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'Triple Jack' rebuild...FU Irma!

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Perfect laminating weather today, dry as a chip.

It was worth waiting for.

The new coachroof now has 2 solid laminations of 1708 biax, the first one squwooged onto a bedding of epoxy thickened with colloidal and some fibres.

Ultra slow for that and the first two lams, then slow for the final two followed by the peel ply and a very satisfactory result.

4 of us on the case working flat out for about 5 hours.

The Ultra slow will take about 7 days to cure fully, we rarely use it for that reason but in this application it is perfect.

Mid week we will bond on the top frame ready for roof removal next Sunday.

Back on track!

Just for interests' sake here's a shot of TJ's seriously dodgy looking transom shortly after we took her on about 30yrs. ago.

The tiller had been cut to allow room for that hideous aft berth 'turret'.

At that time she had hydraulic wheel steering which was awful.

There is an equally awful side mounted outboard bracket that simply 'stunned' waves up and over the helm!







first hull clean on Dawlish Warren.jpg

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Well, what a weekend that was! Out of nowhere I get a call from a 44+...number which always gets my attention. It's not my Mum, brothers or sister with a family emergency, it's a guy called

Seeing old boats (especially badly damaged ones) being given a new life is inspiring. She’s a lucky boat to have such a dedicated owner and team looking after her... RESPECT!

Blimey, what a gorgeous day here today on the Irma 3yr anniversary. SO weird not to see a single boat out there...yes we are back under lockdown. Fortunately my business has been granted a 'curfew exe

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A quick session this evening saw the peel ply pulled off and the 'cradle' pulled back up and into place.

Now it's just a case of tabbing the 48 nodes of the cradle to the roof with scraps of biax, some putty where the bearers are not meeting the roof perfectly and on Sunday the whole lot will be pulled up and away.

We also marked out the 7 degree sheeting angles from the stem. That will allow us to place the purpleheart stringers and reinforcements under the tracks.

Tonight's prize goes to the first who can identify the 3 other competitors in the start pic.

Can't wait to get back there!





TJ first start Les Voiles 2016.jpg

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1 hour ago, racinginparadise said:


You guys are amazing.  I thought my wife and I had it bad when a few months after refit #1 was done on our tri we suffered a massive lightning strike which wiped out everything.  So began refit #2.  For us that involved much PMing and writing of checks (and doing maybe 10-20% of all the hands on work).  You guys are doing all this yourselves.  Freaking amazing.  Wish you all the best.

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Job done!

It was another dry, sunny day with a full team.

We craned off the 'half roof', flipped it upside down and laminated the underside.

Working on the scrim side meant less resin and a quicker job so we used slow not the ultra slow.

There were no snags at all, I'm happy to report that it went really well!

The novelty picture captures us doing illegal day charters off Gran Canaria around 1992.

daysail business off Gran Canaria.jpg









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Sheeting angle?

So, I drew lines along the new coachroof at 7 degrees from the forestay deck fitting.

This raises a few questions.

Is 7 degrees the norm?

Does anyone actually fit tracks along that 7 degree line instead of parallel with the centre line?

With higher clews does that deck angle have to increase as per the attached by Richard Woods?



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Thanks a lot for this thread, I've just found it and really enjoyed reading and watching the vids. It's great to see guys enthusiastic about fixing shit. That boat's obviously got deep into your heads! 

The first sail 'after Irma' is going to be Epic. 

Keep it up and good luck. 

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A good weekend of solid progress despite being nowhere near the boat!

The coachroof made its way into the dinghy repair shop.

Miles Fossey arrived from St Thomas, he is a long term TJ crew and is an expert wood butcher.

His brief was to help us machine the leftover purple heart T+G 1x6" stock (from my roof at home) into lathes for fabricating the sub coachroof beams and longitudinal stringers.

He also comes up with his 'tickling stick' that we used to map the shape of the roof onto the laminating table.

Then it was a case of attaching chocks and bending/epoxying the lathes into 14' beams.

An early setback was a lathe breaking on a knot inside the grizzly planer that resulted in a broken blade and distorted blade carrier.

Chris managed to cobble it back together with an old blade so at least we had one side of the machine working well.

At the end of play today we had 2x 14' beams laminated up and the third ready to go.

We also lofted the longitudinal stringers and machined stock ready for those.

Have we overbuilt or underbuilt?

A good question, I feel the new roof before the woodwork is already stronger than the original structure.

A more pertinent question may be 'where will this new roof generate stresses elsewhere when sailing hard?'

We've been sailing around for years happily singing 'that that bends don't break'.

This rebuild will result in plenty of repaired zones that will not be bending much!

The first picture below shows peel ply 'bubbled up'.

Why does it do this? It definitely was not an exo-therm.











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So that video was a week ago, yesterday we finished laminating the last two longitudionals and managed to saw 3/8" off each side of the beams.

That was a bit dodgy because they are unwieldly, 16' long and had roughish sides with epoxy remains. This was the advice from Miles ''wood butcher' Fossey in St Thomas...


