Standing rigging replacement

When the mast came down this fall I discovered that about half the strands of the rear stay had broken at the top! That starts to look dangerous. So just a few days ago I took the old rigging in for an estimate to replace it…up around $300 for two cables with swagged ends and turnbuckles. I’m going to two lines to the mast top from the rear instead of the inverted “Y” that was in place…I want redundancy on all four sides of the mast.

Pondering the price, since I had already bought stainless cable last year, I decided to do my own, using galvanized turnbuckles and wire clips instead of swagged fittings. The total cost is about $30 on top of whatever I spent for the wire. Aside from spending well under $100, I have the capability to adjust the length by changing the size of the loops on the ends when I undo the wire clips. I had been struggling with a wrong length since I rebuilt the mast…it must be a couple of inches shorter than it was.

Buehler’s Backyard Boatbuilding is the name of a book which promotes using just the sort of rigging I’m going to try. He argues that the galvanized wire shows rust long before it weakens while stainless can hide the hairline fractures until they let go. There is no hurry, however. It just snowed for the first noticeable daytime amount. I don’t think sailing is in vogue at the moment.

Boat-building Village

I’m forging ahead on the idea of a village…like Old Sturbridge Village or King’s Landing…to recreate shipbuilding in the mid 1800s. Tonight I ordered some books on traditional shipbuilding:

“American Small Sailing Craft: Their Design, Development and Construction”
Chapelle, Howard I.

“Architectura Navalis Mercatoria: The Classic of Eighteenth-Century Naval Architecture (Dover Maritime)”
Chapman, Fredrik Henrik af

“A Practical Course in Wooden Boat and Ship Building”
Van Gaasbeek, Richard M

“Boatbuilding: A Complete Handbook of Wooden Boat Construction”
Chapelle, Howard I.

They are all going to my son’s place in the US to get cheaper…read free…shipping, so I can’t start reading them yet.

My current plan is to shift the focus from one large half-finished ship to perhaps constructing smaller work-boat-style vessels using traditional construction techniques and actually completing them…perhaps one a year. I suppose they will have to be finished with epoxy or other modern preservation coatings so they don’t rot out in 7 years like the original wooden ships of the 1800s! The advantage of smaller vessels would be both reduced cost and reduced labor…if the construction can still show the process as it was 150 years ago, it should suffice. I want to run it by the Lunenberg Shipyard Alliance for ideas.

A Dream

As a member of the board of Wood Islands and Area Development Corporation I have listened as the board wrestled with issues relating to the closing of the liquor store (it now appears it will continue as an ‘agency store’ run by the corporation, but that is another story). What has come into my imagination is the idea of making…creating…made up of whole cloth…a shipbuilding village of the 1860s. Wood Islands has a marvelous resource in the lighthouse and park with a great view of the strait, the harbor, the ferries, and the fishing shacks.The dream is to save old buildings and move them to the area to create a village and represent the shipbuilding industry as it might have been at that time. 

I hope to produce a book outlining the dream and, just today had the idea of having shipbuilding take place on the park site in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the confederation in 2014. The project would aim to eventually become another King’s Landing, Sturbridge Village, or Upper Canada Village…a living history recreation.

But the reason I am posting under sailing is that I am hoping to draw on the expertise of some group like the Lunenburg Shipbuilding Alliance to create something that could represent real shipbuilding at that time. Authenticity to the period of course rules out epoxy and fiberglass! I am hoping to find some people who could create a shipbuilding process that wold not have to be hurried, as long as there could be some sort of activity for visitors to see every day. Whether a vessel of traditional plank and timber construction could find a market is a big question, but I suppose a first vessel could remain at the harbour for tours…perhaps we could fill up a harbour with vessels! Or another idea is to have life-sized, pre-cut pieces that could be assembled and then disassembled and re-used…sort of like big building blocks. Then the process could be illustrated over and over without producing a finished vessel that had to be fitted and used.

At this point the goal I have is to see if some living-museum activity could be funded for 2014 just sitting in the empty park.

Dinghy buoyancy

The following comment in a thread about rocker (front-to-back-curvature) in a boat on Duckworks forum reminded me of a flaw in my second dinghy:

The distribution of buoyancy along the length of the boat is also important. (Technically the Prismatic Coefficent or Cp). The more the buoyancy is towards the ends of the boat the more efficient the hull is at high speed. Conversely the more diamond shaped the better at low speeds.
So two people in a boat will sink it deeper and usually that means the Cp increases, so it becomes more efficient. Richard Woods of Woods Designs


top view showing ‘seat’

I can speak from personal experience about buoyancy along the length…several years ago I ‘designed’ and built a very small (6′) dinghy with a lovely deep V at the bow twisting to a relatively flat stern, but I made this boat quite narrow towards the bow…like an arrow, perhaps…it is so tender in front it takes a complete re-positioning of the first person if a second person climbs aboard and woe to the first one boarding if they try to board from the bow! Perhaps that is an unavoidable result of being so short, but I wish I had made it nearly equal-width throughout its length.

When the weight is properly arranged it rows beautifully with the cut-off bow going nicely through the waves. One time three of my younger (idiot?) friends rowed (with only a couple inches of free-board) over a mile in it to rescue my errant sailboat that had lifted its anchor and was heading out of the harbor. It is also quite rugged and one year floated around the harbor for a week after I forgot it when pulling the sailboat…it ended up buried on a sand spit with 6″ of sand in the bottom and another foot of water on top of that!

Still, I have always wished I had the time, money, and energy to make a stab at designing another very-short boat that would be less tender at the bow.