Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Fun Stuff/Mission Creep

The "Fun Stuff" in the title is an indication that I'm getting started on the part of the boat that I have a clue about, and starting the many rigging projects. The photo below was my "kid at christmas" moment, as I've got that and 2 other big boxes of cordage and hardware for 88.
What we've got on the plate for 88:

-All new control layout and purchase systems: There's only so many different ways to rig a Shields, but I'm after getting it perfect. I've sailed on these boats for a number of years and have a fair idea of what should be where. Means nothing till we try it out though!

-New Standing Rigging: Like a lot of Shields, this one has the oddest old turnbuckles and standing rigging hardware. Theres a combination of center screw, open body and lifeline (!) turnbuckles, all held together with a whole bunch of toggles. It's all overdue for replacement, and it can all be simplified and made to the correct length. Have a prototype Hayn calibrated turnbuckle for the headstay, which is quite exciting.

-New Running Rigging: This ones a no brainer, as the old lines are usually giant (we have a 5/8" spinnaker halyard!), old, wire (eck) or just lousy.
Halyards: New England's V100 for Main and Jib, with Tylaska Spool shackles at the ends. The lines will be stripped in the middle, and covered where the lines are handled, as well as cover at the shackle ends. This is overkill, but I want the boats rigging to be representative of the best out there. Adding cover to the shackle end means the halyards are chafe guarded at the ends, and they can also be skyed when stored to avoid UV damage on the stripped portion.
Sheets and Control Lines: This ones easy, we're using a lot of NERopes for this, and I'm excited to try out their Flight Line for tapered spinnaker sheets. Even the custom double tapered spin sheet I make is heavier than Flight Line!
Shackles: Going to use soft shackles wherever appropriate. It's not that the Shields is that reactive to extra weight, but again, I want the boat to be as well rigged and current as possible.
-Mast Partner System: This year we're going to try a box shaped mast partner with raised sides. This is good because it lets you have easy to fit/tight clearance shims, and it also makes a coaming to keep water out. The system I'm putting together will hopefully work great, and be a simple bolt on for other boats looking to upgrade. Currently we have an irregular cracked ovalish hole, so anything will be an improvement!

Misc: Things like the radiused raised traveler with most of the purchase below deck, redoing an old boom, etc.


Ahh, growing projects. Anyone with a boat knows the old "as long as________, then might as well _______" It's the attitude that takes simple project boats and turns them into wrecks that take years, or worse, end up less complete than when they started. Hoping that's not the case, but our latest bit of growing plans involve painting the boat.

The deck is in good structural shape, but the paint is not good. From anecdotal evidence, the previous owner bought a gallon of Brightside, brush and a case of beer, and painted the boat on the mooring. Apparently this involved swimming, as he painted himself into the end of the boat opposite from the dinghy! Unfortunately, his purchases didn't include primer, sandpaper or even soap. The paint comes off if you look at it hard, and is generally damn ugly. Sadly, it's applied over pretty good gelcoat, which isn;t going to be recoverable.

Have changed the paint plan for the topsides yet again, now we're looking like:

In the meantime, between customer projects I managed to sneak in about 8hrs on 88. Keels prepped for epoxy (need a couple warm days) and the deck gears been mostly removed. All the old holes are getting filled/faired and then new gear fitted before the deck gets painted. Thats a bit backwards, but I've got to get as much done before painting as possible. This weeks screwy between wedding stuff and strictly sail stuff, I have very little time for any actual work, for customers or myself.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Backstay gland upgrade

Most stock Shields backstays have a wire pennant that comes through the back deck via a deck casting. Inside, the wire makes a 120 degree turn and rides over a solid piece of steel. This area has a lot of friction and chafe. This is a problem are because:

1)the friction makes it hard to adjust the backstay. Even with 8:1 purchase it can be hard for the main trimmer to adjust this as much as they should. A lower friction setup makes it work easier and faster, and therefore the crew is more likely to use it!
2)the chafe means that the backstay pennant wires wear out much faster than they should, which can potentially bring the rig down. Ask Mike S about the time Redfeather lost the backstay (but not the rig) in 25kts: not fun!

According to the class measurer, replacing this casting with an exit block is verboten, but the stock casting can be used with a sheave in it. I sent ours out to Bam at Oyster Bay, who is a wholesale vendor of mine. He did a really nice job of machining a groove in the casting, and putting in a Harken 307 sheave.

In this photo you can see the underside of the casting, and the new sheave.

We've got some pretty big projects in the works over the next 2 months, which will all be featured here, so check back soon!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Deck Hardware/California Shields

First visit to the boat of the year today! I thought I would take advantage of an unseasonably warm forecast and get the fairing compound on the keel, but it was a little too warm! The air temp was in the 60's, which would be great save for all the condensation in the boat yard. EVERYTHING was wet, and the boats were sweating water in sheets. Ok, no glasswork!

It was a nice day to be in the yard, so I removed all the deck hardware off the aft deck, and pulled out a few items I wanted to work on at home.

The spinnaker pole was in good shape, had nice Forespar UXP ends on it and a thin walled tube. Working with the bowteam/fiance, I set it up the way she likes it. Two trip lines with stopper balls for grip, downhaul bridle (pink) with bungee cord retractors and a topping lift ring lashed in the center. Can't think of any better/simpler way to do it! For big breeze/reaches we'll tie on a spectra topping lift bridle.

I took the tiller off, as it was in the way. Took it home to work on, and realized the tiller is fine as is! Thats the very first thing on this boat thats been ok out of the box. The rudder head needs some washers to take the slop out of the steering, but thats an easy one. It's on our porch right now, being wonderfully complete.

I pulled off the backstay casting, which will be sent to Bam at Oyster Bay so he can add a sheave. I asked the class measurer if a harken exit block could be substituted, and was denied. It's too bad as a Harken 310 would be lower friction and larger radius, and probably a safer all around solution than the clunky casting the boats came with in the 60's. Ah well, at least all 260 Shields are in the same boat.

Removed the bent stern mooring cleat, and will replace with a lighter nylon cleat. Wow big weight savings!

The old spinnaker turning block hardware was pretty old and seemed ready to go. It was 2 teak pads, with really ancient padeyes and bullet blocks. I think I'll put in a better padeye and use a Harken 57mm Ti Lite or Karver block in its place. Always nice to have a simple solution thats stronger,simpler and lighter!

Total time today: 4 hrs (+4hrs Jan 9, 3hrs Jan 13)

Niki and I were in CA for her winter break, and stopped by the harbor (of course). We were looking around at a couple boats when I heard my name from up the dock! A dock in Monterrey CA is just about the last place I expect to run into someone, but there was Garth Hobson of the MPYC Shields fleet. I've run into Garth at pretty much every Shields Nationals since 02, and he showed us around their boats. Shields fleet 12 has 8 boats that are all on the same docks. Seems like a great place to sail and they sure seem to like it. Heres a photo of Garth and the 103 crew, about to go out for a sail.