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.
22 March 2019 | St Marys, GA
15 March 2019 | St Marys, GA
09 March 2019 | St Marys, GA
01 March 2019 | St Marys, GA
23 February 2019 | St Marys, GA
20 February 2019 | St Marys, GA
15 February 2019 | St Marys, GA
12 February 2019 | St Marys, GA
08 February 2019 | St Marys, GA
02 February 2019 | St Marys, GA
30 January 2019 | Raccoon Spit, ICW, GA
29 January 2019 | Doboy Sound, GA
27 January 2019 | Elba Island Cut, Savannah River
25 January 2019 | Edisto River, SC
23 January 2019 | Charleston, SC
20 January 2019 | Georgetown, SC
18 January 2019 | Georgetown, SC
17 January 2019 | Georgetown, SC
15 January 2019 | Barefoot Landing, SC
12 January 2019 | Southport, NC
Recent Blog Posts
22 March 2019 | St Marys, GA

More Beam and Fagor

I spent a day glassing the top and bottom and one side of the crossbeam. First I rolled out the glass the full length of the beam, then cut the roll from the rolled out cloth at the end of the beam, then put away the roll and cut the length of the glass laid out on the beam into two parts. The cloth [...]

15 March 2019 | St Marys, GA

Spreader and Mast Work

It feels like summer sometimes when the temperature in the boatyard soars into the 80‘s, but in the mornings it can be down close to the 30‘s. the no-see-um’s come out when the weather is just perfect and they torment you until a wind comes up or some other weather event makes it less than perfect. [...]

09 March 2019 | St Marys, GA

Tuva or Bike

It seems like the rainy season has begun. The work on the crossbeam is under cover in the breezeway in a storage building so the rain has no effect. The mast is out in the open but most of the work on fittings is being done indoors.

01 March 2019 | St Marys, GA

Mast and Crossbeam Heroics

Now the final gluing takes place, the beam is 2/3‘s complete with a layer of pine 3X5“ glued to the web of cedar 4X4“, the final 3X5 layer is sanded and the rest of the beam placed on top of it. The layer is marked and a prime coat of epoxy is painted on inside the marks. The rest of the beam [...]

23 February 2019 | St Marys, GA

Boatyard of the Superb Moon

I was beginning to glue another scarf joint for the crossbeam when Doc, the cut up, was telling me about his hard dodger project and how he was going to do the edges of the dodger where the mostly flat surface curves downward. He was going to add two long stringers to that edge but his wood was about [...]

20 February 2019 | St Marys, GA

Mast and Crossbeam Pt II

I glued a third piece to the beginnings of the crossbeam, now it was about 23 feet long. The excess will be chopped off and a second layer of 2X4 will be laid on the first. Then a double layer of 2X6 will be glued up, then another double layer of 2X6, then the three double layers will be glued into [...]

