Category Archives: Repairs and Modifications

Maintaining the Hebridean

Last summer I noticed a few problems with my Hebridean self-steering gear. This post is a (belated) log of the things I did to fix it up, and may be of interest to other Hebridean owners.

The first problem I noticed was that the Hebridean’s trunk could collide with the fairleads I put in the mount to allow the steering lines to cross over (described in this video). This is a simple error of planning on my part, but at some point there’d clearly been enough force on the pendulum to split the mount.

IMGA0976

IMGA0977

This problem will go away when I turn the mounting blocks upside-down (described below) but in the meantime it’s a fairly simple job to glue the mount back together. I also have quite a bit of spare oak planking from the Hebridean construction that I can use to replace it if necessary.

IMGA0978

You can’t have too many clamps!

The mount itself has developed a distinct curve. I’m not sure what’s caused this. There may have been a collision with my boat when I wasn’t around, or there may be some systematic pressure on one direction.

IMGA0979

The curve has affected the mounting bolts too.

IMGA0982

I haven’t done anything to fix this curve yet.  It doesn’t affect operation.

A much more serious problem is that the carbon push rod that connects the wind vane to the pendulum had split at both ends and come unglued from the plugs that attach it to the rest of the linkage.

IMGA0983

This is much less likely to be a problem with the later versions of the Hebridean, as John Fleming is now using cross-woven carbon tubes and supplies ferrules for the ends of the rods, as seen in this photograph of Emmelène’s mark 2 Hebridean.

IMGA0018

I fixed this using epoxy to re-attach the tubes, and then adding a whipping to keep the tube ends together.

IMGA0993

I noticed that the top of the push rod was colliding with the turret tube at the extremes of movement, and this may have contributed to the splitting. This was easily fixed with a few washers, but it does show that it pays to watch all the parts of your self-steering gear as it operates.

IMGA0603

A much less serious problem is the mascot. I bought a “pen topper” in the form of an RNLI lifeboatman’s head from an RNLI shop, and he’s been sitting on the end of the vane’s connecting rod for some years. For some reason, local birds have decided to eat his face!

IMGA0990

Unfortunately, this item isn’t in the RNLI shop any more, so I’m on the look out for a new mascot.

Here’s a problem I have not yet fixed. The weight of the Hebridean rests on a pin that keeps it floating on the blocks that are clamped by the mount. This forms a bearing that wears at the pin when the Hebridean is steering. A few months of use and the pin looks like this:

IMGA0986

Emmelène‘s Hebridean has a two-part solution for this. Firstly, he has a HDPE washer between the pin and the blocks. (HDPE is what plastic milk cartons and chopping boards are made of.) This more or less eliminates the wear. But an extra clever thing is that his blocks are mounted upside-down from Tammy’s, so that the top edge protrudes from the mount, making room for the washer. Here’s Tammy Norie’s mount (during fitting).

IMGA0450

And here’s Emmelène’s mount.

IMGA0016

Simple and effective. I’ll be copying this arrangement on Tammy. It will also eliminate the collision between the Hebridean’s trunk and the fairleads that caused the mount to split.

I hope this is of interest, at least to other Hebridean owners. I welcome comments!

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Repairs and Modifications, self steering

Sealing the forward window

Tammy Norie’s forward window had a slow leak from when I first sailed her in 2014. It wasn’t very significant, but in the winter of 2017 it managed to rot a couple of books, even though they were in plastic bags. I did two things:

  • Moved the books into waterproof bags
  • Dismantled and re-sealed the window

I’ve been somewhat afraid of dismantling Tammy Norie’s windows in case I couldn’t get them back together without unobtainable parts. As it happens I did have to make modifications. This post should help others with similar windows.

Firstly, I chose a dry day with many more dry days forecast. Then I cautiously loosened the screws around the window frame. At this point, I had no idea what kind of screws they were or what they were screwed in to.

