She sails like a bird – Tall Ship Hermione

“She sales like a bird”-quote by Lafayette during the first voyage of Hermione 1780. Go to this link to learn more about the ship.

A few weeks ago we visited the tall ship Hermione. We had planned to sail out and escort her into Annapolis, but it turned out she came in before we could get there. So instead we planned to go up to Annapolis and tour the ship and then head out for day of sailing. The morning started out with almost no wind so we fired up the trustee little 4 hp outboard and headed up to Annapolis.

The trip was pretty uneventful but as we pulled into the harbor we could see Hermione, so we grabbed a mooring ball, called the water taxi and headed over.


There was quite a line, but we had a great time while waiting with a couple of guys from Michigan who had driven there the day before specifically to see the Hermione and then go to a few museums. Chatting and joking with them made the wait very fun. The great thing about waiting in the long line there on the Annapolis Harbor dock under the hot sun was that there are plenty of pubs nearby so we took turns and headed over for a little bit of adult refreshment.

The tour only allows visitors to go on the upper deck, so we didn’t get to go down into the gun deck or crew quarters or anything like that, but it’s still quite interesting. Here is the view looking up the mast:

Main mast

Mast view

we took a few pictures posing with ship components, probably not all that interesting.

CapnRehab driving a stationary ship

CapnRehab driving a stationary ship


Capn “B” driving a capstan

One thing that was very interesting is the size of some of the equipment on this ship. Here is a small cleat


“Small cleat”

notice that it’s the size of about half a person.

And, since I’m on a boat it’s time for selfie. I tried to get red boat in the background, but I don’t think I did so too well since it’s not in the picture.


The wind did a great job of picking up. We were able to sail off the mooring ball and cruise out into the Chesapeake. Once we got out there the wind was honking pretty good and we got quite a heel on the boat. Five hours of fun.  It was a really great sail!


We played “Dodge the tankers” and then saw something pretty interesting. This very large boat was zooming pretty fast up the side of the bay opposite where we were. We sailed over in that direction trying to cut it off to get a look at it, and then it turned 180° and went speeding off in the other direction. At this point we thought we had lost it so I snapped this picture as it was heading away. Right after that it did another 180° turn and headed back up the bay.

A long look through the binoculars revealed that it was the “Reliance“. Capn “B” hailed them on the VHF radio and asked them what they were doing. A very friendly captain responded and told us they were doing engine checks, and that the last turn was then heading back to Baltimore. We had a few more questions and found out that they were a cable laying ship which I thought was pretty interesting.



I’ve experimented with smaller pictures in this post.  Let me know if the quality is too bad or if it’s okay to continue like this. Also let me know if you know of an easy way to make picture sizes smaller. I’m using paint, but it’s a couple of steps.

Alternate plan for the keel bolt

So I’ve come up with another plan. Correct me if this is a bad idea, but what I hope to do is to drill out the hole completely and then re-thread it. I’m going to get a bit the size of the replacement eye bolt, drill it out completely (threads and all) and then re-tap with a bigger square bottom tap. Then I’ll buy a replacement eyebolt rated it for some ridiculous high weight and use it instead of the eyebolt I purchased.

Note that you can find a tap chart anywhere on the web by searching the key phrase ” tap size chart”.  I use this one from  Here is an excerpt:


Here are the specifics:

My new keel eyebolt is 1/2 inch. It is a 13 thread.  This is highlighted in yellow on the chart.   The orange highlight of 27/64 is the matching drill that you can buy with it from the well-known Catalina parts supply company .  Am I reading this wrong, or since this is an iron core, should the drill size sold be 29/64, not 27/64?

It doesn’t matter for my keel.  Given that the existing hole is 1/2 inch size my new drill size for iron should be slightly bigger.  I picked 33/64 , which is highlighted in pink. I will also need a tap sized for a 33/64 hole with a 9/16-12 thread.

