Kaimusailing

s/v Kaimu Wharram Catamaran

Vessel Name: Kaimu
Vessel Make/Model: Wharram Custom
Hailing Port: Norwalk, CT
Crew: Andy and the Kaimu Crew
About: Sailors in the Baltimore, Annapolis, DC area.
07 August 2016 | Bodkin Inlet, Chesapeake Bay
31 July 2016 | Rock Hall, Eastern Shore
28 July 2016 | Bodkin Inlet, Chesapeake Bay
26 July 2016 | Bodkin Inlet, Chesapeake Bay
14 July 2016 | Bodkin Inlet, Chesapeake Bay
11 July 2016 | Bodkin Inlet, Chesapeake Bay
04 July 2016 | Bodkin Inlet, Chesapeake Bay
30 June 2016 | Bodkin Inlet, Chesapeake Bay
29 June 2016 | St. Mary's, GA
17 June 2016 | St. Mary's, GA
13 June 2016 | St. Mary's, GA
08 June 2016 | St. Mary's, GA
04 June 2016 | St. Marys, GA
01 June 2016 | St. Marys, Ga
24 May 2016 | St. Marys, GA
22 May 2016 | St. Marys, GA
21 May 2016 | St. Marys, GA
16 May 2016 | St. Mary's, GA
12 May 2016 | St. Mary's, GA
10 May 2016 | St. Mary's, GA
Recent Blog Posts
19 June 2017 | st marys, ga

Pure Sine Wave

I missed out on the final race of the Louis Vuitton competition and it was the Kiwi’s who seemed to have come up with the boat speed to finish off the Swede’s who had looked so fast. The Swede’s had been the only team to dominate Oracle in the round robin series. The talk is that Iain Percy will [...]

10 June 2017 | st marys, ga

Carb Die It

The big day of Louis Vuitton racing arrived with both pairs of semifinal competitors at 3-1 and three races scheduled for each pair. It was possible for both semifinal races to be decided today.

08 June 2017 | st marys, ga

June Bridles

It rained and rained, a steady train of thunderstorms came up from the Gulf, across Florida, and dumped rain and an F1 tornado. There were intervals between the storms when it was possible to poke your head out and do something, then downpours. The starboard upper shroud was relashed, so now all of [...]

06 June 2017 | st marys, ga

Bermuda Boneyard

I always take it that maybe I’m depressed when I stop cooking or photography. There is also the possibility of manic behavior in the kitchen or behind the camera. When I start picking images off the internet or saatchiart.com, which is also on the internet, and do not capture my own images, or when [...]

03 June 2017 | st marys, ga

Skeeter Pyro

It may seem that we are sitting around watching America's Cup boats sailing and not getting anything else done. That is only partially true. The heat wave makes working in the afternoon very difficult, so it is a good time to take a siesta, but on America's Cup sailing days the racing comes on in early [...]

30 May 2017 | st marys, ga

Heartbreak Outteridge

The weather phenomenon was peculiar. We had had a cool front come through with lots of rain and the ambient temperatures were lower with a breeze that helped even more. Then we had the coldest air over us and no wind. The sky was completely clear with no clouds at all. It was chilly. I went about [...]

