CHAPTER 5    Image1

 

UPGRADES FOR CRUISING AND OFF SHORE WORK

 

ANCHORING

                      In a conversation with Marcy shortly after our return from the Virgin Islands, she planted a seed in my brain by saying "Why don't you bring Moonshot down to Monterey Bay for the summer?". I didn't pay much attention to it initially but the seed started growing in the newly fertilized cruising soil of my mind. We had much work to do to Moonshot to prepare for coastal cruising, but the energy to do it appeared and the next couple of months were filled with weekend boat projects. After making a few calls, I learned I could rent a mooring buoy in Capitola from the Capitola Bait and Tackle Shop, at the end of the Capitola Pier. Karen, the shop's proprietor was very helpful so I made a reservation for the July 4th weekend through the Labor Day weekend. That would give us 3-day weekends for the trip down and the return. Capitola is the community just south of Santa Cruz on the north end of Monterey Bay. David and Marcy planned to stay in their beach house in Aptos for the summer, a few miles south of Capitola. Having friends near by served as a driving force. Since we lived in Cupertino in the heart of Silicon Valley, the drive over the hill south to Capitola would only be slightly longer than what we were used to driving north to Brisbane. We had a new plan.

           Before the Virgin Island charter, we realized our anchoring experience was lacking and we needed to practice to convince the charter company we were capable. Moonshot's ground tackle was abysmal and thus so was our anchoring experience. The only anchor was some unknown make, looking something like a Danforth. Attached to it was a 6' hunk of chain that had a heavy coating of stiff white plastic. The rode attached to the chain was so stiff it hurt your hands to work with it. The opening to the anchor locker was a small through deck fitting at the bow. It was a 2-person job to get the line back into the locker after using it. One person had to go below to pull the line through while the other person fed the line in from the Frederick.

           We began reading up on anchoring absorbing the appropriate sections of Chapman's and The Sailor's Handbook. Since it looked like a non-trivial task to fit any kind of bow mounted anchor on Moonshot's nose piece so it would clear the jib furling drum, we decided to start by just upgrading some of the existing tackle. We purchased a high quality 1/2" by 200' anchor line and 16' of galvanized chain. West Marine recommended at least 1/2 the boat length as the right amount of chain. After attaching the new rode to the existing anchor, we went on several anchor out lunches. With the new chain, it was easier to drop the anchor once the boat stopped moving. The new line was flexible and easy to pay out as the boat moved slowly in reverse. The anchor set each time we powered the boat full in reverse with the line cleated. We were letting much more line out in these trials than we had in the past, between 5 to 7 times the water depth. This, we felt, gave us enough experience to bluff the charter company, though we still hadn't spent a full night at anchor before the vacation.

           Having gained much more experience on Rum Runner, we knew we wanted a CQR for Moonshot. We also talked to Craig about his experience with Decoy's Bruce anchor during his voyage to San Diego. He stated it held great but he really wished he had a bow roller. It was much more hassle deploying and retrieving the anchor without one and it was harder to store. With this advice, we now had to address the task of re-engineering our bow to somehow fit a CQR anchor and a bow roller. In one of the conversations I had with Watkins, I learned they modified the Watkins 27 the year after Moonshot was built to include a wooden bowsprit to support a bow roller and anchor. I studied designs for a retrofit but decided against that. I felt the surgery to the rig was too major. We started perusing the docks in the marina looking at how other boat's bow roller systems worked. We finally got an inspiring idea on dock 3. One sailboat had a CQR anchor in a smaller bow roller than those designed for the purpose. It was enough to secure the anchor but didn't cradle the hook like the larger ones.

           Studying this idea back on Moonshot, it looked like if I cut away one of the dock line chocks, I could fit the same bow roller in place. I had to study the clearances available to see if the anchor would fit. Because of West Marine's no hassle policy of taking back unused gear that wasn't needed, we decided to purchase the bow roller and an anchor to verify the design. We wanted an anchor big enough to hold the boat in the worst storm imaginable. We envisioned heavy weather conditions where we were in the ocean in a storm being blown towards a lee shore and letting out the anchor line in hopes the anchor would catch before the vessel was blown onto the rocky coast. Since Moonshot weighed 8000#, we chose a 25# CQR. After careful measuring, we felt we had a design that would work. The bow roller would fit a few inches off Moonshot's centerline angled about 10 degrees. I pulled out the hacksaw and started cutting into the aluminum nose plate to remove the port chock. Losing the functionality of one chock was a small price to pay for the benefits we would be gaining.

           Richard and Hank started becoming interested in the project after watching me cut into my boat. Richard informed me I would need an anchor line cleat on line with the bow roller centerline to avoid chafing the anchor line while at anchor. Hank studied the impact of drilling a hole through the anchor neck on its strength. A hole would be required to feed the bow roller safety pin through. There was some discussion among us whether 1/2" nylon anchor line was strong enough. Richard and Hank both concluded if it wasn't they'd both have trouble on their pending cruises. The hook portion of the anchor would be free to swing while the stem was secured so it would need to be tied down. This was accomplished easily by feeding a line through the trip line hole and securing it to the starboard toe rail. The plow rested gently on the oversized rub rail. I completed the securing mechanism by deck mounting a locking device that clamped onto the chain several links aft of the anchor. Richard pointed out a good idea he had used on Shadow. He glued a small stainless steel plate to his topside where the point of the hook could scratch the gelcoat surface as it was being brought in.

           The next step was to replace the small round through deck fitting with a much larger oval one. This larger opening combined with the flexible anchor line made it simple for one person topside to feed the anchor line down into the locker. To finish the job, I needed a new cleat for the anchor line and two stainless steel plates. One plate for the topside as Richard had suggested and one as a mounting plate for the underside of the cleat. The need for the stainless plates led me to discover Allen Steel, a marvelous metal works shop where you could get just about any size, shape, and kind of metal commercially available.

