Good test run

Had a nice sail on Sat in 10 knots of wind with a few gusts of 15 or so. Sailed out in to the Gulf of Mexico. Beating to weather we were holding a steady 6 knots and about 30 degrees off the wind. Some spray over the bow.  Forward waterproof locker and new drain system worked great. Changes a lot of things in a positive way! We tacked to take off on a broad reach. As I went to raise the drifter, I grabbed the wrong end of halyard and ( you guessed it) pulled the halyard up and through the block and back to the deck. I had forgot to tie off the end. But with no drifter, and using jib and main, we were still surfing on some waves, hitting at least 8.5 knots. Maybe higher, but that was the highest I spotted. Roller furling Jib worked great.

So, now we are getting to the minor stuff. I tied in the required reef point ties on Sunday. Still have to try reefing the main. We sailed with full canvas last year, but I understand why we need to be able to reef. Fiberglassed on the stern light base. 5200 did not hold. Rigging a second block for the drifter with a light line, just in case I’m stupid again. Still need to repair the mainsheet attachment to the boom. Have to add some new line on the trampolines. Still have some touch up paint for the bottom. Last year when we beached the boat full of water, my new bright red paint job got scratched up on the bottom.  Putting gaskets on the “cooler” lids and adding tie downs to them. Also going to try putting in tupperware containers, just to help keep water out and stuff dry.

Next test is in about 2 weeks. We are loading the boat as close as possible to the race load exempt for all the food. Taking a 8-14 hour sail in the Gulf, a little night sailing. Should really be a good shake down to test all of the gear. Work on night reefing and using the drifter at night. Overall feeling much better than last year.

I think we are ready………

I have to admit, my fiberglass work is getting better, at least better than last year. 2 weekends and 5 nights have brought along a lot of progress in getting Big Red ready for this years EC. In the past when loaded with 2 adults and all the gear needed, the cockpit sat lower than the waterline. We always had water in the cockpit. So we raised the cockpit floor around 4″ with a drain straight down through the hull. It will change they way we sit, might add hiking straps to help balance.  The forward “cockpit” took a lot of water into it last year. Pounding into 6 waves did not work well. We added a waterproof hatch and glassed a bulkhead to make the entire front 8′ of the boat, a waterproof, dry storage area.  Hatch is still big enough to allow dry bags and paddles to be stored up forward.

Under the hull liner was a open area that filled with water last year with the leaks from the centerboard. We believe we had 40 gallons+ ( 320 pounds) when we put the boat under water last year.  This year we used a two part closed cell foam. Two quarts equal 1 cubic foot of foam with 60 lbs of floatation.  Fun to mix, equal parts, 10 seconds with a drill and with in 30 seconds its growing! We added 4 cubic ft of foam to the tune of almost 240 lbs of floatation. That not only makes the boat safer but keeps it de-watered below decks.

Next we went over the amas to find the leaks. Hooking up the air compressor to the drains and rubbing soap over every possible leak we were able to track down 2 leaks and repair them. Lastly, we picked up the Jib and main sails from Dennis @ Banks Sails in Tampa. The jib is now on roller furling and the main sail has its second set of reef-points. It also cleans up the lines leading to the cockpit as we no longer need the jib down haul or the jib halyard. Only thing left is to add a fair-lead for the furling jib.

This Sat. we go out for test with my crew/son-in-law, Ted Eversoll aka “danceswithmullet.”  More to come next week!

Pictures from Roy Edwards