Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Buzzing around Sarasota Bay

Hugh Horton and I have been emailing back and forth about all sorts of boaty stuff ever since The Goat's debut at Cedar Key.  We had not met in person and Hugh was interested in seeing The Goat so I was delighted when Hugh invited me to hang out at the Buzzelli Multihull Regatta hosted by the Sarasota Sailing Squadron.  I was prepared to camp but when I got there I found out that Hugh had scored me a bunk on the Ball's brothers spectaculat Gerr designed trawler "Roseate".

Buzzelli Regatta is a diverse gathering of small multis like Windriders, Hobies, Wetas, F16s, F18s, Stillettos, F-boats and others.

The Goat was definitely the odd boat out.

Friday night, Jim Brown, the legendary multihull pioneer and designer gave a fascinating talk about the history of multis and his Outrig project.  This was the first time I had heard Jim's presentation.  He is a great story teller and the twinkle in his eye, when he recounts some of his numerous adventures, really shows that he's lived life to the fullest.  My favorite answer that Jim gave to an audience question about if the ancient South Pacific light multis were so good why did the Europeans go with giant, unwieldy and slow ballasted monohulls.  Jim's anwser: "They needed to carry cannon", Perfect!!

The clubhouse was full of young racer guys who, when Jim began his talk, were not paying much attnetion.  Many of them had no idea who he was.  But as the presentation went on more and more people were paying attention and by the end pretty much everyone in the room was enjoying Jim's show.  The goal of the Outrig project is to chronicle the history of the modern multihull.  This is a great effort as the early pioneers are getting on in years and, unfortunately they will not be around forever.  Outrig will make sure that they are not forgotten.

Saturday we woke up to Hugh's awesome coffee and I was invited to have breakfast at Meade's RV.  Meade makes a serious stick to your ribs and keep you fueled for a long day on the water bowl of cerial, nuts, berries and all sorts of other goodness.  It was delicious and worked as advertised.

We got the Goat rigged and launched by pushing off the trailer onto the grassy shore and then dragging to the water's edge.  This works OK but I noticed that the Weta tris have a super slick dolly and trailer arrangement which allow trundling the boat over roughish terrain with relative ease.  Definitely will have to gin up something similar for the Goat.  There goes project #1276.  While I was rigging the Goat, Pat Ball came by with his grandson Markus. They had his Bufflehead in the back of the pickup truck and launched nearby.

  Hugh and I went sailing on the Goat but never got to sail alongside Pat. 

Eventually we met up on the beach and all of us took off in the Goat. 

This was the first time I had more than two adults in the boat.  The pleasent breeze was enough to give us a few exhillerating reaches and the occasional Yeehaah!  With Hugh and I sitting on the rail and Pat driving we almost stayed with the windriders on the race course.  The boat feels a good bit faster when I sail solo so will have to try and hunt down a Windrider one of these days *he says with an evil but not cocky grin*.

We had no fun at all!

Saturday night Meade Gougeon gave a presentation on how the modern multihulls evolved to be able to tack down wind.  Once again I was fascinated by the history and how far we have come in a relatively short time.

I thouroughly enjoyed meeting a lot of folks and making new friends. Had to pack up and leave late Saturday night as I had to be home on Sunday.  Fortunatley it's barely a one and a half hour drive to our house in St Pete.  What a sailing paradise we live in!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Goat Camping on the Indian River Lagoon

A couple of weeks ago Kristi and I went camping for the first time in The Goat.  We were late getting to Honest John's Fish Camp on Friday but were rewarded with a very pleasant sunset cruise down the Indian River Lagoon.

We arrived at spoil island IR1 as the sun was setting in an absolutely spectacular sunset and were greeted by the usual suspects from WCTSS.

We quickly made camp before total darkness fell. The hot dogs on the fire tasted much better than they should. It was late and we were starving. I did not sleep very well the first night as I kept being woken by strange rustling sounds. I finally got a flashlight out and discovered a rat had chewed a giant hole in our brand new soft cooler. Good news is that he did not get into our food.

