Sunday, April 22, 2018

Personal Flotation Device Tips

19 Apr 18:

We have used several types of Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) over the past, I started using them as a teenager riding around and driving my Uncle's 1969 Sterncraft Tri Hull powered by a 160 Mercruiser and piloting his stick steer bass boat. Back then they were the big orange foam block vests with a black strap, and a few years into our trips he switched over to some nice low profile Stearns fishing vests, which were more flotation "aids" than they were life jackets.

In 2011 the Skipper and I moved closer to the water and we began using our small boats more often, so we tracked down some PFDs that were comfortable to wear and compatible with dinghy sailing, rowing, kayaking and canoeing. The features we like are low profile PFDs that allow us to bend at the waist, paddle and row. The Skipper's PFD also has foam bumps and mesh air vents that improve air circulation. Both PFDs have adjustments for the shoulders and waist, storage pockets and bits of reflective tape. We also chose red PFDs that are easier to spot in the water than some darker colored vests.

Our current vests are the Astral Camino and the Extrasport Eagle. The light gray bumps inside the Camino vest on the left are cushioned foam, they hold the vest away from the body to improve air circulation.

We keep enough comfortable vests for passengers to wear. In the pockets we keep a whistle, a knife and a small LED flashlight. Eventually I'd like to add a signal mirror and maybe a small VHF transceiver with GPS locator. I flew Search and Rescue in a former life, and a small light or signal mirror flash can be seen from far far away. We like red and yellow vests, they are easier to spot in the water.

Here are some tips from the "Think Safe" booklet that comes with most PFDs, published to help boaters choose the right device. I believe that beyond being safe we can be smart, this information increases our knowledge and coupled with a positive attitude, we can "Boat Smart."

1. How many PFDs do you need? Depends on the number of people on board, the size and type of boat, and the kind of boating you do. You must have any one of these wearable PFDs for each person on board:

-Off-Shore Life Jacket (Type I) - Best for rough, open water. Turns unconscious wearer face up, highly visible, but bulky.

-Near-Shore Buoyant Vest (Type II) - Turns some unconscious wearers face up, less bulky, not for long hours in rough water.

-Flotation Aid (Type III) - Good for calm, inland water or where there is a chance of fast rescue. Comfortable and available for many different types of activities. Will NOT turn unconscious wearer face up and not for extended rough water survival.

-Special Use Device (Type V) - Special uses or conditions like work vests, hybrid PFDs or boardsailing vests. A Type V Inflatable must be worn to be counted as a PFD. They are less bulky and good for continuous wear, but they may not inflate fully and require maintenance. My thoughts on the inflatables is that the wearer needs to be very familiar with use in extreme conditions, that usually requires dunk tank training and periodic re-qualification, which I have been through. Imagine ending up in the water, surprised, disoriented and maybe injured. Are you going to remember how to inflate the vest?

-Throwable Device (Type IV) - If your boat is 16 feet or longer, and is not a canoe or kayak, you must also have at least one Throwable Device (Type IV). It can be thrown up to 40 feet, makes good supplemental flotation and also serves a nice cushion. Skipper especially likes our BoatUS Type IV leaned up against the transom of ST. JACQUES.

2. Be sure to choose a PFD that is right for your planned activities and the water conditions that you expect to encounter. A good vest should have a list of recommended uses, like paddling, sailing, kayaking or water skiing. Many PFDs are not tested for personal protection from impact and therefore not approved for use on personal watercraft, for water skiing or similar towed activities.

3. The best place for a PFD to be stored is on your body. I like the cushioning that my PFD provides and it also provides a little back support. The storage pockets are convenient for my phone and tow vehicle keys. If the conditions are such that the PFD is not worn, keep it close and do not attach it to the boat, and brief your crew on their PFD's location.

From the Coast Guard: "9 out of 10 drownings occur in inland waters, most within a few feet of safety. Most of the victims owned PFDs, but they died without them. A wearable PFD can save a life, if it is worn."

4. Read the label to make sure the PFD is made for the wearer's weight and size.

5. Try out your PFD in calm conditions to make sure your mouth floats well above the water and you can breathe easily.

6. Check PFD for wear. When it gets damaged or worn, replace it. Regulations require that the PFD be in good shape for use on the boat.

