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Maintenance

Things have started to add up on the maintenance list for Changabang. In a somewhat uncontrolled gybe the bungee cords preventing the running backstays from running wild broke. So we replaced that. We also replaced the bungees on the bow lifelines, which are used to temporarily secure the jib or other sails on deck. I took a skinny bath again to scrub growth on the waterline. But the bad news is that the jib halyard sheave is damaged, which is causing halyard chafe.

Broken jib halyard sheave

Why is it bad news? I can’t find one similarly sized! The outside diameter is 75 mm; the inside should be 16 mm but 18 mm is what I have; the width is 14.5 mm. I can’t find anything online that fits. Nothing. I can’t really use anything else because the pin that secures the sheave to the mast is custom as well.

Jib halyard sheave pin

There is actually another bit of bad news: something must have hit the hull because there is a 3″ narrow gouge in the hull below the water. I don’t think the wood is likely to be exposed or damaged but I won’t rest until we take the boat out of the water and fix this.

The liferaft is out for service, with a hopeful return end of October, another costly maintenance item.

Racing

A few weeks back we did the SSS Half Moon Bay Race, which was light air racing again. We arrived 90 minutes behind the J-120s, not exactly encouraging results. Oh, well …

That was a race?

When I bought Double Espresso, I first sailed her off the coast of Santa Cruz then moved to San Francisco Bay. That’s where I did my first sailing race: the Three Bridge Fiasco, so named because there’s often very little wind, which combined with tide currents often end up with lots of racers not finishing. That’s how it went for me: I mostly sailed in place for 8 hours before retiring.

Not making progress!

Drakes Bay Day 1 race

Last weekend, Alex and I were registered for our first race aboard CaB, a pivotal moment maybe. The race to Drakes Bay on Saturday was a 31 NM affair in very light air in a strong flood current. It was very much a replay of my first race. We were doing 2.5 knots of boat speed against 1.5 knots of current, mostly going nowhere. And so around 5 PM we retired and sailed back to the Bay. That’s when things got interesting.

We turned around and it felt like the wind had picked up, probably just an impression. But as we approached the Golden Gate, the wind increased for sure. 8, then 10, then 14, 20 knots as we approached the GG bridge. We held the kite on starboard until we were too far south and doused the sock, gybed it, and hoisted it again, making our way towards the bridge. The wind was continuing to build and I saw 28 knots on my sensor. I was very much sailing deep downwind between 155-170 TWA with the kite well eased forward. We also had small surfs pushing us through. I don’t think that I saw a boat speed greater than 11 knots but CaB felt super-charged and it took all my leftover concentration to keep her steady between the gusts, the surfs, and the rocks that were getting closer.

Broached!

I was feeling uneasy about being so close to the rocks as a mishap could have turned into big drama. I told Alex to be ready to ease off the spinnaker sheet big time if I called for it. All was well and we passed under the bridge and were making our way past Horseshoe Cove, getting into an area affectionately named hurricane gulch. We were about to know why!

Not us but very much like us 🙂

The wind came down a bit, the swell disappeared (no more surfing) and I was looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the memory of our trip into 28 knots of wind with the A1.5 up. It wasn’t to be: in a fraction of a second we got hit by something (a gust of wind of course) and we were instantly broached. I could see people on the land looking at CaB on her side. I told Alex to ease the kite sheet big time, which he obliged, a testament to his experience (recall CaB is now healed past 40 degrees), then to release the mainsheet. Changabang came back flat, we got steerage way again, trimmed the kite, and were back on track, in less than 45 seconds.

After that, well, it was really time to hit the docks, eat and sleep. What a memorable experience after a long frustrating day!

All in all, it was a long weekend of sailing. Friday we motor sailed to Sausalito. Sunday we came back under light wind, 3/4 of which upwind and 1/4 with a kite up. Good stuff!