More Beam and Fagor

22 March 2019 | St Marys, GA
Capn Andy | Cold Front, Windy
I spent a day glassing the top and bottom and one side of the crossbeam. First I rolled out the glass the full length of the beam, then cut the roll from the rolled out cloth at the end of the beam, then put away the roll and cut the length of the glass laid out on the beam into two parts. The cloth must be 50" wide, so I had 25" wide cloth on the beam and its sister piece also 25" wide. I rolled up the extra piece for later laminations. The beam is 5X10", so 25" is more than enough to cover the top and bottom and one side.
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I rolled up the glass and began priming the beam with epoxy. I was still working with 3 oz. batches which doesn't seem like much, but if you are putting a prime coat on without any glass it covers a third of the beam or maybe half on the narrower top and bottom 5" wide surfaces. I rolled out the glass again and began wetting it out and now used larger batches, probably around 6 ounces, not using the accurate syringes to measure the epoxy but using the lower part of a Dixie cup cut off at a guessed at volume. When I was almost finished and needed a smaller batch I reverted to the syringes and made a 3 oz. mix.
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The next day I was not eager to row into the boatyard due to chilly weather and rain. I kept the galley warm with the propane Buddy heater and after noon the rain stopped. Still chilly, but I was out on deck looking for a couple of items, glass microballons, filler for fairing the beam, and the remaining gallon of epoxy resin, the hardener was already on shore and being used, but I had used up a gallon of resin of the 3 gallon epoxy kit. The gallon of hardener was half used.
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I rowed ashore and someone decided to take my spot at the end of the floating dock, I maneuvered around to the side and tied up. I was using the oars I made of a single cedar 2X4. There's enough wood in that to make 2 oars, but I guess I should have trimmed them down a bit more, I referred to them as Russian oars, they looked clunky, the shafts were 2X2, rounded, but still clunky.
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One of the recently launched sailboats at the floating dock provided some interest to anyone negotiating the passage from the floating dock to the ramp up to the fixed dock, it was a young dog, rich brown color, and eager to sniff and snarl at anyone coming by. It's like dealing with bees, they say to be quiet and nice and they won't sting you, but it's hard to be quiet with a boisterous puppy that is almost as large as a good sized dog. The owner of the boat whose name now escapes me had got in a conversation like you would have on a dock of sailors, the talk of passages, boats, and such. Now he was gesturing toward a Chinese outboard motor and asking if I'd like to buy it, he'd take $100 for it, it was new, but it didn't run. I suggested he sell it to Doc, the fellow who cuts up boats, he buys and sells boat stuff. Then I went off to bring the microballoons and epoxy resin to the breezeway of the Barn where I was working. Then I went to the woodshop on the other side of the yard.
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Getting around the boatyard was a chore this time, before I left I had rolled around on a Univega road bike that now was suffering from salt water corrosion, it was out of commission, now I walked everywhere and I was suffering. But there was a bike pointed out to me by a new returnee to the yard from Ontario, Capn Jane Morgan. She saw a bike at the Salvation Army that was too big for her for $30, she asked where was my bike and I told her about the corrosion and she told me about the Salvation Army bike. I immediately went there with Radio Bill and purchased the bike and we brought it back to the breezeway. It needed a rear tire and tube so I ordered a cheap pair of good tires and tubes from Philadelphia, the rims measured 23 mm wide and were marked 700CX45 and I wondered if I could fit 23's on it. They were the best deal on the internet. Maybe I should have gone to the local bike store, an excellent bike store, Camden Cycle Center.
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The expedited shipping bike tires and tubes, 2nd day US Post Office Priority, arrived 5 days later, and I lanced one of the new tubes right off the bat, but had an old 27" tube that almost fit, soon the bike was up and running on the skinny tires. The comment was that the skinny tires were not as stable as the wider Urban or Mountain tires. I did intricate figure 8's on the skinny tires, they were fine.
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Now I could zoom around like I did the last time I was here. The bike was an old Specialized Crossroads Cruz and looked great with its alloy rims and road training, not racing, tires. At the woodshop I googled the Chinese 2 stroke outboard, a Hangkai 6 HP. The reviews were mixed, some were positive, and the negative reviews had the usual internet haters adding admonitions about buying Chinese crap. But there was a reference that these were clones of Yamaha 1990's 2 strokes. The repair parts probably came from China, so why shouldn't the Chinese just built the whole engine and sell it, even though it was no longer legal to be sold in the USA.
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I ran into the guys trying to sell the engine again and I said Doc said the engine wasn't worth $100. We talked about outboard motors and I ran on about fixing cheap motors that I had purchased as if their motor was not even worth fixing. Would I give $50 for it, $40? Yes, I thought, the propeller was probably worth half that at least, I gave him the money and he went off to the bar for some celebration.
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Doc was tearing up through the boatyard on his Mule, a motorized version of a golf cart, but much more impressive. He had an Oogah horn on it. I gestured to him to stop and we went to the travel lift well at the head of the floating dock. I ran down and carried up the motor and we brought it back past the breezeway to Doc's Chop Shop where he sold used boat parts from the boats he chopped up. He was a medical examiner in his former life, so I told him, Doc, you are a real cut up.
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It turned out I had a copy of a DVD of Yamaha 2 Stroke Service Manuals that someone had advertised as 4 stroke manuals, so I bought it and then complained and got my money back, I was looking for a 4 stroke manual for the 50 HP High Thrust I was using back then.
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Doc and I opened the engine cover of the $40 outboard and someone came by, Gee that looks like a brand new engine!, they said. Yeah, but it doesn't run. It probably needs some expensive Yamaha parts. My cheap Specialized bike needed parts that cost more than the bike, but the joy of riding again was worth a lot more. We rode into the local neighborhood a few times. I found the front dérailleur wouldn't move the chain to the big chainring, it was like being stuck in 2nd gear. When I got back to the boatyard I sprayed the dérailleur with Blaster and now the bike would go into the higher gears. It worked perfectly.
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A pot luck dinner was organized and I signed up to cook Kahlua Pork. I use a pressure cooker and liquid smoke and a pork butt. Coincidently Radio Bill came into the woodshop and said someone is throwing out a stainless steel pressure cooker. It was on the recycling pile. I brought it into the shop and we tried to figure out how it worked. Maybe it was thrown into recycling because it didn't work properly. The brand name on the knob on top was Fagor. I googled images of Fagor and one of them looked like this pressure cooker. It was called the Classic 61 model. When I searched that I found a users manual that was in Spanish. I found that this pressure cooker sold for about $120 when it was available at Macy's. It looked like the knob on top should turn to seal the lid, but it would not turn. I disassembled the mechanism and it made no sense. Maybe the bolt that the knob was attached to had a screw type of device and it was jammed. I sprayed it with the Blaster spray and put it in a vice in the shop and with great effort got the knob to turn. I reassembled the mechanism which was like a bar across the lid and it fit into sockets on either side. The knob brought the bar in contact with the sockets and then put pressure on the lid and sealed it. I scrubbed the mechanism to get rid of any remaining Blaster spray.
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I was eager to try the pressure cooker so went out to shop for ingredients, returned and began cooking a 7 lb. pork butt. After it was done I used two forks to create pulled pork and left the boatyard dogs some pork bones and other discarded bits. I added a half bottle of Stubbs barbecue sauce and tossed the meat with it. The next day it was warmed up for the pot luck dinner and soon it was all gone.
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The image is of the Fagor Classic 61 pressure cooker.

