New Bimini Installed!
07/15/2006, Cadle Creek, MD
On Saturday I installed my new bimini top with many thanks to Dave for all his help. I got out to the boat around 10am and it was raining on and off. Luckily it cleared up around 11am for most of the rest of the day. It was a very hot, humid, and calm day. Dave came out around 11am and helped me with the projects. He had a nice portable work bench which made things easier and some handy tools for grinding the stainless steel hardware.
I bought the aluminum Sunbrella bimini from Overton's and the size is 46"H 79"-84"W and 6' long. I went with the modified genoa track car mounting method that others have done on the Catalina 25 National Association and I bought the same size used by others.
I bought two of these track slides:
Dave brought his grinder and we grinded off the loops. Smoothed it out and we have a nice flat mounting surface.
We then drilled and tapped holes to mount the stainless steel bracket. There was just enough space under the car to place a nut. After tightening the bolts, we grinded off the protruding part of the bolt. There is just enough clearance on the track and it slides freely. I had a hard time getting the nylon fitting to fit in the stainless steel bracket, so it took a little sanding down. When I was trying to get it to fit, I used my hammer to tap it, then placed the hammer aside and used my hands. It must have been when I pulled it out of the bracket and well, I hit the hammer and it flopped right overboard. First tool I've lost so far.
Here is a photo of the final results:
Here is the bimini installed on my Sapphire Breeze.
I still need to figure out how I'm going to attach the hold down straps. The rear straps I plan to attach to the loops on the stern pulpit where the lifeline clip to (the bungies are temporary). Currently the straps are too long to reach directly to the loops. I'm thinking I may be able to wrap it back around the first stanchion of the pulpit and take the clip forward to the loop. That will hopefully take out the excess slack in the strap. After reading recommendations on the forum, I will probably install eyelets on the cabin top handrails for the forward straps. Having the bimini mounted on the track car allows me to slide it forward and backward, using different settings for sailing or while at anchor/tied up. I also did not have to drill any holes into my boat, which is a plus. I still need to test out the boom and main sheet clearance and figure out the best genoa track spot. Next weekend I plan to get it all completed and tested out.
Here is a photo of my spinnaker pole storage set up that I forgot to take a picture of last weekend:
I bought a Forespar pole chock for the aft stanchion and then a stanchion eye that I mounted on the bow pulpit. I then used a snap hook to clip the forward end to the pulpit. It is securely held, out of the way, and I'm so glad to now have it off the cabin floor.
In my last post I mentioned the outboard starter wasn't working. Dave helped me locate the problem and we found that when we swapped out batteries last weekend, I failed to reconnect the ground cable to the second battery. The circuit wasn't complete and it makes sense now. So, it's good to go again! Now I just need to buy and install a solar panel system! More $$$
We finished up the project right when a storm was approaching. We got things packed up, but went to retrieve my hammer right when it started to absolute downpour. Dave brought his net on a pole and a heavy duty magnet, but we were unable to retrieve it. I felt something with the net, but wasn't able to scoop it up. I ended up stopping at Ace Hardware on the way home and picked up a similar hammer for a few bucks.
That's about it for this weekend. I can't wait until next weekend. Hopefully I'll get some sailing in too.
Um... Where are we?
07/09/2006, Chesapeake Bay
This Sunday was mostly a very good day; although I do learn something new almost every time I go out! Ok, so my brother Chris joined me and we had a beam reach all the way up to Thomas Point. We then tacked back south and were close hauled and had to tack several times as we headed back to port. Since the previous weekend when I went to Thomas Point and found myself a bit too far west of the channel to the West River, I decided we would tack east of Thomas Point, and then sail south. There was a storm warning and they said storms may start around 2pm, which it was now around 2:30. The waves were getting bigger, it was quite windy with white caps, and I ended up reefing both sails while we were out there. The sky was still blue with some puffy white clouds. We were getting tired of being on the water, plus we had plans to go to a concert. I decided to just fire up the outboard, roll up the headsail and head home around 3pm, my battery could use the charge anyways. Well, we motor/sailed too far south directly into the wind! I was watching the shore line for landmarks that I recognized and the only thing I can figure out is I must have thought the West River channel was the South River. Since we were tacking several times close hauled prior to starting the engine, I must have slightly lost orientation with our heading and thought we hadn't made it that far when in fact we sailed down a ways past the green marker. What caught my attention were a lot of pilings near the shore in the distance. I never saw those before but do remember seeing those on the chart south of the West River entrance. I sure am glad I remembered to bring my runner's GPS. I was able to get my coordinates from the GPS and cross reference them on the charts to pin point my location. Sure enough, I found us pretty much just east of the shallow shoal that extends out on the eastern side of our channel. I actually forgot how to read the degrees and minutes on the chart, but after a couple minutes I figured out how simple it is. The whole time we were heading back, I was watching for the markers, especially the green entrance marker. Since I was making sure I stayed far from shore to avoid being west of the channel, I was too far east this time! It added about an hour detour, but we made it back and never saw any storms. Another thing that really had me puzzled was that we were sailing in what seemed like far from shore and it was all 7' of water. I was looking at my charts where I thought we were east of the South River and it should have been 20-30 feet. That is what first got my attention. Now I realize I think we were sailing through that shallow point and high tide was around that time. Yes, I need to get a chart plotter! Hopefully by next sailing season I will buy one, until then I will just try to keep my day sails in familiar waters and not have this happen.