Pure Sine Wave

19 June 2017 | st marys, ga
Capn Andy/100 degrees F.
I missed out on the final race of the Louis Vuitton competition and it was the Kiwi’s who seemed to have come up with the boat speed to finish off the Swede’s who had looked so fast. The Swede’s had been the only team to dominate Oracle in the round robin series. The talk is that Iain Percy will find a new job as tactician with Ben Ainslie’s next challenge. That would be formidable.
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The carburetor work continued with an attempt at getting the complicated linkage sorted out. There is still a fuel input spigot to repair on carburetor #2 or #3, plus the choke arm on #3 needs to be firmly attached to its chewed up choke butterfly shaft, probably by bedding it with epoxy thickened with glass fibers.
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The tilt solenoid was replaced but the tilt function was still not operative. I confirmed the motor turned a bit when connected to the battery directly, but then it would not do anything more. The solenoid clicks when activated by jumper clip to voltage available in the motor, but the switches on the remote and motor chassis don’t activate the trim/tilt. They feel funny, like they are corroded inside, so removing the tilt switch from the chassis and ohming it shows that there is no internal continuity, probably the sea has found another victim. The switch on the remote control is more difficult to remove and test, plus there is a lot of wire between it and the motor. It might be still good, but I ordered a replacement for both switches and both came at a price of about $30.
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Further troubleshooting of the tilt mechanism means manually hoisting the engine up into its trailing mode. I have to verify I am doing the right things to get it up, it is possible to break more than I fix. My service manuals for the engine are probably dissolved in seawater, so I ordered a pdf manual on CD for about $15. These nickel and dime expenditures will add up to some money, but a new engine is around $6000.
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Work has to be organized around the rain schedule. It is that time of year with humid weather and daily thunderstorms. If I uncover my work tables, the thunderstorms will strike. If I sit around doing other things, the work will sit there and I will start to feel guilty, then uncovering my work tables.
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There is a fellow on the Wharram builders web site putting his boat up for sale following his house burning down. The boat is not totally complete, but he has new sails that have never been exposed to the sun, and most of the boat is unaffected by the house fire. He needs to sell it and now there is an opportunity for a builder to get a nearly complete project for a bargain from someone who will be glad to get some cash to start over.
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I have often written that building your own boat from scratch is probably the worst way to get a boat. It is economically unfeasible, and the sweat equity these days will not return anything, and a professionally built boat from a manufacturer will be well built and when these boats come on the market after 10-15 years if use, the price these days is very attractive. Many people turn their noses up on the Wharram wooden catamarans, so the resale value is low. We who sail Wharrams know they are very good boats, not marina queens, but good solid boats when built to plan. You have to know what you will be happy with and then make your choice.
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There were a couple of smaller monohulls available both in this area (Northern Florida and Southern Georgia) and on Chesapeake Bay, for about $25k that were obviously well maintained and suitable for coastal cruising, or maybe even more. Captain Radio Bill sends us his positions every day and sometimes includes a short message. He is up Northeast of Bermuda on about the same latitude as New York, going North to get more wind. He reports a proud 24 hour mark of 107 miles. For his little overladen Triton, that is good going.
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My friend Kristian who is about to launch his traditional ketch, has French apprehensions about his prospects. I said to him it will all be resolved once he is at sea. I am probably the opposite and don’t have as many apprehensions, and I think that gives me more energy to get into more trouble. He will probably not get into trouble, except worrying.
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Returning to the tilt system I looked online and eventually found someone who was working on my model, the T50TLRX. I found out that there was no bleed screw, which I had been looking for, and the one fact that had escaped me, to add hydraulic fluid to the pump reservoir while it is pumping the motor into the raised position. The electrical control of the pump was sorted out, except for the switches on the remote control and motor housing, by going around with a meter and confirming voltage and current from the battery to the start solenoid, where it is passed on the the tilt solenoid. Likewise, the ground path is just as important, so suspicious looking connections were wire brushed. The hydraulic procedure would seem to add enough fluid while the motor was rising, but the fluid foams inside the system and it needs to rest for a while, then continue, it will take more fluid.
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The AGM batteries came in, finally, after about 2 weeks of transit by truck from Nevada. They weigh about 65 lbs. each, so it was a chore to hoist them up on deck and get them down into the galley/dinette where they were installed under the dinette seats. When I connected the solar charge controller and its monitor, I went by the book. I disconnected the solar panels, then moved the charge cables from the temporary battery to the new battery bank. At this point the monitor read the battery voltage - 13 volts. Then the solar panels were connected and strangely, the voltage went up to 30 volts and after that the monitor was reading the same on volts or amps, and the reading was way above the actual charge voltage. I disconnected the monitor from the charge controller and reconnected everything. Now the charge controller was working normally and the batteries were brought up to the high 13 volt range. Voltage readings taken before, during, and after, showed that the charge controller had been operating normally all along, but the monitor had bit the dust. A new monitor was ordered for about $25, it is model SM25000 made by Sunsei, and it mates perfectly with the CC25000 charge controller. I was anxious to see what amperage the new batteries were accepting, but that will have to wait about a week when the new monitor comes in.
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The Tiger Claw inverter was connected an now the microwave oven in the galley is on ship’s power. The refrigerator that I bought last year for use in the boatyard, which found a place in the pilothouse, the only place where it would fit, was also put on inverter power. The batteries sagged to around 12.6 volts for a bit, then charged right up to 13.4. We are independent of the boatyard’s electricity.
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This inverter comes from China, of course, and I bought it after much research. It produces pure sine wave power up to 1500 watts. The photo is of the top of the inverter. The batteries that came in from Nevada are also Chinese. Their total capacity is 400 amp hours which converts to 5200 watt hours at 13 volts. It is recommended not load the batteries more than about 1500 watt hours per day, but that does not include the excess solar power available during daylight. The panels put out at maximum about 260 watts at 13 volts. They are rated at 344 watts at maximum power point, which is somewhere around 17.5 volts, but we are not trying to get every last bit of power from them.