Spreader and Mast Work

15 March 2019 | St Marys, GA
Capn Andy | Summer Like
It feels like summer sometimes when the temperature in the boatyard soars into the 80‘s, but in the mornings it can be down close to the 30‘s. the no-see-um’s come out when the weather is just perfect and they torment you until a wind comes up or some other weather event makes it less than perfect. They make a great day a torment. When I get up from my bunk on Kaimu, I don’t go out on deck if I see the little bugs swarming around the hatch. If I have to go I have to go and the bugs crawl into your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth, buzzing like tiny angry mosquitoes. They have a nasty little bite and often it looks like there is nothing there on your skin, but it hurts, and then you see the little bugger, tiny, easily squashed. But there are millions of them.
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I knew the work would progress, except I had my doubts, and after excellent progress the details come up to bite me. The staysail halyard block has to be positioned perfectly to prevent snarling of the halyard, plus, we have to determine where the inner forestay hits the mast, where the inner forestay tang will be, and where the block will be mounted for the staysail on the inner forestay. It’s one of those things that come out of calculations, and if you get it wrong, it is very wrong. Some like to have the headstay and the inner forestay parallel. They like the genoa and staysail to have the same symmetry, head to head, foot to foot, and leech to leech, like the Russian dolls that fit inside of each other, the staysail should look exactly like the genoa only smaller.
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I worked up the calculations and rolled out the rigging wire available from the same boat that donated the mast. I also had an ancient forestay from when Kaimu didn’t yet have roller furling. I had some larger diameter cables that would fit the inner forestay and the two lower shrouds.
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The inner forestay tang calculated to be 29 1/2 feet above the gooseneck. I took the fitting which had already been drilled for 12 3/16“ stainless pop rivets and positioned it against the mast, then marked and drilled 12 holes in the mast for the pop rivets. The fitting would be inside the mast with just the “nose” of the tang sticking out of a slot. The slot was marked and cut with the angle grinder and cut off wheel. The fitting was pulled into the mast using a borrowed fish snake inserted into the slot, fed out through the bottom of the mast, and wired to the eye of the tang. Another line was attached to the fitting to be able to pull it out if it got stuck inside the mast and the pull line parted.
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I was able to pull the fitting up to the slot, but I found the conduits inside the mast were in the way of the fitting and it couldn’t be raised up. I was very discouraged. We were having discussions of possible solutions to this problem. Mounting the fitting on the exterior of the mast was possible, but no one thought it would be strong enough, the weak link being the aluminum of the mast, it probably wouldn’t hold the pop rivets in heavy weather.
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The next day I fashioned a curved piece of stainless out of a short piece of stainless pipe. I tried to pry the conduits off of the ribs inside the mast that they were clamped onto. The conduits were split and fitted over ribs inside the mast. It was impossible to pry them off the ribs. I then tried to knock them off. I flattened the curved piece of stainless and hammered it against one of the conduits through the slot. The conduit came loose a bit. I them hammered on the other conduit and it came loose. Geoff the chemist was eager to help me and used a little bore scope attachment to his cell phone. We could look at the effect of the hammering.
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At some point the fitting was pulled into the mast but the retrieval line came loose from it and the fish snake also came loose, the fitting was now sitting inside the mast right under the slot. We made stainless wire hooks to grab at it. Very frustrating. Finally Geoff was able to pull the fitting up high enough that I could put the tip of a screwdriver into the eye of the tang. Then we were able to force it into position and pop rivet it in place. The fitting had two eyes, the upper one for the inner forestay, the lower one for the staysail halyard block.
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Another project was removal of the old spreader lights from the spreaders and installation of new spreader lights purchased on Amazon for $18 for the pair. The photo is of the unfinished crossbeam and a new spreader light.

