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.