Carb Die It

10 June 2017 | st marys, ga
Capn Andy/May Showers
The big day of Louis Vuitton racing arrived with both pairs of semifinal competitors at 3-1 and three races scheduled for each pair. It was possible for both semifinal races to be decided today.
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The race between Sir Ben and Emirates Team New Zealand, helmed by Peter Burling, started out with Burling not able to get the Kiwi boat foiling in the prestart. Ainslie sailed away at speed. It looked like the Kiwi’s had damaged their boat so badly in the heavy weather two days ago that now it had big problems.
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After the Kiwi’s got going they slowly reeled in Sir Ben and finished ahead. Now the series was 4-1 and Sir Ben was in sudden death elimination if he should lose. In their next race Sir Ben held the lead all the way round the course. They celebrated.
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In the last race of the day the Kiwi’s dispensed with the usual prestart maneuvers and powered away leaving Sir Ben in their wake. It was a comprehensive victory and Sir Ben was eliminated from further competition.
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The other pair of semifinalists, the Swedes and the Japanese, raced their three races with the Swedes trying to wipe out their 1-3 deficit. They won all three races with good boat speed and now hold a 4-3 lead heading into the next day of racing. The main thing to take away from their performance is mastering the prestart against one of the greatest, Dean Barker of Team Japan. Perhaps he will come back and beat them tomorrow.
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OK, it’s tomorrow and a pair of races were scheduled for the only two competitors left to decide who would face the Kiwi’s for the Louis Vuitton championship. We had admired Dean Barker’s work so far, except for the previous day when he lost 3 races, and we liked Iain Percy on the Swede boat who called out tactics while grinding away on the winches. The Swede helmsman Nathan Outteridge was showing his skill in the prestart, but they had lost two races on a blustery day, and the day now is blustery, just under the wind limit.
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If the Swede’s won either race, they would go to the finals. Dean Barker had to win both races with no losses. The beginning of the race showed canny tactics by both boats and they headed off to the first mark with Barker on a direct line to the mark and Outteridge on the outside, but with equal speed. Both boats were showing speeds in the mid 40 knot range. As they bore off to the leeward gate, there appeared to be no advantage, they split at the bottom and as the racing ensued, it was a flub-up by Dean at the left hand boundary that sealed his fate. Outteridge was a little ahead and had to turn at the boundary first. Barker could turn inside of him, earlier, and work a lee bow position to force the Swede’s into a luffing match, then bear off and leave them in their wake. Instead he chose to delay his tack to pivot his boat right on top of Outteridge’s wind and disrupt their air, take the lead, and keep hitting them with bad air all the way up the course. On paper it looked like a good move, but as it happened, Outteridge carried his tack in a larger arc which kept their boatspeed up, so when he was directly in Barker’s wake he bore off a bit, accelerated, and luffed Barker up and the rest was like he had knifed Barker in the heart. The Swede’s kept on going while Barker struggled to get up to speed, and soon he was far behind, never to challenge again.
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So, the semifinals were over. The finals will have the Kiwi’s against the Swede’s, but it’s really Kiwi vs Kiwi. The fact that Barker’s boat was modeled along with Oracle’s boat might indicate that Oracle will have to contend with a potent challenge, after the Louis Vuitton championship is complete. In the mean time we have no excuse to not get back to our work in the boatyard. The weather is perfect.
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I had the choice to start work on the bottom of the hulls at the waterline and later do the lowest part of the hulls after they are reblocked higher to allow access, or to start work on the engine. I decided to take a look at the engine first and then continue onto the hulls. Then I would have a couple of projects that I could switch back and forth when I felt like doing so.
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It looks like the throttle mechanism is frozen, so I blasted it with penetrating spray. I removed the mechanical choke cable which had become a fossilized rust object. I decided to go back to the electric choke, even if it meant buying the expensive solenoid, which had been about $85 about 10 years ago. It might be higher now. The other electrical component, the tilt solenoid, or trim solenoid, Was $211 in Yamaha’s parts book. Ouch. The fuel lines seemed rigid and the squeeze bulb to prime the carburettors was like a rock. After I cut the hoses off the rusty fuel filter I had a hose to the tank fitting with the squeeze bulb in the middle, and the other hose that simply ran to the engine fitting. All was fine except the squeeze bulb. For some reason it was rigid like a piece of stone. I was looking at a fair tally of expensive parts. There was also the fuel hose for the little Honda dinghy motor which would be fine except for 3 or 4 slices through the hose, I suspect a weed-eater had chopped it up. The hose was $3.99 a foot at Defenders Marine, and the squeeze bulb for the main engine line was $24.99. Someone should tell the Chinese what prices their products are getting over here.
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The main engine had got us to the boatyard, but that was a year and a half ago (gulp). I’m sure it will run, but the carbs need service, and the electrical parts and fuel hoses have to be reassembled. I’m sure it will run.