Tuva or Bike

09 March 2019 | St Marys, GA
Andy Solywoda | clearing, windy, warming
It seems like the rainy season has begun. The work on the crossbeam is under cover in the breezeway in a storage building so the rain has no effect. The mast is out in the open but most of the work on fittings is being done indoors.
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I didn’t have a snake or fish tape to probe the conduit inside the mast so I used some thin PVC flexible tubing. Right next to my mast is a similar Isomat mast and the fellow working on that was very knowledgeable and said that there are two conduits, one up to the spreaders and one up to the masthead. I was able to send the tubing through the masthead conduit and after much trial and error found the path through the spreader conduit. I found the conduit could probably pass a PL-259 connector, for the VHF antenna, so I ordered low loss 50 ohm coax, probably even the same seller as last time. There was a higher spec cable available at 6 times the cost but its only benefit was higher temperature range, the attenuation was the same. I will use 2 conductor landscaping wire for the DC power to the lights.
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Webb Chiles has begun his journey across the Isthmus of Panama, his boat on a truck, and his tracking device is on. Interesting to see it follow the road to the Pacific.
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Although I have scared away a few with my Richard Feynman YouTube lectures on Quantum Mechanics, I found a much more viewable clip called “Tuva or Bust”, it is very amusing and not too thick with math. His quote from the video is, “You can’t have High Adventure riding the Freeway and staying at the Holiday Inn.” He might be wrong on that one.
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The batteries were at 12.9 this morning, then went up to 13.2 with almost no sunlight, in the rain. There was not enough juice to run the inverter to the port side batteries, the starboard panels were eking out 1.8 amps. The next day I was able to charge the port side batteries from the inverter drawing from the starboard batteries. Both battery banks are in the high 12‘s.
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We took a trip up to Brunswick and Harbor Freight and I bought a replacement for the 1/2“ drill whose chuck was corroded and a pop rivet tool to replace one that is not gripping the rivets anymore. I used both tools the next day to make two large solar panels out of the six narrow panels I had already purchased. The narrow panels will be wired in parallel and the resulting large panel will be wired in series with the existing panel.
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A spool of green wire came in and I ran it inside the mast inside conduit up to the spreaders along with some 2 conductor landscape wire. These wires will be 2 hots for the spreader lights and the steaming light and a ground wire. I cut off a portion of the base of the mast to make the boom 6' 5“ off the aft deck.
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The crossbeam carpentry is done and now comes glassing and fairing and painting. First I glassed the ends of the beam with triaxial rovings. During the effort to sand off the lumps and bumps the sander died. I then borrowed “Doc"'s palm sander, but he wasn’t around and I felt guilty, so I tried to fix my own, cheap, Harbor Freight, $7 palm sander. Then Geoff showed up, the PhD chemist who often gives me an idea how to do something that I hadn’t thought up myself. We dissected the sander and commented about how much the fuel would cost to get a new one. It wasn’t worth driving to Harbor Freight just for the sander. Geoff left. I toiled with a motor brush that seemed to be jammed up and I sprayed it with Blaster, and then I could slowly pry it out without damaging it. I cleaned it and after that it moved properly in its electric brush socket. I reassembled the sander and plugged it in and it ran like it was brand new. Saving fuel here.
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I was going up to Geoff’s boat to boast about the achievement with the cheap sander when I saw an Ontario license plate in the vicinity of Integrity II, Jane Morgan’s boat. She must be here, I thought, and I rapped on her hull. Jane appeared and we talked a bit, she had come all the way down from Ontario, Hell of a winter. At one point she commented that I was not on my bicycle, and I replied it was frozen in corrosion, and she said she saw a Specialized road bike at the Salvation Army for $29. I had been thinking of getting another bike for some time and this seemed too good to be true. I broke off from the conversation saying I would get it NOW and ran over to Radio Bill’s boat.
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Bill has roof racks on his Jetta hatchback and some rope he keeps to tie down things on top, and he graciously drove me to the Salvation Army, about 2 miles away where the bike was still sitting. I was still in my beam sanding clothes, covered with various kinds of dust, and even in the Salvation Army I drew some stares. We tied down the bike on top of his car and returned to the boatyard. The bike was in good shape, but the rear tire was shredded and its tube was flat. I ordered a pair of tires and tubes with the fastest delivery and lowest price from a place in Philadelphia. $37, more than the bike cost. I looked online and read some reviews of the bike and downloaded a picture which is reproduced here. It is not the same bike, but very similar.