IMGA0931

About half the screws didn’t really seem to be attached, and were probably held in by old sealant and dirt as much as anything. Worse, they were self-tapping screws, not bolts. What were they supposed to bite against?

IMGA0932

Once they were undone I carefully pried the window away from the cabin top using a scraper, breaking what remained of the outer seal.

IMGA0933

IMGA0934

IMGA0935

With the window removed I could see the old sealant tape, which was in quite poor condition.

IMGA0936

Grains of old salt or possibly aluminium compounds had built up behind the window seal.

IMGA0937

The dried-up sealant was easy and satisfying to remove with a scraper.

IMGA0940

The rubber seal around the window glass (actually a sheet of curved acrylic) was also easy to remove.  It was in good condition, in spite of its age, and only needed a bit of a clean with washing-up liquid.

IMGA0941

The next task was to figure out how to get the glass out of the window frame so that I could renew its seal. I could see that the window frame was in two halves, but didn’t know how it was joined together. At the ends of the window were some very coroded screws, which refused to turn without severe damage.

IMGA0938

IMGA0939

In the end, I was only able to get one of these screws out without destroying it.

IMGA0945

Pulling apart the halves of the window frame revealed a metal block that holds the halves together, serving as a nut for the corroded screws. If absolutely necessary, the screws could be drilled out and this block replaced.

IMGA0946

Now the frame was being held together by another strip of sealant around the window glass. I was able to separate the glass from the frame using a soft plastic scraper.

IMGA0947

Then at last I was able to get the glass out of the frame.  In this picture you can see the old sealant tape on the inner side of the frame where the glass was attached.

IMGA0948

After cleaning out this dried-up sealant, I inserted two replacement beads of butyl tape in its place — one on each side of the glass.

IMGA0950

IMGA0951

Then I was able to squeeze the window glass back into the frame. There’s plenty of time to do this, since butyl tape does not set. Any excess is easy to gather up for re-use.

IMGA0952

Now, on to the mystery of the self-tapping screws that were failing to hold the window to the boat. Fortunately, they weren’t screwed in to the fibreglass. Less fortunately, they were screwed into a thin layer of aluminium on the inner window frame! Very poor engineering. What’s more, the areas around the screw holes on the inner window frame were severely coroded. No wonder half of the screws weren’t doing anything.

IMGA0953

Still, I didn’t really want to modify the frames, so I attempted to repair the screw holes with Milliput epoxy putty. This was a bit of an experiment, since I hadn’t used Milliput before.

IMGA0958

When the putty had cured, I attempted to mount the frame, first laying a bead of butyl tape around the hole. I gradually tightened up the screws, giving the butyl tape a chance to spread.

IMGA0968

But the screws soon started rotating without biting properly. The putty wasn’t strong enough for this job. Back off with the window and on to plan B. Fortunately, butyl tape is forgiving, and you can gather it up and re-use it.

IMGA0997

Plan B was to replace the awful self-tapping screws with 4mm machine screws, passing right through the inner frame to proper nuts. This unfortunately meant drilling holes right through, and that nuts would be visible inside, but it allowed the frame to be tightened properly. It also means the window is properly attached to the boat!

IMGA0973

(I later bought stainless-steel dome nuts so that the ends of all these screws are covered up. This looks very nice, and also reduces the chance of any injury. I must take a picture of this and insert it here.)

An important detail that I learned by trial-and-error. Do not turn the machine screws in order to tighten them. This tends to make the screws pull away from the butyl sealant, making them leak. Instead, add an extra blob of butyl tape to both side of each hole, then slowly push the screws through. Then tighten up the nut. After this, none of the screws leaked.

IMGA0998

Here’s how the window looked after tightening up the screws, but before I’d cleaned up the excess butyl. A little more squeezed out over the next few months, but was easy to tidy up using a plastic scraper.

