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No ldea

Member Since 21 Feb 2010
Offline Last Active Nov 30 2013 11:58 PM
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Posts I've Made

In Topic: School project

15 May 2010 - 09:23 PM

My kids struggle to sort out how to sheet in their sails.

As a result, I encouraged one of them to build a 2 ft long 9mm ply 2 sail boat, with rudder, pivot where the CLR is, and with basic rigging.

He took it to the sailing teacher, who wanted one to turn 2d book diagrams into things the rest of his kids could relate to.

We knocked another one up for him roughly dimensioned to a scaled picco.

He now want wheels on the centreboard and rudder too, so he can get the kids to see how the steering works as well.

I was looking at it and wondering how much effort it would be to make an electric fan "wind tunnel", that they can reach into to adjust the sails, etc and feel the effects with their fingers.

With a range of rigs and sails, this could be a learning tool that I would be happy to play with for hours too.

In Topic: Need Help & Suggestions for community kids project

23 February 2010 - 06:52 PM

Hi Baltic

I wondered who would twig who I was first lol

"Excellent suggestions - and thanks for giving us the opportunity to flood your son with ideas. It has really been fun. "

Looks like its time for me to make a confession.

I saw a boat on Ebay for 25 on 14th May 2008 and on a whim, bought it. It was an old grp sailing dinghy. It was complete with sails and rigging, but most of the gell coat had fell off due to osmosis and being left under a tree. The bottom was cracked from several years on a broken launch trailer. The centreboard was rotted to less than 1/8" thick. We also had to build a trailer.

I took it home and let the kids teach me how to fix it. It took 4 months.
I had never owned a boat before and had never sailed one. I borrowed a book from the library and we made a paper boat and pushed it around the table in a cafe until we worked out how you are supposed to sail. I then went and had one 20 minute lesson to check that what I had learned was right.

The following day we launched for the first time.

Since then, we have had some adventures and learned quite a lot:
You must put the bungs in before launching.
You should not go out when there is too much wind and force 7 is too much wind - why doesnt anyone ever say what too much wind is before you find out the hard way?
The sail is supposed to be in a groove in the boom.
There is supposed to be a thing called a vang and you cant use an elastic bungee if you havent got one as it doesnt work. The lorry straps used to hold the boat on the trailer do work. You can also use them to tension the back sail.
The Red buoys make a huge clang when you sail into them.
The green buoys make the same sound.
The yellow ones with the lights on the top have a deeper note
The boat doesnt like going up wind in 12 inches of water - the tide went out
The boat doesnt like going down wind when its stuck in mud.
You dont want to jump out of the boat to push when its stuck in mud.
Yachts make a sort of hollow sound when you hit them.
You need to put the centreboard up before you try to sail up the slipway.
You need to put the boat on the trailer before it comes out of the water as its difficult to push it back
Mobile phones should not be left in your pocket with the electronic car fob
If you put packets of biscuits and crisps on the floor of the boat, they get soggy after you have walked on them.
When you run  out of wind, paddles are a good idea.
Cargo boats get very noisy when you cross in front of them - and capsize.
Some Islands have big rocks that can crack the bottom of the boat.
I can sail backwards.
The hole in the front deck is for a spinnaker, not the anchor.
When you throw the anchor in, you should remember to keep a good grip on the chain and make sure you miss the front deck, as it breaks.
If you dont have any rig tension, the mast bangs backwards and forwards each time you crash into a wave
If you are reaching hard and you sail too close to a big yacht, your boat runs out of wind and the kids fall in and blame you.
Salt water sandwiches are vile.
It is difficult to see where you are going at night when you have no lights.
You cant get the boat to go upwind with the spinnaker under the front.
When you do a "man overboard " drill, you arnt supposed to grab your nearest kid and simply tip them off the side.
The boat is supposed to have strap things on the floor for when you are hanging off the side in a force 6 wit the tiller bending as the rudder has kicked up as getting back in it when you are sailing solo isnt easy. I needed rescuing :(

We have now sailed about 350 miles and learned how to fix all sorts of damage to the boat.

We even managed to poke a foot square hole knocking it off the trailer and another when I drove it into a refuse bin and sewed our sails back together after discovering that pieces of oak board do not make good sail battens.

While we are now pretty acomplished at fixing the things I smash, my kids seem to think they would be safer if they have their own boats.

While I could help my little one find the bits and skills he needed up to a point, building the sail groove was beyond me. With the help you have given with everyone else on Sailing Anarchy, he just might get the mast he deserves and the chance to beat me.

Thank you

Sorry for hijacking the thread.

In Topic: Need Help & Suggestions for community kids project

23 February 2010 - 11:34 AM

If the kids are going to build them, I really think they need to be "boat shaped", or they wont think they are cool.

