on its side and the mast head was touching bottom and probably a little dug in so it wasn’t going anywhere. This time of year it was not a hazard to navigation either. As we were motoring out to head back up the lake we saw the sheriff boat approaching. Clay tried to raise him on the VHF but that did not seem to work. We hung around for a while as the sheriff looked over Pontus’ boat and then we headed back.

Sailing back, the sun even came out for a bit.

We got the sails up and had a nice leisurely sail back to Wayzata, even the sun came out for a bit. As we came in to the basin where the gallows and crane are, there was a bit of ice floating about and it was moved and broken up a bit by us. So I guess for 15 seconds we were an icebreaker too.

Pulling in to the marina.

Andy was waiting for us with hot chocolate to help with getting Blue J hauled. I had a family engagement to get to so I could not help as much as I wanted too but we got the sails off and some other things. I really enjoyed sailing the last three Sundays on Blue J with Clay and Pia and want to thank them again for having me aboard. Hopefully there will be more next year and some racing.
This has also caused me to think about what gear to have on a boat and what I don’t have on mine. Extra blankets and some clothing for cold weather sailing I think is a must. Knowing where everything is and having what you need is extremely important as well. We all stayed very calm, which is also key. I wouldn’t even say “organized chaos” as it was not really chaotic at all. One other thing that was key, was that only one person was giving “orders” for lack of a better term, there was one clear voice and no one was talking over each other. Made communication much easier and things went a lot smoother because of it.
So that is how the season ended, a little more exciting than I think any of us wanted but, we did what we had to and everything turned out OK. Thankfully, not a news story and everyone is OK.
Here is some information in regards to water temperature and hypothermia.

I will add a pic or two later.....

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

So, who says....

you can't sail in Minnesota in November???

Well they are wrong! Clay, who I met via owns a Beneteau First 260 and is still on the lake. Same lake as me but at a different marina. So last Thursday I texted him and asked if he was still sailing or had he hauled yet. Well, he still had Blue J in the water and I was invited to come along. We would sail from Wayzata Bay to a local lake institution known as Maynard's on Excelsior Bay, where I had kept Papillon this past season, have a few apps and a beer and then head back.

So the night before it rained and then got nice and cold, below freezing cold. Also, on the way to the marina it was sleeting, drizzly, and a little bit of snow. The winds were 15-20kts and gusting to 25kts with an air temp between 30F and 35F. So yeah, perfect day for sailing. After getting the boat ready we headed out and damn, that was a spirited sail up the lake. I had the helm and Clay trimmed the main. Was some of the most fun I had on a sailboat in a long time. Was a lot of work too as I was not used to basically being in a race, there was another boat we were sailing with but we passed them of course.... She was a Santana 23 named Cyclone.

At the dock at Maynard's with the wind direction it was a little bit of work to get Blue J tied up and Clays GF Pia was already on the dock and helped us alot. I almost went in the lake but waited until I was on the dock to slip on the ice and eat it..... After I got up my $60 Spyderco decided to go for a swim and lept off my PFD and in to the lake.

Met some great guys from Wayzata Yacht Club that sailed up there with us and I am really hoping to be a member there next season. Was a great time at Maynard's. Got to see the rest of the Vike's game and a nice win over the Lions.

Pia joined us for the sail back and all I had to do was be rail meat. Clay and Pia race together on Minnetonka and Superior and they worked that boat like a well oiled machine. Was even better on the way back and we hit 8kts boat speed. Was a blast of a day and I can't wait to do it again. Below are pics and a vid of the awesomenes.

Snowy & icey dock.
Sweeping the snow off the deck.

My view  
Doesn't it look fun?

Me at the helm and Clay on the main.


See ya!

Check those speeds!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The things you see....

So I know I have been remiss this half season with the posts, I know all 6 of you are getting concerned..... Anyway, here we go with some stuff from the season.

Thursday August 9th, 2012:

I took a couple of hours of PTO and headed out to the boat. It was blowing about 13kts out of the North. I had yet to sail Papillon on my own and I had a few chores to do on the boat. I had lunch and got to organizing some things and puttering around in the cabin. I came up to the cockpit and looked out over the bow, towards the exit/entrance of the bay to the rest of the lake. I see a pontoon boat coming pretty much right at me. Luckily they turned more in to the bay away form me but they were still about 30 feet or so from me, so it was close. I looked down for some reason in to the cabin and I hear the sound of metal bashing in to metal.

I look over to Port and I see the No Wake buoy disappear beneath the previously mentioned pontoon. The lady at the helm slams the boat in reverse and it ain't going anywhere. She hit it perfectly, dead center. Now this is a rental pontoon which had some nice older ladies on it. As I tell folks, I think Gladys and the book/wine club went out for a day on the lake. Now a No Wake buoy is not small. They are about 3 feet tall and pretty damn dig around too. No idea how the hell no one saw it. Maybe that explains how the were heading directly for me and then saw me thankfully in enough time to change course, directly over the buoy.