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My search for parts also included a search for the tracking information about the battery shipment. They will come on a 300 lb pallet. They do weigh over 60 lbs each. I finally was able to get the information, the batteries were on a truck in Reno Nevada. My other searches for parts ended up with me buying from West Marine. Their prices were better than Defenders (the fuel filter was on sail and two of them netted me about $14 less in charges). The fuel hose and squeeze bulb were also a bit cheaper, but the clincher was free shipping on an order over $49.
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When I asked the boatyard owner, manager, and principal crane operator if the Windex reference tabs had come in from Port Supply, he acknowledged that he had not yet ordered them. Port Supply is the professional arm of West Marine, servicing marinas and boatyards with no shipping charges and no tax if delivered in Georgia. Of course if the head honcho doesn’t order the parts, there is no tax savings. It is possible to get your own Port Supply account, and many builders of larger designs do so. Buying in bulk also saves money.
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I needed expensive electrical parts for the Yamaha engine and found eBay got me the choke solenoid, used but guaranteed, for about $29 vs $85 plus shipping, and the trim or tilt solenoid for $79 vs $211 plus shipping. I did not choose any product that used China Post because my time line couldn’t stand a delivery more than a couple weeks away. I paid about 5 dollars more because of this.
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A long time ago I went on a motorcycle jaunt from the coast of Connecticut, up through the dairy farms of eastern New York State, through the glacial terrain north of Plattsburgh and Lake Champlain, to Montreal to be at the Formula One Gran Prix of Montreal. Today I could watch “free practice 2“ on the same channel that had the Louis Vuitton racing. I only watched a little. Tomorrow I will watch the qualifying.
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Well tomorrow came and once again I was wrong about the America’s Cup, Louis Vuitton portion. They were racing the very next day after the semifinals were done. I had to peek at Formula One qualifying in between the races.
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It was the Kiwi’s who dominated the first race and the heroics of Nathan Outteridge the previous day, taking the Swedish boat to 3 out of 3, seemed to be absent. Then in the next race the Swede’s worked their way to victory. I had predicted that the Kiwi’s pedal powered grinders would overcome the Swede’s gorilla grinders, but the Swede’s carried on and seemed to be headed for a second win of the day. Then Nathan fell overboard! End of race for them, without their helmsman and in the confusion they fell well back and conceded the third race of the day to the Kiwi’s. So the Kiwi’s come out of the day 2 for 3, but they were in trouble and about to go down 1 for 3. This is very interesting racing because of the speed of the boats that makes decisions and tactics split second, like a prize fighter that reacts before anyone could think. When I finally looked at the week’s schedule, this challenger series will be over on Monday and the rest of the week will have super yacht racing and a J boat regatta. Then the America’s Cup itself will start next weekend.
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The carburettors came off the Yamaha TRX50 much more easily and quickly in the boatyard on the hard than when the boat was in the water at the dock. The intake assembly was separated from the carbs and then the plates that join the carbs together were removed. This engine is much like a 4 cylinder motorcycle engine, 4 cylinders and 4 carburettors. The carbs are stacked vertically and typically the damage from ethanol fuel happens progressively worse from top to bottom. It looks like the heavier fraction of hydroscopic ethanol separates out of the fuel and ends up in the bottom carb and maybe in #3.
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These carbs were frozen, the throttles and chokes would not move. It was not this way when the engine was bringing the damaged boat up the North River in Dec. 2015. I usually have to service the carbs once a year anyway, so after a year and a half of inactivity, what should I expect.
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As I took apart the linkages I remembered to mark the float bowls by scraping roman numerals on them. The top was I, and so on. Once they were separated, the top one had functioning throttle and choke, the second had functioning choke, all the rest were locked up. I went to the local auto parts store and bought a gallon can of carb cleaner. This looks like a paint can, but inside is solvent and a basket to hold the carburettor. I was able to get the two lower carbs in at the same time. They will soak for 24 hours, or maybe more. I also bought a can of aerosol carb cleaner. This is a more volatile thin solvent to spray off the thicker solvent from the soaking can.
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We are in the climate phase where it is humid as anything, but only going up to about 85 in the afternoon. It would be nice to have an air conditioned boatyard.
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The #1 carb, the one on top of the stack, was quickly disassembled, cleaned, and had its mechanisms working like new. This meant that the throttle and choke butterflies opened and snapped shut by a return spring with no sluggishness. The jets inside the carb had been sprayed clean and the float boat cleaned out.
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#2 needed more attention. I used a penetrating lubricant called Blaster that helped. It seemed to work best to spray with aerosol carb cleaner, then spray with the lubricant. The butterflies can be removed from their shafts to help get the shafts free. Stainless dental tools from Harbor Freight helped pick out gunk from tight areas. After getting the throttle shaft to move, after a while it was moving freely and the carb was reassembled. Now I had two good carbs (I hope).
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The photo is of Nathan Outteridge plunging along the deck of Artemis Racing Team Sweden.

