Practice Derby #6 (Harlowe Canal reconnaissance)

The plan was to start at Oriental, go through the Harlowe canal, then on to Shakelford banks, camp out, then return to Oriental by way of the intercostal. We had to cut the trip short (turning around at the airport near Beaufort) because I developed a structural crack in my port ama which made more adventurous sailing dangerous. We patched it (thanks to DogsLife) with some plumber’s glue, added some extra lashing to hold the ama on, and limped back to Oriental through the Intercostal. All in all, we did manage most of the trip.

The video below shows the Harlowe Canal part of our trip.

I’ll post another video later on that shows what is going on with my amas and the loaner amas that are being shipped to me.


There were some recent forum comments suggesting that some videos of sea conditions did not accurately capture what the captain felt the see conditions were at the time. I kind-of jokingly quipped that this may be because a wide-angle lens makes close-up things seem bigger as compared to far away things. It was then quipped that if a wide angle lens made close things abnormally bigger and far away things abnormally smaller then a telephoto lens would make far way things abnormally bigger and close-up things abnormally smaller – implying that if close-up things were not in fact abnormally smaller with a telephoto lens, then the statement about wide-angle lens would not be true.

Well it is obvious that a telephoto lens will magnify both close up and far way things but does this fact necessarily negate the statement that a wide-angle lens will make far away things seem smaller relative to close-by things as compared to other focal lengths?

To test this, I did a quick experiment. I set up two 1-foot rulers separated by 6 feet and placed a camera one foot away from the closer ruler.

C       R1                                                   R2

One foot between the camera and the closer ruler and 7 feet between the camera and the farther way ruler. I then took three pictures. Two with a Canon PowerShot Elph 300 HS camera – one in wide angle and one in telephoto mode. Then I took another picture with my GoPro camera in wide angle mode. After cropping the pictures, I compared the vertical distance of the far-away ruler (in counting vertical pixels in the image) to the close ruler. I counted 16ths of an inch on the closer ruler.

If the comparisons would have been all the same, then that would mean that there would be no contribution to the focal length in preferentially magnifying close-by things relative to far-away things.

The pictures below show what I got.  The numbers/16 are the length of the far-way ruler superimposed on the close-by ruler measured in 16ths of an inch.

The faraway ruler appeared bigger with the telephoto image relative to close-by ruler when compared to the two wide-angle pictures. It wasn’t a dramatic difference, but a difference never-the-less. So, to a small degree, a wide angle lens will preferentially make far-ways things seem smaller relative to closer-by things.

Undoubtedly, there is a large psychological aspect with all senses in play and attention acuity focused on the sea conditions for a captain in the moment that probably explains most of the feeling that the videos didn’t do it justice. But there is a small contribution to this feeling due to the wide-angle lens.






Practice Derby #4

The following video shows some good watertribe weather.

Rain Rain Rain.

Amazingly, my hat blew off my head and then I found it about an hour later when I was heading back in the direction I had come from. A one in a million happening.

Too bad I wasn’t so lucky when I lost my $100 sunglasses in the ocean breakers earlier in the summer.

Rudder bracket repair

The following shows the piece that broke and the piece of aluminum that will be used to make a new bracket.  The new piece was bent in a vice with a hammer.  The new piece is a tad bit thicker and a bit wider than the old piece so it should be stronger.

We cut it after the holes were drilled.  The bolt was used to hold it more ridged while it was being cut.

Here is the bracket screwed into the rear of the kayak.  The hole spacing and bevels were just right.

Here is a view with the rest of the rudder bracket assembled.  It was a snug fit but snug is probably good.  Even a little bit of play and wobble will cause stress on the metal.

And another view of the rudder bracket assembly.

I’m calling it good.  I will want to make one more just like this for an on-boat spare.

Special thanks to my brother, Paul, for helping me make this (actually he did all the work).

Practice Derby #3

I had to cut my 3rd practice derby short due to a broken rudder bracket. At least I was able to figure out I had the problem and get to a beach to make some kind of jury-rig to then enable me to get back to the launch place. I was looking forward to going 20 miles, though. Perhaps next time. At least the rudder bracket failed in a practice session and not the actual race. I’ll have to make a replacement bracket part and then make a 2nd one as a spare to keep in the boat.

masthead nav-light

One project I’m considering is to install a red-green-white navigation light at the top of the mast. The only way it would work is with the spinnaker halyard installed to hold the orientation of the metal connecting bracket at a fixed orientation. With that held fixed, a bracket could be designed to mount the directional navigation light at the top. The mast would need to be dropped to turn the light on and off but this is easy with the Triak. The following picture shows what I have planned.

I would need to order the light first and then figure out the mounting bracket. A little bent aluminum, some epoxy, and some tinkering should do the trick. I’ll update this post if and when I do the project.

08/28/2012 Edit

I ordered the light and it came in.  As a first attempt, I will use the most simple possible way to mount it.  I will need to tighten the bolt down so that the base is oriented properly with the spinnaker keeping the top bracket at a fixed orientation.  I’ll experiment with this when I have time.  For now, the simple bracket looks like th following:

Practice Derby #2 NCC2012

I went out for a 20 mile paddle with a polygon course. It was a very light wind day so not much sailing. I paddled almost the entire course. I got a little wind right at the end so only got a free mile or so. Needless to say I was much slower this week compared to last week. I was much better operating the continuous loop line this week than last week. Every time I felt even the slighted hint of wind, I would deploy a sail… and then usually drop it again and get back to paddling.

Practice Derby #1 NCC2012

Video from my 1st practice derby for the 2012 NCC. I had loaned out my Spot so I had to use my handheld GPS to record the trip locations. I’ll get my Spot back in two weeks and will use it thereafter in all subsequent practice derbies. I did just over 20 nautical miles.

In this trip I experimented with using continuous lines for the mainsail furling/unfurling as well as a continuous line for the spinnaker halyard/retrieval lines. This keeps the cockpit less cluttered because there is now never a time when lots of excess line is gathered at the cockpit. It does take some time to get used to the new arrangement and I had a bit more adventure working the lines than what I was previously accustom to. I captured one moment where I almost flipped the boat while inadvertently getting one part of the line cleated when I didn’t intend to.

I used 18 feet for the continuous mainsail furling/unfurling line. 20 feet might be better.
I used 38 feet for the continuous spinnaker halyard/retrieval line.

[EDIT2: I tested it in my backyard and with the spinnaker set-up with continuous lines, the lines were just long enough to be able to drop the mast without disconnecting anything. It looks like this configuration will work for me for the NCC.]