Saturday we chilled at the camp, swapped a lot of sailing lies and took the Goat out a few times in the perfect 15knot winds. Sometimes I can't decide what is more fun - sailing or talking about sailing.

We had another campfire that evening and then crashed for the night. Slept great in the steady breeze. Glenda and Mel also took their time packing up and we had a great sail together back to the launch site. The weather was a perfect 15knots with higher gusts and made for a quick and exciting sail back.

We had the first of three reefs in the sail and it was about the right balance of speed vs capsize risk for warm weather. We would have reefed down to the second reef if the water had been cold but it's still warm enough that a capsize would not be too unpleasant.

When we got back to HJFC Jose, Ron and Terry were still there and along with Glenda and Mel we all decided to have a long and relaxing lunch at Sebastian Beach Inn before hitting the road. The food was pretty good and, as usual the stimulating conversation ranged all over the place.

Heres a little video of us sailing down the Indian River Lagoon

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lake Tarpon Daysail

I took The Goat for a daysail at Lake Tarpon, with WCTSS (West Coast Trailer Sailer Squadron).  Ended up having a great time but it took some effort to get out on the water.  Early on in our sailing life we figured out cancelling trips because of iffy forecasts, more often than not, results in missed opportunities so we don’t generally cancel sailing plans unless the forecast is truly apocalyptic or below 60F.  From the start, I think something was trying to tell me not to go on this trip but I don’t listen so well.  Friday night I was rushing to finish some trailer mods which took longer than anticipated and then I had to jury rig the drain plug ‘cause I apparently lost it.  The whole afternoon had felt like a bit of a fight to get ready.  Finally around 10:30 pm all I had left to do was put a few things in the van.  Our old van gets driven maybe once a month and I had seen a few ants in it last time I drove it.  I open the van and immediately notice a pretty substantial ant trail.  I follow it under some stuff and discover a giant ant’s nest.  We are talking a writhing pile of ants a good 10x18 inches.  Yikes, horror movie music playing in my head!  I can’t drive the van like this.  The ants are likely to devour me before even I get to the lake. So Kristi and I waged chemical warfare.  It was midnight by the time we got done cleaning up the mess. 

Wake up this morning and it’s pouring.  Radar looks like a stalled front is going to sit over Lake Tarpon at least through mid day. 

I was not about to give up, having fought so valiantly to get ready the night before.  Driving to the lake, I was wondering how many folks would show up.  As I pulled into the launch ramp it was great to see that a good number of like-minded damn-the-weather sailors were hanging out under the shelter.  We proceeded to have a good time socializing and playing “who can pull up the best radar plot on their phone”.  The weather was not improving fast but it was improving and we started to get hungry so a few folks jumped in Ron’s Sea Pearl "Whisper", Becky and Ed launched their Adventure Islands and they set off for lunch at the Dockside Sports Bar and Grill.  There was not enough wind for the motor and oarless Goat to make it to the restaurant so I hopped a car ride with Jose and Dimitri.  We had better wind along highway 19 and handily beat the sailboats.  Eventually a bunch of folks showed up and we continued socializing and filling our bellies with reasonably decent food, for a sports bar. 