IMGA0999

Now, did you spot the “deliberate” mistake? At this point, my windows were still leaking slightly. I was rather frustrated. But by careful observation I was able to work out what I’d done wrong. I didn’t put extra butyl behind the joins in the outer window frame. This mean there was a path for the water from outside to get around the window glass. Here’s a close-up of one of the joins.

IMGA0002

Fortunately, I was able to fix this without dismantling anything. I simply pressed a generous amount of butyl tape slowly through the crack with my fingers.

I tested the window simply by pouring and throwing buckets of water around. But it had a much more thorough test through the winter of 2018/2019. I’m pleased to report that there is no evidence of any leaks.

I’m pleased with this work for three reasons:

  1. I stopped the leak.
  2. I now know how the windows are constructed and can service the others.
  3. The window is now firmly attached to the boat!

That last one is reason enough to service all the windows, so that’s going on the to-do list.

(You can also browse the photos in this album on Flickr.)

8 Comments

Filed under Repairs and Modifications, windows

The Spitfire sail

I’ve spent most of my limited wakeful time in the past few days reading books by Czesław Antony Marchaj:

  • Seaworthiness: the forgotten factor
  • Sail performance: techniques to maximize sail power
  • Aero-hydrodynamics of sailing.

These are all fantastic books. Not only is Marchaj one of the few writers to present actual hard evidence for his assertions, he writes with a dry wit that implies a great deal of criticism for the rumours and fashions that dominate sailing design. (The junk rig community seems somewhat exceptional in this regard.)

He presents evidence that elliptical foils produce more lift than rectangular or triangular, especially at low aspect ratios. (I’m summarizing here.) This is rather interesting given my earlier drawing of an enlarged sail for Tammy Norie. I think this evidence gives some clues to why the top triangle on junk rig sails is important: it approximates a curved top.

With this in mind I drew this sail plan based on the elliptical Spitfire wing.

The “Spitfire Junk” sail plan, based on research by C A Marchaj, which showed that elliptical sails generate more lift, especially at low aspect ratios.

This plan is based on 4.5m battens, but has a 3.2m second batten and a yard of only 1.9m at a steep angle of 65°. The yard forms the leading edge of the approximately elliptical wingtip.

Given Marchaj’s other results showing the critical nature of the leading edge of foils, the yard shape could be quite critical, but fortunately this suggests shaping it in a way similar to that suggested by Hasler and McLeod to provide strength. In this case it would be arched to fill in the ellipse and have a thin top.

If this plan works, the centre of lift will be shifted forward considerably, hopefully correcting the Coromandel’s balance problems.

I also can’t believe it’s a coincidence that Paul McKay’s Aerojunk looks like a Spitfire wing.


Fantail even resembles it.

15 Comments

Filed under A New Rig, 2017-2018, sail

Sail art

Curved 4.5x1x40 sail

18 Comments

2017-09-26 · 20:14

A new mast step

Last week I wrote about my plan to rebuild my mast step. The job is mostly done, and Tammy Norie has a sporty new rake to her mast. This article will describe how I did it, including mistakes and remedies.

If you want to know about the design and thought behind it, you should read my post “Raking the Mast”.

Here are the materials I bought for this job:

  • 50mm × 50mm × 6mm × 1m aluminium angle
  • a sheet of 15mm hard rubber block
  • M6 stainless steel studding, 2 washers, 2 nuts
  • 8 × M8 coach screws and spring washers

The total cost is around £40.

The biggest modification to the boat I needed to make was to cut a larger hole in the berth above the mast step so that I could adjust the angle of the mast. I imagined this would simply mean extending the circular hole into a longer slot. I started out by measuring the area so that I could draw the new hole on the gelcoat. That was when I discovered the first problem: the original hole was not in the middle of the boat!

The distance from the left side of the hull to the centre of the mast was 535mm, but from the right side it was only 485mm.