           Having mounted the cleat and plates the next weekend, we were ready for sea trials. Richard had told us about Clipper Cove on the lee side of Treasure Island, a delightful anchorage to spend a night or weekend. He liked to get there early in the afternoon because watching boaters set their anchors was great fun. We sailed over and located a spot to drop the hook. I attached a trip line to the anchor because we had learned there was a cable somewhere in the anchorage. The trip line was 40 feet long with one end attached to the anchor and the other end attached to a floating marker buoy. In case the anchor hooked something on the bottom, it could be retrieved by using the trip line to pull the anchor backwards off the obstruction. The marker buoy also lets us as well as other boaters know where the anchor is located. We went thorough the maneuvers in about 5 minutes.

           Richard was right, it was fun watching other cruiser's anchoring style. One most memorable was a sailboat approaching the anchorage under full sail. As it approached, we could see a large woman at the bow swinging the anchor around in, similar to a cowboy's lasso. At the right moment, she let the anchor fly while still under full sail power. Once all of their anchor line was out the line went taught. The boat stopped dead with the stern swinging around. The momentum of the boat set their anchor perfectly. They casually dropped their sails as if the maneuver had been practiced. Amazing.

           Clipper cove was a pleasant anchorage. By not looking in the direction of the Oakland Bridge or directly at the watercolor, we were able to trick ourselves into imagining we were back in the Virgin Islands. We slept comfortably that night without dragging an inch. When it was time to leave after breakfast, I had the task of hoisting the beastly CQR back on board without the help of a windlass. It came up OK but I was then faced with a new problem we had not encountered in the Virgin Islands. Muck. One trick we learned on the Rum Runner was to have a cruising bucket handy. A plastic bucket with a 6' line attached to the handle for hauling seawater aboard for deck swabbing. I rigged one with a minor improvement. I tied a knot in the line every 1-1/2' to make hauling it back up easier by grabbing the knots. It didn't take long to rinse the muck from the anchor, the line, the deck, and my body. The rig was a success, and it didn't interfere with the operation of the furling jib. We now had access to the bay and coastal anchorages. Another great enhancement

Figure28.jpg
Figure 28: CQR anchor installation

THE WHISKER POLE

           I knew it would be handy to have a whisker pole from the day we finally had a good experience out past the gate after the Mystery Cruise. We were sailing wing on wing running down wind with the mainsail on port. Because the bay chop was causing the sails to luff, I used the boat hook to pole out the Genoa. This worked but was definitely not the most effective use of a crewmember. We had even accomplished an entire day of wing on wing sailing from Glen Cove at the mouth of the river system that dumps into San Pablo Bay all the way into the Deltas, all without the use of a whisker pole. It just seemed like it would be nice to have one. Finally one day, we decided to investigate it further.

            There were different sizes and styles of poles available, with different methods of extending the poles to a desired length. There was an extend and twist type that locks the two sections in place, like the way most boat hooks work. There was also the method with a pin on a spring with several holes, like the way most vacuum cleaner tubes fit together. We elected the design that had a rope pull mechanism that would cleat when the pole was at the desired length. We found one at Al's Boaters Supply that looked as if its price tag was way out dated. The size of the pole was on the small end of what would be acceptable for a boat Moonshot's size so we decided to take advantage of the good price. We also purchased a mast mount pad eye and two deck mounts to stow the pole when not in use, along with all the associated fasteners.
            It was a straightforward install, except for the fact that the mast mount pad eye was designed for a much larger mast. Hank was walking down the dock just as I was discovering the mismatch and thinking about what to do next. He quickly came back with a hammer and suggested the quickest route to get where I was going. After a few pounds on each side, it fit just fine. We noticed many boats had loosely secured their poles with line tied to the lifeline stanchions. We decided to use the real mounts, but looking back, we should have investigated some method of quickly lashing it down sparing the expense and holes in the deck.

Figure29.jpg
Figure 29: Whisker pole installation

THE AUTOPILOT

            Any sailor could make a list of their top ten features on a boat. Marsha still has her top vote in for the dodger. Though it's not something we use every time we're out, one of my top votes goes to the autopilot. I had been looking through Latitude 38's Classy Classifieds for some time hoping to find a good deal on a used Autohelm 3000. After researching the models on the market, I decided this was the right one for our boat. Finally, I saw a good deal on one and called right away. Too late! Our desire for this feature was building and one weekend West Marine had them on sale so I broke down and purchased new. I also purchased the pedestal mount option and all the associated fasteners. I read the installation instructions thoroughly, ahead of time at home. Once in the marina, I proceeded to start the installation. Richard and Hank were skeptical we would have it done correctly that weekend, but I assured them I had everything I needed and that it should be a piece of cake. I positioned the autopilot control mechanism close to the engine control levers in the most out of the way place. I borrowed the circuit breaker from the masthead light, connecting the mast head light wires to the running light switch. I'd deal with that later.

            It was still early afternoon on Saturday, so we took the boat out for a trial run and to see if we could prove Richard and Hank wrong for once. After we left the dock, I had Marsha refrain from doing any of the work. I wanted to see if I could single hand Moonshot with the autopilot. First there was heading into the wind while I raised the mainsail. This maneuver went fine. I went back to the cockpit to change course and fill the sail. I punched the 10-degree starboard control button 5 times and we were sailing. Holding a steady course, I killed the engine then unfurled the jib. We were now under full sail with no one at the helm but our new autopilot. It started becoming clear that this was the sort of gadget that you needed to come up with a name for. It worked like a robot. It wasn't long before we came up with "Josh".

