woensdag 16 december 2009

Just a perfect day

It is winter now in the Netherlands, and I've finally got some time to catch up updating the blog.
About three months ago it was nice weather, and I went sailing with my wife and kids for just a day. Some pictures to show this boat is a nice (albeit small) family-cruiser.

woensdag 9 september 2009

Some improvements

After the first sail with the boat I went on a vacation with my family (camping, nog boating) and since have been sailing only once. In the meantime I've been busy adding some improvements to the boat.

I ordered some 8mm 'anti torsion rope' at www.allspars.co.uk. It took them ages to send the rope (and they sent it to the wrong address), but in the end it arrived.
This stuff is really stiff. It's a sort of bundle UD (believe it's kevlar) with a normal mantle.
My sailmaker replaced the wire of the luff of my jib with the anti-torsion rope and at the same time shortened the luff a bit (the luff was a bit too long - with the roller in place I couldn't hoist the jib properly).
Big succes! The jib now furls with no problem, even with a lot of wind. That's a relief as I wasn't really pleased - understatement - with the hank-on setup. Probably OK for racing, but not for cruising.

Because I have no pulpit I needed something else to put the mast on while trailering. I welded a sort of aluminium 'fork' and made a flanged insert of a piece of PVC-pipe and a brace made of wood.
Below the setup: the insert is on the foredeck and when trailering I can just stick the fork into it. I still have to shorten the fork. Will do that when I've got the mast down. It will be easier to judge how long/short the fork should be. I'll try to make it as short as possible, so the forces on the fork and insert are as low as possible.
I also altered the setup of my halyards. My choise to keep all the halyards on the mast proved to be a mistake. Now both halyards are led back to the cockpit. It seems to work fine, although I'm a bit concerned it will inhibit mast rotation. The halyards exit the mast 2,5 meter above the deck, are led to two blocks at the base of the mast, and then run through an organiser. I'll add a picture of the setup later on.
I put the organiser on a piece of perspex to lift it high enough for the halyards not to rub against the deck.
I also replaced the 'bare' dyneema sk75 halyards with dyneema rope with a mantle (will hold better in the stoppers) and made them 2:1 for less compression in the mast and easier hoisting. This also is an improvement. Downside is there's a lot of halyard in the cockpit. Below is my trick to attach rope to the mast: I make flanged bushes of HDPE to prevent chafe, put it the mast (flange inside of course), put a rope through and fix it with a double figure 8-knot. I also used those bushes to attach the line for the trampoline to the wall of the aft beam mount recess.
To prevent chafe of the jibsheets I glued a piece of pvc pipe cut into quarts to the cabin.
That's it for now. More to come within a few weeks.
I'll be sailing a multihull race the weekend of 3/4 october and will certainly post about that weekend.(NOTE: the race was cancelled due to bad weather).

donderdag 30 juli 2009

some good advice

Tom Siemerink (www.f32.nl) sent me some good advice about handling the boat under power wich might be of interest for other builders.
I tried to translate it, but I'm not sure about the english nautical terms so I hope it's understandable.

Congratulations on the launching of your boat, it's looking good.
I'll give some unasked advice, hope you will benefit from it. We met a lot of the same problems.

To 'park' the boat we use at the bow and stern of the float a big round fender. This is the only way to avoid damage and it works really well.
Mostly it's better to dock backwards than going forward. With a lot of wind it is in any case difficult to dock on the windward side and difficult to get away from the side downwind.

You're right on your site: the boat is square and light and will drift quickly. On the downwind side we like to dock against another sailboat, because you can use the round shape of that boat to sail away (motor a bit forward while keeping the back docking lines attached and then motor away backwards, or the other way around). While docking it suffices to use one docking line on the middle of the float. When you fix this line first, the boat wil go nowehere and you've got plenty time to fasten the other docking lines. In the lock we only use this one middle line (now that's the good thing about owning a square boat).

maandag 27 juli 2009

Video footage

A compressed clip from Luis Matos with some video of the sailing in Holland. Hope you will enjoy. Thank you Luis.


Just back from my first week sail with my brother. We had not so good weather, still a good time, but also some problems. I started to learn about what works and what doesn't on the boat, hopefully other builders will benefit. Didn't take as much pictures as I should have, sorry. Again a lot of text.

