Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fixing the new parts

I've been fixing up the bowsprit, and its almost perfect now. I've got a piece of Phillipine Mohagony for the spar, and I replaced the lower cable, and added a dolphin striker (or I call them dolphin kickers) The final length of my boat is now about 32 ft long, and I have a really nice rig. Before, the outer jib tangled in the inner forestay sometimes, but I moved it out a little bit and tightened it so now it doesnt, and the anchor roller doesn't tangle in the down-stay either. I've put in a spot for the spinnaker to attach to, so everything is ready for action.
I made this picture, to show what I look like exactly one year after the "before" picture was taken. (see early blog posting)
So things are coming together. I've got the vane assembly on the boat ready to install, and the whole setup only needs a rudder and cables and its ready to go. I'm excited, I think it will be in two days I have a wind vane.
I don't like the anchoring in Bellingham, and I've been leaving the boat for a few days at a time, and going down to Seattle, but its not easy to do. The bottom here is not very good holding ground, and I've dragged anchor just last week and got a call from the coast guard, or rather a visit, and I wasn't home, so it was a big ordeal... Lesson: leave your phone on, and your number visible on the boat, when you leave the boat for a few days.
Anyways, everything is all right, I've learned a good anchoring solution. You drop two anchors, but have them connect to the front of the boat, so that the boat can pivot about the attach point, and not present a bigger surface to the wind or current. Then, get a bigger scope (which is the ratio of how much the line goes down (depth) to how much it goes out (sideways distance to the anchor). To get the bigger scope, you take a weight and string it around both anchor lines and make them connect on the bottom, so they run together, then the lines come vertically up to the boat. It makes the anchors hold much stronger than one alone, and much better than two, front and back. If I put a third anchor in a triangle, it would be the best, because then I would be protected from all angles, but I just have to anticipate the wind or current direction for this one.
(and Bellingham bay is mistreating me right now, the wind is not from the south or north, so it is hard to match it)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I am just about to leave, in about two hours I'll leave Seattle, heading towards Alaska. For such a momentous occasion, I had a little party last night, where I got a bottle of cheap champange and smashed it across the bowsprit. Or tried. WOW, they make those bottles tough. So what really happened is that I broke the aluminum casting that I was banging it against. I don't use those castings much anyways, so it's rather funny. I don't know what to do with the sparkling wine now.
Is it a bad omen that a boat is so happy with her name that she doesn't want to be re-christened? Or that a bowsprit doesn't want a proper start? I think it is all in the spirit of conservation, and Altair certianly is a conservationist.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mo Mods

More pictures of the bowsprit and the dodger. Water beads up on the GORETEX really nicely. I need only to change some of the placements of the velcro that holds the dodger on to the frame and cut a small hole for some lines to run through and add pockets and I'm done with it.
The Bowsprit is amazing. I ran two jibs for a long time, and though its tough to tack with both of them out there, I can manage. The boat really is fun when I have it sailing that way. And pretty, I think.
Behind the dodger, its much warmer than it used to be, and the windows are convienent, because you can see through them nicely, and they don't have to be that big to work. and the walls don't block them off when you sit on the seat. Its a bit crowded under the dodger, I will have to be careful not to bump my head.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I've been working hard on upgrades, and just today (with a lot of help from Alan) I put on a new Bowsprit (see picture) which has a bunch of cables attaching it all over for lots of strength. So since its all so super strong now, I've put the rollerfurling jib out on the end of it. I took it out for a little sail this evening and lo and behold! It works like a dream! Now I have two forestays, which are the cables that attach to the top of the mast and come down in the front of the boat. One attaches to the front, and one out on the bowsprit. (forestay and spritstay) So the roller is running up the spritstay, and I can still run another jib up the forestay, making this boat into a cutter rig. The only trouble is that when I tack, I have to slide the entire outer sail through the narrow gap between the spritstay and the forestay, which is not as easy as I would like. And I need to get longer lines, and make a new attachement point on the boat for the "sheets" which are the lines that pull on the Jib to make it tight.
You might also notice a little black blob just in front of the cockpit in the above pictures. I made a dodger! In these pictures its not finished, but I taped it on to see what I needed to do to fit it perfectly, and now I'll sew in the attachement points so it will stay put for good.
I only need to make the windvane and I'll have all my projects for this trip done!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Continuance in Seattle

I've been in Seattle about 3 weeks now, but really its been more like one and a half, because I just went on this week long trip aboard Augusta, a 40 ft sloop owned by a friend of mine's father. I'll be leaving this place in about a week and I have a ton of projects to work on, but life for me is excellent right now. I took some pictures from the sailing trip, so here they are...
We went from Seattle northbound, stopping at Smith Island to see some eagles, then we headed up into the San Juan Islands, and finally went over to Bellingham. We brought some Hulk gloves for fighting.
I also went up to Bellingham to visit my dad, and saw his solar power plant he's built, and it looks really good, despite the cloudy weather. And I took out my friends from the East Coast, Lyra and Andrew, for a sail. Andrew looks great in the captian's hat.

The projects I want to complete are going to make my boat awesome. I'm going to re-make the Bowsprit for Altair, putting in one that is 4 feet long, and then transferring the Genoa (big front sail) on its roller-furling out to the end of that. I'll still have my normal forestay, so the boat is as strong as it used to be, but I can use it to fly two jibs at the same time, like a Cutter rig.
I'm also building a Dodger, which is like a windshield for the boat, but its made of cloth instead of glass or hard plastic. I've already bent some stainless pipes for the frame, now I need to make the cloth part. It will make things much warmer and dryer while sailing.
And the third thing is to make a Wind Vane. The one on Augusta really impressed me, and I think I can copy it pretty easily and make one myself. Its design is this, but it costs $4595 to buy one, so I'll see if I can make on for less.
If I can get all that done in the next week I will be much pleased.