Sailing Vessel Warrior

Moss Landing, CA

May 19, 2006

Yay the website is finally up and running. Hopefully we'll get around to writing something interesting here for you all to read.

June 19, 2006

Much work was completed here in Moss Landing and the following serves as a short history mainly for us so we can remember (in other words read the following only if you wish to lose your sanity):

The common feature of the above derives from the cramped space on any sailing yacht. All the jobs involve climbing one of the companion-ways every 5 minutes interspersed with placing one's head between one's legs. Add XXXX, 12 hour's sleep, and it's another day in the Moss Landing nirvana.

A new seat for <i>Warrior</i>
Just had to show off the seat !

Most of the rest of the above is unseen, especially to the horseman riding by.

Then there was the HAUL-OUT that took three weeks in March. We are sure that it was traumatic, but then in hindsight it was a jolly good experience:

It began in appropriate sailing style, i.e. problem with quick-enough fix. Went to undock, attempted to place transmission in reverse, seemed a bit stiff, then the cable bracket broke. The dripping anti-syphon valve (as above) had corroded & seized the gear-change shaft where it entered the transmission case. Moderate force then induced a prior Heath-Robinson fix to the cable bracket (corroding Al attached to iron) to snap. Via the Perkins manual we dismantled/extracted the shaft, cleaned and replaced it and did jury-rig at midnight on the bracket that seemed to work. Early next morning (only 2 working hours late for the boatyard appointment) the jury-rig would only engage one way. Michelle then volunteered as chief engineer and for at least once (now recorded for posterity) responded perfectly to commands of Forward!, Neutral! Etc and the boat subsequently positioned itself under the haul-out crane on its first attempt. We guess that this is what cruisers mean mean by double/triple backups and appropriate response to developing situations.

As for the Survey haul-out, 30 tons plus and Warrior's one-off 6 foot dagger keel is a spectacle hanging in the air. Sorry, too busy to get pictures. We lived on board for those three weeks too. It seemed somewhat precarious 12 feet up perched on very little. Gravelle's boatyard is pleasantly situated to catch every breeze coming into Monterey Bay that must eventually exit the Salinas Valley, so 5-30 knots every day. The first day it began to wobble in 30 knots so Ron & Chad added two more stands after one of our pictures hanging in the main cabin began to oscillate wildly - that summed to 10 stands plus one 1'*1'*6 feet block of wood just forward of the keel plus most of the weight on the keel. Don't ever want to do the same in a hurricane. We have since discovered that Gravelle's yard is rather special - the only yard thereabouts (Monterey Bay and maybe a lot further) that one can work on one's own boat. So we did some and it was cold. Robin, reduced to a skeleton by in-boat calisthenics, required two pairs of trousers and six layers of shirts/jumpers most days except for a couple of really hot hours that was maybe 50F. But we were lucky - in the middle of what turned out to be a record long wet winter we lost only one morning from rain.

So we ground the hull all over, regrinding/feathering wherever numerous layers of bottom paint had fallen off (large areas) - a little wearing on the arms and one begins to wonder about the virtues of large boats. Two coats & 5 gallons of blue Trinidad SR did that job (the easy bit) with three coats around the waterline - we are already thinking of 5 coats on the waterline for next time. Hopefully the amazing grungy growth in the last few months resulted from Moss Landing's 200 defecating out-of-any-semblance-of-control half-ton sea lions and the mud and fertiliser from thousands of acres of stawberries and artichokes that passed under the boat this last long winter. Robin finished that job by re-arising in drizzle at 1 am to paint the second bottom coat where the stands had been whilst 30 tons swung gently from Chad's 70-ton-capacity crane. Thanks to Travis (as below) we knew exactly how to tape eyebrows to stop the drizzly rain drips from running over the new paint. Back in the water at 9 am and right-up the rain Heh!

But then there was the keel problem, observed and known from the Survey haul-out last September and described by broker Bill Lee as "cosmetic". Apparently 18,000 lb of Lb has always caused a problem according to several previous owners. Also the most recent owner reported finding 8-foot water in a 11-foot chart recording somewhere around Panama. There is also the hard grounding from the 80's in mid-ocean on a whale/Russian submarine (see History). The present manifestation was a crack where the keel meets hull at the aft end of keel. In the first week most informed persons in Moss Landing and all their dogs wandered by to Um and Ah. Robin got a little brittle with the Ummers! A standard was "You've got a lot of work there!". We always expected boatloads of work! These mini-interviews were beginning to take some time so we let it be known via one or two of the Ahers that we weren't particularly afraid of hard work. Whatever, the Ummers seemed to go away. The Ahers were most appreciated with all their theories and possible solutions. Special thanks to Gina who from the beginning alerted us to several possible causes.