"When you say 3/8 both sides I assume you are taking 3/4 off overall?

The first problem with using the table saw is that you don't have a flat side to put against the fence. The second is manhandling 16 feet of curved purpleheart across a flat surface in the opposite direction to 40 tungsten carbide teeth travelling at 3450 rpm. If you dont keep it down on the table it will bind up. If it swings a degree out of plumb it will bind up. You would have to start with one end on the table and the other 8 ft in the air then follow an uneven curve until the first end is 8 ft up again. Don't fancy it myself. 

My suggestion is to lay it on the long bench and use the electric hand plane to plane off one side square to the bottom and as true as possible. 

Then stand it upright, clamp it firmly to the side of the bench and use a skilsaw and parallel fence to take off 1/16th shy of what you need the final width to be and finish the rest with a plane. If you cant get the full depth of the cut with the skilsaw, Steve can use one of his Japanese pullsaws to finish the cut before finish planing. I know that sounds like a lot of work but its much safer and far more likely to achieve a decent finish."

We ignored this advice and went ahead with a new blade fitted. For the first pass we just cut 1" into the beams, second pass was the full Monty.

It was a bit sporty but 3/8" duly came off both sides and we are now a pass of a plane and a radius away from having finished beams.

Next Sunday will see us dry fitting the beams one by one, outer beam, 3 longs, mid beam, 3 longs, outer beam.

I doubt we will glue them in place until we have tidied up the underside some and splashed on a bit of paint.

So, on we go...interesting shot of half a FP thrown in. It was moving slowly along the ridge road and I was stuck behind it. No idea where it was going, hopefully to meet its other half?









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Hmmm, it's a bit of a worry finding myself replying to my own post of a week ago.

To be frank, laying largish chunks of hardwood on an upside-down coachroof could be viewed as a bit 'pedestrian' after watching Sail GP and the Carib 600 wrap up.

Hey ho, on we go.

The mental challenge of Sunday was cutting accurate mortice and tenon joints for the 7 degree longitudionals.

'you can cut it off but you can't add it on!'

Paul and Steve got one done, 9 more to go.

Question, we are gluing 14' beams to cured rough epoxy laminate with some voids to fill here and there.

Add only silica to thicken the epoxy or go High Density or fibers or a combo?

My gut is a combo of High Density and silica after wetting out. It's much easier to radius than any mix with fibers.

Straight silica to my mind can be brittle when cured, not great for voids?

The voids are no more than 3/8" and are less than 8" long.

Take it to 'fix it anarchy'? yes maybe.









line drawing.jpg

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For the highly loaded joints, High Density and Silica after priming with un-thickened epoxy is best. Remember that High Density is the only filler that can actually add strength to the epoxy, so don't make the mix too thick for gluing as too much filler can be a negative. Silica is important as a thickener as it inhibits penetration (to avoid starved joints) and makes the thickened epoxy workable. I add low-density to the above fillers for structural fillets to add volume and make the epoxy less like granite when sanding

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6 hours ago, racinginparadise said:

Hmmm, it's a bit of a worry finding myself replying to my own post of a week ago.
Take it to 'fix it anarchy'? yes maybe.

The voids are no more than 3/8" and are less than 8" long.

No harm in cross-posting, but please don't see a lack of response here in MH as a lack of interest... I and others are rooting for this repair/restoration, and it is great to see the specific pictures and build notes, as well as the experienced responses from others.

Do the voids go all the way across the beam?  They are no more than 3/8" (thick, presumably?) and less than 8" long... how wide are they?
For the bigger gaps, you might be able to insert graving pieces of purpleheart to fill most of the gaps and fill the rest with your thickened epoxy. Using multiple 1/8" mini-planks as graving pieces might allow you to insert from the side of the beam even if the voids don't go all the way across - insert, mark, and trim as much as your patience will allow to maximize fit and minimize the glue joints. Having as much PH as possible probably keeps the bending/loading most consistent. That PH may be heavy, but it is *never* gonna rot!

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For ultimate strength on that joint you would be better using a flexibilised epoxy filler rather than a straight HD. These joints are usually too stiff, so they attract load, and a brittle filled resin is prone to cracking. Using a flexibilised resin with a properly sized gap to control shear stresses will give a joint strength up to 200% greater than a rigid resin fillet. The flexibilised resin allows a much larger fillet radius to be used, so load transfer (a function of stiffness) is still maintained, but with much higher strength.

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One of many folks watching regularly with interest.   I was looking at the Craigslist ad for Zingaro (broken in half Crowther) and imaging a similar project.  Not for me, I'm afraid, but since it is hulls intact, beams broken, it makes you think about beam construction details and some of what you are doing with TJ.  Lucky on you location in that in Honolulu lay days start at $100 or so.  Makes long projects on the dry pretty impossible.

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Well, what a weekend that was!

Out of nowhere I get a call from a 44+...number which always gets my attention.

It's not my Mum, brothers or sister with a family emergency, it's a guy called Frank.

