Shakedown cruise report

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Shakedown cruise report

Postby fatjackdurham » Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:02 pm

I don't know if it common to report results from sailing here, but on one of the other forums I frequent, we post "range reports" after shooting at the range. So I figured I'd do the same here with regards to my first voyage on the boat.

After fixing the mast last night, I finished test rigging the boat this morning while I waited for my new cockpit drain to arrive. I landed out all the gear for inspection. Safety kit, flotation devices, etc. I stowed them all and hooked up the trailer and waited. The part came at about 11, but the cap was too short. The long cap I had ordered wasn't due until Wednesday. I duck taped over the drain hole with gorilla tape and headed out. I was heading to the Georgia Shore boat ramp on Lake Champlain, about an hour's drive.

The drive passed uneventfully, or so I though. When I got out of my car to rig the boat, I discovered that I had lost the mast crutch I had in the rudder gudgeons. I sure hope it didn't hurt any one. The mast wasn't damaged, even though it could have slid sideways and dragged along the pavement. I proceeded to rig.

Putting the boat in, the first thing I noticed was the tree over hanging the ramp. I eyeballed it, and decided I could make it. The second thing I noticed were the concrete sea walls with no dock. The wind was blowing from NNW, about ten knots, diagonally in across the ramp. I backed a little to far in, and the small waves floated the boat right off the trailer and sideways across the ramp. The starboard stern was just bumping against the corner of the concrete.....

I hopped out of the car and ran around to the boat. I had tied a new rope to the bow cleat to help manage it once I got it off the trailer. Pulling that rope I beached the boat a little ways up the ramp and tied it to a nearby boulder. The waves were still licking at the stern, but it was safe for the moment.

After parking my car and trailer, I tried to plan how to launch out without a dock. I figured I'd just manually turn the boat upwind, push out and hop over the stern. Once in deeper water, I could star the motor, power out a few yards and drop anchor to raise the sails. Can anyone guess the flaw in the plan? I mean the one that actually happened, not all the other ones.

It start out fine. I prepared the anchor, untied the boat, waded in, turned her, pushed, and even at 300 lbs, jumped spryly over the stern. My flip flops remained in the water, a fact I would later regret.

Then, the motor wouldn't start.

I had started it minutes earlier to test. But, it doesn't have a gear shifter, it's a small, 2.2 hp motor that is always in gear. I had shut it off to avoid grounding the prop on the ramp. Now it wouldn't start. And the wind was driving me back toward shore, just a few yards away, covered in sharp granite boulders.

After five pulls, I realized the motor was a no-go. I scrambled up to the bow, grabbed the anchor, and flung it as far as I could, which was barely five yards. But it was five yards further from shore. I pulled in on the anchor line, drawing the boat forward, pulled up the anchor and flung it out again. The wind had blown me down shore, and after kedging out three or four times, I just missed colliding with someone's dock.

The anchor held, so I took a breather and tried to start the engine again. No luck. The owner of the dock came out and we chatted a bit. Nice lady. Took the near calamity very well.

Thinking the engine must be flooded, I set about finishing rigging. The next challenge was that the centerboard would NOT budge. Of course I had had no way to check this on land, the trailer being in the way. I pulled with all my might but could not lower the dang thing. Fortunately, when I bought my safety kit, I also bought a mask, and the boat came with a swim ladder. Down and under I went.

There was enough room at the end of the centerboard for me to stick my fingers in and grab it. It didn't budge. I tried again as I started to run out of breath. It gave, just a little. Popping up to get another breath, I dove down and curved my hand up around the end of the centerboard. With my shoulders pressed against the keel, I heaved, and the board finally started to drop. One more heave and, as it passed 45 degrees, it came all the way down.

Back in the boat, I pondered my options. A lot had gone wrong, and I hadn't even raised the sails. I watched a motorboat come down the ramp. He was having a tough time with the wind too. Once in the water, it seemed he was having engine troubles also. But, he got it started as he drifted passed me and offered to tow me "oat". Canadian. I thanked him, but said I thought I could handle things.

Getting my wind back, I went forward and raised the sails. The Canadian watched, puttering a short distance away. I noticed that the foot of the sail completely filled the boom slot end to end, leaving barely an inch to take up with the out haul. If the mast was too long, the boom was too short. Sails up, rudder down, centerboard cleated, I was ready. I lashed the tiller a bit to starboard and walked up to the bow to pull up the anchor. The boat smoothly advanced turning slightly to port. The anchor came up, and in the eyes of my neighbor to the north at least, it seemed I knew what I was doing.

