Monday, August 18, 2014

No water for a bit.

When the tide goes out from under your boat you want a nice soft spot for your boat to sit on for the next 10 hours or so. Sand is great, mud is nice but muddy. Round rocks ok , but move the conchs out of the way if you can. Not for the boat but for them as 16 tons is a lot to bear for the duration of the tide.

This is our latest project boat. It's an Irwin 31 built in1968 of solid fiberglass. Nice lines , shallow draft, good sails, 800 hrs on the engine, and bought for less than the price of a used 6 hp outboard. Here she is saving us $ 400.00 on a one day haul out to put in a new stuffing box. Sheer legs made from beach wood and line straps to aft chain plate. She draws 3'6" . As she sits she is solid as a rock.
This boat will be our Bahamas boat to keep at our place so we will always have a boat to use when here even if we are off somewhere on Hogfish M.

A day at the beach in Abaco at Bill and Leslie's on Manjack Cay.

In shallow water so we don't have to use the dinghy. This is Saddle Back Cay in the Exumas. We were caretakers there for 3 years 20 years ago. Have gone up and down on this spot twice a day ....a lot .

Kinda shallow

Looks like a big Heron from this angle sitting on brown sand.

Sitting on the beach in cold water to scrub the prop and bottom. 

Nothing like a nice sand beach to let the boat have a rest on. Kinda like looking at a big ole square Elephant Seal here resting from all that time at sea.

Reconecting with my past. Thanks !

One of the reasons I started to write my thoughts and life experiences down here is to share with my daughters and others what could be done in life with very humble beginnings, a bare bones education, some common sense and lots of work. I have been mostly self taught because I never really liked being in school and the time it took out of my day. I have always just wanted to study what interests me and pass up on the rest. This approach has worked out ok for me but I have explained many times to my daughters that it will not work for them as they are not like me. The world has changed in my short lifetime and is not as simple as it once was. Plus they are way smarter than I ever was so a good education will do them well in life. 

I have had more time lately as my kids are gone from home . My wife has a summer job up north , rain squalls interrupt my day for short periods so here I sit trying to exercise my mind while waiting for the rain to pass. Our place is small 12'x16' with 10' porch . I work outside so when it rains it's break time.

 Since posting my Flats boat building history I have received many nice emails and photos of past boats from old clients and new second owners. It's been very nice to reconnect and to meet the new owners. When I started this blog we were on the move all the time, internet was very slow in the places we were sailing. I did not have the time or inclination to sit and ponder. Today is another matter. Now I connect every where and with this new iPad contraption my daughters gave me for Christmas it's so fun and fast. Two weeks ago Lillian asks me if I know how to see who and how many people are reading my blog. What you can do this !!!? She shows me why and how it's done. Amazing . 23,000 views to date on this blog from all over the world. I had no idea. Now I understand why all those ads know what's on my mind. Kinda scary. 

A nice picture of a Whipray posted on the Tribenwaters sight telling me how much fun he has enjoyed  his skiff.

Latest email has this picture from an early client in HBBWs time when I actually was doing the glass work trying to train people. Back then I was still not comfortable backing up in my new F150 so on the delivery day sea trial I asked the owner to back her in for me. This is the first big engine we put on one of these skiffs . He says he just sold it to a good friend after 17 years of using it. 
Thanks for the memories

Friday, August 15, 2014

Shallow minded sailing

The past few days Lillian my daughter and I went out for a few days exploring with our sea dog Bequia on the Hogfish Maximus . The island that we live on is one of 18 in a small bay on the north coast of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. From our house we can see about half of these with the farthest one away being 7 miles. All have good anchorages in their lees depending on the wind direction. The best all weather anchorage being the landlocked harbor on Royal Island. The entrance to Royal Island has a small rock island almost in the third middle of the channel. The entrance for deep draft is to the west side of this rock. But when entering the east third looks so logical that lots of competent and lesser seaman think this is the way to go forgoing the pilot books and guides. Unfortunately just under the water in this part is a nice big shoal that has enough keel grooves in that the guest book it must have is in volumes. I love sailing in and out of here when the harbor is full of newbies at anchor on Hogfish Maximus she looks to have a deep draft which most times is drawing a bit over 7' with her board down. We know the bottom by heart so always go in and out the wrong way with all the crowd giving good advice as to the danger ahead via VHF radio . Reading old sailing yarns like Peter Pyes Moonrakers cruises , it is neat to know that he made the mistake and ran Moonraker up on this ledge too. I like diving along its length feeling the limestone ledge, with its multiple colored scrapes along it and think of old Moonraker here in the 40's stuck with no one to see her embarrassment.
I being a very cautious navigator have never run aground, but there has been multiple times when there has not been enough water to go where I am headed. This is only a temporary setback which we are used to being in the mode of calling out water depths in inches . An inch under our bottom is plenty but it can be slow going as the mass of displacement sucks the water away and we kind of inch worm along stopping and filling back in and going and sucking and stopping with a messing dusty underwater wake. This is not running aground it's just not having enough water. When we do run out of water it's really no big deal as the HFM just sits upright as solid as a concreat parking lot. With a 9' wide bottom you don't  lean her over you just climb down aft into the water hopefully with a Sandy bottom with only your shorts gettin wet. If in mud then it's a bit deeper . My usual thing is to wade to the bow squatting  down with my back to the boat grabbing the chine with both hands behind me and lifting a bit. By lifting up just a couple of inches the boat rocks aft and with the added displacement of the stern sections an inch of draft is gotten and so with the 32,000 lb boat now floating I spin her around and push her back into deeper water, something like 28". This is why I say we never run aground. The times we are being inconvenienced by not having enough water to go when and where we want I just blame on the moon as not keeping in sync with us.
Don't ever follow us as we take a lot of short cuts . We have found that in a simple breeze pif the seas are not breaking a bit or the swell is not giving a slight hump then there is enough water for us to go. So on we press but only in daylight and not over coral reefs or steel ship wrecks.
When we are sailing with the daggerboard down fully the HFMs draws 7'10"s. We have hit many unmarked sunken boats in far off harbors when tacking into them. This usually stops us dead in our tack- tracks... But only for a moment as we quickly let go the floating daggerboard down line and up pops the board and away we go with one of us quickly cranking the board back down. Most times nobody notices us in our impromptu bottom surveying of this new harbor. 
When racing and cutting corners on shoals , cruising and thinking we can make it over some shoal the same drill happens with only a little less glass on the tip of the board, a shagrinned skipper and off we go. That is another reason why we never run aground.
Anchored off of Egg Island in 7' 
Looks shallow but at least 7' here
Nothing like clear water
This is actually 4' of water.
Our friends the Underwoods summer camp house on Egg Island
When the tide goes out we would be on the bottom. No big deal if the wind stays this way. If not when the water comes back we would have about a half an hour of bumping before lift off. This we have done with both Hogfishes at least a thousand times. These boats were designed and built for this.
One of many small islands in our bay. Water is 3' deep here now . As they say in the Bahamas  
  " We have lots of water here, it's just spread out very thin."
Beach coaming treasure ! A free cleat from a wreck.

