Sunday, December 13, 2009


Starboard bulkheads and fridge box construction is underway. Once furniture is roughed in machinery installation, plumbing and wiring can begin.

Progress Photos

Port Townsend delivered anchor rollers and lifeline stanchions.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Forward Cabin Configuration

Also changing is the forward cabin layout.  The new design will allow the anchor locker, sail locker and head areas to work more closely as one cabin for machinery installation, toilet (but not shower) and storage of sails, tools, spare parts and ground tackle I willl also take out the existing portside cabinetry and move the toilet off centerline and over to the port side.  The bulkhead opening between the head area and sail locker will be enlarged.  The holding tank will mount on the port side of the sail locker, the AC compressor in a portside cabinet just aft of the head and the refrigeration compressor on the starboard side.

In contrast to the main salon and galley the cabin before the mast will be workboat like in style with exposed plumbing, easy access to machinery and open shelves for spares and tools.  And if I can get this Dell "all-in-one" to scan as advertised I will post a couple of drawings describing the new layout.

OK let's try this:

A bit rough but approximately to scale (no such thing).  A few labels would also help. Anyway, she will have a port side quarter berth for a crewmen not longer than 6 ft 1"; the pilot gets a 7 ft. starboard berth; the third crewman gets the sole and the fourth, if any, will be a daysailor who can hot sheet with the quarter berth occupant should he or she require a catnap. The Galley will remain to port with the nav station/fridge box opposite. The head will shift from centerline to the port side and face a storage cabinet cum workbench.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Changed my Mind

I should have been a politician.  I have become the king of the flip flop lately.  I have now decided to stick with the previous plan (actually I think it was the prior previous plan) and restore Sea Star as a gaffer. "Is that your final anwser?"  As a sailing friend of mine recently reminded me, "it's about the journey not the destination".  I think the sail plan will be a bit different than Dilkara and Precipice ( the only two gaff rigged BCCs that I have come across thus far). 

Boat Move

Sea Star moved to her winter home in San Leon this week.  This location may look familiar to the Bruckdorfers.  I understand that they spent some serious time in this same shed building a Flicka. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wireless Westsail 32

Colligo Marine brought a "wireless Westsail" to the Annapolis Boat Show.  Check out the aluminum bowsprit with no cranse iron.

Fore Triangle Sail Handling

I want a handling system that will not require any bowsprit sail handling chores, will allow me to tack or gybe a spinnaker thru an open fore traingle and set a trys'l and storm stays'l without having to thread the luff thru a furler slot. I think I can do this using a variation of Shanti's running rigging plan.

First off,  my sail inventory will consist of a main with 2 reef points, stays'l with one reef point and two jibs, a Yankee and a 130 genoa. For heavy weather I will carry a trysail and a storm stays'l, and for light air a drifter. The stays'l and storm stays'l will be hanked on to stainless steel wire inner fore stay ( or is proper term "stays'l stay"?) and rigged with a downhaul. The Yankee will be on a standard foil based type roller furler that can be reefed, again on a stainless steel fore stay.  The backstay (SSB antennea) and both forestays will be wire, all shrouds will be Dynamee by Colligo. The Yankee will be the default jib and will not have to be struck to set the genoa or the spinnaker as these two sails will be set free flying tacked to a bowsprit traveller.

I believe Gary Felton on Shanti sets all jibs free flying behind the permanent fore stay on a Facnor luff line furler using a two part purchase halyard. He cranks down hard on the halyard to get 1200 lbs of tension, enough so that the Dynamee synthetic line sail luff actually takes over the head stay's job. If the halyard did ever fail the fore stay is there to reassume its duties. Gary has field tested his new system and proven it to be plenty stout.  But some have suggested possible disadvantages to this system such as:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Head Plumbing

The plumbing circuit for the head will be straight forward with piping runs and valving kept to a minimum. I will sketch the plumbing circuits before I start buying the materials but first I will describe the system one component and/or line at a time.

