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 🙂

External Dyneema Chainplates update

Our latest video has been getting some really helpful comments on YouTube as well as directly. It has also helped us to reach a new milestone 🙂

It definitely seems worth exploring more. Particularly to consider some of practicalities that people have raised including:

  • Is the sheer strength of the Stainless Steel bolts sufficient? Potentially, the load on the bolt could be reduced by attaching the plates for the dyneema eyes with epoxy. Or they could be replaced by carbon fibre tubes epoxied into place.
  • Is dirt going to get in the dyneema and damage it? Could the solid shield protecting from chafe also stop water washing dirt in? Would a soft sleeve such as we plan for our chainplate loops help?
  • Will the water flow damage the Dyneema? Much the same issue as with dirt above.
  • Might there be resonance issues with the lashing (apparently might be more of a problem with more loops of thinner lashing).
  • Will the wider stance affect sheeting angles? Depends very much on the rig. It might allow a cutter rig to be sheeted inside the shrouds.
  • Should we use a standard thimble or low friction ring, potentially with a solid infill to avoid a point load from the bolt? We were trying to avoid metal in the water and keep the cost down but this might well be a good solution.
  • More thinking about whether to have a separate cover to keep the dyneema on and to provide chafe protection, possibly so that the cover can be removed without affecting the chafe protection for inspection or replacement.

We are planning a similar design for attaching a Jordan Series Drogue (JSD), potentially better than our previous idea.

Anyway, thank for the support on YouTube, it is encouraging and YouTube responds by sharing the videos more.

Bow roller getting to dry fit

Our next video is now on YouTube as we get to dry fit the new Bow Roller (biggest Rival Bow Roller in the world?). We even have Subtitles/Closed Captions this time.

As we create new videos we are basically working at developing three playlists at the moment:

  • Boat Refit Progress
  • Low Footprint Sailing
  • Boat Refit Tips

The best way to catch them is to Subscribe to the channel (remember to hit the notification bell).

The best ways to help us improve the videos and keep them coming are to:

  • Watch them to the end
  • Click the Like thumbs up
  • Comment on the video
  • Share the videos on Social Media

Many thanks

Our first Boat Refit Tips video

Just uploaded:

We would love it if you watch the video and like it 🙂 Comments on the video really help too, we will reply to them!

As we work to build our Sustainable Sailing YouTube Channel it would really help us if you subscribe (and hit the notify bell). As you look on the channel we are going to be standardising on Orange thumbnails for Tips, Red for refit Progress and some other colour for more reflective/theoretical videos.

We have lots more Boat Refit Tips videos planned (and we think we will keep them under 10 minutes long so that they focus reasonably tightly one issue). Do you think that is a good way for us to go? Any suggestions of what you think we be helpful?

Next Bow Roller video is here

Just published this:

One of the challenges we face by trying to sustainably pace ourselves is that a job like fitting the new bow roller takes quite a few visits to the boat. However, we think the process of filling from the new backing plate to deck level using scraps of FR4 with thickened epoxy is a little novel.

This is an area that just need to be strong in compression (sandwiched between the backing plate and the bow roller). FR4 is ideal here as we will never need to worry about water ingress through the bolt hole causing rot. It is a lot quicker (and better in compression) than building up with layers of fibreglass. We don’t need to worry about cosmetics as this part is going to be completely buried. Nor do we need to worry about a smooth finish on top as it will be covered by a larger FR4 board that will be bedded with more thickened epoxy. This board will also include raised bases for the forward pulpit feet to keep them drier.

Later we will create the curve at the aft end with a small wood batten and then the whole lot will be encased in fibreglass cloth to fully tie it to the bulwarks and give us a surface to fair up before painting.

Adding more simplicity :-)

We have been busy with the rest of life this month (September is always a very busy time at work for us both).

However, our thinking has been progressing and we have been finding lots of inspiration from very small boats and from other people’s projects. So for example this video from Sailing Magic Carpet

It ties in with our Foredeck and Forecabin plans update or at least it confirms that we are making some different choices.

Our chain lockers were quite similar. We totally agree on the need for more space for chain and for the weight to be further aft. Initially our plans were quite similar (see Plans for anchoring). However, this is where we have been able to simplify things a lot.

