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'Triple Jack' rebuild...FU Irma!

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OK, we have been rattling along steadily this week, but....there are now 42 active Covid cases so only essential businesses are allowed to open, curfew is 5pm to 5am. We have barges anchored offshore to monitor illegal traffic manned by Customs, and Marine Police. It may be too little, too late, it feels like we are on the 'exponential'. Ah well, best get it over with! Despite the new regulations Steve, Paul and I have been scratching away where we can.

The Port beam fairing is back in place and the port sponson deck is now getting the large holes filled in with fresh sandwich.

My engine hatch is well advanced. It has been tabbed at various places internally so now it's just taping exterior seams with 10oz cloth, finishing the tabbing runs inside, adding some purpleheart runners all round and decorating. Having measured up it will not fit past the companionway hatch so it has to go down before the roof gets glued on. That means the whole engine/saildrive unit might as well go in now too. The 'potty' assembly is ready to go having been gelcoated, just got to epoxy/tab that in place and laminate the hull skin to the saildrive leg tube. 

The weather is not yet the doomsday scenario many forecasters predicted a few weeks ago. We have still yet to see a real mature Cape Verde snorter trot across the pond. The biggest inhibiting factor I see is dry air intrusion, there's nothing like it to snuff out a fledgling system. Long may that continue.

So question answer time. To get a feel for Kelsall designs try this link.http://kelsall.com/TechnicalArticles/KCForTheRecord.pdf   We are regularly in touch with Derek so I asked him about the 'self righting system' shown on TJ's line drawings. This was Derek's response...


this design goes back to when multihull owners and designers were more concerned for capsize.  The basic requirement for self righting

is simple enough.   Provide sealed buoyancy across the boat in the  region on the foot of the mast and sealed bulkheads which allow the front of all three hulls to be filled.  As the level of the water in the bows gets to a certain point, the boat will slip, bows down about 45 degrees. 

the bows can be pumped with water or this can be assisted by having air bags on the saloon.   From bow down the water will be pumped out.  Yes, a lot of water to pump but if all is in place you will be able to sail home.    we learned a lot when tested the system on a 39 foot cat on a lake in Sandwich in Kent.   

Happy boating


So, fascinating stuff, I'm not sure I'm ready to try that one out though.

Historical shots here are of the 1967 Kelsall designed 'Trifle'. Apparently recently sold and being fixed up in New England?

She was 20% wider than the famous 'Toria' and enjoyed an illustrious racing career before having a garden shed grafted onto her stern.

 'Toria' was lost during the 1976 Transat with Tony Bullimore on board after she caught fire.

Tool of the week?  That little tile cutter with a diamond blade, fantastic for cutting cored panels accurately, or saw drafting to shape a panel.











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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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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 exemption' so on we go. Strictly speaking we are only allowed to prepare for incoming weather, the reality is that out on the peninsula at Nanny Cay no one is studying us. Without the curfew and boating ban no work would be going on, we would surely all be out there enjoying the calm seas and crystal clear skies! 

Today the engine hatch got its final fill having had all the seams epoxied with 10 oz 2" tape. The purpleheart 'sub foredeck' beam got glassed in place with the new deck getting tabbed to the internal hull sides at the same time. The point of no return was reached for the saildrive install with the 'potty' being epoxied to the hull floor. Remember that previously the entire salon floor below the waterline had been laminated with a layer of 1708 biax. Structurally this zone is now 'beyond reproach' in my humble opinion. It was very satisfying to see the 'potty' installed, the engine will follow possibly next weekend!  I've said it before but the engine will transform the boat, we are just looking at areas where we can shed weight elsewhere now, nothing is safe!...

