I’ve been incredibly busy lately with doing spring maintenance on the
boat. Not much in terms of things actually breaking, but I’m a big fan
of preventing stuff from going south, short of having two of everything
and swapping stuff all the time. The previous owner of this boat had
both deep pockets and a passion for having a backup for just about
everything. toilet parts, heat exchangers, 3 alternators, spare starter,
ten belts – even a spare (new) engine, which I’m deeply disappointed I
didn’t buy off him!
I don’t have the zeal of funds for that kind of insurance but I do try
to keep up. I replaced the mainsail halyard (almost $200.00), and had to
recall a ten-year unrequired skill for doing eye splices. Being a bit
rusty the halyard shackle splice is a little ugly, but it’s functional. I
had 15′ of rope left over which I whipped into a new mooring line (the
splice on that one turned out much nicer; I guess doing a perfect 1″ eye
takes more skill than a 8″ one.
The tach has also been acting up so I decided to have a look at it. Sometimes it doesn’t read properly but usually all it takes is a good whack to bring it back in line. Lately the whack required is getting excessive so I knew I had to look at it. Since physical violence usually cows, the problem is mechanical, not electronic.
I hate pulling off the dash as it’s a mess behind there but I’ll be
damned if I’m going to tidy it up. The connections are secure and tight so I know the problem is in the tach itself.
First problem is the tach is non-servicable. If you look at the front you can see that the retaining ring is wrapped around the shell and crimped, which means getting it off will likely mangle stuff. Bugger!
As it turned out, the metal was aluminum and came off fairly easily. These things are pretty complex inside.
I pulled the circuit board out and checked all the solder joints, and they seemed okay. I sprayed the controls with contact cleaner, stuck it back into the dash and damned if it didn’t work again. That’s always a good feeling.
As I mentioned in a previous post, my genoa is in pretty sad shape. years of rolling it up has created folds in the fabric, which has broken the vertical fibers and weakened it in several locations. Some of these have started to tear and during a raucous spring sail one blew right out. the UV stripe at the foot is rotted out and with all these tears I was concerned if it is repairable.
I took it to a local sail loft and I have to admit I’m troubled with the response I got. The fellow told me that this is a special one-off type of sail. Made by Doyle, it was built of very heavy, very strong fabric that encorporates two types of fibres – Dacron and another that I can’t recall the name he used. This accounted for the yellow-ish colour of the fabric. The second fibre is very strong but sensitive to UV degradation.
What he told me is that this material had degraded and that accounted for the horizontal tears – the vertical filaments had weakened and so you can easily rip horizontally across the sail. He then proceeded to try to sell me a new sail.
Now the argument sems sound as far as it goes, but there was one problem that I repeatedly pointed out and he repeatedly dismissed. The only place you can rip the sail is across these creases where the sail has folded for the last many years. It seems to me that if there was overall UV degradation of the sail you should be able to rip it anywhere, not just across these creases. and the non-creased main is the same stuff and presumably the same age and it doesn’t have this problem.
The creases are a real issue as there are so many, but his argument isn’t washing with me. This was a very expensive, very strongly built offshore sail, and I don’t want to toss it on a whim. there’s been previous work done on this sail and I suspect the creasing has been a problem for a long time. Normally you sew a cloth UV strip onto one side of the sail, the side that shows when it’s furled. Sometime in the past North Sails attached a UV strip that wraps right around the leach and adheres to both sides, like a huge strip of tape. I suspect this was to strengthen the leech and try to support it from creasing. This sail fabric is like thin cardboard and that’s why it always creases at the same point and creases hard.
The sailmaker has a new technical sail that he would sail me at a huge discount as it was cut for a boat that had a mistaken measurement. Or he could make me a new one. Or we could try and fix this one (no warranty). Alternatively, I have a lead on a used sail that is in great condition for an excellent price, but would need to be cut down for my boat. The problem with most of these options is that I would then have an excellent, offshore capable main with a garden-variety genoa. This used sail I looked at is great but you can see it has a fraction of the strength of my old genoa; the fittings and reinforcing is much, much less.
Of course a lighter genoa would be a hell of a lot less work than dragging across and winching in an 80 lb sail when tacking.
as usual, everything is a compromise.
We finally finished that construction project, and not too soon for me. I was glad for the work, but it was sooo much more than we expected. But I’m proud of what we accomplished.
The owner is selling, and I think we greatly increased the value of his house, considering the ugly rotten mess that used to be there. And because it is built properly this time and will shed water, it won’t rot out in twenty years.
This is what we started with. I wish I had taken pictures to show what it first looked like before we pulled off the rot. The old wood filled a twenty cubic yard dumpster!
And as if I didn’t have enough on the go, check out my latest project:
I paid $300.00 for it. It’s a 200cc and will do 120kph with two passengers (apparently). All it needs is a little electrical work, a tune up, a battery and seat cover and it’ll be worth $1200.00 I figure. It’s funny how people will let something go so cheap rather than just learning how to fix stuff. I got it started for the first time yesterday and it ran great, although the carb needs cleaning. It’s nice that it’s a 4-stroke – very smooth clean and quiet.. It will be fun bombing around on it until it sells.