No. 45 - October 1981

 

FIN KEEL 22 TRAILERING

Mark Stephenson (#463)

 

Until last year, my 22 spent summers in the water and winters on a cradle. However, I knew it was only a matter of time until I would be transferred to a land locked city. If I ever wanted to sail my 22 on the Great Lakes again, I would have to get a trailer. The articles I had read about trailering a fin keel 22 in the Tanzer Newsletters were not at all encouraging. I wanted nothing to do with tongue extenders, winches, cranes, etc. I then heard about a new E-Z Loader trailer designed to launch a fin keel sailboat from a standard launching ramp with no trouble and with no tongue extenders either. I bought one and in two years of use, I have yet to find a ramp I couldn't use. Simply back the trailer into the water until the back wheels of the car are just touching the water. (The fin is still only in the water about 12 inches). As the boat rolls back on the trailer, a unique system of pivoting roller supports actually tilts the boat until it enters the water at an angle greater than the ramp. Retrieval is almost as easy. Getting 3000 lbs. uphill is a lot of work with any trailer. I usually draw a crowd of onlookers who try to figure out what I'm going to do with a sailboat stuck on the ramp. To their surprise, it works great every time.

 

 

WAITING

Jana Soeldner Danger

White Bear Lake, MN

 

For a week we've been waiting.

 

Waiting for the wind to change so we can cross the Gulf Stream and begin our six week vacation in the Bahamas.

 

We're tense, on edge.

 

But the wind continues out of the north, whistling down the coast of Florida, chilling the tourists who wander the beaches and preventing sailors from crossing the stream. Because when winds from the north meet the north-flowing Gulf Stream, large waves and rough seas are often the result. Even sailors with large boats don't like to make the crossing in a north wind. With Piedaterre, our Tanzer 22, we must be doubly cautious.

 

Back home in Minnesota, friends with larger boats were incredulous that my husband and I would attempt such a journey in so small a boat. Weren't we afraid to take her on the ocean? How would we manage to live aboard such a small craft for six weeks? And besides, it was a long, long way from Minnesota to southern Florida, a journey we'd have to make with Piedaterre rolling behind us on a trailer.

 

All kinds of things could go wrong.

 

But we had confidence in Piedaterre. And it would cost almost as much to charter in the Bahamas for a week as it would to take our own boat for six. We decided to make the trip our way.

 

Now, at Miamarina, we are listening to weather forecasts and waiting for the wind to change. Seems among all the boats tied up in the marina, Piedaterre looks even smaller than at home: we wonder if perhaps we've made a mistake. But the adventure is begun, and there is no turning back.

 

Finally, the forecasters predict that the wind will switch within the next 24 hrs. Our small boat will take about 10 hours to reach Bimini, 42 miles away, and we must arrive while it is daylight if we are to navigate the harbour. That means leaving Miami during the night or very early morning hours. We decide to get up at 1:00 a.m. to see if conditions are favorable for making the crossing.

 

Excited about the possibility of leaving at last, I have a difficult time falling asleep. Finally I drift off, and the next thing I know Terry is calling me.

 

"The wind is out of the west", he informs me, "so I guess we go".

 

We motor out of the channel and head toward the ocean. The waning moon hangs low in the sky, a half-eaten piece of melon. Once past the marking buoy, we raise sail. Because we are wearing lifejackets and are bound to the boat with safety harnesses, every task is more complicated than under inland water conditions.

 

At last we enter the treacherous, unpredictable Gulf Stream. This is the crossing to which we have intermittently looked forward and dreaded for months.

 

Known for its capriciousness, the stream is regarded with respect even by sailors with large boats. Already we have heard numerous stories of 12 and 14 foot waves from people who have been caught in heavy seas while making the crossing. Although we have taken special care to choose a night when the weather predictions are favorable, we are nervous.

 

Traveling east toward Bimini, we run before the west wind, exhilarated with our adventure. But an hour later, the wind begins shifting again, and before long it has gone around 180 degrees - now it's coming from the east.

 

That means it's right on the nose. It doesn't take us long to decide we are being blown too far off course and we need to turn on the motor.

Even in the relatively light wind that is blowing, the ocean swells make the boat roll considerably. The motion takes its toll on my stomach and I'm sick. After­ward I feel better. But it's freezing cold, and we are chilled even though we're bundled in sweaters and winter jackets.

 

I take a nap in the cockpit while Terry steers. Then it's my turn to take the tiller.

