Monday 29 August 2016

Nice weekend sailing in Sanary bay

We spent a great weekend sailing in our local waters, the bay of Sanary-sur-mer. Launched saturday morning and recovered sunday evening.
On launch day,  door-to-water took about 1.5 hours (including 15 minutes drive). Recovery on sunday took around 2 hours including a stop on the way home to have the boat and trailer rinsed at a local jetwash.

Sailing was great, nice south westerlies 5 to 15 knots. 

We sailed, picnic'ed and enjoy snorkeling in fantastic clear waters.

Along the way we enjoyed a stop at one of the local ports for an ice-cream. That sure set the crew running!

I also spent some time looking at the boat's upwind performance. The GPS tracks from this summer's Sardinia sailing seem to indicate a tacking angle of 125° to 135° when reaching. For what I know the boat should be able to point higher and I finally realised that perhaps I made a mistake positioning the jib sheet fairlead. When fully pulled in the jib angle is not as tight towards the center of the boat  as it could be and that is because I routed the sheet to run outwards of the shrouds. 
A quick check on other pathfinder bloggers site showed that they rather had the sheet running inside of the shroud, allowing a much closer sheeting angle for the jib.
I'll have to ask confirmation in the yahoo group ...

Thursday 11 August 2016

Sardinia sailing

Just a short post to show what we've been up to.... Astrid and it's crew is currently sailing around the northeastern coast of Sardinia, taking each chance to go explore on land

Wednesday 22 June 2016

Beautiful Burano

New friends Olle and Barbro from Sweden who were sailing along with us during VeLa raid sent me this nice picture of "Astrid" close to the shores of the island of Burano.... such nice memories of those beautiful places!

Lagoon concert....

Thursday 2 June 2016

A few pics from Venice

Here are a few pics from Venice, more to come.
Most pictures were taken by new friends Pierre and Katia sailing their Pirmil "Thema" , a beautiful and versatile little boat.
The launch!

No water coming in, just glasses of champagne!

 First official meal onboard

First sail!

 How about that as a skyline?

And that?
Friends Felix and Giuseppe sailing by Pellestrina Island

Running with full sail, GPS was reading 6.5 knots over ground

Windless and beautifully calm

Group lunch

Overall it's been a fantastic adventure, I am totally in love with sailing in those waters...

Wednesday 25 May 2016


After weeks of frantic activity aimed at finishing the boat in time, "Astrid" was eventually launched on monday 16th May, roughly 3 years after the build started.
The boat was launched in the waters of the Venice lagoon in Italy and the following day it participated to this year's VeLa raid a 5 days' sail around the famous lagoon.

Great satisfaction, lots of fine tuning, a few minor technical setbacks. All in all the boat performed up to the highest of expectations.
I am particularly pleased with its stability, sea keeping ability and shelter offered to its crew. On the first day of VelaRaid, we sailed a 22 mile stretch with our three and six year old sons in full safety and comfort.

More to come soon ....

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Deck caulking

Busy weekend last weekend. Other than the mainmast, time was dedicated to caulking the deck using a polyurethane based black sealant.
In all I used 9 cartridges , using a hand operated gun to squeeze out the glue. Professional builders use pneumatic guns for the task and I quickly understood the reason why: it's so hard and tiresome to do it by manual strength alone!

Priori to applying the sealant, the teak strips have been protected by masking tape leaving out only the gaps, ready to receive the a coat of primer followed by the black goop.

After removal of the tape the results are encouraging and the required amount of sanding feels mangeable. We'll see if I'm wrong in saying that!

Monday 18 April 2016

Birds are out

Spring's here, birds are out singing.... perfect season to be outside building a birdsmouth main mast!

Lots of epoxy, tie-wraps but luckily the electrical cable to power the masthead light didn't get stuck in the glue.

Sunday 10 April 2016

out in the sun

After weeks of dusty garage.... Finally getting an early morning sun ray... The se a is only 2 km away...

Monday 4 April 2016

Coamings !

Coamings are on.  I went for a slightly different shape than the one drawn in the plans.  The shape evolved by iteration between sighting,  tracing and planing.

All along I worried whether it'd be too low to keep water out or too high and have a bulky look.  I'm happy with the result,  only experience will say whether they work as they should.
I will add a mahogany capping profile to protect the upper edge.

In this photo the inboard arrangement is also visible.

  Tested the motor and it works ok.  I need to finalise the belt driven water cooling pump....  That's on tonight's to-do list!!

Saturday 26 March 2016

Bow to the king..... plank!

After days of slow progress today I finally
fitted the teak king plank to the foredeck.  What slowed down the progress was the required in situ bending and glueing of the teak strips along the deck.  The curved shape meant I could only glue two strips per day,  one each side, as clamps were needed to help hold the strips in place and keep the bend as the Epoxy cured.  The presence of the clamps prevented in most cases the next neighbouring strip to be glued at the same time.

Anyhow a milestone has been reached today as the king plank was finally laid down onto the deck.  Bow to the king....  As the focus now shifts to the coamings....

Friday 4 March 2016

Teak side decks

The side decks have been successfully dressed with teak strips.... lots of bend and elastic energy but ... in epoxy we trust!