The holding tank will have a 12 gallon capacity and will be installed on the port side of the sail locker high up on the hull and as far forward as possible. The top of the tank will be just below the main deck but with enough space to accomodate PVC fittings for pump out, inlet and two vent  lines. The bottom of the side hull tank will be above the waterline thereby satisfying the anti-siphon requirement on the discharge side. The two vent lines will be located on opposite ends of the tank and vent to the outside on port and starboard sides.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Engine Aboard

When Tony Brothers Wrecker Service arrived with the big rig I thought they might have misunderstood me . It appeared they were prepared to pick the boat up instead of the 350 lb Beta Marine.  $150 cash to drop in the auxilliary..... best bargain thus far.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pilot Channel Cutter Ezra

Here are a few photos from our three day charter on 44 foot 26 ton Pilot Channel Cutter Ezra, home port Carboust, Scotland on Isle of Skye. 

Back to Bermudean Mast

The gaff sail plan that Lyle Hess designed for his BCC has a lot of character but that particular set up on the BCC would sail slower and lose as much as 10 degrees of pointing ability. This is based on a review by one of today's better known gaff rig designers. The gaff rig BCC carries 480 sq ft of sail: main, staysail and jib, 560 when you set the tops'l. The Bermudean carries 675 with main, stays'l and jib. The gaff rig would certainly look cool but I am not prepared to give up that much performance.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Lots of challenges in this category. Maintain the traditional look and feel of the vessel, take advantage of today's technology and still keep it simple. There is certainly a limit to how many antennas, sensors and instruments one can cram on to the mast head before she loses the BCC traditional image. And yet it is not necessary to do without GPS driven information, communication or weather forecasting capability. Note to self: be careful though, keep it simple or you will end up fighting downtime and maintenance issues and if you overdo it on instrumentation the whole restoration budget will be blown.

The heart of the system will be a low draw dc powered fanless mini computer (not high dollar ruggidized) permanently mounted at the nav station with standard keyboard and mouse. The computer will drive two VGA monitors, one a 10 inch waterproof touch screen mounted in the cockpit on the portside bulkhead and the other a 15 inch at the nav station. The computer will run chart plotter software and Maretron Nemea 2000 network software. I am leaning toward the Rose Point chart plotter software as they offer radar with chart overlay support in case I decide to move to Maine. The Nemea 2000 Maretron network will probably be the world’s smallest with tri-data info, gps and tank volume data only . Redundancy when Windows XP displays the blue screen of death?........ hand held Garmin and lead line.

Communication equipment will be VHF radio and AIS receiver with one antennae and a splitter. Does AIS fall into the Communication or Navigation category?  Both I guess.  Will Rose Point display AIS info on the chart.  Maybe it would it be better to have a stand alone AIS with its own display so it does not have to rely on the PC?

Weather, I don't know yet. Maybe XM radio for the summer but they charge a fortune. Best to wait until I need to rig up for an extended cruise (outside of Galveston Bay would be a good start :-) )

Leaving for Annapolis tomorrow to attend boat show. The maritime shopping binge continues

Monday, October 5, 2009


Yesterday I received a copy of the Gaff rig sail plan that Lyle Hess originally drew for the Bristol Channel Cutter. Good stuff ! I will scan it in before the week is out.

The pole mast stands 40' 4" above the water. The plan shows a a 120 sq foot yankee jib with the clew on 3' pennant line, a 126 sq. ft stays'l with the head on a 2 part purchase, a 243 sq foot main with one reef point and an 84 sq foot tops'l. The total sail area for this plan is 573 sq ft. With a full jib in lieu of the yankee the total area goes up to 675 sq ft. The plan strikes me as conservative. I would have thought the 8 ft bowsprit would have been 10 ft. And, surprisingly, the main is only marginally larger than the Bermudean cut mains'l. I want to be very careful about making any significant changes but on the other hand, I will probably often sail without the tops'l so more main and less top'l would be a good thing. I could add 6" to the boom length, 18" to the luff and a second reef point. The main then becomes 275 feet and the tops's 65 feet. I likey.

The spars will be spruce. The mast and gaff will be hollow and the boom solid. According to the Pardeys, stuff the mast full of aluminum foil and the boat becomes a much bigger radar target. 