Starting with something not working yet: the supports under the wingnet-support. First day one broke in the middle. I took a picture at the end of the week and now I see the other one also broke. It's not a very big deal: the supports work without the two studs underneath (especially if you make sure you lace the most outer eyes on the trampoline tight so the trampoline can't sag too much at the outer end). I will mail Ian about this, maybe he'll have to look at this part of the design. For the time being I will leave it as it is.
The wignet-support itself is in my opinion a really nice idea: it's looking great and it's nice to have the trampoline more or less level and above the float decks.

Below is a picture with the mainsail up. Upper batten is not in the sail on this photo, that's why the top is sagging. My mainsail has cars on every battens, this works ok. I made the mast a tiny bit longer than the plans specify, but maybe should have made it even longer. The mainsail only just fits, I had to fix the lower corner of the luff to the mastfoot with a shackle to get it low enough. No space to fix a tackle to tension the luff, as I planned (will have to put a cunningham in the sail).
I first wanted to keep the rig simple with no winch and no lines to the cockpit, but the week sailing taught me this doesn't work. I will put a winch at the cockpit + stoppers, and lead the halyards to the cockpit.
Looking at the picture above (third day of our sail) it's hard to imagine the day before Hans and I had rough weather and damage to the boat.
We planned to go sailing on saturday, but there was too much wind for a first sail (beaufort 7 = appr. 30 knots) and we stayed at the marina working on some details. Next day the forecast was better. We started on sunday morning with a nice sail with light to moderate wind, but weather changed very quickly in the afternoon with spells with winds up to 7 - 8 beaufort (or so I was told).
We managed to sail to the wind to the lock near our destination, got the sails down and motored to the lock. Near the lock I released the throttle of the outboard to have a good look at the situation, and the motor died. We couldn't get it going again and before we knew were blown downwind on a coast with a dam(n!) made of piled rocks. We had to be pulled off by another boat, and had considerable damage around the keel of the right float. Amazingly only a lot of deep scratches and dents, but no visible big cracks in the laminate. The sandwich panels proved to be really strong (apart from being prone to denting, that is): when we were banging on the rocks I was sure the whole float would be crushed.
I didn't want to sail again with an outboard I couldn't trust, and on monday I was lucky to be able to buy a quite new one and get on with the sailing-vacation.

And now for something completely different: tip for other builders. Put a rubber ring between the bearing pad and the studs for the hatch. This way it's easier to firmly fix the studs in a certain angle.
Another thing to bear in mind: the eye for the raising wires of the mast is too high for a small person to reach. On the picture below I'm stretching as high as I can. I'm 1,68 meter tall. I'm going to lower the eye 25 cm or so. When you use the raising bars at the side of the cabin, as per plan, it's probably not possible to put the eye lower because the bars won't be at the right angle anymore but I don't use the bars. Below a detail of the clearance of the lashing at the wingnet support. As you can see it's possible to cut the support away to - say - 4 cm to the corner of the support and still have plenty of clearance. Folded the lashings rub against the support, but I guess this is unavoidable. The jib has given us a lot of trouble. In the picture below we had it on it's furler, but that only worked in easy conditions. In trying conditions, with gusting wind and in need to quickly get some sail away, it didn't work. At all. The low part of the jib would roll and the upper part wouldn't - leaving a big pile of unrolled jib banging wildly at the top of the mast. We removed the roller, made some hanks on the luff of the jib with pieces of 4 mm dyneema, and hoisted it the normal way. Some of my ideas after this week sail:
  • Don't hoist the furling jib with a small line from the top of the jib through the (fixed) swiffel to the furling drum. It's a nice and clean system when it works, but a pain when it doesn't. On our first eventful sail on sunday we had to get the jib down in big winds and it wouldn't furl. Hans had to crawl to the furling drum to loosen the hoisting line. No fun at all - luckily at that time we were in open water with plenty of clearance to mess around with the jib. From now on I'll only hoist the jib with a normal halyard which can be loosened from the cockpit.
  • It's difficult to hoist and lower the jib (and tie it down on deck) in stronger winds and waves when the jib is not on a furler but just hanked to the forestay. The foredeck area is small to work on, especially because it's sloping down and it's got the jib in the way. We opened the front hatch to have a sort of secure position to work on the jib, but that is not ideal. I will for certain install front nets on the boat: it will help a lot to be able to safely work on things on the foredeck.
  • The problems with furling may be partially due to the low forestay/luff tension. I'm going to try if it's possible to put an anti-torsion cable into the luff of my jib (like the ones made by facnor) and see if that helps. If it doesn't I might switch to a full blown reefing furler with an aluminium luff profile, but I hope this won't be necessary.
  • With the jib low on the deck sailing to the wind it's hard to get a good view of the boats downwind. I may put a window in the jib.
  • Put the camcleats of the jib on blocks (1 cm or so) else you will have trouble to get the sheet in the cleats in stronger winds.
  • (Should have know this....) Put a piece of strong plastic on the corner of the cabin where the jib-sheet runs to the cleat, else the sheet will grind through the paint and fairing in no time.

