How to: Canvas Tool Roll

We all know that tool boxes on a boat are big and clunky.  We’ve been trying to transition everything into cloth tool bags and rolls in order to store them under the aft bunk.

This is how I make my tool rolls.  It’s by no means the only way or the best way, but hopefully it will give you some ideas.  Measurements for it are based on a screwdriver set my husband got for Christmas, but would work more or less for any tools. I use marine canvas and 4oz thread (upholstery thread works great).  Neither needs to be UV resistant as it won’t be outside.  I used white thread for this tutorial to show the stitches better, but I would recommend black.

I start of by chalking out my pieces.  You’ll need two large rectangles.  I like to double layer the back of the roll just in case.  The two slanted pieces will be your interior pockets.  This particular one will have two rows.

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Sorry for the terrible picture quality.  My dear husband is gone for the week, and I had to make due.

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I used some extra Dyneema line that we had for the tie, but any rope with do if it’s durable.

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Next I did a hem on the two slanted pocket edges.  Make sure they are the opposite sides.  Again I would recommend black thread, I just used white here to show.

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Next step is to stitch the pockets onto one of the rectangles.  You want to stitch them so that the pocket hems are not showing.  You will be stitching onto the fashion side of the rectangle.

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Take your rope and pin it to one side of your roll.  Make sure you’re pinning the center of the rope, and directly between the two pockets. The ends should be facing in.

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Then take the other rectangle and stitch it on top.  Fashion side inwards.  You will be creating a sort of pillow with three sides stitched and the pockets on the inside. Make sure not to sew that last side closed! Double back on the area where the rope has been sewn on.

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Next you will be turning the whole thing inside out and top stitching around the outside. You may need to pin that unattached side.

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Lastly start measuring for your tools.  I used pins to decide where the pocket dividers should go, but you could always use chalk.  You can get creative as well and do a mix of pockets and slots.  leave a good amount of room on either side of the tool.  You don’t want it to be constantly stressing the thread.

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Best of luck! Use your imagination with this pattern, and let me know what you make.  :).

This is what a finished version looks like with black thread. This roll is a single pocket version I made with grommets for hanging.

If you’d like me to custom make one, or you want to see my other work please visit my canvas shop!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SVgimmeshelter

 

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GBCA Icicle Series Race #4 – Low Tide, No Wind

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Recent north winds have been draining Clear Lake and Galveston Bay of all their water.  This beach pictured above normally does not exist, and you can see how close that channel marker is in the distance.

The low water conditions left us on the dock until the very last minute deciding if we should risk trying to get out.  Our boat is a shoal draft, and is the most likely to make it. Unfortunately it’s pretty under-powered motor wise, and can’t plow through mud very well. In the end we successfully braved it, but we saw plenty of other dedicated sailors who were obviously stuck.

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The winds were 2-5 knots, and we watched our calculated finish time climb past 9pm.  Icicle drop dead time is 3pm.

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Some boats were even flying spinnakers going upwind.

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When the time rolled past 3pm and we were not yet to the second marker we decided to just sail around a bit and then call it a day.  Many of the other boats were doing the same. In the end very few boats ended up finishing.  One of which was Hamburg (pictured above stuck) who took 2nd.

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The highlight of the trip for me was that I docked the boat for the first time, and didn’t hit anything! I took advantage of the extra crew to have Fred show me when to turn etc.  Just need to do that a few more times before I have it down.

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Thanks to Mike Cameron and Tina Caron for a couple of the pictures!

Sunday on the Strand, Galveston Island

We always enjoy going out on our own boat, but sometimes it’s nice to not just enjoy the ride but also get to a destination … that same day. So on Sunday afternoon with 55 degree temps and plenty of sun we set out on the Tina Marie Too for Galveston.

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The trip there was lovely and sunny and full of all the usual sites.  Because of my foot I’ve been off the water now for 3 months, so it was a real treat to get out there.

