Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mooring failure

Boat was floating away. Fortunately it was noticed before it went on the rocks. Here is what caused the failure. This link attached the mooring chain to the anchor chain. It was tightened at the beginning of the season. I should have known better as I have had these connectors loosen when used on safety chains on the trailer. Whatever link is used must be wired so it can't loosen! Small plastic wire ties work well.

Beautiful baby

Low fog on Pleasant Lake. The sail cover was modified from the first iteration. The Tyvek is holding up well. I found it can be effectively patched with spray adhesive. A little talcum powder takes care of overspray.

Jib sheet handling

The stock cleats were not working well for me. Even though I remounted them to get a better angle, it was sometimes hard to cleat the sheet due to my position in the boat. It also seemed like the jib would set better with the sheet led more aft. The cleats were also very hard on the line.

I went looking for a solution and again Ronstan had it. They seem to be the only manufacturer that makes cleaver stuff for small boats. I found the best price at The order arrived in a couple days directly from Ronstan.

The RC81943 is for a pair of cleats so the price is not as outrageous as it first seems. I ordered 18" of track and cut it in half. 4 end caps completed the outfit. (Note: I just noticed that RC8142 is swivelling style at same price. Might be a bit better especially in getting out of the way on the windward side.)

The results exceeded expectations. Even though the cleats do not swivel as I thought they would, the line can be set and released easily and reliably from anywhere in the boat. I'm awaiting some decent wind to experiment with the lead adjustment. I will also have to demount the system to fill the holes left from the old cleats.

Spinnaker improvement

I decided that the spinnaker halyard would be better mounted higher up the mast. It was attached to the stock forestay mount which has three attachment points built in. I don't know what they were designed for.
This photo shows the forestay attachment to the fitting. Also shows the upper swivel for the roller furling.
My installation of the tang for the spinnaker halyard is probably overkill. Those are #10 socket head cap screws not pop rivets. They were left over from installing the window on the Balboa.
The installation was a complete success! Jibing is easier with the extra space in front of the forestay and there is more adjustment available for the front edge of the spinnaker.

Masthead light

I was looking at the cheap solar lights at Walmart thinking what a great masthead light they would make. I laid in bed thinking of all the cleaver mounts I could create to attach the light to the mast. Finally settled on drilling and tapping the mast for  2 bolts. I'm sure that sheetmetal screws would do as well.

I was sailing in the middle of the lake and a splash caught my attention. It appeared to be a hockey puck. I had no idea what it could be or where it came from. Later I noticed that the starlike light was no longer emanating from the top of the mast. I figured it must be a bad connection or dead battery or something. When I lowered the mast to move the spinnaker halyard I discovered that the whole light unit that screws into the top of the globe was missing! That explained the mysterious hockey puck apparition. It wasn't the opening salvo of an alien invasion.

With this replacement light I added the wire tie through a hole drilled in the light to keep the base from unscrewing. I probably should have evaluated the connection of the post to the light as well, but so far it is staying together.

This certainly doesn't meet the requirements for an anchor light, but it is pretty. Also highlights the fact that an anchor light at the top of a mast is not a good idea. I frequently mistake it for a star when looking out at the mooring.

Friday, September 2, 2011

How not to paint

It has been a long time between posts!

The Aluthane paint I used to seal the hull stood up well last season. The aluminum color was not all that attractive so I decided to paint it with white enamel. I suspect that 3 days of curing is not enough! Anyway, the paint that was underwater came off in large sheets. Whether it would adhere with a longer cure is not known.


The motor mount was removed as it had rusted out. I installed a spring loaded mount, but it seemed to put the motor weight too far aft, so I took it off.

My situation is that I rarely have to use a motor. I sailed most of this season without one. There are occasions where it would be nice to have. Pleasant Lake is only 2 miles long and a mile wide, so I never have too far to go. I decided a trolling motor would suffice.

Here you see a view of the Lucite motor mount plate. It is two layers on the inside with holes in the outermost layer to keep the motor mount from slipping. There is another plate on the outside of the transom. I bonded a layer of closed cell foam (camping sleeping pad) to the motor where it contacts this plate in order to compensate for the slight difference in the transom's thickness from top to bottom. It is thinner at the top and tapers some.

Because of the angle of the transom, the motor will pull all the way up to the bracket once it has been turned 90 degrees. I have experienced no "tangle" problems or interference with the motor in stowed position.

Next we needed power. With the battery in the back of the cockpit, balance was affected. In the cabin, it was really in the way. I wanted it amidships and near the keel. My boat is open under the cockpit seats into the cabin. Other boats are sealed off. I found a place where the battery would just fit behind the starboard berth, next to the keel. There are two styrofoam blocks in here to provide flotation.