IMG_20170918_133852

IMG_20170918_133916

I checked this several times, and looked at the mast from several angles. I adjusted the contents of the boat to get her perfectly level, and took at look at the mast from the dock using my spirit level. The mast was definitely leaning to port by a small amount. Oh Newbridge! Well, I suppose I could correct that now.

I found and marked the actual centreline from the hull sides, and that allowed me to draw enlarged hole, with enough side-to-side-to-side movement to fix Newbridge’s mistake.

IMGA0658

The next job was to remove the existing mast step bracket. This is a well-known weak point. Mine had been making ominous clonking noises on my crossing of the North Sea in 2015. It’s a known weakness. What’s more, it had been replaced on every other Coromandel I’d seen.

Down with the mast!

IMGA0662

Out with the mast stub!

IMGA0675

This exposed the bracket, held in with the two largest wood screws I’ve ever seen.

IMGA0678

I had been wondering how I would get these out. None of my screwdrivers were big enough, and a sailing friend has said I would need some violence to remove them. Fortunately, I was able to borrow an impact driver from Dad’s workshop; a tool specifically designed to apply violence to screws.

IMGA0686

This tool applies a turning force when you hit it with a hammer, making it ideal for freeing up screws that have been in place for 35 years. It worked very well indeed. Out came the screws and the bracket.

IMGA0687

The observant among you may have noticed that these are not wood screws at all. They’re machine screws, designed to fit into nuts or tapped holes. The threads really don’t hold well in wood. Was this more poor engineering from Newbridge, or was there something I’d missed?

I took a good look down through the holes in the wood and noticed two things. Firstly, the wooden block holding the mast step did not extend all the way down to the bilge as I had expected. There was some sort of void beneath it. Second, there may have been some metal on the other side. Perhaps there was a tapped plate or some captured nuts on the other side. It was very hard to see.

Unfortunately, this is yet another area unmaintainable area of the boat.  There’s no way to get to the other side of the wood without tearing the boat apart. I made a note to inspect the area with an endoscope during the winter.

I also checked the moisture content of the wood. It was off the scale on my moisture meter!

IMGA0694

The plywood the mast is standing on is untreated, as far as I can tell, and has been getting quite wet. I made another note to dry this area thoroughly during the winter and think about how I could treat, seal, and reinforce the wood.

Next, I checked the exact dimensions for the new step by standing the mast step in the aluminium angle. The rubber chocks would be 15mm thick, and I planned to have then compress by about 2mm. The mast appears to be a 4″ tube, so that made the interior width of the step box 13mm.

IMGA0702

There followed about an hour of hacksaw work in the workshop at the Fareham Sailing and Motorboat Club. I like to work on projects aboard as much as possible, but this really did need a good bench vice.

IMG_20170918_204001
I’m very glad I chose to build in aluminium rather than stainless steel. I had enough hacksawing of stainless steel to last a lifetime when I built the Hebridean. (These days John Fleming is offering pre-cut kits!) The rubber block was relatively easy to cut with a hacksaw, provided you oiled the blade.

It turns out my beloved tea flask is almost exactly the same size as my mast, so I was able to use it to get a rough idea how things were coming together.

IMG_20170918_210301
The next morning I test fitted the step box around the actual mast.

IMGA0710
And I checked that the mast would be clear of any screw heads one it was standing on a rubber chock.

IMGA0713
Next, I drilled holes for the coach screws and the mast pin. I chose positions for the holes about two thirds of the way out, because the mast forces well be attempting to lever up the angles. I also chose too align the holes in the end angles with those in the sides so that the holes are in a rectangle, just in case.

IMG_20170919_144724
I’ve only made one pair of holes for the mast pin so far, with the mast base as far aft as possible. This is so that I can test the mast with forward rake. If I decide to alter the rake I will make more holes. There’s plenty of room for four positions or more.

IMGA0714
I checked how the mast step box fitted in the boat, but since the coach screws hasn’t arrived the post, that was all for that day.

