Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Monday, 27July2015: Westview/Powell River to Roscoe Bay, West Redonda Island, BC

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light.  Seas:  Flat.

The predicted high winds did not materialize, at least on the east side of the Georgia Strait.  Boring motor north.

Departed Westview around 0800 and motored the 25nm north arriving at Roscoe Bay around 1300.  The bay seemed crowded.  We motored around, checking out the place and settled on a small nook on the north side.

Had a bit of trouble anchoring/stern tying.  Got set up intitially with about 5:1 scope and about 100ft of stern tie around a large cedar tree.  However, the two point set up allowed the building afternoon inflow winds to vibrate us from side to side, making the anchor walk and decreasing the distance to the boat behind.  Add in the 14ft spring tides and...this just was not going to work.

So, repositioned the anchor from the dinghy and switched up the stern tie from a single point to a two point, stringing the stern line to two trees about 100ft apart.  This put Strider in the center of a stable triangle and we did not move.

With the boat secured, we rowed to the head of the bay and made the 10min walk to Black Lake and enjoyed a warm, fresh water swim!

That evening, as the sun went down, we got our first experience with moon jellies, a stingless jellyfish filling the bay.  They were everywhere and far too many to count!  We also saw large schools of herring circling the bay.  These dark schools looked like cloud shadows moving across the surface.

Sunday, 26July2015: Westview/Powell River, BC

Wx:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Light.  Seas:  N/A

Not an exciting day.  Had intended to go further north today but stayed in Westview/Powell River to run errands, gather groceries and makes some repairs.

Repairs included reattaching engine room sound dampening with contact cement, reattaching the head cover seat, cleaning up the electrical meltdown from yesterday, flushed watertanks.

Witnessed a first world problem when a lady had a meltdown when she could not connect to the marina wifi....

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Weight Reduction 2015

Weight Reduction

Multihulls, trimarans in particular, are weight sensitive.  In comparison to a monohull, they are generally considered to be overpowered for the weight.  Ever watch a beach cat, NACRA for instance, sail circles around a big monohull?  Strider is 33 feet long and is 5,100 pounds empty.  For comparison, a 31 foot Beneteau Sense is 10,670 pounds empty.  Strider is a light boat! 

This all started when I received a quote by Jens Quorning, the manufacturer of the Dragonfly, forwarded by a friend exploring the DF 1000:
"The DF 1000 was originally designed for coastal and offshore cruising.  The DF 1000 is not designed and built as strong as our designs today – where we today have much more knowledge in design and production. The DF 1000 was designed back in 1989/90.  I cannot recommend the DF 1000 for ocean crossings or bluewater type sailing.  The problem is that the boat is heavier than it was designed for."
The first thought was about the last line:  "Heavier than designed for...."  Understandable, but unsettling.  The second thought was regarding how technology has changed since 1989/90.  What is available now that wasn't available then?  These beg the question:  "How can weight be reduced and therefore improve performance and presumably, safety?"

For clarification, there does not seem to be much older boat support from Quorning.  Hell, the DF 1000 is not even on their website, nor is a support page.  Sure, they will sell you something, if the stock is on hand and you want to pay their prices (45 euro for a locker hinge or $2200 for a set of waterstays).  Forget engineering support.  So I took this on myself.  For further clarification, I've an Aerospace Engineering degree with structures being a focus.  I've some practical experience.  Further, I know how to research.  That said, none of the below has any kind of certification.  DISCLAIMER:  I'd be happy to provide details, but if you follow, you are on your own.

Creature Comforts:
As my mentor Steve has mentioned:  We also fall prey to the creature comfort weight addition syndrome.  A watermaker adds 60lbs.  Food, utensils, tools, clothing, crab trap, fishing gear, cleaning supplies, a couple sails, stern tie, better wiring.  You get the picture.  All these things to make life easier or more comfortable, but a heavier boat.  The easiest weight reduction is to purge your boat.

The fiberglass and structural stainless steel are what they are.  Unless one can replace structural stainless with titanium or aluminum, there is very little to be done to reduce hull weight except ensure the non-hydrophobic foam core stays dry.  If water can intrude, it will be absorbed by the foam, increasing the weight.  So, to help prevent water intrusion, Strider's hatches and rails are being reseated using the technique explained in this Maine Cruising article.

There are other small things.  Like putting lightening holes in some of the wood panels.  Lightening holes?  1-2in holes cut in the wood panels, making them look like swiss cheese.  Like the panels in the V-berth, most of the panels are not structural, but are covers over storage areas.  They can be 'holed' easily.  While weight reduction is minor, the air circulation benefit is huge.

Replace 1/4in plexiglass windscreen with 1/8in acrylic.  Replace vinyl and rubber water lines with PEX.  With the exception of keeping the foam dry, the above are small things:  a pound here, a couple ounces there.

What could have a bigger effect?  This is where the latest technology really helps.

Strider came with 3 Optima Yellow Top batteries, one start and two house.  I followed Steve's example and replaced the 3x44 pound batteries with 4x12.5 pound (132lb vs 50lb), LiFEPO4 batteries.

