Venture Minimalists: The adventures of S/V Robin

Currently in the rebuild stage. Voyage begins this winter!

07 October 2011 | Stuart, FL
07 October 2011 | Russellville
05 April 2011 | Stuart, FL

Engine room woes

07 October 2011 | Stuart, FL
The engine had to come out...
At least that was what I thought by the end of my attempt at transmission removal (input spline rusted solid to the engine damper plate), I found out later that I should have just rotated the engine to remove each of the damper plate bolts and pulled it out as one piece.
Now I'm glad I did pull the engine, because I am cleaning, re-plumbing and rewiring this thing (and the entire engine room) properly, then giving it a fresh coat of paint, in this case: a four stage full engine repaint kit of Por 15 in bright yellow instead of the cheap blue Rustoleum from the previous owner. The engine swinging in the picture is a Mercedes OM636, a 42 horsepower beast of iron designed in the 1930's for early Mercedes diesel cars, and later pushed to industrial and farm tractor use, then used in most of the German and Swiss military Unimogs until they were later marinised by Penta and Nanni diesel. This one, I believe, was a Penta, but it now has an assortment of marinisation parts. Luckily there are a couple diesel motorheads in the world still providing full support and parts.
The project was put on hold for a couple days while we finish the vee berth so we can actually move aboard. We had been "living" on it full time until the engine removal, but in reality we were still sleeping on the settes and tossing our clothes bags around while cleaning and sorting the many compartments in the boat. Today it should be a home.

New dinghy build

07 October 2011 | Russellville
I built a new dinghy this summer. It was built at my parent's house and childhood home with my wife and mate Sarah and my father, Phillip Lea, who jointed us in re-launching in his highly modified Toon-2 after some repairs. It will be a yacht tender for our floating home, S/V Robin. It was built to Jim Michalak's Vole plans (available from duckworks bbs), but we made some modifications to suit our needs.

First, the as-designed 16 foot mast on the 55 square foot sprit-boomed leg-o-mutton is unwieldy on deck, so I substituted a 50 square foot sprit rig. I prefer the look of square sails anyway. The spars are laminated southern yellow pine, and are finished slightly under dimensions to either the Vole or the Slam Dink plans, with a long parabolic taper to the point. Bringing those spars down to a smooth taper with a plane and a spoke shave was my favorite part of the build, except maybe seeing them take on their final coat of varnish.
The hull and interior boxes are built of 5.5mm Superply XL exterior underlayment, and we chose to fiberglass the entire exterior ending under the gunwales in hopes of extending the life of a dinghy that will spend a good potion of its life in the water and being lifted (and undoubtedly bashed around) on and off deck in slings. The seat tops are 1/4" a/c southern yellow pine exterior plywood for stiffness.

All the framing is done with southern yellow pine, and the mast step, mast partner, the aft knees, and the skeg are red oak. I found that the red oak vented air and caused bubbles in the epoxy and ended up needing a sanding and a second coat to fill all the pores.
Also, at dinghy docks, inflatables are the norm, and other yachties aren't keen on seeing external leeboard hardware grinding against their silly rubber ballons, so I put in a daggerboard case instead of the leeboard as drawn, and made two dagger boards, a two foot one for sailing and a 3" deep one for better tracking while rowing and sculling.

I wanted it to have positive flotation and dry storage, so I put in a large up-swept box forward for a rowing seat and two enclosed box seats aft for sailing or motoring. There is also a center thwart that supports the daggerboard case and connects the three boxes.

Hope you like it, because I know I do! It sails faster than an optimist pram on an average day, and motors and rows easily. Plus at nearly 5 feet wide it is stable enough that I can almost stand on the gunwale!

Dinghy Sailing

05 April 2011 | Stuart, FL
The calm after the storm this evening. It wasn't anything bad, but it made us realize that this boat will move a lot more than we first expected while at anchor. This morning, a few hours before the storm, with winds at a stable 10 knots, I decided to rig the dinghy (a custom 8 foot hard fiberglass stem dinghy) while the outboards are still in the shop since I have gotten tired of rowing all the time. It was a reach both ways, but with dock was on the leeward side the whole time, so it was a bit harrowing. I managed a lovely dinghy sail straight up to the dock through a 20 foot inlet, gybing with my bow within feet of the dock, then easing the main sheet to a slightly leeward drift into the dock between two other dinghies without even touching them. Since I rigged the mainsheet to a quicksnap, I can now unclip the sheet, hand douse the sail by bringing the boom to the mast and wrap the whole kit along with the now-free sheet around the mast and boom, then clip the sheet to the boom block, and the sail is tight in bundle around the mast in about 10 second if no lines snag. I managed the gybe, dock tie off, and hand douse of the sail in about 30 well executed seconds and was on the dock unloading the trash and recyclables a moment later. The old salts on the patio had stood up to watch this young idiot sailing in 10 knots up to the dinghy dock on the leeward side hoping for a chuckle, but in the end they applauded. Looking back that was the proudest and stupidest/luckiest moment in years. I had only rigged the boat yesterday with random lines laying about in the lockers and had gybed it in open water once.
Vessel Name: Robin
Vessel Make/Model: Cheoy Lee Luders 36
Hailing Port: Russellville, AR
Crew: Sarah and Andrew
About: Andrew is 30 and Sarah is 29 years old. We saved for a few years to make a major life change and begin living aboard and cruising a sailboat.
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Robin's Photos -

Who: Sarah and Andrew
Port: Russellville, AR