IMGA0717
IMGA0719
The next morning I had my coach screws from Sea Screw. These are rather special: large screws with threads designed for wood but with hexagonal heads that can be turned with a spanner or socket. The next person to undo them won’t be using an impact driver.

IMGA0722
So far, no permanent changed had been made to Tammy Norie. It was time to make cuts. After carefully re-thinking everything, I enlarged the hole in the berth using a coping saw.

IMGA0729
And then I carefully lined up the mast step box, made pilot holes, and screwed it down.

IMGA0739
I’m eliding a lot of difficulties here. As I suspected, access to the wooden block was very difficult. I wasn’t able to use my battery drill to make pilot holes, and had to fish out my poor-quality hand drill. It was slow going and the pilot holes were not perfectly straight.

You can also see that the box isn’t lying flat on the wood. The wood is partly glassed-over and that makes it uneven.

These difficulties were enough to mean my careful measurements didn’t with out and the mast wouldn’t really fit between the chocks.

IMGA0741
Fortunately, the solution is fairly obvious: make a base for the box separately and then fix the whole thing down.

IMGA0745
Just right! With this change the mast could be pressed firmly down between the chocks, gripped tightly, but with no possibility of abrasion.

IMGA0748
With this done, I disassembled used a punch through the holes I’d made for the mast pin to mark positions for holes in the mast. These were a bit closer to the mast end than I’d like, and for this reason I’d recommend making a taller box of you’re planning to do something similar — 100mm tall I suggest.

I then drilled 6mm holes in the mast for the pin, and tried to put everything back together. For about an hour.

The thing is, it’s very difficult to navigate a piece of threaded stainless steel studding through six not-quite-lined-up holes when two of them are made of rubber and all of them are in an awkward place you can barely see.

After a while I disassembled the whole thing again and enlarged the holes in the rubber using a 10mm drill bit. The holes still ended up much smaller than 10mm, but at least the studding went through them without force. I also enlarged the holes in the mast to 8.5mm so that I had a hope of finding them.

It still to another 30 minutes of fiddling to get the pin through, and I was very relieved when it popped out of the other side of the box. After that I was very reluctant to disassemble the step again!

I think this could be made much easier by fitting a tube through the mast to guide the pin. I may do this later. I certainly recommend it to anyone making a step like mine.

You might notice that there are no chocks fore and aft of the mast. I’ll be making these soon. In order to maximise the forward rake of the mast I did not leave enough clearance for a 15mm chock. I’ve ordered thinner rubber for this job. I believe the step is already significantly stronger than the Newbridge bracket, and I can make tests of the mast position without these chocks. But for the long term I wasn’t to make sure that the pin isn’t taking any load.

Fortunately, I found that I was able to re-arrange my existing mast partner wedges to fit around the mast in its new position. They aren’t a great fit, and I plan to make more, but for testing these are good enough.

IMGA0750
The next snag was that the disc that helps keep the wedges in place no longer fitted over it’s bolts!

IMGA0753
This was a fairly obvious mistake on my part. The new mast angle has shifted this disc back slightly.

The remember this disc puzzling me when I first got Tammy Norie. It’s made of heavy gauge stainless steel and is probably one of the strongest items on the boat, and yet it’s only job is to keep the wedges from falling out. No other Coromandel owner has such a heavy one, so I suspect this is a modification by the original owners.

Fortunately, there was some ideal scrap plywood in the workshop — the seat of some school chairs. This wood had been moulded for sitting on, and so had a nice circular depression in the middle. Turned upside-down that depression will press upwards against the wedges.

Rather than make a complete disc I decided to make two half-discs with an overlap. And instead of bolt holes I would make slots. This would make the new disc capable of being added or removed without removing the mast, and able to cope with mast rake changes.

I marked up the wood.

IMG_20170922_112111
Then I put the coping saw to use again.

IMG_20170922_113727
Checked the positions of the bolts.