On the advice of Travis we ground a 4" slot in the epoxy filler back to the hull along the crack which extended some 10 feet forward of the aft end of the keel on both sides of the keel. The filler was up to " thick. This revealed a massive cast-iron shoe to which the lead keel was attached. The shoe had separated from the hull by about 3/8" on the starboard side and 3/16" on the port side at the aft end of the keel, decreasing to zero to where the crack in the filler resin finally stopped. Four annoyed gribble crawled out of the starboard side and about 12' of their small homely holes were visible in the underlying wooden hull. Not a cosmetic problem! The boat demolition crew was at work and we were happy they were not torredos. The shoe is about 18" wide at its aft end increasing to about 3' at the middle. It is 1" thick at the edges increasing to a much greater thickness at its centre-line. The shoe is attached to the hull by fourteen 7/8" stainless bolts which can be accessed inside the boat (plus a similar number of " or 3/8" bolts which we ignored). The forward 11 of these bolts go through a large (about 4' by 8') stainless plate on which sits the 70' mast and to which is attached the aluminium ring frames (and thus shrouds) and the smallest of the fore-stays). A Table found on the net indicated a tension of about 200 foot-pounds was about right for these bolts. About half of these came undone fairly readily and were about 200 foot-pounds on re-tightening to the original setting. The rest were assumed to be at least at 200 since they could not be undone with a four foot bar. (Thanks Ron and Terry for loaning large tools). The aft three bolts were originally attached to the hull via wood only - two through a rib and the most aft one through the wooden keel (keelson?). The obvious cause of the problem was that the aft end of the keel had sagged because of compression of the intervening wood. The previous owner had inserted a stainless 6"*9" plate under the most aft bolt. This was countersunk around the bolt but this still only allowed the bolt to engage about half the depth of the nut. Given the nature of stainless, it did not seem a good idea to crank on this nut to 200 foot pounds. Accessed the next bolt forward on the starboard side by removing the engine mount. Could readily get an extra turn on the nut with tension wavering around 200 foot pounds, but this did not seem to decrease the crack so probably just further compressed the rib. Could see no point in trying the same on the port side where the crack was anyway less.

Meanwhile tested an alternative theory that too much pressure on the hydraulic back stay (the previous owner indicated 4-5 tons was what he used) may have lifted bow and stern (bent the boat) and detached the keel. This is a known problem on fibre-glass hulls (Gina had experience of crewing off Hawaii and losing the keel entirely). So we glued a tooth-pick to the aft end of the shoe and Travis came by and put some quick-setting filler in the crack at that point as another indicator. Lifting the boat increased the crack by about 1/32 to 1/16". Cranking on the back-stay whilst suspended made no difference whatsoever. This was good. Articles on the net indicated that wooden planked boats have some flexibility but that cold-moulded hulls (eg. Warrior) are much more stable to back-stay pressure.

Our solution was to drill two " holes (for 10" bolts) about 1" from the edges of the shoe as close as possible to the aft end (about 2" and 8") at an angle of 20 degrees to vertical up through the 6"*9" plate to pass by the most-aft bolt with just enough room to tighten all three. The plate was removed to separately drill holes at the 20 degree angle and 20 degree spacers were fabricated. Did not judge the angles perfectly but got the top of the holes close to the boats centerline. When the most aft bolt was released (boat now sitting on stands and keel) the crack increased by a little more than 1/32". Filled crack above shoe with epoxy then cyclically tightened the three bolts. Assisted this with a 20:1 lever and a car jack under the aft end of the dagger keel. This decreased the crack by more than 1/16", ie more than 1/32" better overall than before and excess epoxy dripped all over Michelle as she held the bottom ends of the bolts with appropriate spanners. Of course we had done a dry run without epoxy to make sure we could lift and so tension the keel back onto the hull, but had failed to imagine the rain of epoxy for the final run. But, success and one of us was happy. Then filled the 4" slot with 2 to 4 layers of thick fibre-glass tape. When we lifted the boat a few days later the crack did not reappear. We are waiting for warmer water to re-check. When lifted a small crack did appear in a separate region in epoxy fill at the aft corner where keel meets shoe. This is thought to be where a trim tab used to be for racing decades ago and really is a cosmetic problem. Next time we should repack it with filler while the boat is suspended overnight. Travis (West Coast Marine in Gravelle's yard) was originally going to do the keel grinding and fibre-glassing with us as helpers. But the weather messed up his schedule. So he did a little to show us what to do, gave ample advice, lent us the required tools and taught Michelle how to fibre-glass the right way. Then he refused to bill us - how often does that happen? Thanks Travis! Overall we thought Gravelle's was a great place to fix a boat, and get used to inclement wind.