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Track

The water was smooth as glass, apart from a few ship wakes.

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Once you reach Galveston there is a lot of different activity and sights to see.

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After a couple of tries we found an open spot on Tillman Fertitta’s private dock.  With a promise from the restaurant that his yacht, the Boardwalk, wouldn’t be back until Monday, we wandered into to Fisherman’s Wharf for margaritas on the deck. The place was full of the cruise ship tourists who were unable to board the Carnival Magic due to someone having had a heart attack on board.

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The Galveston Strand is a beautiful place to spend a Sunday afternoon. It reminds me a bit of New Orleans with stone sidewalks and the lenient alcohol polices. We could tell they were already gearing up for Mardi Gras next month.

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After dinner our trip home turned into a sunset cruise. The temperature upstairs got a bit chilly for me and Tina, so we decided to hang out in the cabin and watch some TV — another perk of being aboard a large motor vessel.

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Meanwhile someone had to drive the boat, and the guys did a great job getting us home just as the sun was setting.

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2016 Icicle #3: A little bit rainy

The forecast said the thunderstorms wouldn’t start until 3 p.m., but the rain came early Saturday.

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The first leg of Icicle #3 had us close-hauled in 13 knots of wind, so we tried reefing in the jib to drop it from a 130 to a 100 to see if we could point a little higher this week. We made good speed and had a more neutral helm, but we still couldn’t point as high as most of the fleet.

It probably didn’t help that just before we started the race the slug on the back of the mainsail jumped out of the track on the boom, and we had to do some quick rigging with an extra line to tie it back down. I guess we’re going to have to put a larger slug on there.

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The wind then shifted to right off the mark during the second leg, which sent everyone tacking. I saw a couple boats choose to make about 10 short tacks instead of 3 or 4 long ones, and we caught up to a few of them.

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The last leg shifted back and forth between a broad reach and a run and got quite rainy. I wish I had a photo of all four crew members and the dog huddling under a leaky dodger.

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Judging by the time between lightning flashes and the thunder, it was never THAT close to us, but it was still a little unnerving when it would light up the sky.

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Based on performance in the first two races, our PHRF got shifted from 180 to 186, which moved out start time from 11:56 to 11:55. However, due to the mainsail issue we didn’t get started until 11:59. We finished at 2:16 with three boats behind us, which might be the best finish we’ve had so far. More importantly, we didn’t break anything, but we will have to work on the main. I’m also going to have to replace the halyards soon as they’re stretching and chalky, but my budget says we’re going to have to wait a few months on that.

Thank you to Brian, Matt, Shari and Tony for crewing, and special thanks to Shari for bringing kolaches and pulling her phone out in the rain to take a few photos for the blog this week.

Fiction: TIME

From time to time I write and submit fictional short stories to various magazines. As you may have noticed by the lack of ecstatic announcements regarding publication, they’re usually (always) rejected. However, the great part of being the editor of a blog is that I can then indulge all of my narcissistic tendencies by subjecting my unknowing readers to all the content unfit for The New Yorker and The Atlantic. Since I don’t have a legitimate blog post today, I’m going to slide one of my short stories in here. Don’t worry, we have a tour of a sail loft lined up Friday, another race on Saturday, and several boat projects lined up for Sunday. Regular posts will be returning soon.

TIME

Yesterday, I was a young man.

Of course, it doesn’t feel like yesterday.

I’ve seen wars. I’ve seen the struggle for civil rights. I’ve seen women find their place in the workforce. I’ve witnessed horrors and atrocities. I’ve also been there to witness the endurance and nobility of the human spirit.

None of it surprised me. In fact, nothing for the past 50 years has surprised me.

Like I said, yesterday I was a young man … according to the calendar.

I was in my second year of grad school at University of Texas. Freaking physics. My days were split between lab work and babysitting the undergrads sleeping through 101. My nights were spent grading papers and worrying about my ever-growing student loan debt. Being a teaching assistant paid just enough to cover pizza.