            I decided to try a few more maneuvers. Tacking was the most logical next step. The autopilot controls were 1 degree and 10 degrees to either port or starboard. If you punched both the 1 and 10-degree buttons for one direction at the same time, the autopilot would execute a 100-degree change turning gradually, just the way a person would steer through a tack maneuver. Because of Moonshot's large 10' beam, 100 degrees was fine if we were close hauled. If not, I needed to punch the 10-degree control a couple of extra times either before or after the tack. This maneuver went without a hitch as well. The wind had picked up so the next logical test was to put a reef in the main. I let out the main sheet so the boom was on line with the apparent wind to spill it, still sailing with the jib. I went forward to the mast to drop the main to the first reef point cringle and hooked it on the gooseneck. I then pulled the first reef line taunt pulling the aft portion of the reef point into place. After pulling in the slack in the second reef line, I made my way back to the cockpit and brought the main sheet back in. Another perfectly executed maneuver by Steve and Josh.

            There was a sensitivity control knob on the unit labeled rudder. It has 5 possible positions. There is a compensatory movement when the autopilot is working. It turns the wheel back and forth to compensate for the effects of the wind and waves on the helm, much like what a helmsman must do. The higher the setting on the rudder control, the larger the amount of compensation. You have to get used to picking the right setting for the sea conditions. The bigger the wind and waves, the higher the switch setting. To invoke Josh, you aim the boat in the direction you want to go, then engage the clutch on the drive motor mounted on the pedestal. This puts tension on the drive belt that loops around the drive motor gear and the pulley mounted to the steering wheel. You then punch the automatic button on the control unit that records the compass heading and takes over control of the wheel. It will maintain that compass heading within 15 degrees either way. If for some reason the boat is off its course by more than that, Josh will sound a beeping alarm. This was another toy that would be making the solar panel earn its keep, consuming about 1/2 amp while under sail.

            Josh functioned perfectly while I took down the sails and motored in. I used the autopilot to go almost all the way back to the dock. I had gone through the entire afternoon totally single-handed. This new feature would give our sailing much more flexibility. When sailing short handed with just two of us, both people need to be working, one at the helm and one continually monitoring sail trim. If either person is not in the mood to work, it subtracts from the experience. Now we could reduce the effort for the crew if desired. In fact Josh was now more valuable than any human crewmember. He consumes no beer. There are two types of conditions Josh asks someone else to take over in. Sailing down wind, he's just not sensitive enough to get a feel for the helm. When the wind is gusting strongly on any point of sail, he's liable to get arrested for drunken sailing, leaving an S wake behind the boat.

            Once on the dock, we were entitled to discuss our success with Hank and Richard. Neither of them had ever seen anyone install an autopilot in less than 1/2 day, let alone one whole day. The next day, Craig stopped by and informed us West Marine had a remote control unit for the 3000 on their bargain table. That thought seemed like yet an even greater level of perfection, having the ability to handle the controls from anywhere on the boat. Craig's advice was, "You know how you're used to having line everywhere on the boat? Now you just have to get used to wire being everywhere as well, it's easy."

Figure30.jpg
Figure 30: Autopilot installation

SWINGING THE COMPASS

            We attempted to calibrate our compass during the last Thanksgiving weekend. We decided to fix Thanksgiving dinner on the boat at some remote anchorage. We thought a good protected spot would be in the cove just off the San Francisco Boat Works. The charts said there were waters about 16 feet deep on the north end just off an old derelict pier. We were planning a standing rib roast on the grill. Marsha remembered a camping trick for making an oven out of a charcoal grill, because ours wasn't large enough to fit something like a turkey or standing rib. I cut a 6" wide strip of cardboard from a corrugated box and wrapped it several times with tin foil. I then formed the strip into a circle to fit just inside the circular grill and stapled it together. This formed a riser that the grill top would rest on making a larger cylindrical chamber as an oven. We were set to go.

Figure31.jpg
Figure 31: Thanksgiving on Moonshot

            It was a short trip, but when we arrived, the depth gauge was reading over 100', too deep for anchoring. We cruised around the cove a while but shallow water was nowhere to be found. It would be dark soon, so we decided to pull up to the San Francisco Boat Work's dock. They were old and rickety but we knew from having work done there that we wouldn't be bothered as it was a holiday. We had everything we needed to make a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. There was no wind the next day so we decided to spend the morning calibrating our compass. Lacking any knowledge, our approach was to range on a course where there were known aids to navigation both behind and in front of us, then adjust the compass to compare with the compass rose on the appropriate chart. We found a pair of markers that would serve as a bearing on a magnetic course due north. I made the adjustment by turning the screws that moved the magnets inside to zero the compass.

            Comfortable I had done the best I could, we decided next to calibrate the knot meter as there was still no wind and it was early in the day. We had learned about 2 markers in the Alameda channel that were exactly 1 nautical mile apart. The technique we figured out was to maintain a constant speed and record the time it took to travel a straight line between the two marks and the velocity reading on the knot meter. Because of the tides, we would then have to turn around and record the time it took to go between the marks in the opposite direction with the engine speed remaining constant. I then reduced those times to nautical miles per hour and took the average of the two. This worked perfectly. The average of the difference between the two speeds matched the speed of the current from the tide tables for that time of that day. Still motoring at the same speed, I adjusted the knot meter to match our calculations.

            Since that weekend, we gained more information on how to correctly swing a compass from the Advanced Coastal Navigation class. There are two sets of magnets in a normal compass, one set for north and south, and one for east and west. This fact made me realize anything we had done in the past to calibrate Moonshot's compass was incorrect. The next and most valuable bits of knowledge governed how you were really supposed to adjust your compass. First never use screwdrivers made of metallic material to make the adjustments. Also, adjust the calibration magnets on dry land, away from any known metal objects.

