Book Review – Into the Storm – by Dennis Perkins

Book Cover - Into the Storm by Dennis  Perkins

Book Cover – Into the Storm by Dennis Perkins

This excellent book is really two stories.

The first is a fascinating look at the 1998 Sidney-Hobart sailboat race.  Due to a storm that built bigger than expected, of the 115 boats participating only 44 reached the finish line.  A boat was sunk and others abandoned. Twenty-five sailors were washed over board and seven died. Fifty-five sailors were rescued. It was the largest sea rescue in Australian history.  The story is told well, and lets us experience the storm from the perspectives of many sailboat crews, rescue personnel and family at home, not just the winning boat.

The second is a leadership guide that takes lessons from the experiences of the sailing teams, with an emphasis on the winning boat.  Lessons like the importance of team unity, skill, competence, preparation and relentless learning.

The author even sailed a later Sidney-Hobart race to experience first hand what a long open ocean race was like.  I’m sure that helped him tell the story so well.

The entire book is well done and held my attention from start to finish.  I’ve taken up the bad habit of starting a book on my tablet on Friday evening, and staying up all night reading it till I finish.   This was no exception, and I got to see the sun come up as I was finishing.

I’m reading a lot of books since I discovered our local library lets me check out e-books on my tablet.  If you haven’t tried it, do it!  If you like to read at all (which I very much do) you will find out that a tablet combined with your local library can bring an amazing amount of free knowledge and enjoyment to you for absolutely no cost. (Of course the tablet costs, but you can get a good one of those for about $100 and you’ll make that back by borrowing 5 or so books instead of buying them)

Happy reading!

Is it worth it to fix the sunfish?

After receiving the unwelcome and discouraging guidance from that well known west coast Catalina supplier that I should take the Catalina 22 to a boat yard to finish the keel weldment repair, I redirected my attention to the Sunfish I’ve carried around with me for the last 2 years.

This is what it looked like when I first saw it:

Being given a sunfish

First look at the Sunfish

Here is what it looked like recently when I took out the splash guard grommets:

Recent sunfish photo

Recent sunfish photo

I’ve been wavering back and forth about just repainting it as is, or removing the beat up trim first. It will cost around $100 to get replacement trim for it, so it’s not exactly a trivial matter. I decided to take the trim off carefully and see if I could maybe polish up the trim and reuse it. This was fine for the bow and starboard trim.  The rivets don’t actually go all the way through the trim.  They just go through the top layer and into the fiberglass.  First you drill out the center…

drill out the rivet

drill out the rivet

just…enough.. to get the top to pop off.

rivet drill out complete

rivet drill out complete

Starting at the end of the trim piece, I just pried the trim over the remaining rivet post and off it came.  Easy as pie.  It’s interesting to see that the original paint job was done before the trim was added.  Very nice Bicentennial stripe there – this is a 1976 Sunfish and the stripes match the old (rotted and useless but with pretty red white and blue colors) sail.

Old Bicentennial stripe

Old Bicentennial stripe

Once I got to the third and last piece on the port side it was a different story.  I broke a drill bit…. and another drill bit.  I noticed these rivets seemed to be bigger than the other ones.

Broke a drill bit

Broke a drill bit

And I was having trouble getting the trim off once the rivet was off.  It. Just. Would. Not. Come. Off!!!  Then I could see why.  It had been caulked in this spot.  Hmmmm….

It just won't come off!

looks like some kind of caulk

Then I saw that these rivets were all the way through the trim.  This boat has already been through a repair job.  I finally got  the last piece of trim off, but unfortunately, it was in about 6 pieces.  So much for reusing the trim.

Not reusing this trim for sure

Not reusing this trim for sure

And this lovely site in the picture below was revealed.  The top has separated from the bottom.
Here you can see there is caulk in the join that might be sealing it – and might not.

hull split

hull split

A little further aft it looks like the hull is fully separated.  In addition, there are quite a few spots around the hull flange that are in pretty bad shape.  Here is the view from the bottom.  Almost everywhere that had a large rivet (about 3 feet on the port aft quarter) it looks like this.

other damage

other damage

So.  I’m looking at:

$100 full trim replacement
$100 fiberglass supplies (epoxy, catalyst, cloth, rollers, etc.)
$100 complete sand, paint and gelcoat,
$250 replacement hardware and running gear,
$350 new sail.  (May be able to repair the one I have, but I doubt it)

At least $900 .  I just looked on craigslist and I can get a great looking one for $650.

What to do?

I’m discouraged.  I’m not making progress on either of my boat projects.  I don’t think I’m a very good CapnRehab.