Back in the cockpit, I trimmed the sails and the boat leaped forward. Waves were exchanged to the shore lady and the Canadian, and I headed out, beating straight away from shore

I always marvel how calme a sailboat is once you actually are under way. Before that, with the sails flapping and boat rocking, it's quite stressful. But, now, I was on a steady tack, heading out toward Grand Isle. I lashed the tiller and set about straightening up. The anchor line was tangled and the cuddy was a mess. The boat calmly sailed itself while I took care of things. Savage Island passed to my south, off the port side, and after about forty minutes, I had almost reached Hyde Point, which was nominally directly across from the boat ramp, about 2.5 miles.

I came about and headed back towards the Georgia Shore, heading NE. I noticed right away, the boat was more stable on the starboard tack than the now port tack. I am sure my shrouds weren't tight enough and maybe the mast was still leaning more to one side. But, it also could have been the wind and the waves. The wind occasionally picked up, and I had my gunwhales in the water much of the time. I tacked again after about another forty minutes, and once more, turning north-east towards St. Albans Bay. This was a long tack, as the wind was perfect for the heading. I relaxed and concentrated on the boat.

The main sail was yellowed, and pretty much blown. There was a nagging luff around the tack of the sail, partly due to the lack of good tension, but the leech was steady. The jib is in quite good shape, though the sheet blocks are fixed, and could have stood to be mounted a little further forward. I opened an inspection port and was thrilled to see it dry, or nearly so, after two hours of sailing. A leaking center board trunk was my greatest worry.

There was little traffic on this part of the lake. It's not as popular as Mallets Bay or Shelburne Bay, because there is not a single marina north of Sandbar State Park, all the way to St. Albans. But, there were a few large sailboats and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Finally, I passed Burton Island, and was approaching Lazy Lady Island in St. Albans Bay. I thought to sail around it, but it was still a mile off, and, looking over my shoulder, I estimated I had three more hours of sunlight. I jibed and headed back down the shore, rolling on a run/broad reach. Occasionally, the wind would shift west, and I would pick up pretty good speed, leaving a respectable strern wake.

The ramp finally came into view and I started to plan how I was going to get the boat out. I figured I would anchor up wind, douse the sails and then try to drift down to the ramp, controlling the boat with the anchor. Yeah, right. I came in perfectly and tossed the anchor, which dragged for fifty yards until I was ten yards downwind from the ramp. Oh, well.

I doused the sails, pulled up the rudder and tried half heartedly to start the motor again. Nope. And, the centerboard refused to go up any easier than it went down. Underwater, I had to put my back against the lake bottom and push to get it stowed. I'm going to have to figure out what to do about that. Since I was already wet, waded the boat back up to the ramp and beached it again.

Fortunately, there was a fellow there who helped me get the boat on the trailer, which would have been a disaster by my self. I pulled it out, tiredly derigged, folded the sails and went home.

The boat, curious as it is, sailed pretty well considering the hodge podge rigging and general condition. That's how good these O'Day boats are. Anyway, my biggest concern was the hull, and it turns out to be solid, so I am confident enough to assign a name to the boat.

I give you "Caribbean Dream".
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Re: Shakedown cruise report

Postby GreenLake » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:17 am

Great idea about posting a report.

Sounds like you had an adventure, but managed to get some good sailing in as well.

I'm curious how you secure your rudder that it doesn't come off?
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Shakedown cruise report

Postby fatjackdurham » Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:19 am

not sure what you mean. Why would the rudder come unattached? If you are referring to the mast crutch I lost, I figure I must have hit a bump along the way and it bounced out. I thought I had the mast secured tightly down, but I must have not had it tight enough.

As far as the rudder goes, I was thinking of adding a "latch" sort of like the one I had on my Mariner, that flips down over the top pintle for that purpose. However, the rudder stayed in the whole time.

I just did a search and I guess the part is called a rudder lift stop, at least on a laser. I'll order one.
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Re: Shakedown cruise report

Postby GreenLake » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:19 pm

Mast crutch in the rudder gudgeons is a great idea. I do that myself. Amazingly, mine is made from a bit of 1x4, but it's plenty strong enough for the task - the main is supported closer to its center of gravity at the mast-step (and recently also supported again above the trailer winch; I went for many years without that, but feel better about supporting the front of the mast).

I have a rudder lift stop like youl describe a short length of stiff stainless steel strap attached to the rudder head. Unless pressed flat for rudder removal, it wedges itself below the top gudgeon, keeping the rudder from riding up. As added security, I also have a part that looks like it was original with the boat, it's an L shaped piece of metal attached to the transom above the top gudgeon and it swings down so it blocks the rudder, and if turned sideways, the pintle can pass it. I have no idea what it would be called, but I like the fact that when it engages it stops the rudder even more positively than the lift stop (the latter I found can sometimes be bent by main force - probably strong enough for wave action etc. but I like the extra security of having a dual catch).