'Frank who' I ask? Frank Wood, I built Triple Jack!

Wow, about 12 years ago Frank's son Geoff was on a bareboat charter in the BVI's.

He anchored in Cane Garden Bay and saw a familiar looking trimaran anchored nearby.

He goes ashore to the nearest bar and asks if anyone knows who owns it.

Steve who runs the bar answers 'that will be me'!

Geoff explains that he helped his father build the boat in the late 70's...the following evening we take Geoff out for a blast off the N coast.

What about the old man? we ask. He explained that TJ was his past and that he has moved on.

After that we just figured that Frank wasn't particularly interested in catching up with TJ's exploits.

How wrong we were!

I'm sure his son Geoff had been keeping him updated, but it only took a walk out to the peninsula at Nanny Cay for him to re-connect with the boat he had built over 40yrs ago.

As Englishmen we are not known for our emotional displays, Frank honoured that tradition in the best way possible with down to earth, gritty humour!

He really should have been a comedian, in his thick Lancashire accent he regaled us with stories that we only had the faintest outlines of.

So far we have only scratched the surface, as the shipping forecast on radio 4 says, 'more to follow'.

For now enjoy this 'vertical trimaran sailing record sequence'.

The only evidence we had of this before this weekend was a very blurred yachting monthly article of the incident.

Hearing it first hand was revealing.

Triple Jack was originally fitted with a Proctor rotating mast that sat on a ball not unlike a 2" tow hitch.

The mast was a problem from day 1 , but the addition of jumpers saw TJ line up for the 1980 RORC Two Star.

A few hundred miles short of Newport the ball sheared off and the whole mast had to be cut away to stop it sawing thro the deck.

A freighter responded to a 'Pan Pan' call and agreed to lift TJ on board in lively conditions.

Frank described the lift as 'lassoing a wrecking ball' with their hastily rigged lines.

Against the odds TJ safely made it on board and the freighter steamed on for Newport.

The drama unfolded as they were craned back into the water, resplendent in their best clothes ready for the party at the YC.

The lines parted and TJ hurled sternwards into Newport Harbour along with her crew!

There are so many more tales to tell, but that's all for now folks!

Frank leaves for Grenada tomorrow aboard his trusty 49' Hylas with his able crew.

It's blowing a gale here tonight and looking crappy for the next 4 days but I guess that's not stopping him!

Steve and I have promised him a celebrity berth on board TJ for next year's Spring regatta.











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Well, what a difference a week makes!

The Spring Regatta is off, 'Les Voiles' and STIR in St.Thomas likewise...the bareboat and crewed yacht industry prospects are not looking great with cancellations across the board and companies already looking at shedding jobs. Cruise ships have been told to clear off for a month, that will surely be extended, it's doubtful anyone will be putting their hands up for a cruise anyhow!

For Nanny Cay losing the regatta is a huge loss, dockage, hotel rooms, food and bar...not great.

I manage a fleet of private yachts and fit new tubes on RIB's. Most my owners are calling now for the season, hauling early and looking to the fall.

There's going to be a 'bubble' of work to get those boats sorted and stripped then there's going to be a long hot Summer coming up.

I can see the bareboat companies calling the season off early and hauling for hurricane season.

If communities/countries are successful in 'flattening the curve' that is good in terms of less people dying but it does mean that we will be in for the long run.

In a way it's an environmentalist's dream with the planet taking a big 'breather'.

But it's not all 'doom and gloom'. It does look like project 'Triple Jack' will have less distractions to worry about, and hey, we did survive Irma!

So, on Sunday we glued the beams and all but 3 of the longs to the coachroof.

It was a bit tricky doing it without any fixings or location dowels with it all floating on a sea of epoxy...but it went 97% well.

Next is finishing, varnishing (!!) and moving it all back to the boat.

The historical shot is Steve lowering the old, original fwd board casing into its new home behind the mast.

We later cut this out 10yrs later when we built and grafted in a new casing to accommodate various bits of Catana boards that we had joined together.

They continually snapped but that's another story.






Daggerboard casing moves, round 1.jpg

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Hot of the press, the BVI's are now totally locked down. All tourists still here or finishing their charters are being ushered away and for the next 14 days at least the borders will be closed even to Belongers, just selected commercial traffic allowed to enter.

Apart from Dominica and the USVI the entire Caribbean including Trinidad is closed.

Still no cases reported here.

It's definitely a good opportunity to lay low and fix the boat!

Today we sanded and sealed the purpleheart roof 'substructure', it looks great.

After a few coats of varnish we'll be tidying up the glue joints to the laminate, then painting and job done.


IMG_7262 (1).jpg




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  • 3 weeks later...

Hmmmm, nothing to report really.

We are completely locked down, 9 more days to go.

I'm sure it will be extended in some form.

There are still only 3 confirmed cases on the rock, with all borders closed the idea is that any further cases will show in the  what will be 3 week lockdown.

We finished the varnishing and sourced new track and donor cars before being told to go home!

