Maybe building a boat would be easier

When I bought my 18′ Sailbird Trimaran “the Bird” last Oct, I thought this would be easy to get ready for the EC. Just add sails and fix the rudder. But then I looked over the rigging and decided to replace it and beef it up by adding lower shrouds ( never had any).  After that I was advised to beef up the ama cross beam attachments and the chain plates as both have been know to crack and or leak. Several weekends of fiberglassing took care of those projects. Then there was the search for some used sails.  I wanted to see what I really had before investing in new ones. If the boat was a dog, it would get dumped and a search for something faster would be on. I found some used sails and the Bird passed the sailing test, but the self draining system left 3-4″ of water in the cockpit all the time. So after some research I added a “one way” drain system with a ping pong ball in it. To do this I added a thru hull, a drain hole in the cockpit floor and a access plate so I could reach the screws for the drain . It was supposed to allow water out, not in, didn’t work. Meanwhile I ordered my new Mylar main, jib and reacher. 4 weeks later I had sails. The main and jib were easy once we figured out lines, and out hauls and where to mount the boom vang. But how to mount fly the Reacher? I needed a bow sprit, so with some luck I tracked down 1/2 of a  windsurfer mast. Mounted the base with a U bolt forward to slide it through since it had to come off when it was on the trailer. Speaking of trailers, tires were no good, so bought new tires and rims, but 4 bolt pattern does not work with a 5 bolt hub, so took them back and bought bigger tires, much better! The bird also did not come with 1 piece of line. So 3 halyards, 2 sets of sheets, a mainsail sheet, dock lines, boom vang, out haul line, line for the trampolines that had never been installed. Oh, yeah, and the drain system….so I glassed in the holes for the drain system and raised the floor 3 inches. Now I need to add scuppers once I verify the location. And then there’s the leak….have always been fighting water inside the boat, kept blaming it on the bad drain system. Well the drain was leaking, but so was the boat. Found a crack in the hull, just forward of the centerboard trunk. It had let in 250 pounds of water ( 30 gallons) in 8 hours the last time out. The pool noodles I had put inside the hull had helped to keep it floating, scary thought!  SO we dewatered the boat and glassed the crack. Still had to add a wind vane and running lights. And the rudder that was broken? Had that fixed early on, but the tiller was to short so bought a tiller extension, then another since the first was to small. Did I mention that after all my fiberglass work the Amas were still leaking a bit, so caulking was in order for those last leaks. And with all this done, just 2 things left to do. Sand the hull, fair in the rough spots, prime it twice and paint it twice. Wait 7 days before splashing and do one last test sail.  The other project? Start getting us ready for the race… like gear, food, clothes, charts, lights, phones dry bags etc, still have about 24 days, why panic?

Well, at least we didn’t sink….

Stingslikeabee and I did our test sail on Sat. We downgraded from a 60 miler to 4 hours South and then back after the wind forecast changed on Friday. It had been 15-20 Knots from the East and changed to 10 from the SE and 3 Knots at sunset…. We left about 10 and tacked against a short chop, and foul current through the AM. Early afternoon it looked like the wind was starting to die so we turned and headed home. Hit 7.7 Knots with maybe 8-10 knots of wind. A hour later we were ghosting along under reacher and Main in 4 knots of wind still holding 2-3 knots boat speed. First time with the reacher and it worked excellent. Looking forward to trying it with some real wind. As were were sailing back I happen to look inside the aft hatch where we store gear. The boat had 5-6 inches of water in it! Was not concerned about sinking, just frustrated that we had taken on so much water. When we made it back to the dock and put it on the trailer we dumped between 25-30 gallons of water out, 250 pounds! I had actually added 3 pool noodles to the inside of the hull in the unusable area the night before. Figured just in case we ever hit something, they might help support the main hull. Well I think they were helping to hold us up. After getting “the Bird” home we filled the hull with water and discovered that water was leaking out of a hairline crack at the forward end of the centerboard trunk. Looks like 38 years of the centerboard hitting had finally cracked it. Started doing the fiberglass repair last night. Hoping for 1 more test sail before we paint the hulls. Also curious to test our speed with out the extra weigh inside since we were sailing close to wind speed while water logged.