More media here: https://holmberg-dailey.smugmug.com/Bay-Sailing/Drakes-bay-2021/n-Ftv4qR/

Lazy days

I didn’t go sailing this weekend. Shame on me! In fact, I’ve not been exercising at all for several months now. Still, a few things happened this past week. A diver cleaned Changabang’s bottom and inspected the zinc anodes, which are both in a good state. The diver reported scuff marks on the keel edge and the rudder. Joe repaired the small tear in the Flying Fish spinnaker. I acquired a bilge pump, which apparently is now required by the Class40, as well as 50 feet of hose. It could come in handy if I suffer a hull breach.

I did visit CaB today and inspected the blocks and lashings. Everything seems to be holding up. Speaking of lashings, Saturday, I spliced 4 low friction rings, just for the fun of it. I’m not sure yet how I’ll use them but it was gratifying work.

Splicing Dyneema loops to low friction rings.

Anchoring

We signed up for a two days/two legs race for 8/28-29. At the end of the first leg, we’ll have to anchor in Drakes Bay, about 22 NM North West of the Golden Gate Bridge. I haven’t anchored with CaB and I’m concerned about the process of dropping and weighing anchor, not to mention dragging it. The type of anchors aboard CaB doesn’t have a great reputation. If we are to anchor from the bow, as is usually done, we would have to figure out a way to protect the bobstay. Rigging the rode to make sure it doesn’t get stuck on anything is also going to be of concern. I don’t have a good solution to rig a snubber line either. I hope the conditions will be friendly. If it blows hard I may prefer going offshore and heave to. Time will tell …

PJ out.

Look ma’!

A surprise!

The flying fish is flying again! Last Friday our new to us spinnaker arrived. With southerly winds Saturday it was time to try the sail on CaB. The sail has been lightly used and it’s in an ATN sock with a hard bell. I also received sheets and an ATN tacker, which I haven’t tried yet. It was fairly easy to set things up and fly the sail. I didn’t fly it from the tip of the bowsprit, but about two-thirds out. I’ll have to try the end of the bowsprit and then also the tacker. The sail was setting nicely and, at 125 square meters or so, it pulled CaB gently. This sail is much more comfortable to fly. The only negative is that it’s only 0.75 oz. Nylite cloth, which means that 15 kts apparent wind is probably the most we can fly the sail in.

Sweet looking 🙂

I finally tried using a snatch block at the bow to lead the sock dousing line back to the cockpit. It was so easy to get the sock up or down while controlling the sheet!

Leading Edge Sails again

I keep visiting Joe these days! There was a small scratch on the spinnaker, which he’ll help repair. But mostly, our fancy $10,000 2018 jib is already in pain. I’ve had to take it in for repairs twice already. This time it’s more serious: the leech tape has worn out and cut through the laminate in multiple places. A difficult surgery is required to replace the leech edge. Next weekend I’ll try the old jib I got from California Condor.

I’ve been advised that a well used 3Di jib from Spray is available in Los Angeles. So I may consider another trip South.

I have no other news other than we hit something again last Saturday …

Time goes by …

And work life is slowly draining me. The pain of having to end my circumnavigation attempt came mostly from the fact that I just didn’t want to be back on land. And here I am, slaving away … Every time I go sailing, what makes me go is the desire to “leave”.

Let’s try to keep a positive outlook. I have a plan, a boat and still some funds to give this another go. Until then, it’s more practice and preparation. In fact, with Alex, we signed up for a local “ocean” race in 4 weeks. So yesterday we went sailing to practice tacking and sail changes. It was a day of light wind from the South. I was able to confirm that the B&G AP seems to be good to go. We pulled a few tacks to figure out a sequence that works.

We unfurled Genny to check the repair. I confirmed that there are black spots on the sail now. When I returned last November I didn’t dry that sail and it staid wet for 8 months. We hoisted Big, the A2. It’s still the same story, we’re slow. It was strange to sail downwind against the swell.

We tried to fly the solent and the staysail together, without much success. But it’s been nice to see Alex make good progress and getting familiar with the boat.