June Bridles

08 June 2017 | st marys, ga
Capn Andy/May Showers
It rained and rained, a steady train of thunderstorms came up from the Gulf, across Florida, and dumped rain and an F1 tornado. There were intervals between the storms when it was possible to poke your head out and do something, then downpours. The starboard upper shroud was relashed, so now all of the standing rigging is in place. It looks like the headstay will have to be reterminated just a bit shorter. It is at its limit and could use more tightening. The experts say the rig will loosen and have to be tightened more after we sail a bit.
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One thing that bothered me was how close together the headstay and the inner forestay were, now that the inner forestay was on a bridle at the bow cross tube. My plan was to have a staysail and yankee or topsail, but the stays were too close together to allow an airflow slot between the sails. After some more thought I suddenly envisioned the staysail, which sets on a club boom, poled out to windward going downwind with a large genoa on the headstay sheeted to leeward. It would be like a poled out gennaker and it could be about 800 sq ft total.
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Perhaps the large genoa could be used for light air upwind without the staysail, and the staysail for heavier winds, plus it could be reefed down to about 175 sq ft. Now things looked even better than having that roller furler that caused so much trouble. I could leave both headsails hanked on, just cover them when not in use.
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I finally got an answer from the battery vendor that my batteries would be shipping out, finally, almost a week after ordering them. I didn’t need them yet, but I’ll end up with all my projects happening at the same time and nothing until then.
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The Louis Vuitton action at Bermuda was cancelled for the day due to 30 knot winds. I’m sure all the teams welcomed the extra day to repair the damage from the previous day. It looks like the Kiwi’s will finish off Sir Ben, but the other contest could be prolonged a bit longer.
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The race between Sweden and Japan is actually a race between Nathan Outteridge and Dean Barker, both Kiwi’s. In the Louis Vuitton semifinals, the only helmsman that is not a Kiwi is Sir Ben. I found a video of Nathan explaining the controls of a small Class A catamaran that had foils, also videos of him sailing it. It would be a shame to see him beaten out of the competition, but I like how Dean Barker sails. Perhaps Barker is the better tactician and Outteridge the better at controlling a foiling boat. Ultimately one of them will have to go up against Emirates Team New Zealand, who have dominated in light air and overpowered in heavy air. The Emirate’s “cyclors”, winch grinders who are pressurizing the hydraulic system that provides power for all the controls on that boat, seem to have an easier time keeping the system at proper pressure during the demands of high winds. They did seemingly destroy their boat yesterday, so who knows, maybe their helmsman, Peter Burling, will have lost some of his youthful confidence.
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In the last cup it was the Emirates team that had a frightening moment of almost capsizing when the winch grinders didn’t keep up the hydraulic pressure. After that, they seemed wary of Spithill and the Americans and lost their huge 8 race advantage. They fired their helmsman, Dean Barker, and promoted Burling, who is also an excellent helmsman, and in this new cup venture have gone to the bicycle pedal powered hydraulics to prevent that loss of power whenever they need it, and I think it has already paid off. In their last completed race against Sir Ben, they were trailing after the start. It looked like they were pulling a Muhammad Ali “Rope a Dope” strategy, not going all out, and letting their opponent expend all the energy. When they got the chance to challenge Sir Ben, it was obvious that the Brits were not able to keep the pressure (hydraulic and racing pressure) up. They fell back and the Kiwi’s sailed on to win.
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Dean Barker got work for the Japanese challenge and did not go with a pedal powered hydraulic system. Only the Kiwi’s did. So, I expect that if there are more high wind days in this competition or in the actual America’s Cup racing, later, if the Kiwi’s are there to race, they will be able to wear their opponents out. I’m sure Oracle racing which is keenly watching the Louis Vuitton series, has to wonder if they can succeed with their winch grinders using arm power. I’m pretty sure if you have been training for 3 years to use arm power, changing at the last minute to leg power might not be a good idea. The general weather forecast for this time of year in Bermuda is more for lighter winds, not the 30 knot blast. I expect the America’s Cup competition will not have races decided in such high winds as yesterday. If they happen, the Kiwi’s are favored.
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Right now, Dean Barker just needs 2 wins to put the Swedes away, and Burling and the Kiwi’s need the same to put Sir Ben away. The racing tomorrow is forecast with lower velocity winds, so we will see the best that these teams can do. It’s do or die for the Swede’s and Brit’s. The Kiwi’s and Japanese are looking to put the final nails in the coffin.
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There are going to be other races in Bermuda as part of this focus of sailing on the little island. The J boats, who raced for the cup in between the World Wars, are having a revival. I saw one of the boat in Charleston, and it is magnificent. The will have a regatta in Bermuda which may be telecast somewhere. You Tube videos may appear later. It will be nice to see them. Some people wish they were still the vehicles for the America’s Cup. I like to see the foiling catamarans and I think the organizers are doing a good job of putting up an exciting competition that is going to produce a champion that no one will argue that they don’t deserve it. The J boats are from a different era and represent perhaps an America’s Cup that was using biased rules against the challengers. The original race win by America around the Isle of Wight was won by a boat that had to sail across the Atlantic, so the New York Yacht Club made the same stipulation, that the challengers had to arrive by sailing on their own bottom across the ocean. Just as then, the lawyers have a lot to do with the racing.
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Another regatta is going to include some larger than J boats boats, including the one I saw in Charleston, Adix. There is little video of this boat sailing, on the internet, so I hope to see more of it, maybe live? BT Sports may have footage, I hope.
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Radio Bill is sailing just North of Bermuda and making progress in his little boat. I hope he is OK, he raised his waterline here in the yard, but sunk it when he was splashed. An overladen little boat can disappear in a storm, so let’s hope he has continued fair winds. He is overladen by his electronics and if they are working, he will be able to plan his voyage without any surprises.
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The photo is of Kaimu’s bow bridles. There is not enough separation between them to run a traditional cutter rig.