Sitting on the buoy, its under them.....

So after a couple of minutes I shout over and ask if they are OK. They reply yes and that the boat rental place was on the way to tow them off. About 30 minutes later a power/ski boat shows with a couple of 20 something on it and they throw a line and tie on. The spin the pontoon and the wine club passengers around and the buoy underneath. The gun it and drag the buoy and the boat damn near me and finally the buoy tumbles out from under the pontoon. The guys (boys) on the power boat laugh about how far they dragged the buoy and I am kinda speechless as I am realizing when the wind changes to the south my boat will swing around and bash upon the newly moved buoy.

Its a little close now....
So I call the city and let them know what is up and they assure me that they will get out there ASAP to move the buoy. After that event the winds were building to around 18 and as I had not sailed the boat yet on my own orin those conditions, I figured I had had enough excitement for one day and headed home. I stopped by the boat a couple of days later and the buoy was back where it belonged.

As the title says, the things you see...... 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Launch Day!

Ready to go.

So here we are finally, launch day! I worked form home that morning and Jim came over around 1pm. My son was along too. We got to the marina maybe a little after two but, they were not busy. We prepped the boat and we raised the mast without any issues. I wish I had video of that going up but alas, I do not. I will blame the boy on that. He had the camera and I was on the boat after all. But we do have a few pics and videos of rigging and launching.....

Attaching the shrouds.
Me mounting the boom.

Getting her to the lift.
We got her rigged up and Mike, the owner of Shorewood Yacht Club, hopped in their bobcat and moved her around on the trailer to line up with the lift. He strapped her in and got her in the water, easy peasy.


 We start getting stuff on the boat and I notice that the quick release connection on the fuel line leaks where it connects to the gas tank. Oh joy. So we futz about a bit and figure we can hold it tight and the motor seems to be running OK. Seems to be......
In the launch and me dealing with the fuel line issue.

So all of you who have been following along have an idea somewhat of what is about to follow. My son and I back Papillon out of the launch and head through a small channel. All we need to do is go out in to the lake a bit, around some shoals, and back in to the next bay where Jim will be in the dinghy with the mooring gear to hook us up and then we can row back to shore, get in my vehicle and go home.

Well the motor dies as son as we clear the channel. I pump the bulb, spew fuel in the cock pit, swear a lot, it's OK, the boy is 17 and he learned from one of the best, my dad. So anyway, she starts again finally so I head out in to the lake a bit as I do not want to stall and then drift to run aground.

We get out in the lake and sputter..... she quits again. Yes I know you are yelling at the screen by now "Dan raise the damn sails!!!". Well we did and the boat promptly develops a serious case of lee helm and wants to head downwind, back where we came from. So I get the motor going again. Had a couple of chats with Jim via cell phone, and finally get out to the point.... near the shoals. And the motor dies again and now there is no wind whatsoever. 

Hell yes..... this is awesome!!!

So I see a nice sized sailboat heading our way as I had once again gotten the motor to suck gas and not air and I was in reverse trying not to run aground on the shoal. He offers help and of course I accept. He throws me a line and tows me over to my mooring. We are chatting as he and his wife are towing me and says "You didn't expect today to go perfect did you?". I just had to laugh.... Oh the boat that towed me? Well it was someone from the boat club on the O'Day 28 Adagio. A boat I sailed a lot last year, even singled handed her for an entire weekend. No the irony of this event is not lost on me....

The next day I bought a hose barb with a threaded end and rectified the fuel line issue.

On the mooring..... whew.

Anyway, Papillon is launched and on her mooring. Have yet to really sail her as the weather and schedules have not been getting along. But Jim and I did sail her for about 20 minutes about a week ago......

Don't I look Captainly?

More to come on a couple of low buck projects but you can wait a bit for those I figure.

Are you kidding me!? Really???

Move forward 2 weeks to the 4th of July now. Gut is all healed up and I can have beer again. So the morning of the 4th my son and I rebed the deck hardware without any issues. Who knew that would happen. We get everything nicely tightened up and I am going to wait a few days to let the butyl settle and then a few more turns to finish it off.

The next week I call the marina that the boat club I was in is located and we schedule for 2pm on Thursday July 19th. On Tuesday July 17th I figure I better get the new WindX installed.... last minute deal. So I am up on my ladder with my drill in my hand and I start to drill a hole in the mast head.... Out come about 6 hornets, yes hornets and no I am not making this stuff up. I bail down the ladder, drill in hand, maybe even still running as I am not really caring if it is at this point. 

I get in to the garage and ZAP!! Right behind my left ear one of those f'g bastiges got me. As you can imagine, the tapestry of obscenities that I unleashed is still hanging over my garage..... It was almost artfull the way I pieced them all together.....