I had some serious problems coming to terms with the fact that my kid had absolutely no interest in fairing his boat. It has craters in its fibreglass skin up to 7mm deep. I couldnt take over and fair it for him, as that could have left him thinking he was being pushed into building it for me, which I couldnt do.

He wanted to paint it back so it would look like the Black Pearl.

He was happy to stick a small windsurf sail on it and sail it immediately, but would have spent another 10 minutes painting the sail with black emulsion if I hadnt "lost it all" fast enough.

After mulling it over for a while, I decided that as a parent, my priorities must be for him to build something that you can see from the deck of nearby boats, you can steer, so it doesnt end up on rocks somewhere (well, other than when he sails it badly), Will float - even if its badly holed and upside down, and is robust enough to survive the worst boatmanship imaginable for at least a couple of years.
Also, I wanted it to be vastly underpowered at first, so I could get to him if he had an emergency. I have no safety boat, just a big sailing dinghy with no motor and I have under 2 years experience of any form of boating.

Now he has been out and sailed it a few dozen miles and realised its not as quick as he would like, he is now looking for a bigger sail and has even started thinking that he would like me to level off the bottom of his hull a bit with some 40 grit belts on my belt sander - it would still take about an hours continuous grinding as it really is that rough. Once thats done, and I am sure the hull is not going to fall apart, I will suggest he picks some nice new exterior wood gloss paint to coat it. Action man orange would be my favourite as you would be able to see the upturned hull for miles. Again, it would be cheap and thick as he is going to put it on with lots of runs and try to sand it flat with beaches and launching ramps.

The most important part there is "He is now looking".
Admittedly, I am running around like a headless chicken putting the bits he needs in his path so he can "find" them, but he is doing it because he wants to. This is, to me the most imprtant thing as he is now learning about boats as fast as he can because he feels he has a need.

Looking at the idea of having a few families building together, It doesnt matter if all the hulls look like sputnik as they will be similarily matched to each other. If you start them all with one postage sized sail, they can go play for the summer without much worry of accidentally tipping them over. You will still have to get them to tip them over at the begining and end of each session so they wont panic when it happens and to check if their buoyancy still works.

If, when they are happy and ready to grow, you have another weekend and build a rig that will take three sails, and teach them how to build two, you now have another years worth of learning how to sail.

I suggest you work out how much sail you need to power the boats in medium wind for your area and then overrate it by 30%. Build your sails footless and with sturdy reefing points. A footless main has no 3d shape to complicate the build - I think.

So long as your hull is strong enough, you can now let them work out that frames and netting would make them go much faster, as would traps.

So long as the basic hull was cut right and was glassed together well enough it is strong, you have a three year boat minimum that could end up with traps, frames and spinnakers and would be a real handfull even for a really experienced sailor. Your kids could climb off these in a few years with a good knowledge of how boats work and capable of sailing just about anything.

Portsmouth Yardstick.
If you race your boats against each other, you have the option to sort out how you rate them. Some years ago I listened to a debate about the British Touring Car Championship. Each time a car won a race, it also won a 25kg weight for the rest of the season.
I suggest you have some sort of heavy trophies or plaques that get stuck on the winners floors for the season to show how good they are. The heavier the boats get, the more skill they will have to develop to win.

Hope that helps.

In Topic: Need Help & Suggestions for community kids project

21 February 2010 - 06:38 PM

Building any kind of boat in a weekend would be an ambitious project even for an experienced builder. It may be possible with a simple design like the PDRacer which is not available in a kit. All the pieces would have to be precut and a glue and nail construction method used to save time. Follow that with a couple coats of latex exterior paint and hope for the best. Information on the PDRacer can be found at PDRacer.com

As has been mentioned a layer of fiberglass with epoxy resin would make a more durable hull but I think it would be too technical and time consuming for an amature weekend build.


Fibreglass in one sheet is beyond my 10 yr old. Not admitting its a bit beyond me too. Have a look at painting the boat with resin and then stretching overlapped 4" wide glass tape on it.

Mine is also dangerous with a hammer. He can drill holes and put in screws with an electric screwdriver, but a hammer needs far more control not to leave dents and split fingers. He has done both, which helped him learn imho, but would not be good in a time pressured build.

On consideration of the design, I came to the conclusion that it wouldnt take mine long to progress past the oppy style one sail boat and want something more racey. Thats why I encouraged mine to think about downscaling and detuning a big racing dinghy so if he finished building it and wanted to go faster, he wouldnt have to start again. As it happened, it took only him 4 good trips to work out he needed more power and start seriously considering a much bigger rig.

Mine only gets layup resin as I think it will outlast his need for a small boat. However, if I were to encourage building for use in a club and with the boats being resold, I may want to reconsider.