Author Topic: Figaro goes Sailing  (Read 1292 times)

Offline lkm

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Figaro goes Sailing
« on: June 07, 2015, 10:26:40 PM »
Maiden Voyage

Well, Figaro made her maiden voyage today.  A beautiful day for sailing, and overall a very successful trip  with several ‘opportunities’ for improvement next time, and one major learning discussed at the end.
The verbose blog is mostly for me so I can log the days events, but might be helpful for other novices to see what things to watch out for.

I took to heart as many of the suggestions from this board as I could remember. I had set the rigging at home a couple times and practiced on the ground.  This helped get a good start to the day. 

We launched out of Rouges Harbor in Elk Neck State Park. Boat setup went quite quickly and from arrival at the ramp to boat in the water was less than 45 min.  The only hangup was that the keel was not locked up and after the boat began to float it would not pull off the trailer because the keel was catching the ground.  I did ensure this was locked earlier in the morning, but the pull rope easily comes out and one of us probably kicked it.  But, the problem was recognized relatively quickly and the boat came off easily after that was addressed.  Question: Is there any better way to lock this in the up position?

I took a friend with some sailing experience (not family or kids) as suggested.  A very good idea.  Kids would have been a lot of commotion.  Something that I didn’t expect as much was the amount of wave activity at this boat ramp.  As power boats would speed away their wakes would hit the area and it’s a bit unnerving to see my newly painted jewel pitch and roll next to a very hard dock as a 2 foot wave rolls by.  We had fenders out, but of little use with large pilings and even with a few sharpies.  The rub rail saved things and only a little rubber from the fender rubbed on the the paint (causing a large white rubber streak), but apparently no major trauma - it seems to rub off.

After that I took Al’s advice to motor around a bit.  I picked a channel marker as a point and did squares with the keel up and down to get a bit of a feel, but after about 30-40 min the itch to sail on a perfect day was just to strong.  On my last ground practice I left a reef in so we sailed on that for a bit then shook it out and had a relatively uneventful sail over to Bohemia Vista Marina.  Despite the common mention of the jib getting caught on the gin pole stub (and did occur during my driveway exercises) it really wasn’t much of an issue for some reason on the water.  As long as we waited for the boat to come about before setting the jib it didn’t seem to catch for us.   Hopefully that continues.  I’ll still likely try to implement EclipseGuys line idea or build some kind of sock for this.

The boat was faster than I remember on the test sail.  We were even catching up with a much larger 35 foot cruisers on same tack! Of course, later a Hobie cat blew right past us, to put us back in our place.

I had practiced reefing a couple of times on the ground, but on the water this was more interesting/challenging than expected. First issue is that when releasing the halyard the sheet needs to be secured, and it would be ideal to have something to lock boom to the gallows so that it doesn’t drag on the gallows without the aid of the halyard to lift it up.  The second issue was perhaps because we tried to do this to quickly without help of motor.  Instead we just tried putting the boat in irons, and releasing the halyard while pulling on reefing lines (prior owner had these come back to the cockpit). But with no motor to hold steerageway the wind would catch the bow and put us in a hove to when trying to correct.  Ironically, this kind of worked and even with pressure on the sail setting the reef.  Conditions for us were near ideal - winds about 10 so that may have contributed to success, but i’m not sure that’s the best way to do this if caught in a storm and were late to reef.  This begs the question - what procedures do you follow when reefing under bad conditions?

The next ‘adventure’ came on bringing the boat back in.  I should have listened to Al more with the importance of those motor skills.  I took 3 passes to make the dock, with the wind blowing us away and my fear of crunching sounds. But alas, 3rd times a charm made a nice landing, got the truck and pulled the boat. The only issue was forgetting to bring up the rudder, but Ryan stopped me quickly and only a minor scratch to the rudder.

The only major event of the day happened on cleaning up the boat.  On lowering the mast I did my regular procedure of checking things,  lowering the boom, setting up the gin pole and then releasing the stays then attempt to lower the mast with the block/tackle.  But this time, the mast seemed to get caught by the wind, and veered to starboard then in a semi controlled (but mostly uncontrolled) fall to the starboard side of the gallows then to the ground next to the boat!  The mast was still attached at the hinge!  I had tried this several times before and had no issues.  In my horror, I sat gazing wondering WTF happened?

