Please visit our home site at www.TRILOBOATS.com.

Anke and I are building our next boat, and writing about it at ABargeInTheMaking.blogspot.com. Access to the net comes and goes, so I'll be writing in fits and spurts.

Please feel free to browse the archives, leave comments where you will and write, and I'll respond as I can.

Fair winds!

Dave and Anke
triloboats swirl gmail daughter com

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Off-Center Masts for Off-Center Sailors

Don't get more off-center than this!Bolger BRICK, TETARD

One does not walk into the forest and accuse the trees of being off-center,

Nor visit the shore and call the waves imperfect.
-- from the Tao te Ching

Think off-center.
-- George Carlin


Off-Center Masts for Off-Center Sailors

When we were building ZOON (ex Bolger LONG MICRO), we stood the aft mast in place, off-center, to see how it stood. A visitor to the project took three wordless passes around, humming and clucking at such unusual features as the square sections and bow transom. Finally, he draws himself up with hands on hips and exclaims, "NO. That off-center mizzen is just too much."

But that off- center sail was perfect. Squared off across the stern, we could run down the off-wind quadrant in a gale of wind with balanced power and a clear view ahead.

Since then, every boat has had at least one mast off-center for one reason or another. Masts at the aft transom are offset to clear the rudder and sculling oar. Those at the companionway are offset to allow center-line openings which, in a knock-down, remain furthest from the water and least likely to flood.

We've never been able to observe a sailing difference between tacks in our larger, relatively heavy cruiser size vessels. We will wing out the offset sail to its near side when running... from there, they overlap the foresail less and behave much better. Otherwise, it appears a draw.

But this one time...

I wrote this account in a previous post:
A friend of ours had built a Bolger BRICK (shaped about as it sounds). He brought it out to Tenakee for a Mess-About. All day, he and his daughter sailed circles around the rest of us (including respected designs of similar size by Devlin, Hess and a TORO!).
Circles, in fact, barely describes the figure 8s and jaunts across the inlet and back while our fleet trudged along in comparison.

I was wowed by this and have mused lo these many years upon it. Now I venture a theory...

The BRICK has its mast stepped along one hull wall, and very near the bow. The crew is live ballast, but in practice needn't move much around (according to its skipper). When I first saw the arrangement, I felt sure it would capsize mast-side at the first gust. But no.

Here's my thinking, taking the BRICK pictured above as example:

On the port tack (wind blowing from port across the hull to the lee-side sail) it acts as a proa. Windward hull lift is opposed by crew weight.

On the starboard tack (wind blowing into the wind-side sail, then across the hull) it acts like a normal hull (center mast). Leeward hull depression is opposed by outboard displacement.

Setting the mast at a point of maximum beam, in effect, doubles the beam! That dinky li'l x4ft punt has the equivalent lever arm at the mast as our x8ft WAYWARD. Whether sailing as a 'double wide' monohull or proa, the righting arm is twice what one can expect with a centered mast.

With such a doubling, one can fly twice the sail area or sail a normal amount twice as aggressively (which appears to be the case).

Somethin' to ponder on!


Picture this mast position as center-line!





Saturday, July 18, 2020

Fishin'

One of many approaches to Hobo ReelsIs that a KIRKLAND Whiskey Bottle cork capping the bottom???

50 Best HOBO HANDLINE images | Fishing kit, Bushcraft, Hobo
Rigged with hook, line and keeper


Alive without breath, as cold as death;
Never thirsty, always drinking;
Clad in mail, never clinking.

-- One of Gollum's riddles from The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein


I'm a-goin' fishin',
Yes I'm goin' fishin',
Baby goin' fishin' too!

-- From Fishin' Blues by Taj Mahal


Fishin'

I've got to say right off that I'm not a fool fer fishin'. In fact, if fish weren't an important part of our diet and livelihood, I'd never set a hook. Anke, on the other hand, you might say is 'avid'.

For me, I'm looking to maximize the efficiency and minimize the sport. To do as little harm as possible, both to those too small to keep and those whose life is taken for ours. To cultivate a spirit of humble gratitude for a fish's life. To console myself with the knowledge that they are fellow predators dancing in the web of life.

For many years, Anke and I have subsisted on smaller fish- rock cod, pink salmon, dolly varden (between a trout and salmon). Lacking refrigeration and unable to carry the weight of jarred fish, these are all we can eat while fresh. Now, however, we have the displacement and tools for jarring, and have our sights set on larger salmon, halibut and dogfish (a small shark).

But these still swim mostly in our future.