If you need more information on boating safety, contact your state boating authority, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Red Cross, US Power Squadron or the Coast Guard.

PFDs reduce the risk of drowning when we follow their use and care instructions. Safe Boating is no accident. Enjoy the water and Boat Smart!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Carpenter's Trestle

I started fiddling with building a carpenter's trestle. I had seen a nice looking bench at the John Gardner workshop in Mystic Seaport and came across the term "trestle" while looking for information on tools in the 1918 book Farm Mechanics. Sounded like just the thing I need to steady pieces while I worked on them. We had some hunks of cedar, beams from our covered porch in Texas, that were being used as benches and plant stands, so I decided to use those. They'll get to be benches or plant stand when not being trestles, but now have new legs. Here is my adaptation so far.

Here is a similar bench in the John Gardner Boat Shop at Mystic, versatile, used to support boats during storage or maintenance. Upright or flipped.

I cut an angled notch for the 2x6 so it sits flush at the top, trimmed the 2x6 flush. The leg sits at a nice angle so I'll cut three more.

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

I used a reciprocating saw first to cut the notch, then found I could cut them faster with a hand saw. A variation of this that I came up with later was to cut the notches all the way to the end of the seat with 10 degree bevel set on a circular saw, a time saver.

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

Chiseled the bevel.

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

Cut a brace for the legs.

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

Turned out nice.

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

We can also use it as a plant stand and regular bench.

From SBR 3: Jan 2014-

One tip was to cut a V shaped notch into one end of the seat, about 2 inches wide across the top of the V. The notch can be used to help hold a board, wedge the end of the board into the ground and steady it with one hand and the V. Later benches have the legs and cross brace set in about an inch. this allows clamps to be used on the end. Don't set them in too far, or the bench could become unstable.

Here's a variation of the bench we made with some 2x8 lumber that washed up on our beach. 2x6s work great as well.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Carriage House 13 Apr 18

13 Apr 18:

Update, the carriage house currently hosts WINNIE, ZIP, VICTORY and ZSA ZSA. Wisteria are blooming and grapes are coming in.

Carriage House Log.

Alcort Catfish SMEDLEY 13 Apr 18 Hull Repair

13 Apr 18:

Family came to visit so of course they wanted to help flip SMEDLEY. Our plan is to start and hull repairs and get more of the rigging sorted out. We also need small repairs on one rudder and the mast, and gather a few blocks.

The hull has fiberglass damage from trailer rollers and a few other rash spots.


Thursday, April 5, 2018

1979 Drascombe Dabber VICTORY 05 Apr 18 Third Coat Pettit Easypoxy and Oar Repair

05 Apr 18:

Lightly sanded some runs and sags with 220 grit discs on a random orbital sander then rolled and tipped the third coat of Pettit Easypoxy Blue Ice. Used Mighty Mini rollers and roller kit from Jamestown Distributors, tipped with a Blue Hawk 2 inch sash brush. Thinned the paint with about 5% Pettit Brushing Thinner, outside air temp 70F.

We had scarfed a new handle cut from cypress onto one of the oars and needed to shape it. I sanded it at first with 40 grit on a belt sander, but that was taking a while and making a lot of dust, so I switched to a Stanley spokeshave and that rapidly took off the excess. I cut the shoulder for the grip with a shinto rasp and shaped it with a tile diamond file. Then I finished sanding the grip to shape with 60 grit discs on a DeWALT random orbital sander.

Once the grip was shaped I sanded both oars with 60 grit on a random orbital sander. There was a lot of excess epoxy and plastic wrap residue on the blades, left over from when we had glued the blades back together last year. It took a lot of sanding but I got everything smooth and ready for paint.


Alcort Catfish SMEDLEY 05 Apr 18 Bilge Flush

05 Apr 18:

At one point someone stored SMEDLEY on the ground and there was mud in the bottom of both bilges. We decided to see how much today, so we used a garden hose to give the bilges a fresh water rinse. We're not sure why the transom drain holes are so big but they came in handy today. We rinsed out the aft section first, then lowered the tongue of the trailer to get water up front. Raised the tongue and a little more mud came out from ahead of the flotation styrofoam that is just behind the centerboard trunks.