The answer was that the port hinge pin worked its way loose and the without that support there is just enough slack for the wind to bend the hinge on the starboard so that the boom will hit the ground even with gin pole and tackle in place!  In fact, I think the tackle that pulled the mast farther to starboard with the weight of the mast more than the wind doing most of the hinge bending.

Well actually the hinge was bent like crazy.  But this left a new problem which was that the starboard pin was still in place bent like dog leg, and lock still catching.  I couldn't really travel like this because the mast was still attached.  Fortunately I had packed a toolkit, but it took about an hour of prying and finessing the pin lock system apart then hammering the pin out. 

It could have been worse.  Nobody hurt, and no other boats/cars around so only damage was to my mast ender hinge (and my wind vane which got crushed when it hit the ground).

But a less than ideal end to an otherwise great day of sailing.  Top Lesson of the day.   CHECK ALL PINS BEFORE ANY OPERATION.  TWICE.  I will never let that happen again.

Now for a final question - has anybody ever replaced the mast hinge?
2005 Eclipse #20 - Figaro

Offline Vectordirector

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Re: Figaro goes Sailing
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2015, 07:52:13 PM »
OUCH!.  Just kidding.  If you sail trailer boats long enough you will eventually drop the mast.  Once.  I did it with my Hobie the first time I put it up on the driveway.  Haven't done it since.  Don't sweat it.  You have it out of your system.  I would take some piictures and post them if you can.  Someone will chime in.  If it is bad enough, the factory is more than helpful in getting replacement parts.  Matt is truly amazing. 

Make sure the mast isn't bent.  Dents are ok within reason.  Cracks, not so much.  Take a good look at it before you use it again.  If it only hit the ground at the top, you may be ok.  The windvane may have taken the brunt of it.  If the spreaders hit, they may have bent.  I believe I have read of bent masts being straightened, depends on how bad it is I guess.   

I love these stories.  I believe we can all learn from them.  I posted mine somewhere back in this forum a couple of years ago.  It was also an adventure. 

Let us know how the repairs go.  I consider it a successful sail if no one dies.  Every time out is different.  Checklists are helpful for rigging.  It is way to easy too forget something or leave something at home.  Like oh,...the rudder.  Don't ask me how I know this. 

We are here to help.  Good luck.  Have fun.

Fair Winds,

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2005 Eclipse #23
2004 World Cat 250DC

Offline lkm

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Re: Figaro goes Sailing
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2015, 09:11:49 PM »
Thanks.

I called Hutchins, and basically, the damage isn't quite as bad as I would have guessed.  I'm pretty sure the mast is OK.  It was a reasonably slow decent as the fall was broken by slow bending of steel in the bracket/pin.  I can't see any bend or damage on the mast.
Pictures of the hinge


Confirmation that Matthew is indeed great. Basically, he indicated just send him the hinge, and he'd fix it for $75 and have it back in a few days + shipping.
Hinge comes off very easy.  Already in the mail.  I have to say, the customer service makes me glad I bought a Com Pac.

Will post when its back on.

BTW, the name Vectordirector is intriguing.  I get the association to wind/currents, etc. but is there more to this story?
2005 Eclipse #20 - Figaro

Offline Vectordirector

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Re: Figaro goes Sailing
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2015, 05:07:15 PM »
Glad to see it is an easy fix.  I'm lucky to have the factory about a 2 hour drive away.  I haven't made it up there yet, but I will.  I hate to bother them, figure everybody is busy.  They aren't a huge company like Hunter or Catalina.  If I decide I'd want to spring for a new one, yep, I'd be up there a lot.  The one on one with the owner/designer/builder is simply priceless, I would think.  I got the same feeling from the Melges guys in Wisconsin.  Pure passion and integrity.  It still exists, but you have to search for it.

The vectordirector name comes from 30 years of FAA Air Traffic Control.  7 years at MCI, Kansas City, MO, and 23 years at C90, Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control, or Chicago Tracon.  Radar controllers issuse turns, or radar vectors, to use the vernacular.  Thus a radar controller can sometimes  be referred to as a Vector Director.  I guess I could have done it that way,  but this one is easier to type.  If you are wondering, the tower guys and gals are referred to as "Tower Flowers".  We won't get into what we called the Center guys.  It was all in good fun.  I think.....

Vectordirector   
2005 Eclipse #23
2004 World Cat 250DC

Offline lkm

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Re: Figaro goes Sailing
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2015, 11:16:07 PM »
Back in business!