 

Terry dozes quickly, and I am alone with the ocean. I know I must stay exactly on course, or we may miss Bimini. With no self-steering device, that means keeping my eyes constantly trained on the compass.

Staring out at the darkness for a moment, I think about how small our boat really is. The water here is hundreds of fathoms deep, and Piedaterre is all that is between us and Davy Jones.

 

We are traveling entirely under motor power. I wonder if we will run out of gas. How’re can we go, traveling against the wind, on the 10 gallons we had when we started?

 

By the time Terry gets up, the sun is rising. Daylight makes me feel more cheerful.

 

I take a turn sleeping. When I wake, there is still nothing to be seen but ocean. We sail on and on.

 

I'm seasick again. Then I realize I'm also hungry. We haven't had anything to eat since supper the night before. But all our food is in the cabin below, and going into it increases my nausea. Even Terry, who hasn't really been sick yet, can't handle the motion in the cabin.

At last Terry peers off to the left. "I think I see trees", he says happily. The island is still so far in the distance that I can't distinguish it from the rolling water. But I gladly take his word for it.

 

It is another two hours before we finally arrive at Bimini. Piedaterre has braved the ocean fearlessly, and we're proud of her.

 

After going through customs, we pull into the nearest marina. The dock master, Jerry, greets us ebulliently, making us feel welcome.

Once we are tied up to the dock, we remember how hungry we are and go searching for lunch. After we eat, we return to the marina and visit with other sailors. We share toasted almonds and rum with a couple from California; they have a sturdy little 20 footer named Whisper, the only boat smaller than ours we will see on our trip. And we talk with the crew on Bonnie Scott, a 47 foot sloop that has been stuck for days with a broken rudder. Bonnie has all the comforts of home, including a deep freeze packed with roasts and steaks.

 

Later we explore Alice Town, really just a long, narrow street lined with low, pastel­ colored buildings that serve as restaurants and shops.

 

The following afternoon I see a native Bahamian on the dock cleaning conchs, the shell­fish which are known on the islands as the national food. I bargain for four of the creatures and take the meat back to the boat, where the couple from Whisper are visiting with Terry.

After I pound the conchs paper thin as the guidebook instructs, I coat them with batter and fry them. When they are done, we pour on Tabasco sauce and lemon juice and the four of us enjoy a feast.

 

That night we are invited over to Bonnie Scott. Jerry, the dock master we met earlier, is there, and he sings for us. Sipping wine, we watch his long, dark fingers crawl up and down the neck of his guitar while he belts out song after song.

 

But it's time to be on our way again. After breakfast the next morning, some of our new friends cast off our lines and we leave on the second leg of our voyage.

 

This time, our destination is an island 72 miles away, which means about 20 hours of sailing. Between us and the island is nothing but water.

 

But we are traveling across the Bahama Banks, and the water is fairly shallow this time. We raise sail to enjoy perfect winds and sunshine. Piedaterre fairly dances through the waves, which are the turquoise color of a swimming pool.

 

But as darkness falls, the air turns cold and we bundle up in jackets again. Neither of us puts on rain gear, though, and enough waves splash into the cockpit so that we quickly become damp. The night ahead looks like a long one.

 

At midnight I take the tiller for a two hour watch. Terry goes below to sleep, leaving me alone.

 

Except for the running lights and the faint glow of the instruments, it is totally dark. I realize suddenly that if one of us fell overboard, the other would never find the victim. Our lifejackets have small lights attached to them for the specific purpose of locating someone who has fallen overboard, but neither of us is wearing a lifejacket. Or a safety harness. We have been lulled into carelessness by the shallow gentle banks, which seemed so different from the deep ocean we crossed before. Now I realize that 10 feet of water is more than enough in which to drown. From now on, we will both wear lifejackets whenever it gets dark.

 

It's a long time from midnight until 2:00 a.m. I sing songs to keep myself awake.

 

I'm discovering some things about myself - I can function with very little sleep; I can keep a night watch all alone; I can hold to a course without help; I can perform necessary tasks even when I am wet and cold. I feel tougher, more self-reliant.

 

At 2:00 a.m. Terry crawls out to take his turn at the tiller. By 3:30 a.m. he sees lights in the distance and calls me. We've raised the island sooner than we expected, and we can't manoeuver our way into the harbour until daylight. We drop anchor and try to sleep for a few hours.

 

As the sun rises, we turn on the motor and head for Great Harbour. When we blow our horn at the bridge, a young man emerges from a low building and begins walking around in a circle, turning a huge wheel that opens the bridge manually.

