Please visit our home site at www.TRILOBOATS.com.

Anke and I are building our next boat, and writing about it at ABargeInTheMaking.blogspot.com. Access to the net comes and goes, so I'll be writing in fits and spurts.

Please feel free to browse the archives, leave comments where you will and write, and I'll respond as I can.

Fair winds!

Dave and Anke
triloboats swirl gmail daughter com

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Rant and Roar: The Problem of Purity





We'll rant and we'll roar, like true British sailors,
We'll rant and we'll roar, all across the salt sea...
-- British Sea Chanty


Rant and Roar: The Problem of Purity

Jerome 'Jay' FitzGerald is one of the sailors I very much respect, albeit across quite a gulf of attitude and approach.

Jay makes a case for 'pure' sailing vessels in fierce terms. While some are affronted, I confess to enjoying a passionate and provocative rant. He challenges me to review my own choices, ever a worthwhile venture.

For him, a vessel with a motor is not a sailboat, but rather a sail assisted powerboat.

In his Wind and Tide: An Introduction to Cruising in Pure Sailing Craft, he writes (his emphasis):
...Without the engine, had they encountered [a] hundred feet of contrary current and not been able to deal with it – even after a thousand miles, they still would have failed to make port. Properly, then, their [dependence on power] ratio should be expressed as 100% power-assisted sail, as they would have been helpless without the engine. It is important to note that in any activity that is judged by its completion, a 1% failure means a 100% failure... Let us be 100% sailors...
Strong words, and a stirring call to develop the full range of a sailor's skills for the safety and sheer joy they afford. In his writings, he shares many of those skills, and further elaborates on his themes.

I find it instructive to examine why it is that his position is not my own, despite that I'm a passionate advocate of wind-and-muscle cruising.

There is the matter of purity. I'm allergic to the notion. Purity seems to me a questionable gradient.

Which is more pure? A fiberglass or plywood hull? How about one made of timbers 'harvested' from a forest? A sail of dacron or of Egyptian cotton? How about if I grow, spin and weave the cloth? A bronze or galvanized fitting? How 'bout I make my own from drift teak? Am I pure, yet?

I'm unlikely to personally participate in any production aspect of the wholesale form of these items. None come without environmental cost. Sure, some more than others, but purity is hardly the standard in cost/benefit analysis.

In Jay's argument, “a hundred feet of contrary current”, insurmountable to the impure sailor absent engine assist, marks a 'failed voyage'.

Thing is, being thwarted within spitting distance of harbor happens frequently to us 'pure sailors'. It happens to Jay. More skill and a more able boat, the less often is all. The voyage takes another turn and takes a while longer... it may not end until that port is eventually made, but neither has it failed.

If ya survive, ya think ya had a good time!

Similarly, where Jay argues the superior aesthetics of engine-free sailing, I sympathize, but recognize personal preferences. He argues the character building virtues of adversity. Me? I go out of my way to avoid 'em!

Jay eloquently argues that pure sail is cheaper, simpler, and safer than having a motor. Now he's talkin'! Here I have no qualms or quibbles. It's not that hundred feet of contrary current that's the problem; it's the motor quitting in the jaws at port's entrance, with all sail stowed on a dark and stormy night. We'd never be there without faith in our engine.

So I find myself rather pragmatic than pure.

Sifting through the fun of a good rant, I agree that engines can slow the learning curve and substitute for skill. I agree that the aesthetic and challenge of sail can be quashed by the motor. I agree that they can tempt one into situations beyond our engine-less abilities and quit, abandoning us to fate.

They can and often do.

But we each of us face the sea with our own set of values, abilities, proclivities and context. One sailor may advise another, but we must each steer our own course, sailing a thousand choices. Ultimately, our choices, intersecting with the sea, determine the voyage. Caution's a virtue, no matter how we roll. We learn as we go, usually via whatever set of hard knocks we've arranged for ourselves.

And fair winds to us all!



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A First Look at Vertical Sculling Oars

The downward edge is the leading edge.
Note upward bend at the inboard end.
Source
Atsushi Doi''s I-Scull from his US Patent
The downward edge is the leading edge.
Note upward bend at the inboard end.
In recent versions, the handle pin has been moved to the upper side.