IMGA0777
Cut slots and then smoothed everything in to shape with my surform.

IMGA0779
Not bad!

Finally, I was able to put the interior back together and make Tammy more like home again.

IMGA0781
There are still a few problems to solve, as you can see here.

IMGA0782
Finally, here’s the best picture I have showing the new mast rake. I think it looks rather interesting and attractive.

IMGA0795
So far I have not had a chance to test the new sailing characteristics. Soon, I hope.

There are more pictures with descriptions in this Flickr album, showing the steps in more detail.

13 Comments

Filed under A New Rig, 2017-2018, mast

Little jobs roundup, 2017-09

Here’s a roundup of small jobs done on Tammy Norie in late August and early September.

When comparing Tammy Norie and Emmelène, I suggested we drop Tammy’s mast and lift the mast stub. When we went to remove the retaining bolt, it snapped!

P1040733

IMGA0194

I cut a new bolt from stainless steel studding.

IMGA0673

I suspect the wear on the bolt was the main cause of the clonking sound that’s been gradually building up when Tammy is in rough water. This also gave us a good chance to look at the rather inadequate mast foot bracket.

IMGA0198

This is due for an upgrade later when I improve the mast step.

My engine starter cord snapped at an inconvenient moment on the way in to Portsmouth Harbor. I’d only just replaced it. This time I noticed that the cord was slightly melted. Moral: don’t use melty synthetic string for your engine starter. Use cord specifically designed for the job.

Replaced the incandescent bulb in my trusty utility lamp with a domestic halogen-replacement LED that I just happened to have knocking around. Half the power and a great deal brighter — possibly too bright.

IMGA0544

Replaced the coaxial connectors on my log and depth instrument. They were being to corrode and the log was unreliable. I had to dismantle the instrument and desolder the old connectors from the circuit board. I bought a pack of 10 replacement connectors from eBay so that should keep me going. NASA Marine were very helpful.

I am finding my new Iroda SolderPro 70 butane soldering iron very useful.

While I was doing that I fixed another problem with the instrument: it’s too bright at night. I couldn’t find a way to do this electronically, but I discovered that the backlight and the display are physically separate. I cut a piece of paper to slip between them and the display is much less dazzling.

IMGA0545

The charts in my Solent chart pack were getting dog-eared, so I’ve edged them all with Scotch Magic tape, which is nearly invisible and takes pencil marks.

IMGA0601

The bow light hack finally failed after two years. The LED replacement bulb fell apart somewhere inside so that the terminals no longer connect. This is probably because it was not designed to be shaken about on the bow of a small boat. I ordered a couple of made-for-purpose replacements, one of which is now in the bow. The other is a spare for either bow or stern.

My mast lift is now a spare halyard. The mast lift is a loop holds the forward part of the sail bundle when the sail is reefed or lowered. Practical Junk Rig (fig. 3.49) has it as a single line from the mast head.

wp-image-1355314572

Practical Junk Rig figure 3.49

I’ve repurposed the enormously long “burgee halyard” that came with Tammy as a spare halyard in it’s place. I’ve felt the need ever since my halyard came off in the Waddenzee. Thanks to Chris Edwards for this idea. (The arrangement below is temporary until I make a new soft shackle.)

IMGA0622

I may re-rig it a shown in Practical Junk Rig figure 3.50b, using the spare halyard on one side, allowing me to reef upwards!

wp-image-1478996357

Practical Junk Rig figure 3.50b

I found and installed a pair of calibrated quick links for the series drogue. It’s surprisingly hard to find shackles that are rated for load, but these beauties are good for at least 12500N each, more than the weight of the boat, and more than the greatest expected load on the drogue. (The drogue still doesn’t exist, in case you’re looking for it.)

I whipped some rope ends!