New home for the Cat 22 Keel

You may remember when I got the Catalina 22 replacement keel last year.  I threw some wheels on a shipping pallet and put the keel on the pallet.   Pretty fancy huh?

wheels repaired and pallet re-loaded

Fancy Pallet stand for Catalina 22 keel

Recently, I bought the video on repairing a Catalina 22 keel from Catalina Direct.  In it they show the steps for reconditioning the keel.  This weekend I took the first step down that path and put the keel in a vertical stand so it can be worked on.

The first thing I did was use my engine hoist to pick the keel up.  Well, actually I picked up one end.  It’s pretty long and the hoist isn’t big enough to lift it completely.  Remember this this thing weighs between 500 and 600 pounds, so moving it around isn’t trivial.

Lifting the keel

Lifting the keel

Then I took the wheels from the pallet along with some 2×4 scraps left over from “the project that must not be named”, and made a new support frame.  It was a simple matter of lowering the keel onto the new support and Wa-La, the keel is ready.

Keel on new stand - ready for work

Keel on new stand – ready for work

Wow, that keel needs a lot of work.  A nice thing about this stand is that it takes up way less room than the pallet.

You’ll notice a sunfish on sawhorses in the background of the first picture.  I also did a bit of work there.   More on that next time.

 

Less than helpful

Let me bring you up to speed on the Keel repair.

My buddy “Curtis in Alaska” scared me.  He finished his keel weldment repair and went sailing.  He told me he had a pinhole leak that over the course of a four hour sail let in about half a gallon of water.  Yikes!  After I do this repair I want zero water in infinite amount of time!  So while I was gung-ho to go ahead and finish, that made me put the brakes on real quick.

As a side note, he’s pulled his boat out of the water for the winter.  HOLY SMOKES, he told me that in August!  Curtis buddy, you know I respect you, but living where it is that cold makes you a bit crazy in my book!

I decided to call a well known (really well known) Catalina parts supplier on the west coast and get some advice before I pulled out the gloves and started slathering on epoxy and fiberglass.  The salesman I reached at first was very helpful and suggested I buy a west systems fiberglass kit they sell.  He also said to be sure and use epoxy and not vinyl.  Then he referred me to tech support.

They should be called tech non-support.   He said it’s simple fiber glassing, nothing special if you know what you’re doing.  He said Curtis’ patch must be leaking because he left air bubbles in it for the water to get through.  He wasn’t even helpful enough to mention what the salesman had said about using epoxy.

After explaining my experience level (almost none-except for the bit where I helped my buddy Phil fix blisters on his keel)

(Hi Phil, by the way, I’ve lost almost all my Florida phone numbers when my phone died – please give me a call or email me so I can look you up next time I go down to FL)

the guy told me the job was too big for me and I should take it to a yard and let them do it!   Argh!!!!!   Made me so mad.  I don’t know why but I get so bent out of shape when I’m fixing a problem that I don’t quite know how to do and someone says I should call an expert.    Maybe I’m just too cheap.

but I figure anything someone else can do I can do – eventually.

Anyway, they were no help so I’m on my own. I may have to practice on the sunfish first.

Overnight races – Annapolis to Solomons, Annapolis to St. Mary’s College

I’ve now done 2 overnight races on Old Shoes.  The first  was the Annapolis to Solomons race.

We boarded the boat at the dock in the Rhode river.  Then had a 2 or 3 hour motor up to Annapolis.  Thomas Point lighthouse is on the way.  Look out smooth that water is.  Not really what you want for a sailboat race.

Thomas Point Lighthouse

Thomas Point Lighthouse

 

Then we stopped at an Annapolis dock for a planned halyard fix(halyard is the rope that takes the sail up to the top of the mast).  While doing that a small drone flew over with what looked like a GoPro on it.  If you find a video on YouTube of the start of race let me know.   After that it was mill around the starting line waiting for our start.

Waiting for the race to start.

Waiting for the race to start.

The race started just outside Annapolis in the evening with light winds.  The sun was going down and after crossing the starting line we first needed to sail west out of the Severn river and into the Chesapeake.  There was a beautiful sunset behind us as we left.

Leaving Annapolis

Leaving Annapolis

Once we turned south, the sunset lingered for what seemed like hours, although this picture is only 20 minutes later than the other one. Kind of odd, since the sun seems higher – but timestamps don’t lie.  I guess that’s just a reflection and the sun has already set?