I created a level spot for the battery with a a piece of plexiglass from an old boat window and a wooden frame . The transparent material made it easier to measure the angles needed to build the wood frame. I found no curvature here. The bottom of the frame was straight. The frame was bonded to the hull with construction adhesive.

Here is the battery in place. Two six foot battery cables from Walmart provided connectors, wire, and a pigtail for a second outlet. The battery is in a case which just fits under the cockpit well. The aft styrofoam flotation block has been reinstalled.

The battery is a used auto battery and needed shimming with a bit of styrofoam. The cables are spliced to a Minkota outlet all the way aft in the cowling. It is visible in the first pictures.

The second block of styrofoam locks the battery in place.

The pigtails were wired to a cigarette lighter outlet just below the cockpit. The battery forms the back wall of this area. The outlet is just above the anchor in the pic below. I plug a solar panel into the outlet when the boat is moored. It can also be used to power accessories.

This is the best place I have found to stow the anchor. My friend's Glouchester 16- which has the same hull as the Newport- does not have this space available. There is a bulkhead separating the under cockpit area from the cabin. Probably a safer approach in the event of an accident.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Water problems

This narrative starts with "Spring Cleaning" below.
Under the boat there was some seepage in the front of the keel trunk where the keel had impacted it. I drilled a 1/4" hole forward of the trunk and a small amount of water came out. I drilled another hole next to the trunk where I figured the forward rib was and water poured out! That was when I realized that the cabin floor had a space under it. "Duh!" Did another hole on starboard side. More water.

Putting it together, water was seeping in at the front of the keel and accumulating under the floor. It then seeps up through the keel trunk/rib joint accounting for the mysterious appearance.

So, I put a layer of fiberglass on the front of the keel trunk and added a strip of high density foam to reduce the impact of the keel. I then reinforced the forward edge of the keel trunk further from the inside. I drilled a 2" hole in the cabin floor just forward of the trunk. A 2X5 piece of aluminum flashing was fashioned into a u shape to act as a dam and thickened epoxy was put against the trunk. Then I put thickened epoxy over the rib/keel joints.

I still have to figure a way to access the space under the floor to remove any future water that might get there. I attempted to put a small inspection plate in the center of the cabin floor and found out there was a reinforcing rib there. I also found that some of the fiberglass hadn't been saturated with resin when the boat was constructed. The floor and bunks and head are all one big molded unit that also serves as flotation. Air leaks would not be good! I am thinking of a water storage tank deck plate. Ideas would be appreciated.

Spring cleaning

I decided Puff really needed painting. The gelcoat had been scraped through in a number of places in her previous lives. The cosmetics didn't bother so much as the fact that fiberglass absorbs water. What to paint her with was the problem. I needed paint that would provide a barrier coat underwater. After much back and forth, I settled on a moisture cured urethane called Aluthane which appears to be pretty much identical to Rust Bullet which I had used as a 'paint over rust' product on Sparky the electric car. I found a 188 page website that had all kinds of useful info, a person to answer questions, good prices and quick shipping. Highly recommended site!

Anyway, I had to take her off the trailer. I built a tripod with 3 14 foot 2X4s and erected it over the bow. Lower the trailer tongue to the ground and block up the back of the boat. Hook a cable comealong to the tripod and lift the bow by the mooring eye. Pull out the trailer. Block up the bow as a safety measure. It looks like this:

When I uncovered Puff, she had some water in the "bilge". There is a spot below the cockpit floor separated into 2 halves by the keel trunk and dammed off fore and aft by 2 ribs that run from the keel trunk to the gunwales on each side of the keel trunk. Water pools here and is hard to get at. I used a Shamwow on a boathook from inside the cabin to dry out this area. The port side is also accessible through the storage hatch.

A couple hours later, there was water there again! Over a gallon! On close examination water seemed to be seeping in where the ribs joined the keel trunk.

You can see where the joint looks a little porous.

System is giving me fits! Will publish this before I lose it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thinking spring

Thinking about what Puff needs.
Fill gouges in hull.
Check hull and keel well joint for leaks.
Paint hull.
Repair cabin top.
Check centerboard and pin. Probably need refinishing.
Replace shrouds.

Some previous owner eliminated the tangs that hold the stays to the mast with a bolt through the through the mast and the swaged fittings on the stays. This has led to the failure of the wire where it entered the fitting. Dwyer mast has the correct tang for the mast. I hope I figured out the correct length for the wire!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Puff is under the traditional blue tarp for the winter. I hope to heal her scrapes and dings and paint the hull in the spring. There is an active group that includes the Newport 16 at .