To secure the mast, I have a bungee (actually one of those PU straps) that holds it to the mast crutch - even if my mast crutch had come out, it would still be attached to the mast. Then, I run a long bungee between the stern cleats, with one wrap around the mast. That would normally do it, especially as I only go a few miles to the closest launch. Recently, I've added a line that has one bowline knot for a loop on one end to go over the cleat and after taking a turn around the mast, I belay it on the other cleat.

That line really makes sure mast and crutch stay with the boat when trailering, but the bungee means I don't have to try to get all slack out of it; the bungee will prevent the mast from bouncing too much even if there's a bit of slack in that line.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Shakedown cruise report

Postby GreenLake » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:30 pm

I thought your experience with the motor was a great cautionary tale about relying on auxiliary propulsion... for minor maneuvers at the dock, I tend to use a paddle. It's great also to stop a boat that's going too fast: just stick it down vertically as a brake.

What changes would you make to your launch/retrieval sequence? Would you have been able to paddle out a few feet to anchor? I fond the idea of anchoring off shore to raise sails interesting. I normally just raise the jib and push off far enough from the beach to allow the boat to turn, then gain some distance from shore with the jib and luff up to raise the main. (May need more than one cycle of falling off to gain speed and luffing up again). I've always had crew for beach launches though, and the winds tend to be more parallel to shore, perhaps than was the case for you.

On coming back in, I would drop the main into the cockpit, luff up or use the paddle to lose some speed and then just beach the boat directly. If the wind is not onshore, I'd just let the mainsheet out to depower the main.

Love your observation about a quiet boat when it gets going.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Shakedown cruise report

Postby fatjackdurham » Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:56 pm

That L-shaped one is what I had on my 1967 Mariner. Don't know why they stopped using it.

Changes to my launch. Well, I need to make a few adjustments to the trailer, to hold the boat better. And, I won't back so far down. Fenders are a must. At that particular ramp, there is a gravel beach nearby, I'll pull the boat over there. But the wind and waves made it super hard to control the boat and keep it off the rocks. I think I'll get my motor fixed and use that to back the boat of the trailer and probably still anchor out in the water and wade back in to move the car.

Raising the jib and sailing out is th proper way to do it of course and usually that is what I have done, but the wind was from the worst direction for that.

I'll make another mast crutch as soon as I get time. Today. I have to mow.
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Re: Shakedown cruise report

Postby GreenLake » Sun Jul 30, 2017 4:11 pm

I mentioned the mast crutch being made from a simple length of 1x4 (with a rounded V notch at the top and two pintles at the bottom) because I've seen many boats here where people use multiple 2x4's or even 2x6's to create mast supports that would be strong enough to hold the boat. I think I replaced mine like-for-like after the previous one that had come with the boat showed signs of weathering, but there was never any question that it wasn't strong enough. Don't know what yours was like, but wanted to make sure you didn't end up overbuilding your replacement.

About motoring off the trailer. I just want to point out that when you motor off the trailer, you won't have your CB down. The DS does not steer well in that condition. However, if you motor backwards into the wind, it might weather-vane in a good direction, basically being pulled along. But don't expect that you can keep the bow into the wind w/o at least some CB down.

I have two depths to which I immerse my trailer. For launch, I use the tilt feature on the trailer, so I just go to about the hub into the water, tilt the trailer and let the DS roll in (keel and bow are roller supported and the rollers continue to the back). I've learned that it's critical to let the boat roll free (no tug on the painter), but if I do, it launches without going sideways.

For retrieval, I back the trailer in just to the level of the rearmost roller. That one has a notch to capture the bow. With the bow captive, I can lever the boat straight using the painter (in stronger side winds I like to tie a long line to a stern cleat and ask a helper to pull just enough to prevent the stern from swinging downwind). Once straight, I pull it up over the next roller, now it sits firm and I can attach the winch cable. (With winds from the side, or with wakes/wave I may need a helper to pull the painter upwind a bit to keep the bow from jumping off the rollers). Once on the rollers like this, the boat pulls straight - the trick to that, I learned by experiment, is to have the bunks mounted high enough that they start taking all the weight as soon as the bow is forward.

Given the dimensions of my trailer this means I do not have to back the car into the water.

These techniques work for me, but I usual do not have to contend with waves. There's one launch area that is exposed to constant wakes, I use it less often, but use the same approach.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Shakedown cruise report

Postby fatjackdurham » Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:26 pm

The old mast crutch was actually welded one inch box steel. I make make another the same way. It had two notches, one for the mast and one for the boom.

I scanned some of the boat ramps on google maps satillite view. There is a ramp in Milton on the Lamoille River that has a dock and is probably sheltered from the wind. I could sail down to Mallets Bay. But, it's south of the Sandbar, which is the wrong side from where I was sailing yesterday, a part of Lake Champlain called the Inland Sea. That part has a number of Island you can sail to.