A rule of thumb.... 7/8" of mast diameter for every foot of boat beam, entonces 8" diameter mast.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gaff or Bermudean?

In his essay titled "The Ideal Sailing Rig" naval architect Michael Karstan discusses the advantages and disadvantages of different sail plans and hull shapes.  He makes a compelling case for the gaff rig, albeit with a short gaff, no Tops'ls and a single bridled gaff halyard.  A few questions immediately come to mind:

If the gaff has only one halyard do you sacrifice some trim capability and run a greater risk of fouling the main when you drop the sail. The throat halyard is for raising sail and the peak halyard for trimming.  N'est pa?

With the more traditional two halyard rig you can drop the peak to "scandalize" the main and quickly de-power.  I suppose you lose that capability if you have only one gaff halyard?

Just looking at the single halyard's angle of approach it appears there would be more potential for a fouled gaff when you drop the main.  I would rather have to handle two halyards than climb the mast to unfoul a jammed gaff.  Comments? 
Below are excerpts from Mr. Karstan's essay relating specificly to his views on the gaff rig.  To read the complete text click here  What's the Ideal Sailing Rig?

Is the Gaff Rig Suited to Modern Cruising...?
If windward sailing is of paramount importance then of course the Bermuda rig has much to recommend it.

For modern day cruising the gaff rig is often maligned. In my view, for blue water voyaging the gaff rig has much to offer.

If a vessel's keel is shaped efficiently and if the sails are cut for maximum efficiency on the wind and if the sail plan has been designed well, a gaff rigged boat will perform incredibly well, in many cases besting the performance of

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Isle of Skye

"Talisker 57 degrees North" is a brand of 10 year old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey produced by the only distillery on the Isle of Sky.  The distillery is located in Carboste, Scotland  at 57 degrees north latitude and the whiskey is 57% alcohol by volume.  Carboste is on the Loch of Harporte and is home to one pub, one inn, one shop, one distillery, one post office and one mooring.  The mooring is home to "Ezra" a 44 foot 26 ton Pilot Cutter owned and sailed by Captain "on my command" Sam and wife Ingrid.  Sailing Ezra  

Last week I had the pleasure of crewing for them for three wet, cold, and force 6 to 7, days. "Good on ya, David.  But so bloody what?", you may now be thinking.  So, the Sea Star rebuild plan has changed.  When she is restored Sea Star will return as "Rose" a gaff rigged BCC. "Rose" in a nod to HMS Rose, the British Navy Frigate that roamed American shores in his majesty's service during the Revolutionary War. "Rose" for mother-in-law Rose ( I need the points) and granddaughter Chloe Rose. "Rose" for rose from the seabed. And gaff rigged so she will both look and sail as she was meant to.  

Next week I will post some Sailing Ezra photos. 

Friday, September 18, 2009

Standing Rigging

The standing rigging will be 5/16 in 1x19 stainless steel for the backstay and forestays and 7mm  Dynex Dux synthetic line for the shrouds. Dynex Dux is a 12 strand synthetic line that has similar stretch characteristics to 1x19 wire rope. In fact it can easily be sized so that there is less stretch than wire rope with a minimal windage increase. Colligo Marine will provide the Dux with their fastener and distributer lashing fittings. Colligo Marine  There will be some weight saved aloft using the Dux line and on deck by eliminating the turnbuckles. With some minor exceptions I will be following BCC Shanti's lead. The Shanti website provides a more detailed description of the line and its application for standing and running rigging.  BCC Shanti

The whisker stays will be stainless steel, the bobstay and boomkin stays will be bronze rod just as she was rigged before the storm..

I am planning on using  a highfield lever on the inner forestay so I can get it out of the way to jibe a head sail. The staysail may be hank on or I may use standard furling gear.  The jibtop, yankee or drifter will be free flying.  The head sails will be handled with a  luff line furler at the end of the bow sprit on a 2 to 1 purchase halyard and a bowsprit traveller.

