Saturday, 14 May 2016

Seahopper meeting, The Mumbles

Following a busy month with concert commitments, it was good to be back on the water.  The Facebook Seahopper Group had organised a meeting at The Mumbles, Swansea Bay.  It was a long trip, but it made for a good day out.  I took a room in a B&B and had my boat out sailing long before the others really got going, so there was only the briefest of windows for sailing together before I had to take Aura out of the water.  That was a pity but it was good to see other boats in action.

Sailing off The Mumbles, Swansea Bay

Rocky launching!
There was even time for a bit of rocky video action!

This is a charming location: perhaps I should return with Daisy II...

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Rutland Water, Sunday April 17th

Well, it turned out to be a good day to test this winter's dagger board casing repair - since the wind didn't really come out to play, except for one pleasant reach across the reservoir.

Fortunately, the repair seems to have been successful.  There remains a small amount of water ingress from somewhere else - nothing that cannot be mopped up by an occasional sponge but I couldn't track down the source.  I'll just have to keep looking and that can only mean one thing - more sailing!

Distance covered: 2.02 nm

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Fixing a leaking daggerboard casing

Previous sails have been hampered by a steady influx of water around the daggerboard casing.  It didn't stop me sailing but it was annoying being in a pool of water and having to bail out at every opportunity.  The problem was easily identifiable: the gasket hadn't been doing its job properly.  Additionally, whilst tightening up the six associated screws had some impact, the port side rear screw had sheared off leaving the tip embedded in the keel band and the remainder rotating freely.

I contacted Seahopper boats and Steve Cherry responded with a very helpful email.  These past few days have provided a window of opportunity to put into action his suggested remedy.

Removal of daggerboard; cleaning off.
Keelband showing removed hole for centreboard
 When removing the casing, there are six screws, two each side forward and aft removed from the inside, and a further two positioned centrally which attach from beneath the keel band.
The non-functioning gasket
Removal of gasket.
Application of sealant
Steve recommended a sealant called CT1 which is new to the market.  Currently, it doesn't seem to be widely available, but can be sourced online and from a firm called Buildbase.  There are several colours; the 'brown' variety seems to match nicely.
The idea is to apply liberal quantities of this sealant around the slot.  According to the blurb, it's versatile stuff and can even be applied under water...  Today, I chose the dry land option, building it up to around a centimetre in thickness.

Reattach daggerboard casing
The idea is to insert the four 'fore and aft' screws first, and locate these correctly - this helps ensure the casing is correctly positioned.  I had the additional job of relocating the rear port screw the original of which had sheared off.  Size 10, 11/2 inch brass screws seemed to match nicely although the heads were a little larger.

Following Steve's instructions, I tightened the four internal screws to a point where the sealant began to squirt out from beneath.

Removal of surplus sealant
Steve recommended running a finger around the edge of the box to smooth off the excess sealant. The same routine was repeated with the boat closed from beneath, working around the inside of the daggerboard slot.
Daggerboard in place, screws in place but untightened

Drying overnight.
It had to rain, didn't it.  Fortunately, this had been anticipated with a handy cover!

Once dry...
The following morning, I tightened the four screws and inserted new keelband screws from beneath.
Screws from beneath had slightly bigger heads.  These have been left slightly proud initially.  I may well turn them some more later in the season but will see how they go for now.

Completed repair from the stern.
The proof of the pudding will be in the...sailing (as they don't say).  Looking forward to an opportunity to put this to the test!

Further work to be done on the boat includes the purchase of new rigging - far too many frayed ends for my liking.   Also, there will have to be some repair work on damaged extremities of certain pieces of the various bits of marine ply which constitute the boat in its assembled form.

Finally, we have a name.  Aura.  It's Latin for 'breeze'.  Let's hope for fair aurae in 2016!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Seahopper Meeting, Horsey Mere, 26th September

Light winds on Horsey Mere, Norfolk Broads
Thanks to the reaches of Facebook and its Seahopper Owner's Group, several fellow owners converged on the wonderful Horsey Mere for a weekend rally.  I was only able to attend on the Saturday and, even then, had to make a double trip over having left half of the kit back home in the garage...  I think an equipment checklist may be in order...

The following video gives a fair reflection of the day.

Winds were light but not inconsequential - probably for the best, since the sailing experience is very different from the Drascombe experience: much more responsive, very unstable but, in its own way, just as enjoyable!

I only started recording the track half way through - as recorded, 2.1nm.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

First sail

Seahopper action or inaction: there being little wind, oars were often necessary
Engine woes on my other boat kept me inland and prompted a much delayed maiden voyage in my yet to be named Nifty Fifty Seahopper.  A Sunday morning trip to Rutland Water was the outcome.
The slipway at the Watersports Centre, Whitwell Creek 
The wind did eventually feature and, at one point, even gave me cause to sit on the side bench as the hull began to heel. However, for the most part, the best place to sit was on the centre thwart as the vespers of wind allowed periodic momentum.  

Impressions?  She is a very pleasant little boat and it is great to indulge in some proper small dinghy sailing for a change.  When the wind allowed, she moved very gracefully and was pleasingly agile - as the brand name infers, 'nifty'!  When oars were called for, rowing was almost effortless, which makes me think that she could make a very handy tender on extended cruises with Daisy II.  Before that can happen, however, a few issues need sorting.  There is a leakage problem around the centre case - mostly corrected today by tightening a couple of wood screws.  Splintering ends of one or two plywood panels also need some attention.  Otherwise, this was thoroughly rewarding and augurs well for further planned activities.

I was too busy working on a routine during the sailing to catch any action shots, but did manage this small bit of video during one of the many becalmed moments.
At some point, of course, she needs a name.  I did have one thought but this would blow my secretive internet identity, so I'm going to have to work on alternatives.  Maybe she will end up being a he...

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Seahopper purchase and first assembly, 31 January 2015

Boat assembly, Seahopper style.
Bag laid out
hull removed
opened out revealing centre case and hinged stern transom 
port side stern transom fixed in place
and the starboard side; boat begins to take shape.
centre thwart in place
centre thwart pushed into place, stainless steel latches and turn buckles under the seat near the centrecase secured
stern thwart in place (subsequently read the instructions which suggest this should be done after the bow is sorted...)
bow, showing inner membrane
bow board in place
bow thwart in place with latches secured
boat completed for rowing purposes.
stern board in place - this can support an outboard, if required - except that I don't have one!
the stern board is more useful for the tiller
help from the cat!
side seats in place
mast hoisted and stays secured.
It was very windy today, so I did unfurl the sails and studied the rigging but didn't go any further.
Assembly didn't take long: I'm looking forward to the first launching opportunity.