Archive for January, 2008


Peeling Strops

January 30, 2008   

I have four different types of peeling strops for different reasons/boats – some are for asym some for sym boats or both.

1) Double tack line – if it is not class legal we install the extra clutch for offshores and take off for inshores. Just make sure if your deck is balsa core that you have put epoxy plugs in so that when you remove and fill with a screw and silicone for inshore racing you don’t get a mushy core due to water infiltration. Two single blocks for sure. Great for retractable pole boats and large sprit boats that have halyard locks. On large sprit boats you rig a martin breaker and are well clear when the tack is remotely spiked for you.

2) A long strop off the jib tack ring with tylaska on each end – also discussed above. Good for retractable sprit boats as that way you hoist on the strop then put the tack line on the new sail when the old one has been spiked away. Really only use this technique if you aren’t set up to do the other methods or you rarely do peels and don’t want the expense of a different system.

3) A peeling ring – Two captive tylaska go in the top segments for tack of spinnaker. Then you attach your guys and tack line to the bottom segment. You can either splice the tack line to this ring direct or you can tylaska (advantage of tylaska is you can remove when the wind is light and you don’t want all the hardware dragging the sail down) splice = cheaper. Also tylaska if you have a mixed asym, sym inventory. Pole doesn’t get moved at all during the peel you just clip the new tack on the other tylaska and spike away the old (kind of like what you do with the tack on a jib peel!). Also how many times as a bowman have you been up there trying to fit the guys and tackline on the tack ring of the sail as it has been set up incorrectly. Harder to use the martin breaker set up on this system so it is better to do on smaller boats (i.e. up to 70 foot) as the recoil on the larger boats means you don’t want your head in the way.

4) My old favourite that is great for short handed sailing and works really well on sym peels. A strop with a tylaska on one end and a clip on the other it is about 12 inches long. You go out on the end of the pole (if fully crewed) or drop the pole forward (if single/doublehanded) and clip drectly onto the guy on the aft side of the pole. You take the strop under the pole and connect to the clew ring on the old sail. You spike the clew of the old sail and it is now on the strop. You attach the clew of the new spinnaker to the guy and hoist the kite. When you are ready to get rid of the old sail you spike the strop and then drop the kite. The strop will run down the guy to the guy block so when you have finished the drop etc. you just pick up your strop from the weather side of the boat.

Hunting in Sonoma

January 26, 2008   

So it has been raining all week since I got back from Portland and it is still pouring down. It has been the coldest weather I can remember in Marin – there has been snow at the higher elevations. I spent most of the week building my brothers new mast for his moore 24, building my tool shed and making a new boom. Unfortunately the rig fell down when I was borrowing the boat in Hood River last August and it has taken till now to get a new one. Over the winter our boom was stolen from the boat at the YC it always amazes me when someone steals boat parts. On Wednesday we put the rig up and measured for a forestay which Svensens built for me thursday morning and delivered to me thursday night. I picked up the bare aluminum boom extrusion on thursday night and was all set to build it over night in my bedroom as we had a race today (saturday).

 Bro decided on friday morning when we woke to torrential rain that he was going to wuss out and didn’t want to go sailing after all. So I spent the day working on other jobs one involved wet sanding a gelcoat repair which surprisingly (sarcasism) had not flashed in the cold damp weather. A change of clothes later and it was time for a hot date on a friday night with my nephew. Seeing as I don’t own a TV I watched the news – it had rained 3.75″ during the day yesterday and the creek in San Anselmo was to the tops of the banks they sounded sirens for people to move to higher ground. My brother and sister in law got back having failed to go to the movies as when they got there the movie that was advertised on sfgate wasn’t showing. An eventful friday night.