After lunch Jose dropped me off at the ramp and I got ready to attempt sailing The Goat out of the weed infested, directly-up-wind, channel.  As I was launching, Ron and the AIs came in so there must have been some wind on the lake.  With renewed interest I proceeded to launch and attempt sailing up the channel.  There was a faint breeze but no matter what I did I could not get The Goat to dig in and start sailing upwind.  I don’t know what exactly was going on but I suspect that the huge amounts of weeds grabbing at the board and rudder combined with the pathetic, fluky wind conspired to thwart any windward progress.  After making a general spectacle of myself, but not scratching the boat (thanks Ed!) I dropped the sail and resigned myself to paddling out the channel.  The Goat has oarlocks but alas no oars yet, so all I have is an emergency paddle.  Good thing this was not an emergency as the paddle is very ineffective at propelling the boat.  After trying multiple techniques I settled on paddling The Goat as if it was a standup paddle board.  I’ve tried real paddle boards and they are a good way to exert maximum effort for minimum progress.  The Goat is the world’s worst paddle board.  So after paddling what felt like the length of the Everglades Challenge, I finally got out into some clear air.  Oh, I forgot to mention that the paddle has a hand grip hole in the blade and a funky T shaped handle so that you can use it as a boat hook, in a pinch.  Well that hole would grab weeds and sling them into the boat every time I switched paddling sides.  What a mess.  Since I was on a lee shore and would not have time to drift and hoist the sail I dropped anchor and raised the sail.  The wind was still real fluky so, for added sport, the boat sailed a couple complete circles around the anchor while I was hoisting sail – nevertheless, the hoisting went smoothly.  I weighed anchor, which came up as a giant ball of muddy weeds neatly wrapped in some chain.  As the shore was quickly approaching, I had to start sailing immediately – so, the muddy mess went into the already weed-coated boat.  
John Chestnut park is a nice place with good ramps but lots of weeds.

Finally out on the open lake, I was rewarded with a pleasant breeze and spent several hours lazily messing about at 3-5 knot boat speeds.  The weather had cleared up and it was glorious.  Not having a means to effectively propel the boat, if the wind completely died, I stayed reasonably close to the ramp but still had a great time checking out wildlife in the reeds and just generally relaxing.  Finally, I was forced to head in as the sun got low over the horizon.

Took my time packing up, watched the sunset and headed home.  Had to work for this time on the water but, as always, it was well worth it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bobbing on a Saturday

We spent the day at Ft De Soto bobbing and relaxing with friends from WCTSS .  The day started out windless but the current was in our favor so we all drifted from the launch ramps over to the north side of De Soto beach and cooled off by soaking in the water.  The usual afternoon storms started building but they looked like they were going to miss us so some of us decided to wait them out on the beach.  Soon enough the storms cleard out and we were rewarded with a decent sailing breeze.  Ron yelled let's go and we all jumped in our boats and sailed out Bunces Pass and into the Gulf.  We chased each other around for a while, enjoying the light breeze.  Ron, at one point skimmed over a shoal and we followed in a slightly different and shallower spot.  Kristi pulled the bord up all the way and I had maybe 3 inches of rudder down.  We skimmed right over in, maybe 6 inches of water.  What fun!  Fred, in his Sea Pearl mono "Deja Vu", followed behind us and had to get out for a second to shove over the shoall.  Don't follow The Goat into shoals unless you draw 3 inches or so :-).  We had a slow but nice run back to the ramps with us in The Goat and 3 Sea Pearls sailing in close company.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Planing Around Canadian Hole

Just got back from a week long trip to Avon on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Kristi and I trailered The Goat 1800 miles round trip.  Avon is a wind surfer's and kiteboarder's Mecca because the sound side is shallow with a strong, predominantly on-shore wind.  You screw up and it blows you back to the beach.  Very convenient.  There are few boat launch sites because of the shallow water so the best option was to launch at Canadian Hole which is mostly a windsurfer's spot.

One is not like the others.

The first day out the winds were absolutely nuclear.  A nearby weather station was reporting 20-30 knots.  Since we had no idea how The Goat would handle such conditions we started out with the sail reefed all the way down.  We launched and were wondering how wild a ride this would be as the boat was tugging pretty hard just holding her head to wind, in knee deep water.  We should'n have been concerned.  As soon as we got some crew weight in the boat she settled down and while the ride was very lively we at no time felt out of control or that a capsize was imminent.  We had no trouble making way upwind.  The water was essentially flat so that helped but it felt like we had enough drive to punch into bigger chop.