In a fishtail gleam
 She leans to kiss me as she goes...
-- From The King of Britain's Daughter(?) byGillian Clarke

A First Look at Vertical Sculling Oars

The Chinese Yuloh and similar Japanese Ryo are horizontal blade sculling systems. The blade follows a 'falling leaf' pattern, angling across the sweep and switching leading edges at the end of each stroke, and kicking up a little turbulent 'fuss' at each switch.

Atsushi Doi, Douglas Martin and others have been taking a good look at vertical blade sculling systems.

The blade is still swept to and fro, but the forward edge always leads, with less fuss at the switch (especially once moving forward). This otherwise wasted energy is, in theory, availlable to generate thrust.

A second refinement is that the relatively high aspect ratio blade (long for its height) is not only allowed, but encouraged to twist, much as might a propeller blade. This has positive, hydrodynamic effects (laminar effects discussed here). In part, water is turned and tossed aftward... increasing its equal and opposite thrust forward.

In Douglas Martin's oar, shown above, the slender tip is hooked aft of the blade's Center of Lateral Resistance (CLR). As the blade is pushed sideways (albeit at an angle) through the water, it resists and twists the flexible end of the blade, causing it to lag behind the plane of the main blade.

Atsushi Doi gets a similar effect via a small fin attached low on the blade. Not nearly as pretty, in my opinion, but is powerful, removable and allows easy experimentation.

Atsushi Doi's Ve-Scull Fin

In a yuloh/ryo, the inboard end of the loom bends downward (or the mechanical equivalent). A lanyard led from this end to deck torques the loom outboard over the top, helping its horizontal blade to reverse.

 In a Atsushi/Martin oar, the inboard end of the loom bends upward. A lanyard led from this end to deck torques the loom inboard over the top, helping the leading edge reverse.

If all goes according to theory, the same thrust should be developed with less effort than horizontal blades, or more thrust with the same effort.

As a bonus, the vertical blade system appears much easier to use than yuloh/ryos (which can be challenging for  beginners). The video beow shows a monkey flinging down the gauntlet by using one of Atsuhi Doi's oars on the first go! 

So I'm jazzed!



*****




There is considerable interest in these (including my own), and information is beginning to fill in. Most of it is for small craft, but there is now at least one video available for larger craft (relevant section comes after a bit).

Be aware that Atsushi Doi has patented several of his approaches to vertical blade sculling oars. While DIY is allowed, commercially interested persons should be aware of his intellectual rights.

Sources:

Atsushi Doi's Pages (translated and hosted in English)
Reprint from Small Boat Journal... note 'sculling aid' toward bottom.
YouTube, image and web searches using such phrases as "atsushi doi scull" and "vertical blade scull"






Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Fussin', Fightin' and Working It Out

Calvin and Susieby Bill Watterson


Now we may fuss and we may fight,
But it ain't like that all the time.
I love her. She love's me!
Oh my goodness,
Oh my gawd,
Oh my Ruby Pearl!
-- From Ruby Pearl by the Hackensaw Boys


Fussin', Fightin' and Working It Out

Anke and I are quickly approaching that age where folks ask, what's your secret?Old couples most always answer, never go to sleep mad.

 In fact, folks have asked us all along the way. Why? Because we live together pretty much round the clock (a very young friend thought both of our names was Davanke),  in itty bitty spaces and build / work on / sail boats. Any one of these can spell deep trouble for a relationship.

We do fuss and we do fight, but it ain't like that all the time.

It doesn't feel like a secret. We just like each other. Okay, we like each other a lot! The rest is easy. But we do have a toolkit.

When we fight, we don't fight hurtful; no blame.
We work from good to gooder, and avoid right/wrong, too much/little, good/bad; no disappointment.
We work to get back to talking, rather than fighting;
We work to please both of us; Win-win rather than winner-loser, even for a single round.
We always try to remember we're loved; it never comes in question.

'I' statements help; 'When this happens I feel this or that', rather than 'you make me feel this or that'. 'I feel' this or that rather than 'you are or do this or that'. More accurate and feels better. Takes bite and blame out of expressing or hearing about strong emotions.

Okay, bear with me on this one. We call them false if-thens. They are of the form:

If you do, say, believe, think A, then you must believe, think B.

Sounds logical, right? Logical and outrageous! B is totally offensive and unacceptable! A fight ensues.