This morning I awoke to no rain and around 10 knots of wind – a perfect day for a sail! Bro called to apologize for not going sailing and asked if I wanted to go clay pigeon shooting instead. Sounded fun. So off we went to Sonoma and found that it was too wet for clay pigeon shooting but we could rent a dog and go hunting. So I told Bro I would pay for hunting for his birthday and we were given Boogie the pointer and bright orange baseball caps to wear. I was happy I was wearing my hunter wellies as the fields were pretty muddy. We walked for 2.5 hours in total – up and down levees, along an old disused railway through short grassland and thick shrubs. The dog was running all over the place. I learnt the difference between a flusher and a pointer. Last time I went hunting I had a flusher – a dog that flushes the birds out whereas the dog we had today was a pointer. Pointers find the bird and hold it until you come all and flush the bird out for yourself. The dog freezes and the bird and dog stare at each other it is pretty amazing. The dog found two birds in one bush which was on a steep embankment. Bro shot one bird – it exploded in feathers and aimed at the other one and then promptly lost his footing and missed as he fell on his ass. We looked for the bird for 15 minutes and couldn’t find the one that had been shot. Not cool but we couldn’t find it so off we went again determined not to go home until we had a bird and hour and half later still no more birds. We were heading back to the lodge and decided to look for the bird bro had hit one more time. Boogie eventually came bounding through the brush carrying the pheasant we were happy as it isn’t cool to kill a bird and not eat it. Just as I was about to put the leash on the dog with the one pheasant in my hand he found another bird. So we ended up with two birds to take home – we had them plucked there and we put two chicken looking things in the back of the truck. As we drove down 101 we could see the boats that had gone out for Three Bridge rounding Red Rock.

Visiting relatives in Portland

January 21, 2008   

On Friday I delivered Astra the Farr 40 over to SFYC for the crew to race at the weekend. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to race as I needed to visit relatives in Oregon. I got to SFYC just in time to get to the airport and was very lucky to get into the dock as it was a minus tide and I crept in with less than 6″ under the keel. The crew weren’t so lucky on Saturday they ended up aground. Anyways I digress. It was a cold delivery and was dark by the time I docked the boat and quickly jumped in the car. My brother, sister in law and nephew were meant to come with me but they were sick so decided to cancel especially as the trip was to visit ailing relatives. My parents got to Portland during the day on friday I ended up pulling into the cousins driveway at midnight very tired after a non stop 18 hour day.

 We stayed at our cousins christmas tree farm they have just purchased Kirk Company which is a 90 year old christmas tree wholesaler selling trees throughout the world. The trees come from Oregon, Wisconsin and Nova Scotia. The house is surrounded by fields with rows and rows of christmas trees all neatly pruned. There is also a pond in the back garden. It was typical cold wet weather the sky seems really low in Portland maybe it is from the paper mill smoke. Every time I drive past the paper mills I ask my father the same question – so what did grandpa do there?  He was a very important trade unionist and he led a revolt against another trade union group however, I didn’t experience that side of my grandpa. I just remember him making me eat porridge swimming in milk with little pink sweetner packets – yuk!

 We had a great family dinner on saturday night of BBQ steaks and dessert of birthday cake. On Sunday we had the traditional crab feast that I always remember having as a child – it sure is good. It was sad to see the relatives all growing old and the problems they are having it reminds me to live everyday to the fullest and to try and be less in a rush!

 Monday the alarm went off at 5am and off to the airport to get my parents on the first flight to San Francisco. I was full fare to Oakland as that was where my car was. I made the mistake of booking southwest instead of united and regeretted it when I had to pay more to get on an earlier flight so I could get back in time for work. Yes even after my resolution of slowing down I hit the ground in Oakland running as I needed to be motoring out of CYC on Astra by 12:45 at the latest otherwise I would have a problem with the tide. It was a miserable delivery across the bay really really cold and the rain was blowing sideways even in my musto gear it was not a fun day to be out on the water. I motored into the dock at 2:30pm and after measuring the protector up for new lines that run along the outside of the tubes I went home to a hot ribena and a hot water bottle. Time for bed….

Chainsaws, 2 x 4’s and plywood

January 17, 2008   

I spent the last week cleaning up from the storm we had two weeks ago. I learnt all about using chainsaws and the pie cutting techniques, googling chainsawing is interesting! They require bar oil, have a break so that if jumps your hand stops the saw from going, the chain becomes slacker with use like a diesal engine fan belt so it has to be tightened etc. I really enjoyed working on outdoor projects in the sun and adding to my brothers wood pile for his fireplace. I miss having a good fire going during the winter. As you can see from the picture the dog made sure I was doing everything right. It’s a good thing I bought a pick up truck a few years ago.

I also built myself a tool shed that is 18 foot long and 3 foot wide under the eaves of the garage. It is watertight and has a work bench on one side and lots of shelving for all my offshore emergency gear, saws etc. I have been getting very frustrated with trying to find my tools in the messy garage where they get piled everything I leave. Now I have a tool area with a large lock that my brother won’t have the combo to! This weekend I am off to Oregon to visit the relatives. Have a great weekend.

