|Vessel Name:||Meta Fog|
|Vessel Make/Model:||Baba 30|
|Hailing Port:||St Paul, MN|
|About:||Just me and my family|
Meta Fog has been resting in her cradle for a few years. But she's not decommissioned yet! My family and I are going to give this little cutter a new lease on life, and we hope to have her in the water before midsummer 2019!
This weekend we took Meta Fog out of the marina for the first time. We had a great trip!
Meta fog sails like a dream. She's heavy and not particularly nimble or quick to come about, but she handles pretty well in my inexperienced judgement, and sails like a dream. Like a dream. . She's so well balanced, several times I forgot the auto pilot wasn't engaged and she sailed herself for quite some time before I noticed. The cutter rig is a lot of fun to sail, tricky as it may be to tack.
I found my Rocna Vulcan anchor to be easy to set and good holding in sand bottoms and light wind. I have little doubt that it will continue to perform well in more adverse conditions. We anchored our second night out in about 30 feet of water - more than I would have dared with the nylon rode in my previous boat. But the 1/4" chain and Vulcan 15 held us in place just fine.
I was able to get the dinghy to hold air just fine. The screw on caps were clearly more critical to the bombard than they are on the PRU-3, but once snugged in, the dinghy has not leaked appreciably for a few days. I did manage to break an oarlock - the plastic was clearly brittle from the sun, and I suspect this dinghy wasn't rowed much as the oars are short and clearly meant as an auxiliary power source to an engine. Before I use the Honda 2hp 4 stroke that came with the boat though, I need to get the dinghy registered with the state of Wisconsin or face the potential wrath of Wi DNR.
I had a little trouble with the head. The anti siphon valve has been dripping icky water down onto the floor in the head cabinet. I tried to open it up and take a look - that was a mistake. Then I had a bit of cleanup to do. I suspect either the valve isn't functioning well or the holding tank might just have been full, which it did indeed appear to be when I had it pumped out upon returning. I need to continue experimenting with it. Otherwise, the head has worked wonderfully well with no leaks. Hurrah, first head plumbing project was a success!
The big complaint online about the boat's performance is making progress to windward in light air, and indeed I struggled to make it upwind in about 3 knots. But otherwise the boat sails quite well. I was very impressed! It's responsive to the helm and has a good solid feel when the waves push her about. We find the accommodations comfortable and think we'd probably have space enough for indefinite cruising, assuming we didn't take along too much stuff. The galley worked well, the engine did swimmingly, and overall, we're very happy with the boat so far. Good job, meta fog!
This week we got the mast back on Meta Fog.
After some initial difficulties resolved by bleeding some air, I've had very good luck with the engine the few times I've used it to move back and forth to the launch / mast stepping crane, so I'm gaining confidence in that system. The electrical systems seem to be working well too. I've added a solar charge controller by Victron that is bluetooth enabled and can show charge and usage power, which is pretty neat ( though I'm not running the load through it yet). The data verifies that the 50 watt panel can keep the batteries topped off without an AC charger, with light use. I alread swapped almost all the lights for LEDs and there aren't many high current systems (the tiller autopilot is probably the highest draw) so I'm hoping that means the 50W panel is enough for some degree of independence from the AC umbilical cord.
I also rewired the mast with new Anchor Marine grade wiring and heat shrunk crimps. I used some waterproof cable pigtails I bought online for the purpose, which really came in handy when it came to running the wiring. Meta Fog has a deck stepped mast, so the connectors are under the step and need enough extra length to pick up the mast so you can get in there and disconnect them. I considered replacing the steaming / foredeck light but decided not to - the foredeck light is not essential equipment, and the steaming light will likely have more than enough power from the generator. Anchor light went LED. I also connected LED spreader spotlights, but after everything went together I couldn't get them to actually illuminate for an unknown reason. At least of all the lights, those were the best ones to mess up :P
It's great to see the mast back on the boat. I ordered a new Loos tension guage of the proper size so I can get the rig properly tight. Before I put the mast back on, I pulled the chainplates, took a close look at them (minor corrosion, but the shop agreed serviceable) and put them back in. The first pair I put back in with silkaflex. It worked all right. The rest of them ( 2 mains and 2 aft lowers, having already done the intermediates) I thought better and bedded with Bed-It butyl tape. I was skeptical, but the stuff is fantastic - so, so much easier to clean up and work with than the curing adhesives.
To seal the chainplates with butyl tape, I started by cleaning them as clean as I could. Then I took a flat file to the inside of the hole to clean that up and expose some fresh material and clean out all the old sealant. I took a small round file to the corners and anything else too uneven to fit. Then, I wrapped a big gob of butyl tape tightly around the chainplate, starting just about where the bottom came out of the deck, and thinkening up to just about where I thought the top would come out of the deck. I worked the plate in, squeezing all I could of the butyl tape into the chainplate slot, then slid the deckplate atop, squished it down as best I could, cleaned off the extra and screwed it down.
So far the chainplates seem good and watertight. I was skeptical at first but this bed-it butyl tape seems as awesome as folks say - much easier cleanup and handling and likely a better seal, too. Chainplates work so much, the super stretchy, tacky butyl tape might end up a much better seal on the chainplates.
In sadder news, I'm afraid my came-with-the-boat 6' bombard inflatable is not staying particularly inflated. I couldn't locate any leaks, but it has been deflating throughout the day since I filled it this morning. I have a newer PRU-3 dinghy I can use instead, but it's bigger and heavier, so I was kind of excited about the bombard. Maybe I can patch it, or maybe those little over-the-valve-plugs are more functional in this model than they are in my PRU-3 where they appear strictly cosmetic . We'll see. The awesome looking 2hp honda that also came with the boat ran fine for me when I tested this spring, so as soon as I have a dinghy I think it will also be ready for a sea trial.
So, haven't been sailing again quite yet, but soon now!