OK, the title of this post is perhaps a little misleading. My phone did not actually walk the plank. It just got a little wet. Perhaps an explanation is in order.
I have a Michalak-style rowing box to go with my Michalak-style oars. I created a cinch-down strap for it, and a tether that I could tie to the mast step, and the idea was to build it water tight enough that I could put stuff in it that I didn’t want to lose in case of a capsize. It is built in much the same manner as my puddle duck (chine logs and such) and so it seemed like it might actually work. However, shortly after making the box, my daughter ran over part of it with the Civic. I had to replace one of the ends completely, and I never got around to painting it, or sealing it in any fashion at all really. It is a testament to plywood’s strength that the box is still useful as a box, and it still looks like it could maybe be waterproof. However, it was tested this last weekend, and I can say with certainty that it is not waterproof.
It is not even water resistant.
I hadn’t been planning on going sailing this weekend, but KaeLynn really wanted me to take the girls to the lake. What’s more, my 14-year-old niece, Lisa and her younger sister Lexi, wanted to go as well. That turned out to be an important factor because while the girls were somewhat interested in using the mouse boat. They weren’t really interested in going sailing, especially in the rather boisterous conditions that we had that afternoon. On the other hand, Lisa was quite happy to watch Abby and Stella play in the sand, leaving me to watch Eliza and Lexi play in the waves.
And by watch them, what I really mean is sail where I could still mostly see them. At least I could see them when we were both on top of the waves…
The sailing was exciting. The closest weather station said the conditions were 15-20 mph winds, and like always at this end of Utah Lake when the wind picks up, a short chop developed that was just starting to break in places. Conditions were exciting enough that I spent quite a bit of time playing with different sailing configurations. I sailed quite a bit with just the mainsail. The roller reefing system on the jib works very well, and so it is child’s play to douse that sail in a hurry. Dousing the jib calmed things down a lot. I went from hiking out as far as I could without straps, and still taking in water when I plowed into a wave, to being able to calmly sail from inside of the boat.
It was a good thing too. It is hard to bail while hiking out.
Needless to say, this is when I found out that my combination sailing box and seat was not even remotely water tight. Since I had been using my phone as a camera there’s no pictures of my outing again this week.
On the bright side, balancing out the helm while sailing with just the mainsail was easy enough, pushing the leeboard back a bit did the trick. The boat did not sail as close to the wind without the jib, and it required a lot more momentum to carry it through tacks. However, it was definitely workable. That is almost certainly going to be my preferred method of shortening sail when there is too much wind for all of Nephi’s Courage’s sails. The fact that it is so easy to reef the jib incrementally just sweetens the deal.
I also sailed for a bit with just the jib. This worked surprisingly well, although it was not possible to balance out the lee helm. It did allow me to sail off of a lee shore while I was raising the mainsail. I just cleated the helm off so that it kept a mostly straight course and then I went to work. This was a little exciting due to wind and wave conditions (I will admit that I shipped some water), but it was still possible. On a less blustery day it would be easy. It was nice to be able to switch from rowing to making headway under sail in just a few seconds. Just pull on the correct jib sheet and the sail is deployed.
I did not take the chance to try out the reef points on the main sail. I did drop and raise the main sail a couple of times to practice dousing sail in exciting conditions, but I did not go the extra step and actually test the reef points. This is mainly because I don’t (yet) have all of the reef points installed. I have a point at the tack and clew, but that’s it. There’s always something to work on.
Speaking of things to work on. I very nearly pulled out one of my handles. Like all of my failures so far with Nephi’s Courage the failure point was the weak plies in the Revolution Ply underlayment plywood that I use. The glue in that stuff is actually pretty good (it passed my boil tests with flying colors), but sometimes they plies themselves are so soft that the wood fails when it is pulled apart. A little Titebond II should fix it up fine and then I probably need to put some sort of fastener between the solid outer and inner gunwales at that point. The plyood is just glued between two solid pieces of lumber. The glue held up fine. The wood, however, nearly failed catastrophically. In the plywood’s defense I probably shouldn’t have pulled so hard. The wheels of my cart were stuck on a curb and I really leaned into it. I am a heavy guy, I can dead lift over 400 pounds, and I was really after it. I am not surprised that something failed. I am not sure what I was thinking.
I will try and get some pictures of the damage (and the repair) up as soon as I sort out what I am going to use for a camera. I will probably include some pictures of the repair I made recently to the gunter as the Revolution Ply played a part there as well.
As for my phone, that’s the third one in a year. Granted, they were all cast off phones from my various family members, but that’s still a lot of phone reconfiguration. Not to mention the fact that the replacement for my phone this time cost me nearly $40. I am probably going to start having to leave my cellphone on land.
I don’t really want people to be able to get a hold of me while I am sailing anyhow…