That’s why I was oh so ecstatic when I got the call.

I had applied for the new research position weeks ago, and to be honest I’d all but given up hope of being selected for the program. While my grades and research were exemplary, I’d had an entanglement with a female undergrad that led to being discovered naked in what was supposed to be a clean room. That had somewhat tarnished my reputation.

However, Dr. Berk didn’t just call me personally, he also invited to his home to discuss the project, which I was sure came with a significant pay raise compared to the crap I was doing.

William Berk, PhD Theoretical Physics, his research was the entire reason I stuck around for grad school. He was a genius, and he knew it. I’d never gotten so much as a hello from him before, but that night I was headed for dinner at his house. I wondered if anyone else from the faculty would be there. This could be a huge leg up for me.

I was so excited that I arrived half an hour early. I didn’t want to seem too eager, so I strolled up and down the street a few times. I’d walk up and back, then check my watch, then up and back again. Time had seemed to come to a crawl. Of course, I was only 24 years old. I had no real reference as to how slowly time could pass.

I’ll never forget the old man watering his lawn. He lived right next door to Dr. Berk. There was something familiar about his face. He just stood there with the hose watching me go by. I wondered if I should stop and chat with him, but when I made eye contact I saw a kind of sadness in his eyes. He gave a half smile, then turned back to his flowers. I always wished I’d said, hello.

Still ten minutes early, I knocked on the door of Dr. Berk’s suburban home. He answered the door wearing a cardigan and smoking a pipe, and I thought, wow, that’s exactly how a genius scientist should look.

“Good afternoon. I do appreciate you meeting me off campus like this,” he said as he ushered me in the door. “Care for a drink?”

I normally drank beer, preferably free beer, but I felt like I needed to request something more sophisticated.

“Gin.”

Dr. Berk raised his eyebrows in surprise and walked over to the wet bar.

“Then two gins it is. Please, sit down. Unburden yourself,” he said as he waved towards the dining room table.

I was quite pleased that I’d guessed a liquor that he would drink. This man was living up to all of my expectations of what a great scientist should be. I sat down at the table and set the folder containing my resume and two published papers on the table in front of me. As Dr. Berk sat down he slid a glass of gin towards me, and I slid the folder back towards him.

“Right to the point, I see,” he said. “I like that. I won’t pretend that I’m not always working as well.”

He opened the folder but merely scanned my resume with feigned interest for a moment before he looked me right in the eyes.

“I’ve already seen your resume, and while impressive, I’m looking for something beyond academics for this position. I think you might be the right fit, but I’m just not quite sure.”

I wanted to be the right fit. I needed this position, not just for the money, but for the validation of my entire collegiate career.

“What are you looking for, sir?” I blurted.

He continued to stare me in the eyes.

“I’m looking for resolve … fortitude. I’m looking for someone who can get the job done no matter the challenges or cost.”

“I can get the job done.” I had meant the statement to come out strong, but it sounded somehow fragile when I said it aloud. Freaking nerves.

“Is that so?” Berk replied with what seemed to be a sly grin. He obviously knew how much I wanted to impress him.

“Are you familiar with non-disclosure agreements?” he asked while retrieving a thick stack of paper from the bar. It landed on the table in front of me with a thud.

“Can I take some time to read this?”

“Some time?” he asked apprehensively. “Do you think I would have accomplished all that I have today if I looked at time as if it was an endless resource to be squandered on the fine print? Do you think the rest of us can just press pause on our lives as the clock ticks down to zero while you do some leisurely reading? No. The time for this science is now, and if you need more time, I’m sure I can find another graduate student who is indeed ready to live in the progress of the here and now.”

I sat stunned by his sudden aggressiveness and change in tone.

“I’m so sorry, sir. I was just trying to pay attention to detail. I’m fine with it.”

He held a pen out to me.