            Summarized, the information we found read, "To calibrate your compass, start with a square of plywood 12" per side. Draw diagonal lines from the corners on one side of the board. To adjust the compass, place the board on the ground on a flat surface. Set the compass on the center of the board at the cross hairs. Rotate the board holding the compass still until one of the lines is aligned with 0 degrees. Keeping the board in the same position, rotate the compass 180 degrees and let the compass dial come to rest. If there is miss alignment between the line on the board that's aimed south, and the 180 degree mark on the compass, adjust the N/S magnets to take out 1/2 of the error. Repeat this procedure again until there is no need for adjustment. Then repeat the entire procedure for 90 and 270 degrees adjusting the E/W magnets. When all adjustments are made, cross check N/S again to verify no reaction from the adjusted magnets affected the other magnetic field."

            We were aware of variation before, which is the difference between true north and magnetic north. This difference varies for any location on earth. Around the Great Lakes region in Michigan, there are points where the two coincide. The theoretical magnetic North Pole is south of the true North Pole. Because many things on boats are made of magnetic materials, each boat has its own unique magnetic field, one that is usually not symmetrical. The field is the net result of all the magnetic materials combined. This field affects the accuracy of your compass by making it deviate from its reaction to the magnetic field of the planet. Because the magnetic field of the boat is asymmetrical, the resulting compass deviation varies depending on the boat's heading.

            To reckon for deviation, the course instructions were to construct a Deviation Table from empirical data, by making the correct adjustments for 0 degrees and 180 degrees, then doing the sorts of thing Marsha and I had done on our first attempt comparing our compass with a known magnetic heading from the chart. Because of the boat's magnetic field, 90 degrees and 270 degrees could deviate by as much as 6 - 8 degrees. With the deviation data collected, you could then fill out a deviation card that displayed deviation graphically. The course instructions also suggested a memory aid for reducing true course to compass course. TVMDC. True Virgins Make Dull Crew. The aid implied that from a True course, adjust for Variation to get Magnetic course, then adjust for Deviation to get Compass course.

            There exists a variety of techniques for developing a deviation table. Some as elaborate as rotating the boat to various headings within a double slip and verifying the compass deviation with a sextant and sun sights. You can also have another calibrated compass on board in some other location if you can get far enough away from the engine and other metal objects near the helm, then cross checking. We decided to just wait for chances to get bearings from charts when we had opportunities on the water to complete Moonshot's Deviation Table.

Figure32.jpg
Figure 32: Compass deviation table

ELECTRONIC NAVIGATION

            Modern electronic navigational instruments have greatly enhanced our ability to navigate both under normal as well as adverse conditions. We had been gaining experience with Loran C from both the Advanced Coastal Navigation class as well as with Craig on our trip to the Farallon Islands. The cost of GPS wasn't low enough yet and though Loran has a few limitations, mainly that its coverage is not worldwide, it was at the time by far the best bang for the buck as an enhancement to navigation. It should never be a substitute for manual skills as power failures occur in many ways, but electronics are getting very reliable and can be a tremendous aid.

            Once we made the decision to enhance Moonshot with Loran, again Craig's advice proved helpful. His unit was the Micrologic Explorer. He pointed us towards the Micrologic Voyager. It had just hit the market at a cost of slightly over $500.00. It had the same software as the Explorer with smaller packaging and fewer frills. Craig was high on Micrologic because his girlfriend could figure out the user interface. There are no standards in Loran user interface but easy to use was a big selling point.

            The folks at West Marine, both in Palo Alto and South San Francisco were beginning to recognize our faces and were greeting us with smiles as we entered their store. We decided to purchase the Voyager along with an antenna, deck-mounting gear for the antenna, wire and all the necessary fasteners. Back on Moonshot, the first design decision was where to install the unit. Since it was not waterproof, it would need to be inside the cabin. It would have been convenient to have the display and controls visible to the helmsman but this didn't seem imperative. Not being waterproof was one of the compromises we made for a lower cost unit. We located the most convenient spot with both accessibility to the display and ease of routing the wiring. I mounted it at the entrance to the aft port quarter berth on the underside of the cockpit seat nearest the bulkhead.

            Next, I needed to find a location for the antenna. The unit came with a fixed length of coax cable for connecting to the antenna with the appropriate connectors on each end. I wanted to avoid cutting and splicing the coax or drilling holes in the boat big enough to feed the connectors through so I ran the antenna wire through the starboard engine compartment vent. This mandated the location of the antenna to be near the vent. We picked the starboard side because it was easier to get to from inside the lazaret. Everything went fine with the installation, so it was time to test the unit.

            The only information generated from the base Loran function is a set of three time delays and this was the only information provided by the older style units. Older charts have Loran grids overlaid on them. You would have to find the intersection of the X, Y, and Z time delay lines to determine your location. With the arrival of more powerful microprocessors and improved software, the units available were actually navigational computers. They take the time delay information and convert it to information that is specific to its application. The most useful computation is converting the time delays into latitude and longitude. This eliminates the need for Loran overlay charts. Other useful information is actual speed over ground and magnetic heading. This makes it easy to compensate for set and drift. In slack water with no wind you can use the magnetic heading from the Loran to build a deviation table for your compass.

            The Loran's next most useful feature is the ability to store waypoints. A waypoint is a programmed latitude and longitude. The Voyager can store up to 100 waypoints, 99 of which are available to the user. The computer reserves the first waypoint position for storing its current position. You can program waypoints by either saving your current position or entering the latitude and longitude data. You can ask the Loran to tell you how far and in what direction you need to travel to a waypoint. This feature makes the Loran useful for navigating through limited visibility situations such as fog or darkness, though you still have to be on the lookout for flotsam, jetsam, aids to navigation and other vessels.

            Another feature, more useful if the display is visible to the helmsman is a graphical display of cross track error. This can tell you to compensate the helm to port or starboard because of set and drift in your efforts to go to the next waypoint. More elaborate units provide a few characters on the display for naming waypoints, but ours just provides the numbers 1 - 99. You need to keep a waypoint logbook so you can look up what number is the waypoint for a location. Additionally, for an extra fee of $400, you can get a black box gadget that will let you connect your Loran to your autopilot.