Cruising Boat Build

January 13, 2008   

I spent last week down in Santa Ana (LA) working on a 40 foot cruising boat at Westerley Marine. I flew down to Westerley and tried to make some sense of the random parts that were thrown into the boat before it left the old yard. I inventoried the boat, cleaned it up, protected the woodwork that is in the boat and came up with some design ideas to make the beautiful lines of the boat evident. We will not be installing the metal work that makes it look a little like a sports fishing boat! The boat is now all put to bed awaiting a slot in the yard schedule to officially start the finish of the build. Meanwhile I have lots of shopping to do – rudder stocks, bearings, blades, refridgeration compressors, plates, wichard padeyes, masts, booms etc. I also have to put together a picture of how the jigsaw pieces go together as we don’t have many drawing of the boat. Luckily there are 14 completed boats out there I just have to find out how to get in touch with them.

A Friday Ashore

January 6, 2008   

I awoke like everyone in the Bay Area on Friday morning to a ‘war’ zone – hurricane force winds and torrential rain. Not a day to be out on a boat but to be by a wood fire or in an office in front of a computer. I received a phone call from one of my parent’s tenants that the front gate was pulling itself to pieces. As I walked out of the door the skylight (6 foot by 2.5 feet) that hadn’t been screwed down on the porch roof went airborne and landed on the concrete pathway with a crash right next to me. The glass some how didn’t break but the metal frame was a little damaged.   In my infinite wisdom I was wearing ‘smart’ clothing as I didn’t intend to do any manual labor that day. I had a meeting in Tiburon but as it was blowing dogs of chains and raining buckets I was wearing my Hunter wellies. It was near high tide so 101N ramp was flooded and I had to divert. After my meeting I headed to the yacht club to check in on my brother’s boat and my customers boats. So you would have thought I would be warm and dry seeing as I have four sets of HPX Musto hanging in my cupboard as well as a dry suit – but no – I was in chinos and a windstopper fleece!  All hell was breaking loose at the YC (pictures below taken by John Arndt at CYC) the tide was up to within 3 feet of the top of the breakwater and the visibility was bad.


It was blowing so hard the waves had flattened out and there was a wall of salt water spray coming at me as I attempted to walk down the docks. The last boat I checked in on was lying against the boat next door and the bow was up against the dock. The chain that held the aft leading spring and stern line to the tire on the end of the dock had snapped! You could have thought the line would go before the chain I guess the line being nylon was stretching. As the boat was bow on the dock I was able to climb on the bow and found some mooring lines to re secure the boat. Lesson learnt – always have two different chains and not connect two lines to the same chain – that way you might only lose one line and not two. Luckily there was no damage to the bow or the side of the boat as fenders were out in between the boats. I called the owner and left a message telling her I had been aboard. On a boat across the way a jib had half unfurled itself creating a large pocket of sail which was catching the wind and slamming the boat to a 30% angle away from the dock threatening to interlock it’s mast with the neighbors boat. The jib was going to rip itself to shreds. I asked someone on the dock if the harbor master needed help securing the jib – the only way I thought we could do it assuming we could actually get on the boat was to wrap a halyard around the forestay many times and then use a winch to winch the halyard tight and collapse the sail. Apparently the owner had been informed and didn’t want anything to be done.  Lesson learnt – always secure the furling drum (the line was missing from the drum so it was able to turn) and also put a sail tie through the clew and around the sail when leaving the boat for a while. After checking in with the boats and being drenched through it was time to go around my parents rental properties to see if there was any major damage. I was pretty much the only person out on the roads. In total we lost about 50 feet of fencing, a shed, a honeysuckle vine as the lattice it was climbing blew down, quite a few limbs off a cypress tree, a skylight, a gate and power for the day. I went to the hardware store (the normal one I go to was flooded) the only place open in town Mill Valley (the center was a ghost town) there were people asking for flashlights – the owner was laughing he had sold out 4 hours before, the phone was ringing continuously with people wanting generators! When I got back to my house there was quite a few large branches down from the cypress tree unfortunately they had fallen into the neighbours yard and straddled the fence.  

So it was time to use the trusty De Walt sawzall my brother had given me for Christmas last year. It worked a treat. Three hours later I had a pick up truck full of branches ready for a dump run on Saturday morning. So you can imagine what the rest of my weekend involved! Fences, dump runs, lots of mud and rain J Monday 4am I am off to LA to work on a 40 footer as I am project managing the building of it. Have a great week.