Saturday, 16 July 2016

Ama considerations

Ama design is top of mind right now. Here is one possibility: taking a couple copies off of one of Andrew's little 12' catamarans that he has for sale.
It looks a perfect shape and size, to me. Here's how much of it I'd use:
About 10" high by 8' long.

Evening paddle

I put in at the end of my street for the second time. It was a perfect evening for a paddle. 

I almost stabbed a seal pup in the face with my paddle! Lost my cadence by it! No photo, of course, it happened so quickly, and I wasn't going to go back and disturb the thing any more than I already did. The seal pup was just under the surface, right where my blade was headed, looking up at me. Mom was nearby.
I've got a name for the piece of aluminum at the end of the skeg that the boat rests on. I was likening it to a toe nail. Now I'm calling it a "skid plate".
Above, the skid plate hangs in, not sliding on the wet cement of the ramp. The cart is farther forward than I've had it before. It worked well for going uphill stern-first, with me pushing on the bow, but next time it'll be centred better.
In some of the photos you can see a seat back. I've been negligent in documenting that and the fibreglass seat I made from a mold that John has.

Below is my track from this evening. You might be able to go there in the Navionics web app. You can see the airport "runways" outlined in green: 
Around the second corner was the sweet little cove below. The whole area is under-developed and therefore fairly natural, because it's DND land. The islands in the DND areas have "No Trespassing" signs on them.
I saw some pigeon guillemots, lots of geese, quite a few oyster catchers and a number of seals with their babies. The babies have a soft call that sounds like "Ma".

Cart wheels

Godfrey found a kids stroller at the second-hand store. We shared the wheels.
I took the two larger wheels, since they fit my cart so well. The axles fit them perfectly. I won't worry so much now, going over bumps and ruts. Godfrey has the four smaller wheels.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Kayak mode, 2016 R2AK Victoria Start

Andrew and I went down to the marina in the Inner Harbour where the R2AK boats were tied after a Thai dinner at Siam (very tasty!) and by good fortune arrived when someone was at the gate who could let us in. (I thought they were always open, naive me. It was party night, people weren't on their boats, so no visitors.)

We got to see most of the boats that would be setting out the next day in the Race to Alaska (including a SUP paddle board!), and talked to a few quite enthusiastic people. There are a large number of trimarans in this race. It looks like tris are finally coming into their own! Or they already have and I just didn't notice?

On Sunday I launched my boat at the foot of my street for the first time, and I'm very happy to say that it went completely without a hitch. Here's the boat just about to go onto the car after I came back from paddling:
Because there's no sailing in the harbour, I left the amas and sail rig behind. This was the first time taking her out as just a kayak.
Here's the path to the only ramp on this side of the harbour, which just happens to be at the end of my street:
The skeg shoe, or toenail, worked a treat, leaving a 1"-wide clearcut trail through the barnacles on the ramp. I was able to pick the boat up by the bow, lift the bow to chest height, and push the stern of the boat down the ramp on the skeg shoe. The reverse worked just as well, bringing her out.

Godfrey brought his sailing dory out from the marina and we tried to cut across the harbour, whereupon one of the Authority types whipped over, blue lights flashing, to tell us we had to go around. Damn! It was fifteen minutes from the start of the race, and a fair distance around, so I high-balled it and left Godfrey behind. It happened that he sailed out farther than I wanted to go anyway.

I was on time to see the boats people-powered coming out of the harbour, then raising their sails as they rounded the harbour marker (or before, which some did) to take advantage of a nice medium-light Northerly. Some switched modes more successfully than others.
I sat in my boat and took little video clips of the boats going by. I missed some of the entrants. The videos are very jiggly and jumpy, but I'm going to put them together and see if Mr. Google can smooth them out—sometimes that works really well.

After all that, I paddled to the Inner Harbour and, on the now-empty docks where the R2AK crowd had been, ate the lunch I had brought, which included a thermos of coffee and cream in a cold pack to go in it. (Cream does not do well hot for long periods, I find.) Thus fortified, and after talking to the last team that hadn't left the dock yet (the women's 8-person sailing longdory, Team Kraken Up), I made my way home on the other side of the harbour.