Discussing takeoff strategy.

Reefed sail shape looks good.

Big grin = big fun

 The winds tended to be light in the mornings and picked up in the afternoons.  This allowed us to give Goat rides to interested family members in the morning and flog The Goat in the afternoon.

Perfect 10knot breeze.

  Bella, my niece, was interested in the boat so we went for a spin.  She has been sailing since she was a baby but on a keel boat so the liveliness of The Goat scared her a bit, at first, but I kept the boat pretty flat and she soon was having a good time.

What does this do?

Lets go!

I think she is instructing us on where to sit.

Once we figured out that The Goat handles the blow with ease it was time to see what she could do.  We never again had wind in the high twenties but we did get consistent 18-22.  We hoisted full sail and proceeded to reach back and forth, behaving as if we were sailing our Hobie16.  Solo the boat is amazingly manageable when severely overpowered.  The yard and battens keep the sail from flogging so luffing upwind is quite civilized.  By myself I had way too much sail to go well to windward, as I had to luff a lot but it was doable.  The payoff was the broad reaches when the boat would easily get on plane and I was able to sustain 10knot boat speeds for as long as I had sea room.  Two up we did much better upwind but the max sustained speed dropped to 9knots.  I think my crew was too far forward.

All of this blasting around did come at a price.  We capsized and bailed the boat out 4 times in one afternoon.  

Righting the boat is easy.  She is very stable on
her side so there is no risk of going turtle. 

Bailing is a workout!

The first capsize was caused by the mainsheet getting tangled in the tiller on a tack.  The other three were off the wind death rolls.  I had read somewhere that if, when runing, you let the yard go too far forward bad things may happen with the boat rolling to windward.  The first time it happened it was so quick we did not realize what happened.  I turned down wind and sheeted out too much and the boat immediately rolled.  There was no time to react.  We made several more planing reaches and runs without incident and then it happened again.  We had to figure out exactly what was causing this so we decided that the last run of the day I would sheet out in small increments and try to sneak up and manage the roll.  The run started off fine, we got on plane and I started sheeting out while carefully watching the for the roll.  As soon as the yard went a bit past where it should be we rolled.  No warning, no way to counter, just a fast hard roll.  We were pretty tired by then so we just hung out on the capsized hull and let the wind blow us to shore.  Below is a very poor quality video of that last roll when we were ready for it but still got dunked.  So the moral of the story is Do Not let the yard go too far forward of the mast when you have full sail up, in a blow!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Shelter skelter

Was planning to do the third and final coat of epoxy on the gunwales, last weekend, but the weather had other plans.  A severe thunderstorm (news said 70mph gusts) came through and blew my boat shelter to bits.  This shelter survived a lot of thunderstorms last summer but the addition of the bug screen sides, in preparation for a bug free clearcoat session, must have added too much windage.  Fotunately no damage to The Goat but the shelter tore and the boat filled up with a lot of water.  A drain plug of some type may be in my future.  Two weeks ago we had to delay leaving for Cedar Key by about an hour in order to not drive The Goat through a downpour.  Boat with no drain plug is already getting old.  After buying another shelter, cleaning the mess up and and setting up the new shelter I had just enough time left to install the oarlocks.

Barely missed the boat!

This is water from just hosing the salt off.  I tilted the trailer back to make it easier to bail but still a pain.  On the plus side, the deck plates did not leak a drop.  I used vaseline on the seals which helps a lot.

The oarlock is located and temporarily screwed down to immbilize it so I could scribe an accurate outline onto the gunwale.  I'm using stainless oarlocks from West Marine.  Looked everywhere and these are the nicest ones I found.  Many of the bronze ones look very rough, like they were cast using 1800's technology.  While I like the look of weathered bronze it's not quite in line with the Goat's modern aesthetic.