A tools/parts supply website, mcMaster-Carr sells taps and has a great website to help you find out which one you need.  The problem is, taps don’t come in the sizes I just calculated.  I can’t get a 9/16-12 sized for 33/64, but I can get a 9/16-18 with a 33/64 hole.   The chart says the hole should be 17/32 for iron.  Does making the hole 1/64 less matter?  Seems like they wouldn’t put it in the chart if it didn’t matter.
tap specs


Assuming that will work, now I need a 9/16 eye bolt with a 18 thread.  Let’s head back to McMaster-carr, they also sell eyebolts in all sizes.

Working my way through the different options I found a 9/16 – 18 Zinc plated steel eyebolt (with shoulder) rated for up to 5,000 lbs.  That should handle my little 550 pound keel.  (Note that it can still lift 1,000 lbs even when the lift angle is 45 degress)  Note also that the shank length is 1 5/8.  The eyebolt that I bought has a shank length of only 1″.

eye bolt specs


So now all I have left is to drill a new hole and tap new threads.

One other thing. The site says “All taps are for use on most metals and plastics. Also known as hand taps, use them with a tap wrench”.  I don’t have a tap wrench.  They sell a tap wrench for a tap this size (over 1/2″) for $44.  All this for a one time use.  Can these be used with a socket or wrench?  The welder used a metric socket on his tap, but the socket stripped out before he finished, so that’s a strike against it.  Any alternatives?  

On more other thing.  Once I get the drill bit , is it going to be possible to drill into the iron?  Do I need a special drill?  How hard is this going to be?  I didn’t post the drill bit search result, but they have those too ($22 each).  Should I get two?  Will a single one do the job?

What do you think?


Keel eye bolt tapping – fail

Although it’s been great making progress on the keel, I’ve run into another issue that’s going to slow me down.  (As if I could possibly go any slower)   It’s the keel eye bolt.

Unexpectedly, the re-tapping of the keel eye bolts did not go so well.  The welder came over and brought his tap.  He oiled up and started screwing it in.

Tapping the keel

It went only so far, then stopped.

Keel tapped out

The eye bolt didn’t fit all the way.  At first I thought I might leave it like that, then $tingy Sailor suggested I might cut the threads off so it would be flush and not have any exposed threads.  This seemed reasonable, so I went out to do it.  Taking a closer look made me rethink the whole thing.

Tap looks good

Looking at one angle makes you think the tap went pretty well, but ….

Not so well


From the other angle you can see that there are only 3 threads on the other side.  Not near enough to trust with the weight of the keel.  It looks like there is actually some corrosion or a void so there is no metal to tap into.

So, it’s back to the drawing board.  I have a plan though.

  1. Buy a bit and tap
  2. cut a notch behind the original eye bolt location
  3. redrill, retap, put in new eye bolt flush to surface
  4. Have sandblaster do the entire keel, including hole.
  5. seal the entire thing in epoxy.
  6. Finish fairing and painting.

Here is an old picture marked up to show where the new cutout is going (red) and the current cut that was done (yellow)

proposed eye bolt location (red)

Anything I’m missing?  Any suggestions?  Will it be a problem if it doesn’t line up directly under the keel cable hole?

Friday Laser Races 2015 – #1

I went out with the club laser fleet yesterday and had a great time. I was around boats, so of course I did manage to take a selfie.

laser racing

laser racing

I joined the WRSC club’s shared boat program so I could sail Laser’s without having to buy my own.  This is a pretty good deal for me, since I’m putting my effort and $$ into the Catalina 22 repairs.

It was quite an adventure.  I was a bit nervous, since it was something new.  I only did one race last season and there were only 2 other boats, so that wasn’t much of a race.  This time there were 7!  Out of 5 races, I came in last every time.  HOWEVER, there may have been an extenuating circumstance.

A couple of things went wrong.  I felt like I was sailing really slow. on race 3, I found a plug floating in the cockpit.  This made me think that maybe this boat had a plug that needed to be put in. While on the downwind leg I pointed the boat at the race marker and hung over the back end of the boat looking for a hole.  I found it (under water) and screwed in the plug.  By then the boat already had a lot of water in it.  I think it made it a bit tipsy, because I capsized (twice)and even broke the tiller extension. Once I got back to shore I took out the plug to drain and dropped it in the murky water. Lost instantly.  I certainly didn’t feel very coordinated.   I came into shore way behind everyone else and barely had time for a fish burger and a brew in my CapnRehab Mug before heading home.  It sure took a lot out of me.  I barely made it home to shower and fall into bed exhausted.