Historical pictures? Well, here's a shot of the aft beam modular structure being made back in 1979. Also see a shot of TJ being hoisted upright post Irma. As you can see, her aft beam is not a straight line across the boat. At the Heineken Regatta around the turn of the century we pushed very hard, won all four races but fractured the aft beam right where the box section you see here started to separate from the main hull around the companionway. We limped back to Tortola in heavy seas watching the fracture 'pulse' with each wave. The haulout that year was all about 'sistering up' the aft beam with 1/2" marine ply both sides extending into that box section, it has not moved since! If we had not done that I'm sure Irma would have left us with a main hull minus aft beams and sponsons! Facebook in the BVI is abound with Irma images today, it brings it all back. Hey ho, here we are 3 years on, still plugging away trying to get repairs completed. On the bright side I'm sure we will finish up with a 'platform' that has been thoroughly sorted and good for many more years!


















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Onwards and upwards, plenty of progress this week despite the lockdown/curfew.

The engine is all but ready to install, it lurks on the back of the trusty crane truck, poised for the lift. Today I intended to run in the final tabs around the saildrive 'potty' but got sidetracked with removing 'ye olde chart table seat'. We have all sat there for many years in all manner of circumstances...but the time had come for a clean sweep. The seat had always been a puddle, as was the locker beneath it. The foam was the dreadful crumbly orange stuff, that had delaminated and the laminate schedule was just a thin layer of chop either side. Once the fein cutter had breezed through the skin the whole assembly just peeled away. Farewell faithful seat! We plan to replace it with one of our helm seats once we have the mold for them sorted...that may be some way down the road! For now a new 'non puddling' lid will be laminated in. So, to cut a long story short, my Sunday morning became a demolition and grind fest. Looking around the salon, there's nothing much else to grind or demolish, that's good, the engine cranes in on Wednesday. Removing the seat locker gave access to the old wiring runs, all that came out too. Low and behold, hidden in the depths was our original ship's compass that was assumed lost. Fantastic!. Also going on today were two rival grind fests, one around the new laminates on the port fwd beam repairs and foredeck, the other preparing the port aft beam for incoming new decking...that's where the backstay winch was punched thro the beam. Senior Paul laminated in a ring frame to the stbd sponson right where crew tend to land when they are vaulting down from the aft beam onto the sponson deck. Many moons ago, in Gran Canaria, Scouser 'Daz' the drummer from the excellent  'Rubber Trumpet' band had landed in this spot and we all heard a nasty crack. 30 years on we are sorting the problem, can't blame Irma for that one!

Dare I say that the weather has become quite benign? That's bound to jinx it but the combination of SAL and weak High Pressure ridges to our NE are keeping us out of harm's way. Of course it could all change in a heartbeat but we'll take it. We look pretty clear until late September, after that Cape Verde snorters are less common. Additionally rainfall in the Sahel region of equatorial Africa is down, that should mean tropical waves will be less potent. We'll see. 'Bless the rains down in Africa, tra la la la', if you are having a Toto moment.

I'm going to have to dig deeper for historical shots, I have several dusty old laptop hard drives/storage devices that need looking into. For now, having mentioned our old mates, the Rubber Trumpets, I'm going to blow TJ's collective horn. Just a few crew shots after racing. Sailing offshore to those races and pulling off a result, has to be what we all miss most!

LOVE the shot of a French lugger calling STBD on the 50' tris!














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That's my all time favorite compass. if you don't want it... Phil Weld had one on Gulfstreamer where I got to know it well and I've been looking for one ever since and that was a long fucking time ago. Wait, I don't even use a compass anymore!

Still waiting for a chronology of Kelsall tri's. Not sure who can provide on that one.

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Strange times continue.

The BVI is still resolutely not open to any tourists or boat owners. Our curfew is now 5pm to 5 am, we are still not allowed to use our boats. Boats can leave the territory, quite a few are doing that. Restaurants are closed, schools are closed...other islands appear to have workable protocols in place but we still seem to be a long way off. It's all wearing a bit thin and the general feeling is that we will have to change our ways soon. In terms of fixing Triple Jack it's hard to imagine a better scenario, apart from the swell from Teddy, there are no diversions! Even the weather is behaving itself for now, in the next 7 days we are looking at 5kt gusts max! There is no tropical action coming our way until at least the end of the month. As a result of all this progress rattles along at a good clip!