I worked out the tiller and believe it's fine now. I started with a long tiller with a short joystick (as can be seen last two pictures on this entry) but that didn't work because the sheet + traveler line were tangled in the tiller + joystick every time you tacked.
Now I've shortened the tiller to be just long enough to stay in front of the traveler, and made a two-sided joystick. Both sides are 2,5 meter long. They are fixed to the front of the tiller, and the mainsheet hangs in front of the tiller and the joysticks, and doesn't get tangled anymore. The joysticks are made of two pieces of 3/4" pvc electricity pipe, a piece of reinforced pvc tube from a kite shop as the pivot and three bolts. It cost me about 6 dollar alltogether and it works fine.
On tuesday and wednesday Luis Matos from Portugal (wearing the hat on the picture below) paid a visit to check out the boat for real and to get some ideas for his own build. He's an experienced sailor and could give me some good advice. Luckily those two days were good sailing days, and we had some really nice trips and time to get to know the boat in normal conditions. Time to sum up some of the impressions about sailing and motoring the boat:

  • The folding is just amazing and works really well effortlessly.
  • The boat sails really well, also in choppy (but not too high) waves. It is VERY dry compared to the monohulls I've sailed in similar conditions.
  • To the wind we were at least as fast as much bigger monohulls, downwind the same thing when there is not too much wind. With more wind the boat picks up speed and leaves the monohulls behind fast.
  • The boat will pick up speed to about 7-8 knots easily, and then seems to stay on that speed until there is enough wind to really push it. Then it will suddenly accelerate fast to above 10 knots. Top speed so far has been about 13.5 knots with jib and single reefed main and for me that was fast enough for this first week. The rig + sails still need a lot of tuning (luff of the mainsail is not tensioned right, for instance) so I guess there is room to improve.
  • When the boat goes over 10 knots, it lifts up the bow of the main hull a bit like a powerboat on speed. I was a bit surprised, because I thought the bow would be pressed down a lot when powering.
  • Although the jib tracks are short, they are long enough to trim the jib if you also have a plate at the back of the jib to change the sheeting angle.
  • With the boomless main you need the 6:1 + 4:1 = 24:1 sheet system, else you won't be able to sheet in the main far enough to go to the wind.
  • Not sure about the trimming of the mainsail yet. While reaching it has the tendency to twist a lot and hang against the shrouds, even with the traveler all the way out. Going to the wind twist control with the traveler seems ok.
  • Getting alongside the dock under power is difficult because the boat is more or less square. When the bow of the float is nearly at the dockside you usually have to make a sharp turn, but when you do that the boat will more or less pivot around your centerboard and will be in line with the dockside but about 1,5 meter away from it. Hope the drawing below will help to explain.
Maybe taking the centerboard up might help a bit, but then the boat will drift even more. First thing I'm going to try is to put big fenders, or maybe even permanent rubber profiles, on the bow of the floats so I can just 'park' the nose of the boat against the dockside and then push the back to the dockside with the motor.
  • Last thing: camping in the boat is going fine! I thought it would be a bit cramped, but it works out very good. I've got a lot of interior room because of the centerboard, maybe it will be a bit more cramped with the daggerboard case. With the all white basic interior with blue cushions and the pop top raised a bit it's a nice place to stay when it's raining outside.
    Luis took a small tent and put that on the trampoline to sleep. That worked well also.