Looking at the future

It only takes a couple of weeks for the rudders and waterline to turn green again. It’s time for a good bottom scrub!

The deal is done: we’re going to fly the flying fish again. It was both a foolish/vanity purchase (the sail isn’t really a great fit) but also a smart move (the sock is great). All combined I think this will turn out to be a good addition to CaB. That’ll be our third spinnaker. I’d like a fourth one of 1.5 oz cloth now.

There may be an opportunity for a used jib in Los Angeles, so it’ll be another long drive. In fact, since my life raft is due for service and the Plastimo service station is in LA too, there’ll be three long drives in my future. 🙄

I finished reading “Journey of a hope merchant” by Neal Petersen. His experience going against the “well to do white man” reminded me of “Maiden voyage”. Oh, how man is vile. I’m reading “Moxie” now and I’m very much intrigued by trimarans, and their speed potential! Maybe in a very distant future.

Looking at the future, Changabang is still on a cruising permit, which will expire in spring next year. At that point I’ll have to sail out of the US for two weeks. It seems reasonable to think that I’ll sail to Ensenada for a new bottom paint.

Side note: there are over 50 Class 40 boats registered for the Transat Jacques Vabre 2021! That’s one healthy class! Buying CaB almost feels like an investment … not.

One week later

What’s PJ up to?

An emergency rudder for CaB.
  • We signed up for a PHRF certificate;
  • We registered for Drake’s Bay race;
  • Joe fixed the gennaker;
  • I drove to Ventura to pick up an emergency rudder (thank you, generous donator!);
  • I did a kindergarden project (fabricated a cover for the NKE display using cardboard and tape);
  • I’m in talks with Bill to acquire an almost new spinnaker that’s branded with the OCC flying fish! I’m so stoked at the idea of flying the fish again!
I love it, so beautiful!

E-rudder transom bracket

Now that I have the e-rudder I need to figure out a way to attach it to Changabang’s transom. If you have suggestions I’m all ears. My thinking goes along these options:

  • Fabricate a bracket and not install it at all: if I need to deploy it I’d drill holes in the sugar scoop transom, put some backing plates, and affix the bracket.
  • Fabricate a bracket and have it fiberglassed in: I’d need to find another specialist as I don’t think that the one who did the job for the hydrogenerator brackets will be interested;
  • Last option, which I don’t really entertain, is to re-use the hydrogenerator brackets. I don’t think the base is wide enough to spread the load.

If I have to deploy the e-rudder because one of the rudders was damaged, it is possible that the stubby may be enough to steer with the e-rudder just doing the job of a centerboard. Who knows? It’d be interesting to test.

What’s next? Testing the gennaker to verify the repair, testing the B&G auto-pilot to verify the repair, doing a few maintenance chores with the boat’s navigation lights, and more …

Bye for now.

AP back in action

Today I re-installed the secondary autopilot. First, it was the usual struggle to secure the eight bolts. Next, it was a matter of making the electrical connections, which was followed by a quick test using the B&G electronics. Finally, I put a bit of sealant around the boot where the rod exits to brave the elements. I will need to do a final sea trial to confirm that all is good when the sealant has cured.

I took a few measurements and will need to do more so I can submit the request for a new PHRF certificate.

Finally, I scrubbed the waterline and the rudders clean of the green growth that’s so quick to show off in this marina. I noticed barnacles on the propeller blades, where Propspeed was supposed to keep growth away. I also checked (touch as visibility isn’t great) the hull to keel joint repair we did last August and that seems to be holding up nicely I think.

Friday I dropped Genny the gennaker at Leading Edge Sails. As I wrote last time I’m really concerned that a lot of my sails are growing old. I’m very reluctant to put more money into sails … Considering what’s I’m trying to do it’s more important that I but spare requirement equipment for the electronics, autopilots, and hydrogenerators.

I’m back into reading sailing stories to feed the dream.

