Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Putting the rudder back together....

As you will have seen from a previous post I have decided to leave the original rudder "as is'. I could not resist, however, having a "look" at the two stress points;

a. The first bend
b. The base where the bronze rod enters the shoe.

One thing about fiberglass, when you get used to cutting into it, its hard to stop.

All the metal here appeared to be fine. If I ever enlarge the rudder this is the area that I will reinforce. There has been no history of failures (as far as I can tell from available information) on Whitby 42 rudders that have not been enlarged.

This is the bronze rod on the end of which (on the left) is a little nub (very worn) that rests in the shoe attached to the hull. The nub has been cut off, drilled out and will be replaced with a bronze bolt.

Bronze shoe. The rudder is also held by a gudgeon higher up.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The "heads".........

I have always been amazed that boaters will spend hundreds of dollars to move a "poo" three feet, in the misguided hope that they will never see it again. The one fact about boating is that it brings us into sharp contact nature, this includes beautiful sunsets and bodily waste. Unless you are prepared to pay someone a lot of money you are destined to get "up close and personal" with fecal matter at some stage.

Peggy Hall is the agreed expert on such matters and I would recommend her book without reservation;

"Getting rid of boat Odors etc."

Like Peggy, I am no fan of holding tanks having discovered that pump-out stations are rare in most locations. I was therefore interested in a the idea of a composting "head". The Airhead being one example.

The provisional plan is to install one in the for'd heads with a "Lectra Scan" dealing with the aft Heads.

How much fuel does a "sailboat" need?

Most cruisers, if they are truthful, will admit that the motor-sail a LOT of the time. The ideal image of the boat under full sail, doing 6-7 kts in a flat blue sea is a rare cruising occurrence. Having promised my wife that finally we would have a fabulous down trade-wind sail from Jamaica to Honduras, she was less that impressed when we had no wind for two days and then 35kts for the next two. This brings up the question of how much fuel should a sailboat need? I believe a range of 400NM would be ideal. This would require about 66 hrs of motoring @ 6kts. At 2 gals an hour this would require 130 gals of fuel. I'm sure the purists would use a lot less, but I'm no purist. Once the boat speed drops below 4kts, I find my hand reaching for the ingition key.

As mentioned in the previous post the center tank is a major undertaking and I am convinced that it is probably not worth the time, expense and effort. I will just cap it off for the moment and leave it empty. If some magical coating appears in the future it may be worth revisiting.

The photos below are of the bilge area over the center fuel tank. This was covered by a plywood board glassed into the hull which was used to support the holding tank. On removing this board approx. 4ft of the tank was visible.

The current plan is to replace this platform with an open type support frame that should hold a 30 gal (+/-) Moeller tank. I may also replace the stbd tanks with a Moeller and install one in the original tank space on the port side.

This should give me +100 Gals, in tanks that do not corrode and can be replaced if necessary with a stock product.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Tanks but no tanks......

The Whitby 42 was designed with three aluminum fuel tanks. Two wing tanks (45 Gals) and one keel tank (120 Gals). That's a lot of fuel in a sailboat. The commissioning owner of TIH chose the option of no Port wing tank (the space was used for the reefer compressor).

Over the years the center tanks have been subject to pitting and therefore must be considered suspect. The center fuel tank was installed, deep in the keel, before the liner was in place (see photo);

Photo courtesy of www.WhitbyBrewerSailboats.com

If anyone has the names of these two guys please post them as I would like to ask how future owners were expected to replace this tank. The simple answer is that these tanks are not replaceable without major surgery, not an uncommon fact on many sailboats of this era. Some owners have cut through the hull and replaced them, but this is a pretty major job (This photo is not a Whitby).

Even if the tank appears fine at the moment I had to consider two possible scenarios;

1. The tank would leak in harbour and the bilge pump would pump the fuel overboard, with obvious unpleasant legal and environmental consequences.

2. The tank would leak on passage where I had planned on needing the fuel.

Either possibility I choose not to risk.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

DIY Boat Owner magazine.......

If you are working on a boat get this publication. These guys must be reading my blog. This months articles;

# Patching Plumbing Holes
# Barrier Coat Blues
# Lessons Learned in Bottom Painting

Next months;

# Projects: Teak & Holly Floors
# Sailboat Rigging: Rudder Repair

Now, if they would only come and work on the boat????

A Rudder Decision

Ted Brewer (the designer of the Whitby 42) wrote in a letter in '98

"Re rudders: I do recommend a small increase in size as an aid to steering. My suggestion is to add 3" to the trailing edge, and to square of the bottom of the rudder parallel to the waterline. This should not create any problems with strength and, indeed, I have heard of no problems from owners who have done this. Problems seem to occur in shafts where the stock has been shaved to make it easier for the builder to bend it around the aperture, or in stocks where the bend has created a fracture because it was not done properly."

Having read all the other available information, most hidden deeply in the bowels of the "owners group", and having cut into the rudder in two places I have decided to leave the size of the rudder as is, for the moment. I agree with Ted that a small increase would help but I may go the bow thruster route when time and money permits. The only factor that might change my mind would be how the vessel handles under sail in heavy winds.

The next bite of the elephant is........ the center fuel tank!!!! Fun Fun, NOT.

How Do You Eat An Elephant?

“One bite at a time.”

In any project it is easy to get overpowered by the sheer magnitude of what has to be done. The fact that TIH is 300 miles from where I live and its hurricane season, has not helped. I have finally made a decision on the one piece of the elephant. The rudder. See next blog.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Excellent Whitby and Brewer Sailors web resources BUT….......

Whitby and Brewer Sailors have three major resources on the web;

1. The sailboat association at;


This first was established by Bernie Boykin in the early 90’s and is a great source of information for Whitby/Brewer owners and more importantly potential owners. Bernie is also the driving force behind the Newsletter. Unfortunately the site has not been updated for some time and the newsletters have never been put in digital form.

2. Doug Stephenson Brokerage Website (Doug is a broker and recognized expert on Whitby/Brewer vessels). http://www.yachtsls.com/

3. And a somewhat disorganized discussion group on Yahoo.com

This would be an excellent resource if some attempt was made to structure the information and transfer it to Bernie’s site (I am informed that some sort of restructuring is in hand). Unfortunately, it appears to be controlled by a small number of self appointed moderators. One in particular does not limit himself to preventing spam and unacceptable posts, he chooses to censor posts that he does not agree with. Two of my posts were singled out, one offering to assist in structuring the web site and second contained my opinion of the rudder. The first earned a reasonably civil rebuke for the self appointed gatekeeper (even if the reasoning was somewhat unconvincing), the second post he simply refused to publish as it did not agree with his opinion.

Not being a big fan of censorship, I will give this site a miss for the moment if the hope that wiser heads will prevail.

"I disagree strongly with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Voltaire

Friday, September 5, 2008

I don't like Ike.....

The residents of South Florida (including myself) appear to have the memory of goldfish.

2005 was the hurricane season from hell. 2006/2007 were pretty quiet. As a result expect to see "mucho panico" on Monday as Ike approaches as a possible Cat 4. Of course we will all live in denial until then and pretend that we are not living on a heavily populated sandbank.

I had one friend tell me gleefully, that her house was at 10ft elevation. I resisted pointing out that in Ireland that would be considered tidal.

This does mean that all boat work is halted for the moment.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My personal web site

Finally gotten around to updating my personal web site;