And finally: this makes it all worthwile for me. Sailing your self-built boat on a sunny day doing 12 knots effortlessly with almost no heel.

maandag 13 juli 2009

First 'sail'

This sunday I finished the rig (only have to alter the cars on the main and work out the tiller to get the boat ready) and could manage a 8 minutes trip with the jib + motor up and down the marina before we ran out of time and had to pull the boat out of the water to get home in time.

Next weekend me and my brother will go for a one-week sail to test the boat, finish all kinds of loose ends, and hopefully learn to sail it. On tuesday of that week Luis Matos, another F22 builder, will join us (all the way from Portugal!) for one day to get a feel for the boat in real life.

Last sunday I had no time for pictures, but for those who are interested anyway here is some text-only about things I noticed:
  • With the aft cockpit-boomless-version of the F22 the tiller has not much travel left-right before it hits the point where the traveler sits on the cockpit seat. It's probably a good idea to put some extra blocks under the traveler to lift it a bit and make some more room for the tiller. It will only help a bit though. I will alter it this this winter.
  • Because the tiller is fixed and can't swiffel up you can't stand up holding the tiller when sailing/motoring, and don't have a clear sight. I'm going to attach a joystick to the tiller: problem solved.
  • It is possible to hang a small-ish outboard (mine is a 4 HP two stroke Mecury long shaft) on a bracket next to the rudder: the prop can't touch the rudder in any position and there is enough clearance to tilt the outboard completely out of the water.
  • On low speeds the rudder doesn't seem to 'bite' very well. I guess this is normal for this type of rudder, I'm just not used to it as I've only had boats with relatively large rudders that worked well at very low speeds.
  • Manoeuvring with a (very) low speed, as will be necessary in the sometimes very crowded and small locks and harbours/marina's in the Netherlands, will probably only be doable by steering with the motor. In this respect I'm glad I built the aft cockpit version.
  • Because the boat is so light and wide, it drifts quite a lot with only mast up when there's some crosswind. Going to have to practice a lot to learn to manoeuvre this boat under power in tight areas.
  • The overall strength of the sandwich hulls is great, they're stiff and light, but I'm not really happy with the impact resistance (concentrated load). Sunday my second bulge (very small one) in the boat was caused by a brief encounter with the corner of a jetty. First small bulge was caused by a corner of the plastic wheel arch of the trailer which pressed against the float when the boat was rocking a tiny bit on the trailer while driving. Since then I've lowered the wheel arches. Guess there will be a lot more scratches and bulges to come.
  • The shrouds stay tight folded, unfolded and while folding. Nice!
  • Raising the mast is easy when you use all the raising wires to support it and also use the 'ears' on the maststep. The pops on the ball (raising) or pivot-pin (lowering) with ease.
  • Centerboard lowering needs a bit of muscle: didn't expect the board to be that bouyant.
  • 2:1 jib sheet seems to work fine.
  • Sailing with jib alone to the wind is possible (a bit), but you have to helm a lot (duh).

zondag 28 juni 2009

Working on rig.

