Hello all. I seldom get the time to check in with CF these days because although not on Roy's scale, I am doing a major re-fit of my own. I looked over the last couple of pages and thought I would add a few comments, before posting
about what I was asked, the boarding ladder.
DOWN WIND SAILS
I recommend an asymmetrical spinnaker
with an ATN Snuffer sock. It is a breeze to deploy, (pun intended), and to strike as well. I often tack it to the bow of the Vaka, and can actually go to windward this way. For the clew... I have both a down line running to the block on the ama bow, and a back line that runs to the alternate aft headsail sheet location. It is routed through a block on the ama gunnels aft of the vent hole. With this combination of TWO sheets
(on each side), I have total control of the clew's location and thus, sail shape.
To gybe the sail I change course to dead down wind
, pull the clew to the middle manually until it mostly collapses, and then I hook up the opposite side's control lines, which were stored and ready to go on the aft bale of the bow rail. Then I go onto the new course with the sail on the opposite side.
For dead down wind or close to it, I tack the sail to both sides to the ama bows. This is of course a slower point of sail, but if in close quarters like our Neuse River, it may be necessary. The more down wind the course, the more you may need to pull the main amidships, and if it has full battens it will tolerate this better. I bring it amidships because it will otherwise blanket the spinnaker
. The main does not do us that much good anyway, because these are headsail driven boats. We frequently sail with the lapper alone, if it is a short sail on a lazy day.
When flying a spinnaker in heavy winds beware of the true wind speed! If you are going 10 knots dead down wind, reading 10 knots app wind speed it is so relaxing, but be careful. What if then the autopilot
goes into a fit and throws you suddenly onto a reach, you are laying beam on now in 20+ knots with a spinnaker up! I'm jus sayin...
COPPER/EPOXY GEL COAT BOTTOMS:
I agree with Roy... I don't recommend these at all, none of them! All of my boatbuilder
friends that tried various brands over decades, eventually gave up on the weekly or bi weekly bottom scrubs, and then used bottom paint
. Besides being ineffective, these hard copper/epoxy bottoms give a much firmer substrate for barnacles
to attach to, making them 10X as hard to scrape off, vs bottom paint
. The material will oxidize to being mostly just epoxy
with copper sealed within, in a month or two, and CAN NOT be wet/dry sanded with SCUBA gear
in the water
. I tried.
The brand I applied in I think, 1995, was CopperPoxy, which I had sanded and then polished to look like a new penny! The new owners of this product had switched from a copper powder to a flake, unknowingly making it electrically conductive. WHEN IT BECAME TIME TO GIVE UP ON IT... In the areas near my underwater metal, I could not get bottom paint
, or even straight epoxy
barrier coat to stick for long. After 5 years of attempting a solution this way, I sanded off the offending 20 mils of CopperPoxy that was anywhere near the grounding plate or drivetrain. After THEN applying more barrier coat and bottom paint
, both the adhesion and rampant growth issues were solved
, as they are to this day. As an environmentalist I would love to find a better solution than bottom paint, but for now...
The bow is a VERY weight sensitive area. When we added a super lightweight windlass and 135' of small chain, we adopted the practice when making a long passage
, of removing the 35# Delta
from the bow, and putting it in the wing locker. If going hard to windward, we would add most of the 1/4" HT chain (which we put in a canvass bucket for the transfer) as well. Moving this weight aft would seriously reduce the pounding, especially in a gale. If needed, we would even move 5 gallons of water
(normally stored in jugs), to the back cabin
. Later, when the seas subsided or we fell off a bit, we would go back to normal trim.
Our "Quick" brand electronic windlass was only about 18#s, so even counting the huge copper wire (most of which is not on the bow), this is by far the lightest windlass solution. Compared to a manual version, It is equally as "reliable" a windlass choice as well, IF installed with care.
Another thought... I strongly recommend that folks EITHER have no windlass at all or an electric
one as described. Hand crank windlasses are strong and simple but incredibly SLOW!!! This means that when you need it the most, like pulling in the hook in a gale, as we have dozens of times, it might take 3 to 5 minutes from the time "anchor's away", until you get her out of the water and can get underway. That is a LOT of drifting backwards in a gale. Keeping the boat in place with the single engine
may be a theoretical solution, but ONLY if the better helmsperson is not also the stronger person. Keeping a Searunner's bow head
to wind and moving fwd (steadily at < .5 knots), for several minutes, in a gale, without speeding up or being forced by the wind into falling off at speed, requires skill. It was a skill my wife never mastered, and for us, an "electronic" windlass saved our cruising if not our marriage.
Btw... Once forced into a beam on direction to the gale, and not wanting to hit full throttle with the hook still mostly down, the anchor
retriever person has about 3 or 4 seconds to dump ALL of the chain back into the water, before it digs a notch in the ama. This is why I believe the better choice is either a proper electric
windlass, or mostly plait nylon rope rode
with boatlength of small 1/4" HT chain. The loss of cantenary from light/short chain can be made up for by using 7/1 scope
, ALWAYS, as we do.
This issue of remaining head
to wind, SLOWLY, in a gale... is considerably lessened for twin engine
catamarans. "I" can do it fine in our 34' Searunner too, but I am never at the helm
when we pull up the hook.
Anchoring & Mooring the Cruising Multihull (Book) | OutRig Media
My thinking from decades of doing this avid diving
thing previously, was that the ladder needed to be facing forward into the wind, current
, and waves when at anchor, and as centrally located as possible to minimize the up and down motion as you can see. I felt that next to the sterncastle/wing juncture was best.