Lockdown projects in full swing here in Brewer's Bay, I'm connecting the new post Irma structure to the 1970's original bits. Ha ha, not unlike Triple Jack I suppose! Just cement, not epoxy.


















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  • 4 weeks later...

Back on it!

The BVI's are still under curfew 1pm-6am but we are allowed to shop and go to work if your business is 'on the list' and inspected.

Well over 1000 have lost their jobs, charter companies are folding, NO visitors until Sept 3rd when it will be reviewed...the season is over.

We have had one death and 6 other cases, the borders are completely closed...not even returning BVI nationals are allowed back in.

Maybe June for them but with quarantine.

It's going to be a long haul, when things are opened back up surely Covid will show up too...with no income from Tourism/Cruise ships things will be strained to say the least!

Going for 'herd immunity' here would be bleak with limited ICU facilities and vulnerable population.

Hey ho, on the bright side my business is back in action starting tomorrow after a month out of action.

There's no-one left here to moan about us grinding GRP and it looks like we'll have plenty of time to crack on with projects this Summer and beyond!

The coachroof is now just one coat of white paint away from being finished, it was primed today.

I vented some frustration by chopping out the old salon floor. It was frighteningly easy, not much structure there.

Next week we will be taking the roof out to the boat, flipping it, then removing the cradle it was built on.

After that the idea is to hoist it up onto the deck and elevate above the salon with 4 blocks and tackles.

That will make trial fits a lot easier as both roof and boat get modified to meet each other.

Watch this space!

Tip of the week? be wary of caulking 410 even with slow hardener, it didn't go particularly well as the picture suggests!












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On 4/9/2020 at 7:01 AM, racinginparadise said:








Every self respecting painter should wear pearls to work. (my spouse is a contractor she is thinking of introducing it into the standard construction site attire)

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Job done, the coachroof fabrication is finished, whoopee do.

Only the best paint for the underside, Alexseal! They do help us out with product which is really appreciated. Unknowingly, during the 2016 St Barths regatta, we literally flew past a racing mono only to find out later that the owner of the German parent company was on board!  He was obviously well chuffed to see ALEXSEAL boldly displayed after getting over the initial disappointment of being overtaken. He went on to congratulate Jeff Holland, who is Alexseal US, on his choice of sponsored yachts! We actually met Jeff in the BVI recently and it was fascinating to hear the history of 'linear polyesters' and how they developed. Awlgrip vs Alexseal?? Well, the big red X on TJ's sides was in Awlgrip, the rest of the topsides were in Alexseal whisper grey. The big red X faded out badly within a season whilst the surrounding Alexseal is still glossy today. Not a fair test probably because the red will be UV'ed out faster being darker, maybe? The Alexseal primers are mustard, far better than Awlgrip in my opinion. Anyhow, enough of that.

Sunday morning will see this fine roof head off to 'the Peninsula' at Nanny Cay to meet its new home.

The historical shots here show fabrication of our daggerboard some years ago. We made a spilt mold around a Catana board. it took a full roll (55yds) of uni to do the job, along with biax, core and a lump of pine. Our good friend Dave Walworth helped us with the engineering. We do not even imagine this board breaking, Irma only chafed the top as the deck was ground into the bridge whilst upside down!





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Racing, the bubbles on the peel ply are caused by the heating cycle of the resins exotherm during its cure. This used to drive me  nuts until I made peace with the epoxy cure gods and only laminated as the temperature was falling, then there is no core outgassing due to rising core temps and expanding air bubbles beneath the glass/peel ply.  Aloha, Guerdon. 



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Makes perfect sense. I wonder if the ambient temperature here is just too much even as the day wears on? I’ll try some experiments as we roll through more repairs.

We didn’t try to grind out or fill the bubble ‘shells’, just epoxy primer then paint. I’m guessing the outside bubbles will create some good traction!

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11 hours ago, racinginparadise said:

Makes perfect sense. I wonder if the ambient temperature here is just too much even as the day wears on? I’ll try some experiments as we roll through more repairs.

We didn’t try to grind out or fill the bubble ‘shells’, just epoxy primer then paint. I’m guessing the outside bubbles will create some good traction!

One can have a problem with exotherm and bubbles in a very thick application of resin that cures too quickly, but if the days temp is not falling at the time any rise in ambient temp causes air in the core to expand and this can blow bubbles in even very thin resin applications.  The ambient temp is usually  not  a problem as long as it has started to fall and continues to fall. From my own experiments I have found that once the ambient temp starts to fall there is a bit of a lag before the air in the core stops expending. The real down side of the bubbles is that they can also provide a path for the ingress of moisture later.

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1 hour ago, Rasputin22 said:

Those bubbles will come back to haunt you. Thinner coats and only as outside temps are dropping, even slightly.

Seriously Ras??  'that will come back to haunt us?'

That's bollocks.

It is just a minor surface effect of very shallow imperfections that do not expose any laminate AND in any case, will be coated both sides with epoxy coatings!