            The unit will also tell you how accurate it believes itself to be. Ours usually says about 170 yards or so, though repeatability of finding a waypoint is more like 20 feet. Because of the accuracy in finding an established waypoint with Loran, it has other uses such as pin pointing where to come back to in the unlikely but possible event of a man, woman, child, pet, hat, or shoe overboard, or where the fish are biting. There are other useful features such as alarms. The Loran will start beeping as you get within a user specified distance of a waypoint. It can also serve as an anchor alert, if your anchor drags outside the radius you set as the amount of scope you've let out. This was yet another gadget that will be draining electricity while sailing, successfully installed.

 

THE CHART TABLE

            I can usually get a lot done while traveling on an airplane. On one trip back east, I read a book called "This is Rough Weather Cruising" by Erroll Bruce. It prepared me in many ways for gearing up for coastal cruising, both mentally and with respect to Moonshot's equipment. While strapped to the airplane seat on this trip, some ideas started forming in my mind, so I began making sketches. One important feature that was missing on Moonshot was a chart table. Another was an emergency rudder. My sketching created the initial design for a combination chart table/emergency rudder. I have heard it said that everything on a boat is supposed to have at least two functions.

            The table/rudder would be made of 3/4" teak plywood and be positioned in the entrance to the aft port quarter berth underneath the Loran unit. It would rest on the side of the hull liner and on the base of the step at the entrance to the companionway. It would be secured by butting against the top step. Because the table would rest in place, it could easily be removed if we needed to get to the quarter berth or in case of a rudder failure. I made a design so I would just need to drill 3 holes, then attach a U-bolt through two of the holes on one end of the board, and an eye bolt through the hole at the other end. Then it would be possible to guide the whisker pole though the U-bolt attaching the end to the eyebolt. Presto, an emergency rudder system that could be lashed with several wrappings to the turnbuckle at the base of the backstay. I couldn't do more with this design until I was on Moonshot to take measurements.

            Once onboard, I visualized the design and measured the area to verify it still made sense. I purchased the plywood and edge molding along with a pint of Amazon Oil at Al's Boaters Supply. I knew from when we purchased the whisker pole that Al's had a good supply of marine quality plywood. A 2' x 4' chunk would be perfect. The one cut I needed to make would be complex to match the contour of the inner hull liner. Horizontally, the width of the table would get smaller as it leads aft. Vertically, the surface mating with the inner liner was more inboard on the bottom of the board surface than the top.

           Using the dock box as a sawhorse, I made the cut with a jig saw. Richard stopped by to watch so I discussed my dual design strategy with him. He recommended that if I ever intended to put the piece of wood in the water, I should seal all the edges with epoxy. This idea also worked well for mounting the molding to the edges of the table that would be exposed to the cabin. Having glued it all together and after the epoxy set, I then began applying the protective coating to the teak. The proprietor of Al's recommended Amazon Oil as the best. As the oil soaked in, the teak began taking on a darker color. As I was wiping up the excess oil, it occurred to me that the table now matched the rest of the interior wood in color and texture. Now I knew how Watkins had finished Moonshot's interior. I had plenty of oil left to cover all the interior teak with a fresh coat, someday. The table fit into position perfectly and was as big as any of the chart tables we had seen on other boats. It didn't have an associated drawer for instruments, I just kept those in a zipper pouch.

            Most of the time you're not looking at charts. We realized we now had more than doubled the available counter space for preparing food. The table also worked well for storing bags, some would fit underneath and there was still a second shelf for more stuff. It fit the interior layout perfectly from an appearance standpoint. The last thing I needed to do was size the mounting hardware for the U-bolts and eye bolts. Once purchased, I oiled them down and stowed them in a zip lock bag in the spares hatch.

Figure33.jpg
Figure 33: Chart table and Loran with canvas long-thing shelf

THE PREVENTER

            Another good idea extracted from the Heavy Weather Cruising book was to employ a preventer on the boom when reaching or running. The preventer would consist of a system that would stop the boom from swinging through the cockpit in the event of an uncontrolled jibe. The book had several diagrams with lines running from aft in the cockpit to some turning block forward then to the end of the boom. I experimented with the idea using a single piece of line for each side of the boat. Each line had a snap shackle attached to a loop at one end. The loop was tied with a taunt line hitch. This knot allowed me to have tension on the line without slipping, but be able to change the length of line by sliding the knot by hand. This system would allow for easy adjustment of the preventer as adjustments were made to the main sheet for different points of sail.

           The snap shackle would snap onto the bale at the end of the boom where the mainsheet was attached. The other end of the line was tied to the toe rail at the widest point of the boat. The system works well for any type of sailing conditions, but is highly recommended when on the ocean because of the greater pitching and rolling caused by the waves. With the whisker pole on the jib and the main preventer, we were much better equipped for any down wind sled ride we may encounter.

 

REFURBISHMENT BELOW DECK

            The fuel filters, hoses, and other spare parts I had ordered from Peninsula Marine had come in. Since I would be working in the engine compartment to replace old parts with these new ones, I also planned on doing a few other jobs as well. We purchased new marine batteries, one high cycle, one deep cycle. A high cycle battery is good as a starter battery supplying a large number of Cold Cranking Amps up front and recharging quickly. A deep cycle battery is better as a house battery because it supplies amps for a longer period of time though it takes longer to charge. I also purchased an engine hour meter, two 5-gallon jerry jugs for extra fuel, one 5-gallon water jug for extra water, engine degreaser, a wire brush, and a bilge sponge. The plan was to change the fuel filters and fuel lines and change the oil, the potentially messy jobs, then clean out the lazaret, engine compartment and bilge, and degrease the engine. I would then be able to replace the batteries, install the engine hour meter and clean up the engine compartment.