Yesterday was also Chris's only second time sailing, but first time at the helm. Here he is:
He stayed at the helm for the majority of the day, did very well and really learned how the boat feels. We were healing a lot, a few times with the rail being maybe 6" from the water. At first we had both sails fully open for a while. Then the wind picked up a bit, so I reefed the genoa; then it was really getting windy so I reefed the main as well. Overall, a good day sailing and I learned some lessons. I didn't get any projects done except mounting my spinnaker pole on the stanchions and it seems like it works well so far. I forgot to snap a picture of how I mounted it, but I'll do that next time. I bought a pole mount that clamps onto one stanchion, then on the bow pulpit I mounted an eyelet and used carbineer clip to hold the other end of the pole. I also found a new problem, or an old problem that is back actually... the starter on the outboard stopped working again! Arrgghh. I didn't have much time to trouble shoot it, but my battery voltage was around 12.6 V if I recall. Another strange thing is after motoring for well over an hour; the voltage did not go up. I'm pretty sure the voltage was 12.6V before the sail also. I'll need to do more trouble shooting next time.
So we made it back to my place just after 6, had some dinner and my two other younger brothers joined us to see the concert (Toad the Wet Sprocket and Big Head Todd, mid 90s rock bands).
I also got a new camera on Saturday. In my previous post I mentioned the CCD chip on my last camera (Nikon Coolpix 5400) was going out. My friends at Costco told me to simply return it and get a new camera. So, I did a lot of research and decided to spend a few extra bucks and buy a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7 with a 12x optical Leica lens. This camera is awesome! It takes excellent photos and even very good videos (even has widescreen in 848x480 resolution). Here is a link to the video I took:
Google down grades the quality, but it's still alright.
A thrilling weekend!
07/02/2006, Chesapeake Bay
Saturday I got out to the boat around 11am and found a couple inches of water in the cabin floor from the record rain fall we had the previous week. I spent some time drying out the cabin and my friend Steve met up shortly afterwards. The weather was great, breezy; probably around 20 knot winds and we set sail. We were able to sail north out to Thomas Point on mostly one tack mostly a beam reach. We were cruising between 6-7+ knots the entire way north. We hit 7.81 knots, my record speed which most likely occurred surfing down a wave.
It was quite the ride, surfing down the waves on the trip north, and then having the waves splash into the bow on the way back. The water spray hitting our faces was refreshing since it was over 90F. While we were cruising, Steve noticed something just under the surface of the water, pointed and asked if I saw it. I got a quick glance and then it disappeared. At first I thought maybe it was a large soggy cardboard box floating under the surface, but since it disappeared so quickly, I wasn't sure what it was.
We made it up to Thomas Point and we tacked south back to our port. I thought I was heading towards our channel for the West River, but I found myself a bit too far west. It didn't help that the wind was also blowing towards shore. We sailed as close to the wind as possible to head east and avoid a shallow point that extended out quite a ways in one section. We made it to the channel and open waters and made it back to the Rhode River without any problems.
I'm getting more comfortable with my boat's abilities and how she handles when heeling over. When heeling over so much, the rail getting close to the water, you can feel the rudder losing water pressure and the ability to hold your course. She then rounds up and slows down.
I spent the night on the boat, so I got some work done that evening. I resealed the four main cabin windows using Life caulk around the perimeters. It was a cheap simple fix for now; I'll have to see how it works out.
Sunday Dave joined me shortly after 11am and we had another excellent day sailing. Dave was out sailing on Saturday as well, but he got an earlier start. He told me he saw some manta rays out there. That then explains what we saw beneath the surface Saturday. I wish I had enough time to grab a picture of one. Sunday started out as more of a relaxing sailing day. There was a nice steady breeze and we were moving along in the 5-6 knot range under full sails and not much heeling. I let Dave sail for the first few hours. It was nice to relax after the thrilling ride I had the day before. We came out of the channel and sailed east across the bay. We saw some pretty nice sailboats out there, here is one:
We got pretty close to the other side of the bay then tacked south west for a little while. I went out on the foredeck and snapped some photos and videos. It's too bad I found out my camera's CCD chip is malfunctioning and tinting all the videos purple and putting a purple haze at the top of photos (which I cropped out mostly). We then headed north west to the South River. As we were getting closer to the South River, the wind was beginning to pick up. They were forecasting a cold front approaching that evening with possible storms which probably explains the increase in wind speed. We sailed into the river a little, reefed the headsail partially, then decided to turn back home because of the time. As we were sailing back into the bay, the wind was really picking up. We were close hauled and were heeling a lot. It was getting hard to hold the course because we were heeling so much. Dave reefed the main and that helped. I don't remember when during the sail I took this photo, but we were cruising at 6.95 knots!
We then got quite a bit of practice tacking many times in the channel to the West River. We sailed up the Rhode River, lowered the main just before Cadle Creek, and then made our way to my slip. I snapped this photo of an Osprey and its nest on the channel marker.
We concluded another successful day of sailing. We also made perfect timing because as we were tying my boat up, Dave's wife Debbi called warning us of a big thunderstorm coming. Sure enough, after packing everything up and getting on the road, I hit the storm in Edgewater about 5 miles down the road. Good thing we turned back when we did.
This weekend was the most thrilling sailing I have done. With all the wind, the waves splashing, it was an adventure.