If you varnish in the morning and get some air bubbles due to a similar effect would you be getting out the varnish stripper and starting again?

I don't think so.

Even a cursory, close up look at this finished part would change your tune, I'm sure.

Maybe I'm wrong and every boat built during the morning hours is doomed!


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5 hours ago, racinginparadise said:


Maybe I'm wrong and every boat built during the morning hours is doomed!


Boats built from wood in rising temps without a vacuum are eventually prone to  problems.

If prep work is done while temp is going up and laminating when temp is going down  or if  a vacuum is applied it will easily outlast the builder. 

Not such an issue with foam cored boats because the closed cells of the foam limit the moisture migration.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A good day today, the roof is in place!

Plenty of help was on hand to make it all happen, once we have this roof laminated in place we will have broken the back of the rebuild.

Getting the tracks fitted was trickier than expected, it's all about 2 curves separated by 4.5". We used the track to space out the holes in the purpleheart beams...but when those holes get extended 4.5" they are spaced further apart. It was resolved by initially drilling a 3/16' pilot hole from the beam centres right through to the 'outside' deck curve. Then the middle bolts were drilled first and we worked out to the ends using bamboo skewers to 'show the way'. It all worked out well in the end.

By the end of play today we even had time to set up block and tackle 'falls' so we can raise and lower the whole roof as the fitting process proceeds.

There are now tropical waves rolling across the Atlantic, the SST's are much higher to our East than this time last year...it's not a great time to have a 14x8' roof unattached dangling above the boat!

Time to crack on.


The historical shot here is builder and original owner Frank Wood about to be towed into Lisbon having been dismasted off Portugal during the 1984(?) OSTAR.

The failure this time was the chain plate, Frank somehow managed to save the undamaged spar and get it stowed on deck. He also sailed under jury rig to close the Portuguese shore before accepting a tow. He explained that the Navy were fantastic but the authorities ashore were not so nice. He had no boat papers at all and explained that they should talk to the Queen as he was competing in a Royal (ORC) race. In the end he gave them his pressure cooker instruction leaflet as registry papers. After they translated it they were not amused so arrested the boat. Once the mast was back up he sneaked out under the cover of darkness...

Fantastic stuff!















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It looks like you used the screws to bend a straight track across the curved surface... is that right? It looks like the result is a fair curve.

How many degrees off was each fastener... or maybe a different way: after you snuggled down each fastener, how far away was the next fastest along the track, and how much space was there between the track and curved deck?

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6 hours ago, randii said:


It looks like you used the screws to bend a straight track across the curved surface... is that right? It looks like the result is a fair curve.

How many degrees off was each fastener... or maybe a different way: after you snuggled down each fastener, how far away was the next fastest along the track, and how much space was there between the track and curved deck?


randii, I didn’t measure any angles but as you can see from this exaggerated sketch...if you line up the centre hole and then, using the track on the inside curve as a template, send down square/tangential pilot holes they end up being increasingly ‘wrong’ for fitting the track on the outside curve, the deck!

i was aware of this BUT wanted my holes thro the Purple Heart beams evenly spaced and central. In my case getting to the ends meant about there was about 1/4” to ‘fudge either end. Not all my pilot holes came out on the 7 degree line either so there was some making good sideways too. To make it all possible the inner holes were only drilled halfway. The outer holes were only drilled with the track in place and the bamboo skewers showing the way to go. Holes were all slightly oversized to give a better chance.

The track went on snug to the deck and the car runs fine.





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Cool, I understand the skewers now.

The important part is the smoothness of the traveler's flow. All those little balls inside should be pretty forgiving of point loading on the bends (maybe a little increase in wear, but the balls aren't too spendy). Cool that you got the track to lay down smooth against the arc of the coach roof with no kinks!  

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14 hours ago, randii said:

Cool, I understand the skewers now.

The important part is the smoothness of the traveler's flow. All those little balls inside should be pretty forgiving of point loading on the bends (maybe a little increase in wear, but the balls aren't too spendy). Cool that you got the track to lay down smooth against the arc of the coach roof with no kinks!  

So, the new cars have plastic sliders not Torlon balls. They can take some curve up/down and sideways...makes them less ‘rattely’!

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A very satisfying morning on board today.

We started by cutting away the 'fluff' around the edges of the new roof, lowered it into position and cut off the purpleheart beam ends to meet the vertical bulkhead in the salon.

The falls worked brilliantly, allowing us to repeatedly raise and lower the roof until notches and trimmings were spot on.

The final lowering into position could not have been better. The roof met the aft bulkhead perfectly and sat flat against the two aft beam verticals.

We will have well over 6' head room down below but the roof is low and looks slippery.

We now will concentrate on sorting the new salon floor/engine bay structure and making good where the stbd fwd bulkheads got crushed by Irma.

All straightforward stuff compared to making the roof.

The stbd track has ended up being 3/8" inside the 7 degree line, we can live with that.

The new roof looks impressive viewed from below, it has opened up the space in the salon big time.