Lingering sunset

Lingering sunset

In the Chesapeake, there are always large obstacles like this to steer around.  These block the wind pretty good.  (That’s bad – stay away)

Wind dead zones

Wind dead zones

The wind stiffened a bit and we sailed under a steady breeze and full moon all the way to Solomons.  It was very nice.  Sorry, didn’t get any good pictures in the dark.  Once the sun came up however, there was not enough breeze to ruffle your hair.  Here is where we left the Chesapeake and turned up into the Patuxent River.

Mouth of the Patuxent River

Mouth of the Patuxent River

Shane got to drive.

Shane driving

Shane driving

Rehab Jr. got to drive.

Rehab Jr. driving

Rehab Jr. driving

Do you see a picture of CapnRehab driving?  Nope.  But there is nothing quite like a cold beer in the morning after an all night sail!

We limped across the finish line with a bunch of other boats.  It was a fun time.

In between the weekend races we did a regular Wednesday race where I took this of an Osprey near the starting line.

Osprey

Osprey

The other race I did was the Governor’s Cup Annapolis to St. Mary’s College.  It started with the same sail up to Annapolis.  I won’t bore you with another picture of St. Thomas lighthouse.  One pin of the starting line was the “Pride of Baltimore”.  With the light wind and strong current, some skippers misjudged their course and we saw at least two of them drift into the bowsprit.  Wow, that has to make you feel pretty bad.  I wouldn’t want to have done it.  Sorry for the bad picture quality.  Can’t really see the screen to know what the phone is going to produce in the sunlight.

Pride of Baltmore

Pride of Baltimore

No shortages of sunset pictures with all night races that start in the evening.  Look at this pretty new sail!

Yet another sunset

Yet another sunset

This is pretty, but seems to indicate there is moisture in the air.  Could be trouble ahead.

Moisture in the air.

Moisture in the air.

Moisture indeed!  The forecast was for moderate to light winds (5 – 8 mph) all night.  There is an old adage that goes “Sail the weather, not the forecast”.  Once the sun went down, the wind picked up, (up to 18 mph or so) the rain came down, and we bashed through the waves all night.  I was running the mainsail.

There was a lot of excitement (not all good).  At one point the boat dropped into a wave trough suddenly and I came up in the air off the seat a couple of feet – just like on a roller coaster!  The new halyard that was put up at the last race snapped WHILE we were smashing along, dropping the jib sail and leaving us two short halyards.  It’s an interesting thing to watch as someone goes on deck to change sails while it’s heaving up and down.  I’m glad we had an experienced crewman along to take care of it (Thanks B.!).  I learned that I have a LOT to learn.  The rest is an interesting story to be shared over a couple of beers out of earshot of Mrs. CapnRehab!

We also go to watch the skipper give his lunch to Neptune.   I’ve seen a few people lose the contents of their stomach due to seasickness, but that was the most interesting sounding one!  Shane was a bit green around the gills already, and I was sure it would make him toss his salad, but he held on grimly.  I’m happy to report I never had an issue.

No pretty morning pictures.  We were rained on all night, it was incredibly cold for August 1, and by the time we dropped anchor everybody had been shivering for hours.  This race was my most exciting time ever on the water.

Sad to say, the skipper has decided not to race with crew anymore.  His reasons are sound, but it’s disappointing.  I’m very appreciative of the chances I got to sail on “Old Shoes”, and will miss her and most of all her crew.  I’ve joined the laser program at the boat club, but have yet to take part in a Friday race.  Summer is running out, but I don’t think I’ll make the next two either.   Let’s hope I’ll have some One Design racing to report soon.  Till next time, be safe out there and have fun sailing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catalina 22 Keel weldments are out! (Part 1)

Curtis in Alaska broke a keel screw and contacted me to find out if I’d fixed mine yet.  I hadn’t yet so he had to learn about it on his own.  He’s done some research, started it and sent me pictures.  I’m glad he is slightly ahead of me in this.    With his encouragement I decided to get started.

The swing keel folds up into a well in the center of the cabin.  The weldments are on either side, down near the sole (cabin floor).  They are called weldments because a flat piece of metal is welded onto the top of a threaded socket.  The red arrow on the left is trying to indicate the inside of the compartment, not the oscillating saw!

Keel weldment location in cabin

Keel weldment location in cabin

 

I got out my oscillating saw and went to town.  Curtis used a drill to clear out fiberglass material, but I didn’t find it that usefull.  I just used the saw entirely.

Here is the view from the bottom looking up into the well.  Aft is towards the bottom of the picture..