It sure is nice having a shoal draft vessel but if your draws a bit more then you will be anchored out a bit farther than us. The fun difference between keel and non keel boats is that when you run aground you are aground, no lifting your skirts and moving on. Sorry

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What's with all the fart signs ?

Rachel and I last month went to Sweden to visit my mom. I don't know why but we just can't pass.... Up a good fart sign.

Not a fart sign, just wanted to show you we not all about fart jokes.

I think it means exit in Swedish, Danish 

Haul outs today

A few weeks ago my daughter Lillian and I sailed up to Abaco to haul out and paint the bottom of Hogfish Maximus. I really like going to Green Turtle Cays boat yard Abaco Yacht Sevices because it is run by the Roberts family and is the cleanest yard in the Carribean Sea and the south east. HFM had not been hauled in 5 years time. Because I do not belive in insurance for my boat I cannot haul in the states so have been hauling out in Cariacou in the Grenadines and Green Turtle where the first world lawyers have not gotten involved. Since launching the HFMs I would have spent at least $ 12,500.00 US on insurance so far. We have gone through 5 hurricanes in her during this time watching over her our shelfs using the 8 anchors and all the anchor roads to go with them. Being on board full time means you are continually watching after your home so the main risk is being around other boaters. Liability insurance I can see using if you are doing a lot of marina hopping as in Europe. With our shoal draft we try to anchor away from the crowd which is an advantage. By anchoring in shallow water boats can't drag down on us as they run aground first. We also lure a lot of boats to try and anchor next to us this way as we look like a deep draft vessel.
Buying bottom paint for an affordable price has gotten to be a challenge. We need 5 gallons for 2 coats and at the current retail prices of $450.00 a gallon it's getting to be a major cost.
But being a scrapper I am always thinking years down the road so when I come across a deal I invest. The paint we have been using for quite awhile is International commercial brand that I bought 3 five gallon buckets of for $500.00 4 years ago at a junk shop. We put HFM on the beach now and again and paint about 75% of her this way on the tide. The bottom we have to dive to keep clean. I feel the oceans around all the small islands have gotten very nutrient rich over the years as growth now takes no time to grow. Hence the latest full bottom job. We have one 5 gallon bucket left so I hope the continually sailing about will keep it mixed up till we need it.

Here you can see the little chine wings that I put on these flat bottom designs. They are adaptions of
Henry Scheels keel design. It really works well with the dagger board up and the rudder full up we can still tack and sail to weather in about 31/2'-4' of water with minimal slippage . Of course we now have a motor so we can cheat if we want.

The rudder draws 4'9" when fully down and has to be pulled into place. The tackle will break if we hit a whale or a coral head going full speed. So just like a big dinghys. We have not hit a whale yet but hitting the bottom in our quest to go where no other sail boats have gone before is a regular accourance.
Hogfish Maximus 38'x 11'x 27"
Jubalee 40'x 11'x 28"
Hogfish 32'x 9'x 20"

Monday, August 4, 2014

Whipray hull # 2 but really # 1 production skiff

This is the first production Whipray hull # 2 built with the side console and the Yamaha that I asked for. Hull # 1 being the one that I built with the rough deck with the first hull out of the mold. This engine had no where near the power for hole shots and speed that the Mercury 25 had. Of all the Mercury engines the 25, 40 and 60 were the best. But! Sheesh could they be a pain in the butt to start at times. I always cringed when doing a test ride with them as it could sometimes take a bit to get one going. I have in my dighys always used Yamaha 15 two strokes which always start on the first pull. By the time I have around 3,000 plus hours on them I give to a friend and get a new one.
In this picture I am poling Rachel around in the new skiff with Flip's push pole that has a natural wood crook in it for the foot.
I gave to Chris Petterson owner of HBBWs all the original photos of building the molds and skiff # 1
That was done in St. Augustine Florida under a simple plastic visqueen shed. It would be nice if he posts them some day on his site. More to come.....