It looks like it 'grew there' which I suppose it did, but we didn't expect such a trouble free first fitting!

Stroll on!













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Another sunny Sunday in the spookily quiet BVI's.

The bad news is that we are looking at a month of closing repairs with lots of grinding. The good news is that there isn't anyone about to get too upset about us doing that! We do our best to contain the dust, but grinding is grinding, you cannot hide the scent! Today the old salon floor bearers got cut out and a large access hatch was cut out of the stbd salon rear beam bulkhead. There was a nasty looking crack upper forwards that had to be inspected/repaired from both sides. When we got in there we found the bulkhead was sound but it has given us access to deal with some other Irma compression wounds. We settled on a 56"x 30" 'box' to accommodate a 30hp engine/saildrive installation. We have the machinery ready to go but will not be fitting at this point. More important is ensuring there is a solid space ready to go when the time comes. The sides of the box will be longitudinal stringers, the aft end will be a new bulkhead. To support the floor across the engine space we will add an 'X' of vertical bulkheads that can be cut out later. All the work going on in the salon is made 100% easier by having the roof suspended up and out of the way. It hangs there like a giant carrot, the only finished structure on the boat just waiting to be set down and laminated in place. Material-wise we will be using 1/2" Coosa board, the lighter one, as a core material for small bulkhead repairs and some stringers. At $415 per 4'x8' sheet landed it is not cheap BUT when we worked out the time taken to make up cored panels plus materials it isn't much different. It's a new material to us so stay tuned to see how it works out.

The foredeck repair is ready for lower laminates and core, we are using 3/8" divinicell up there to match the 3/8" airex used in the original build. Paul Westlake has taken on that repair while Steve and I are immersed in everything midships.

The best comment of the day was Paul remarking how the whole project looks like being 'on the home straight'. Getting that coachroof back on board and having plans in place for all other repairs makes it feel like we have finally turned the corner.

Mr. Buidsear, to answer your question of the winch bases. The primaries on top of the coachroof are by far the highest loads we deal with. I have been told that in 18kts of breeze our genoa fairleads experience about 2000llbs trying to pull them out of the roof, let's say a ton. I always imagine that to be approximately a Volkswagen beetle swinging around to picture it in my mind. So, the primaries are regularly seeing Volkswagen beetles trying to rip them out of the deck and canting then forwards and downwards. We mount them close to the aft bulkhead and have an alloy triangulated box to take the loads. In addition we will be removing core and filling each hole with 2" diameter high density plugs and will also add some 1708 'tongues' to beef up the coachroof top laminate. The backstay and spinnaker guy winches will be mounted on a new 'wing' either side of the cockpit, but more of that later.

The historical shots show a time many years ago when we were allowed out in the Sir Francis Drake Channel in our boats! (no non-essential, non-sanctioned movement of boats is allowed, now our borders are closed) Not sure why the jib was aback, maybe heaving to for a transfer?















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A cracking day today with 5 of us on 3 different projects.

Steve and I focused on the salon floor. We determined that the desired 30" wide engine bay was pretty much the full width of the main hull at the lowered floor level. We ended up sacrificing a couple of inches of headroom to get no less than 36" across the floor at the narrowest point,. we will still have over 6' of headroom everywhere. We also decided that an engine install is some way off so we will be glassing in a full 8' longitudinal stringer in with a new bulkhead at 56" aft of the main midships bulkhead. That will give the floorboards something to sit on and will stiffen up this part of the main hull no end. Oh yes, I neglected to say that the entire 8' section of floor will start by being smothered with a single laminate of 1708 biax. When you are adding structure to old girls such as TJ, I always reckon it is best to have new stringers or bulkheads bonded to fresh glass that radiates well away from the new parts. In this case we just decided it would be the whole floor. Pics from the next few weeks will better illustrate this process.

Up forward the 2 Paul's took on the fwd main hull hatch and deck repairs. Most of the prep work had been done so it was just a case of cutting out core and biax to get the first stage down. Paul Junior was a pro ,carpet fitter some years ago so he is pretty dang good at mapping out a few lams of biax! Again, pics next week will show this job in more details but here you can see the start of it.

So that leaves Henry. He has been tasked with sorting out all TJ's winches. Not easy. Some were pummeled into the concrete bridge and through the deck by Irma when she was upside down. All were full of mud and sand. To make matters worse we salvaged a pair of electric Lewmar 55 ST's and a bunch of smaller Lewmar ST's from a cruising mono that was down for a couple of months after Irma. With the JCB's rolling in to break her up we only managed to get the above deck sections. We are hopeful that they will become our manual primaries, time will tell.

DtM, you ask about the mast. Well, we ended up with 4 masts. The first out of a J54(?), see very early in this thread. It turned out to be too heavily built to be a serious contender. Then came 54' of new Lagoon 45 mast. That again was very heavily built and a huge section, also short of 7'. Then came the brand new but broken in transit Swan mast destined for an early 42' It would have needed 2 splices and ALL fittings, with plenty of modifications required, it was a masthead rig. THEN came the undamaged carbon mast from the racing mono 'Blitz'. OK, so it cost us some real dollars but it hardly needs any modifications. We will not be using the rod rigging and have some spreader work to do but that's about it. It sits safely in a mast rack opposite TJ and it will stay there until hurricane season is done.