Mast and Crossbeam Heroics

01 March 2019 | St Marys, GA
Capn Andy | Cool, Foggy, Rainy
Now the final gluing takes place, the beam is 2/3‘s complete with a layer of pine 3X5“ glued to the web of cedar 4X4“, the final 3X5 layer is sanded and the rest of the beam placed on top of it. The layer is marked and a prime coat of epoxy is painted on inside the marks. The rest of the beam is right beside it cedar side up and it too gets a prime coat of epoxy. Then the thickened epoxy is mixed and applied to the cedar. I needed help to lift the rest of the beam and place the cedar side down against the pine layer. Then the large clamps are used to squeeze the two together.
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Stainless parts for the mast are being cut out of scrap stainless. It looks like I will be able to make my own forestay tangs, shroud tangs, and a pair of tangs for the running backstays. I would like to make what is called a jib box, it holds the sheave for an internal halyard. Instead the owner of another mast just like mine offers me a fitting called ball and cap to eye. It is a short length of rod that has the ball and cap fitting at one end and an eye at the other. He paid $150 for his replacement, I gave him $50 for the old ball and cap to eye fitting. It solved my problem with the headstay.
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Now, a few days later, all the parts for the mast have been cut out and drilled for 1/2“ bolts for mounting. The corners have been rounded off. When I tried to use my new Harbor Freight 3/16“ drill bits, the first one made a small dent in the stainless steel then began making a screeching sound. I will have to buy some cobalt bits to do the rest of the drilling.
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The beam is now glued up complete and edges have been rounded off with a trim router. The inside corners of the beam need a fillet of thickened epoxy. Then comes fairing, glassing, and painting.
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The MPPT charge controllers came in and they look like well made units. In order to test one of them I replaced the Sunsei PWM controller on the starboard hull with the Epever Tracer. It is the 30 amp model. First the solar panel cables were removed from the Sunsei, then a positive cable was joined to the negative cable of the second panel. Next the battery cables were removed from the Sunsei and connected to the Epever. Finally, the two remaining solar panel cables were hooked up to the Epever. The panels were in series and the open circuit output voltage was 56 volts, when connected to the Epever controller the panel voltage dropped to around 17 volts. It is an overcast day, but the batteries were nearly fully charged. I turned on the inverter and ran an extension cord to the batteries in the port hull and a trickle charger. The panel and controller on the port hull have not been working properly, but now we will take care of that.

