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About axolotl

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    San Diego
  • Interests
    Sailing, Camping

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  1. axolotl

    I'd like to thank the previous owner for...

    This is so wrong. A light lithium grease (Barlube, Harken) sparingly applied to the gears, shafts and bearing cages is all that is needed. DO NOT apply grease to the pawls/springs , only a light machine oil. When the time comes the key to winch maintenance is to clean the old oxidized grease & crud from all parts in a pan of diesel with a scrub brush, dry and reassemble per above using your cleaned fingers, just a thin film on all parts. I shudder when I see a "winch expert" pack the winch completely full of trailer bearing grease because "more is better." Essentially, winches are overgrown watches, not axle bearings running under high load at 60mph for thousands of miles. Free bonus advice. Cover your winches when not in use to reduce crud entry & temperature extremes, and after a lively day where lines are salt encrusted or the winch is briefly submerged hose them down with fresh water before putting them to bed with a cover to get the salt out just like you do with deck blocks, etc. BTW, the winch in the picture looks to be destroyed.
  2. axolotl

    Hey, don't step on the sails!

    Hey stepping on the sails is OK as long as you do it lightly and don't let the sail slip and grind on the deck underfoot. Sometimes the foredeck is doused with sails during a peel and it's unavoidable. Sometimes the best thing to do is throw your whole body into the sail on deck to keep it from blowing over. Well cared for sails die from UV and upper leech damage during tacks crossing the mast which is unavoidable. Stepping on them is trivial and mostly avoidable.
  3. axolotl

    Hand Bearing Compasses

    Whatever you do don't buy a used KVH Datascope off EBay, etc. KVH stopped selling them decades ago because the LCD readout segments disappear after a couple years or so (1 year warranty) whether they're in use or storage and they can't be fixed. Stunningly bad kit for a MSRP of $700+USD. I guarantee every KVH DataScope on the planet is broken by now. Too bad because when they worked they were the king of the handheld compass market, with bearing averaging, bearing/datestamp storage, range estimation, and a host of other features for the racing sailor. When mine died out of warranty @ year 4 I called KVH to get the bad news repair is impossible and the Rep' had the gall to tell me "Well now you have a really nice monovision scope."
  4. axolotl

    Can you make a "PHRF cheater"?

    Been down that road, a set of scales at the dock and everybody gets weighed. The trick is lots of sauna time with no drinking water to dehydrate, then rehydrate after weigh in. MMA fighters do the same to drop a weight class, then show up for the fight 15 pounds over to their advantage. Just don't pass out.
  5. axolotl

    Can you make a "PHRF cheater"?

    ??? Then why do some one design fleets strictly enforce crew weight limits? Crew weight is *moveable* ballast and is advantageous in all but the lightest conditions. Brings back memories of racing with Marvin, a 320 pound Buddhist who was pure rail meat, had no idea what what we were doing or why and never touched a line or sail. He simply enjoyed being out on the water. In the light and lumpy stuff we'd put him on the cabin sole above the keel for a noticeable increase in stability.
  6. I've been mute for a long time, but isn't this the longest time span that Rimas has done without embarking on a voyage since his initial venture, the Alaskan CESURA lawndarting epic? I suspect his near death from starvation/dehydration (according to his Vietnamese rescuers) on the MIMSY has shocked him into swallowing the anchor.
  7. axolotl

    Raymarine EV-100 tiller pilot

    I'm confused. I run an above deck vintage Autohelm 1000 in benign conditions and an ST4000+ Grand Prix in rough weather and there's no "clutch" involved. They're the original cylindrical ram connected to a wired control box with the traditional red buttons. "Clutching" is done by disabling the autohelm, popping off the ram from the tiller and throwing it aside and subsequently hand steering the tiller. 30 years old and still working, although only a few hundred hours of use; I like to steer manually.
  8. axolotl

    canister gas stoves - how do people deal with safety ?