Thursday, October 8, 2009

In cleaning out the boat for winter storage I noticed that I hadn't captured the changes to the interior. There are a set of cushions that came with the boat, but they are pretty nasty. The problem seems to be that condensation collects under the cushion and keeps them constantly wet. Not good.

I had gotten some interlocking foam mat pieces at a tag sale and decided to use them inside. They do make crawling around in the cabin comfortable. They too get wet where they lie on the fiberglass. They haven't shown any ill effects yet.

If you find anything of interest here,
leave a comment. Hard to know it it is worth producing.

New sails

The new sails came. Unfortunately the sail slugs for the main were way too big and wouldn't fit in the mast slot. The jib got set up with the new furler. I took it for a sail. It is easier to gybe the spinnaker with the jib rolled up. It doesn't catch on the forestay when coming across.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Spinnaker Rigging

The spinnaker sheet proved to be too hard to hold. I tried using a cleat, but it was awkward. The sheets are now each run through one of these automatic ratchet blocks. The ratchet only engages when they have a load applied. Interestingly, the attachment is a Kevlar loop. The other line attached to this eye is the mainsheet bridle.

The light line to the cleat goes to the tiller tamer.

Spinnaker Time for real

Here we are underway with the new spinnaker. Since the photo was taken, I have started sitting more forward in front of the thwart.
Since I singlehand the boat most of the time, I wanted to run the control lines aft. After doodling with a lot of turning blocks, bails at the base of the mast, etc. It came to me that the mast is easily reached from the cockpit. 2 more of the Ronstan RF5 swiveling blocks provide for simple halyard handling. In the picture, the jib and spinnaker halyards end here. Once the roller furling is installed it will be spinnaker and main. The small clamcleat is for the mainsail downhaul.

Mainsheet Rerigging

After a lot of experimentation, I finally settled on this rigging for the mainsheet. The sheet ends up at a Ronstan RF5 swivel 180. The device incorporates a camcleat and a turning block onto a hinged base.

One thought was moving the control from the end of the boom to the middle. This would put a lot of strain on the boom and clutter up the cockpit.

I decided on a rope traveller. Notice it is moved forward from the transom in order to give the mainsheet fewer things to tangle on.

You can also see the new thwart and winch in this shot. The boat came with a Davis Tiller Tamer which worked nicely- except lines got tangled in it. I turned the tiller over so the tamer is below the tiller. No more tangles!

A 3 part mainsheet seems to be about right. The automatic ratchet is probably overkill, but it works nicely.


The bowsprit was added in order to increase the distance between the jib and the spinnaker in order to make jibing the spinnaker easier. It also allows for a bigger spinnaker to be set. :-)

I used a piece of mahogany left over from making the thwart. A 2 1/2 inch hole was bored into it, then cut in half to make the two "pillow blocks". I had a broken Sunfish mast from which I salvaged a 5 foot piece and the top cap. I also cut off 2- inch long pieces which were used as reinforcements at the attachment points. All the load is carried by the SS U-bolt at the bow. The rear has a captured nut under the deck into which an eyebolt is screwed. This makes the bowsprit fairly easy to remove. The clew of the spinnaker is pulled to the end of the bowsprit with the line through the block which ends at a camcleat on the deck.

Projects under way

The jib is in a bag I made for Honalee. It was my first Sailrite project. I made the "Puff" lettering and the bow numbers from contact paper. The boat is due to be painted so they are designed to be temporary. They show no signs of loosening.

You can also just see the new mahogany thwart I made to replace the cracked fiberglass one it came with. The new winch is attached to the thwart. Note that the winch has to be a locking winch. You have to turn it to lower as well as raise the keel. Regular trailer winches will freewheel, possibly breaking your hand.

The mainsail cover was made from Tyvek Housewrap and a lot of Velcro

Spinnaker time

We need sails. I contacted Jeff at . I told him I needed a main and a jib, but that a spinnaker would be more fun.

They designed a sail for a Newport 16 with a 30" bowsprit.

The kit included everything to make the sail including 770 yards of thread. The most interesting of the materials supplied was basting tape. I had never used it before, and it sure makes sewing easy! It is double sided tape. Put it on one surface, pull off the backing tape and paste the other piece of fabric to it. The spinnaker has all curved edges to sew together. It would be very slow sewing without the basting.

The dog in the picture is Delbert. We tell people he is a Borderline Collie.

I sewed the sail on my zig-zag Singer purchased at a tag sale for $5. The corners have 3 layers of stiff sail cloth and 4 layers of the ripstop nylon. The machine sewed through all of them with no problem.