Wednesday, June 29, 2005

What's a Good Boat - My Thoughts

Look at a boat and try to imagine putting it under a big waterfall. With tons of water falling on it what's going to break, how is water going to get in? Where’s that water going to go?  What happens to the boat’s stability when the cockpit fills up?

Imagine dropping the boat off a fairly high dock, say 10 feet or more. Imagine dropping it at different angles, letting it land on its top, sides, bow, stern. What's going to break when you do that?  What’s going to happen to the things inside the boat, the gear, the tankage, the engine, you?

To a point (and comfort aside), the more experience you have, the less boat you need. Conversely, someone with a couple years daysailing experience is going to need a pretty good boat, at least initially, to cross an ocean.

Someone with 30 years blue water experience should  be able to look at a boat and instantly decide if that type of boat is suitable for a long voyage.  This is not only because the experienced sailor has seen a lot of design devices but also because they can imagine that boat being hit by tons of water or dropping from a large wave. Perhaps they've seen it.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Nice Father's Day

Sunny and windy. That’s rare up here. Usually our month of summer is August and every day is warm and windless. Beautiful but not very good for sailing, I’ve noticed.

Yesterday had 15 knots of wind, no clouds, and temperature in the mid 70s. Very nice. I got a nice little cockpit table for the binnacle guard for father’s day so I went out and installed it, lounged a bit, then the rest of the family came out and we went for a sail.

It was a little too windy for everyone to be really comfortable. Had the first reef in the main but it was still a bit much to unfurl the 150 genoa all the way. I tried various amounts of furl but it really doesn’t set well enough when furled to be useful in anything above a beam reach. Below a beam reach the apparent wind goes down enough so that the full, unfurled sail is not too powerful.

The alternative, of course is to change headsails. What a great idea. Scamper came with four head sails (plus two spinnakers) so there’s certainly a choice. All of the headsails are set up to go into the furler so I haven’t wanted to do too many sail changes.

The headsails for a 34’ boat are pretty big, especially for an older, IOR-influenced design with great big head sails and a tiny blade of a main. Storage and weight become an issue quickly. I carry the 150 genoa on the furler, the light-air spinnaker, and a storm jib that hanks onto the baby stay. Yesterday, it would have been nice to have the 130 or even the 100 but once I start carrying several bags of sails there’s suddenly no place to sleep.

Racers like to keep it light and cruisers tend to bring heavy supplies and gear on board but it will take MANY cans of Dinty-Moore to weigh as much as three or four headsails.

For cruising I may keep the 130 on the furler and plan on motorsailing in less than five knots of wind. The 130 might furl down to 100 or so and be able to keep it’s shape but I’ll have to experiment. That would let me sail to windward in 20 to 25 knots of wind without changing sails. From there on up the storm jib on the baby stay along with the third reef in the main would be pretty comfortable.

After the sail yesterday I stayed at the boat a while and took off the rest of the fresh water cooling system. Heat exchangers are pretty heavy. I also drained, cleaned, and filled both water tanks. I have no idea when the last time that was done but there was quite a bit of brown sludge in the bottom of the tanks. Pretty disgusting. Bleach and a bit of Joy did a nice job on that though. I’m now on my fourth gallon of bleach since I bought the boat last fall.

Monday, June 13, 2005


My dad and I went out for a nice little sail on Friday afternoon.  Just a little wind, about 7 knots, and I only unrolled the 150 – didn’t even bother to raise the main.  We only stayed out about 45 minutes but with the modern convenience of roller furling, not to mention having most other gear optimised and in its place (and a good checklist), we were able to get underway in about five minutes.  Stowing everything when we were done, including flushing the engine, took just a little more time than that.

I told my wife when we bought this boat that I wanted a fast, seaworthy, comfortable, daysailer.  The C&C is certainly capable of significant coastal if not ocean passages but my main focus has been to keep it clean, uncluttered, and light with most gear set up and in it’s place for quick and easy use.

For a quick daysail I check the oil, disconnect shore power, start the engine, and cast off.  When I’m done I connect the hose to the flush connection and run the engine for about five minutes while I reconnect shore power.

There’s still a bunch of stuff to forget.  They are mostly trivial items such as “stow companionway locks under steps” but they do need to be done and, under some conditions, undone trivial items can add up and cause real problems.

The CnCPhotoAlbum has brochures online for most C&C models.  From one of those brochures I was able to get a deck plan and cabin layout that I could import into a Word document.  I put the text of the checklist into the Word document, along with the pictures, and drew lines (in Word) to the relevant area of the boat that the checklist item refers to.  I printed a startup and a shutdown list and posted them on the bottom side of the chart table.

I tried to imagine the instructions someone un-familiar with the boat would need.  Not only did I include the item, such as “remove pedestal cover…” but I tried to include enough information to get the job done, such as “…and store it in the quarterberth.”   I’ve observed problems that guests and family had with various pieces of gear and added notes to help out when possible.  I also included a small bit of history of the boat’s design from the naval architect for the curious guests.

Raw Water Cooling

After the cooling failure on Memorial Day I’ve been messing with the system.  Simpler-is-better so I decided to leave the engine plumbed for raw water cooling.  That’s what it was designed for to begin with (Yanmar 3GM) and the fresh water system that was added by some previous owner was a hack-job at best.

I installed a SpeedSeal on the pump that is now the raw water pump and have ordered a Globe impeller.  I built in a flushing connection just after the raw water strainer that sends garden-hose water to the engine and back-flushes the strainer.  I can also close the intake seacock and the raw water pump will pull MarSolve into the engine through this connection.  I also installed a colder (125 degree) thermostat.

I built a similar connection into my old powerboat.  The engine itself was fresh water cooled but I used the connection to flush the saltwater side of the heat exchanger and the exhaust manifolds.  The manifolds and heat exchanger were both 19 years old when I sold the boat but they looked like new.

There is less stuff in the engine compartment.  There is also less stuff in the starboard cockpit locker.  The old fresh water cooling components were a bit corroded from many years of use without flushing.  It is nice to have that stuff gone.