Our fishing rods and reels are accordingly very light. Usually the cheap-0 kid's reels. They live on deck, ready to hand, and last a few years. But they're seldom made for salt water and get cranky. And they tend to hang up on this and that at inopportune moments.

Recently, I stumbled across hobo reelsDIY, compact and effective.

Plastic container types offer near instant gratification and are very practical, since they take little or no modification and securely hold a lot of gear for any given size. Check out hobo reels made from PVC.

Wooden hobo reels - whether carved or turned on a lathe - are just plain beautiful. But first, a digression...
At a Renaissance Faire I was once enthralled by a fellow turning chair legs on a pole lathe. He used a living sapling bent over as a spring, sprung by depressing a foot plank. A line connecting the two turned around a pulley on the lathe, and as he worked the plank, spun the leg stock for shaping. 
Unfortunately, it was otherwise a more or less standard metal lathe and, they being generally large and heavy, I hung on to the pole idea but roundfiled the lathe.
Back to hobo reels... one of the vids shows a feller turning one on a home-made pole lathe! OOH... now we're talkin'. It was clear to see that I could dumb his full-feature lathe down to a mini lathe sized for the hobo reel. An hour of cobbling from materials on hand and this is the result:

Ever the Muse brings chaos in her wake!
A bungee has replaced the spring pole.

Stock is skewered between a fixed point (left) and an adjustable point (right).
Two turns around the stock and it rotates around the points.

Never having turned anything, I grabbed a rather funky piece of firewood to try it out. To my surprise, the result would have been a keeper if I'd used better material! On to HR2.0...

Go small, go simple, go fishin'!



My Spice Jar HR left
and Lathe-Turned HR right




*****

A few preliminary tips and tricks...

  • I've found that a single hook (vs. a treble) at the end of a line is easy to stow. Lure and / or bobber can be loop tied (pass a bight of line through a hole and around the item to form a cow hitch) as desired. Hook can be set into holes drilled around the spool base, or stowed in storage cavities with its line pinned by the cap.
  • Braided line (vs. monofilament) seems to work well, is much easier to handle and has enough friction for loop ties.
  • Instead of carrying one or more bobbers, an eye-screw can attach any found bit of flotsam with enough buoyancy.
  • For a bobber, consider a stick which can be thrown much farther than a typical bobber, hook and lure can be cast from a (rodless) hand reel.
  • If using a container, consider one with a pronounced flare (like one end of a spool) toward the casting end. This helps lift clear of the wound line while casting, reducing friction.
  • throat gorge (spine of wood, bone or metal sharpened at both ends and attached from the middle) is far easier to improvise than a hook. A fish swallows the baited stick which then toggles sideways to set. Size for target fish.


Our go-to fishing sources:

Indian Fishing Methods by Hillary Stewart
Living Off the Sea by Charlie White


A Coupla good, how-to vids:






And check out this guy's Rodless Reel!

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Bilgin' the Barge? Reflecting on the Pond


Princess Tuvstarr gazing down into the dark waters of the forest tarn
By John Bauer


Swim out of your little pond.
-- Rumi


Bilgin' the Barge?  Reflecting on the Pond

After the first day's sail aboard our first boat - a shoal, flattish bottomed life-boat conversion - we happily went about preparing a special meal for our first night at anchor.

To our consternation, some of our stores, stowed low and outboard, were mysteriously soaked! We checked the bilge under the floorboards and were relieved to see our customary few inches of water between lead ballast bricks (as low as we could pump it)... so we weren't sinking. Some fluke?

No further problems until the next time we went sailing. With the same, soggy result.

Turns out that, as we heeled, that little bit of water all ran to and piled up the low corner, climbing above the far end of our lowest shelves. Some water-tight storage boxes did the trick, but it left a bad taste.

*****

So this is a general problem for flat bottomed boats, especially those with no rocker amidships. Not only does all that flat skim of water add up when concentrated, but when upright there is no sump (a low point which concentrates water for efficient pumping).

But do we really need or want a (wet) bilge at all?

The purpose of the bilge is to collect and contain water that makes it inboard from outboard (seeping planks, say, or leaky through-hull fittings). Or oil spills from the engine.

But there are considerable downsides:

Basically, a sailor with a wet bilge is living above a pond of... well... bilgewater. A pond is always moisturizing its environs and contributes to that dank, musty smell that many think of as boaty. Mildew and 'dry' rot fungi love the humidity. Wooden boat frames tend to rot near the standing waterline of the bilge. Most bugs die of dehydration, but not if there's a pond handy.

