Monday, April 30, 2012

4-Way Wind Scoop

One of the things we've learned while anchoring in the Chesapeake is the importance of a wind scoop! The summers here can get pretty steamy and anything you can do to increase airflow down below is vital for a comfortable night's sleep.

We had the original Windscoop Ventilator on board our previous boat which does a decent job, but when the wind shifts directions, you have to go up top and reposition the scoop accordingly. This wouldn't be an issue for a shallow drafted boat that points into the wind at anchor, but heavy boats like ours that draw 6' + don't always point into the wind and move with the current instead.

The Original Windscoop

There are several 3- or 4-way or "omni directional" wind scoops on the market, but the most common designs are narrower at top than at hatch level, which in our opinion loses a lot of air.

Plastimo's Omni-Directional Wind Scoop

And with "custom" hatch measurements, most commercial wind scoops wouldn't work with our hatch dimensions. So after looking at many designs on the market, we set out to design our own.

We wanted to maximize airflow as much as possible, so with the bowsprit and high free board, we needed a particularly tall scoop. We also wanted a rigid top that would keep its shape and withstand reasonable wind gusts. And we needed strong, yet light weight material that would move easily, along with a "skirt" that would help direct the airflow and keep the leeward scoop pieces neatly in place.

The result: a 6 1/2 foot tall scoop with four panels made from rip stop nylon. Each panel is wider at the top and tapers down to match the width of the hatch opening. The top is made of nylon flag material, which has better UV characteristics than regular rip stop. A fiberglassed piece of Luann is sandwiched between two pieces of the green nylon flag material to give the top some rigidity, and the 4 panels are sewn to the 4 sides of the top. We bound the four panel edges together with 3/8" Sunbrella binding tape, and attached tube webbing loops to all of the top and bottom to serve as attachment points. The "skirt" was made of Phifertex, which keeps the side panels in place without blocking too much air flow. (The first skirt was made of Sunbrella, but it really knocked down the air and was quickly replaced).

This design really drives the air down below -- you can feel the breeze coming out the cockpit and even flowing into the aft cabin! And whenever the wind changes, the wind scoop self adjusts, giving us one less thing to mess with!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Pressure is On!

June is a little over a month away and we still have a lot to do before Phoenix is ready for her close-up; well, at least her visit from Bruce Bingham and her first sail in nearly 20 years (not counting her 1,100 mile motor from Detroit -- that wasn't sailing)!

All the halyards are spliced, but not all installed. Bill's been hard at work getting the running rigging squared away. New topping lifts and outhauls are just about finished, to name just a few minor tweaks. Next on the list are mast wedges; once they're made we can put the sails on, do a little "dock sailing" and tune the standing rigging.

Of course, the bottom has become a wonderful barnacle farm over the past 7+ years that we've been working on her, so we'll take her to one of the local marinas for a short haul and power wash to tie us over. A full haul out and new bottom paint are slated for later this year -- after we get a chance to sail her a few times...

Fuel polishing system, running lights, getting the head somewhat functional, and the minor task of cleaning up our construction zone down below... I could keep going, but you get the point...

Guess I better quit writing and get to work!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Andromeda Specifications

The Andromeda ketch is a rare breed with an unknown number of fiberglass and/or Ferro-cement versions made by DIY enthusiasts/boat builders.  While the Andromeda is better known, Bruce Bingham made a slight variation in the bow and stern flair of the Andromeda design to create the "Christina" version.  Only 2 Christina fiberglass hulls were made in the Bingham factory, and to our knowledge, no Andromeda's were factory made. Bruce's book -- Ferro Cement Design Techniques and Application -- gives a great deal of insight into the Andromeda's design characteristics, and the line drawings highlight the subtle differences between the two versions.

Phoenix is hull #1 of the Christina line and an outlier among both the Christina's and Andromeda's, as she is the only one we know of with a bow sprit (extending the foot of the headsail for more sail area) and an additional stays’l rig (for a storm sail).  This will provide a variety of different sail configurations for the various sailing conditions we may encounter.