I am in the water A LOT (when we are cruising in clear water), and use the ladder correspondingly. I have climbed it with a SCUBA
tank on as well, but it is difficult and hard on the ladder too. I now shuck the tank at the base of the ladder, throw a short line through the BCs handle, and hand it up to Mariam. Then I shuck the fins, and now standing on the ladder's bottom rung, I throw them on deck
. After climbing the ladder, I straddle the ama/wing crotch, and pull the floating BC/tank onboard for rinsing.
Building the ladder platform goes this way...
Buy the ladder first. It needs to be a bifold at least 6' long for the SR34, or 7' for the 40.
Then make the 3/4" thick rectangular plywood
platform, just large enough to mount the ladder to, and have it hang off the wing appropriately. It will hang of of the aft edge very little on the inside, but quite a bit on the outside. (See photos)
It now has to be beveled side to side, so as to be level on a very sloping deck
. I used another piece of ply underneath on the outside half, for this beveling, making that edge 1.5" thick. This was ONLY on the portion of the platform that was mounted to the deck, not the part of the platform that hangs off of the deck. All of the hangy off part is one layer of 3/4" ply.
Next I filled the bottom to make it into one plane and sanded it perfectly flat with a belt sander followed by a hand file (sanding block). After I got the size and bevel of the platform to conform to its location and provide a level spot, BUT NOT MOUNTED TO THE BOAT, I epoxied on the vertical horseshoe shaped portion, which started as 3/8" plywood
. I would now suggest making it out of 3/4" thick ply.
This was now the perfect shape. I next made a HUGE fillet under this platform to its aft wall junction, using silica on the first few runs, finishing up with MicroLite. It took a LOT of fillet runs to end up with such a large fillet, as you can not do this all at once. (We're talking a fillet stick the radius of a gallon sized paint can)! This was followed by sanding
the outer platform/aft wall junction's radius to match the under side radius.
Next I used about 1/8" of carbon fiber tows on the outer radius, especially on the leg areas of the radius and all the way down. This was followed by filling and sanding
it fair, then applying numerous layers of VERY malleable bias cut glass cloth to the legs and their radius, as well as platform edges and over their upper edge radii. After fairing, the platform again, it got several layers of 10 oz cloth top and bottom. I guess that area was 1/16" thick, with ALL of the stressed vertical wall portion having glassed over carbon that was now >1/8" thick! This is a lot of glassing, so doubled the thickness of the ply cored vertical wall, to make it over 3/4" thick after finishing.
Finally, I made the little teak
blocks for the bottom of the legs, that the ladder's legs bear against. These blocks have 1/4" thick sheet Phenolic inner walls too, to hold the long ladder legs in place. They are thereby kept perfectly captured by the legs on the platform's vertical wall. (See photo)
Then the complete painted platform was mounted down, parallel to the boat's CL, as close to the sterncastle as possible and still leave elbow
room. The permanently glued down platform has screws for the mounting only, but these were recessed and filled over, with glass patches over that. Altogether I guess this project
took a couple of intense weeks, but it was SO worth it!!!
After 20 years of use, what would I do differently? First... 15 years ago I filleted and glassed over the little teak
blocks at the end of the platform's vertical legs. This was purely for lowering maintenance
, and has needed no attention since.
I have only had a few zippers on the boat in all of this time, (<5), and 4 of them were on this ladder bracket. With so much leverage, the force on the platform's vertical walls is FIERCE! It was probably a bit under sealed & underbuilt, but has now been appropriately repaired. Where I mounted this already incredibly glassed over platform down to the wing, (leaving 90 degree angles to it), I have now sanded back the paint and applied large silica fillets. These new fillets are now all around the platform and underneath as well as where the platform hangs off of the aft edge of the wing. The fillets and all of the bracket/platform was now hand painted with gray primer and then AwlGrip. Doing all of this from a dinghy
last year, with a recently crushed arm, was quite a challenge. I also removed the ladder mounting hardware
, drilled and filled the now 5/8" wide holes making HighD plugs into which the screws go, and after glassing over these plugs followed by careful marking, I touched up the paint and re-mounted the hardware
. NO MORE POSSIBLE MOISTURE MIGRATION AT A FASTENER.
It is now truly built like a tank!
I now recommend building large epoxy fillets around every fairing block, stantion fairing base, winch
platform, etc. I have now done this everywhere, but only after 10 or 15 years does the need become evident. If a spec of water gets in ANYWHERE, then the wood swells over the years, and zippers can be the result.
Btw... another safety
feature of the ladder is that it is held up with a plastic hook on the end of its storage
tether. Assuming I am not under way at the time, should I fall in when no one is around and the ladder is folded and up and tethered up, I can swim under the bottom available rung, reach up with one very hard kick, and grab that rung. Then the plastic hook will break and the ladder will come down.
It is a great safety
feature to have a ladder that can literally be deployed in 3 seconds. In a pinch, I have even used it do a free dive over the side in a full gale at sea with chaotic 15' waves, to inspect my drivetrain. I did have to be VERY careful not to be impaled, but the ladder came through.
Oh yes, the NON SKID. I have tried all of the well known techniques, and now I do this, and it is assuming AwlGrip... After the gray primer, (not needed if it had gray primer under your previous paint), I mix pots of, for example:
8 oz of Off White base
4 oz of brushing cat stir...
4-5 oz of slow brushing solvent stir...
4 oz of FINE AwlGrip GripTex stir...
With these batches I can do about 1/4th of the wing. Using a small roller pan and 4" tampon rollers, I put on at least 3, but preferably 4 medium heavy top coats of this grit infused paint. You need someone to stir constantly while painting, and each coat must go on the VERY next day, without skipping a day. It can not get rained on for 5 hrs or so after an application. After it is uniformly gritty, one final topcoat will lock it all down.
You have to really pick your weather
this way, but this nonskid method lasts 15-20 years or so. Then just wash & ScotchBrite WELL before re-painting, with no sanding necessary.
Hope this does someone some good,