Sailing inventory

  • Mainsails:
    • The “original” Dacron, old and great for what I’m doing, until it blows apart.
    • The racer: new in 2018, almost $20,000, it’s in the attic, away from abuse I hope. It’s my spare.
  • Headsails, hank on (soft shackles):
    • J2: racing sail, new in 2018, $9,000. Used everytime I go out as I don’t have a backup, always on deck in her bag.
    • Staysail: the original Dacron, always on deck in her bag.
    • Spinnaker staysail: personally I’ve never used it. I don’t know its history.
  • Furling sails:
    • Code 0: fractional halyard, small and old, for deeper angles.
    • Code 0: masthead halyard, blown out hand me down from California Condor.
    • Jib top: masthead halyard, in good condition, hand me down too.
    • Gennaker: I’m guessing 10-15 years old, still works though. In repair.
  • Spinnakers, asymmetrical:
    • A2: old, severely damaged and then repaired, nice new ATN sock.
    • A1.5: old, blown out, lots of repairs, old sock.
  • Storm sails: trysail, small storm job, large storm jib.

Quand on n’a pas de tête …

Il faut des jambes! Sunday I had planned to re-install the secondary auto-pilot and test it. But when I got started I realized I had forgotten four bolts. And so instead Todd and I went sailing. It was another light wind day. We set out Richie and went up north towards San Francisco. Around 1:30 PM we turned around, snuffing the spinnaker in the sock, gybing, and re-hoisting on the other tack. We then dropped the spinnaker in favor of the J2 until we rounded the outside green buoy. We were really slow then and re-hoisted the A1.5 for a while. Finally, we decided to turn the engine on to make the last few miles home.

As we were out I also engaged each hydrogenerator to make them work a little. The shaft seal has been known to dry so a bit of action will go a long way in preserving the seal, or so I hope.

Slow sailing with the A1.5

Old!

At the beginning of our outing, we furled out the gennaker. I hadn’t used it since the last few days of my return. As I inspected the sail I noticed a tear at the luff, a couple of feet long. So Genny will have to meet with Joe, again, for a repair.

I’m growing really concerned that all my sails are old and tired. As you can see in the above video, Richie is blown out and has had some serious repairs done to it. So is Big, and now Genny. I hope that, in exchange for their old age, they’ll share their ocean and wind wisdom with me! After giving some thoughts about my sailing inventory, I have realized that the one sail I need to prioritize is the J2. I only have one, and it would be very wise to have another one. After the mainsail, the J2 is the next most important sail on the boat.

Not forgotten after all

When we were done, I checked my bag, and what did I find in there? Four bolts! At that point, after putting the boat away, I was not about to re-install the AP, so it’ll be for another day.

Polar nightmares

This autopilot clutch was replaced

Following up on last weekend’s work on the autopilot, I ordered a replacement clutch, which I installed today. I think that the autopilot is now ready for action. The next step is to reinstall it aboard Changabang.

The engine always relied on in difficult moments

Last Thursday a mobile mechanic came over to service the diesel engine:

  • Engine oil & oil filter
  • Sail drive oil change
  • New impeller
  • New belt
  • Fuel primary and secondary filters
  • Installed a fuel bulb between the fuel tank and primary filter to help bleed air out
Rigging inspection

More maintenance

Saturday I met with Alex to go sailing. The forecast called for light winds so we did a few maintenance tasks. First, we tested the water ballast pump, which took a little time as it was running dry. After a while, I managed to get it going again. I now have a saltwater, high flow pump! There are still some light leaks, including the usual at the scoop. Next, Alex winched me up the mast for a rigging inspection. To my untrained eye, everything looked good. There’s one area that I’m not sure about: it could be cracked paint or … I do think that this is heritage and has been so for a while as the tang doesn’t appear to be perfectly aligned with the wire.