Boatyard of the Superb Moon

23 February 2019 | St Marys, GA
Capn Andy | Mild, foggy
I was beginning to glue another scarf joint for the crossbeam when Doc, the cut up, was telling me about his hard dodger project and how he was going to do the edges of the dodger where the mostly flat surface curves downward. He was going to add two long stringers to that edge but his wood was about 8 feet long and too short. I saw where he had used butt joints to lengthen the other stringers in his dodger and I suggested he use my scarf joint jig and use scarf joints. We ended up in the woodshop and cutting the scarf joints with the jig is very easy with small stringers, we were done literally in a minute.
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Back at the breezeway where we were both working on our projects he ended up entrusting me with gluing the scarf joints, so I ended up dry clamping my stuff and his stuff, then doing it again with epoxy.
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Then it was time to return to the mast and mount a pair of rope clutches above the winches that were already installed. The new tap and die set from Harbor Freight did not work well and all the tapped holes were chewed up and probably not going to hold those rope clutches when I really needed them. A local fellow named Geoff came by and we talked about how the 1/4-20 tap wasn't working very well. He left on his bicycle and returned with his own tap which made a beautiful threaded hole. I decided to fasten the clutches with machine screws with JB Weld, an epoxy product.
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Later I was working with the two upper shrouds that were wrapped around the mast. The rest of the standing rigging had been removed by Doc. He couldn't get one of the upper shrouds off the mast because it had a small cleat clamped onto the rigging wire and that cleat wouldn't fit through the slot in the mast that the rigging wire went into. I went to Doc and asked him about what he had done with the rigging wires. They seemed to me to be in the wrong sockets. This type of wire termination was used by Isomat, the mast's manufacturer, and the rigging wires terminate at the mast in sockets formed in the cast aluminum parts of the mast, like the masthead and the spreader fitting. Each socket is precisely angled to provide support for the end of the wire which has a termination that is like a mushroom but upside down mushroom. In other words the termination has a flat top, is round, and has a curved lower surface that matches exactly with the socket on the mast fitting. John, the ditch digging rigger, came over and schooled me on how the rig works. If the stay is not exactly angled from the mast, the round fittings won't fit perfectly and you have what is called a point loading, all the strain on that wire is concentrated on one spot of the round fittings. Then the fittings crack and in a salt environment the aluminum corrodes, the mast fitting fails. Very expensive. The fittings are welded onto the mast.
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Now I understood that maybe I can't use the old stays. Each stay would have to terminate on deck in an exact location, I couldn't use my old chainplates or the bow bridle. Also the upper shrouds go down to the ends of the spreaders, but below the spreaders the shrouds are expected to terminate on chainplates more or less abeam of the mast step, and Kaimu's chainplates are aft of the mast step. Back to the drawing board.
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The next day I glued pieces of one layer of the 2X6's to an already glued up layer producing a double layer. I used the cedar 2X4 laminated beam as a work surface and used 12 oz. of epoxy to glue 18 feet of 2X5 together including one scarf joint in the middle. My clamps can't span the 7 inch thickness of work surface plus laminations so I borrowed some huge C clamps from the boatyard. These rarely get used and maybe I was the one who last used them about 3 years ago when I glued beams together. I had to clean the clamps and lubricate them to get them working properly.
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After the disappointing reviews of the Chinese solar charge controller I almost bought, I found one that was more expensive but with several positive reviews. It handles 30 amps of power and costs about $100, the Epever 3210AN. I ordered two and coming from China will take a while.
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I've come to the conclusion that I will set up the new mast using the existing ball and socket upper stays as diamond stays from the sockets at the top of the mast down over the spreaders and terminated somewhere lower, we have to avoid the winches, gooseneck, and rope clutches down there, and all the rest of the stays will be attached to tangs hung on bolts with compression tubes (stainless pipe) within the mast and small stainless plates that keep the compression tube within the mast and also provide a way to spread the load of the attachment point so that the thin aluminum won't tear or distort. The stay arrangement can then be like my original cutter rig with two forestays, upper and lower shrouds, and running backstays. I'll be fabricating the stainless parts in the boatyard's metal shop. The rigger here has described his process of fabricating these parts.
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The next day was a repeat of the gluing a layer of planks on the crossbeam, but this was the last layer. The next two gluings will be gluing two layers of the pine planks to the bottom and two layers to the top, the two layers are already glued together, so two big glue jobs left basically gluing 2 2X5's top and bottom of the cedar 4X4.
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The photo was taken of the full supermoon in the direction of the boatyard while at anchor.