            Installing the new Raycor fuel filters and lines was straightforward. The engine has an internal and an external fuel filter. The new Raycor was replacing the external filter. Raycor is supposed to be the best at filtering out water and debris. There's a bleeder on the bottom of the filter for draining its contents. If the fluid in the bottom gets milky, it has water in it. It was easy replacing the filter mechanism in the internal filter, but it required learning how to bleed the air out of the fuel system once the unit is put back together. There's a small lever on the engine next to the filter unit used for pressurizing the line. I needed to locate the bleeder bolt at the injector where the fuel line feeds in. By unscrewing the bolt a few turns, trapped air would spit out. The oil change job was easy as well, but it can be very messy. I then replaced the water-cooling hoses with the heavy-duty hose and yanked out the old batteries from the. Now I was ready to start cleaning.

            I squirted the engine degreaser all over the engine letting it soak in for a while. With the garden hose down in the cabin ready to rinse, I proceeded to squirt Fantastic all over the rest of the engine compartment and lazaret. I climbed into the lazaret to scrub everything I could reach, then gave all of the surfaces a good rinse down. I used the wire brush to scrub stubborn grease and rust spots from the engine, then rinsed some more. Next I started working on the bilge itself, rinsing thoroughly in its outer reaches with the hose, then soaping and scrubbing again. After rinsing everything one more time, I sponged the final remaining water out of the bilge.

            The first installation was the new batteries, which I strapped inside their cases. I didn't want batteries flying in the event of a knock down, or even worse doing a 180. Next, I installed an automatic bilge pump switch. The theory behind this is to leave the bilge pump switch on but it stays off until the auto switch detects a certain level of water in the bilge with a floating gadget. It will then turn on to pump out the bilge and shut back off when the water has been pumped out. It could save your boat if water started leaking in for some reason while unattended. Of course it depends on how big the leak is, how big the pump is, and how long the electrical system will keep the pump working vs. how long the boat is unattended. I also inserted a bilge sponge out of the way of the automatic switch. These sponges soak up any oil should it happen to find its way into the bilge.

            Next was the engine hour meter installation. This would prove to be valuable when logging maintenance. The tricky part of the installation was connecting the hot wire to the on position of the ignition switch, which is on the port side of the boat in the cockpit. This meant crawling around the aft opening of the lazaret and behind the rudderpost to feed the wire to it. Moving one ooch at a time, it can be done. I ran the ground wire to the central ground terminal of the terminal block. Wires were moving from one corner to another in the upper part of the engine compartment in a hap hazard manner so I collected them with wire ties and positioned them out of the way running cleanly around the upper boarders of the compartment. Having completed installing the new gadgets, I then sprayed LP2 engine lubricant all over the engine and associated parts. It had a clean smell. LP2 had come highly recommended by the good folks at Peninsula Marine. It's funny how mechanically inclined people stand enthusiastically behind a good lubricant.

            For the first time, I decide to organize the stowage in the lazaret. Next to the batteries I lined up the two fuel jugs, then the water jug, then a canvas bag containing the toy dinghy. Behind the dinghy bag, I positioned a blue collapsible crate for miscellaneous things and the bags of charcoal for the grill. Next I attached devices for holding coiled chunks of line just inside the lazaret cover so the spare dock lines, etc., could be organized neatly. I then put the dinghy oars, mop and broom, and fish net up against the hull where they settled down to the base of the jugs. Then again behind the jugs, I put two buckets containing cleaning supplies, sponges, etc. For the first time I could get at anything I needed from the lazaret easily. We were missing good sailing days being so busy with the boat projects but the peace of mind of our boat coming together was becoming more of a reality and we stayed motivated to finish.

 

SAFETY SYSTEMS

            Next we focused on the necessary safety systems and equipment we would need to be prepared for coastal cruising. My sources of information were the Heavy Weather Cruising book, having crewed with Craig to the Farallons, and a required equipment list for offshore racing published by the Pacific Cup yacht club. First, we worked on the safety harness system. Checking out the various harnesses available, I purchased four sets of a moderately priced yet functional style. There were cheaper models and certainly more expensive equipment. You could even get a wet weather jacket with a harness built in.
            The heavy weather cruising book strongly recommended the use of jack stays. I knew how they functioned from sailing on Decoy. I just had to figure out how to fasten a system onto Moonshot. Because of its broad beam, it was difficult to get one straight run from the aft end to the bow. I would have to have a couple of bends in the line. I used shackles attached to the toe rail to create loops for the line to run through. I positioned one just aft of where you would reach out to the cockpit to clip on to the jack line, and one forward of the mast. The section between these two shackles would be the working section for any of the required work on deck. I used two 35' - 3/8" gold braided line for the jackstays. The lines were secured to the aft cleat, then run through the two shackles and secured at the anchor cleat in the center of the foredeck. Feeling comfortable with that system, I installed a pad eye on the starboard side of the companionway entrance. This was for clipping the life harness tethers to when coming out of the cabin and while sitting in the cockpit.

            Next, the man overboard system. In the event someone falls overboard, one of the crew is supposed to keep a continuous eye on the person in the water, pointing at the person so the rest of the crew can be preparing the rescue and spot the person easily. The first thing to do is throw the man overboard pole and life ring overboard. These need to be easy to grab and throw so they can't be lashed down. The life ring and man overboard pole are tied together with 20' of floating line. Also attached to the floating line are a small drogue anchor for keeping the pole and ring from drifting away from the person, a dye marker for clearly marking the location, and a strobe light for marking the location if it's too dark to see the dye marker.

            Moonshot already had a life ring so we purchased a rail mount ring holder and positioned the ring outside the windscreen on the starboard side. We purchased an indigo blue propane canister canvas pouch to store the floating line, dye marker, strobe light and sea anchor in. It mounted to the rail just aft of the life ring but on the inside of the windscreen. I mounted the man overboard pole to the outside of the backstay so it wouldn't hit the helmsman's head.