Port D1 tang

Sailing

After all that, we pushed off and motored into Half Moon Bay, where winds in the 5 kts greeted us. We hoisted the mainsail and the solent. Then we hoisted the code 0 I received from California Condor. As we were sailing I was looking at the boat’s polars, and to my dismay, we were doing speed in the 4.5-5.5 kts range, when we should be doing 7+ kts! Argh, I really don’t know what to do: the only explanation is that I’m not flying the right sail for that wind range. We had a picnic aboard and then hoisted the A1.5, which greeted us to similar conclusions: slow I am. Bang that, instead, we proudly named the A1.5 “Richie”, coz’, you know, it’s a somewhat reeching kite. Indeed we were sometimes sailing at 70 AWA. Richie then joins Big, and they both have battle scars all over them.

Finally, we turned in for the day, not without talking of possibly signing up for OYRA races.

A busy weekend

Saturday, Todd and I went out on CaB for a bit of spinnaker work. The winds were in the 10-20 kts range for the day and the swell stayed comfortable at 4-6 feet. As we made our way out of Pillar Point Harbor we hoisted the jib and sailed West for a bit. Then we pointed towards Santa Cruz and hoisted the A2. Everything went smoothly with the ATN sock. We traced our path back North so we could do another spinnaker run. This time we were going to hoist the A1.5 (a gift from California Condor). We set up for a hoist and then let the sock go up. But things got a little sideways. The sock dousing line bunched up inside the sock; then there was too much pressure with the A1.5 opening up and we lost the dousing line. It got stuck up the first spreader. Dang!

Coming back from a little jaunt up the mast.

We could have considered a letterbox takedown but it looked like a great opportunity to go up the mast while underway. The sea was fairly tame and I didn’t have to go high. So, up I went. I don’t think I got bruised up much. But I did struggle holding on and avoiding being thrown on the shrouds. I retrieved the line and we were good to go! After that, we tried to see how much the A1.5 can reach: at 20 kts 90 AWA we broached, so now we know.

Very short! Line caught on the spreader visible here.

After that it took us a little while to return to the marina, put things in order and drive back home. I’m so grateful for Todd’s excellent sandwiches! On another note, I thought I had been successful fixing up the plumbing for the water ballast pump but it looks like more work is required. There’s a small o-ring that’s letting water through again. This repair needs us to get the boat out of the water. Too bad …

Springs graveyard …

Some repair work

Sunday I got around opening up the oil pump for the failed L&S tiller drive. I had been told that there may have been broken springs, and indeed there were! There are 6 pistons and a total of 5 had their springs broken. I replaced them all with new ones, filled the oil reservoir, and gave it a run. The motor would run but the clutch would not engage. I removed the clutch to see if there was anything going on. My untrained eye could not see anything wrong but now the clutch did engage. I put it all back together again, tested with my car’s battery, and this time it worked. It may be time to swap that clutch and keep it as a spare.

I am getting a little more comfortable with these repairs, which is good for when I’ll have to do them at sea.

The oil pump disassembled

The end of something

On a separate topic, I reached out to rogue rigging last weekend to inquire about cost estimates for some rigging work. The answer was that Ryan declined to work with me “based on past interactions”. Since his shop is at BMC, I reached out to Cree to see what his position was. Same same. So that’s the end of that. Maybe that’s for the best for both of us. But as I tried to wrap my head about this, considering that the Bay Area is small, I realize that people talk and there was even a rumor that I hadn’t paid my bills. The truth is that I, on multiple occasions, had to inquire about getting an invoice, which I finally received while I was at sea, and my wife paid it in full a few days after reception.

Sometimes, everybody has the best of intentions and things still go sideways. But the thing that got me is that I think this was likely out of people talking, not the BMC team actually reading my blog. And hence I’ve disabled notifications going forward, this post included.

There are only two persons I’m putting the time in to write these blogs, which are almost 100% transparent: myself (to get my ideas in order) and the next Philippe (who wants to go on wild adventures but has little experience). I will say that I’m very thankful for everyone’s support and comments. I’ve enjoyed the ride and I hope you did too. I think this move is also part of my going under the radar now, trying to take it easy away from the public’s eye.

I’ll still be blogging so feel free to visit from time to time.