Whilst in dock we also noticed that their was a small twist or lean to the keel relative to the hull of an inch or two when measured (lined up by eye) at the bottom of the keel. This maybe why it seems to us to sail a little closer to the wind on the port than starboard tack, but as novices that may arise from being right handed!

The September Survey also indicated delamination (a hollow sound when tapped) where the rudder shaft extends down inside the wooden rudder. So we drilled a 3/16" hole near the top of the rudder until it reached the stainless shaft and dirty seawater ran out. Same on the other side of the rudder, then every 6" down the shaft to its termination. Plugged the holes and poured in acetone, almost a quart, a sizeable void that has presumably been there ever since the rudder was manufactured. After flushing with acetone and draining, filled the void with Smith's penetrating epoxy. This was a bad idea as it failed to set after two days - apparently it is excessively slow in a fully enclosed area that prevents dispersion of solvents. So drained that and replaced it with normal West System epoxy diluted with a little acetone to enable it to readily drain into the void via a funnel and thin tube. Ran out of time to check whether we did a perfect job, so must check again on the next haul out.

Also did usual greasing of self-tailing prop via screwed in grease nipples (checked with manufacturer that that was the way to do it), greased thru-hull stop cocks, replaced the stuffing in the stuffing box and replaced prop shaft zincs. Then back in the water after 3 weeks. Several Ummers mentioned they thought we would be there a lot longer. We watched a commercial fishing boat (great example Wilson) do a one-week turn-around and felt we took too long.

If the above sounds like bragging, well it may be. It also serves as a list for us of those items we have fixed. We have been working hard enough with appropriate relaxation that somehow we have yet to start a log book. Alzheimers could set in any time! But it is also reassurance for the Rels that we haven't completely lost it - we aren't attempting the extensive blue wobbly thing without some preparation! Hopefully it is sufficiently comprehensive and/or there are enough double/triple backups for failures that will occur. If anyone is worried out there remember this semi-famous strong middle-aged well-designed boat returned from around the world a year ago after a seven-year trip with two adults and two children. We bring some new skills and are rapidly learning the ones we are missing.

No sailing during all that. Cannot easily go bouncing around when half of everything below is not stowed. However we did get things sufficiently shipshape to motor to Monterey for a week in April to attend the evening soirees that accompany the biennial NMR conference at Asilomar, Pacific Grove. Said farewell to numerous NMR friends and colleagues. The trip across Monterey Bay tested the motor (that was when the alternator failed) and our resistance to a 10 ft swell.

Then early June, having paid our monthly slip fee of $405, the previously pleasant folk of the Moss Landing Harbor District retrospectively decided to charge us $37.50 a day. First time we have ever been charged more after already paying without any prior notice, even in the USA. We declined. They sent us a letter threatening legal remedies. We replied in kind. Weird business, but having asked others, it seems they are like that to half the people and totally different to the other half. We also mentioned that they are wide open to a class action from all the people they have overcharged and made sure we left in June before reasonable 30 day notice had expired.

So we went sailing, twice by ourselves to figure out all the things we did not know and then with Doug and Jean Michelle to tell us all the things we had not even thought about. Thanks guys. Also thanks Dyson for all your advice on a myriad of matters.

June 26, 2006

Oh my god we finally left Moss Landing, the land of mud, demented sea lions, mexican restuarants, a pub with no beer (well often no Sierra Nevada and that's all that matters to Robin), and many friendly faces who we will miss. On our last pub visit the Sierra tap handle had recently snapped. Diana (of the dark Rapunzel hair) had saved the handle for us and we plan to mount it as a tiltometer. The maiden voyage was a great success, as long as you don't count Robin tying the dingy painter over the top of the Jib sheets, which caused a slight amount of confusion when trying to tack the first time. Nevertheless we managed a nice 5 to 6 knots heading almost straight into a 10-15knot wind. This was done by pointing with the apparent wind arrow (wind vane) at least 10 degrees inside the no-sail pointers. Seems like Warrior sails closer to the wind on the port rather than starboard tack - see keel work above. We had an excellent reason for attempting this irregular manoeuvre - we were too tired after practicing with Doug in the preceding week to bother with another two tacks. Not bad for amateurs with a fully-reefed main. We did an awesome job of navigating as well considering the fog came in and completely obscured the coast line so we were guessing at where we were (our GPS skills were introduced later for Half Moon Bay). When we finally caught sight of the cement sunken ship to starboard just off Aptos we knew we had successfully aimed straight for Capitola. Ok so it was just a 2 hour sail but hey, you have to start somewhere right? The next few days at Capitola we will be having a wee holiday and hopefully catch a few days rest until Ken arrives from Moss Landing for the July 4th party weekend.