No. 104 - October 1993

RUBRAIL BY DAVID LOCHNER #2245 - CANASTOTA NY

 

I have been among the legions who unwisely removed part of the rubrail on my Tanzer 22. I managed to find a relatively painless way of reinstalling it. In my case, I only removed about 2/3's of one side. So I am uncertain if this will work if the whole rail is re­moved.

 

Making certain that the rubrail is securely attached to the boat, attach a line to the other end of the rubrail. (A couple of clove hitches will work well.) Using a number of friends or a mechanical device like a "come-a-long" apply moderate tension to the rail to begin to form it along the gunwale. In order to get the rail to stretch you will need to apply heat. A hot air gun, like the ones sold to strip paint off wood will do. Hair dryers do not put out enough heat.

 

Gradually warm a three or four foot section of the rail with the hot air gun; being careful not to melt the rubber or burn yourself. As the rail warms it will begin to stretch, when the old screw holes align, secure the rail and move to the next section. Heat will cause the rail to stretch making it necessary to increase the tension on the rail as you work. The larger the section of rail you can heat, the better. However, there is a limit. It is hard to heat a large section to the necessary temperature to cause it to stretch before it starts to cool off and contract.

 

Working in the sun on a hot day may also help. When I did this, I was able to stretch about 20 feet of the rail back into position within about two inches. The last couple of feet are the most difficult, the rope gets in the way of heating.

 

Keeping nonskid sparkling without making it dangerous is always a difficult trick. Over the past few seasons, I've used an acrylic floor dressing with great success. In the States it is sold under the brand name Future, not sure about the name in Canada. Clean the non­skid with an acid based hull cleaner, apply the floor dressing and let dry. That's it! The dressing gives a nice shine without becoming slippery or yellowing. According to the package, it can be removed with an ammonia based cleaner.

 

 

12 VOLTS BY JOHN CHARTERS:

 

Just about the only thing I envy about larger sailboats (apart from standing headroom) is that they have generators or alternators that charge their battery. Or batteries. And while my Johnson outboard motor does have some sort of alternator, it only puts out an amp or two. Even after several hours of motoring, (which we try to avoid at all costs) those few amps don't seem to help all that much.

 

Several years ago, a friend brought me back a solar panel from Hong Kong. I don't remember the cost, less than $50.00 (Can) I think. Even with the duty it was still a fraction of the cost of such a panel here. And on a bright sunny day, I think it puts out about one amp. I have never been able to find a suitable spot to mount it permanently. It is used on Red Baron VI, the boat we keep in Maine. This boat does not have a stern rail, where most people seem to mount solar panels. Instead, while sailing the panel is stowed in the port cockpit locker. Once moored or anchored, I connect it to the battery by a screw in battery connector, mounted on the vertical face of the port cockpit seat. (The battery is located directly behind, in that same port cockpit locker.) The lead from the solar panel is long enough to enable me to place the panel just about anywhere at the rear of the cockpit.

 

Between the outboard motor and that solar panel, I can generate almost enough electricity to keep my battery charged. Almost! This past summer I had to stop in at North Haven where Brown's Boat yard has a portable battery charger. And for $7.50 they gave my battery an hour's charge.

 

I have friends that claim their battery last an entire summer, without needing a recharge. Be that as it may, my battery (a deep cycle marine one) needs frequent recharging. Mind you, we do use a lot more power than most. I have an Autohelm 800 and rarely a day goes by that it is not used. On a long passage it takes the tedium out of helming. If you have never sailed a boat with an autohelm, you have no idea what a pleasure it is to sit for hours at a time, while the boat steers itself towards a distant destination. But it sure does drain the battery! Even under power, that little alternator does not seem able to keep up with the battery drain.

 

I have installed a 12 volt cigarette lighter outlet on the vertical face of the port quarter boat. Used for my cellular phone. I also have a Braun rechargeable shaver that can be recharged from a 12 volt supply. It also plugs in to that outlet.

 

A couple of years ago I bought the neatest little 12 volt soldering iron. Has a, long cord with a couple of alligator clips at the end. Clip the red one to the plus terminal and the black to the negative one and - presto - you are all set for light soldering jobs. With all the corrosion one gets, especially on salt water, I like to solder as many of my electrical connections as I can.

 

I also have a VHF radio which I tend to leave on much of the time when cruising. And use it to call ahead when looking for an overnight mooring in a crowed anchorage. Also to make phone calls if I have forgotten my cellular phone.