After scribing the oarlock socket's outline onto the gunwale I set up my trusty Bosh router with adjustable fence and held my breath while routing out a pocket for the oarlock socket flange.  This is a DO NOT EFF UP MOMENT.  One spastic move and irreparable damage occurs.  Thankfully all went well. 

Router depth stop was set to the thickness of the oar lock socket flange.  The corner radii, from the router bit, had to be cleaned up with a small chisel.  I found an Xacto knife to be useful for this.

And we have flush mounted oarlock sockets.

Total time to date, not counting rebuilding the shelter: 440hrs

Monday, May 16, 2011


Don't have time to write much about the launch so here's just a quick update.  We managed to get The Goat into saileable shape for the Cedar Key small boat meet. There's no clearcoat over the epoxy and the hull is just primer but all of the essential bits are there. We launched Saturday May 7th next to the Island Place condos in Cedar Key. Winds were less than 10 knots which was perfect for a first sail. On Sunday we got a bit more wind and had the boat moving nicely. This is going to be fun.  Have much to learn about sailing these oldfangled rigs. 

Lots of pics in the web albums and a quckie video of the first day out on the water.  We're using the GoPro camera handheld which is a bit awkward without a viewfinder so the video is framed very poorly but you get the idea.

Photos of The Goat

Photos of the Cedar Key Small Boat Meet

Friday, May 13, 2011

Massive push to the finish

Got behind on the blog as usual but this time it's because I was working on the boat every spare minute to make the Cedar Key maiden launch date.  And we made it. Have lots of pics but first, in order to maintain chronological continuity and prevent any nasty temporal paradoxes, I will document how we got there in this mother of all posts.
Fitted and glued the inwales, knees and breasthook.  Lots of fiddly parts to fit, trim fit again, trim again and again and again, for many hours.  But the result is pretty rewarding.

Inwales trimmed to length and clamped in place ready for breast hook final fitting.

Breast hook halves ready to glue in.

Fitting transom knees.

Odd angles everywhere.

Was going to do the same semicircular cut as on the breast hook, to match the inwale spacers but the angles got the better of me and I gave up and cut the offending bit off.  Another inwale spacer fills the space.

Used the deck plate frame as a template to trim masking tape.  Keeps the sealant mess to a minimum.

I'm using deck plates which have low profile frames with no fasteners so spring sticks, made from ply offcuts, hold them in place while the goop cures.

Got a power plane to plane down the gunwales but it also makes short work of little scarfs like these for the mahogany gunwale caps.

Couple minutes later.

Gunwale structure glued up slightly above the ply, ready to be planed down to the ply.

After power planing and some hand planing and sanding.

With gunwale caps on, edges rounded with roundover bit in router and final sanded with 120 grit.

Bow sanded ready for epoxy coats.

Gunwales ready for epoxy.

First coat of epoxy attracts bastard bugs.


Flipped boat over to finish bottom.  The runners reveal a couple of flat spots on either side of the bottom ply joint.  Ignoring them for now, will fair later.

Flush cutting bit in router makes quick work of cutting the daggerboard slot.

2" glass tape ready to epoxy on chines.

Glass tape epoxied to chines and bow.  I used a plane with the blade set at an angle to trim down the tape edges while the epoxy was still green.

The fairing begins.  I have hollows where the screws pulled the ply hull sides in and the tape has to be faired in.

It snowed in FL, in April!

First pass with fairing compound sanded and wiped clean.  It's not perfect but it will have to do for now.  Will coat with epoxy primer for Cedar Key then finish fairing later.

I used System 3 Quick Fair and it is awesome stuff.  Will never go back to mixing microbaloons again.

Added a layer of 4oz cloth to the bow for extra beaching abrasion protection.

Epoxy coating the bottom, of course, attracts every bug in the hood.

While the boat was upside down on sawhorses, I used the trailer as a straight clamping jig for the yard and rudder case / tiller.

Total time to date: 435hrs