Most always wrong. The if-then connection is false - A does not imply B. Once that's sorted out, turns out there is no outrage, no offense. Almost always a perfectly acceptable something else that had nothing to do with that connection. No foul, no problem.

Go through enough rounds of offense taken/offense defused, and it becomes clear that those if-thens are suspect in the extreme.

The most untrue if-then of 'em all? If we fuss 'n fight, then we must not love each other. BS. Obviously.

Fussin' and fightin' don't seem inevitable. It feels like something we're growing out of. We learn that the other is never disappointed, that we have their esteem We learn to give enough slack that connection is easy. We learn that the other always, always, always has our satisfaction and well being at heart. Always.

Oh, yeah. Never go to sleep mad. That old standby is good advice.But if for some reason you have to, table it and make a date to talk it out at the next opportunity.
So kiss and make up!




HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Friday, February 3, 2017

WaterLines

WaterLines for a Box Barge / Scow



WaterLines

Mostly, in boats, we hear about THE waterline. Where the water is, right? It's a clear picture, held in common by most everyone.

But there are all kinds:
  • A waterline -- A closed line formed along the intersection of a hull and the surface of water.
  • The waterline -- Mostly what you'd think... where the water surface actually touches the hull. Or sometimes the painted stripe that's supposed to mark where it usually is.
  • Design WaterLine (DWL) -- Waterline where the designer thinks it should be. That implies the boat loaded with all its outfit and crew should float right to there. Any more weight sinks it lower (raises the waterline), while any less floats it higher (lowers the waterline). For any given hull, the DWL determines its designed draft, displacement and freeboard.
  • Upright WaterLine (WL) -- The waterline while the boat is sitting upright. A designer draws this in end and profile views as the DWL. In either view, it looks like a straight, horizontal line.
  • Heeled WaterLine -- The waterline when the boat is heeled. A designer might draw this in end view as the maximum allowable heel. It looks like a straight, canted line.
There's more, but that's plenty for our purposes.

Designers of 'Curvy Dogs have it rough. They need calculus or planimeters and other advanced figgerin'. Poor saps! Designers of Square Boats have it easy.

Once you've decided your draft, the Rule-of-Thumb method - shown in the lead illustration - works well enough to answer important questions.

Simply draw the end view, split as shown or one for each end. Draw the upright WaterLine and the vertical midline. Now draw angled lines running through one chine and the intersection of water- and mid-line, and carry out beyond hull.

Now check your transoms, paying attention to their lower, outboard corners.We're trying to avoid plowing the bow and dragging the stern. All four corners should clear the heeled waterlines. By a fair margin at the bow and as low as you can stand aft. Dragging a small V aft probably won't hurt much, and the lower the better for an easy release.

If you have an outboard motor considered its placement for depth when heeled. If leeboard guards, see that they clear on the high side. It's convenient to place their undersides at the top of the heeled WL, so you have a visual check for maximum heel.

Okay, pin a medal on yourself. You passed this course!

*****

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Looking at the immersed triangles when heeled, we can see right off that the hull is quite stable at this angle, and still has some margin of safety.

But once the windward chine leaves the water (starts to 'fly'), the situation changes rapidly!

Do NOT sail with the chine clear of the water!!! Turn up and reef down, instead.

Hear that? We do not sail them chine a-flying or lee rail under. Not unless you're racing in a drysuit!

Square boats get an undeserved bad reputation as unstable. Let's compare to a dory of the same overall beam, which has an undeserved reputation for stability*.

What happens is that the dory goes over soon, but with slowly increasing resistance. By the time it's on its ear, the crew is feeling tippy and works to correct before knock-down.

The square boat goes over late, and feels rock solid till past our maximum. Once that chine comes out of the water, though - shortly after that chine goes flying - there is a rapid reduction of resistance to knock-down. The crew has little time to correct from that point.

Another folly; often the dory will have high sides (it needs them), while a square punt will not (doesn't need them). Bubba wants to show off by standing on the rail. Might make it in the dory. Puts the punt rail under. Apples to oranges.

At all points, the square hull has more stability than an otherwise equivalent hull with cutaway shape. It is the speed of the transition which catches the unwary. Knowing this, we act early to stay on the safe side of the flying chine. Meanwhile, we harvest all the advantages of that extra stability.