    That's because liquid isobutane's vapor pressure drops to near zero below 11°F (n-butane @ 32°F), a real problem for winter hiker/mountaineers. N-butane works fine at room temperature, but slowly your stove becomes less powerful as you approach freezing, with nothing below freezing. So the high end canister manufacturers use pricey isobutane & throw in a little propane to keep the pressure up in way below freezing conditions. It's not a fix-all; the mixture in the canister can become butane rich and freeze when only half empty if there is too much super-cold weather use, because only the propane is vaporizing and being used. The cold weather solution is to preheat the canister by stuffing it in your pants or overnight in your sleeping bag; once the stove is in use enough heat bleeds from the burner to keep the pressure up. I've been caught with a frozen canister and warmed it up enough to get the stove going by peeing into the cookpot (with help from others pee), immersing the canister until it thaws, then firing up the stove. So because boating very rarely involves temps below freezing in the galley, big-box store 100% n-butane canisters at a bargain price will work fine; no need for premium price MSR/Snowpeak isobutane/propane canisters.
  9. axolotl

    canister gas stoves - how do people deal with safety ?

    Methane (natural gas) is lighter than air. CNG stoves are available (though hard to find nowadays) for use in some parts of the US & the Caribbean. Their problem is it's hard to find refill stations outside the US. They're similar to propane stoves except the CNG is stored as a gas in a scuba tank @ 2,400 psi (it doesn't liquify under pressure at room temperature). Any leaks drift upwards, so the tank can be stored in a standard vented lazarette, unlike propane tanks, which require a gastight compartment with an overboard vent in the bottom. There's no need for solenoid valves, etc. The pressure decreases as the tank empties, so their pressure gauge works just like an automobile gas gauge. There are no canister CNG stoves because of the need for high pressure scuba tank type storage; just wanted to point out there is an "-ane" that's lighter than air.
  10. axolotl

    Do Some Boats Just Suck In Reverse?

    Nope, he had a trumpet get bent in an accident and later had ones made because he liked the sound, not because he could hear it better.
  11. axolotl

    Vessel Documentation Portal scam

    This has been rehashed on this site ad nauseam, only deal with the USGC site and you'll be fine.
  12. axolotl

    Cancelling a Race for High Winds: No limits in SI's

    I've been racing in my venue (open ocean) for 30 years and there's no doubt that races are being cancelled due to windy conditions much more often nowadays than in the past. In fact, the only reasons races were cancelled long ago was that the committee boat (usually a big trawler-like boat) couldn't make it to the starting area, set an anchor, or the marks would drag. Visibility was not a factor unless the committee boat couldn't see the pin end. There was never any mention of wind limits in the NOR/SIs and Rule 4 squarely placed the decision to race on the individual competitors shoulders. In the last few years thanks to much better weather forecasts some RCs have even begun to cancel the race three or so days prior if NOAA says it'll be 20-25kn come race day. I think there's several reasons for the trend. 30 years ago boats were heavy and slow with SA/DISP ratios below 20 for the most part. Spars and rigging were overbuilt, hull shapes were conservative. Seaworthiness (now a forgotten factor) in high winds trumped performance in average/light winds where most racing is undertaken. No longer the case. Sail wardrobes used to involve light and heavy air mains, several genoa/jibs, two or three kites, various specialty sails, each optimized for performance in a given wind condition. A lot of weight to haul around the course if unused. Nowadays (partly thanks to incredible advancements in sail technology & sail shape controls) most boats use a single main, wiggly mast, single kite, and two or so jibs/genoas, plus maybe a Daisy staysail and jibtop to cover the typical wind range/direction in their venue. They're essentially one trick ponies optimized for 90% of their prevailing conditions and unable to make progress in big winds. In Grand Prix racing the boats became so fragile that wind restrictions were implemented which trickled down to the masses. In the AC 12-meter era and before, explicit wind limits were not established. Now there's a shitfight over a 4mph difference in wind restrictions. Why? Given a certain venue, boat design and structural integrity (given that a lighter boat is always faster before it breaks up), and sail complement and controls have to be optimized to the razor's edge for that venue to win. So amatuer campaigns have followed suit (ya' wanna win?) and in typical light/moderate conditions run ridiculously light unstable boats that cannot take a brisk day but are winners on a typical weekend in most venues. Lest you think I'm a pussy I've Rule 4'd myself out of some races because I suffer in big seas/lighter air from too much hobbyhorsing because of considerable overhangs. Not seaworthiness, just too slow and it would be a super unpleasant race. OTOH I've training sailed in 35-40kn winds with moderate seas under a 90% high tacked jib & reefed main and been able to make 4kn speed and maybe 1kn made good upwind; the cockleshells would have been on the beach in short order. I know I'll get flack for this but if the committee boat can establish a start line, bring it on dudes, wind & sea conditions bedamned. Bail using Rule 4 if you wish; but that's *your* decision, not the RC's. The whole cancel a race because of liability, too much wind, damaged boats, possible collisions, death 'sitch is bullshit. It shifts the onus onto the organizing authority where the the RROS have clearly stated for hundreds of years it's your decision to start, retire or press on.
  13. axolotl