Innovation of the week has to be the 1" sh. 40 conduit that we have used to support the salon floor frame, T's form avenues for wiring to sprout out where desired, and they allow the pipe to be glassed in place with short 'legs'. Coupled with the mid bulkhead and cleats at either end the entire floor is now rock solid. The engine hatch got its trial fit, the floor frame will be modified to accept it this week. We got the engine in on Wednesday, that sat down beautifully on its mounts. We got lucky double checking the old donor saildrive diaphragm. I had checked it a few times and has spent some time scraping old silicone off it...but did not notice the small cracks where the rubber had hardened and failed. Of course those cracks opened up big time when 'folded back', the diaphragm was toast. This was not great, a new one is about $600. I made a call to 2 good friends from my charter days to see if they had old stock kicking around. Within an hour we had 2 brand new diaphragms delivered, one came with the secondary upper gator along with expensive SS clamps. Wow, that made our day. In went the new parts and by 1pm the job was done, engine and saildrive installed. 

Junior Paul cut the foredeck to fit the fore hatch, Steve got low down and ugly in the cramped confines of the port sponson to grind and laminate bearers for the deck repairs. Everything forward of the mast should be structurally completed within a couple of weeks. That's both forward beams, bow and sponson deck repairs. With the engine in and the salon floor in place it will soon be time to bond the coachroof into place. Then it's mast step and structure aft of that up to the coachroof, stbd chainplates and stbd aft sponson deck repairs followed by some aft cockpit 'wing' additions and we are done with heavy glass work. The lack of a rudder is going to be an issue. Niels (Soma) let us have his old rudders, we may just extend one of them and fit it to see if we can get away with it. Anyone got any fancy rudders surplus to requirements?

All things considered the project has good momentum. It could be described as nasty, itchy work but in all honesty we have a good laugh doing it. It's not 'work work, it's not 'home' work, it's another realm that kind of becomes an escape from all that. Hey I'm not saying that I don't like my 'paid job', I even like messing about doing 'home projects', hell, Steve has even somehow finished building his house since Irma! Was it Van Morrison who sang 'it's too late to stop now'? I guess that's where we are. I should add that if we were paying storage charges it would have been a 'non starter', kudos to Nanny Cay for sticking with us.

Historical shots? One on a beach somewhere but I have no idea where, early 80's? The other one, again I have no idea who or where the couple are or why he appears to be taking off his trousers? 















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Big news! The BVI's are opening back up on December 1st. The curfew has been relaxed to 8pm and we can go out in our boats until 5pm.

Good, let's learn to live with it without getting overwhelmed, that's down to being sensible.

The Royal Navy will be on our doorstep conducting border patrols as ordered by the Governor, against the wishes of the locally elected Government.

Flexing a bit of sovereign power there it seems, good job I say, only those who have something to hide should be bothered by this.

Anyhow, that's all 'by the by', work on board continues to go well.

The salon floorboard hatch was cast in polyester at the end of play last Sunday afternoon. I have several rolls of 0/90 biax with no chop strand that needs using up. It wets out OK but leaves 'holes' when laid up. To overcome that we laid some chop down first on one side and some 10oz cloth on the other side. We are laying up panels all the time now for closing repairs, polyester is the resin of choice for ease of use and economy. The secondary bonds are usually epoxy. For the salon floor I used the offcuts to make small stringers to support the underside. The green foam you see is triangular 'core step downs' that we have from boatbuilding days. They are very useful all over the place! The white paint is 'De Voe' 2 part epoxy at about $160 for a 2 gallon pack, love that stuff. The engine bay got that too. I reckon that the new salon floor hatch could easily take a large person jumping up and down on it excitedly. I have someone in mind to ask for a trial run but she would likely kill me. The old chart table seat got its new lid from the same laminate, that's all ready to bond in place this week. 

