Friday, May 23, 2008

First Beercan Race/Dad goes to the races

Still slammed with work (have actually lost another 2 lbs!) so haven't had time to tweak our boat, or take photos. But.

Dad and I got the toerails on. They look great, although my eye still prefers the clean look of the smooth deck. That said, the foredeck crew likes it a lot! She may choose to stay on the boat all race from now on...

After work, I finally got my dad to sail on a Shields. He's worked on them for like 8 years now, but never actually sailed one. This wedenesday he sailed, and actually helmed, the entire beercan race. We won (although we were the only Shields) and there's a bottle of rum for him somewhere. Way to go!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Wow. I looked at the last blog update, and realized the week that just passsed was definitely the busiest of the whole project.

No pictures, there really wasn't time. I can barely recall all the work we did, but I know I lost 10lbs in the last week, from skipping meals and long long days. It was all worth it though, this week and the last 9 months, as the boat not only got in the water in time for the first races, she came out fast and looking great!

Here's a quick summary:

Longboarded the bottom, and applied 6 coats of interprotect. This generally sucked, but the interprotect was actually a real peach to work with. Sanded up nice to around 320 and gave a great finish. Put VC17 on it (about an hour before launch) and it looks good, although the orange color is distressing to both Niki and myself. We can't wait for it to turn blue!

Installed all the hardware. I did this whenever paint was drying, or the water running off. This continued until literally the last hour before raceday.

Launched the boat late friday with Niki, Ray, Josh and my Dad, got the rig up, denamed it, Niki renamed it (yes, the boat is really named Peanut!) , sat down and had a beer with Kevin, got up early Sat morning to tune and headed out to the races in a pretty strong shifty NWer. Reports on the dock range from 20-25, and I'd side with the 25. Let me just tell you, just about the most stressful part of this project was sailing this brand new (to me) boat, which wasn't entirely finished and hadn't even seen daylight for 3 years, into big breeze. The boat was pounding pretty hard, and I could see dust coming out of the fore and aft hatches!

I had a truly excellent crew, and their skill kept me calm, and even got us to win the day with two second places, giving us a 1 point edge over the next boat.

It's been a pretty crazy winter, and nothing more than the last couple days. Today I had a chance to slow down, clean the boat (we kept stepping on shavings and bits of glass all race!) and think about the whole thing. A couple things come to mind:

The old adage about figuring out what your boat needs (time, money) and then doubling that figure is pretty accurate. I estimated 200hrs, and ended up at a bit over 400. It was a bit much really, but now that we've gone sailing on our new boat, it all makes perfect sense!

Sailing and boats are wonderful, but it's the people involved that really make it worthwhile, and usually possible in the first place. There are dozens of people that have helped in this project in one way or another, and many of them haven't even seen the boat! Some of my experts (boat builders, Shields sailors, materials techs) aren't even in this time zone. The people close to home have been amazing as well, we had a ton of help working on the boat, launching the boat and putting it all together. The last week especially impressed me, as friends and family came out of the woodwork to make the boat sail on time, and race well. It will be another post where I thank everyone by name, but for right now; you know you are, THANKS.

For the first race, I drove, Josh B came out and absolutely rocked the house doing tactics and jib, Josh's friend Christian was our expert boatspeed guy (although I think his sportboating self would resent the term "speed" being applied to our Shields) and Niki did bow. The day started out a breezy NWer, and luckily we had time to practice our upwind and downwind sailing a little bit before the race. This also gave us some time to load and stretch our shrouds out (about 3/16") and retighten just in time. I botched the first start, but we had had conservative tactics and good speed that got us into second, behind Kevin in 150 and ahead of 126. Next start wasn't a great one either, but it enabled us to get right early, which worked out great. We rounded the top mark in second to Not Passis/Farr40 guys/Quantum guy on 63, but Gary on 196 ended up sneaking around us both while we played cat and mouse. He held on to win the second race, with 63 following us in. The boat came out first for the day with 4 points, 150 in second with 5, and 196 with 6. Tight spread, but we're only going to get better at this!

I've still got some work to do: Dad and I are going to put the toerails on, and I've got a few tiny issues to sort of with parts. I was thrilled to see that almost everything we did in terms of rigging fit perfectly and worked great (with our schedule, there wouldn't have been time to fix a thing) This week I'm going to photo and make notes on all the cool parts of our boat, and do a rigging highlight, just in case people want to try some of our tricks.

Right now though, it feels great to sit here and enjoy my sunburn, while staring at the one good photo of Peanut in the water.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Paint Complete

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Sprayed the topsides today with Mick, came out really nice.

Before that happened, I had to prep sand the primer. I'm so incredibly sick of sanding! I got it with 220, 320 and 400, then scuffed with a scotchbrite pad. After that, we washed the boat, again, and then taped off the topsides, again, plastic-ed the deck AGAIN and then washed once more, wiped with naphta, then washed the whole bloody shop to get the dust down. This took about 3 days. Here is the boat, in a rather ugly white primer stage.
After all that, the actual spraying is quick as can be. Wet down the shop floor and sprayed 3 quick coats of paint. Each one takes about 45 minutes. Happy with the results, although Mick keeps giving me guff about DA marks and muttering "owner prep" all day.

The paint is extremely shiny, here you can see Mick's reflection as he checks the finish with a light.
Here's a couple photos of the boat. The color is weird, at different angles and lights it can appear black, white and everything in between. Can't wait to tear the tape off, but we've got to shoot the white boot stripe first. I think the white paint there will really make the gray seem gray full-time!
Just to see if I could...
Hours, prep and painting topsides

Kristian 12
Mick 6

Saturday, May 3, 2008

We are almost having fun yet

The rigging season is in full-on crunch mode, so I haven't had as much time as I'd like to work on boat. We've still got a lot done.

Deck paint is finished, both the nonskid and the shiny areas (I still haven't figured out how to refer to the non-nonskid parts of the deck. Nonnonskid sounds funny, maybe "the white bits?" I don't know.)

Really really happy with the way the deck looks! We've got matterhorn white awlgrip for the white bits, and a blend (6:1 Matterhorn White/Medium Gray) for the nonskid. Looks really cool. Added about 20 hrs to the project to add the extra nonskid areas (stock Shields only have it on the foredeck) and to get the contrast color, but I say worth it.

We (Mick, Niki, my Dad and myself) also started putting hardware back on. So far we've got the backstay gland, flagpole socket (just 1), traveler and associated gear and the spinnaker ratchet blocks. After all the paint prepwork, it feels great to be doing something I know how to do (rigging.)

Started sanding off the gray primer, got abour 40% done today. Monday/tues/wed (if I can) I'll sand off the rest, wash/solvent the sides, mask the deck and we'll spray the medium gray awlgrip on the hull.


Mick: 4
Niki: 6
Victor: 3
Kristian: ???? I have no idea. I'd guess around 20 again.