 

Now you know why my battery is nearly always flat! One solution would be to take the battery out, row it ashore in my little dinghy and connect my 10 amp battery charger to the battery overnight. Even that isn't always enough - sometimes takes a couple of days. Perhaps you don't know but those deep cycle batteries weight a ton - lugging it from the float up the ramp (it seems to always be low tide and the ramp steep) and back down again once charged is a chore. And not one I like to do too often.

 

The chap at Brown's boat yard said what I needed was a portable generator. Apart from the cost, I am not too sure it is silent enough to be used in a quiet anchorage without disturbing the rest of the fleet. One of the many attractions of cruising Maine is that there are so many quiet bays and coves, it would be a shame to destroy this peace and solitude by running a generator. So, I am looking for suggestions. Have any?

 

IDEAS FROM RICHARD HARRIS #993 - BURLINGTON, ONTARIO:

 

BOTTOM PAINT: About seven years ago I switched to C17 and have never regretted it. The old paint - 10 coats - was beginning to flake so we scraped it off. That was a big job but we found an ordinary, draw type paint scraper worked the best. A few gouges but only a few. Two coats of tar then the VC17 antifouling paint. The real beauty of this paint is that you re-coat without sanding - just roll or spray a new coat over the old. Depending on conditions, re-coating is only necessary every few years, it wears off. One secret is not to clean the bottom when the boat comes out of the water in the Fall; leave it a few days or a week and it will clean like a Teflon frypan. Resist the temptation to clean using a high pressure water unit, just as the boat comes out of the water, as the coating will be slightly soft and a lot of the paint will be removed. A wet rag a week later will do the trick. (Per the manufacturer's instructions.) Incidentally, no evidence of osmosis was found in the hull.

 

THE INFAMOUS KEEL: Like John I have resolved that it is an annual chore. Power wire brush, light sanding then a marine primer for steel followed by the VC17. I would not recommend tarring the keel as the rust will always come back and the tar will make for a very messy job. This method, although a pain, only takes a few hours.

 

TEAK: I have used varnish, it always cracks and is hard to remove; Teak-Var, which also cracks and is impossible to remove; and, for the past five or so years, Cetol. Cetol is by far the best of the three but requires about three coats a year with a light sanding between coats. Watch the temperature! It won't stick it applied in the cold. Once I removed all the teak except that around the compan­ionway and sanded it to bare wood. That worked well but was difficult to re-install as the teak seems to straighten when off the boat. I recommend sanding in place starting with a 50 grit paper and use a painter's trim guard, a thin aluminum guide that protects the gelcoat from the sanding operation. Get two or three coats on over the summer and if reasonably tarped over the winter, one or two applications will take you through the next year.

 

THE NEW RUDDER: It's great! I highly recommend.

 

SOME IDEAS FROM DAVE DOUGALL #1418:


I have been sailing on Lake George since 1975 and have lived on her shores the last six. Since I purchased #1418 new, I have made several changes that have made her easier for me to sail single­handed. One of these is the use of a large cheekblock located just forward of the primary winch, which allows me to cross-winch to the weather side. This simple change allows me to use any headsail I wish. In racing times my crew use it also as it allows them to stay on the high side keeping the boat flat. Another advantage is that the knot that sometimes happens is there, easy to resolve instead of being at the aft cheekblock. Install as large a cheekblock as possible and at a 45 degree angle to split the load on the sheet.

 

Another mod I made was a bit more scary as it involved drilling two holes at the waterline stripe. I must be mad, but it works! I noticed that on windy days that at times my cockpit would get several gallons of water on the seats when I healed over a bit too much and then give everyone a bath when we tacked over. Something had to be done! I mounted a through-hull drain at the forward corner of the cockpit and another one in-line with it directly on the waterline stripe. The 3/4 inch hose does not interfere with using either quarter berth. I have had the drains installed for over 10 years and has proved to do its job well of getting rid of that unwanted water on the cockpit seats.

 

Lately I have read much in "Tanzer Talk" about various methods for reefing the main. None have told how they contend with the two or three sail slugs that get caught between the stopping pin the reef cringle. My new main has a jackline on it with these slugs mounted on it. My sailmaker says this will work. I bring both my main halyard and a single line reef system to the cockpit.

 

FOG BY JOHN CHARTERS:

 

While there can be no doubt that the Coast of Maine, especially Penobscot Bay, offers the finest cruising imaginable, it does have one drawback. FOG!

That lovely, clear, cold Atlantic water is just waiting for some nice warm, humid air to arrive. And with the prevailing wind from the Southwest, it is not too long before the ideal conditions for fog present themselves. It sometime seems that fog can roll in within minutes.