Caution: Viewer Discretion is advised, disturbing images follow :)

This little fiberglass hanger fell off of a backer block/plate somewhere, we'll try to figure that out and make sure the backer plate/block is still intact. That strip is used to hold the plate in place inside the hull while fasteners are being driven.

Here's a shot of the flotation foam, just behind the centerboard trunk. It has a nice linber hole carved into the bottom so water can drain aft.


Pre Departure Checklist

Heading to the ramp? We have a pre departure checklist for each boat as some are different sail rigs and some are motor. Some of the most important prep is before leaving the driveway during Pre Departure, to avoid getting to the ramp and finding out the boomkin was left on the varnish bench (might have happened) or the Skipper doesn't have coffee (never happened). Here is an example of the van and boat load out for a day sail on our 1980 Drascombe Lugger ONKAHYE.

First we need the boat ONKAHYE, then the priority items:
Sailing knife

Trailer Check:
Chains, Plug, Latch, Lock, Jack stowed
Check bearings
Check tires
Check lug nuts
Check lights

Tow vehicle Pack Up:
Yellow tool box:
VHF Radio
Day signal
First Aid kit
Tool Kit

Green bag:
Spare Line
Oar locks
Running lights + batteries

Cushions throwable
Life jackets 1 per
Ramp shoes

Chow crackers, sandwiches, chips
Coffee Tea
Aladdin water jug and foam cups
Trash bags

Deck chairs for the Ramp Supervisor/PIO and usual visitors

Lugger pack up:
Step stool

(Consider a test run of the motor at the house the day before)

We'll cover some trailering items in another post, and rigging and launch at the ramp.

Ramp Ready

Have fun and take your time!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Posilube Trailer Axle Spindles 04 Apr 18

04 Apr 18:

Our trailer builder switched over to Posilube spindles a few years ago, we have them on all of our trailers now. Next time you need an axle consider upgrading, the bearing grease is pumped through the spindle to the inside of the hub directly to the backside of the inner bearing. Grease flows forward to the outer bearing and is less likely to blow out of the rear seal. These spindles are recommended by our trailer expert Eddie English, he knows a thing or two about trailers as he has been building them for a long time and he owns a boat trailer business. We'd also like to add a shout out to our hand model WJ, always trust a mechanic with greasy fingers, 10 of them.

WJ pointing to where grease will flow out of the bearing, so you can see it when adding fresh grease. The hub has a rubber cap to cover this part of the spindle.

Spindle, rear seal, bearings, washer and cotter pin nut.

Grease is pumped through the zerc fitting through the inside of the hub directly to the backside of the inner bearing, through the small hole. Grease flows towards the front versus pushing out the back seal, a problem with other bearing lubricators.

Spindle inside hub and dust cap.

Rubber plug.

Our many thanks to the crew at Eddie English Boat Trailer in Milton Florida for setting up our trailers and showing us the inner workings of the Posilube spindle.

1980 AMF Sunfish SUGAR 04 April 18 New Homeport!

04 April 18:

SUGAR has new skippers, she headed off to a new port just down the street from us. We hope to see her soon, she'll be hard to miss with that Mai Tai sail. Her new owners are seasoned Sunfish sailors and are thrilled to have her.

Sunfish Jolly Roger Sail

26 Oct 17:

We bought a Jolly Roger sail for the Sunfish VIPER from a big sailmaker who sells them online. We had bought 2 sails several years ago and were pleased with he quality and price. Fast forward to 2017 and the sail we received was of decent quality, with wrong type of grommets and the Jolly Roger insignia was awful. Too small and we're not sure what happened with the application. Luckily it was only applied to one side, the insignias were supposed to have been on both sides. So we peeled off the insignia and managed to save the sail. Cleaned up the adhesive residue with some acetone.

Also bought some 4 oz Dacron adhesive backed insignia cloth from our local sailmaker Schurr Sails and we will make our own insignia.

02 Nov 17:

Transferred a design onto plywood, cut it out to make a template.

5 pieces cut out.

Decided on placement.

Traced the shape onto adhesive backed insignia sailcloth. Cut out the shapes and applied them to the sail.