“Embrace the now, and I can guarantee that you will literally go down in history.”

I began initialing and signing pages and his smile returned.

“Excellent decision. Come with me.”

I stood up from the table and realized I’d never even taken a sip of the gin. I turned and followed Dr. Berk down the hall with anticipation. I had this feeling that I was about to become part of an elite club. I felt like the secrets of the universe were about to be revealed to me.

As we turned the corner towards the garage, Berk pulled a ring of keys from his pocket. The door had multiple deadbolts and padlocks, which seemed oddly out of place. I felt my throat tighten as thoughts of dungeons and sexual slavery started entering my mind. I didn’t want to meet the gimp.

Berk finished fumbling with the locks and swung open the door. I relieved to see it was just a very clean, very empty garage — empty that is except for two things, a 3’ x 3’ platform about 1’ high and something across the room that looked like a podium. The base of the platform was a tangle of wires and tubes. I knew advanced circuits, but this was beyond me. There was obviously something very intricate under that platform. Of course, what really drew the eye were the two large metal rings that came out of the base and encompassed the platform like upended hula hoops.

A bundle of wires ran from the platform to the podium, which actually bore the University’s seal. I wondered if Dr. Berk had asked permission to take it and if the University knew it was here. Did anyone know any of this was here?

“What is it?” I asked.

“What do you THINK it is?” Berk replied, beaming with a sort of paternal pride as he looked at the machine.

“Why is it in your garage?”

“It seems universities do not approve of time machines being constructed in view of donors, students … ‘sane’ people who have a set view when it comes to the laws of physics.”

I wasn’t sure I liked the way he emphasized the word “sane.”

“Does it work?”

“Well, that’s what we’re going to find out tonight. You, my dear boy, are going to be the world’s first time traveler.”

Mind blown.

I felt my knees go weak as my brain bent itself around the idea. Visions of parades and accolades began flashing before my eyes. Astronauts? They’d be nothing compared to a time-o-naut. What would they even call time explorers? Hopefully not time-o-nauts. Why wasn’t I more afraid? I was just too excited to be afraid.

“I knew it! I knew you’d had a breakthrough. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew it was going to be amazing. This is fan-tas-tic. Where am I going? I mean WHEN and I going? Just like 5 minutes back to start? Forwards? Can I photograph a dinosaur? Can I bring things back?”

Dr. Berk smiled and raised his hands as if quieting an applauding crowd. He had stepped over to the podium and began adjusting knobs, which prompted various lights on the machine to flicker.

“You can bring back anything you like.”

“Really?!! But should I even touch things? Will that change the future?”

“It may, but I think it will have no real consequence in the grand scheme of things.”

Dr. Berk suddenly thrust an envelope in front of my face.

“For this first test, you’ll have one task. After you complete that task, you’re free to conduct your own experiments. You can gather or photograph whatever you like, BUT ONLY AFTER you complete this task. Do you understand?”

“Yes, I understand,” I said as he handed me the letter.

“For the first test, I’m sending you back exactly 50 years. It’s far enough to sufficiently prove the machine is actually folding the fabric of time, but not so far back that preserving the evidence would be an overwhelming challenge. That envelop is addressed to me and has instructions to deliver it to this house on this date, in this year, just a few minutes from now. I want you to write the date, time and location in which you find yourself and seal it in the envelope. Then I don’t care if you use the US Mail, Fedex, a courier system, or some sort of estate trust, but WHATEVER THE MEANS, do what you have to do to make sure this envelope gets delivered back to me. There should be sufficient cash of the correct vintage inside to help you succeed in this task. After that, you’re free to sightsee.”

He motioned for me to step up onto the platform.

“As soon as you disappear — if you disappear, which I’m confident you will — the letter will be delivered here to me, proving my calculations were correct, bringing about an entirely new age of science.”

He looked me in the eyes.

“Are you up to the task?”

