Enjoying a few days off.

The weather has been beautiful for a week. So we have taken 3 days off from boat work.

On Friday we collected and tested a new inflatable kayak (with some rigid sections for improved shape and performance). It is an Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite. We can use it as either a single or double. It was Jane’s first time in a kayak, this is great for that as we can use it with an open deck until she is feeling confident. Then we can zip in either a single or double deck. These have inflatable collars so you can also use a spray deck. This model has a high pressure “floorboard” made like a SUP (drop stitch) to add rigidity.

On Saturday some new friends, Kev and Gill, invited us for a sail in their Wayfarer. They had just spent 4 days sailing it around Anglesey. We zoomed all around between Beaumaris and Bangor, had a picnic on board while Kev failed to catch a bass (unlike the bloke fishing from the shore caught a huge Bass while we failed). Really great day.

Today we perfected our technique of shading the wheelhouse and main saloon. Made a huge difference so we were comfortable inside, out of the sun, when the temperature outside was in the high 20s. Then at about 5 we went for a nice long paddle in the kayak. We explored the anchorage opposite Beaumaris Pier and then headed back past Gallows Point all the way to the Gazelle Pub. About 5 miles altogether. It was beautiful, we saw lots of jellyfish (about 5 different types) as we paddled through the shallows avoiding the tide.

Tools and memories

Today I was building a part for the boat out of Plywood. It brought back lots of good memories.
Some of the the tools (2 clamps) I was using I inherited from Dad. They originally came from Pop’s building firm in Wolverhampton (Biddulph and Thrift).

One (circular saw) was bought when we had to scrap our first boat (a 16 foot Hornet that we eventually gave up on stopping the leaks – I think we paid £50 for the boat and used the trailer from an earlier free boat, a GP14).

Others (electric plane and workmate) we bought soon after we were married when we were creating built-in wardrobes from particle board and louvered doors.

Still others have been bought since we started working on the boat (orbital sander, drill, finger belt sander, table saw.

Those memories reminded me of Dad’s passion for keeping things lightweight on boats. I remember him hiring a router to cut out a complex web shape in the bottom of the table he built for the Eygthene 24 in 1977.

So I used my hole saw to make extra holes in my project to reduce the weight by 508 grams – the final weight is 3350 grams so I’m not in the same league.

However, every time I look at our mizzen mast (the part I was making is a support for it) I will be reminded of Pop, Dad and the years of projects Jane and I have shared.

Mizzen supports

I haven’t been posting much here as I’ve mostly been working on our YouTube channel, however, I thought I would show some pictures of the new mizzen mast foot support work.

Water had damaged the mizzen foot bolt holes so I used a 44mm hole saw to get to dry solid ply. I’ve already removed the wet wood below the 5 leaking deck glands and filled with thickened epoxy.
There was no backing plate, the original bolts just had washers beneath the deck head. The plywood support between the bulkheads fell off, not attached anywhere apart from by the headlining.
This is my new FR4 backing plate (well it isn’t really a backing plate as the load is down from the mast foot). Attached with thickened epoxy so that the load spreads evenly onto it. I’ll be using 10mm bolts with large washers to attach the mizzen mast foot.
I’ve filled the holes from the top with thickened epoxy. Notice the extra holes at the sides to make sure that there are no voids between the deckhead and FR4 sheet. I’m going to put a sheet of fibreglass on top of this to provide abrashion resistance and bind it all together. Then butyl before the mizzen mast foot.
These are the new support beams, I’ve epoxy coated them (apart from the ends in the workmate, I’ll do them tomorrow).
These show where the support beams will go. These will be through bolted to the remaining port and starboard bulkheads and the 3 upright posts that we have added (plus glues with thickened epoxy and I’ll add fibreglass tape to the joins with the deckhead. There will be a plywood “pad” filling the gap between these and the FR4 sheet. The goal is to tie everything together and make sure that the loads from the mizzen mast are carried without distorting the structure.

I am also adding some fibreglass tape to increase strength where we have cut away the starboard bulkhead to provide access to our “pullman” style double bed.

While doing this work in the aft cabin we have also finished (at last) the chainplate backing plates in the aft cabin. They were the first we did and we over complicated things with a full length plywood backing plate, plus a shorter plywood backing plate for the 3 shroud attachment points. Anyway the FR4 plates have been added and so that part of epoxy work in the aft cabin has been completed.

We have also been working in the lazarette on supports for the solar panel frames. As part of that work we found and fixed a void in the stern at the hull/deck joint and the damage caused by the davits that had been fitted without backing plates.

Now back to the video editing that will show all this.

Shore Power electrical progress

Feels like solid progress for an all electric boat today 😊

Our shore power is now connected to a waterproof 32 amp Victron socket in the cockpit. From there it goes through a Victron 7000watt Isolation Transformer and then our Victron Multiplus II (combined 5000watt Inverter and 70 amp battery charger). Then onwards to the boats mains ac consumer unit. The rest is temporarily wired in extension leads at present.