Bermuda Boneyard

06 June 2017 | st marys, ga
Capn Andy/May Showers
I always take it that maybe I’m depressed when I stop cooking or photography. There is also the possibility of manic behavior in the kitchen or behind the camera. When I start picking images off the internet or saatchiart.com, which is also on the internet, and do not capture my own images, or when I begin eating peanut butter and jam sandwiches instead of cooking, I know I may be losing some of my creative drive. Others get there too and I notice they are talking to me about their problems and I can see they have lost their energy to create a solution. In my own case it is often an overwhelming realization of what I have to do, in total, and I must back off and break the big project down to a manageable smaller bit of work. Just do this and go on to the next step.
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I can still write and put out my record for later reference, and even if it is expressing a lack of energy to do what I have to do, I can read about it later and get back to work, hopefully with more energy.
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My recent writings about the America’s Cup competition have revealed my lack of knowledge about the rules, which are still kind of difficult for me to fully grasp. However, my energy is stoked up by this competition. The sailors are mostly young and aggressive winners, who have Olympic glory or national or international championships to their credit. The current America’s Cup boats are not what you would find down at your local boat rental. This is kind of like America’s Moon Shot 50 years or so ago, when very talented men went on to master new and unusual vehicles.
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In lieu of my secret recipes and candid photos of the North River Marsh, I will instead try to mix a 50:50 of morning work on the boat and afternoon America’s Cup involvement.
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Today I drilled two holes in the galley cabinet bulkheads to thread the SSB ground cable (the KISSB) through the starboard side of the dinette and galley. I was soaked with perspiration in only a few minutes. I concluded that work.
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Well, now I had to come up with some more work before the racing started, our time, at 1308. I took a trip to the local Winn-Dixey store and got bread, wine, and mentioned to the clerk that it was biblical, on Sunday, and she said, “For Sure”.
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I had also got a roll of quarters to do laundry, in a general purge of the starboard hull’s excessive accumulation of old clothing. This was mostly sweaters and long sweats that were needed just a few weeks ago. They sat in a pile that was very depressing to contemplate, but I left it till now, and now I was processing it all through the laundry while I watched America’s Cup competition.
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The plan was perfect, why try to work in the intense humidity when you could throw the laundry into the bin, hit the button, and then carefully observe the sailboat racing in Bermuda, only to organize a shift to the dryer during lapses between races. Was I off base?, yes, the USA feed for the races, NBCSN, was not showing them today, on Sunday, the first day of Louis Vuitton competition I finally found it on an English feed, but it was delayed due to light wind and consisted of replays of races I had already seen. They were great races and I watched and broke away from time to time to shift laundry to the dryer.
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The next day I woke to find the boatyard owner, manager, and chief crane operator (all one and the same person) poking around behind Kaimu. It looked like he was sizing up some more anti-arbor work, taking out more trees. I suggested he could make some room next to my boat by hoisting the mast and we could restep it. This worked in with his plans and he brought the crane over and soon we had the mast up off its sawhorses and vertical and up on the boat.
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First the upper shrouds, which are a fixed length, were attached, then the fore halyards were tied off on the two bridles and the bow crosstube. The bridles were adjusted to take out any kinks and make sure they were fully taut. Then, one by one, I tensioned the stays which were to be cut to length, terminated with swageless fittings, and pinned to their respective turnbuckle toggles. The headstay was terminated in a Norseman stud terminal which threaded directly into its turnbuckle.
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The Blue Wave terminals from Denmark turned out to be the simplest to put together. They recommended Sikaflex sealant inside the fitting. While the other fittings I had used, Norseman and Stay-Lok, required the outer layer of wire to be unlaid and then relaid around a cone that fits over the core wires, the Blue Wave fittings build right over the cable itself without having to unlay any of it.
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The only problem was a goof when I cut the starboard lower shroud at a mark on the wire close to where I had marked it and it turned out to be a bit short. The quick and easy remedy is to add another toggle to the stay to make up the length. Because the mast was not exactly vertical and the adjustment would be to lengthen the shrouds on the starboard side, having a short starboard shroud was a problem. Maybe I could swap the port and starboard lower shrouds, but first I had to measure them with a long tape measure from a halyard at the top of the mast. I knew I had made the uppers equal and the starboard upper was the one with lashings which could be let out to tip the mast back toward vertical. Perhaps the shorter starboard lower would fit better on the port side and vice versa.
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The next day I had come up with an idea to fix the short shroud problem and do it without spending 80 bucks or so for the large eye to jaw toggle that also would fix the problem. Or maybe not. I had to make up about 4 inches in the shroud so that the mast could stand perfectly vertical athwartships and with 4 degrees of rake. The expensive toggles seemed to be about 2 inches or so in length. My idea was to forget about the expensive toggles that were too short anyway, and make my own. DIY. I had a pile of turnbuckles with toggles that wrapped around
a large pin. I could drive out the pin with the boatyard’s 50 ton hydraulic press and also bend the strap straight. It would then be a straight piece of stainless steel with a hole in each end that perfectly fit the pins of the turnbuckles and swageless jaws I had used. I pressed out two of these straps and then used the pair as the “eye” pinned in the jaw at the end of the shroud, and then used the other end of the pair as a “jaw” to fit the eye of the turnbuckle. I had added a strong 4 inches or so back to the shroud without spending any money. I hope it works.
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It was a rainy day and a day to watch more of the Louis Vuitton competition. Previously Sir Ben Ainslie had broken a part in his boat and gave up two races to the Kiwi’s. The Japanese and Swedes sailed interesting races and each went away with a win. Now we had a new day with blustery conditions and racing postponed for bit due to excessive winds. The Swedes and Japanese were out their first, while the Kiwi’s retreated to their home base to replace their wingsail, uh oh. It is an involved operation to take the over 100 foot tall wingsail off the boat with a crane in 25 knot winds. Meanwhile the Swedish and Japanes boats sailed a brutal race which saw parts disappearing off the boats as the wind a waves tore at them. The Swedes lost their port foil control and had to give up. After the race, the boats looked like tatters and Dean Barker of the Japanese had a win. Then Sir Ben raced against the Kiwi’s and it looked like the Kiwi’s had everything under control, but the winds had lessened a bit. It looked like they would be in control in the moderate winds, then would get hit with a series of gusts that would put them out of control. Very exciting. Kiwi’s with another win. Then the Japanese and Swedes came out again and it was very much a non-race. The Swedes seemed to lose it at the first mark and did not bear off, sailed over the boundary, incurred a penalty which kept increasing the more they stayed out of bounds, plus they had trouble reducing their speed enough to wipe out the penalty. They soon were too far behind to have any chance at a win. Give another win to Dean Barker and the Japanese boat.
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It began to look like the Kiwi’s, who had a radical new way of grinding their winches with pedal power instead of arm strength, were able to cope with the high winds and the increased demands on the hydraulic controls. Control required both more effort and more rapid action. The other boats were obviously exhausted after their races, while the Kiwi’s were showing off at the end.
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It all came to grief in the last race with Sir Ben luffing the Kiwi’s up in the prestart, then bearing off for the line. It seemed like the Kiwi’s knew that they would reel him in, just like their earlier race when it seemed like they were playing “rope a dope”, then striking when Ainslie’s men were showing fatigue. They gamely followed but did what surfers call pearling or boneyarding, they stuck the bows under and the boat pitchpoled before reaching the start line. It’s hard to say how much damage was done to the boat. The wing was damaged and losing pieces from its head. The aerodynamic fairings were shredded. If they can fix their boat, they still have a chance, but reliability may suffer now.
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The photo is of Kaimu’s port shrouds after raising the mast. There is still more work to be done. The headstay may need to be shortened a bit and the starboard upper shroud needs to be relashed.
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Skeeter Pyro

