Tag Archives: unsinkable

Project documents and unsinkability

This is a bit of an unusual blog post. It’s here to direct you to another place: the Tammy Norie Project Documents repository.  That’s where I’ve been developing some of the more complicated engineering projects, including this winter’s big ones:

Now, you might find these documents a bit inaccessible. They aren’t really intended as light or entertaining reading. They are engineering plans that I am using to get this work done.  I’m keeping them updated as I get along with the projects. But if you dig a little you’ll find journals within the documents that record what I’m doing day to day, and will eventually be edited in to blog posts.

I decided to publish them so that other people could benefit from seeing the projects develop, and how I approach these kinds of engineering problems. I’m also hoping that interested folks might have suggestions or spot mistakes before I make them!

The documents are stored in the Git version control system on GitHub, so you can see every change I’ve made to the documents. Become a GitHub user and you can leave comments on any part of any document or any change. You’re very welcome to do so.

Lastly, this is not a replacement for the blog. I intend to write articles here on the blog with summaries of things that I’ve done, and these will be a lot more digestible.  But if you’re really interested in details do dig in.


Filed under Plans, Unsinkability


Tammy Norie’s headlining looked lovely when I bought her, but after a short time sailing it started to fall off. The glue and foam on the back of the vinyl started to give up, probably when it started getting a little damp. Well, she had been in storage for 25 years.

Last summer I stuck it up with tape and carried on sailing. Now I’ve stripped it all out and given her a coat of paint instead. Here’s a short video about how I did that. (Spoiler: use an oscillating multi-tool.)

And here she is with her new paint job in Hempel “light cream”, which happens to match her topsides and interior gelcoat almost perfectly. Very sunny!


This will certainly do for the summer.

In the longer term I intend to line her with closed cell foam and some sort of covering. My goal is to displace over 1m³ of water with foam, providing over 1t of buoyancy. That should make Tammy Norie unsinkable. I’ve calculated that 10mm of foam on all the surfaces I’ve just painted, plus the cushions, add up to about 1m³, and that’s not counting the locker interiors or any other voids, so it’s quite achievable. (Of course, to use the cushions for buoyancy I’d need to come up with a scheme for attaching them much more strongly to the boat, but I have some ideas.)

I was reminded of the importance of this scheme on launch day when three friends from CUYC dropped by to see Tammy Norie and told me they’d just seen a collision and very rapid sinking right nearby in the Solent.

Not for me, thanks. Tammy Norie will pass The Mingming Test.


Filed under headlining, Repairs and Modifications

Autumn plans

The summer was fantastic. I have gained so many experiences in the past few months that it surprises me to look back on them. Did I really do all that?

And now everything must seem very quiet to regular followers of this blog. This is something of an illusion. Two things are happening. I’m having to get on with some work. But also I’m quietly planning all the things I want to do with Tammy Norie before spring.

The next goal on my long term plan is the Jester Baltimore Challenge 2015: solo sailing from Plymouth to Baltimore in June. While not yet a true ocean crossing, it’s a significant bit of offshore solo sailing, and I need to prepare.

The most important item on the list is mechanical self-steering gear. Tammy Norie’s electronic tiller pilot has done well over the summer, but it sometimes plays up, fails to keep a course in some conditions, and I’ve managed to break it once already. I want a reliable wind vane, and I’ll keep the tiller pilot as backup.

I plan to build a Hebridean. Building my own self-steering will not only be interesting, it’ll give me a thorough understanding, and a much better chance of being able to repair or adapt the gear. It’s also a cheap option. If the Hebridean doesn’t work out, I will have lost only a little money and learned a great deal.

The second item on my list is to either make Tammy Norie unsinkable or repair the liferaft. My plans for making her unsinkable involve lining her with foam and that includes fixing up the headlining, so it might be a good move in any case.

I would like to have a Jordan series drogue ready. I’ve had various opinions on this. Most people think I’m unlikely to need one for the Baltimore challenge, but several have also said that I really should have one in general, given Tammy’s small size. So I’m going to see if I can get this done too.

I would also like to build a new sail, so that I have more flexibility in adverse conditions. This is quite a big job, probably involving re-engineering the mast step, so it may not get done this winter. The current sail is good enough, and it’s not a safety issue.

There are, of course, various bits of kit I need: a simple reliable GPS, an SSB radio receiver, a distress beacon (though I may just rent an EPIRB for the Baltimore challenge). I have a much longer list of things I’d like to have, but those are the only ones I think I ought to have before going offshore.

And of course, sailing! I’ll get Tammy on a mooring in Portsmouth Harbour as soon as I can for some autumn and winter sailing.

I’ll be writing about each of these projects in time, so watch this space!


Filed under drogue, Plans, sail