Astute readers will have noticed a small gap between the previous posting and this one. Although I'm not quite ready to write out the details of the remainder of the season, I would be remiss in not sharing the current state of affairs. Thin Man is on dry land for the winter and as of last week is covered from stem to stern in shrink-wrap plastic so that I can work on deck hardware and wet spots in the deck over the winter.
This year's Vineyard race tracking system (Kattack) is so much better than the previous tracker, with nearly real time and frequent updates of position. One suggestion to improve the product would be to make it waterproof. :-D The unit is strapped to the stern pulpit, which on a J/92 just happpens to become fully submerged during high-wind spinnaker knock-downs! As a result, the tracking stopped about a third of the way up the return leg. For those curious what route we took, the track from the GPS I carry around my neck looks like this:
I dropped by the boat on Saturday to go over the "Battle Damage Assessment" with a friend and rigging expert. A new spinnaker halyard and lifeline section are being made up in time for our last Wednesday night race this week. Thin Man held up very well through some very rough conditions!
The summer is gone. It left not with a whimper, but with a bang.
Thin Man cleared up any lingering confusion about which name should be on the Cornfield Point trophy. The same crew who suffered through an epic fail last year came back for an epic win. Our top speed was 20.8 knots through the water on the outbound leg.
More on this epic experience later.
A sincere thank you goes out to readers of this site who have encouraged me to keep writing. I love to share the whacky adventures of Thin Man and wish I had more time to do so.
Yesterday was the third weekend in a row of work/play outings. Instead of doing the sparsely-attended Larchmont Race Week (two weekends in a row), I opted to sit out the event and put my efforts into repairs and tuning. The two major issues to be addressed were the engine fuel line, which became a problem on the return from the Riverside Stratford Shoal Race (remind me to tell you about that one later!), and the mast rake/bend.
Despite the fuel line issue that arose at the end of June, the engine was actually still functional until last weekend when I chose to replace the secondary fuel filter (hoping to alleviate pressure on the problematic fuel line). We were unsuccessful in bleeding the air out of the line after replacing the filter and thus had no engine on Wednesday night (thank you Wendy and the crew of Fantasy Girl for towing us home after the race was abandoned!!!). The replacement fuel line arrived in the mail last week and I did some research on procedures for bleeding the fuel line on a Yanmar 1GM10, so I felt prepared to get things sorted.
With the kind assistance of Colin and Chris, we attacked the problem methodically:
- Buy 5 gallons of fresh diesel
- Pump out old diesel from fuel tank (2 gallons laden with black sludge!)
- Pour fresh diesel into fuel tank
- Bleed fuel line at secondary fuel filter, injector pump and injector
- Open compression release lever
- Turn engine using starter (without compression) and bleed again at three points
- Tighten all the bleed screws, close the compression lever and start engine
- Admire the awful racket :-)
- Oh SHOOT! Scramble down below and open the raw water intake valve IMMEDIATELY!
It truly was music to my ears to hear the engine start instantly. We were so thrilled with our success that we decided to minimize the additional work in order to maximize the impending play.
- Apply new NY State registration stickers on bow
After that, we went sailing in about 10kts of breeze out of the Northwest for a couple of hours.
As the winds started to get light and flukey, we noticed the clouds becoming very dark. We immediately dropped all sails and started the engine. Wait, let that one sink in for a moment... We STARTED...THE...ENGINE. Yes! And we motored back to the mooring so that we could have everything stowed before the storm hit.
It was quite a squall, too. We watched the wind speed hang in the 60-65kt range for at least a few minutes. Down below we had a dry cabin, cold beer and good music. Above? See for yourself...
It's been really tough finding time to update the news here. In short, we got the boat put together the day before the Edlu Distance Race, we finished the race in a fresh gale, Photoboat got some great shots, we raced again the following weekend in the NYAC Stratford Shoal Race and won the double-handed division, and we got 1st place in the first two Wednesday night races. Thin Man is back and we're having a blast!
Photo credit: Allen Clark / photoboat.com
Another marathon work party last night... I had the kind and able assistance of Duncan, Brian and Chris (another J/92 owner). Sadly, I had no time to take pictures as the mission was to prepare the boat for splashing today. When we got to boat yard last night, I was very pleased to see that the mast had been stepped. We got right to work and ended up in a good place.
- Finish wetsanding the bottom (220 / 400 / 600)
- Clean up bore of prop shaft coupler
- Prepare new flax stuffing for stuffing box
- Assemble and install stuffing box on shaft
- Install shaft coupler on engine
- Drive prop shaft into coupler (after finding the wayward shaft key!!!)
- Install rudder and tiller
- Continue varnishing brightwork on deck
- Test laptop connection to Nexus instruments using Expedition (sweet!)
- Operate all thru-hull fittings and ensure they are closed
We're in good shape for an imminent launch. I'll be back to the boat on Friday to dewinterize the engine and rig the boat for Saturday's Edlu race double-handed with Duncan.
Ouch! My body aches from the marathon wet-sanding session last night. Thin Man is out of the shed with a freshly-painted Baltoplate bottom. Brian and I took care of the majority of the sanding, although it was mostly by feel at the end without any light to guide us. We'll be back on Wednesday evening to touch up any rough spots.