03 June 2017 | st marys, ga
Capn Andy/100 degrees F.
It may seem that we are sitting around watching America's Cup boats sailing and not getting anything else done. That is only partially true. The heat wave makes working in the afternoon very difficult, so it is a good time to take a siesta, but on America's Cup sailing days the racing comes on in early afternoon, so we can watch the racing and avoid the heat. The time to do work is in the morning.
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I rushed to get the boat and mast ready to restep the mast, but the boatyard has a different agenda involving clearing additional area, grading and tamping the soil, and then moving boats into the new area, creating room for more boats. In the meantime I have to do other tasks. One job is to replace the batteries which are now about 6 years old, well due for replacement.
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I needed to use temporary batteries in place of the old batteries, as the old batteries have to be turned in at the store when the new batteries are picked up, otherwise there is a core charge for each new battery. I decided to use a donated size 31 "Marine/Stationary" battery in the port hull and use Trillium's little size 24 wet cell battery in the starboard hull. I didn't need a lot of capacity, the only loads would be charging the cell phone, interior cabin lights, and the 12 volt fan.
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The procedure is to disconnect the solar panels from the charge controller before disconnecting the batteries. The reason for doing this is that without the batteries in the circuit, the voltage can rise to whatever the solar panels can put out. This is referred to as open circuit voltage and can run as high as 22 volts. After disconnecting the batteries the temporary battery is connected and then the solar panels are reconneccted to the charge controller. The only difficulty with this procedure is the awkward location of the batteries and their weight.
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Radio Bill sent in his position by winlink with the added comment that he had hit floating debris offshore off of Cape Fear. He continues in a NE direction and his URL for position reports is:
http://services.wlw.winlink.org/maps/PositionReports.aspx?callsign=N2ZLY
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When I started looking for batteries I had only 2 local places, Walmart and Tractor Supply, that would supply a deep cycle marine battery. Why only local? Shipping wet cell batteries, which are heavy and dangerous if they spill, is expensive. While I was looking online, a fellow came up and gave me his business card. He was Chris from a large wholesale battery store in Jacksonville. There is no sales tax by Florida business when the product is ordered in Georgia and no shipping charge, since they service many of the marinas and boatyards that do regular business.
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It turns out that the core charge, that is the charge levied when you don't provide an old battery to turn in when you buy a new one, was about equal to the shipping charge for buying out of town batteries. Because I am increasing my battery banks to sets of 4 group 27's in each hull and only have 4 batteries to turn in, I would get hit with a core charge about equal to the cost of an entire battery.
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Another factor is related to battery maintenance, if flooded cell batteries are well maintained, they can last as long as maintenance free batteries, which cost up to twice as much. Knowing that I have not been attentive to battery maintenance, I decided to try AGM batteries which have several attractive features. They require no maintenance, they are more sturdy and on a sailboat that is important, and they typically last about twice as long as flooded cell batteries. The vendors are saying 1-3 years for flooded cells, 3-5 years for AGM's. My old batteries were purchased in 2011, so there's a 6 year flooded cell example, and they are shot.
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I found an online vendor of AGM's that didn't ask for a core charge, probably because the state they are in doesn't require it, but their shipping cost was about equal to the core charge I would have to pay locally for my extra batteries. So I ordered them. Actual cost was a bit less than the local free delivered batteries, but the locals would require my old batteries, so I still have the cores. If these online batteries work out, then maybe I will generously give my cores to someone else who is increasing their battery bank.
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The Louis Vuitton qualifying scenario keeps surprising me because of my successive layers of understanding of the rules takes a quantum step, usually too late. First I thought Ben Ainslie was done fore with hull damage, but he came back and sailed on. Then I found out that my ideas about Round Robin One were way off base due to there being incorporated Round Robin Two, really just two back to back round robins where everybody sails twice against the opponents.
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I misunderstood that the brass ring in these round robins was an extra point to be applied not in the next series, the Louis Vuitton semifinals, etc., to determine the challenger, but in the actual America's Cup competition against the defender, Oracle Team USA. So, my active mind started to think about the defender winning the point, then of course they would have an immediate one race advantage, but what about the challengers? What if Artemis Racing Team Sweden won the round robins, what would happen if they didn't make it through the semifinals, etc., then where does that point go? They can't use it if they don't make it all the way through to the America's Cup competition. It turned out that I didn't have to get out the rule books, Oracle thrashed the Kiwi's and won the overal round robin and the extra point. Because every team has lost a race, sometimes an upset, it is hard to figure out how this is all going to play out.
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It turns out that the Kiwi's, who won the challenger's part of the round robin, got to choose their opponent in the semifinals, Great Britain Team Ben Ainslie Racing. The Ben Ainslie team has generated a lot of press with their collisions, damage, and lack of boat speed. But they didn't get close to being eliminated in the round robin. Is Sir Ben sandbagging? If he defeats the Kiwi's in the semifinals, the rest of the opposition will also fall. Or, if he is really down on boatspeed, he is in big trouble, the Kiwi's have dominated almost everyone else, but lost twice to Oracle. The Swedes and Japanese have lesser records, but they also haven't been eliminated, maybe they have more gas in the tank than they have showed.
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My work preparing the larger battery installation in the dinette had to be done during the mornings before humidity and temperature soared in the afternoon. It was mostly a cleaning job, removing objects that ended up sitting on the dinette benches or table, until there was a sizable pile. It was removed and the seat on the port side of the dinette had its compartment underneath enlarged. Somehow this brought me into intimate contact with the bilges, which had been opened under the dinette table to dewater the starboard hull. Now there was more rainwater in there. Along with the afternoon heat and humidity, pop-up thunderstorms would come through with a deluge, an of course I did not properly close the hatch during one of those. I paid my dues, sponging out bilge water, again.
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One factor of bilge water is that it provides a place for mosquitoes to breed. If you close the boat up it gets hot. If you leave a tiny crack open you get bugs. Mosquitoes however can breed right inside your boat, in the bilges, if you have fresh water puddled there. Dirty oily water is apparently not acceptable to the breeding mosquitoes.
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Citronella is one type of repellent that the locals rely on, so I bought a bottle of citronella torch oil. I had a couple of citronella candles that had burnt out, but the wicks were still there, little metal cones with a wick coming out of the tip. Would they burn using the oil instead of the candle wax? My first attempt would not light so I put a little denatured alcohol in it, just a bit, and lit it. It lit. The alcohol made a general flame and the wick never lit. It kept burning more and more, so I put it out. When I relit it, it flamed up again. I reasoned that the oil had to cool down, then might burn properly. A second burned out candle with a little less oil seemed to burn properly. After the hot one that flamed up had cooled, I took out some of the oil and relit it. It seemed to be burning properly now. Then it began to increase, more and more. I took a photo of the flame. I let it burn out completely. The mosquitoes were nowhere to be found. I then lit the other candle that had burned OK, but soon it too was out of control. Experiment failed.