Running Rigging

The jib halyard will be rigged on a 2 to 1 purchase in order to get some tension on free flying head sails.  All of the head sails will be cut with a Dux line sewn in the luff.  All the head sails, yankee, jibtop and drifter, will be sent out to the end of the (round) bowsprit on a traveller by Classic Marine UK  Classic Marine UK with clews attached to a Colligo Marine luff line furler.

I can't decide whether to put the staysail on a standard furler or just leave it hank on. I am inclined to put it on a furler, if it gets so rough that I need to douse a staysail, best I stay put in the cockpit.  On the other hand, if the staysail is hanked on the stay I could buy a sail with a reef point so I could "get small" if I had to and still maintain some shape and pointing ability. If the staysail is hanked on do you then need to rig up a downhaul?

All the Halyards will be external and terminate at the base of the mast not led aft to the cockpit.  With the departure of the propane boxes there will be some additional working space around the mast for my size 13s.  Only sheets will terminate in the cockpit. She has no cockpit or coaming lockers (other than the lazerette) so the less cockpit clutter the better.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Progress Photos

These two shots best illustrate year to date repair progress.  I hope to have her all the way back by May of next year but if it takes longer so be it. There are more damage and progress photos posted on Flickr at:

Galley Configuration

The galley will be located mid ship to port, forward of the port side settee just as before Ike damage. The Force 10 3 burner plus oven stove will be replaced by a 2 burner Wallas diesel cook top with heater blower attachment. This heater/ stove top will be fueled directly from the main diesel tank. The pick-up line has been installed in the new fuel tank.  Wallas assures me that diesel odor will not be an issue. The electronic burn control system provides a clean burn and the direct vent system will intake air and exhaust gases through the same line within a line running from galley aft to the port quarter exiting the hull 12 in below main deck level.

The larger house battery capacity and improved battery charge rates will allow usage of a small 700 watt counter top microwave as well as an electric griddle/grill both of which will be stowed away in drawers below the counter top and out of sight. In leiu of the oven which I rarely used we will have two good size drawers below the cook top.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Anchor Windlass

The plan is to replace the teak sampson posts with deck mounted bronze sprit gammoning iron and sprit heel tie down by Port Townsend to open up chain locker access below decks. The ABI manual windlass will be replaced with a Muir Atlantic 1000 bronze vertical electric windlass with capstan and cockpit remote.

I am rethinking the third battery bank dedicated to windlass idea based on a West Marine advisory I recently read :
“Though some experts may disagree, we believe that the best way to power a windlass is from the existing house battery bank, rather than from a separate battery in the bow. We suggest you use your boat's "house" battery to power your windlass installation. To limit voltage drop and ensure that the windlass operates at full capacity, cabling for the power circuit must be of the correct size for the amperage draw of the windlass. Not only does a dedicated battery add to the already appreciable weight of the windlass, anchor and rode, it presents charging and maintenance difficulties. The weight and cost savings of using short cables between the battery and the windlass, instead of long ones from the windlass to the house battery bank (which is presumably far away), is offset by the weight and cost of cables necessary to charge a bow battery. Charging cables must be sized to handle any potential charging load. This is liable to be less than the maximum windlass draw, but could still be 50-100 amps, so the cable size would be almost as large as those required to power the windlass from the house bank. In addition, charging a battery over a long distance can involve large amounts of current flow for an extended period of time (assuming a heavily discharged battery), which in turn could lead to a voltage drop, heat build-up, and/or a large electromagnetic field. In contrast, a windlass draws current in short bursts, so the cables supplying it will not be under continuous use.”

Hull Repairs

Juan and his crew finished repairs to the fiber glass and new gel coat application last month.   The lay up schedule was in accordance to specs provided by Cape George.  Starboard side main bulkheads and the engine install should be finished by end September. 

Interior Layout

One of Sea Star's restoration goals is to create the illusion of a larger interior space and to in fact enlarge the living space. The sole will be dropped two inches to increase headroom to six foot three inches. The water tanks will have to be rebuilt and some pot water volume sacrificed but dings to this bald head of mine will be minimized.