So the next day I got even... I wrapped the mast head in Saran Wrap and sprayed wasp and hornet killer into the mast via a small hole. I may have laughed maniacally like Boris as I saw they little bastards try to escape and be caught. Only to be smashed up on the aluminum of what they thought was to be their home. HA! I am the victor.....

I then proceeded to have a few beers with a couple of friends in the cockpit of the boat and stay up way too late but hey, I am launching the next day....

Not quite so fast......

Our little friend.
So now the mast is up, and down safely. Inside is looking good and the list is diminishing. So about a week after we get the mast down, I had left the cover of to see about my chainplate sealing and that was OK as we did get some rain. Well we got some more, and it was over an inch in an evening. I climbed up in the boat the next day and........ Son of a bitch...the bilge is literally full of water, the fabric on the interior of the hull is soaked... no leaks at the chainplates. A bright ray of sunshine there.... So we now have a delay in launching as the mast step leaks like crazy as do the toe rails and other deck hardware. Luckily I had already purchased a couple of rolls of Butyl from Compass Marine (Main Sail's gig) and so I just had to pull all the deck hardware, the toe rails, clean it all up with our friend Acetone, and rebed it...

Mast step bolts soaking in a bath of Acetone.

So my son helps me unbolt everything as you need one person to keep the bolt from spinning as the other loosens the nut. Didn't take very long to do that. The next weekend I spent an entire Saturday digging out the bungs for the screws for the toe rails, digging out whatever epoxy or sealant or whatever they put over the screws, removing the toerails, and cleaning the deck with, yep out friend Acetone. At least I was outside in nice weather.

So I clean all the hardware up, I redrill and repot all the holes for the toerails. Hey, I have this epoxy thing down now... I plan on rebedding the hardware, toerails can freaking wait, the morning of Father's Day weekend. Well I pull the cover off,have the man-child getting ready to come out and help, and I look to the west... Huh, looks like rain. I go inside and check the radar on the web.Sure enough, its going to rain in about 20 minutes. Well back on goes the cover just in time. It proceeded to pour all damn day. Well sometime this upcoming week then I am thinking.

Cleaning deck hardware.

I woke up around 3:30am that Monday morning in pretty good pain in my lower abdomen. Weeeeeee!!! Off to the doctor later that day and the CT Scan confirms that I am having a bout of Diverticulitis. I am able to go to work but as soon as I get home I am on the couch feeling like crap. Two awesome antibiotics as well. Had to cancel my son and I's trip to the IndyCar race in Iowa that following weekend too. 

There's two weeks more lost on the season.....

Mast Up!

During all this time I was working on Papillon, a neighbor from down the block had stopped by. Jim had noticed the boat in the driveway and decided to walk over and see what I was up to. Jim has about 20 years of sailing experience and he and his wife were starting to plan what the retirement boat would be. He volunteered to help me out with launching and getting the mast up and in general going out and sailing.

In the crutch.
Its up
So we went all over the web and cobbled together a mast raising system. We used the main halyard, a trailer winch attached to a piece of oak at the head of the trailer and with my guts all a twisty from nerves..... The thought of my mast crashing back down on the stern of my boat and roof of my garage was a bit much for me. 


Anyway, we started hooking up things and winching away. After a bit sure enough, the damn thing was up and we had it secured... Holy F.... well, you know. This was a huge milestone to me as it made me realize how close to launch I really was. What with the ankle fiasco and the Epoxy fiasco and all the work I had been doing. A couple days later when there was no breeze, we raised the sails to be sure all that was ready to go as well. Yep, so far so good. 

Damn, I need to call the marina and schedule a launching. 

Interior Work

Now it was time to get the interior back together. 

I bought some 1/2" sanded plywood to make the new pieces for the wet locker, which I doubt is going to get very wet, and the vanity for the head sink. I painted them the same color as the bulkheads and inside of the hull. I used the old pieces for templates the best I could though, I did have to extrapolate at times as some parts were just gone.

For the thru-hull, I cleaned the hull with Acetone, damn do you get to use a lot of that stuff working on a boat, and scraped the old sealant off. I applied a generous amount of Life-Caulk again and tightened it up. Went very well and I was done in no time.

Cleaned up.
Old thru-hull removed.

Ready to be tightened.


Drain installed.
I then re-assembled the vanity and hooked up the drain. I bought new hose and clamps for this as well as I did not trust what I had as it was probably factory original. 35 years old. 
Putting the wet locker together was not very much work either. I could use the old pieces pretty much as I said and I just cut new ones and installed them. I also purchased a mounting kit for the porta-potti and will be installing that later this week. Be nice to have that on the boat for extended stays and I have female friends that have already asked if there is one on the boat for their comfort.

Wet locker.
Vanity front installed.