On Wednesday night, the most critical work will be to install the prop shaft and the rudder so that the boat can go in the water without sinking! Then I'll be back on Friday for any last-minute prep and tuning.
Before we left for the evening, we also installed the spreaders and taped the tips, so the mast is ready to be placed in the boat today.
While we're waiting for the paint to dry, it seems like as good a time as any to (finally!) publish the Thin Man racing schedule for 2010. It all starts next weekend, and there's an awful lot to do between now and then.
Update:I was unable to get to the yard before they closed up for the weekend. The bottom paint has been sprayed and the boat will come out of the shed on Monday. I'm planning on wet sanding with Brian on Monday afternoon. I picked up the new sails from the loft while I was on City Island. Can't wait to see them fly!
After City Island, I headed up to New Rochelle, arriving at Post Marine just 2 minutes before they closed for the day. I had to return the speakers purchased a few weeks back which didn't fit the cockpit holes. Now I have a store credit to burn. That should prove to be no problem.
Thin Man went into the painting shed last Friday and the last layer of Baltoplate will likely be sprayed today. Release from "jail" is expected tomorrow. Meanwhile, not wanting a perfectly good Wednesday night to go to waste, we headed up to City Island last night and took care of some items that did not require access to the boat itself.
- Install halyards and shrouds in the mast
- Tap the set screw holes in the shaft coupler (cleaning out years of corrosion)
- Borrow stainless seizing wire from Seņor Cerveza
- Help Seņor Cerveza prepare his mast for his boat's launch today
- Drink Dark&Stormies
We'll probably wet sand the hull this weekend after racing big boats in the AYC Spring Series. Not much time left until the Edlu Race on May 8!
Thanks to a last-minute change in schedule, I had time to go up to the boat last night with Duncan and Brian. We found she had been moved from the end of the yard to a spot very close to the painting shed, and the imperfections on the bottom had fresh filler applied. These are good signs that the bottom prep is moving along, which is extremely important considering the first race will be in just over two weeks!
While we were there, we took care of a few items on the list:
- Installed replacement for port cockpit speaker
- Performed a system check of the laptop with J/92 polars loaded and GPS connected
- Sanded down gelcoat touch-ups applied a couple of weeks ago
- Sprayed final gelcoat on touch-up areas
There are a few things to do pre-launch that must wait until the bottom painting has been completed. We don't want any contaminants running down onto the bottom and interfering with the adhesion of new layers of paint. This is a mistake I made in 2007 when I commissioned the boat and which has plagued me until now. So no scrubbing/polishing/waxing of the topsides until then. That still leaves plenty of other work yet to be done...
I did not have an opportunity to work on Thin Man last weekend (Saturday was a practice day for the J/133 on which I'll be racing to Bermuda in June), but at least I was able to drop by for a quick peek to see if there was any progress on the bottom job. I was happy to see the first barrier coat applied to the entire bottom.
On Sunday, while getting some exercise riding my bike around NYC, I dropped by West Marine to browse for goodies. Lucky me! They had the replacement cockpit speakers on sale for $20. Done.
Last weekend saw two days of work on the boat. Although on Saturday I was solo, what I needed to do most was spend some time at the hardware store getting new hardware to reinstall the shaft coupler and a hose for the stuffing box. It took longer than expected (seems like everything on the boat does!), but I ended up with most of what I needed. I also tried connecting the laptop to the Nexus instrument system (I had a hard drive crash in February and recovery involved a clean install of Windows on a new disk). I was missing a driver for the USB-Serial converter and there is no Internet connection available in the boat yard, so no dice.
Sunday I had Brian's help (and all required driver software), so we did a little shopping at Post Marine for the stuffing box hose. Also thrown into the shopping cart were a pair of replacement speakers for the cockpit and a US flag, flagstaff and mounting base (I want to be able to fly the colors when not racing). The final punch list for the weekend looked like this:
- Get new shaft coupler bolts and set screws
- Get new stuffing box hose and clamps
- Get new flax packing for stuffing box
- Install stuffing box hose
- Test laptop with Nexus software
- Clean shaft bore in coupler
- Grind out dings in gelcoat at stem and stern
- Fill dings with epoxy filler
- Paint filled dings with gelcoat
- Remove broken port cockpit speaker
- Drink beer
Notice I removed the broken cockpit speaker, but didn't install the new one? Despite my best efforts to get a compatible replacement speaker, the new one is too large for the existing hole. Arghhhhh!
Spring has sprung and work is well under way for an exciting 2010 season. The biggest issues carried over from the end of last year were:
- Replace hose between stuffing box and hull
- Strip bottom down to gelcoat and refinish
- Replace disintegrating 3DL main
The first item is deceptive... In order to replace the hose, one must first remove the propeller shaft. In order to remove the propeller shaft, one must extract the shaft from the shaft coupler, the fitting which holds the shaft to the transmission. The shaft did not want to be removed. Really, really did not want to be removed. Like, fought me tooth and nail for four hours to avoid being removed! Ugh.
The reason for going through this agony is apparent once the shaft is out.