Sunday 21 February 2016

Teak deck....episode 1

Work has started today on covering the deck with teak strips.
They will be glued down with Epoxy after a rub down and a cleanup with acetone.  I'm not too worried by the tricky adhesion of Epoxy to teak: I've glued similar strips in the past with positive results.  I think what helps is the low thickness of the strips (6mm) that limits the amount of wood that would work with temperature and moisture change.

I expected the strips to be harder to get hold of. I've purchased 60 linear meters of 35 mm wide strips : they should just about suffice however I fear another visit at the wood shop may be required to finish off the whole deck.
I've fitted today the first strip all around the deck.  The first one is probably the most fiddly to fit as it has to be placed flush with the gunwhale and there's no possibility to use a screws at the outer edge (the gunwhale end) as the holes will remain forever visible.  It was a matter therefore to dig out all the clamps in my possession and use them to grab hold of the task!

Deck and gunwhales are on

Progress on the boat has gone slightly undocumented recently.  Over the past weeks the deck has been fitted to the hull. 

 It is made of 6mm ply in the fore part and 9mm ply on the side decks and aft.  The aft deck also received a 10mm mahogany reinforcement beam underneath to improve stepping on firmness.  
The outer gunwhales are 40x20 mm mahogany scarfed to the length,  glued and screwed in place.  I've positioned them 6mm proud of the deck surface in preparation for the next phase: teak strip laying the deck.  
The strips will be 6mm thick an will therefore end up flush with the gunwhale... Lots of fun ahead! 

Monday 1 February 2016

Foredeck planking

Here's the only photo I have of the Foredeck assembly process.  The Foredeck is composed of a 6mm ply sheet glued to the deck grounds underneath.  The teak strips decking is already glued to a thin ply sheet.  This is glued with slightly thickened epoxy to the 6mm sheet mentioned above (see picture). 
That makes a sandwich construction with Epoxy throughout which I hope will provide a tough and durable support. 
I yet do not know what product to apply to the teak strips. I've read of deks oliye n°1 saturation oil.  Any suggestion welcome! 

Saturday 23 January 2016

Customised deck plates

Over the past few days I have glued the deck over the bunk flat. Access to storage below is granted through 2 8 inch deckplates each side of the centercase and 2 6 inch ones under the foredeck. I purchAsed Beckson branded deckplates as suggested by my friend Steve who has used them on Spartina for years now. They indeed look sturdy and very high quality. However I couldnt help modifying them as they looked too plasticky on the teak deck. I therefore decided to cut away the core of the lid with the help of Christophe and the work place's lathe. The core part is replaced by the deck's cutaway that is carefully routered off to match the diameter of the hole in the deckplate's lid.

Luckiky I managed a tight fit between the parts and a generous epoxy fillet from the inside of the lid ensures mechanical integrity and watertightness.
I will just have to figure out the best way to produce finger notches to help screw/unscrew the deckplate in position.

Tuesday 12 January 2016

An intense week's progress

Last week Christophe a good friend of mine decided to lend a helping hand and thrust the project forward as my april deadline is starting to loom higher above my head.... It is nice to be able to count on a friend like him.
With his help, many things were accomplished. The keel and homemade inboard "saildrive" have been installed. The saildrive's built into the skeg which needs to be about 60mm deeper than originally designed by John.
This extra height is carried along the whole boat's hull, and at the bow the original height is reestablished.

The laminated stem profile has been installed too, then followed a quick hull sanding and turn back upwards.
Since I'm pressed with time and wanted to maximise the opportunity of having some help at hand I decided to turn the hull unpainted and concentrate on finishing the inside of the boat.
I will paint the hull turned upright scheduling the coats and drying times in the evenings leaving it to dry during the time I'm away for work.

Progress on the inside of the boat saw us first paint light grey the underneath of the bunkflat and cockpit lockers. The paint has been painstakingly slow to dry, perhaps down to cold(ish) weather, incompatibility with the epoxy underneath or bad initial stirring. I might be responsible for the latter two possible causes....
Once the paint dry (ish) we installed a flexible water tank that will be used to store fresh water; an electric pump draws water from the 55l tank and feeds a small shower head.

I also built a small compartment for an electric bilge pump. Pathfinder is not designed with provision for a bilge pump but I decided to install one for when the boat is sitting at a mooring in case of rain. Also since in the summer we tend to jump in and out of the Mediterranean waters all the time, quite a lot of it is splashed back into the boat.... that plus the fresh water shower makes for some water to get rid of.

The bilge pump compartment is built at the center of the boat and uses the centerboard case side and  bulkhead  3 aft as confining walls;  two extra sides are added to provide an enclosed chamber where the pump sits. The inside is epoxied and fiberglassed. The bilge collects water from a strainer in the bunkflat and from the cockpit through a pipe in the main twarth locker.
It is positioned were according to the drawings the lowest (deepest) part of the hull is located. Since it is the first time I see this done on a Pathfinder I'm not entirely sure it'll work as intended, we'll see.

The teak strips have been glued to the cockpit floor, as well as the starboard bench.

Finally I had a go at installing the inboard motor now that the saildrive and its drive belt are firmly in position ....

.... a long week, I was well exhausted on sunday evening. Thanks Christophe for all of your help and time!