More weight reduction can be achieved by replacing stainless cables with synthetic line.  The best part is I can do it on my own!

A note of caution:  The cable replacement was not done all at once.  Since something new can be risky on a sailboat, one step at a time.  Paul Calder's articles on replacing stainless with synthetic were very helpful.

First, the waterstays were replaced.  Details are available here.  Essentially, one of the waterstay fittings was corroding and cracking and I balked at paying Quorning's price for replacements.  New waterstays were fabricated after research into stainless vs Plasma break-strengths/stretch-characteristics, a local rigger's assistance to learn splicing first hand and locally acquired materials.  Colligo Marine's lashing tie off instructions were followed and they allow for easy adjustment, which was necessary as the plasma/dyneema settled in.  This took a while and I cringed when larger wakes and waves approached.  38 pound reduction.

Once satisfied, the nets and aka cables were next.  While still not pretty, the net edge finishing is a work in progress, the Net-Systems Ultra Cross was selected.  I was concerned my dogs would not like the new net with the larger holes.  The couldn't care less and may actually prefer it as one spends his time on the net now and not on the solar panel.  Another 38 pound weight reduction.

As of this writing the backstays are being worked on, replacing the stainless and the blocks.  While overkill in strength, 5/16" dyneema is used because its stretch characteristic is the same as the replaced stainless.  While only partially complete, the 4:1 backstay adjustment system has yet to be replaced, the main section has been replaced using Colligo's chain plate distributor at the bottom, a simple 8mm thimble at the top.  The stay side adjustment block and large quick link between the upper and lower stay have been eliminated by using Colligo's double enhanced lashing block.  The upper and lower backstay components are spliced through the center of the block while the adjustment line goes around the outside.  22 pounds weight reduction.

Coming soon; the mast supports/shrouds.  There is a lot of stainless cabling on the mast.  Reducing this weight will reduce the weight aloft and decrease the hobby-horse effects.

To date, the weight reduction has been:

Stainless Cable Replacement:

Waterstays:  38 pounds
Aka:              2 pounds
Backstays:  22 pounds
Shrouds:     Not yet....

Other Sources:

Batteries:     82 pounds
Nets:            38 pounds

Total:         184 pounds!

Saturday, 25July2015: Smuggler's Cove to Powell River, BC: Goats Roped, Dragons Slain...

Weather:  Sunny and warm!  Winds:  Light.  Seas:  Choppy becoming flat then 1ft.

I'd hoped to go the 55+ miles to Desolation Sound today, but the winds just weren't there and motoring at 5kts would make for a long day.  Further, goats needed roping and dragons needed slaying and crisis averted.  32nm.

Goat Roping
Motored out of French Inlet around 0750 and into Malaspina Strait.  Had about 5min worth of wind to make 5.5kts, but it died quickly.  Fired up the iron genny and motored north.  Along the way, noticed a hot engine light, high temp gauge and troubleshooting began.  Raw cooling water was discharging so not the impeller.  Pulled the engine cover off and lo and behold, a busted fan belt was laying in the bilge.  Fortunately, there was a replacement and we were soon underway again.  Regarding the broken belt, this was the second of a Gates brand to come apart.  I will not purchase Gates again.

Dragon Slaying
Continued motoring north.  In the vicinity of Nelson Island, between Agamemnon Channel and Jervis Inlet, all electrical systems went off line.  Dead.  Burnt electrical wire smell.  Troubleshooting began again.  30 amp fuse had blown.  No circuit breakers had blown.  Since the engine was not affected and we were in clear water with clear weather, we continued to motor north troubleshooting.  Did not have a replacement 30 amp, but a lot of 16 amp fuses.  Opened all the circuit breakers, inserted a 16 amp fuse and began energizing systems one at a time.  Got to the pumps circuit breaker and pop, out went the 16 amp fuse.  Pumps...Strider has 5, two bilge pumps, a saltwater pump, a freshwater pump and a shower sump.  The saltwater and engine bilge pumps checked good.  Tore the v-berth apart and the freshwater pump checked good.
Strider's Engel freezer is conveniently placed on top of the salon bilge access, where the bilge pump is.  It is heavy, so unloaded, moved it and checked the pump, also good.  Put it all back together.
The electrical smell was strongest forward, between the salon and the v-berth pumps.  The head, and shower sump are located there and yes indeed, the sump pump was fried, frozen solid with salt encrustation.  I surmise:  Saltwater has been known to back flow into the sump while sailing in rough water.  Normally, I pump it out.  However, I had not been doing that for a while since there had not been much.  But apparently enough that when the water evaporated, the salt encrusted the impeller, jamming the pump.  Lastly, the pump switch is located in a place where it is routinely bumped while the head is in use.  Normally, the pump's whine alerts the user and it is shut off.  This particular morning, the switch was bumped and went unnoticed for there was no whine.  A couple hours later, it gave up the ghost, shorting and blowing the fuse.
Fortunately, we do not shower in the head, have never used the sump and can do without.  Removed the pump, chucked it and isolated the circuit.  The question remains:  Why did the main fuse blow and not the pump circuit breaker?  YTBD.