    A pox on me, or Blisters on my Bottom - Ouch!

    Hauled my boat 8 years ago to find concerning blisterage, caused by multiple coats of hard modified epoxy bottom paint. The boat's a 50 years old solid FG hull and it was a two month $8,000 grind to bare FG repair, then several barrier coats followed by new antifouling paint. The yard boss said the fix would last maybe another 10-20 years, then have to be repeated. Fair enough. Here's the pictures:
  14. axolotl

    Do Some Boats Just Suck In Reverse?

    My boat is barely controllable in reverse, and I've done the "calm day, open water" testing to confirm it. The boat's a fin keel full length skeg mounted huge rudder with slightly offset prop shaft so you can remove the shaft past the skeg. The engine is underpowered 18hp vs. the more typical 30-35hp for the boat's displacement. Running a MaxProp so thrust is the same forward vs. reverse. No detectable prop walk. Here's how I accommodate: The MaxProp is a monster in reverse; I can slam the engine into full reverse at hull speed and stop within two boat lengths, although water shoots up the cockpit drains which is unpleasant. I can carefully go straight backwards at near idle speed if I don't move the rudder more than a few degrees off centerline for corrections. Any faster and rudder movement (tiller steering) slams the tiller to its stops and maybe busts you in the face while the boat does a pirouette. From a dead stop I can hold the rudder against its starboard stop and force a powerful backwards right turn which can be opposed by brief bursts of forward power. Useful. With the rudder against its port stop it's a crap shoot which way the boat will turn, if at all. It's complicated. So getting into my slip if I desire a stern to tieup involves use of favorable wind and current direction, even tricks like sliding into a vacant slip across the fairway, then backing/drifting down into my slip under marginal control. Best is to drop off a crew and then throw a heaving line to him in your slip so he can pull you into your slip. If my slip is strongly upwind I'll say f*ck it, enter the slip bow first, then manually reverse the boat using long dock lines and re-tie up stern to when conditions are calmer. So a boat that cannot be controlled in reverse is a cripple? Nay, a big skeg mounted rudder with no helmsman on a well balanced boat means in pleasant conditions when beating upwind you can let go of the tiller, go below and get some coffee and come up on deck still holding course. Offwind under autopilot the loads are so small the autopilot is just cruising to maintain course. Here's an example of my foil configuration, although not a MaxProp:
  15. axolotl

    Alternatives to Marinco solar powered vent.

    I have five 4" stainless steel Nicro Day&Night solar vents purchased in 1994. They work well, no leaks. The key is the deck ring must be flat, not bowed due to deck curvature. Only maintenance was battery replacements, cleaning the battery contacts and deck ring gaskets. I was saddened when Nicro discontinued them but had ordered a dozen gaskets just in time. Four of them still work although the motor bearings are noisy and one had the solar panel die a few years ago, so I removed the fan blades and use it as a passive vent.