Heartbreak Outteridge

30 May 2017 | st marys, ga
Capn Andy/100 degrees F.
The weather phenomenon was peculiar. We had had a cool front come through with lots of rain and the ambient temperatures were lower with a breeze that helped even more. Then we had the coldest air over us and no wind. The sky was completely clear with no clouds at all. It was chilly. I went about the day with no sense of urgency, while the boatyard worked feverishly moving boats into the new area near New Point Peter Road. By noontime I noticed it was warm, indeed it was ninety and getting hotter and hotter. There was no breeze to take away the heat or cool us. I had wasted the day trying to get an impossible streaming video "package" to work on linux. After lunch I was down where the large boatyard thermometer is located, and it is in the shade, and it read 99 degrees. Whoah, I said. I tapped it and it rose to 100. It wasn't keeping up with the heat.
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With no accomplishments to report I can comment on the Louis Vuitton race series in Bermuda. That is what I have been obsessed with. After all the practice racing videos loaded up on YouTube, I have been wondering how it is all going to sort out, who is going to be eliminated, just one boat, who is it going to be that is out of the competition for the America's Cup.
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Most of the talk was that Ben Ainslie Racing and Groupama Team France were the most likely to end up on the bottom. That is surmised from the sailing performances we saw in the practice racing videos uploaded to YouTube. The channel is myislandhomeBDA, and it looks like he is not allowed to upload any more now that the competition is real and the races count.
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Let's say you had a very fast boat. Would you trounce every one you met, or sandbag, back off, not let them see what you could do. That is the theory that clouds the unofficial results that we've been allowed to see for free on YouTube. Who is really going for it, and who is sandbagging, we will only see the answer to those questions when the racing is for real. And now it is for real, but not really totally for real. The organizers have tried to make the America's Cup World Series relevant by giving 2 points to the victors to carry into this Louis Vuitton competition. The runner up carries one point forward. Thus, Ben Ainslie, the overall winner of the World Series, starts out with two wins, and Jimmy Spithill, the runner up, carries forward one point into the Louis Vuitton series. Also, this qualifying series is going to determine who is left to contend for the Louis Vuitton championship cup.
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It is a round robin of 6 teams to eliminate one, then exclude Jimmy Spithill of the USA boat, resulting in 4 boats to sail against one another to find an overall winner to challenge for the America's cup. The winner of the round robin carries a point into the challenger series. The organizers have given these points to make the round robin relevant. You could have two teams even in wins and losses in the Louis Vuitton series, but if one had that point carried over from the round robin, they would be the challenger.
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So, Team Oracle USA, who will not be in the challenger series, is in the challenger's round robin. Strange rules. They can kick someone up or down, depending on their ability to win or lose at will. They can win the round robin and deprive any of the challenger boats of carrying over that extra point.
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So far, after the first day of the round robin, Oracle has won its two races, and with its carry over point from the world series, has 3 points. Ben Ainslie Racing, the UK boat, BAR, carried over 2 points and had a 1-1 result the first day. That gives them 3 points also. However, they incurred damage in that loss and it may be so bad that they will have to pull out of the competition. That's where the presence of Oracle in the defender's round robin starts to have an effect. With BAR out, there are just 4 boats left in the round robin, plus Oracle. All boats will get an automatic win in their scheduled race against BAR, who has lost to Japan and won over Sweden. That will give New Zealand two extra wins, Oracle two, France two, but only one to Sweden, and one more to Japan. If BAR goes home due to damage, there will be no challenger boat eliminated by this series. The pecking order will be determined and the highest ranked boat will sail against the lowest, probably France, and the remaining two will sail off to face France's opponent for the Louis Vuitton championship cup. It really could be any of New Zealand, Japan, and Sweden. So you have Dean Barker of Japan, Nathan Outerridge of Sweden, or Peter Burling of New Zealand getting to face Jimmy Spithill for the America's Cup.
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I'm writing this before the second day of racing, and I predict that it will be Dean Barker who comes out of this as the challenger.
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Well now, the second day of racing has concluded and Ben Ainslie showed up, but lost both his races. Franck Cammas of France won a race against the favored Swedish boat. In the end, Oracle suffered their first loss, New Zealand came up against Japan and their former, fired, helmsman, Dean Barker, who got off to a good start. He lost though. And the boat that gets eliminated is...looks like either France or Japan. There is only a short day of racing left, tomorrow, and if Franck can win over Dean Barker, then he may stay in the competition. If he wins both his races, against Barker and Ainslie, he will certainly move forward into the next series. Then Japan will be the eliminated boat. It is likely Franck will lose to Japan, just on boat speed and maneuverability, and no matter what else happens, that will leave them tied with the tie breaker going to Japan. There have been unexpected results in many of the races, so anything could happen.
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Good thing I didn't post that last idea that the round robin was over. It is over, but there is a second round robin, so the results of today's racing, the third day, are not the final tally. We will begin a second round robin and that will determine who goes home. France one its race against BAR today, but lost against Japan. The other race, the race that did not include France was between Sweden and New Zealand and it was a corker. There was little to choose from over the course of the race, both boats had their moments, but the shining moment for Artemis, the Swedish boat, was at the last bottom mark where they zoomed past the Kiwi's and seemed to be headed home the victors. Then a late penalty was laid on them and they had to give up the victory. Apparently they fouled the Kiwis somehow at the last mark rounding.
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I was watching that race on NBCSports Net, when the penalty was announced and the cries of "No, no, impossible" rang out on the Swedish boat. Then the feed went dead and when I had it back up again they were onto the last race, the one between France and Japan, which was won by Dean Barker and his Japanese boat. At the start he feinted dropping down to hook the French boat, who then prepared for that assault, but then Barker did a "time and distance' drive to the windward end of the starting line, to the right. He reasoned, correctly, that France wouldn't be able to come up toward him with any speed, plus they would have to overlap him to drive him up past the mark at the end of the line. As a result he maintained a full head of steam and crossed the line about 10 knots of speed faster than the French. They never came back to threaten him and maybe they were not as fresh, after their win over the English. The Japanese only had that one race to prepare for.
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So now the tally is three boats at the bottom all tied at two wins, France, Japan, and Sweden. Up the ladder from there the glaring issue is the English boat, Ben Ainslie Racing, which has three points, but only one win, and three losses. Two of their points were carried over from the America's Cup World Series. It looks like they are the team in trouble now, with a 1 and 3 race record, unless they can improve, they will quickly squander those two extra points and be the boat that goes home.
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The photo is from the America's Cup website showing the Swedish boat leading New Zealand, only to get a heartbreaking penalty at the very end of the race.
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