Sunday, April 30, 2006

Winches: Part two

I have the new stripper ring for my winch... the Rigging Shoppe came through, and got it for me in no time. I plan to install it today - but it looks right, it's just a little smaller than the (just returned) new ring.

I can't say enough about the Rigging Shoppe - a great store, run by great people. If you need sailing parts (or just advice) in the Toronto area, I highly recommend them.

Bottom paint

The days are rapidly getting longer, the water is warming up, and boats are starting to get launched. Hopefully we'll have Canopus afloat within a week or two... but there's still so much to do, to get her ready.

The most important jobs to complete are those below the waterline. Of these, the most common is the bottom paint. This is a layer of antifouling agent that inhibits the growth of algae and slime on the bottom of boat, while she's in the water all season. That growth can significantly slow your performance in the water - so you need to prevent it.

We use VC17 on Canopus - that does a great job, and it's easy to maintain. However, it does need to be reapplied every year. There's very little prep work necessary, a pressure wash of the hull at the end of the previous season is almost enough.

The VC17 itself is actually provided as just a packet of powder (some interesting combination of copper and teflon). The paint can that it comes with contains the application agent - basically a liquid that's used to paint the hull. You mix the powder in, and then paint quickly as the liquid starts to evaporate right away. If you do it right -and work fast enough- you end up with the powder evenly distributed over the hull. Voila, a bottom coat. VC17 starts as a rich copper colour, but once in the water it turns to a dark grey.

We also like to wax the hull above the waterline, before she gets launched. This is not as much for functional reasons, it's mostly aesthetic... but good looks count for something.

There's lots else to prepare Canopus for the season, but if necessary almost everything else can be done once she's in the water. It's a nice sunny day today, so I'm going to work on some of the remaining jobs - I'll update the blog tonight with what got done.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

First up: Winches

First piece of maintenance on Canopus this year, I need to repair one of the winches.

I am fortunate to have some great winches on Canopus; she has two Lewmar winches on the cabin top, and two more Lewmar 40 self-tailing winches on the cockpit sides. The self-tailing winches are great. Using a simple winch, you need to turn ("grind") the winch with one hand, and keep pulling the line ("tail") with the other hand. This is only done fast if you have two people; one grinding, the other tailing. A self-tailing winch keeps the tension on the line by itself, meaning you can concentrate on the grinding - it's faster, and much easier when sailing by yourself.

The self-tailing mechanism is quite clever - it's difficult to describe, here's an exploded view of one. There are two plates that grip the line sitting at the top of the winch. This pulls the line up... but something needs to strip the line out from between the two plates. That piece is called the "stripper ring" (part 17 in the previous diagram) - and the stripper ring in my starboard winch is broken.

I ordered a new one at the end of last year, received the part during the winter, and finally got a chance to install it last weekend - or rather, to try and install it. Sure enough, the ring I received is about an 1/8th of an inch too big. I'm not sure why, but it's big enough that it won't fit. Sigh. So, that's me back to the good folks at The Rigging Shoppe, who (as always) were great to deal with, and happy to take the wrong part back - but now I'm back to waiting for another ring. There's nothing simple (or cheap) about boat repairs.

Introducing myself

So what do I sail? She's a 1986 Catalina 27 named Canopus (after the star). I've owned her for three years now. I sail on Lake Simcoe, out of Jackson's Point harbour. I'm a member of Sail Georgina Association - in fact I happen to the commodore of the club for this year. That's a lot of work as well... but a topic for another posting.

Ahoy There

Well hello; welcome to my blog. Who's to know how long this blog will last, or how widely it will be read... only time will tell those things.

I'm a sailor -as all my friends know- and as I write this, it's Spring. Ah, Spring, when the ice melts, the days turn longer, and the sailors start to prepare their boats for the season. So that's what I'm going to write about - my boat. This is mostly for my own sake, as a log of my exploits, but you're welcome to follow along. I like to sail (day and night), I like to race, and I generally enjoy spending time on the water - but for now, there's lots of work to prepare for the season, so that's where I'll start.