I'm happy to report that my body hasn't suffered from my adventure, except for sore muscles and tiredness. I realized I hadn't paddled a kayak in about 22 years! Today I'm tired and sore, but happy.

There are some tweaks to be made. My butt got sore, and I need knee pads under the deck. John has a mold for a seat, and I have some nice foam I can glue on under the decks for the knees. I needed a plug for the leeboard pivot hole, so I picked up a stick and whittled one, drilled a hole in it and put a lanyard on it. And the back rest needs improvement.

What I learned:
• I want to use the rudder when paddling, to offset winds pushing me around.
• That cart is amazing! I didn't think it would work so well, but it does great.
• I love my new double paddle. It's very light (24 oz). And, no, my hands don't get wet. I think it could be about the flick I give the blade as it comes out of the water.

I gave up paddling some 22 years ago because my back gave out. Since then I haven't wanted to go back there: kayak paddling was associated with acute pain. But now that I got myself a kayak in the guise of a sailboat, I find that it works okay. I know I won't be able to do the long rides I used to, and that's alright. I'm okay with being an old man whose circle is getting smaller and smaller.

Now I'm starting to plan the larger amas, and short trips in the kayak.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Official launch

A few friends were on hand for the "real" launch at Oak Bay. Here's Golightly ready to roll down the ramp:
And still high on the cart:
Heading out, ghosting along:
Looking for the wind:
Checking to see how relaxed I could be sailing:
Not enough wind to fill out the sail here.

Returned and waiting for the ramp to be clear:

What I've learned
• The amas are too small. It doesn't take much wind to send them under!
• I can, with my bad back, manage getting the boat on and off the car.*
This was a big question for me, which was answered today.

• Back to the drawing board before sailing in any wind.
• I'll be paddling for now.

The build has been a worthwhile effort. I'm going to relax awhile before making new heavy-weather amas.

* To get the boat off the car, I turn it and set the stern on the ground beside the car. Then I strap the wheels to it. Then lift the bow off the car and down she goes onto the wheels. On is the reverse.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Pre-launch sortie

Vidas helped to get the boat down from the loft at John's shop. It went better than I had anticipated. Here she is, first time in the open air, ready to hit the water (only one ama fits on top with the main hull):
Thankfully, the only day John had to do this with me (I think he wanted to make sure that whatever was coming out of his shop met his demanding standards ;-) was sunny, with a light wind and no waves.

For the first part, I wanted to see how she worked as a simple kayak, so just put the rudder on and left the rest on the dock:
I know, I look like such a dweeb! The silly lifejacket doesn't help much.
The boat is quite stable as a kayak, and performed very well.

Then, the trimaran was put together on the dock:
The onlooker is a fisheries guy who was on the job getting the Creel stats from in-coming fishers. He was very interested in the boat. It was quite busy at the facility with sport fishermen coming and going.

She sailed quite well, steered well and tacked well.
I had forgot to install a downhaul line, so in the pic above I'm rigging a substitute.
I went outside of the little harbour here and caught some real wind for a few minutes, and it was good. John likes that the amas just barely touch the water at rest. I found that just leaning to windward was a good righting factor.

Official launch party is tentatively planned for tomorrow (Monday, June 20) at Oak Bay public ramp, 10:00 am. Unfortunately, a pretty low tide. But hopefully I'll have some bodies to help carry to the water from the ramp.

Thanks again to John Booth, who made this adventure possible. I'm going to be (happily) working off my debt to you over the next few months...  -e.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Skeg shoe, new weight

When I put the cart under the boat I lifted the bow, and noticed that the bottom tip of the skeg was taking all the weight of the boat. So I made a skeg shoe—more like a toenail, really—out of aluminum:
Aluminum is a good choice, as it tends to be grippy. If you've ever tried to drag an aluminum boat across rocks you'll know what I mean. And the piece is wedge-shaped at the back, so presumably it'll dig in and keep the boat from sliding away from me as I lift.

New Weight!

That's 49 pounds now, hull and hatch covers.