Now I can work on the 48volt battery bank, connect that to the MultiPlus. And then we can get the solar connected so that we stop paying so much for boatyard electricity.

Game changing watermaker?

This sounds really amazing for sometime in the future.

From MIT News “Researchers build a portable desalination unit that generates clear, clean drinking water without the need for filters or high-pressure pumps.

Definitely could be a game changer for our retirement, certainly looks like it might be worth putting off buying a watermaker if you don’t need it for a few years.

New Video

Our 3 month refit rush to the water begins with the original design details that make a full refit of 1977 Rival 38 Centre Cockpit Ketch much easier.

We throw in our 3 top tips to make a full refit much faster.

Some of the Sailing channels that we have learned from and seen these features work against them are:

Look at the refits on “Sailing Uma”, “Beau and Brandy Saiiing”, “Bums on a Boat”, “Sailing the good, bad and ugly”, “Free Range Sailing” to see why a separate aft cabin would have helped.

Composting toilet: Look at every boat doing a refit without one, also every boat doing horrible toilet fixes who doesn’t have one.

Headlining. An issue for everyone. Even with good headlinings, we suggest taking them down if you have any issues with leaks and not putting them up until the end or you will spend hours taking them down and putting them up multiple times.

Two and a half years ago, when we bought Vida, she was in a very tired and damp condition with all original equipment and fittings (much of it not working). We have removed all the gas, diesel, and paraffin equipment as well as all the plumbing and electrics. We have composting toilets, are installing an electric motor and all electric cooking. We are fitting a huge solar array and probably a wind generator. We have replaced all the windows, removed all the headlining and more. We are replacing all the standing rigging with Dyneema synthetic rigging. This is the biggest sustainability project of our lives as we prepare for a retirement when we want to cruise the world using zero fossil fuels on a very low budget.

If you would like to support us then please use Ko-Fi to make a donation of any size https://ko-fi.com/sustainablesailing/

Visit our shop at https://sustainablesailing.teemill.com/ for hoodies, t-shirts and bags.

Sabbatical day 1: transport

Today I have started a three month sabbatical (a generous gift from the Methodist Church that I work for, they come every seven years).

The plan is for me to spend most of the time working on Vida with Jane joining me when she isn’t working.

If possible we would like to get Vida launched by the end of the sabbatical. That will only be possible because there will be a great deal that doesn’t get done this year (or even next year).

The first task has been to get me to Beaumaris with all the things that are too heavy for Jane to load into the car. Hence, we loaded up our little, electric Nissan Leaf to the brim.

On the roof rack we had both the main and mizzen booms plus loads of plywood.

Inside we had a solar panel, big Victron Inverter, my bike, loads of tools, clothes and food.

The roof rack says 50mph maximum, so the 100 mile journey is quite slow. However, it is very good for the range. We barely needed to top up (although we did and as the Ecotricity charge point had lost its Internet connection it was free so we filled up).

Getting everything from the car, then onto the boat, then into the boat has been pretty tiring. So we had a nice veg and cannaloni bean curry, now relaxing with YouTube.

Lots of updates

Been a bit slow updating the blog, we have several new videos and this evening I have bought a new-to-us mainsail (from a Westerly Fulmar). We will probably have to add a very small extra reef point as the default setting point because it is very slightly too large but for £200 it will be a lot better than what we have. That significantly reduces the amount of work to do on sails (just new soft webbing hanks on the foresails).

We are not at the boat this weekend as we both have Covid and it has laid us up all week.

Anyway on with the videos, quite dramatic changes:

After some discussions on the Rival FaceBook group and further reflection I think some compromises were forced on Peter Brett when drawing the centre cockpit version of the 38. So there wasn’t enough space for a full length v-berth, a watertight bulkhead and a route for the chain that wasn’t through the middle of the berth. They chose a v-berth for kids, a neatly hidden chain but no watertight bulkhead (which the 41 has, not sure about the other models).

Our priorities are different. We want low risk (hence watertight compartments), better anchoring (more and heavier chain below deck, electric windlass, bigger anchor that self stows better – we have a whole load of videos about the new bow roller), maximised sailing performance (hence wanting to store the chain as far aft as possible for better weight distribution). So we are not at all worried that occasional guests will clamber/crawl into either the port side generously sized adult berth or the starboard child sized berth.

We won’t finish this cabin apart from the bulkheads and shoot for the chain until next year but it will be enough for us to fit the windlass and so be able to anchor.

We would really appreciate it if you subscribe to our YouTube channel, it is free. Plus Like and share the videos as it really helps us grow the channel. Especially we welcome your comments on them.

Only 1 month to go and I’ll have 3 months working almost full-time on the boat as I have a work Sabbatical. So there should be lots of progress 🙂