The fix indeed was relatively strait forward, if not delayed. 
Mathew sent back just after I was already scheduled for family trip to California to see my mom, then Lexi's (my wife) father passed away unexpectedly which has slowed things down a bit.

But, I had 2 very nice sails last week.

First was with Mike K (thanks Mike!).  All I can say is - a great day sailing!    Minor issue with throttle control.   Throttle is very touchy, and the motor (a Tohatsu 8hp) is far to much for the boat.  After the overly cautious attempts on my first sail I probably came into dock a little to eager, but Mike saved my bow.  Otherwise Fair winds all the way.
Great sailing days leave a smile on your face, but not much else to say.

Next was with the family on Sunday.  Weather predicted a hot day with little wind (which was accurate).  But, the kids could not wait.
Setup and Launch: check - no problems, but a fair bit of traffic adding some pressure to get going quickly.
Starting motor (which has never been an issue thus far) was very difficult to start, but finally does.  Until I back out and Lexi just let go of the line.  Then the engine dies.  And WILL... NOT... START... FOR... ANYTHING!  Turns over and attempts to go, but then dies instantly.  Drifting in harbor.  Not good.
Fortunately, the drift was slow and to an open slip which we were able to push our way into and we tied up while I tried to figure out the engine.
I'm still not entirely sure what it was.  After several attempts at looking at the kill switch, choke, and throttle, adding more fuel to a 3/4 full tank, I tried straitening out the the fuel line was coiled and may have been kinked in a couple of places.   But, after that I finally got it started.  I adjusted the idle up a bit.  The whole experience rattle me, so I tried starting several times, and after 3 or 4 time working properly, so we cautiously went out (with me nervous as anything that I wouldn't be able to start again).

Not much wind to sail, but we tried.  This was probably comical to watch, as I would call out 'prepare to tack' and blank looks on the crews faces - which line is that again?  After about 30 min of this, and many calls for 'can we go swimming' - we motored over near Veazey cove and set anchor. 

And after that a great time was had by all.

Nothing like a good swim to cool everyone down.  I'm really liking the open transom so far.

Unrelated, but I think the Eclipse is a very pretty boat.


On the way back winds came up a little (guessing about 6 or 7) a bit and we even had some sailing time with the rest of the crew learning positions a bit.

No further issues with the motor starting though the throttle is still very touchy and idle is either set a bit to fast so it pushes the boat or engine tends to want to die when it goes in forward.  Any thoughts/suggestions here?

Dock was busy, and despite the throttle I had my first near perfect landing where I actually felt somewhat in control. Yeah!

Can't wait to go again.

Larry
2005 Eclipse #20 - Figaro

Offline Mike K

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Re: Figaro goes Sailing
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2015, 03:27:26 PM »
I agree that sail last Friday was great!  The conditions were good, as was the company.  I really enjoyed sailing on your pretty Eclipse - thanks for having me along. 

I'm happy to hear that you and your family were able to enjoy the day after getting your engine started.  Even though the winds were light, that was probably a good thing for the family's first sail, anchor and swim.  You wouldn't want to scare the heck out of them on the first trip out with 15+ knot winds and a touchy motor!

As I sit here in my office on Friday, I regret that I didn't take off today also and go sailing.  The conditions today are just as good.  Saturday looks like a low wind day, but Sunday afternoon/evening looks promising!  We may have a picnic dinner in Veazey Cove or Cabin John Creek.  Hope to see you out there!
Mike.  '13 Legacy "Santosha".

Offline lkm

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Re: Figaro goes Sailing
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2017, 05:19:19 PM »
They say that the two happiest day of a boat owners life is when they buy the boat and the day they sell it.
Not true.
This isn't a happy post to say Figaro drove off today with her new owners.   I really loved that boat.
But, last years BBB convinced my wife that we needed a bigger boat, so Figaro had to go so that we can move on to the next one.
The sale couldn't have gone easier - 3 weeks on sailboat listings, and the first people to schedule a visit bought her the same day.
But, after 2 years, the family adventures and sailing were way better than buying or selling. 
Buying is a nervous process and makes you question what your doing.
Selling makes you remember the times in the middle. 
But the middle part - out on the water is _way_ happier than watching her leave.

I hope our new boat give us as much.
I also hope Figaro treats her new owners as well as me.
I also want to say thanks to this forum for the support and advice. 
The new boat is not a compac, but compacs will have a warm place for me in part because they are great boats, but also in large part because of you all.
So...  Thanks.

