Thursday, January 30, 2020

"I mean, really?"

I just was reminded of a quotation about entering the Race to Alaska: "Why would anyone sign on to six months of boat work and training for the longshot chance of even making it to the starting line?"

In my case, depending on when you start counting, it's been nine years or five years.

Source of the Quotation

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Speaking of Engineering Assistance...

Until being glued-and-screwed to the seat back, this stretch of side deck is not safe to walk on without risk of causing damage. And my build drooped a lot more than I liked. I had already started sketching ideas to fix this, but as usual they were way overdone.

I explained this to my (mechanical engineer) son, who gave me an elegant and simple solution.
The posts are centered over the first four cross supports at the front of the cockpit.

He emphasized the importance of keeping the base of each post perpendicular to the plane of the seat top.

The screw at the base of each post goes in at a 45 degree angle. A second screw is located straight down through the surface near the edge of the deck. I normally use a minimum of two screws at each end of a structure like this, but the deck pushes down tightly on them, and once the epoxy sets...

I am wearing the boots in the photo, so between these posts and the seat backs I am confident the side decks will have no problem having folks stepping on them.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Some of My Thinking Behind My Changes to the Plans

The various modifications I am making to the stock Weekender design are clearly shown on the R2AK Team Kingsfold website. They represent years of research on the forum, the many stories from R2AK teams, talking with Falk at Gig Harbor Boat Works, my mechanical engineer son Kyle, my teammate Ed, and a lot of thought and sketching.

A couple weeks ago, on, I found the 2019 US Sailing Safety Equipment Requirements. While Kingsfold won't be competing in any offshore races that the SERs apply to, she does have to be as prepared as possible for transitting the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Dixon Entrance, etc. I was gratified to see that a lot of my modifications get the boat closer to complying. (My notes) follow this partial list from the SERs.

  • A boat shall be strongly built, watertight and, particularly with regard to hulls, decks and cabin trunks, capable of withstanding solid water and knockdowns. A boat shall be properly rigged and ballasted, be fully seaworthy and shall meet the standards set forth herein. A boat's shrouds and at least one forestay shall remain attached at all times. (The fin keel will have some ballast. It is important that I have Kingsfold professionally rigged prior to beginning the full R2AK.)
  • A boat's hull, including, deck, coach roof, windows, hatches and all other parts, shall form an integral watertight unit, and any openings in it shall be capable of being immediately secured to maintain this integrity. (Main hatch closure needs to be built to seal out water when closed.)
  • A boat's companionway(s) shall be capable of being blocked off to main deck level (sheerline). The method of blocking should be solid, watertight, and rigidly secured, if not permanent. (The boards will have attachment points for cords connecting them to the boat. See below.)
  • A boat's hatch boards, whether or not in position in the hatchway, shall be secured in a way that prevents their being lost overboard. (Eye straps to boards and main bulkhead.)
  • A boat's entire cockpit shall be solid, watertight, strongly fastened and/or sealed. Weather-tight seat hatches are acceptable only if capable of being secured when closed. (Add a strap of some sort over sole access hatch. There are no seat hatches, just the very small seat back compartments.)
  • Toe rails shall be fitted around the foredeck from the base of the mast with a minimum height of 3/4" (18mm) for boats under 30' (9.14m) (As per the stock design.)
  • A boat shall carry jacklines with a breaking strength of at least 4500 lb. (20kN) which allow the crew to reach all points on deck, connected to similarly strong attachment points, in place while racing. (Jack lines will be in place for use on deck, forward of the cockpit, and in the cockpit, as well as down the center line of the cockpit sole to hook feet under.)

From the Team Website...

For Strength

  • Applied fiberglass to the inside surfaces of the hull bottom, sides, and transom, and all outside plywood surfaces
  • Filleted the hull panel seams
  • Supported the bowsprit with a bobstay and whisker shrouds

For Safety

  • Added flotation at the top end of the tapered solid mast (for the Proving Ground in 2020)
  • Changed the cockpit structure to be self-draining (by raising the floor and cutting a large opening in the transom)
  • Extended the coamings to the back of the cockpit, increasing the freeboard there
  • Installed four-inch-thick foam flotation under the deck surface
  • Made the forward hold water-tight
  • Mounted a boarding ladder to the transom
  • Raised the aft sheer
  • Replaced the bulk of the stock keel with a ballasted fin keel (including bottom plate) and reduced stem, increasing buoyancy and pointing ability
  • Sealed the seat backs for additional flotation
  • Widened the aft end by four inches, increasing buoyancy

Cabin Hatch Finally Figured Out

There are basically three reasons for this "fancy," way-beyond-stock design:
  1. Keeping the cabin dry in 60 mph winds and rain (being towed on a trailer in a downpour).
  2. I wanted a sturdier design for the kind of conditions one can face during the Race to Alaska.
  3. A friend gave me the acrylic (with holes pre-drilled, a salvage from another sailboat).
The frame slides smoothly on strips of HDPE. Strips of aluminum ride in slots cut in the angled rails to ensure the hatch stays in place.

Looking aft from inside the cabin.

Looking forward from the cockpit.

Postscript: For other Weekender builders I'd recommend sticking with the KISS principle—Keep It Simple Sailboat builder! The complexity of the structure really is nuts, but it's my build so...