Trans Atlantic Race 2015 – going on now

A bunch of big boats are racing across the Atlantic from Newport, Rhode Island to the southern tip of Wales.

Here is a link to a cool website that tracks the boats in the race.



It’s kind of fun to play with the sliders for playback and playback speed.

Look for the lead boat in the race (The white one).  There’s a reason it’s in the lead.  It’s a Herreshoff design that is  125 feet long.  When I checked earlier today it was doing 14.2 knots.    The boat’s name is Mariette of 1915.    The next boat in size seems to be around 53 feet.

I’ve put a link to the boat’s website under the name, but there are a lot of great images of it if you just enter the name in Google and select the “Images” option.


She sails like a bird – Tall Ship Hermione

“She sails 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?