Larry.
2005 Eclipse #20 - Figaro

Offline Potcake boy

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Re: Figaro goes Sailing
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2017, 05:48:18 PM »
Larry,

I just gotta ask what you are planning to sail next. It is interesting to see how sailors evolve in their sailing preferences. Thanks
Ron
Pilot House 23 - GladRags
Punta Gorda Florida

A mouse around the house - but much hotter on the water

Offline Mike K

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Re: Figaro goes Sailing
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2017, 10:43:52 PM »
Sorry to hear about the sale Larry.  I was just struggling with replacing the forestay on my P-21, when I just realized I can't get the Jib furler extrusions off the forestay without breaking them and I need to buy a new extrusion (about $350 with oversize shipment fee!).  If I'd known you were selling the Eclipse, I may have said "to hell with the P21", I'm getting the Eclipse!

Anyway, I hope your new boat is everything you want it to be and more.  Thanks for giving me a ride on Figaro.  Hope to see you at the BBB anyway or somewhere else in the future-maybe an extended trip back to the Chesapeake?  (I'm assuming you're not getting a trailer sailer from your post.)
Mike.  '13 Legacy "Santosha".

Offline captronr

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Re: Figaro goes Sailing
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2017, 09:28:01 AM »
Hi Larry,

We have the same Eclipse in blue also.  Love the color scheme.  A series of bad breaks (pun intended-kneecap and hand surgery)  and buying/selling a house kept us off the Eclipse in 2016.   I have some minor things to update on the boat before we can launch it near here.

Our local ramps are SHALLOW, so have made a 7 ft long tongue extension, which I hope is long enough.  Also, since there are no docks along the ramps, I plan to build and install a ladder in front of the winch post so I can climb on/off the boat without swimming.

Still having issues with my Tohatsu 3.5HP starting easily, but I figure running it in a barrel for a couple of hours might solve that.  I do want to get a motor with a F/N/R as the current one you spin 180* to get to reverse.  I'd like to get one where the shift controls are on the handle, if they make such a thing................

Keep posting pics--I love 'em.

Ron

"When the world ends, I want to be in KANSAS, because its 20 years behind the times."  Plagarized from Mark Twain

Offline alsantini

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Re: Figaro goes Sailing
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2017, 07:56:52 AM »
Figaro is indeed a beautiful boat, but I am really biased.  LOL  Sounds like a decent day overall and having the kids swim off the boat is perfect.  Eclipse #20 looks like she just came out of the factory.
Not sure if any of you are Facebook friends with Com Pac, but they are putting the finishing touches on a black hull Eclipse.  I posted the question as to what number and was really surprised that it is only #78.  This has really become a limited production boat.
Sail On,  Al

Offline lkm

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Re: Figaro goes Sailing
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2017, 06:52:19 PM »

In response to Ron's question of where did we land and why...

 A 2003 Catalina 320.

We looked at hundreds of boats on line, and probably a dozen or so in person, but it seemed like the 320 best hit the balance best for us considering our budget, where we intend to sail, and type of sailing for our family.

I suspect each boat choice is an attempt to match these factors.  But, there were several criteria per the crew that led to the decision.

First, size.  The main problem with the eclipse was that getting the whole family plus an occasional guest was just a very tight squeeze.  The cockpit is sized for 2, not 4-5.  28-30 ft boats were better, but it started feel right at 30-32 where 4 plus a guest didn't feel so cramped.  Even larger compacts (at least available in the area) felt on the tight side if we added any guests, and it turns out that a couple of Micas friend like to go, too.

The 320 has a 'big fat butt' with catbird seats, so family + did not feel cramped at all.   Larger didn't seem to change this except for a bit more space for the helmsman seat. 

A bigger deal for the crew was cabin height and a head with a door.  Seems like going to 35 (on 15 year old coastal boats at least) buys a shower stall, a foot of locker in the v birth, and a slightly bigger dinette.   These are nice but, for our expectation of weekend overnight or 2, the cost difference was not justified.