“Yes, sir. I won’t let you down.”

He walked back over to the podium and flipped another switch. The large steel hula-hoops began spinning around the platform. I had a nagging feeling that I was forgetting something. Time the trip. Report the date and time I arrive. Find a souvenir. But …the hoops were beginning to spin very fast.

“How long will I be there? How do I get back?!!”

Dr. Berk’s eyes narrowed.

“Time. Time will bring you back.”

I glanced at my watch and rang the doorbell. I knew I wouldn’t have to wait long. Dr. Berk opened the door with an eager expression that shifted to confusion when he saw me.

“Larry, what can I do for you?”

“Today, I think the question is, ‘What can I do for you?’” I said with a smile and held out a letter. The envelope was yellowed with age.

A smile spread across Berk’s face and he snatched the letter from my hand and ripped it open.

“Big news?,” I queried.

“Oh yes, I was expecting it, but it’s great to finally have it in hand. How did you get this?”

“I’ve actually had it for a very long time.”

I stepped inside the open door without invitation and walked right past Dr. Berk to where my gin was still sitting on the table. I noticed the ice hadn’t even melted. Berk had finished reading the letter and was quite annoyed that I had walked into the house.

“Larry, I’m a bit busy right now. I really don’t have time to visit, but I do need to know who gave you this letter.”

I picked up the gin and took a sip.

“You did, Dr. Berk.”

His face went blank. He stared at me as his “brilliant” mind slowly pieced things together. I raised my glass towards him as if to affirm his logic. The wrinkled skin and liver spots on my hand stood out to me more than usual.

“Fifty years ago today, you charged me with one task, to deliver that letter, so I did.”

“But you’ve spent the past ten years living next door, standing outside and watering that damn lawn every night. Why would you wait until now to deliver the letter?!”

“Do you mean, why would I wait until now to reveal who I am? Why would I wait until now after you sent me back in time and left me to die? Why would I wait until now when you assumed you’d never have to look me in the eyes again?”

“I didn’t leave you to die. You were a quite capable young man. Do you think the first astronauts to visit Mars will be coming back? You knew the risks when you volunteered — not to mention the fact that you signed the waivers, which specifically said that if successful, this was a one-way trip.

“The waivers you wouldn’t let me read?!!”

“Well, I did say that if you signed them, you’d literally go down in history.”

Fifty years later he was still the same smug, arrogant asshole that he’d been fifteen minutes ago. I set down my glass and pulled the revolver from my coat pocket.

“Let’s not be rash,” he back peddled. “If you can afford a house in this neighborhood, you’ve obviously done well for yourself.”

“Yes, living with no surprises is quite an easy way to get ahead. It makes investing a much less risky prospect.

“You know, I was a great admirer of your work when I was a student. But now, I know more about you than you know about yourself. I tracked down your parents. I thought about killing one of them, or both of them. I thought about waiting until you were born and killing you as an infant. I thought, if you had never lived, it would save me from experiencing all this. But I’m not a killer. I couldn’t just murder a child in cold blood. And even if I had killed you, while it may have saved the future me from this torment, it did nothing to help the present me. So I kept watching you. I kept waiting.

“I thought perhaps I’d develop time travel before you. After all, I now had quite the head start. But I’ll admit it, I just never could figure it out.”

Despite having a gun pointed at his chest, Berk seemed to enjoy having his ego stroked.

“I watched myself come here today. I could have stopped myself. I almost did.”

“Why didn’t you? Why didn’t you just explain to yourself that you were from the past and that getting in a time machine was a bad idea? You’ve made the decision to go back in time twice, and you want to blame your life on me? How dare you?” spouted Berk with disdain and arrogance.

“No. How dare YOU, Dr. Berk? It’s your turn to take a trip.”

“Oh, you’re going to send ME back in time? Don’t you realize, I’ve figured it out? I know how to build the machine. I’ve got all the time in the world,” he laughed, seemingly amused with the entire situation.