Historical shot?

Round Tortola November 2015, always a great race.









round tortola 2015.jpg

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Man, that's a killer shot! I'd be worried if I saw that behind me. The historical photos make a great thread even better. I'm developing a fondness for Triple Jack and wish I could be there to help out.

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No work today but Steve and I did get a mid week early evening stint in.

The mini 'fire truck' came into play. That has been fixed up now with the two 50 gallon water buts secured midships on the bed of the old Mitsubishi roller skate. A brand new shurflo 'blaster' does the honours coupled to its own 4D battery. Also in the truck is the 'ambient air' pump that supplies 15 cubic feet per minute of fresh air into a 3M hood that will make the upcoming grinding bearable. It's in the truck cab because it has AC, sending slightly chilled air down the pipe is quite nice. That machine takes one of our Honda generators to run it, the grinders run off #2. Needless to say, there is no power or water out on the Nanny Cay Peninsula.

The bow repair is coming on well, this week will see remaining core chunks grafted in followed by upper laminates. Steve and I also re-acquainted ourselves with the stbd front beam repair and came up with a laminating schedule to finish that up. Apart from that we just drank a few Shaefers and oogled at the new mast that is sitting there in the rack. Of course there was also the mandatory 'are we mad?' reflective moment... on the bright side, they are becoming fewer as time passes.

Historical shots this evening show the aft beam and main hull before they were attached for the first time back in 1979.







aft beam.JPG

Out of the building!.JPG

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Father's day, the Summer Solstice and the incredible Sahara dust...it was all going on today.

Sometimes the resins flow, today it was that kind of day. Just 3 of us on the job but all of us determined to to lay down some cloth.

Paul continued with his bow repairs, laying down a mosaic of core onto several fresh lower laminates around the fwd hatch. It looks kind of patchy, but once the core is ground fair the whole repair will quickly 'take shape' as the top laminates go on and over the rail.

Steve can't walk past the front beam without longing for a lam. We joined forces and added another 4 laminates around the lower, outer section of the beam and on to the sponson itself. There's still a bunch of uni laminates to go on before we are done.

On the laminating bench we knocked up an 8x4 sheet of 3/4" H80 divinycell with a single biax either side...in good old polyester! I have to admit I enjoy the Boatworks channel on U tube. He's a bit of a polyester fan for fabrication. As time goes on I'm questioning the 'epoxy only' mantra we have followed, polyester definitely has its place. This particular board will become the sub salon floor bulkheads.

I mentioned the dust. I have never seen it this thick. At Nanny Cay we could barely see Peter Island, it's got thicker as the day went on. In Brewer's bay late this afternoon we could not see Jost Van Dyke, check out the two sunset pics from roughly the same spot on my balcony. It's a real pea-souper.

No boat work next weekend, we are off sailing to Anegada. There is a race but Steve and I will be in family cruise mode. We hope to buzz the race fleet and get some footage, the forecast looks good with a moderating NE'ly trade and hopefully no dust! I'm taking out 'Bob' which IYM (my company) has been fixing for the last 2 years. He didn't do well in Irma, both masts came down and the wing foils shattered, one keel, one rudder and a whole bunch of holes punched through both hulls. Irma did one side, Maria finished the job! A familiar tale. 

Historical shots? There could be only 2 contenders on this day. Ryan and Rosie. Ryan, now nearly 21, is happily stuck in Annapolis with his Mum waiting on university in Southampton to re-open in September. He's a regular TJ crew when here, but wisely dodges any itchy boat work. Rosie has not sailed on TJ yet, but her time will come!  To complete the picture, looking at the TJ girls racing to Anegada about 20 years ago,  Ryan's Mum, Jaeda is the one on the right, second from left is Steve's fairer half, Sue!


IMG_8280 (1).jpg











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Ryan in the Mount Gay, almost new, red hat. there is history in just that !!!!

Thank you for the update.  I know you hate it when no one comments.

One day maybe I will get there and get a ride on TJ.


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Hot Damn!

Check out the start line for tomorrow's Lowell Wheatley Anegada Pursuit race.

6 tris here but another corsair set to show up...and Gunboat 66 Coco De Mer.

Island Hops is a Corsair 31, Ting a Ling and Whoop Whoop are Corsair 27's, Lucky Strike a Corsair 24 and Airgasm is a Corsair Pulse 600.

Back in the day it would just be Triple Jack but since we got wounded a whole bunch of peashooters have turned up!

As per my last post I'm out cruising with the family BUT I hope to snap some shots of the main start at 11ish.

The forecast is a perfect E 20kts to kick off with, moderating as the day goes on with a slight N'ly shift.


Anegada starts.JPG

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So, the winner was...