A major request for the crew was an open or walk through transom, and scoop step.  The eclipse had this, and they loved the easy access to swimming and dinghies at anchor.  This ended up being a major decision for us because it focused us on 15 (Up to 20) yr old boats in the 'benecatahunter' series.   For mostly subjective reasons, the Beneteau and Hunters were not quite as nice, although the interiors of the some of the Beneteaus were quite nice.   We also really liked one Jeanneau 36.2 but it had a lot of engine hrs, and the dinette didn't fold down to a berth and it had captains chairs on the other side, so ironically it was more limiting in us bringing along even one extra guest.  This could have been fixed, but then it put the Jeanneau back as a more expensive option with not a lot of benefit for the extra size/cost.

Initially, I was quite interested in older pacific seacrafts or perhaps an older island packet.   The PS 32 and even more so the 34 crealock are very well respected 'blue water' boats, and imho the 37 is one of the prettiest boats ever made.  But, in reality, we are unlikely to do much more than occasional trips to the ocean, and even then more or less always visible distance to shore.  So, a big heavy cruiser wasn't justified.  Also this move would have removed the option of though transom, which the crew really wanted.  Also the narrower hull and tapered aft end of a more seaworthy boat would mean moving up significantly in length in order to get the same sort of cabin space, and the older boats would have likely had more repair and maintenance considerations.

Initially we also were looking at older Catalina 30's and compac 28s and other less expensive options (Cals, Pearsons, etc) but most felt much older, needing more repairs, or just not quite big enough, or missing the open transom.  In terms of budget, the biggest change for us was accepting that we will have slip and haul out fees, which actually has more impact than the difference in boat price at the end of the day.   So, After looking at a few hundred options on line, we settled in that boats in the $65-70k range would be a reasonable fit, and requiring an overall budget in the 15k/yr with maintenance, slip, haulouts and a few extra toys.  This is way way up from the eclipse on a trailer, but still doable for us. 

We reviewed online owners associations on the final contenders, and the 320 owners by and large loved their boats, with random known issues, mostly on the very early versions that had a more shallow bilge and wiring issues that were fixed on later boats.  Because of the 'big fat butt' more common on newer boats, the boat apparently 'rounds up' easily in a blow, and advice is to reef early, and sail flat.  But, most loved the overall boat and claimed nice performance, a solid feel with good construction, and very well designed as a coastal cruiser.

The specific boat we are contacting on is a 2003, but only has 270 engine hrs, and overall is in very good condition.  The survey found mostly only minor items to fix (belts, hoses, and the bottom paint is reaching the point where it should have a  soda blast).  It also found that although the deck was sound, there was some moisture on the starboard side where hardware needed rebedding.  So, the boat currently has the hardware off to dry things out as much as possible, then epoxy back to seal off then rebed everything.  .

It also has the shoal draft wing keel (4 ft 3 in draft) and in mast furling.  Both of these are the 'go slow' options, but we don't really plan on being competitive racers (?? just fast enough to pass Bobs dingy).    The shoal keel was an easy choice for our sailing grounds, and I would have preferred a centerboard boat if it fit other criteria.  But 4 ft 3 is ok, and I prefer close to shore more than speed along 0.5 knot faster. 

The in mast furl was a tougher decision, as there was/is another 320 that is very similar but with standard main.  I'm still not sure if I made the right move here, but the rational was that folks with this claim that because of the extra ease of raise and furl, they end up using the sail more, and for our family style sailing, this might make sense.  The downsides are well described (less roach, less draft control, more weight up high), and this is more of an add on to the 320 which was designed originally before in mast furling was more widely used.   Apparently on newer and larger boats they make more sense since the designer can account for many of the shortcomings by more ballast, a higher rig, etc.  and in the 320, it's still not that hard to raise and furl the standard rig.  There are concerns about jams, but several folk that have gone around the world without any issues, claim that they never jam if you do things right, and the technique requires difference than most are taught on non furling systems, which is why they get into trouble.  But, with techniques in place there is 'infinite' reefing that some claim is worth all the other issues because you reef much more incrementally and earlier, and that keeps you out of trouble.

 So we will see. 

Assuming that repair looks good (which I have no reason to doubt) I'll take ownership at the end of the month, re paint the bottom, make the hose/belt fixes, and move her from her current location of Oxford, MD to the forked river in mid May.
2005 Eclipse #20 - Figaro

Offline Bob23

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Re: Figaro goes Sailing
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2017, 08:42:29 PM »
Congratulations Larry!! And I'm so glad you'll be here in NJ! Looking forward to catching up at the 2017 BBB! Normally the entrance fee is doubled for non Compac owners but you are grandfathered in!
Bob23