Thursday, May 21, 2015

Main's done

I got the main all put together and it came out pretty good, I think.  I hand stitched the new patches and used aluminum pop rivets for the head board (I reused the old head board) and then pounded in a grommet for the halyard to attach to.
Re-cut. shorter, stronger....
and hand stitched
I did have to put 4 of the sail slides back on but I used 3 of the old ones and one new one I had lying around.  I put in on the mast, as the mast is by the shop on saw horses and it seems to fit just fine.
Now on to the jib that has a torn out clew.  I think I will add a patch and then a roped grommet for the sheets to tie to.
Memorial day is this coming weekend, unofficial boat season beginning.  I have no intention of being on the water this weekend because it is usually madness.  This also means I am in no rush to get these projects done other than needing to move on to others in the shop, oh yah, and I'd like to go sailing again someday.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Re-cut the sails for "short rig"

The Venture 21 was considered a pretty quick boat in it's day.  It certainly seemed to move thru the water easily when I started sailing Ventura, even though the main sail was not the original, and about a foot and a half shorter along the foot, and two feet on the luff.  Now with the mast being about 3 feet shorter from the damage and the repair, the sails a little bit tall.
I am cutting the mainsail down by about a foot, and I need to loose about a foot and a half off of the jib and genny.  The staysail will continue to work as is if I fly it on the forestay in heavy weather, as I did before because the boat didn't have a inner stay rigged as was the original sail plan.  I will in fact rig an inner stay so as to assist the new rig.  I hope to set is up in the fashion of a running back stay so that it can easily be set and slacked for tacking.  It's an idea.

Old main, cut down, patch to be added, reused headboard
In re-rigging the boat I have had to raise and lower the shorter mast a few times and the few feet of lost length has made the job very much easier.  Yahoooo!  I am not overly concerned about the lost sail area.  On the main sail the loss will come from the head of the sail, a portion of the sail that has very little drive or area.
The jib and genny are a bit of a different story.  I don't really want to just lop off their tops, so I am considering putting a grommet for the tack up a foot and a half from the original and adding reefing nettles, and continue to use the original clue.  The sails could always stay "reefed" but the original area would be preserved.  Why I want to do this I am not really sure.  Partly because I am concerned about getting a good shape of the head sail if I recut it.
It is good weather for sitting in the shop with the big doors open and hand stitching the sails.  It is better weather for actually being sailing. All things in their time.
I found that a sail maker I have used before would build me a brandy new main sail for under $500, including shipping.  It is VERY tempting, but mostly because I am lazy.  The old main never set very well, was blown out and old, but, I do own it already and this boat is about spending NO money(which I have failed at, but it is a boat so I can't be to hard on myself can I).  If after launching the boat seems to have a good place in my life then I might splurge and order a new main someday.  For now it is snip, snip, stitch, stitch.
If I ever do order the new main I think I will have the change the insignia from V21, to V21s, to signify the short rig.

"New" Standing rigging

My new standing rigging is finished!  After much research, and a bit of stepping back to look at the big picture, I decided to go with the "nico-press" type of fittings because it was inexpensive, I could to the work myself, I didn't need expensive new tools or machines, and I could reuse a bit of the material I already had.  I fully realize that many might be critical of the use of this type of fitting, and I might be to, if I were setting up a boat bound for open water or even strong weather, but in this case the boat is to be used for recreational, fair weather sailing, and having "made" the rig myself, I will be more mindful, and aware of the conditions of both the rig and the weather.
Had I been using this rig a year ago, I might have been more conservative about what I put the boat thru, decided to quit sooner, or not gone out at all, and saved my self the experience of being very, very cold and wet. (on the good side, I now know what that is like.  Ignorance can breed fear, and knowledge allows for better judgement, I hope)
SS thimble, 2-Swaged copper sleeves on lower shrouds
coated with anhydrous lanolin, then covered in shrink wrap tubing
Some info on this rigging technique:
-1x19 S.S. doesn't want to bend the short radius of the thimbles.  It seems that the sharp bend may compromise some of the strength of the rig.
-1x19 S.S. requires 2 copper sleeves, each swaged 3 times along their length.
-I made sure that the sleeves did not actually touch the thimble, or each other.  I did this to promote a full compression of each swage.
-The end of the SS wire stuck out of the lower swage, but was covered by the heat shrink tubing.  Before the tubing was applied the entire fitting was slathered in anhydrous Lanolin for protection.
-I used a swaging tool that uses 2 bolts, tightened down to compress the copper sleeves.  This tool was the least expensive(a priority in this boat), smallest (so that in the future it can be kept on board my larger boat for emergency rigging), and it was simple.
- I checked the swages with a micro meter to see if they fell in the specs that I found on a forum thread about home built airplanes and this type of rigging.  the tool was pretty consistent with the thickness of the finished swage and that dimension collaborated with the aviation specs.