IMGA0721

I rewired my switch panel using some new terminal blocks and rules: each piece of equipment goes to its own terminal, then switches are wired to terminals using colour-coded jumpers. Much neater, and a model for how I’ll do things when I remake the panel.

IMG_20170922_172631

Expect more small jobs next month.

Leave a comment

Filed under electrics, engine, instruments, lights, mast, Repairs and Modifications, rigging

Red over Green

The YBW forum thread “LED’s in navigation lights will change their color” has some good technical discussion of how installing “white” LEDs (which are not all the same) can affect navigation lights.  You might recall that I’ve installed LEDs in my lights, but I was careful to use a “warm” white LED at the bow.

Anyway, I posted about my plans for mast lights on Tammy Norie, and I thought I’d share my ideas here.

I’ve been without fixed interior lighting in Tammy Norie for a long time.  Last year, I bought some cheap waterproof LED lighting strip to experiment with.  The main problem with it is that the individual LEDs are so bright that they leave afterimages in your eyes.  I ended up tucking the strip into the shelves around the boat so that I couldn’t see it directly.

IMG_20160916_214812

This isn’t a permanent solution, but it’s quite handy for now.

Then I remembered NASA Marine’s “Supernova” masthead lights, which consist of an array of individual LEDs arranged in a circle, and I wondered about wrapping a strip of LEDs around my mast to create an all-round light.

IMG_20160917_040221

This seems like a very easy and cheap thing to rig, and an improvement on my dangly utility light when I’m at anchor or under power.

But what about other masthead lights?

Well, Tammy Norie has deck-level running lights: a red/green bicolour at the bow and a white stern light.  I don’t intend to change that.  I’ve read two separate complaints by ship captains about tricolour lights being hard to see — especially sharp modern LED lights.  I believe tricolour lights exist not to improve visibility, but to save power by having a single incandenscent bulb for the red, green, and white sectors. [Edit: See the comment section for a refutation of this by Annie Hill.] With LED lights using a tenth of the power of incandescents that’s no longer an issue.

Of course it would be nice to be even more visible, and to have some sort of light up the mast to improve visibility at a distance.  It turns out there’s a little used legal light combination that allows a sailing vessel to show both masthead and deck-level lights.  Rule 25(c) says:

A sailing vessel underway may, in addition to the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule, exhibit at or near the top of the mast, where they can best be seen, two all-round lights in a vertical line, the upper being red and the lower green, …

I think I’ve only ever seen this once, on a square-rigged tall ship. There are some nice clear illustrations of this combination at boatcourse.com.

Annex I 2(i)(ii) says:

on a vessel of less than 20 metres in length such lights shall be spaced not less than 1 metre apart

You can see in this picture that there’s quite a lot of clear mast space between the yard hauling parrel and the masthead.

DSC05410

But I suspect there’s rather less than a meter, and there’ll be even less if I build a bigger sail.

So for the moment I’ve just fitted a white strip for use when anchored and motoring. I lowered the mast and moused a four-core cable into both parts. (I left a loop of mousing string in the mast when I installed the conduit.) I cleaned the mast with meths then wrapped the LED strip around in place. Then I gradually pulled the adhesive backing from under the strip and pressed it in place.

IMGA0617

I used a terminal block to connect the light for now, wrapped and secured with tape. That’ll do for testing.
It looks pretty good and is certainly bright. The main problem with this arrangement is that I can see some of it from the cockpit. It may be too bright, but you can simply cut off sections of these strips so it is easily dimmed.

Here is a picture at dusk. (I didn’t think a picture at night would be very, er, illuminating.)

The next step of the plan is to wire up a little matrix using a multi-way rotary switch with positions for sailing, motoring, anchored, etc. That way I can combined my bow bicolour with the new masthead white to give others some idea of my heading when motoring. That will wait until the grand electrical panel rebuild. It’s a bit of a bird’s nest in there at the moment.

I will let you know whether this works out in practice.

4 Comments

Filed under lights, Repairs and Modifications