My brother Hans has gotten really enthousiastic about working with the dyneema ropes and is making all kinds of handy parts for my rig, like soft hanks and, below, a tackle for my back up forestay (nylon washers make sure the lashing-rope doesn't bind).
Below picture for my wife Jacomien: yes, I fitted the wind-pointer (???). She demanded I'd fit one (she still has good memories of two boats I owned earlier on - a nordic folkboat and a waarschip 7.25 - which had the same pointer). Telling it's not necessary to have one were to no avail: she gave me the pointer for my birthday and how can I refuse this present?
For ease of mind I made a backup fitting for the shrouds with a piece of 6 mm dyneema and some vulcanising tape (later on a picture which will be more clear). The knot is the same knot used for the soft hanks (don't know the name), and is made by Hans.
My plan was to attach the shrouds with 8 mm olivier links produced by Precourt. However, I got fed up waiting for a response from Precourt about the links he is supposed to be working on, and decided to use two pieces of hardware that were delivered with my mast-section. They are actually meant to anchor ball-terminals, but I figured they might as well anchor a dyneema loop.
Below the overview of the setup: 6 mm dyneema soft hank (the line is fed through itself and then finished with a big 'turkish' knot). The end-knot is not finished smooth: instead the two ends are left proud and there's an extra knot in both lines to make sure the knot won't slip and open up. I made a hdpe bush on the lathe to make sure the loop doesn't chave.
Below an overview of the attachment of the shrouds: 8 mm shrouds (SK75) anchored on the ball-terminal-loops, and secured to oneanother and to the extra mounting point with a piece of 8 mm SK75. The mast will only come down when all three mountings fail, which I don't expect to happen. I will be cruising only, and this setup seems plenty strong for that purpose.
I will for the time being keep my rig very simple. Main halyard with a stopper on the mast (not running to the cockpit) + a tackle at the mastfoot to tension the luff of the main + backup forestay + furling jib with a fixed swiffel (jib will be hoisted with a dyneema line 2:1) + 2:1 sheeting of the jib with no winches. Unfortunately the swiffel & furling drum take up a bit too much space: the jib would hardly fit in between and would not furl properly as the backup forestay was in the way. I need to make a separat tab a bit higher to mount the forestay.
Below a detail of mast raising setup: the trailer winch-band which I use to raise the mast is kept central with a dyneema loop round the bullnose. Here you can also see the stainless steel furling drum which I could buy second hand for not too much money. It's difficult to get anything attached in the hole in the deck with the bow web below and I don't think this setup will work properly (just too small). If I remember right Ian Farrier wrote this is still a loose end in the design.
A part of the design I didn't follow (yet?) is the mast raising wires-supports bolted to the side of the cabin. Instead I made a wire between my lifting eyes with shackles at the ends, and with an eye at the height of the pivot pin. This works well, just onhook the wire and you're done. Loads will be a bit higher because the wires are not at the edge of the cabin, but I don't think loads will be too high.
Overview of the setup (sorry, forgot to turn the picture).
And this is how it looks the right way up....
Below: mast raised 30 cm and feeling steady. Before rigging all the support wires we tried to raise the mast with just the raising pole, but quickly quit. Although this mast is quite light (30 kg or so) it's not easy to handle. Raising it with just some muscle and faith is not for me.....
And.... the mast is up. The rake is of course way too much in this picture. We kept the shrouds short to make sure we wouldn't tip the mast over when raising. You can see the support wires for the mast raising pole are slack, that's my mistake: I used the maststep ball as a reference point for the mounting point of the support wires instead of the pivot pin.
Finishing the boat and all the hardware has taken a lot of time, and I'm still not there. Need to lower the mast again, make a new tab for the backup forestay, grind a slot in the mast for the cars of the main, fit the outboard (will be tight), make a tiller, try to lower the furling drum 2 cm to get a bit more clearance at the top of the jib, etc. etc.
Still the plan is to launch in about three weeks. I'll sail the boat for a week with my brother, and use that week to tune the boat and see if everything works the way it should.

dinsdag 23 juni 2009

In the water

This weekend me and my brother laced the trampolines and put the boat in the water to test it. We were in a hurry, so I didn't take my time to get nice pictures. Still here are some....

Photo below: the lifting eyes work well. I need to make the front two hoisting slings a bit longer to lift the boat horizontally.

First time in the water. The centerboard pivot doesn't leak (didn't think it would, but you never know). The boat is floating very high. Hope this is how it's supposed to be.
My brother is lashing the trampolines.
Close up of the trampolines below: lashed with 2,5 mm dyneema SK75 (cheaper than a roll of nylon, but hard to get tight as it is difficult to pull). I still need to work on the attachment of the beginning + end of the lashing to the hull. Details will follow in due time.
The trampoline is a bit too close to the hullside to my liking, and it is difficult to get the lashing tight like this. I'll have to live with it for at least this sailing season, maybe I'll alter the trampolines this winter. Tip for future builders: maybe make the trampoline a few cm less wide than plans specify, or first finish the hull + floats before making the trampolines, so you can measure the actual distance between the float-rail and the hullside.