’Lucky Strike’ the Corsair 24, followed by ‘Whoop Whoop’ one of the 3 27’s with 31’ ‘Island Hops’  completing the podium. Coco bought up the rear, this is as close as we got to them off Road Harbour.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Blimey, it's not been 2 weeks and the thread nearly made it to page 2!

Progress has been made but it's not been earth shattering. A spot of family sailing and the firecracker regatta justifiably got in the way! The late June tradewinds took out all the tarps so there goes a whole work day setting that lot up again. Today a solid mid week session saw the whole salon floor get its biax epoxy laminate it so deserved, the foredeck and the fwd beam also enjoyed the sensation of fresh cloth, liberally applied.

We are leaning towards installing an engine. Saildrive or shaft drive? We have the option of both 'in hand' but can't decide. The saildrive is neat, it occupies less space...but ultimately the shaft drive is more robust with a smaller hole should it start leaking! Weight-wise there's not much in it, not enough to sway the call. With the whole salon floor now laminated and ready for stringers it's time to decide. I initially thought saildrive, I've worked with them for many years and have never seen a leg 'ripped out' with a fractured diaphragm. But then I like the simplicity of a shaft drive and dripless shaft seal. Damn, 'I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure'!

We reckon the whole installation will be a 500llb hit. 2 fat crew members. At least the weight will be in the middle of the boat and low down, fat crew members would likely be idling in the cockpit getting in the way. We are mindful that an engine would make the boat 100% more 'user friendly'. Getting underway off a mooring, engineless, in 'Sea Cow's Bay necessitates having at least 3 experienced hands ready to back the jib, waiting for the right moment, ready to ease the main if a gust hits on the bear away...and so on. Sailing back to the mooring is another far more complicated scenario that can easily end with the command 'jump, you fucker, jump!' (with a long line)

Hey ho, it's only this Covid world that allows the consideration of such things. In the BVI we still have our borders closed and cannot see that changing anytime soon. Bad for business, but great for getting 'non essential' projects done like fixing TJ. We just wish hurricane season was not predicted to be quite so active, the weather has certainly become more fruity these last few days.

So, here's a few pictures that look very much like many previous pictures posted. It takes an experienced eye to fully appreciate the volume of grinding necessary to make progress possible.

Historical shot this evening shows a regatta winning 11 strong crew from the BVISR some years ago.












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Not sure there's any weight advantage in going electric

Electric motor and saildrive: 170lbs

4x 8D AGMs for the 48v 400 Ah required: 175lbs each

Total: 870lbs

That's three fat bastards and a St Bernard dog. Or nearly half a Volkswagon Beetle, in old money.


Plus I'm pretty sure that by "in hand" RIP means "got it for free of another boat" so spending 20k on an electric set up is almost certainly off the table.

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2 hours ago, Buidsear Fiohda said:

Not sure there's any weight advantage in going electric

Electric motor and saildrive: 170lbs

4x 8D AGMs for the 48v 400 Ah required: 175lbs each

Total: 870lbs

That's three fat bastards and a St Bernard dog. Or nearly half a Volkswagon Beetle, in old money.


Plus I'm pretty sure that by "in hand" RIP means "got it for free of another boat" so spending 20k on an electric set up is almost certainly off the table.


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Triple Jack, Happy to see that you are still at it. On Morello we went with a shaft and prop. I think that a saildrive may be less drag but I did not want to haul out annually to service it.

We sailed up to St. John last weekend, our first trip north since we saw you at Christmas. Saturday morning we sailed east into Sir Francis Drake Channel on our way to the south shore of St. John. The only boat we saw was a ferry coming out of Roadtown. It was eerie. Monday's sail back to St. Croix was nice and sporty. I hope that there is an around Tortola race in November and outsiders can participate.

See you on the water sometime, Morello

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So, saildrive it is, less drag, prop in line with the hull, engine, SD20 and max prop all in hand...just the saildrive base/ engine mount molding to find.

There's still a bunch of wrecked boats around so hopes are high. With the new coachroof not yet installed the cutting/grinding and fabrication will be 100% easier now rather than later. We must be getting old eh? It will be electric winches next!

Good progress all round, more laminates on the bow, the mid section is laminated and prepped for bulkheads/engine mounts. Stbd fwd beam repairs now just 2 visits away from completion, then it's just recreating the fairing. Port fwd beam crush injuries have been exposed and the repair plan is clear, winches are being rescued...good turnouts for work days and evenings, it's all good!

Soma sits just along the Peninsula from us, it's an unfair race right now with our borders closed, from all accounts Niels isn't exactly sitting around twiddling his thumbs...BUT we are not far away from being on level terms as far as 'Irma repairs' go. Not counting our chickens yet though!

We have all been out racing and cruising around the BVI's lately and it is SO strange. it's a rarity to share an anchorage with another boat. I've said before that the situation is not sustainable and at some point we will have to figure out how to welcome visitors to our shores, but until that happens it is maybe our 'once in a lifetime' chance to enjoy the islands in their 'natural state'. 














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