“I’m not sending you back, Dr. Berk. I waited until you knew the machine worked for one reason — so you would know why I killed you.”

It seemed like the sound of his body slumping to the floor was actually louder than the gunshot. Funny how your mind plays tricks on you like that. Tomorrow every news agency on earth would know my name. I could see the headlines now, TIME TRAVEL CONQUERED. It would be such an exciting announcement that it would be more than a week before anybody even realized that poor Dr. Berk had killed himself.

I lifted my gin and toasted Dr. Berk one last time.

“To time travel.”

GS

 

Spices for the weekend boater

When I am only around on the weekends I have a constant struggle with supplying my boat.  Spices are a particularly difficult one, because you’re never sure what you will need, and they’re expensive to buy.  I have a monster supply of spices at home, and as such did not want to buy a whole new set for the boat.  An entire jar of nutmeg would be way too much anyway.  I also needed to make sure I was able to have a wide variety, as I’d like to save on cost, and avoid duplication with the ones I have at home.

A long search for small plastic spice containers led me to find a lot of solutions, but none that met my qualifications.  I wanted my containers to be: 1. wide enough at the mouth to let me pinch spices with my fingers. 2. Plastic (not stainless or glass) and 3. The entire collection should cost less than $25.

After an extensive search I found these little containers on amazon.

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They’re only $11 for a set of 18, and they’re perfect for all your small use spices.  They also  lock together in stacks.  If I was going to live aboard (and I may do this anyway) I would also add a few of the 6oz containers for some of the spices you use more of per recipe, i.e. taco seasoning, steak rub, etc.

I labeled all of my containers using heavy brown paper and some Elmer’s glue. I left a few of them on the boat for a couple weeks before I labeled the rest, and so far it has held on well.

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These look pretty small but they hold a half bottle of McCormick’s seasoning.

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I know a lot of people like ziplocks, but I really wanted something where I could see all the labels easily.  Would love to hear your tips and tricks!

2016 Icicle #2: A Spirited Sail

I took to the bay with a crew of 4 (5 if you count Dixie Belle) for the second race of the GBCA Icicle Series in the most intense wind Gimme Shelter has seen since we’ve owned her.

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We had 18 – 25 knots WNW the entire race, so it’s not a surprise that we finished almost an hour faster than last week with an end time of 1:46.

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Our first leg went well with the main double-reefed and our speed over ground averaging 7 knots. When we made the turn into the second leg we were still towards the front of the fleet.

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Daniel and Andy set to work shaking out our reef.

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We even set an official Gimme Shelter speed record while surfing a wave during a gust!

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However, the rest of the fleet was closing fast. The J-boats were absolutely flying.

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Until they weren’t …

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I wish I’d had a video camera running because there was some spectacular broaching going on behind us. We saw at least three boats go down.

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Meanwhile, our crew was suffering a bit. Dixie Belle was really tired of heeling, and one member of the crew, who shall remain nameless, spent some time feeding the fish on the third leg.

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Unfortunately with our shoal draft and 160 genoa, we just couldn’t point as high as the rest of the fleet on the last leg. I pinched up too much and our average speed dropped to about 4.5 knots. Then we still had to tack twice to finally cross the finish. That was bad driving on my part.

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But at least we finished fast enough this week that Scott Lacy was still there aboard Tramp to snap our photo. Thanks, Scott!

Of course, this wouldn’t be a real boat story without something breaking.

With the new blocks and all the cam cleats working correctly, we started paying more attention to the actual lines — and they were in bad shape.

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The outer sheath on the starboard jib sheet was completely broken, and the port sheet was almost as bad.

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The outhaul and reefing lines also had big problems. I had planned to spend Sunday removing the old radar tower, but instead I spent the day checking and replacing lines.

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By the end of the day we ended up with new jib sheets, new reefing lines, a new outhaul and a new boom vang.