Below the front view. I guess the boat will be a bit lower in the water once I put the mast on the boat and put some extra gear in it. That would be a good thing, because the floats are now a bit too high above water.

donderdag 18 juni 2009


I stitched my trampolines on this old Singer sewing machine (it is motorized). It can't zigzag, but for the rest it works just fine. The trampoline was put together with double sided tape before stitching. Lesson learned: stitch directly after using the tape. One trampoline was put away for a while unstitched and more or less fell apart. What a sticky mess! Other tip: spraying a bit of WD40 on the needle helps to make sure the needle +thread don't stick too much to the tape.
For the lacings to the hull I won't use rings, but a 6 mm alu rod in the sleeve. Probably stronger than rings, and less fuss.
The shop I bought the materials warned me the last ring on the side of the trampoline is loaded a lot and has a tendency to fail. That's why I strenghtened it a bit.
Apart from the tiller and some small jobs the boat is ready. I still have to take care of the rig and the raising pole + wires, though. I can't finish that because I'm still waiting for Erik Precourt to fabricate the 8mm version of his Olivier Link which I plan to use for the shrouds. Erik mailed me he would be working on the links this week, so I hope there will be some white smoke at the end of the week.

maandag 15 juni 2009

Plastic Fantastic

Working on some of the last parts of the boat: bushings.
Some time ago I bought a very old Unimat SL micro lathe, it works OK for plastics and small metal work.

Below: piece of Arnite (PETP) rod in lathe.
Step 2: outside diameter ready.
Step 3: inner hole bored. I tried to do this on the lathe first, but this didn't work (too slow: in stead of cutting I melted the bushing-to-be). In the drill press it was a piece of cacke. The two pieces of hardwood with triangle-formed cutouts keep the rod level (vertical). This works well, as long as you make sure the cutouts in the woodblocks are cut precise (no problem for me, because I'm a happy owner of a very precise festool table saw).
Below: finished bushing for the rudder. No, it's not as good looking as a professional bushing. Yes, it will work anyway. No, it's not worth to save money this way (unless you've got time to spare) but I just enjoy trying to fabricate parts myself.
Below: bushing for mast pivot ball, made out of Delrin rod. The router bit was very expensive for the (this) one time I will use it.
I've got plenty of delrin to spare, and my expensive router bit. If someone is interested: I can send some delrin rod with the hole routed in it for the costs + a few dollar for my invested time, and save you the trouble of buying the router bit. I also have a spare type 316 1" ball I can send with it.
Plans call for acetal washers for the folding system. I couldn't find ready made washers, so just drilled a hole in a piece of delrin rod and chopped washers off on the bandsaw.
This weekend I drove the boat to my home to pick up the mast (the mast was hanging in my garden) and tried to shoot some photo's back at the marina but instead by accident made a film. Still some people might be interested, so below is the clip.

donderdag 4 juni 2009

Mast Step + Retaining Thingies

Still got to make some pieces. Below is the mold + glass for the four beam retaining brackets. I made the mold on the bandsaw (my advice: buy one if you haven't got one!) of some scrap pieces of mdf.
When cured I cut the mold + glass in four straight pieces on the table saw. I know it's not good for the sawblade, but for this kind of work I use a blade that's already damaged (hit some screws with it long time ago).
Below the finished brackets and the (almost) finished mast step.
Welding aluminium and making it good looking isn't easy. The mast step looks messy (+ I burned a hole in the top side of the tube) and sure won't be in the book 'This is pro welding". I'm not dissatiefied though; part of the fun of building for me is trying to acquire new skills and experience (like welding). Having a not so good looking mast step is the price I have to pay for that choise.
Although the mast step is not good looking (looking from close range), I'm sure it's strong enough.
I have to do one more weld in the low corner and cut off + isolate the bolts and then have to decide on the finish. Camouflage paint might be the best option.
I'll probably just prime it with epoxy primer and then paint it. The mast foot in the mast will also have to be treated, as well as the mast support and the (still to weld) mast raising pole.
I would actually rather leave all those pieces untreated, as painting will probably look messy and anodizing is a lot of trouble and not always possible (can't anodize the mast foot as it is welded in the mast). What will happen if I leave all the pieces as they are? My boat will mostly be sailed on fresh water. Anyone with good advice?