I'll just have to get better at launching and recovery.
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Re: Shakedown cruise report

Postby GreenLake » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:01 am

The steel may weather better, perhaps, and if you prefer working with it...

I have my mast secured rather far forward, to where it overhangs the towing vehicle. But then, I'm known to parallel park my rig after the race in front of whatever dive we are hanging out in, and you definitely don't want something sticking out too far to the back for that.

That said, the mast support that's attached to the mast step (cuddy) supports the center of the mast, so the other supports really don't carry a lot of weight. They serve mostly to keep the mast aligned - they take some loads when the boat is parked and the mast hold up the tarp. (I leave the boom on the seat - it's something that works well for an original DS1, but I understand that being able to hang your boom at the back is what you want for a DS2. I can see where that would add a bit of load and the need for the second notch and all that.)
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Shakedown cruise report

Postby GreenLake » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:09 am

[quote="fatjackdurham"]I'll just have to get better at launching and recovery.[/quote

Don't we all :)

Took me a couple of seasons to where I had figured out how to optimize my trailer configuration. Before that, the boat would jump off the rollers about every other try, and if not that, it would not load straight and have to be manhandled into alignment.

I am blessed with access to ramps that are sheltered at my preferred launch locations, but I've used some other places.

One of the trickier challenges is to dock on a lake with strong wake-induced waves where the dock does not have a vertical face (it's just horizontal and mainly above the hull to where placing a fender is a real challenge - and often not possible). There are several places that I visit that have that issue. I usually figure something out, and I'm sure you'll have a workable routine soon, as well.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Shakedown cruise report

Postby Leob1 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:33 am

That was an excellent report, and very similar to my first shake down "cruise". I too had a motor issue. It ran beautiful in the bucket on my drive way. At the lake, on the boat, couldn't get the thing started. So paddles were used. The center board wouldn't go down, but a little tugging, with both hands got it down. Sailing was a non-issue because there was really no wind to speak of.
Hopefully I can get up to Lake Champlain next summer, my daughter lives in Burlington. From the times I've been there, the wind can get a little strong.
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Re: Shakedown cruise report

Postby fatjackdurham » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:04 pm

Leob1 wrote:That was an excellent report, and very similar to my first shake down "cruise". I too had a motor issue. It ran beautiful in the bucket on my drive way. At the lake, on the boat, couldn't get the thing started. So paddles were used. The center board wouldn't go down, but a little tugging, with both hands got it down. Sailing was a non-issue because there was really no wind to speak of.
Hopefully I can get up to Lake Champlain next summer, my daughter lives in Burlington. From the times I've been there, the wind can get a little strong.


Aw! If you do come up, lets get together and race!!!! Winds up here can be quite fickle. They are usually from the south-west, and in those cases are usually less than 10 knots. If we get a weather pattern in the Atlantic, like this weekend, the winds switch to the north, and those are quite a party! However, it it's "convection" winds on really hot days, then the wind changes direction every couple of hundred yards.

As a kid at summer camp on the late, it seemed to have a pattern. Calm for two days, light winds for two days, one day of sick wind followed by (sometimes concurrent with) a ripping good thunderstorm, then calm.

It'd be good to have you up here.
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Re: Shakedown cruise report

Postby badnews » Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:55 pm

When we bought our DSII it came with an old 4 hp Evinrude. I tried to get the guy to split the boat and motor and reduce the price, but he insisted on selling it all together so I loaded it up and headed for home. During the drive the primer bulb on the fuel line ruptured and by the time we got home there must have been a gallon of fuel or more all over the back of the truck. I immediately sold that thing for whatever I could get, tore the mount off the transom and tossed a pair of canoe paddles in the cabin. It really doesn't take much effort to move a Daysailer around. I intended to install oarlocks like some of the guys on here but I've decided to try a standup paddleboard paddle instead. I think it'll be easy and comfortable enough as it will let me stand and stretch out a bit as I paddle.

I'm in central New Hampshire, not too far from Lake Champlain. If there's several of us in the area perhaps we can set up a meet.
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Re: Shakedown cruise report

Postby GreenLake » Sat Aug 05, 2017 2:02 pm

Many years ago on the shakedown cruise for my DS1 - it was the first time I ever sailed a boat with a jib, and, of course, very promptly, the starboard jib track tore off. Had had the good sense of enlisting someone more experienced and he rigged something temporary with the remnants, while I sailed us home into building winds. Arrived at the beach simultaneous with an unforecast thunderstorm. Fun times.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Shakedown cruise report

Postby fatjackdurham » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:23 pm

Cool! I have considered oarlocks.
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