 

After we dock at the marina, I pack sandwiches and we head for the beach. It is seven miles long and glistening white. This is what we imagined back in the cold, dreary Minnesota winter. White sand, sunshine and long hours to enjoy it. Although we've slept very little, we feel good.

 

From here we will travel to Great Stirrup Bay, where we will spend a week waiting for the north winds to subside again. We will meet other travellers who will become good friends. And we will share experiences that will stay with us forever. We will sun ourselves on more white beaches and collect treasures from the sea as we beach comb on rocky shores. We will search for conchs and try our hands at fishing.

 

From Great Stirrup we will go on to Nassau. There we'll explore the quaint shops and enjoy the spicy native food. And when we leave Nassau, we will be caught in bad weather and run on nine foot swells for six hours while we sail to Chub Cay.

 

Finally it will be time to cross the Gulf Stream again, and we will travel with some new-found companions who are sailing on a 32 foot Westerly, Ithaca. Although the weather prediction will be for calm winds, a small norther will blow up and the waves will grow to six feet. Piedaterre will bravely climb each one and then plunge down again into the trough. It will be slow going, but she will never falter.

 

And when we finally reach Fort Lauderdale, we will be caked with salt, exhausted and starving. But we'll be safe and happy, and already planning our next trip.

 

 

UPWIND CONTROL

Mike Nicoll-Griffith (#40)

I have had a couple of racing situations recently where the helm has not responded to my control. In the first case, I was protested and disqualified. In the second I had a collision and retired.

 

Since the dynamics of both situations were similar, passing on my analysis might hopefully save some future grief.

 

The situation starts with a normal Port-Starboard meet, as in figure 1, where M is me, and H is him. Notice that it will depend on wind shifts whether I clear his bow or not. The other element of the situation is the wind of 12 to 16 knots in which I fly my No. 1 Genoa and feather upwind.

 

Today, racing single handed in the 'Maud' Cup Race, I was

at the position of figure 1 and decided I was going to have to go under 'his' stern. So I pull the tiller - but the boat doesn't bear off. Surprising, since I thought I was a bit late, and even let the main go. What is happening?


 

In above average winds, it pays to feather a T22 upwind, because there is surplus power that can be spilled -if you go 5 1/2 knots anyway, you might as well sail them at 35 degrees as 45 degrees. Also the keel is more upright, grips the water better, so there is less leeway.

 

When you are feathering, the helm is very delicate, and takes experience to stay right on the 'balance point'. The Genoa is certainly luffing, and main may be too. (See figure 2, A and B).

 

The resultant force created by the wind W is approximately the arrow F.

 

Now we pull the tiller up, and the boat rotates say 10 degrees. The Genoa is no longer luffing. The new force F is stronger and at a different direction creating additional weather helm. In addition, because the boat will heel more, she will tend to roll to windward in a 'broach'. This is figure 3.

 

So there is MNG, with a helm that used to be delicate, and now is tough, with a boat underneath that won't rotate, looking straight into 'his' cockpit. If we can't trust bearing away, obviously we'd better tack to reduce the impact of collision. So the helm goes down, and we come about.

 

In the first case, the Protest Committee found that 'No. 40 tacked too close', while in the second, 'his' port spreader punched a hole in my No. 1. It made me wonder why Starboard Tack boats can't keep their spreaders to themselves.

 

I've heard since that most boats with large genoas have the same control problem as this. What can you do about it? If you are a starboard tacker, get really worried about port-tack yachts approaching too close in heavy air. Give them a good hail. If you're on port, forewarned is forearmed1 Recognize that tacking will be easy, but to bear off, you have to let out the jenny to destroy the broaching force before it controls you. We do this now. I also let out the main so as to close the slot should the crew not let the genny go for any reason. The best thing is to slide off to leeward well before any approach close to the point of collision.

 

 

HAUL OUT

John Charters

 

Those of you that live in Florida and other Southern States will not be the least interested in what is to follow. For those less fortunate, the Fall means only one thing - haul out time and winter storage.

 

Most of us do not have much choice when it comes to haul out. Your Yacht Club or Marina will tell you when and how. If you are equipped with a holding tank, remember to have it pumped out and rinsed before you haul out. The alternative is a rather unpleasant chore with pump and bucket. The only bit of advice that bears repeating; on haul out day, as soon as possible after your Tanzer has been hauled, scrub the underwater areas of the hull with lots of fresh water. Any growth left on over the winter would be like cement next spring. So, do it now.