            Next we prepared the life jackets by replacing old worn out ones and getting a water proof zipper pouch for storing the vests in a handy location in the lazaret providing easy access from the cockpit. Marsha attached strobe lights and whistles to each one. We stocked up our supply of flares, both the hand held type and more for the flare gun. I had given the 12-gauge flare gun to Marsha as a Christmas preset to serve both as a signaling device and as a means of self-defense if intruders were ever encountered. Nothing like the thought of a 12 gage flare being stuck in your mouth to make you think twice. Most likely an impractical application, but maybe. To store this new gear, I obsoleted the function of the port cockpit hatch as a built in ice cooler. I used an insulated canvas cooler bag to store the harnesses and flares, along with a throwing line, fire extinguisher and the brass fog bell.

            What's the chance your boat will become wrecked at sea? I don't know. There are many ways to be careful, don't go out in bad weather, have the strongest boat ever constructed, have plenty of safety gear. You could sail almost anything anywhere in the right weather conditions. But there are things that go bump in the night, floating logs, containers, whales, submerged rocks, and wreckage from sunken ships. There are also rouge waves that can kill. We decided to invest in an EPIRB in the unlikely event. It was shaped like a fire extinguisher, so I decided to mount it next to the fire extinguisher in the cabin. You are legally allowed to test an EPIRB for one second during the first 5 minutes of the hour. We waited for the appropriate period to test this new gadget. Our portable radio was playing soft music at a fairly low volume level when I tested the EPIRB. Instantly the speakers were blasting a loud signal for one second. It scared the heck out of us. It works. This unit, the RLB-20 is good for shipboard use because it floats and its antenna remains upright in heavy seas. There is a lanyard wrapped around the EPIRB's barrel secured with tape. It can easily be undone and used to tie the unit to something like a life raft.

            The decision to have a life raft as part of the equipment list when going cruising is a personal one. They are expensive and take up much valuable space. Most likely, it will never be used and that's what you want. Though we decided not to get one for the cruise to Monterey Bay, what sold me on the principal of it being mandatory equipment for any type of longer range cruising was reading the book "Adrift", by Steven Callahan. It's about the 76 days he spent in a life raft after his sailboat presumably got hit by a whale, cracked up and sunk.

            There were a couple of other items we could have elected to purchase if we wanted to take the safety thing all the way. The Marine Supply stores promote a Life sling overboard rescue system. It's a block and tackle system with a flexible floating collar on the end of a long floating line. It is designed to make it easier to rescue a person that has fallen overboard. We have a swim ladder, so the life sling would be useful only in the event the person overboard was somewhere between incapacitated and unconscious, because they would need to get inside the collar yet be unable to walk up the ladder. We decided against it. The other recommended item we didn't purchase is cold-water survival suits. They are highly buoyant waterproof body enclosures that provide extended hypothermia protection. These are like one-person life rafts. Again, where you draw the line on how much safety equipment is a personal decision influenced by your budget, type of cruising you'll be doing and what type of risk taker you are. The final safety system I installed was a galley belt for keeping the cook in reasonable proximity of the stove while pitching and rolling underway.

 

CANVAS POUCHES

            On a boat, and especially on a small boat, you have to take advantage of every nook and cranny when spending any length of time on board. You have to keep thinking everything on the boat must serve more than one purpose. Marsha had been talking about sewing some canvas pouches for some time. Because we were about to embark on a cruise, it was time to gear up with heavy-duty needles and dust off the sewing machine. She warmed up with some blue indigo canvas for exterior applications. First she made two winch covers to replace the old warn ones that came with the boat. Next was a cover for the steering pedestal. While she was working on the project, I was wrapping the steering wheel with rubber wheel wrap. The stainless wheel could be cold to hang on to and felt too small in diameter. I applied two layers which did make for a much more comfortable feeling helm.

            With the external canvas additions completed it was time to get to the heart of the project, the interior canvas pouches. The first sets were to go in the V-berth. The idea was to utilize the sides of the interior hull to fasten pouches to. They would be used for storing clothes and personal items. Her design had a large rectangular piece of softer white canvas the size of the area to be covered. Various sizes of canvas would be sewn to the rectangular base. Elastic would be sewn into the compartment tops. Of four squares, the design was two complete squares, one broken into two equal parts, and one broken into one third and two third sections. After Marsha was done sewing the white canvas pieces together, I fastened them to the sides of the hull liner with stainless self taping screws and finish washers. Not only did they work for storing clothes and personal items, they also made the V-berth much more comfortable to sleep in by padding the cool fiberglass walls.

            There was one more canvas project, the long thing shelf. There was a long narrow opening in the very upper part of the aft port quarter berth. It is roughly an 8" inch square cross section on the average. We thought this would be a good use of space storing the longer things that you keep around a boat. We considered wood but thought canvas would be better because things wouldn't roll around as much and it would be much easier to fit the irregular shape with material. Marsha included a corner flap that could be snapped to close off the opening making it almost invisible. Once Marsha had the shape measured and the material cut and hemmed, I fastened it to the fiberglass the same way I had done with the pouches. We used it to store the table legs, the boat hook, fishing poles, and the chart tube. It was great because these were all items that were awkward shapes that didn't store easily.

 

Figure34.jpg
Figure 34: Canvas pouches for V-berth liner

FURLING WORKING JIB

            In one of our many passing conversations with Hank, he brought up the fact that we had a working jib we weren't using and suggested having it retrofitted for the furling system. Our reaction was, brilliant, why hadn't we thought of that before. It was too windy for a full Genoa all summer anyway. We had been letting only part of the sail out most of the time, but reefing a furling jib is an inefficient method of sail trim.