 

Now, this is not meant to be a full course on fog navigation, but rather some thoughts on how to get by in fog. Or perhaps how to avoid getting into too much trouble when the visibility is down to a matter of yards.

 

The very first rule is to know where you are at all times. The prudent sailor just does not go sailing off into the blue without a care in the world. No matter what the weather, one must keep track of where one is and where the nearest safe haven is located. A written or mental note of the present compass course is vital. This is especially important if sailing in a straight line, from anchorage to destination. If not too far along when fog descends, one can sail the reciprocal back to safety. I find it easier to add 200 degrees and subtract 20. Or subtract 200 and add 20, depending on the present course, than to add or subtract 180. The important thing is to have this reciprocal course in mind at all times so that you can get back to where you started from if needed.

 

Even if it is only a channel marker or buoy. Many a time I have circled around such a mark, while laying out a new course to a new destination. If you know where you are, exactly where you are, it is easy to work out a bearing to safety. And to arrive safely, whether it be another buoy, or a final destination, you need two things. A compass course to steer and the distance. without these two things, you are sure to get lost!

 

If your boat is equipped with a log and knotmeter, Radar and Loran, fog sailing is perhaps a little easier. Assuming most Tanzer 22s have only a compass and little else, how does one proceed?

 

I have discussed hull speed before, it is about six knots. But in fog one rarely should tear into the unknown at full speed. Assum­ing a reasonable cruising speed is five knots, whether under power or sail, it is easy to mentally calculate distance covered. "The rule of six." Every six minutes you will cover exactly a tenth of your speed. That is, in six minutes you will have traveled point five nautical miles. A half a mile, if you prefer.

 

If your next destination is not too far, chances are you will get there. If sailing in tidal waters, a knowledge of the state of the tide is essential. A quick check with the nearest lobster buoy will generally tell you which way the tide is flowing. So we add or subtract a couple of degrees from that compass course to compensate. After all, this is how sailors have navigated in fog for centuries. It is only in the last few years that GPS, Loran and Radar have become commonplace and at a price more or less reasonable. And although I know that a few of you have Loran, I know of only one Tanzer 22 that has Radar. And as long as your battery holds out, these electronic gadgets are worth their weight in gold. Unfortunately, it is when one needs them the most is generally the time they don't work.

 

In any case, even with all the aids you have on the boat, a good DR plot is essential. I have been using the same charts for years almost all the course lines have been drawn in, with bearings shown for both directions and the distance from mark to mark. Now, before you tell me I should buy new charts every year, just hold on a moment. First of all, they are much too expensive ($15.00 each in 1994!). Secondly, I don't want to have to re-draw all my course lines. But I do buy every year or so, new charts of the area I travel the most. And while I use the old chart for navigation, I do consult the new ones for any changes. And add those changes to the old chart.

 

Which is just as well as all the red buoys (or nuns) have faded to a pale blue/green on the chart I use for Penobscot Bay. Which look exactly like the green buoys on the chart. So, with a red Verithin pencil, I have colored all those back to red. By the way, I have found Verithin pencils of any color, to be the best for permanent marking on charts. Even better than ball point. They don't run if the chart gets wet.

 

But, back to the subject at hand. If at all possible I like to draw my course lines to buoys that are audible. Bell buoys, whistle buoys, gong buoys. Then, when I have run the required time or dis­tance, I can stop, turn the motor off, and listen. Even though sound in fog is often hard to locate, with a bit of luck and some practice, you will be able to find that buoy.

 

You notice, I said motor. When the visibility is poor I would rather motor than sail. I find I can steer a much more accurate course under power, than when under sail. In addition, because it is so vital to keep a good lookout when in fog, I can see so much more in all directions, when the sails are furled or stowed. In fact, it is not unusual to have someone on the bow keeping a watch ahead. And a fog horn close at hand to sound every minute or so. Although I do have one of those freon horns, I prefer the type one blows by mouth. And my VHF radio tuned to channel 16. Commercial shipping and many pleasure boats make a habit of giving a "Security" call on that channel, giving their locations and their course to their destination. Ending with the words, "any concerned vessel please respond". Or something similar.

 

However, I guess the best advice I can give regarding fog sailing is - don't! Although there is a special satisfaction if one can navigate in times of poor or no visibility, it can hardly be called fun. For Barbara and I, much of the fun of cruising, is the things we see along the way. Seals, Porpoises, bald eagles, osprey and other forms of wild life. Plus the islands we pass on route. And other sail boats. Sailing in fog is like sailing in a ping pong ball. You see nothing except the little world around the boat. So, unless you have to set out in fog, don't. Row ashore and explore the coast. Or curl up with a good book. The fog will lift. It always does!

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