Getting the Bird ready

I had made it to Flamingo with kokopeddle in March during our first Everglades challenge, but with a broken mast step on his Hobie adventure island, we had to drop out. We talked about the next round and what to race on, the Hobie or something else.   Kokopeddle decied to the race with his brother “teak” on a custom catamaran, so I needed a boat.  After peddling for 30 + hours in 4 days and losing 8 pounds, I decided I wanted a pure sailboat of some type. Either we sail or we don’t finish. After looking over the choices i narrowed teh field to 3 types.  They were a Mono hull like a Laser or small daysailor, but I decided they did not have the speed. The second choice was a catamaran like a Hobie 18′. But thinking of some of the off shore nights I have sailed, maybe alone and tired, this just did not look safe for me. At this point I was planning on doing the race solo. Since then my daughter “stingslikeabee” has joined me as crew.  So it had to be a trimaran of some type. Fast, beach-able, able to sail alone or with crew.  In Oct. 2011 I bought a 18′ 1974 Sailbird folding trimaran for the Everglades challenge. All it needed were sails, a minor rudder repair, halyards and sheets. I should be off practicing in a matter of weeks……….

But as I started getting to know the boat I could see that amas were the weak spot on these boats. Both at the crossbar attachment and where the upper shrouds are attached. So 3 weekends of fiberglass work later I have stronger attachment points and my mast better not fall down. I also went ahead and re-rigged the entire boat with new standing rigging.  I also added new lowers attached directly to the cross bars, just to be safe. Again, I have this thing about sailing at night, offshore and having the mast fall down.

The rudder repair was easy once I found the part. A little trial and error and some plastic washers from West marine and I have a balanced rudder. But then, to be able to hike out I decided that I better add a battle stick tiller extension. Great idea, works wonderful, just bought to short of a model. So now that Christmas is past and I have a new longer battle stick, I have a lightly used 48″ extendable model for sale. 🙂

Next issue was the drain system the previous owner had installed. It let water in, but not out. Well that’s not exactly right but seemed like it. So I have plugged the old drain system and still have to finish the new one way drain system.

For sails I picked up a undersized, used 5 batten main and a small hang-on jib. While not perfect, they gave me a idea of what I have to work with for speed on the Bird. After 3 times out sailing I found that it moves at 5 or 6 knots in almost any wind. Top speed is 8 knots so far, but I still have alot of tweaking to go. New sails would be great.  And maybe some type of reacher or spinnaker would have to help. With 66 days until the start of the Everglades challenge, the clock is ticking…..

Getting the Bird ready