I believe that Brian Toss mentioned that most of the boats he'd seen rigged in this way were in the UK.  He didn't recommend these fittings very highly and seemed to think they were the wrong "tool for the job".  I wouldn't disagree with him ultimately, but, I think that they will serve fine in this application.  Most of the negative comments I found on the forums about pressed copper sleeves seemed to be about the way the finished fitting looked.  I actually like the work boat kind of look they have.  It is even more attractive because the look reflects that I did the work myself.

Using this tool with these parts required really taking my time setting up and making each swage, three for each sleeve, two sleeves for each eye, two eyes per stay, six stays, plus a few practice sleeves.  I have to enjoy each moment of the work or I will rush to be done and botch the job.

Now on to recutting the sails.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


I got a delivery of rigging gear today.  I got some wire rope for the stays and shrouds, some thimbles, some copper crimp sleeves and a tool to crimp them with.
I took some measurements on the boat, of the mast and did the geometry to get the needed lengths of the new rigging.  I will use some cable clamps on the bottoms of each stay on the first attempt at raising the mast and then when I know all the lengths are right I will to it all up with the copper sleeves.
This is my cost efficient way of rigging the boat and should be fine for the kind of sailing we hope to be doing.

The mast step is back on the boat and I replaced the damaged wire lifelines with rope, which I prefer anyway.  I also put some new line on the rudder for lifting it out of the water.
I am varnishing the wooden keel winch bridge but it is ready to be put onboard.

I think I will go without a bow pulpit for now.  There actually is a bit of work to be done to get Ventura ready to go back in the water, but it is only now that I am feeling like working on her.  The winter was just too long, snowy and depressing.  The weather is great spring time sailing weather right now.  It would be nice to be out there using the boat rather than working on her.  Oh well.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A year on

One year ago today Ventura was out on the Hudson and I was in the Hudson.  Funny that the weather today is probably just about the same wind wise, strong gusty, not to be trifled with.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

winter reading

"Racundra's First Cruise" by Arthur Ransome, yes, the Arthur Ransome of "Swallows and Amazon's" fame, seems to be a not very well known earlier work of Ransomes and it is hard to understand why.  It was a great read for anybody who cruises in a small boat.  In it are lines that seems as though they are perfectly fit to quote and the first page of the book is just the thing to make a small boat cruising sailor forget any appointments he might have had and instead just sit, read, and turn pages.
I purposefully took my time reading this book, a chapter at a time, as it is a small book and I know enough to be wary of consuming the entire thing in one sitting and then wondering what I was going to do about the anticlimactic nature of still being snow bound for another few months of winter.
I highly recommend this book, if you can find it.  The worn 60 year old paperback copy I found was not inexpensive, but it is one that I suspect I will keep on my shelf and return to each winter for many years.
The book is a log of his cruise, just as advertised, not with any great plot line or moral, but it is more like what most of us experience when cruising, we leave a port, venture to many others experiencing weather, people, meals, the suns rise and set, changing winds and then eventually a return to the port from which we began.  For a cruiser being able to be there, if in mind only, with Ransome, all those years ago, is a pleasure in the middle of a winter when he may not be able to be out on his own cruise.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Lemon Skiff

Lemon Skiff model
scale 1 1/2"=1'

Lemon skiff
Thole pins reduce the price of materials.