Here I was having a bit of fun with an app on my phone called “paper artist”.

Sailing "Resolute"

Sailing “Resolute”

Book Review – Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken Book Cover

Unbroken Book Cover

I’ve been postponing writing this for a few weeks because I wanted to post it on Memorial Day. Today, here in the ‘States we honor our Armed Services members who died while serving our country.

As our greatest president Abraham Lincoln expressed it after the civil war during the cemetery dedication in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania over a 100 years ago, Americans (and citizens of the world) owe a debt of gratitude to those men and women who “gave the last full measure of devotion” so “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”.

Laura Hillenbrand has written a book about a single serviceman’s war in the Pacific during World War II.  In “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” she has managed to tell a complete story, not just of one man, but of an entire generation of soldiers.

Don’t take my word for it that this is a great book.  (although, on second thought, do)  Look at what other customers think.

Unbroken Amazon Reviews

Unbroken Amazon Reviews

Even though Amazon seems to be having a little math trouble, that’s an amazing number of 5 star reviews, and this is is an incredible book.  It has so many things that I like in a book.  History, flying, survival at sea, historical background & great storytelling.  One thing it doesn’t have is my favorite theme of a common man rising to meet the occasion in uncommon circumstances.  The subject of the book is clearly an exceptional man who persevered through unimaginable hardship, yet managed to come through it and be able to lead a great life – something many returning veterans struggle with.

The author doesn’t just tell us what happened, but she puts it in context so as to help us understand the bigger picture.  It’s not just a “he did this, he did that” story.   We feel what he was feeling, and what the families of the missing men were feeling.

It isn’t my style to rehash the story in a formal review.  If you want that, there are plenty of them on Amazon to look at.  Instead, I tell you what I think, and I think that maybe this book may not be for everyone.  I won’t declare that you must or should read it, but if you do there is a possibility that it will impact your life for the better and in a lasting way.  I am glad that I did.  I give it 5 out of 5 stars on the CapnRehab book review scale.

If you decide to read it, and you buy an eBook, I suggest going to the back first and reading the interview with the author.  In it, you get a sense of the struggle it took for her to write the book, her dedication to telling the story, and the impact it has had for family members of Pacific theater of war veterans.  It helped frame my understanding of the story and I wish I had read it first.

This story has had a big impact on me.  I keep thinking back to various points, especially their 42 days in the life raft and what it takes to remain optimistic and survive under such hardship, when someone else looks at the same experience with hopelessness and despair.  There are lessons here that anyone can take and use in their life, no matter who they are and what their situation.

Thanks to all our veterans who have given their lives so the world might live in freedom, thanks to all U.S. veterans (my dad, father in law, brother in law, and friends included) who have served to help protect that freedom and thank you Ms. Hillenbrand for writing this book,

Like a hole in the head

Earlier this week, as I’m wont to do from time to time, I spent a few minutes browsing craigslist.   First, I just went to the “boats” section and looked at all the great boats out there.  I became annoyed with all the powerboats, crab traps, and commercial licenses listed so I narrowed the search to “Sailboat”.  That produced listings for some real beauties.  I also saw a few Catalina 22’s in there ranging in price from $180 to $7,000.   This emboldened me so I narrowed the search even further to “Catalina” and came accross this:

1975 Catalina 22 Sail boat MUST SELL – $900

Who wouldn’t click on a link like this?

image 1

One of the conversations I have been having with Mrs. CapnRehab the last few years goes like this:

Mrs. CapnRehab: When are you going to have the boat ready to sail?
Me: Probably not till next summer.
Mrs. CapnRehab: Oh…

Mrs. CapnRehab: It sure would be nice if you had a boat you could sail now
Me: Sure would.