Bilges themselves smell better, nowadays, than in the days when raw sewage was among the fluids, but a 'sweet smelling' bilge remains rare enough to be noteworthy.

In flat-bottomed boats, a bilge must be created by raising the sole (floor you walk on) by at least several inches. Another way of putting it is that you must lower any given headroom the same amount.

Traditional construction approaches are sufficient to achieve a dry bilge. As Larry Pardey put it, would you rather pump or sweep your bilge? It requires careful building and installations, with consistent, proactive maintenance. But doable.

With modern gap-filling adhesives and milled materials, we can achieve that high bar with much greater ease. With no more skill than is required to pull the trigger of a caulk gun and spread with a paddle, we too can achieve a truly watertight hull. And preserve precious headroom!

*****

In our boats, we go without a bilge. Generally, the inside of the hull is either the surface we walk upon, or against which we stow gear and goods.

This means, of course, that if salt-water gets in, you know it right away, and it's something to be dealt with pronto! As I've written, girder furnishings help contain any leak and localize any soaking.

In all these years, we've only had salt water intrusion twice. A new mooring ring sliced through two sets of line and chafe gear in a squall, and ZOON was blown onto a rock which ground a two foot hole through her side and bottom.

A wet bilge wouldn't have helped in this case.

SLACKTIDE drug two anchors while lying unattended in a squall and spent a happy few hours fracturing a couple spots in her bottom planking, which then seeped.

A wet bilge would have made life a bit easier, but then, we may never have fixed it by patching the inboard face? We're lazy that way.

*****

Once again, each of us finds the path that suits us. Some may prefer to pump, some to sweep. Some might hedge their bets with a dry bilge on standby. Others remember the adage, a leaky boat never sinks (yer always pumpin' her!).

Keeps it interesting!





P.S.... One nifty, fail-safer solution is to build a 'step' sharpie or barge - essentially a wide, hollow, keel that can serve as a bilge in an otherwise flat bottomed hull. It only need be deep enough to do the job.

The drawing below gives the general idea... I couldn't find a pic of one applied to a flat bottomed vessel.


Modified Bolger Sharpie
Phil Bolger's BLONDIE HASLER









Sunday, June 28, 2020

SIP RIP: Deciding Against a Ply / Foam / Ply Hull

Adding inboard layer of 1/4in ply
Next space to my right has fitted foam ready and waiting
Two areas to my right, the inboard face of the hull is exposed

This guy oughtta be wearing his ear protectors!

I think I'd better think it out again!
-- Fagin, from Oliver! lyrics by Lionel Bart

SIP RIP: Deciding Against a Ply/Foam/Ply Hull

A friend of ours built a shop with reclaimed Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). It flew together, was obviously superbly insulated and was strong and stiff.

But commercial SIPs aren't typically geared for marine environments (though I wish they were). Custom orders are possible but too spendy for us. With tape n' glue construction, these would be the bomb. Sigh.

DIY ply/foam/ply adaptations seemed within our reach, and they were. We've now built two boats with two approaches, and both worked out (WAYWARD's example). But, looking back, we've (pretty much) decided not to do it again.

Insulation (R-value) is awesome and totally stopped condensation. Positive buoyancy is a benefit we hope never to call upon. But...

Here's a list of cons:
  • Framing is necessary, finicky and expensive.
  • Through-hulls need blocking (in advance or retro-fitted).
  • Installing foam and inner ply is time consuming and adds cost.
  • Voids (which can rot or mildew) are difficult to reliably avoid.
  • They can't be disassembled for inspection.
  • Foam takes away from interior volume.
  • Foam adds fire hazard with toxic smoke.
  • Foam is a pile of plastic waste that can never be "disposed of properly".
Framing deserves special note, and is what truly tips our scale.

Its purpose is to take fasteners for furnishings (vs. epoxy welding or tape n' glue which we prefer to avoid), tie the inner skin mechanically to the outer, join panels and seal edges (as around window cut-outs). It must be well-planned, precisely installed and devil take those who change their minds. Corners are particularly aggravating, and may need doubling up.

So what's our alternative?

We now lean toward two layers of ply, laminated (we like an LPC such as Gorilla Glue for this).

Condensation is much reduced by 1in of ply, and 1 1/4in (using one layer of 3/4in for accepting fasteners) takes it down to near none. While insulation is relatively low compared to foam, it's still adequate. Strength is high. Buoyancy is still positive, though reduced. It weighs a bit more. Cost is oddly about even (pound for pound, thinner ply is generally more expensive).