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My time in Boy Scouts obviously paid off because 25 years later I can still whip the end of a rope.

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I just wish I knew how to splice eyes into the ends of the line. Maybe learning to splice will be a goal for 2016.

Big thanks to Daniel, Shari, Andy and Brian for crewing with me, and an extra special thank to Mary for letting us play on her boat in high winds.

 

 

TBT: Replacing fixed ports on a Starwind 27 sailboat

I did this project in 2012, and I thought I’d re-post from my old blog. We’re about to tackle some port replacements on Gimme Shelter, so I messaged the current owner of of the Seahorse yesterday for an update. Four years later, these windows are still leak free.

I’d been thinking about it for three years. I’d had the supplies yet hesitated for two months. This weekend I finally set aside the time and replaced the fixed ports on the Seahorse.

The original windows were so crazed it was like looking through a frosted shower door.

Crazed plexiglass

Two of them had cracked in half from top to bottom and were just being held together with silicone in a desperate attempt to keep the water out.

Cracked and crazed starboard window

Then I had to deal with the issue that many of the screws had rusted off in the screw holes.

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When I called Beckson to inquire about replacement ports, here is the quote I received.

PF555-BS WINDOW 90/90,blk/smk,PR PR 305.00
PF525-BS WINDOW 90/45,blk/smk,PR PR 305.00

Yes, $610 + tax + shipping for four windows seemed a bit much.

That’s when I turned to this DIY article for help: http://www.thecoastalpassage.com/windows.html

If you can stand Bob’s braggadocio regarding his skills with a scalpel, it’s a great article. I decided I was going to use this method to replace my ports and purchased the following supplies:

1 36″ x 48″ x 1/4″ sheet of smoked plexiglass: $109
1 tube Dow Corning 791: $12
4 5′ rolls 3M heavy Duty Mounting Tape: $24
1 really nice scraper: $8 (because scraping with a screwdriver sucks)
1 roll Frog Tape Masking Tape: $4
1 super cheap caulking gun: $3

Project total: $160

I used my dremel to cut the plexiglass. It would have probably been faster and easier with the jig saw, but I was nervous the jig saw would shatter the acrylic.

I started on Saturday around 9 a.m. and nervously removed the first window. That was the easy part. Scraping all the silicone off the cabin was the hard part. I had estimated the project would take about an hour per window. It actually took closer to four hours per window.

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Around 2 p.m. Saturday I had the two starboard ports cut and mounted. I had been nervous the 3M tape wouldn’t hold the acrylic down because the cabin curves, and the acrylic would have to flex, but it worked like a charm.

Fixed ports mounted

I took a break to cool off and to find a better scraper. Then I started cutting the port-side ports. The first one shattered, and I was thankful I’d bought more acrylic than I needed. The next two cut out with no problem, so I removed the old windows, started scraping and had all of them mounted by dinner time.

As soon as the dew evaporated Sunday morning, I started masking the windows for sealant. I forgot to take a photo of any of the windows with masking tape on them. I had thought the masking was tedious. Then I opened the Dow Corning 791.

I don’t know if I had a really bad caulking gun or if the Dow 791 is just THAT thick, but I had a terrible time getting it out of the tube. I’d have to press the plunger into the deck and lean all my weight on the trigger to get it moving. It made for a very long caulking process.

Once I’d get a bead around the window, I’d work it into the crack and smooth it out with my finger, then I’d pull the tape to leave a nice clean seal.

New fixed ports

Beware, on The Coastal Passage DIY, the Dow Corning 791 is black. Mine was not black. It was a light grey color. I was not thrilled that it was light grey, but it still looks ok. Anything looks better than my old windows.

Someone more skilled than myself could probably rout a 1/4″ lip into the hull and make the windows sit flush with the cabin. That would look very nice and modern. I don’t own a router or care enough to attempt it.

