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Friday, October 24, 2014

Mast update

Got the two halfs glued back together. 

The mast is wrapped with 6 oz glass tape When it goes green I'll cut the luff groove slot.
Got all the parts back on the mast.   I made the pin that holds teh spreaders in place.  it's a 5/16 inch bolt witht he head and threads cut off.  I used my angle grinder to make it fit the spreaders.  Drilled holes and used cotter pins so it won't come off.  The mast actually went back into a straight position.  Just has a little twist right at the spreaders.  Nothing to write home about.  I'm satisfied.  


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mast repair

The preferred method to fix broken spars on a boat is a scarf,  That's when you cut the wood at an angle and then glue the two angles together.  That gives a large gluing area and creates new strength in the wood.  Unfortunately it also makes the spar your are trying to fix a lot shorter.   With this particular mast it is already short and has had other wood grafted to the heal just to make it fit.

I'm going to do this one different.  I'm going to put a Dutchman on one side of the mast.  That will cover one half of the break and join the two parts.  Once the two half's are together I'll  make a strap from some kevlar and then wrap the patch in fiberglass tape.  When that is done I'll put a metal strap on each vertical side of the mast.  We'll see what happens...


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Moth Nationals.

I attended the Moth Boat Nationals at Elizabeth City NC.  This is a great venue.  We sail out of the back yard of two of the members houses.  Right on the  river.   
The day started out with winds around 10 to 12 and building. 

I want to divert here a little with some history.   The mast on this boat was from a collection of parts that a fellow moth sailor had.  He passed away a few years ago and his wife parted out all his boat stuff.  I wound up with a few old masts, rudders, and Griff, which is a subject of another blog.  This mast had parts broken off at the heel so I had to scarf on a leg to make it fit as a deck stepped mast.

When I first fitted this mast to the boat I used a three stay rig with spreaders.  I also used a deadman block to make the mast fit at deck level.   I first sailed the boat at Brigantine NJ with this rig in 2012.  Right off the dock I  knew we had a problem with mast flex.  She bowed so much that I heard the mast groaning.  Fortunately that day saw light air and the boat survived.  Some moth boats can only use a 3 stay rig if the mast heel is stepped on the keel.  The mast partner then becomes a major force distribution  point.  With a deck stepped mast you loose the deck partner effect and the mast then just moves the force up to the spreaders.  That was my lesson learned at Brigantine in 2012.

I  modified the mast with a diamond and two extra baby stays.  A diamond give vertical strength and the baby stays give more fore and aft stability. I sailed the boat with good vibes for all of 2013.  

I'm relearning the process of sailing these boats in heavy air.  Between races you spend your time sorting out the sheet, bailing out the boat, and just trying to relax until the next start sequence.  So the boat stays with the boom out and the sails fluttering.

The first race was uneventful.  I got a good start but lost all advantage by the weather mark.   I finished up behind the leaders and the boat was starting to talk to me.  I noticed the rig was getting loose.  The stays on the lee side were really slack.  I mentally chalked that up to rope stretch on the bow stay.   Between the first and second race the boat really talked to me.  I was in a relax mode and she promptly flipped me out of the boat.  I got the boat back up with the help of another sailor and got back in.  I was confused as to where we were in the starting cycle and missed the start by over 20 seconds.  (a lifetime is moth sailing)  However, the boat was moving well and I joined the fleet and was in contention with the rest of the vintage boats.  I was confident at that point that I had a fast boat. 

She was still talking to me but I wasn't listening.  The third race started and on the way to the leeward mark I heard a pop from the mast and looked up to see the spreader diamond had broken.  The diamond triangulates the force of the mast in a vertical plane and prevents mast bow.   With that I decided to retire from the race and go to the dock to see if I could tighten up the head stay and evaluate what I had.  I did that and now the mast had a slight fwd rake to it.  That's not good on these boats.  I went back out and saw what the real problem was.  All the turnbuckles on the 4 side stays had come loose.  The constant fluttering of the sail between races set up a vibration that unscrewed the turn buckles.  Another lesson learned, put tape on the turnbuckles.   I went back to the dock and readjusted the stays.  All this time the mast is talking to me with grunts and groans but I'm not hearing any of it.  

I missed the third race with the spreader breaking but got back on the course for the forth race.  The winds had built to around 15+  The boats were really moving.  I had the best start of the day and was in the process of covering the leader when the mast decided that she had talked to me enough and she snapped in half right where the spreaders had let go.

So that was my adventure at the 2014 Moth Boat Nationals.   I packed the boat and headed for home. 

I guess the main point I took away from this years Nationals, Is listen to your boat when she talks to you...


   I'm mentally in the process of how to fix this.  I'll continue with this blog just to see how or if this can be fixed.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014


I spent the better part of the last two days futzing with the boat.  The final bit needed was to get the sail numbers on.   That was easier that expected.   For the first time in probably 50 or so years this boat will sail under her own numbers.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ready for the road

I spent 5 hours today getting things in shape on the boat.  Didn't realize that it needed that much more work.  I did have to modify the boom to take the new sail.  The gromet didn't want to fit in the grove.  I had to replace all the turnbuckles because the last time I was on the road they all fell off from vibration.  The new ones are bigger than the last so I had to fiddle them to fit.  I still have to put the plug back in and get the numbers on the sail.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Second coat of blue

Got the second coat of blue on this morning.   The boat looks good.   Rubrails and some varnish on the deck and she'll be ready to go.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Blue paint

I got the bottom faired as best I could.  My ADD kicked in and just didn't do it as good as I wanted to.  But it's good enough.  I got the first coat of Navy blue paint on.  Looks real good.  I'm using Rustoleum Marine paint.  It's good paint.  Been around longer than the high priced stuff.  I painted my big boat with it and that worked great.