So, for those who are curious, here are the Andromeda specs (Phoenix is a Christina):

LOA                                     48' (54' for Phoenix with bow sprit)
LOD                                     48' (Christina version 49')
LWL                                     40'
Beam                                   14' 6"
Draft                                    6' 6"
Displacement                    38,000 lbs.
Ballast                                 19,000 lbs.
Sail area                              1,257 ft (100% foresail and mizzen)
Mast height                       57'   (above water line)
Sail Area/Displacement   17.9
               Water                   240 gallons
               Fuel                       228 gallons
               Holding                103 gallons

Reprinted with permission from Bruce Bingham

Monday, April 9, 2012

Double Braid Eye Splice

With the wire-to-rope splices done it was time to move on to the two remaining halyards -- the spinnaker and the staysail. These are all line, so they needed an eye splice with a thimble and shackle attached. Most people would start with the eye splice and graduate to the wire-to-rope, but I've never been one to follow conventional wisdom!

When you get the hang of it, eye splices are relatively easy; you just need the right tools for the job. Fids are essential, but ridiculously overpriced. New England ropes has a great chart detailing the appropriate "fid lengths," which vary depending on the size line you're using. Bill used the measurements (and diameters we found online) to make me several fids out of aluminum knitting needles. They were a huge savings, and since they come in pairs I was able to use one as a fid, and the uncut needles served as the "pushers" needed to push the fid and line through the splice.

Once you have all of the tools, you start by measuring one "fid" length on the end of your line. This will be the amount of cover that eventually gets inserted back into the line.

Next you determine the size eye you want to make, and make a second mark. In this case it was dictated by the size of the thimble. Move up the line about 5-6 more fid lengths, and tie a jamming knot. Then go back to your second mark and extract the core from the cover.

Hold on to the core and "milk" the cover towards your jamming knot and back again a few times to "equalize" the lines. Your core should now be a bit longer than the cover. Make one mark on the core where it now exits the cover. Pull more of the core out and make a mark one short fid from the initial mark. Then another mark 1 1/2 fid lengths further down the line.

To make a more streamlined splice, you should taper the cover before feeding it into the core. Extract a few strands every inch or so from your first mark down towards the end of the line and cut them flush with the cover. IF you are adding a shackle, this is also the time to slide it on the core -- it will be too late after this point.

Now, insert your fid into the core at the short fid mark, and feed it through until it exits from your third mark. Put your cover end into the fid and use a "pusher" to move the fid and cover through the core. Tie a small knot at the end of the cover so it doesn't go back in while you're working on the next step.

Feeding the core into the cover is a bit trickier, since it will be a tight fit towards the end of the splice and if you force it too much, it will bunch up an seize. Insert your fid into the core at your first mark, and feed it through, past the point where you originally extracted the core and keep going about a short fid length. If it gets to tight, pull more core out. This also helps ensure you didn't snag any lines along the way. Put the end of the core inside the fid and use your pusher to move the fid and core through the cover. Once it's through, pull it tightly to remove any bunching at the "cross-over" (essentially the juncture where the cover and core meet). Hold on to the cross-over and smooth the line out.

Taper the ends of both the cover and the core so they essentially disappear back into your splice.

Your splice is now essentially done, except it's a bit oversized and you need to milk the cover back over itself to close your splice. Find something secure (a winch, a fence post, etc.) and belay your jamming knot to it. Hold firmly on your splice and milk the cover back, keeping tension on your splice the entire time. IF you're using a thimble, make sure you put it in spot before the eye closes too much. Milk slowly, being careful not to bunch up the line. Give it a few tugs, snaps, bends, etc. until the core moves all the way around the eye. The bigger the line, the more tension, tugs and muscle you'll need to get the job done, but in the end, you'll have a great looking eye splice that maintains the full strength of the line!