In cruiser size, you've got to work to put them over!




For solid analysis by a real naval architect on a nearly square boat, see Spray: The Ultimate Cruising Boat by Bruce Roberts. See especially his discussion of stability.


*Not to say the dory is a bad hull. On the contrary, designed to fit its purpose and well handled, it is versatile and able... a whopping great hull form. It's reputation for stability confuses less, late acting reserve buoyancy with stability. In fact, dories knock down easier than most. This is why their sail rigs, if any, are prudently kept low and small, OR they are built with an extra large dose of ballast stability (e.g., Benford Dories).






Friday, January 27, 2017

Many Hands Make Light Work

I shall build... THe ARK!
Heard it's gonna rain.


We cannot do with more than four
To give a hand to each.
-- From The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll

Many Hands Make Light Work

Maybe I should be satisfied with two arms, hands and opposable thumbs. But most days it just doesn't seem enough - even with a bucket of clams to back us up.

So here's a few ways to give ourselves a hand.

Stanley MaxSteel Multi-Angle Bench Vice

This light duty vice rotates in all angles around the ball joint we see protruding at the right. This means you can clamp the whole vice either horizontally or vertically, then angle the 3 in jaws as you choose.

This has been very handy for any number of small projects!

*****

SE MZ101B Helping Hand

This doohickey has a weighted base, and all the parts slide and lock.

It's been especially useful for soldering wire and electrical components. Definitely a friend  in need when trying to juggle a soldering iron, flux, the wire and whatever fitting we're trying to make as one.

*****

I couldn't find the artist to credit for this great drawing!

This bar clamp works by setting up wedge pressure at the variable end against a block fixed at the far end.

Our first workbench featured this system, cut in half. The far end was bolted under our work surface with the variable end protruding. The bench edge acted as the fixed block. In actual fact, the 'variable' end, in our case, was fixed at an angle that matched the wedge (block and wedge cut from a wide, 2x plank).

*****

Pallet WorkBench





Our Q&D mentor turned us on to workbenches made from pallets. Any number can be joined by sliding 2x4 stock longitudinally between the slats before adding legs to any comfortable height. Two or three usually does the trick. Can usually find them free for the asking.

It's easy to clamp, anywhere, and circular saw cuts into the slats are no big deal (cut clear of nails, though!). Just swap 'em out as necessary. For a solid surface, we find it's easiest to lay down a square of plywood.

While any pallets can be used, look for those with slats of uniform height and check that their longitudinals are undamaged and have good grain.

*****

This is just the tip o' the iceberg!

Try scrolling down these image search returns for DIY clamps. Lots of great ideas out there. Wood and wedge, nut and bolt, even PVC springs!

We don't need most or all of them, by any means, but it's amazing how often an idea tucked away comes in handy, one day.

 Handy, handy!




Friday, January 20, 2017

Riglets: A Look at Promising MicroCruiser Rigs

Sven Yrvind showin' us how it's done!

Set a little sail to catch a little  wind,
Lift the hull and give it wings,
To roll us 'round the bend.


Riglets: A Quick Look at Promising MicroCruiser Rigs

In my book, a sailing MicroCruiser is much more than a DaySailor.

It's got to be able to stand up to some shit. It should provide shelter from the elements and sleep its crew aboard. It should carry supplies for a cruise. Human auxiliary propulsion.

So its rig must be handy.

Handy to set and strike. Handy to handle. Handy to hand (reef). DIY.

Dropping the mast to the deck reduces windage for rowing... free-standing is a plus. Easy handling, especially 'hands-off' from the cockpit via lines, makes for easy, trouble-free sailing, Easy reefing means we can de-power quickly when ambushed by the wind. DIY 'cuz we're cheap.

'Course, we might be tempted to give a little, one way or the other...

Many traditional western rigs - sprit, lug, gaff, sprit boomed leg o' mutton among others - get lots of coverage. But they present challenges for the microcruiser, as well. To address them, a number of lesser known rigs have been tried. While they, too, need careful implementation and adaptation, each offers a 'new' approach to practical sail.

In what follows, I'll give a very brief description with a pic... the headers and high-lit text are links to further information.

So let's go take a look at some contendahs!