 

If you have time, give the above water areas of the hull a coat of wax. Fiberglass is not maintenance free, it needs to be looked after and a coat of wax now will help protect it over the winter. Whether or not you choose to wax the deck, I leave up to you. I tend to only do the raised portions, leaving unwaxed any areas where I'm likely to step.

 

If you have the factory cradle, it should fit the hull properly, and be of no great concern. Remember, most of the weight should be supported by the keel, the pads or poppets should be just snug enough to keep your boat from wobbling about. I have seen boats where the hull was “oil-canned” in by the pads. This is to be avoided.

 

O.K., now that you've got your boat all nicely placed on the cradle, comes the big decision. To strip or not to strip? Should you take every last bit of gear ­cushions, life jackets and so on - home or leave everything on the boat. A lot depends on your winter climate arid of course the availability of storage space where you live. In Quebec, winter means snow and cold weather. But not necessarily damp. I have left the berth cushions and other bits and pieces on the boat, with no ill effects. But if I lived in an area where winter was mostly rain and damp weather, I would be uneasy about doing this. The key to the whole question, of course, is ventilation. Vinyl and fiberglass do not normally rot but they sure can get mildewed. To be on the safe side, I would have to recommend taking everything out of the boat and storing all your boat gear in a nice warm, dry spot. Anyway, you'll probably want to clean your vinyl cushions, wash curtains, and maybe even shampoo the rugs.

 

But if you do decide to leave the cushions on board, for goodness sakes prop them up on their edges, so there will be maximum air circulation around them. Under no circumstances should they be left in place. Condensation is sure to collect underneath, rotting zippers and there is even danger of the bulkhead that separates the forward cabin from the main, rotting. While we are on the subject of ventilation, all interior hatch, drawers, doors, etc., should be left open, including the icebox. Depending on the kind of tarpaulin you have you may even be able to open the fore­hatch partially, and leave out one of the drop boards. In other words, you cannot have too much ventilation.

 

All interior fiberglass areas should be washed and dried. 'Fantastic' is good, and Javex bleach does a job on any areas of mildew. Even if you are able to properly ventilate the interior, mold and grunge should not be left to ferment over the winter. Don't forget to drain the water tank and head. If you have a marine toilet, that little red plug should be removed and any remaining liquid, sponged up. Leave this plug out, making a mental or written note to replace it before using the facilities next spring. After draining - all gate valves should be closed.

 

That pretty well takes care of the interior. Needless to say, batteries, radios and all other 'attractive goodies' should be taken home. A sad fact, vandalism is on the increase.

 

Most owners leave their boats uncovered over the winter. And apparently with no ill effects. But the practice makes me nervous. Snow, of course, is unlikely to damage anything. What worries me though, is the possibility of a thaw and subsequent freeze-up. Ice can cause considerable damage if confined, so why take a chance, cover your boat with a tarpaulin.

 

If you use your mast as a ridge pole, it should be supported not only at each end but in the middle as well. A block of Styrofoam will do and is the simplest. Or you could make a support from a piece of 4 by 4 scrap lumber, drill a hole at the base and fit it on that cast aluminum channel where the mast is normally stepped. There are endless possibilities. I've seen structures that could put some cottages to shame, complete with wood door at the rear. Others are content to toss a shabby old piece of canvas over their mast. In any case, try to get the 'roof' of your tent as steep as possible. Too shallow a pitch, the snow may not slide off. This may mean removing your life lines. In order to keep enough tension on the tie down lines, here's an idea you may wish to try. Fill a dozen or so windshield washer anti-freeze bottles of water and hang them from those tie down lines. This will keep a constant pressure on the lines so they will remain taut. These bottles should be secured with a light line to the cradle or trailer to keep them from swinging around on a windy day. I must say though, the finished results look most undignified, be prepared for some sarcastic comments from your friends.

 

More and more owners are using those new woven poly tarps. They are cheaper, lighter and therefore easier to handle than the duck or canvas ones, but will certainly not last as long. In discussion with a local tarp manufacturer, he recommends black rather than the clear ones. Black apparently is less affected by the sun's ultra­violet rays. Prices last Fall ranged from .15 sq. ft. for the economy clear, Fabrene (woven poly) and .30 sq.ft.for premium black Fabrene to .75 for 10 oz. canvas. Recommended size - boat length plus 5 feet, beam plus 10 feet.

 

Now that your boat is ready for winter, there is one last thing that's worth doing before you settle in before the fire for the winter: make a list of all the things that you want to repair, modify or add for next year's sailing. Much of the running around can be done through the winter so that you are ready to go in the spring.

 

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