Best of all, interior framing is eliminated... you can fasten anywhere into the wall or drill right through it without blocking.

TriloBoats are intended to be quick and simple as possible. We've found that ply/foam/ply in the hull sides run against that grain. While the results are good (at least in the shorter term), we feel that the net benefit doesn't pay for the effort.

Should we build again (please O Great Spirit, NO!), we'll continue to use a SIP approach for the main deck but go to a solid wall hull.

So R.I.P., S.I.P.s.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Hunkered Down, Sorta

Peering over the berm near high tide


 Social distancing. I've been preparing for this moment all my life.
-- Emblazoned on a T-shirt


Hunkered Down, Sorta

For the last several weeks we've been hunkered down in one of our favorite spots.

It's a small tidal estuary, protected by a berm which has been thrown back by winter storms. We float for an hour or two as the tide floods and ebbs. The residents - including the bears - keep their distance as well.

We pulled in with the idea of seeing how the (COVID) 're-opening' will go. One of the peculiarities of this place is that, for all its remoteness, we have a decent cell signal. Thus, when we peer over our berm, our view is wider than usual.

It seems clear that we are nowhere near out of the woods.

No vaccine. The virus is now well-seeded, relative to those early months. Contact tracing and quarantine authority are inadequate. Global (and U.S.) case rates are rising at a 'flattened' but still exponential rate. Many, many Citizens of the World, I salute thee! But re-opening?? Early results don't look promising.

Meanwhile, we are knocking down a number of projects on and around WAYWARD.

Chief among them is paint, but as yet, we've had no day without at least some rain. We're working on a prototype Power Fin (Atsushi Doi concept dumbed down in our usual way... more to come on this). The new sails need to be grommeted and mounted. The rudder system needed some work (lacing just isn't standing up to WAYWARD's heavier forces... we're adding at least one gudgeon/pintle). Spring cleaning calls as summer begins.

You know... the usual.

So here's wishing all of you health and happiness and a happy Solstice!

Love,

Dave and Anke

Edge of NoWhere, Alaska



Sitting dry at low tide

Safe behind 'harbor' walls

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Buddy Boating: Cruising in Contrast

Bristol Channel Cutter

Yeah, but you sail where no sane people go!-- Our Sailing Buddy

Buddy Boating: Cruising in Contrast



A dear friend lives aboard - and with his sweetheart sails - a Lyle Hess designed Bristol Channel Cutter (BCC). And we all went buddy boating for a bit.

Now, Lyle Hess cutters were my first nautical love. I fell hard through the writings of Lynn and Larry Pardey who sailed SERAFFYN engine-free around the world, back when the world was a wider place.

To me, these are the epitome of Curvy Dog. Fast, weatherly, seaworthy. And breathtakingly beautiful. Over a period of half a century, they have proven themselves outstanding cruiser / sailors.

Yet we ended up taking another road. Despite a general similarity of displacement, plan area and volume, our two boats represent near polar opposites. They take the high road; we take the low... and along the road, plenty of room for thought.

Where to start? Maybe at the beginning?

These cutters’ virtues make them difficult to build. Their fine waterlines, full bilges and firm buttocks… wineglass sections, tumblehome, sheer and sweeping keels… all add up to some serious boat wrightery. That comes at a cost in skill, time, effort, materials and outlay of filthy lucre.

Us? Box it up to go, please. Cheap, but with mucho bang-for-the-buck. Heavy on boat wrongery… let’s say we travel paths seldom trod.

Deep keels and a high proportion of ballast make Hess cutters fast. But shoal waters are only available if the tides run high. That heavy ballast takes away from what may be carried.

We skim the shoals and sit flat when the tide goes out. Without all that extra lead (we get our stability from the boxy shape) we carry literally a ton more books, tools and supplies (which means we can stay out for months if not years on end).

Sailing with the wind, we were the slightly faster boat (our waterline length is about 30ft to the other’s 28). We winced a bit at their pitching, yawing and rolling in the 3ft following sea… our ride is ‘shippy’ in comparison. Still, we were quite aware that if we’d been sailing into the wind, they’d smoke us. But they'd have to work for it (junk rig tacks with tiller over... no sheet handling).

As the wind dropped, we turned inshore… even less wind, but if we needed to scull, far less distance to anchor. They stayed further out (motor back-up), and reached our destination a bit ahead of us.

We skimmed into the shallows and dropped a pair of anchors, drying out between tides. The view of the the surrounding mountains was panormamic, and that of the tidal meadows (deer, bear, mustelidea and birds) was up close and intimate.