            Sally Lindsay's Spinnaker shop had me bring in the Genoa along with the working jib so they could match the luff tape used for feeding the sail up the track on the forestay. Waiting for the work to be completed was another one of those anticipation things. We were eager to see how Moonshot sailed with a better suited sail for the summer winds. Once completed, we hurried to the boat to install it and go sailing. It was much easier to sail Moonshot in heavier winds. We could also see under the sail while at the helm, which was a positive side effect I hadn't counted on. The times for changing between the working jib and Genoa sail coincided closely with daylight savings time changes.

 

THE SHOWER

            One of the features we always checked for when looking at larger boats was if it had a shower. Moonshot didn't have a shower, though there was a shower kit available for the Watkins 27. We never acted on the thought because Moonshot doesn't have hot water. When we cruised up to the Deltas, we used a sun shower on deck. This worked fine because the weather was warm enough to heat the water during the day. But it wouldn't be that warm along the coast or in Monterey Bay. I had read an article in Latitude 38 that discussed using a Sears pump style bug sprayer as a showering device, so we started thinking about rigging a shower inside Moonshot. All the convenience of home.

            Using a mirror and a flashlight, I examined the bilge area under the head through the opening in the floor of the main cabin. I had to make sure there was enough clearance to drill a hole in the floor of the head and not drill through the hull. There did appear to be enough clearance to create a drain into the bilge, so I ordered the shower kit from Watkins. While waiting for delivery of the kit, I shopped around for a bug sprayer. Sears had them so I purchased the 1-1/2 gallon model. When the kit arrived, it consisted of a long plastic strip with shower curtain hooks in a track and a hand held showerhead with flexible tubing and a fitting on the other end. There was also a cover plate for the drain.

            There was a concave dimple in the center of the floor in the head that appeared to be designed as the place to drill through to create the drain, so I did. I also applied heavy doses of silicon caulking where the bulkhead and doorframe met the floor so water wouldn't just run under them into the cabin. I figured out you were supposed to bend the flexible strip to form a circle. I purchased a few packages of brass angle brackets to mount the track in a circular shape to the ceiling of the head. This was all there was to the installation.

            The instructions for using the shower were to put hot water in the bug sprayer and set it in the sink. You stepped inside and wrapped the curtain around you, either sitting on the commode or standing. You could easily use the sprayer wand to squirt the hot water all over yourself. When not in use, the shower curtain could be tied to the teak towel rack, out of the way for normal head functions. We did not give this new system a test drive, that would have to wait until sometime when we needed showers.

 

OTHER CREATURE COMFORTS 

           Time was running out, we were utilizing every spare moment of time we could squeeze out of our budget, and all of our discretionary income. The momentum was tremendous, there was no stopping our "Turn this boat into a coastal cruiser". We had seen the islands and wanted more exploring new places. Though Moonshot was not originally designed for the task, we were determined and bound to make it our vehicle for further adventure.

            The old portable radio/tape deck we had been using since the days of the Aquarius had finally worn out so we went shopping at a nearby department store for a replacement. We found a moderate priced GE model that had all the basic functions, AM/FM Stereo with cassette player and it sounded good. One day, while in the cockpit listening to the radio, I noticed that it was about the same width as the drink holder. I slid the handle over the lower lip of the holder. It fit perfectly, the radio easily hung in place. I strapped it in place with a bungee cord, it found its home. It wouldn't go anywhere, wasn't in any body's way, and was in the perfect location for music in the cockpit, perfect for listening to Jimmy Buffet tapes.

            We had never felt the need to have a television on board, the thought made us think of RV's sitting in a row in some trailer park. But my mother asked me if I could use their small 5" black and white 12-volt model as a birthday present. My mother and father used it when traveling around the country by car, but they weren't planning any more trips. I said sure, we'll see how it fits in. It turned out to be fun to have around. It became useful for watching the news and weather and we actually watched some TV, usually a program starting at 10:00 PM on Saturday night. If we weren't asleep already, we fell asleep during the program.

            The boat had always been the place to use old things or leftovers from our land-based life style, items such as dishes and towels. Our thinking began to change after spending more of our time on board Why not have better things around us. It was like being on the boat was changing from camping to becoming our lifestyle. So we started upgrading the quality of our dishes, silverware, towels, etc. Why not?

            Thinking there is a place for everything and everything in its place in mind, we started investing in teak accessories. The list is as follows:

            - Navigational instrument holder.
            - Binocular holder for our new 7 X 50 binoculars. I could also keep the hand
            - Hand bearing compass and hand held wind speed indicator handy in this.
            - Paper towel holder.
            - Galley utensil holder.
            - Bookshelf.
            - Second towel rack in head.
            - Shelf unit for toiletries in the head.
            - Toothbrush holder.

            These additions started making spending time on the boat a more enjoyable experience. Things weren't scattered around in space crates or canvas bags. They were where you could get at them easily. The silverware drawer was no longer crammed so full that you couldn't find anything. The accessories took up very little space, none that infringed on our proximity while inside the cabin. A coat of Amazon oil on the teak and they all blended in with the appearance of the rest of the cabin.

            Since we were going to be anchoring over night at times, I needed to rig an anchor light. The steaming light wouldn't work because it was visible for only 180 degrees. An anchor light needed to be visible for 360 degrees unless we were anchored in an area labeled Special Anchorage on the charts. For this purpose, I dug out an old kerosene miner's lamp I had owned for 10 years. It needed cleaning off and had one design flaw for this application. The glass was red and an anchor light is supposed to be white. I was able to scrape the red coating off the inside of the glass. It would work perfect and it stored conveniently in the engine compartment.

            There were other things we thought about doing but decided not to before the upcoming coastal cruise. It was clear we weren't finished, but we certainly had come a long way. Sometimes though, it seems as if the list will never end. At one point in the preparations, I remember waking up and planning my West Marine shopping list, then remembering I had to go check in at work for 8 hours first.

Figure35.jpg
Figure 35: Call of the sea

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Keys to the Golden Gate, Copyright (c) 2002 by Steve Sears