Crisis Averted
Westview/Powell River had room for us though we circled outside for 30min while boats were repositioned for us.  Naturally, SW winds began to pick up was we entered the marina, winds to push us off the dock.  Fortunately, we had the outermost slip on the north side.  Heading into the wind, brought the port side to the NW corner of the dock, handed a spring line off to an attendant who secured it.  Then I let the wind push the bow back towards the north, settling Strider onto the dock.  Did a short spring line walk exercise to position us.  Like we had done it before!  On the dock at 1530.
Not long after, we witnessed two separate boat incidents.  The first, a large mono hull got trapped in a narrow spot, could not control the weather vane effect and crashed into two other docked boats.  The second was a large powerboat smash into a dock.
Fortunately, Powell River is a large town with well stocked stores and we easily found replacement belts and fuses.  Also found 7yr old Flor di Cana Nicaraguan rum, 1800 tequila and margarita mix for about half the price seen in Washington!

Wandering around, we found a most excellent restaurant on Marine Avenue called Tree Frog Bistro.  Kelly went for the fish and chips with jicama slaw.  I normally go for something I would not make at home and I was not disappointed with the Insalata di Mare (West Coast Ling Cod, Salmon, Shrimp, Mushrooms, Onions, Red Peppers and Tomatoes, Organic Greens, Asiago Garlic Dressing).  Really yummy.  While the fresh veggies underneath were cold, the seafood on top was hot making for a very nice, savory combo.  I'd have it again.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Friday, 24July2015, Horton Bay to Smuggler's Cove, BC

Weather:  Overcast and cool, 60's F.  Winds:  SE 0 building to 10-15 gusts to 20.  Waves: 0 building to SE 4ft.

The intent was to get north, crossing the strait heading directly to Smuggler's Cove/Secret Cove area, about 54nm, knowing there were multiple bailout spots to the west; Active Pass, Poltier Pass, Gabriola Pass with a final decision point at Nanaimo.  Why the rush?  Weather guessers were stating strong NW winds Sunday and Monday, which would make any travel up the strait difficult aboard Strider.  So, get north sooner rather than later else we would have to hole up somewhere Sunday, Monday and probably Tuesday as the seas settled.  Today's predicted SE winds should get us a good ways towards our Desolation Sound goal.

Underway at 1000hrs, motoring out of Horton Bay via the south end of Curlew Island and east into the Strait of Georgia via one of the channels south of Georgeson Island.  Once in the strait, the wind was dead calm and there were no waves.  Just overcast and gloomy.  A hint of a breeze began about an hour into the passage.  At two hours, there was enough wind to unfurl the screacher (only - predicted winds indicated headsails only today) and make 6kts!

Winds continued to build and by Nanaimo, we were making 8kts.  45 minutes later, winds were 15 gusting to 20 and waves had built to 3ft with 4ft sets.  Fortunately, it was all from behind, the whole 'fair winds and following seas' thing.  Not unpleasant at all, to the point Kelly was below napping!  Strider was making 8.5kts with common excursions to 12-14kts and I did see 15.2kts!  During this time I remembered a tip from my Dragonfly mentor Steve, "Use the main halyard as a backstay."  I did.

I had total confidence in the rig, including the new waterstays.  Though there was one moment....  While surfing down the face of a 4ft wave directly into the back of another 4ft wave at 14kts, I wondered 'how is this going to turn out?'  Turns out Strider rode up the back of the wave effortlessly.  One of the ama tops got a little wet, but not much.  No green water anywhere:  Like a cork!

Approaching the Merry Island Light, just before entering Half Moon Bay, I thought to slow Strider by changing the screacher out for the genoa.  After the screacher blowout fiasco a couple years ago, I wanted to blanket the screacher with the genoa.  However, a jam prevented the genoa from unfurling.  I overburdened the screacher furler somewhat and managed to furl it some, slowing us to 6kts.  I went forward, found the offending genoa jam, errant shackle had flipped, corrected it, unfurled the genoa to blanket the screacher, unfurled the screacher and properly furled it.  Still, under the genoa only, we were making 6.5kts!

The rest of the passage through Welcome Channel was uneventful.  Rounding Grant Island, heading towards Smuggler's, the land gave a good wind shadow making for an easy furl and motor into Smuggler's.  We motored through Smuggler's and into the back area, France Inlet.  There were 4 other boats back there, but lots of room.  Dropped the hook in the center, about 20ft of water, and by 1800hrs, we were stern tied on a bolt to the west.  Since it was dead calm in there, it was easy peasy.  One of the boaters inside asked if it was blowing 'out there.'  Yep.

It was a long, 8hr day of hand steering as auto was acting up.  Also, with the gloom and low visibility, there was a 4hr stretch of steering by the compass, something I hadn't done in a long time and it took a while to get my scan back up to speed.  Still, we made about 54nm in roughly 7hrs, an average of 7.7kts!

Lesson Learned:  Use the main halyard as a backstay.