So as I saw this ad I thought, wow.  I could get this boat – sail it now and fix up the other boat over the winter.  So after a bit of trying to talk myself out of it and failing, I sent this message.

I probably shouldn’t be sending this email, because I need another boat like I need a hole the head.

I have a catalina 22 I’m repairing, but it’s in my garage and wont’ see the water for at least another year, maybe more.
I could buy your boat, but then I’d have two.   HOWEVER, I’d also get to sail this summer in it.
If you’ve already sold the boat, I’m happy for you.  If I buy it I’ll have to explain to my wife why I have 2 boats ..

I also made him a tentative offer for 1/2 what he was listing it for, to make sure he’d say no.  He was ungracious enough to txt me this reply.



So apparently not wanting something is a very effective negotiation technique.

I went out to see her this morning.  Thankfully, other than having an attached keel, it isn’t in any better shape than my boat.

attached keel, so that's what they look like!

attached keel, so that’s what they look like!

I also noticed his keel lifting cable hose was new.  Now that’s putting your money where it will do the most good.  This is a critical piece of the lift assembly.  If this fails, your boat is not a boat anymore.  It’s a sieve.  It also looks like that’s not a marine grade hose.  I think that makes a difference.

new keel hose

new keel hose

One interesting thing about this boat is that is has been filled with foam for flotation.   That sure cuts down on storage.  I’ve seen people rehabbing boats take this out.  I guess if you spring a leak and you don’t have it, boat sinks completely?  Anybody know the scoop on this?

Filled with flotation foam

Filled with flotation foam

Bottom line is that this is just another project boat.   I told him no thanks.

With a big sigh of relief at having sidestepped a bullet, I headed down to the marina.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  Perfect for small boat sailing and lots of boats were going out.

Sailing on the Potomac near Washington DC

Sailing on the Potomac near Washington DC

Can you spot the Washington monument in this picture?  You’ll have to zoom in a bunch to see it.

Hope you have a great Memorial day weekend and don’t forget why we have this holiday.

Keel Winch Cable Eye Bolt – trouble in paradise

So you know how well the welding went fixing the hole for the keel pin.  I’m still very excited about it.  Sometimes I go out to the garage and just stare at it.  It’s so perfect.  The pin fits solidly, yet spins easily.



Then I look at the other end.  Things didn’t go so well there.  Not a disaster, but not fixed either.  Here it is before we started.



Both the welder and I figured he could just build up around the pin.  But knowing what I know now, and looking at this with a more discerning eye, I realize it never could have worked.  Anyway, he started by grinding away around the bolt.

clearing rust around the keel eye bolt

clearing rust around the keel eye bolt

It took about 2 seconds of grinding off the rusty coating before he realized it wouldn’t work.  Look at those exposed threads.

uh oh - exposed threads

uh oh – exposed threads

No amount of buildup is going to fix this.  Fortunately, $tingySailor had pointed me to a forum post where the owner cut out the bad part around the bolt, redrilled, cut new threads and was good to go.  So I asked the welder to cut away the bad parts.

He cut into it with a zest for cutting.

Cutting begins

Cutting begins

Bolt being cut out

Bolt being cut out

The cut looks pretty deep, but it is as far as was needed to get past the thin part.

Then he banged it with a hammer but the chunk he was trying to cut away wouldn’t budge.  He suggested we try to unscrew the bolt, that maybe it was helping hold it in place.  Surprisingly, it came right out with just a vise-grip.

Well, maybe not too surprisingly, because it was only hanging in there by 1 thread!

No eye bolt

No eye bolt

Here is a better picture of the final cut.  The bolt is barely in the hole.

eyebolt fix

cutaway cleaned up

So now I’ve ordered an eye bolt from a well know Catalina parts company.  They sell a tap set to make the threads for $56.  That’s pretty steep for a one time use!.  The welder said he’d come back and re-tap it for me.  I’m expecting that the hole just needs a bit of cleaning up, I don’t think I have to drill it any deeper.  I also think this is a newer keel already set up for the newer bigger bolt.  We’ll see when it comes.  It shipped today.