Mast and Crossbeam Pt II

20 February 2019 | St Marys, GA
Capn Andy/Cold and Windy
I glued a third piece to the beginnings of the crossbeam, now it was about 23 feet long. The excess will be chopped off and a second layer of 2X4 will be laid on the first. Then a double layer of 2X6 will be glued up, then another double layer of 2X6, then the three double layers will be glued into the final beam with 2 layers of 2X6 on top and bottom and a double row of 2X4 in the middle.
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I am looking at any used rigging wire that is in good condition and will fit this mast. The attachments to the mast are sockets and the wire terminations have semicircular ball fittings on them. The wire passes through the socket and the terminating ball stops at the socket. The other end of the wire is terminated in a stud which is threaded rod that screws into a turnbuckle, or rather the turnbuckle screws onto the stud. In the case where we are making up a new rig with these old parts, mechanical stud terminations are used. These clamp onto the wire with a teardrop shaped slug in the middle of the wire. It is a very strong connection and the wire can be cut to size while the mast is temporarily held in position.
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I finally cut off the excess on the crossbeam and then prepared the surface of the planks to glue up a double row of 2X4's by adding another layer to what was already glued up. This went quickly and used about 12 oz. of epoxy including the thickened second layer. I had not been feeling well the past couple of days so it was good to get some work done. Perhaps I am coming down with the flu.
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I had taken a trip with Radio Bill up to Brunswick and met James Baldwin, not the author, but a guru of Pearson Triton sailboats. He was doing a beautiful job of restoring a Triton for a client. We also visited the marina on Lanier Island where there we more Tritons. The owners flock to Brunswick to get advice, help, and maybe skilled labor from Baldwin.
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I have been working on ideas as to the installation of the new solar panels. The panels are long and narrow with opposite polarity wiring at the ends. Thus, I could easily wire them in series, putting a minus end between two plus ends. The open circuit voltage would then be around 60 volts and at the maximum power point around 53 volts. This is ideal for an MPPT charge controller. Also the higher voltage reduces the amount of current for a given wattage, so smaller wires can be used. Finding a good bang for the buck charge controller isn't easy. The cheap Chinese units are wildly inaccurately described. MPPT controllers turn out to not be MPPT, but PWM, or even worse. The PWM's just measure out the panel voltage at the same voltage as the batteries, so the panels are not operating at their rated wattage which is taken somewhere around 17.5 volts. MPPT controllers accept current from the panels and constantly compute the actual power, current times voltage, and keep it at a maximum. They release current to the batteries at the batteries' voltage, so if you had 175 watt panel you would draw about 10 amps from it, then the battery would receive 175 watts and that would be about 14 1/2 amps. That's almost half again as much as the cheap controllers put out.
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I have been using Sunsei PWM controllers and it is an attractive system and I understood the limitations but had upgraded from the old original panels of 45 watts each to panels of 172 watts each, so I wasn't too concerned about losing some wattage due to the charge controllers. Now I would like to optimize the wattage without paying hundreds of dollars for charge controllers.
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The chinese charge controllers have improved over the past few years and some of them are reliable and effective. I was almost sold on a very cheap controller that would manage 20 amps and it only cost about $30. I would have installed four of them to replace the two Sunsei PWM's. Then I found updated reviews and tests that showed while the cheap controllers did appear to work properly, they would over a period of time drift into a state where they were performing very poorly. It seems you have to spend at least $125 to get a good controller and of course there are many that are much more expensive.
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There is a fellow on YouTube named Adam Welch who has posted some very good videos of solar charge controller performance. He puts metering devices on the input to the controller from the panels and on the output of the controller to the batteries. He can compare what the controller is doing to what the manufacturer is claiming, also he can see if the controller's display is showing correct numbers for electrical parameters.
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Early the next morning I went ashore and did some planing and sanding of the double 2X4 core of the new crossbeam. It is basically a 4X4 and these are rough sawn planks so there were irregularities, but eventually it started looking like a straight 4X4 stick 18 feet long. The next step was to start laminating 2X6's that have been ripped down to just less than 5" width. These are ten foot planks and I could have just scarfed together a pair of them to cover the 18 foot length, but then all the scarf joints would be in the middle of the beam. No no. So I am making one layer two planks with the scarf somewhere in the middle of the beam, and then making the sister plank with a long plank in the middle of the beam and two scarf joints toward the ends of the beam. There will be two layers of these planks top and bottom of the beam. The top layer and the bottom layer will be laminated similarly.