A combination of things have meant that we are completely changing our forecabin, it will be a lot simpler in many ways. We started that thinking in Foredeck and Forecabin plans update but we can now go further.

The two key things that have led us to a simpler solution are Water and Beds.

Water

When we decided to remove the stainless steel water tank and use some of the space for our batteries we have been through a number of ideas for water tanks. Now we have realised we can build them into the hull and this gives us huge advantages:

  • far greater capacity as no wasted space
  • much safer. They strengthen the hull and create extra crash boxes

We also realise that we can use the same technique for the batteries (rather than a drop in box build it into the bull), for the chain locker and for storage/crash boxes.

Beds.

Already we have reduced the number of beds by removing the fold out pilot berth above the starboard settee (it has saved weight and created a much more usable space). We have also replaced the “V” berth in the aft cabin that worked best as a 2 singles with one double Pullman style berth.

When we realised that the “V” berth in the forecabin wasn’t actually long enough for an adult, let alone 2 it simplified things a lot. It also means that we have a chance to create a much better chain locker than Magic Carpet 2.

So.

The key limit on the “V” berth length was avoiding having the chain pipe come down through the middle of the bunk. By moving to one single bunk we can move the chainpipe slightly to starboard so that there is plenty of space for the single bunk to extend past the chainpipe on the port side. Not only does this make the bunk full length and a good width it also means that we can use the chainpipe to drop the chain vertically into the chain locker despite moving it aft. That is a huge advantage over our original plans and what Aladino can do on Magic Carper 2 where the chain slides into the chain locker almost at the bottom – the chain can stack better, be further aft and have a deep crash box forward of it.

I’m now planning 4 watertight areas under the original”V” berth height. Each of them will be considerably higher than the waterline and all of them will be able to have a removable, watertight lid.

At the very forward end there will be a proper crashbox that we will probably fill with foam (there will be another forward of this beyond the foot of the bed that will also be filled with foam). These crashboxes will mean the whole bow from below the waterline to the bow roller will not be able to flood the boat if damaged.

Aft of the crashbox will be the chain locker. When at sea we will disconnect the chain from the anchor and attach a line between a deck bung for the chainpipe and the chain which will drop down to the locker. That will allow a watertight lid to be fitted over the chain locker. The bottom of the anchor locker will drain into a much smaller locker aft of it. This will have a pump to remove any water that comes in to the chain locker with the chain. This small locker will also have a watertight lid so that the two act as another crashbox.

Aft of this will be a full width built in water tank. The top of this will be the “footwell” when sitting on the bunk. It too will act as a crash box so a hole in the hull here will contaminate this water but not flood the boat.

The doorway into the forecabin will no longer be full height. The bottom will be level with the top of the water tank with a step in the heads compartment so that you can get up and into the cabin (no standing headroom but full sitting headroom on the bunk). The heads compartment will be your dressing area. There will be a door for this cabin, separating it from the heads.

Additionally, I want to learn something from the older Amels (like Delos). So we will carry a sheet of wood that can be bolted over the doorway on the forward side of the bulkhead. It will have a rubber seal so that the whole forecabin can be turned into a watertight crashbox. I can imagine that when sailing with only the two of us we might put that in place quite often when at sea (and just use the forehatch for access to the forecabin as a storage area.

Simpler

By embracing the limits on the size of the forecabin which mean a V berth for two adults isn’t practical we end up with a much simpler, stronger and safer boat that will suit our needs much better. We don’t need to be able to sleep 3 couples and 2 singles on board, but we do need to carry enough water and would like extra protection from potential damage caused by debris floating around our oceans.

Thinking about this has also helped us think about simpler supports for the Bow Roller, Anchor Windlass and Inner forestay. So we can hopefully progress them soon.

Once I can get the companionway steps removed, this approach of watertight compartments built into the hull is going to make the battery boxes much simpler and more compact. I think the outcome will be larger water tanks and being able to move the Inverter and Mains Galvanic Isolator into the motor room so that we can keep the wet locker behind the steps.

It takes a long time to simplify things, but the results are well worth it.