After the tide rose high enough to clear a shallow bar, they motored in and anchored in a favorite spot. Indeed, were concerned that it might be taken. It had just the right depth - not too deep for their all chain rode and manual windlass, yet deep enough to stay well afloat through all tides. They had protection from wind from any direction, at the expense of a view.

It doesn’t get any more reliable than that all chain rode. But I wondered if a second anchor with nylon / chain rode might not free up their preference for just-so anchor depth and all-round protection (to avoid having to re-anchor). Well… that pointy bow… it just doesn’t allow room for doing much more.

I suppose we might contrast our accommodations at this point…

The BCC is ingeniously but traditionally laid out. Her galley is, by our standards, cramped. Her salon is two facing benches… one has a fold-out double bunk outboard, and the other locker and bookshelves. The two together make up a space about 12ft long by a social 7ft (idle bunk and lockers squeeze the active space of their wider interior). Lighting comes from an overhead hatch and small portlights. Forward is a workshop / head, which one enters via a small gangway… well separated with full privacy and standing headroom under a raised hatch.

Our social space is 20ft x 8ft with a generous galley / workspace, bench seat opposite a dinette and a very generous double bunk / lounging space all of which are open to one another. Lighting comes via two overhead hatches, large galley windows and even larger windows running along the sitting / bunk areas. The side windows, especially, open the interior into the wider world for a sense of spaciousness. Our head is a composting double bucket system with little to no privacy (which can be arranged or found on deck if our guests are shy).

Poking around, their 7ft dinghy (which fits well on their cabin top) takes a few minutes to launch and retrieve. It does very well with one person, but drags a bit with two. Her beautifully fashioned oars really grab the water, but shoals - especially cobbly or rocky ones - threaten their exquisite varnish which is quite a chore to restore.

Towing our 16ft shorey costs as much as a knot to windward, but is ready to go any time, and rows fast and far, even when heavily loaded. Her oars are fugly; the simple ply blades are worn from years of grinding bottom and most of the paint has left them. But free for 20 years with no maintenance prorates pretty well.

*****

Looking across at one another’s boats and despite seeing the qualities of the other, we each, I think appreciated our own all the more.

Our boats very much reflect the way we roll, both on the front end - we choose a boat to match our purpose and style; and the follow on - our boats determine how we go forward.

Know thyself, my friends, and to thine own selves be true. Choose wisely!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

COVID-19: Ozone Generators for Sterilization

Diagram from PrimaZone

COVID-19... Some dis-assembly is required.


 COVID-19: Ozone Generators and Sterilization


We've been using an ozone (O3) generator for several years, now, to sterilize our boat cabin and holds against various fungi including dry rot, mold and mildews. We also blow into a garbage bag to sterilize small items, now including masks, gloves and other PPE.

 << Our EnerZen unit costs about $85 as I write.

An advantage over UV sterilization is that it fills a space, where UV is line-of-sight and won't work in the 'shadow'.



While several studies suggest that ozone (O3) 'kills' COVID-19, this hasn't been fully established.

A word of caution... this type of generator sterilizes the space by elevating O3 concentrations to lethal levels for a short time. No People, Plants or Pets while working and until fully aired out. Don't even want to breathe a little of it. We amateurs should probably leave the building, even if you're only doing a single room within it.

Here's a quick article that hits the main points. And another in more depth.

There is another kind of ozone generator on the market which uses low levels of O3 to ionize particles to help purify air with people in the room. Some are being marketed as helping against CV19. These are not recommended by most medical authorities ever, and especially not now.

If breathed in, ozone irritates, inflames and even kills cells all along the respiratory tract. This makes the cells even more susceptible to virus and bacteria, and if infected, inflammation is a serious co factor for worse outcomes. 'Safe' levels for O3 can be understood as merely 'negligible damage' even when threat of infection is low.

Incidentally, ozone also clears away smells from such maritime nuisances as locker funk, diesel or gas, wet dog, bilge, etc..

Thinking of you all, especially in these somber times.



NOTE: Most hospitals have ozone generators for sterilizing operating and patient rooms. PPEs can be treated for re-use in room-sized batches. Even if it only reduces viral load, it is better than some of the desperate measures (such as paper bags between re-uses!). Please help spread the word your health care professionals.

NOTE: For sailors using ozone in the Spore Wars, be aware that ozone is extremely oxidizing, the heat-producing reaction behind spontaneous combustion. Be sure there are no oily rags lying about!