Emmelène meets Tammy Norie

Chris Boxer has written about our recent meeting at Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. You can find his post on Emmelène’s blog.

Emmelène has a split junk rig, which means about a third of the sail area is ahead of the mast and formed of conic sections called “jiblets”. These direct airflow over the main part of the panels abaft the mast. The slot effect helps the air stick to the back of the mains and so increases the stall angle, and thus how high you can point. To make this work the luffs of the main sections need to be tight near the mast, like the luff of a Bermudan main.

It’s quite like sailing a stack of small pivoting Bermudan rigs!

It’s often said that the Coromandel’s mast is too far back. Tammy certainly suffers from weather helm, especially on a reach. But Emmelène has none at all. It’s quite spooky.

If anything she could do with moving the centre if effort aft a touch. The sheets are perhaps a little too relaxed and sometimes it was hard to persuade the sail to swing out.

This is no fault of Chris’s. He bought the rig second-hand to replace the poor “hi-power” rig that came with Emmelène. In fact it was the exact rig the Practical Boat Owner featured in their comparison of junk and Bermudan rigs (using identical Splinter 22s I think) a while ago.

I look forward to meeting Chris again and perhaps trying it all out in more varied conditions.

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Tammy and Emmelène

Tammy is alongside her sister Emmelène in Bembridge harbour. Expect a tour later!

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Rotten to the core

 

 

Some time ago I read an excellent article by David Pascoe called “Attaching Hardware to your Boat”. I highly recommend it, and all his other maintenance articles too.

To summarize: bolts and screws through your deck core will eventually make it rot away.

Now I have proof!

I’ve been sitting aboard Tammy Norie in the rain for several days recently. That gives me a good chance to look around for leaks. I noticed some drips in the heads compartment, and traced them to a nut on the ceiling. It was a bolt from the boom gallows attachment.

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I remembered David Pascoe’s article, and decided it was time to grit my teeth and investigate the deck core. So on the next dry day I dismantled the boom gallows and used my 20mm hole saw to cut out the inner fibreglass layer and core (but of course not the deck).

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What came out was not pretty. Instead of crisp balsa, I got brown mush.

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You can see here how the balsa wood has lost its integrity.

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And here are the damp sweepings from drilling out the other three holes.

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Looking in to the cut out I could see the dark brown discoloured wood. I can only hope that now that it’s exposed to the air it will get a chance to dry out. It won’t regain structure, but at least I will have stopped the rot.

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Out of the four bolt holes, only one looked good. You can see the contrast in the colour and texture. Note that only one of the bolts showed any evidence of leaking. That means two of them were secretly leaking into the core.

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I re-fitted the gallows using new bolts backed with washers through just the deck layer, all sealed with butyl tape.  These stayed dry on the next rainy day.  Even if they do leak a little, the water should drip off the bolt and not touch the wood.

David Pascoe recommends sealing the exposed wood. I will do this once it has had a chance to dry out.

So take heed! If you have bolts through your deck core, get them out before it’s too late. Don’t delay!

I’m now looking at all the other fixings with suspicion, and will be working my way around them all.

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Bungie Boarding

One of the greatest risks for a solo sailor is falling off the boat. When I’m sailing alone in all but the safest conditions, I’m wearing a lifejacket. I also clip on, especially when the autopilot or self-steering gear are engaged. What a nightmare it would be to fall in the water, away from shore, and see your boat sail away from you, suddenly freed of your weight!

Even if you’re clipped on it’s very difficult to get back aboard. When Tammy is at rest I’m able to haul myself up onto her side-decks, but not over the transom. And what hope is there that I could reach a side-deck if she’s sailing?

So I’ve taken an idea I’ve seen on mini-Transats: a permanently installed elastic step at the transom.

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The trick is to use some webbing tube threaded with elastic cord, strung across the back of the boat. The elastic should be taught to keep the line out of the way, but the webbing should be long enough that it forms a step that you can reach to get back aboard.

Here’s the step strung between the drogue attachments at on Tammy’s quarters. It should be fairly easy to reach from the water, even if I’ve had to haul myself along the safety line to catch up with the boat. The elastic keeps it out of the way of things like the self-steering gear.

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Here it is again with me standing on it.

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I’ve adjusted the length so that my waist is at the height of the pushpit rail, allowing me to bend forward and flop into the cockpit even if my arms are exhausted.

It’s one of those things I hope I’ll never need to use. It was easy to put together and might save me. I might even be able to test it (with some help).

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Recovery?

It’s been a long time since I made a post about Tammy Norie. I’ve been disabled by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for over a year. I’ve improved a lot over the last few weeks, but if you know anything about CFS you’ll know I have to increase activity very slowly. So here I am with Tammy at FSMBC ready for a bit of very gentle pottering around The Solent.

It’s very good to see her.
Unfortunately I’ve missed yet another year of the Jester Challenge. CFS, sleep deprivation, and COLREGS do not mix, even if I’d had the necessary spoons to prepare! I’ll definitely skip the trans-Atlantic next year, but perhaps I’ll be ready for Baltimore in 2019.

I can’t promise lots of blog posts, but if I do any significant work on Tammy you’ll definitely hear about it!

I’d love to hear news of your Coromandels. What’s been happening?

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Solent Boat Jumble

I will be at the Solent Boat Jumble in Netley tomorrow with a boot load of boat bits to sell. (In fact, the same things I took to the Beaulieu Boat Jumble in spring!) Do let me know if you’re nearby.
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Ahhh

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The course is set. The wind vane steers. The weather’s good. The wind is up. I remember this! Too late this year for big adventures. But not for big dreams and big plans. While the wind vane steers.

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