*****
Perry Phillip's BOBBER
Junk Rig

Fully battened, standing lug rig with lazy jacks, sheeted along leech. Hands off, easy reefing. Ingenuity required  for easy set up and take down. Countless variations. I sing its praises here.

*****

Batwing

A fully battened sail luff-mounted on a short mast and sliding gunter. Similar to Junk rig in shape, it can be adapted for JR's easy reefing.

This rig was used by Frederick Fenger on his YAKABOO, canoe sailing the Caribbean in the early 1900s.

 *****

Shown about half-reef

Layden Lug

Standing lug rig, roller-furled on the boom. Hands off (though gotta be deft with halyard, sheet and furling line). Boom is easily dismounted and lowered to deck. VERY well proven small boat rig!

More info at microcruising.com.

*****
This is a taller version than likely for our needs

Ljungstrom Rig

Twin, flat-cut, triangular sails, fixed along the mast. Open wing and wing with two sheets, or sail into the wind doubled and sheeted as one. Roller reef by rotating the mast.


The BSD Twins are an interesting variant for smaller craft.

*****

Shown about half reef

Holopuni Quick Rig

A single sail, boomed variant of Ljungstrom Rig. I think it's well worth a look!

 *****
May be from one of Daniel Spurr's great books
 Mast Aft Rig

 Mast stepped well aft, flying large single or double staysail (also called Staysail or Delta Rig). Roller furling on stay.

Aft placement is handy to the cockpit. Roller furled staysail provides clear air for the leading edge and upward lift. Lies well to anchor. Must be strongly tensioned for windward efficiency. I'd lean the mast aft with amsteel stays set running.

*****
Wharram TIKI 21
Jib optional
  Wharram Wingsail

A short spar gaff sail with an 'envelope' around mast and halyards, reducing turbulence. Can be used with or without a boom.

*****

T-Modified Crab Claw Rig

Crab Claw Sail set on a short mast with a swiveling yard. Rotates around three axies (vs the normal one)! Very versatile, and possibly a good-to-great rig.

Unfortunately, demands a lot from the crew. Only for the adventurous.

*****
 
Transition Rig

Rig based on a bird's wing! Stretch fabric and bone joints allow 'reefing' by extension and flexion. Folds down as a wing folds in. Really. Check it out! Not as low-tech as some, but...

I wouldn't say this one is ready for our needs. But definitely one to watch!

*****

So there's a quick tour of some rigs a little off the beaten path.

Hotbeds of innovation include DuckworksMagazine.com, PDRacer.com, Yrvind.com, IndigenousBoats.blogspot.com and Hallman.org.

There's a whole world of sailing out there...

Fair winds!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Maasdam Pow'r-Pull: An 'Endless' Rope Come-Along

Maasdam Pow'R-Pull

Come get your duds in order,
For we're going to cross the water,
Heave away me jolly tars,
We're all bound away!
-- Sea Chanty attributed to Pius Power, Sr.

 
Maasdam Pow'r-Pull: An 'Endless' Rope Come-Along

I'd like to introduce you to a close, personal friend of mine... the Maasdam Pow'r-Pull.

These are much like more familiar wire come-alongs, but not limited by drum capacity. Cranking the 10:1 advantaged handle for 3/4ton straight pull hauls 1/2in rope around a rope clutch. The tail end is passed clear of the hauler to be spilled or coiled. 

This is what makes them 'endless'... we're not limited to a small wire drum's capacity before having to reset. It will work with all the line we've got. If needed, we can turn the hauling part around a block to double the pull to 3 tons.

Polyester braid or laid  line is low stretch, and so preferred for many uses, but the clutch handles nylon as well. This puts anchor line in play!

If 1/2in nylon is in your rode locker, you've got a good length of line available for moving heavy objects, such as a microcruiser hull above the tide line. If it's deployed on an anchor which is set into heavy wind, beyond surf or is simply stubborn, the rope puller gives you additional muscle. Kind of a modern day handy-billy.

We've used ours for all of these, plus moving logs along a beach (for a DIY grid), to pull 'hung' firewood free, to raise and lower mast, and to ride to the rescue of friends and family.

A stunt we unfortunately never got to try was pulling a TRILOBYTE 16x4 straight up a cliff. Would have made for a good pic...

A Fitzcarraldo moment!