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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Good News; L'Etoile Du Matin has been selected by Small Boats Monthly to be published in their June internet edition.  We will be shooting some more photos at Ventura Harbor over Memorial Day Weekend so hopefully we'll have a good  breeze.  The new header photo was taken in the harbor last month with about 18 mph of wind. This boat handles like a dream in a brisk breeze.

Her she is on a beam reach and she is smoking.  I didn't have the GPS on board so I can only guess we were doing about 9 mph.  I was amazed at how little she healed under full sail.

Sorry about the spot on the lense, probably a drop of water.  As I have mentioned before you can turn her 180 degrees on a dime.  Since I was sailing back and forth on a beam reach each turn was a complete 180 and she spun around so quickly I barely had time to duck under the boom and switch sides.  Next trip I'll have a crew so we will she how she handles with an extra crewman aboard.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I finally got the chance to take her out on Ventura Harbor.  A beautiful day for July (Fog Normal) and about 15 MPH steady onshore breeze.  What a pleasure compared to sailing on mountain reservoirs with light unpredictable wind.  She is a very well behaved vessel and turns on a dime as you can see in the photo.

  The 600lb ballast keeps her upright and steady.  She points well for a Gaffer and although I didn't get any photos of  her tacking up to the breakwater she made excellent headway into a steady Westerly breeze.
This is the last shot my wife took as I sailed towards the harbor entrance channel.  The breakwater in the foreground is the right side of the of the channel (Green Buoy). The channel turns to the left so you only make headway on the starboard tack.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

I did some touch up painting on the bottom.  Hoisted her up and set her on a pair of posts.  I used three hoists this time to spread the weight over a larger area and yes my canopy is still standing.   I will be taking her to our home in Southern California so I can sail her in Ventura Harbor or Channel Islands Harbor.  The wind is much more predictable along the coast.   I am currently in the process of starting a new build.  My next venture will be a Rundgatting Snipa drawn by Bertil Andersson.  The plans are available from  The Snipa is a double ended sail/row boat.  The one I will be building is 14 1/2 long.   I am starting a new blog for the Snipa build at  Love to have you join me for a two year adventure.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sailing in the foothill lakes can be a real challenge.  On the day we launched the wind was from the West and supposed to  blow from 5 to 9 mph.  In reality it blew from 0 to  about 5 mph.  I sat becalmed 10 feet from the dock for the first five minutes.  Finally we started to get a gust now and then.  She handles beautifully tacking on a dime.  Hopefully I'll have better wind next time and post some pictures with a little more action.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Time to customize the trailer

The Trailer is an EZloader EZW 14-18 2,100 lb capacity with torsion bar suspension.  I took the large rear bunk supports and installed them mid section.  I then scribe'd a wood block to fit the hull and added filler blocks until I had a nice tight fit against the hull.  Once again my overhead bracing did the job of lifting her off the chocks and setting her gently on the trailer.
  Here is a close up of the wood blocking wrapped in the carpet that came with the original bunker.  I used the remaining bunker as a center support for the keel.  That is why I ordered the torsion bar model so I wouldn't have an axle interfering with my keel bunker.  The steel bunker support was about 30" long by 4" wide so it made a perfect support . Another feature of this trailer is you can relocate the cross bars.  I moved both crass bars forward to the next hole to get better placement of the lead keel on the bunker.  I will probably need to move the torsion bar bracket forward as she has to much tongue weight.

The mast support was made from two pieces of  1/8" by 4" flat rolled steel.  It fit very nicely on either side of the roller support and I simply made a wood insert to hold the mast.

The stern mast support simply attaches to the bulkhead.  I installed two 3/4" by 1 1/2" oak strips with nut certs to receive the bolts.  This way once the bolts have been loosened you can remove them without a wrench.  The Gaff mast is 18' long so it fits nicely on the boat and trailer.  The brace also helps to steady the mast when you are getting ready to step it.

As you can see the mast fits nicely in the chocks.  I added tie downs on either side of the chocks to facilitate strapping the mast to the chocks.

And finally the sails are on and they fit.  Still have a few small issues to resolve but for the most part she is ready for launching.  The mast gets a bit heavy when you add the blocks and rope.  I am using 3/8" Dacron  for the running rigging and 1/4" three strand nylon for the lazy jacks.  I am still working on a good way to step the mast without scaring the forward bulkhead.  If anyone has some thoughts as how best to step the mast I will be happy to listen.  I'll photograph the hardware installation on my next post.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

The weather is finally getting a little warmer and it's time to start mixing epoxy again.  I decided I didn't like looking at all the screws holding the Coaming to the sheer stiffener.  Since I still had one sheet of 3/8 marine ply left I decided to overlay the first sheet and epoxy the two together.  I cut and scarfed the  plywood using the original 1/8 template I spiled the overlay sheet slightly larger so I could sand it in to match the original coaming.  After a couple of dry fits I was satisfied with the new piece.

The most challenging problem was pulling the bottom edge of the plywood tight against the original coaming.  Fortunately I had over-sized the original coaming as I did not want to look at the bottom edge of the sheer stiffener   This gave me a small lip to get a C clamp to grab hold of and with a wood brace clamped to the coaming the C clamp was able to pull the new plywood overlay tight up against the existing coaming.  I also stained the new coaming piece prior to installation to keep the epoxy from spotting the plywood  preventing stain from covering evenly.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I think I have discovered the most difficult task in the construction of the Somes Sound.  After lofting the lines for the coaming I made a template from 1/8" plywood and  did a dry fit. Everything seemed to be going well.  I then used the bandsaw to resaw a 4 quarter board into 1/4" pieces.  After lining off the boards with the template I cut them out and began a dry fit.  That's when things started to go wrong.  Clamping the 1/4" board in place was a real challenge and when I tried to make the final turn at the bow I started to hear crackling sounds.  NOT GOOD. The board split at the notch where it steps
up onto the bow.  It also started cracking along the top when I tried to pull it to the center-line.  The African Mahogany was very dry and not willing to cooperate.  When I tried to buy another board the hardwood supplier had run out of the previous lot and the new shipment was substantially lighter in color.  If it weren't for bad luck I wouldn't have had any luck at all.  To make a long story short I decided to switch over to 3/8 Mahogany marine plywood as I had two sheet available.  I ripped a 4X8 into two 2X4's and scarfed them together.  Once cut to shape the plywood was far more cooperative.  The bend at the bow went smoothly and everything fit as it should.  I used Interlux Mahogany Brown stain to darken the plywood.  Once I had a coat of stain on it I was very pleased with the results.  I suppose the correct  answer would have been to install the coaming prior to finishing the deck so I could have screwed blocking in place to properly secure the Mahogany.  Holding the coaming in place with only one person was the major challenge.

The other lesson learned is don't install the trim on top of the bulkhead prior to installing the coaming.  I plan to remove the trim and reinstall it to get a clean fit against the coaming.
Other than that things went pretty well. A few more coats of varnish and some touch up on the white paint and it will be time to put her on a trailer.  I still have the main and gaff boom to build and the club for the jib.  Those are good garage projects as it is going to be getting too cold to work with paint or varnish outside.