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On the boat, this #4 beam has the 18 foot main traveler track running across from starboard to port. The old beam failed when the forces on the track started lifting the top of the beam from the bottom. The previous builder had already made beam covers and left a gap for the main traveler car to slide the full length of the beam. The beam covers protect all the big bolts and attachment points of the beam to the hull as these were a source of water accumulation and rot in the earliest of the Wharram boats. Wharram didn't envision someone putting a full width traveler track running all the way from port to starboard on the #4 beam, be would not have liked that. It ended up that the beam covers were damaged and never really worked the way the designer intended. Wet leaves and crap could come into the beam trough through the gap made by the traveler track, plus the beam cover was now in two halves, a forward part and an aft part, with really no way to support the edges of the gap over the beam where the traveler track came through. If someone stepped on the beam cover, it would damage it, and also it would obstruct the traveler car, so why have that traveler track go all the way across?
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Why have the traveler track at all, unless to give Harken and Co. additional funds for the expensive track, car, and lots of line to control it all. Some of the smaller Wharrams have evolved a much simpler, nicer, and effective mainsail control that I will adopt from here on out. It is simply a multiple purchase, maybe triple blocks, going to the attachment on the boom and anchored to either side of the boat. You can pull the boom in with one and by hauling in on the other, the boom is brought down and that satisfies the downhaul of the main traveler. The boom can be positioned just about anywhere, plus it automatically gives a preventer, the boom can't gybe unexpectedly and set off on a big swinging strike at the lee shrouds. I will be buying some expensive blocks to set it up, but I already have offers for the old track and car.
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I pop riveted the halyard winches to the new mast, that is, I blind riveted them. The rivet tool from Harbor Freight had worked well even just about a month ago when I was ripping the boom apart, then pop riveting it back together with 1/4" stainless pop rivets. These require a great deal of pressure to snap them in place and I expect to be having extra ibuprofen the next day. But this time the tool wouldn't grip the rivets and the shank of the rivet which is just a piece of wire with a bulb on the end, would slide down inside the rivet and disappear inside the boom. Of course what was left, the body of the rivet, was distorted enough to be impossible to remove, but probably not strong enough out at sea to keep things together.
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The boatyard has a lot of stuff going on all around and even though it is a holiday there are many people in the yard getting at their projects. Probably some of them have extra time off from their day jobs and can invade the boatyard and try to compete in the melee. It happens that my new mast sits next to another of the same manufacture and I've already been in touch with the valiant folks who are wrestling with it. We are kin. But they brought more kin, a young mother and baby, to inspect their project while I am attacking bad blind rivets, prying them up and cutting them down with an angle grinder with a cut off wheel. Big sparks and grit. Even one of those stainless steel rivets goes away quickly when hit with superior power. But I had to relent and warn them what might happen if the baby got hit with molten metal. Then the rivet was gone, damn it, and a few whacks of a hammer on an old screwdriver knocked it into the mast, and I was ready to try another.
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Going through the next week it will be gluing crossbeam laminations together and getting the mast ready. The boatyard is working at getting the big crane operational. When the crane is ready we will be ready to haul out and replace the beam and step the mast, good to go.
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Back up to Brunswick with Bill and I borrowed his car to get a haircut, deposit some checks, and shop at Harbor Freight. All successful. Back at James Baldwin's place the wind was howling with some rain and they were struggling with a Sail Rite sewing machine. They had finished bending tubes for a new Bimini top and now were preparing the sewing machine to stitch the Sunbrella fabric for the top. Soon we were on our way back to St. Marys and stopped at Luigi's for pizza, a dinner treat for Bill and his loan of the car.
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I told him of my rowing in a gale in Connecticut out to my boat on a mooring and our conditions were similar, high winds and rain, but back in the boatyard it let up and I rowed out. The wind was still brisk but the rain may have stopped completely. I zigged and zagged looking for the boat in the dark, then scooted aboard and stowed my stuff. It was only 7:30 but seemed much later.
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The photo is of the boatyard from Kaimu at anchor.
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