With no screws in the acrylic, I’ve hopefully eliminated all the weak points that caused the previous windows to crack. The boat also looks 20 years younger.

The Seahorse with new windows

The only question left is how long will the 3M mounting tape and Dow Corning 791 hold up against hull flex? Hopefully a very long time.

My New Galley Wine Glass Rack

I have always had a profound envy of people with a wine glass racks in their galley.  So even though my galley is really probably a bit too small, and not really in need of one I decided that I MUST make it happen. I just had to promise not to drill anymore holes into the cabin top.

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My first step was to choose the rack.  I picked this one on amazon for its versatility and natural wood appearance. Also it helps that it was super cheap.  If I was not so lazy the first thing I would have done was to stain it to match the rest of my wood.  Unfortunately I am more stubborn than diligent, and the first thing I did was to go to home depot and buy the exact kind of tape my husband told me would not work. It says outdoor…it says permanent..?  Don’t buy this!  It didn’t last more than a day.

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This is what you should buy instead. You have to buy it at an auto parts store.  Fred used it to hold the windows on our last boat. It works well.

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I 3m’d a kabob skewer along the back ledge so as to keep the glasses from falling out the back.

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I now have this lovely wine rack with pretty minimal effort.  Would have been less had I listened a little better.  My husband hates it..but now I have an empty cabinet, and I am happy with the results.

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Now I can focus on organizing my spices.

Our first regatta of 2016

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We rang in the new with Mary’s family playing shuffleboard and singing karaoke. It was quite the night. However, the real excitement started January 2 when we entered Gimme Shelter in the Galveston Bay Cruising Association Icicle Series Regatta.

We’ve been crewing on other boats for two years now, but this was my first time to skipper our own boat in a race. Unfortunately, due to Mary’s broken foot, she had to sit this one out.

The Icicle races are only 8.6 nautical miles. They start at Kemah channel markers 1 and 2, then round a couple fixed platforms in the bay, and end back at markers 1 and 2. Here was our route for Saturday’s race. GBCA gave us a PHRF of 180 in the non-spinnaker cruising class.

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When I arrived to the boat I found that the Christmas elves from Banks Sails had visited and put Mary’s new mainsail on the boat.

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There’s nothing like the crinkle of a new sail. Unfortunately we ran into some issues as soon as we attempted to hoist it. The old sail had a bolt-rope foot, and we’d never adjusted the outhaul the entire time we’d owned the boat.

The new sail has a loose foot, and when we tried to tighten the outhaul, we found all of the cam cleats on the boom were frozen. All I could do was keep steering the boat while I hoped the crew could rig something up to make it work — and they did. (Go crew!)

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We ran into more trouble as we were nearing the first mark. The sheaves in the sliding blocks for the jib sheets began disintegrating.

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I guess 34 years is all you can really expect from a nylon sheave. I’m sure the cold weather added to the issue by making them extra brittle. Both the starboard and the port blocks had broken before the race was over, so it made trimming the jib a bit of a challenge.

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The wind died to 5 knots on the last leg, and we saw several people decide to drop sails and just motor back. However, we set the sails wing-on-wing and hung in there hoping the wind would pick back up.

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We finally crossed the finish at 2:42 p.m., a full 18 minutes to spare before the 3 p.m. cut-off. And, we weren’t last!

I spent Sunday tackling all of Gimme Shelter’s issues. She got a new set of blocks for the jib sheets. These things cost me an arm and a leg, so they better last another 30 years. They were actually very easy to swap out. I just had to unscrew the end cap from the rail, and they slid on and off.

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The more intense project of the afternoon was persuading the cam cleats on the boom to move again.

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It took half a can of WD-40 and almost two hours of hammering, sanding, scraping and more hammering to finally get all four of those things moving freely again. However, we now have a working outhaul and reefing lines, both of which are pretty important.

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Once I got everything working again, I raised the main, so Mary could get a good look at her Christmas present. She seemed pretty happy.