Sheared Off Keel Bolts

Sheared Off Keel Bolts

I bought a special 1/4″ drill that is 12″ long.  With it I drilled up from the bottom through a weldment without a bolt so that I could see the location from inside the cabin.  I didn’t have to go the full 12″.  Note this finding technique will only work on the port aft weldment.  As you will see later, on the starboard side the drill will just stay behind the keel well wall.  You won’t see it until you cut through the wall.

The rear port weldment is located at the aft end of the forward dining table seating compartment.  The picture below is taken inside the compartment looking towards the center of the boat.  (to the right in the picture).  Here I’ve made a few exploratory cuts to get to it.  Water started flowing out of the space under the dining table well as soon as I cut through the wall.  I’m not too concerned since the boat was half full of water when I first got it.

weldment location

weldment location

Below, you can see the first hint of the metal showing through the fiberglass.

First hint of the weldment

First hint of the weldment

To do this cutting, I did have on a breathing mask.  Fiberglass dust was flying everywhere.  I would definitely NOT do this without some sort of breathing protection!  I also recommend wearing a disposable suit or at least long sleeve shirt.  I didn’t and it’s been a bit itchy yesterday and today.

After some more cutting I got to this.  You can see the weldment is completely clear of fiberglass.  You can also see that I cut too much and went right through the hull!  The weldments are so close to the edge of the fiberglass that it’s near impossible not to do so.  Out of the 4 weldments I cut out, only on the second one did I manage to not to cut through the hull.  I’ve placed the new weldment in the picture to give a comparison of how much is still imbedded in the fiberglass.

Old and new weldments

Old and new weldments

Once it was clear of fiberglass, I took a 1/4 inch bolt, put a couple of nuts on the end and hammered upwards on it from below till it popped out.  In the picture below you can see I’ve knocked it upwards a bit already.  A few more smacks with the hammer and out it came.  On some of the others I didn’t clear out so much fiberglass first, so they wouldn’t come out all the way until I went back and cut out the fiberglass that was still in the way.

Hammering out the weldment

Hammering out the weldment

Once the first weldment was out, I started on the second one.  I measured the holes on the hull and transferred the measurements to the top.  After more fiberglass cutting the second weldment appeared.  This is the only one I didn’t cut through the hull on.

Port, forward weldment location

Port, forward weldment location

With this experience under my belt, I tackled the weldments on the visible side of the keel in the cabin.  Following Curtis from Alaska’s example, I taped the smooth finished fiberglass so it wouldn’t shred.  Then I again drilled through a weldment to get a location.  This time it was the forward starboard weldment.  In this picture I’ve opened up a hole to access both weldments, and have the aft one almost cleared.

Cut away to starboard weldments

Cut away to starboard weldments

The cylindrical thing sticking up on the right side of the cut is the drill bit through the forward starboard weldment.  I started first on the aft weldment.  The exterior cut is a bit high so I could get the oscillating saw in at the correct angle to cut down through the fiberglass to the weldments.  Not sure how I’m going to patch this up and have it look OK, but that’s another project!

Here is the view of from starboard inside the cabin after the weldments are out and it’s cleaned up.

starboard view of weldments removed

starboard view of weldments removed

Here is a close up

Close up starboard view of weldments removed

Close up starboard view of weldments removed

Notice the dark lines above the left weldment?   There are some smaller ones on the right one too.  Those are holes where I cut through to the keel housing well.  Notice also that the tape didn’t seem to help all that much.  The edges are really jagged.

So there it is. If you’ve had a keel bolt shear off on a Catalina 22 (and probably goes for a Catalina 25 too) you just have to cut them out of there and put new ones in.  Let me know if this post helps.  I sure would have liked to have found a post from someone else that had done it.  If you’re doing one of these, let me know how things turn out for you!

Now I have to read up on epoxy and fiberglass so I can patch this back up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Catalina 22 is hull #686!

While doing an inventory of the equipment that came with the boat I came across a couple of sail bags.  On opening them I discovered the sails are in pretty good condition.  I think they are the original sails.  This is the main.  Inside the red diamond and just above the “22” you can see a slight orange shadow where the Catalina “C” has fallen off.  I will need to get some sail battens (fiberglass rods that go into those horizontal pockets above the red diamond and below the numbers).  The battens help the sail attain the correct shape.

Sail # 686

Sail # 686

Over 10,000 Catalina 22′ boats have built.  This is a very early one.

It also has a 110% jib and a 150% genoa.  Wow, that saves me $1100 for the main, and $650 for the 110% jib.  The 150% isn’t even available.  Too bad there isn’t a spinnaker.  Those make going downwind fun.  At $700 it will be a while before I get one of those.

Moving the boat inside was just the catalyst I needed to get me excited about the project.