Thursday, January 13, 2011

New dinghy.

Its only 3 weeks until the big regatta at Mahurangi about 25 miles north of Auckland. I've only missed the event about three times in almost 30 years, and really do want to be there with May this time.
I'm normally there on the beach and race as crew in whichever boat is offering a space, usually in a boat of my design and its fun to sail in someone elses interpretation of my plans.  People do things in lots of different ways and although I've been designing boats for many years I am very much open to new ideas.
That plus meeting my customers is one of the really good parts of the job.
But this time, I'll there with a "big" boat.  Big in the sense that at about a ton and needing mid thigh deep water she cant just be hauled up the beach.  Big too in the sense that as our tides are between 3 and 3.8m ( 10 to 13 ft) she'll need to be anchored out in water rather too deep to walk ashore.

So, I'll need a dinghy. I'll start drawing one up, will begin making frames this afternoon, will call in at the hardware store tomorrow and see what they've got in the way of cheap plywood, and by next week hope to have the wee boat done.
Criteria, light, carry two, tow well and dry, fit in Mays cockpit when the boats on the trailer being towed to wherever I am going sailing that day.  Cheap and quick to build.

On the other front, I went out on friday to buy a wick for my nice kerosene lamp.  I like to read of an evening and May has no electrical system, so the big gymballed cabin lamp that I found in a junkshop years ago looked like just the thing.  Its got a wick about 30mm across, a smoke bell for overhead, and a reflector to make it more effective.
Its a lovely thing.
But,  a new wick was $28.20. Would have taken two weeks for the shop to get it in, and I'm not sure that I'm going to pay that. Or wait that long.
Next stop the supermarket for the weeks groceries.  On Special, a compact camping lantern, battery powered with 4 AA batteries, supplied in the package. Xenon bulb with diffuser,  hook for hanging up, shockproof.  $10.45. Its not "marine" but if previous experience is anything to go by, it will last several years before rust kills it.
I bought two plus an LED torch ($5.80). Not as romantic, but if its romantic that I want I can read a book on tropical cruising.

The jobs done today have been, as before, in between other things on the house,  but its my birthday and my lovely wife bought, in addition to a new pair of Levis and a fancy knit shirt, a bg grey tarpaulin to use as a boat cover. Its a long time since I had a boat, family, the dayjob plus the design work, building a new house and workshop, and all the usual committments and distractions of life did not leave much time to go sailing.
But its easing up now, the design work is now the dayjob, sometimes I'm doing tech work in the heavy wood processing industry but thats only sometimes, the house is almost done, the workshop and office ditto, so there is time for sailing. 

I've about rebuilt the outboard motor bracket, it was originally set up for a short shaft motor, but both the Tohatsu 3.5 that came with the boat and the 4 Hp Yamaha that I've got stowed away waiting for the right boat are longshaft motors. I've pulled the bracket off, moved it up about 70mm and padded it out some.  I've also made a new motor pad that moves the motor out 25mm and up a further 30mm.
As it came to me the motor mount meant that when in the water it was very difficult to reach the motors controls plus it was too close to the transom which made things even worse.  The new position will be much easier to access and the motor in about the right position with reference to the water level.

Just went down to the local big box hardware store, looking for a few little bits and pieces. Among other things I wanted some 3/6in x 1 1/2 in countersunk head stainless steel machine screws with nuts and washers.  I needed eight. They had packets of three at $16.00! per packet. ( ?? !!  I had to go and sit down! )
This outfit advertises "Lowest prices, end of story".  They offer to discount to 15% under the opposition if anyone finds a product at a lower price than theirs.  What a load of rubbish.  ( Mitre 10 if you are in New Zealand.  I suspect that Bunnings will be the same)
I'm off to EDL in the morning, I'll tell you what they cost from there.
Been there, talked them into trade price, 38c each, plus another 12 c for the nut and washer. 50c each, minimum quantity one, I bought a box of 50.  Thanks EDL, branches throughout NZ.

Jobs done, fixed the tiller, it now sits at the right level rather than having to be held there, changed the jib sheet turning blocks so I'll have a two part purchase on the sheets, soaked the trailer winch wire in a mix of oil and kerosene for three days and its now looking a lot less rusty and tired.
Also made a block which fits into the mast step, to support the forward end of the mast when trailering, that allows me to have the mast and boom far enough forward to not have any overhang aft, and no hassles with special warning flags.
She's all untidy right now, little jobs being done all over her, so there is gear and tools lying around, and nothing is properly stowed away.

Bought new lithium batteries for the camera, no way of getting a discount on those I'm afraid.  But they last pretty well and I've now got a spare set so here are some more pics.
Well, theres a bit of learning to do here, this system only seems to want to upload one pic per posting.
I'll be back.

John Welsford


  1. Congrats on the boat and the blog... I look forward to reading your posts.

  2. Nice boat, nice blog.


  3. John, Rusty winch wires worry the bejesus out of me - I have seen a few nasty incidents to bodily parts when they have snapped. As May is a heavy boat why don't you get rid of that old rusty wire and replace with a length of high tech rope?

  4. Hi John
    I designed and built a little pram which you can use. 220 x 110cm 16kg

  5. I've drawn one up thanks Anders, have built the frames and have it all set up ready to put the stringers on. I have other distractions workwise so wont have it done by next week. Its warm weather though and I'll be ok for the cruise I have planned, but will get into it when I get home again.
    John W