After I got that stuff in, I set about re-installing the setee back rests. The mounts for them were of course "wet" so I cut new ones out of left over bulkhead material that had veneer on it. I also bought some brass bolts to replace the stainless steel ones as I felt they would look better against the dark finish of the veneer. I re-upholstered the setee backs with the same fabric, just did a better job of it as th4e PO's job was well, sloppy. In the picture you can see that awesome 1970's era ORANGE fabric that was original with the boat.... oh my.... 

Oh my is right!
Recovered and much better.

New back mount.

Eventually I got the doors mounted on the vanity, the privacy door on the head area mounted, the salon table, the shelf, and little weather station all installed and I am pretty happy with how it all turned out. I do still have to install the shelves and sliding doors for the cabinet over the vanity but, you don't need that to sail. I exercised Skipper's Prerogative on that.

Finished interior.
So, how about we get that mast up? 

Project #1, Part - 3

So now it is time to cut the new bulkheads out and get them installed.

Everything is out.
Cut bulkhead.
As I said in my last post, I was kind of smart in one regard, I kept the old stuff to make the new stuff with. Sometimes, I kinda get it right. After all poly and paint had set I laid the existing bulkhead on the new plywood, did the paint side, and traced out the outline of the bulkhead. I used my jigsaw to cut them out and then I routed the edge that goes in to the slot in the headliner. I had to dry fit, cut, dry fit, and cut a bit again a few times but I got them in and screwed in to place. 

Deck penetration.
Chainplate and cap.
Next I cleaned up the slots in the deck where the chainplates go through the deck and installed and sealed the chainplates. I used Life-Caulk generously to do this and then screwed the caps down. I then rebolted the chainplates in to the bulkheads. I did have to use the metal blade on my Dremel to slightly increase the size of the slot in the caps as they would not fit over the chainplates for some reason. 

I then fiber-glassed the bulkheads to the hull using West System Epoxy. Some of you folks from AS know how well my first two attempts at this went so no need to re-hash that….. *cough* One = One right?

Port bulkhead installed.

Starboard bulkhead installed.

Bolted in.

After the epoxy cured I painted the interior of the head area and set about rebuilding the vanity and wet locker. All in all this went pretty well, I learned a lot and there are things that I now know that if I did this again, I could probably do a much better and faster job of it. 

On to rebuilding the vanity and wet locker….. oh and putting in that thru-hull.

Here come the updates....

As you have probably read, yes I have launched. A lot of things happened between my Part 1 post and launching as you can imagine. I was busy getting things done and with work and life stuff, the blog fell by the wayside. I know all 5 of you have been patiently awaiting updates so here is the first of a few I intend to get done. Reason I have time today is that I took the afternoon off from work as the forecast looked pretty good, but the wind has yet to even think about showing up. So here is the start o/f the updates.....

Project #1, Part – 2

So I got all the demolition done inside the boat, everything taken out and pieces that could be kept for templates kept. The remainder of the demolition was interesting to say the least. How someone could look someone else in the eye and say there were no issues is beyond me. The lower part of the port bulkhead I dug out with my hand, literally. Look at the picture, it came out like dirt. Nice eh? Anyway, I got most of it out in one piece and got the starboard bulkhead out relatively easily. 

As I was taking the head sink vanity apart the sink drain’s plastic thru-hull promptly snapped off and that lead me to placing another small order with the fine folks at Defender Marine. Got a stainless one and some “Life-Caulk” polysulfide caulk for the installation. What’s another thing to fix right?

So after I got everything out of the boat I set up inside my garage to prep the plywood. I applied a few coats of Smith’s CPES, Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer, to both sides of the plywood. I let each coat cure for about 48 hours before doing it again. I then laminated the mahogany veneer to one side and let that set up for a day. I did not veneer the entire sheet as I did not want to waste any of the veneer. I know have about 4 or 5 feet left in two pieces for other projects. After the veneer I painted the other side the color I bought for the interior of the head area. It was an exterior enamel, figured that should be good for the interior of a boat that lives on a fresh water lake. 

To finish the veneer I bought a nice walnut stain and brush on poly. I did three coats of each, sanding with 200 grit lightly between each coat and I am pretty pleased with the outcome. I also put a coat of CPES over it all just for extra measure. If I were to do this again, I would probably use West epoxy mixed with 207 hardener over the wood, then epoxied the veneer on, and then painted and stained with either epoxy with 207 over the stain or polyurethane after I got the color I wanted. Not sure if ether is better or not as there is minimal UV exposure in the boat.
I used a small electric heater to help with poly curing time as this was April and the tempos were a bit chilly at times. 

CPES Curing, how exciting....
Paint drying, more excitement.....

Veneer laminated.

Veneer Finished.

The biggest issue on this part of the project was doing about 30 minutes of work and then having to wait for things to cure or dry. Next step on this little project is cutting the new bulkheads and getting them installed.