In the main cabin the small L part of the cabinets and the associated countertop will be removed. For now there will be no table or back settee cushions. The deep built-in battery box/step will be eliminated and batteries relocated port below the quarterberth and starboard in the new machinery space created by eliminating the starboard quarter berth. The starboard side settee seat will be much narrower at 15 inches allowing for construction of the 82 by 26 inch pilot berth.

But the most dramatic design change, both from an interior layout and an engineering standpoint, will be the deck stepped mast compression post re-design. The mast will be deck stepped just as before Ike but stepped on a bridge 34 inches long by 12 inches wide installed on the main deck where the propane tank boxes used to sit ( the new Sea Star will have no propane). Below decks there will be two compression posts each 15 inches off centerline extending to the reinforced hull bottom with loads redirected to the top of ballast.......more on this with some photos later in the rigging category. The rectangular door separating the main and forward cabins will be wider and postioned exactly on the boat's centerline helping to create the illusion of one large cabin when the door is open.

The forward cabin will appear more spacious by removing the port side upper storage cabinets in favor of a full depth countertop w/ sink.

The space aft of the pilot berth below the starboard cockpit seat will be dedicated to storage and machinery installation. This space will be accessed from the interior of the cabin rather than a new cockpit locker as originally contemplated.

I need to scan a layout of the New Sea Star ( to be re-christened in May 2010, (approx give or take a year); I'm thinking "Rose".


After looking at various options I have decided on the Lavac head. The bowel is evacuated by the vacum generated by the Henderson manual bilge pump that mounts separately on a bulkhead; there are no other moving parts. Before flushing the toilet, the lid, which has a rubber seal under it, is lowered. By giving about 10 good strokes on the pump, a vacuum is created within the bowl and rinse water is simultaneously drawn in at the top of the bowl. To prevent any chance of back-siphoning raise the toilet so that its rim is above the boat's waterline.

The 1.5 inch discharge line will have an electric discharge pump to evacuate the holding tank overboard when offshore. This line must have a vented loop to prevent back siphoning. The pump out line will be a separate line independent from the overboard discharge line. The schematic on the Lavac website also shows a ¾ inch hose bib rinse out line for the holding tank. Lavac

By using the same Henderson model for the cockpit mounted bilge pump one spare rebuild kit can service either one.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Auxiliary Power

The Beta Marine 902 25 hp is slightly smaller in terms of  dimensions, weight and horse power than the Yanmar 27 that was in the boat.    According to Beta the 3 cylinder, naturally aspirated, diesel develops 25 bhp at 3,600 rpm with a swept volume of 898 cc The engine is supplied complete with a heat exchanger and header tank, water cooled exhaust manifold, fresh and sea water pumps, cast injection bend, mechanical fuel lift pump, fuel and oil filters, sump pump, flywheel with heavy inertia ring for super smooth running at low rpm, flywheel housing, special quiet air intake filter, 12 volt starter, two paralleled 70 amp battery charging alternators, shutdown solenoid, control panel "A" (with keystart switch and push button stop, warning lights and alarm buzzer for low oil pressure, high water temperature, no charge, and power on);  a 3m interconnection cable with multi pin plug and sockets to engine harness. Gearbox with nominal 2.6:1 reduction, heavy duty engine feet with flexible mountings, flexible coupling disc on gearbox, "Morse" type end fittings for speed and gear control, engine test certificate, operators manual. Red paint and packed on skid base with a 3 year “Self Service” warranty.

Battery Management

The house battery bank will consist of four Slim Line Mastervolt AGMs with a total capacity of 460 amp hours. A separate type one will be dedicated to engine start duty. Battery amp hours will be replenished by the two 70 amp alternators running in parallel and controlled by a single Adverc battery management system with split charging of the two battery banks via 95 amp blocking diodes. Twin Alternators Adverc subscribes to the view that the most effective method of split-charging two banks is the blocking-diode method for charging the batteries combined with a Battery Selector Switch to distribute battery output, combining automatic charging with flexibility in terms of battery selection. Split Charging Systems

I will also use Adverc's DCM MKIII to monitor battery status instead of the Linksys that used to be on the boat.. Adverc DCM Monitor