Steve crawled into the port sponson to laminate the underside of the new deck panels, you see Paul passing 6" tabs thro the last hole to Steve inside. Paul then closed off the puncture hole on the port aft beam coaming where the backstay winch got pushed through. We are getting quite good at closing out these decks voids now! The stbd sponson deck will be ready to go in next week, see here a 'shelf' being laid into the sponson that will allow the repaired deck to have something structural to sit on.

Weather-wise the tail of Teddy felt like the first cold front of the season. Strictly speaking I suppose it wasn't but we are all hopeful that hurricane season is done barring any peculiar late season storms...like Lenny, mid November 1999, Cat 5 over St Croix only 40 miles away!

Historical shots are Steve mixing up a pail of 'hospital fire retardant white and admiralty grey' for the topsides close to 30 years ago, and surfing/overtaking a wave in the Bay of Biscay shortly after that. Hours after that shot was taken we had the scare of our lives off Cape Finesterre in a NE'ly storm...but that's another story.




























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POURING down today, good for topping off cisterns but little else. We did manage to make some progress in the leaky tin workshop but the leaks got the better of us.

Still, the exhaust box is done and ready to fit. The engine housing base flange has been cut out and is ready to glue to the floor frame. The stbd sponson deck panel, just ahead of the chainplates is ready to fit, the receiving flange has been glassed in place. With tourists back in December potentially bitching about fibreglass dust we have to boogie on...Steve and I also had a midweek grind fest.

History? Found this old photo of the 'sponson additions' that at this stage were being mocked up. We wanted to stop TJ's transom digging in, especially upwind in a seaway. We figured a load of extra buoyancy back there would do the job. I'll find some better photos but we actually made a mold for the addition having used 'sticks' to mock up the shape. In the end we maybe came to our senses and binned the whole project, there was some concern that the added buoyancy would elevate the main hull transom upwards sailing downwind which we figured would worsen our existing occasional rudder 'ventilation' issues. Steve (with hair) is holding a batten to show the transom new position.











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Ah, the shield of shame. I remember it well. An innovation with the sole purpose of humiliating anyone who didn't get the mix ratio right and inadvertently created a special mix of their own design. A sample of the epoxy "toffee" laminate that's never going to cure or the smoldering remains of over catalyzed polyester would be nailed to the shield with the perps name written on it for all to see, point, and laugh. Sadly, my name still appears to be on it.

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A glorious day here in the BVI's. Dang, when it's like this we should all be out in our boats enjoying the temporarily uncluttered waters BUT we have a boat to fix! Good progress again this week, I spent half an hour this morning marking 'spots to be visited with an angle grinder' and for the first time I did not empty the can of marker spray!

The BVI 'opening up' on Dec 1st appears to be less than most in the marine/tourism business had hoped for. It's not set in stone yet with no official protocols being released, but the word is that Beef Island airport will be the only point of entry. Before flying a negative covid test must be submitted allowing permission to fly in. Then a wrist band will be fitted and incoming hopefuls will have to camp in one place for 4 days after which another test will be taken. So, on day 5 if you are lucky, or more likely day 6, you can venture off and do your thing. Of course this is a disaster for the bareboat business, normally on day 7 you are flying home! Most Americans arrive via St.Thomas then take the ferry, that does not seem to be on the cards. NO visiting yachts are allowed to enter the territory, that is not good for marinas. Maybe when the official word comes out 'later this month' it will not be this severe? All will be revealed.

On the bright side the BVI's dogged insistence on being a 'Covid-free bubble' is actually helping us get the boat fixed!

Our repair team has been joined by 'Jo Jo', an unflappable South African who was employed by a Contractor under 'The Mooring's/TUI' umbrella. Sadly this Contractor has left the Territory owing 18 guys 2 months wages. 'That's not good at all' as we say here. These guys are in meetings with the Labor Department to try and get their pay. The Labor Department maintains that their permits are held by 'The Moorings' but 'The Moorings' say they paid the contractor and it's not their fault they didn't get paid. Without pay they can't buy tickets to get back home. A big mess, I hope common sense prevails and these guys get paid for the hard, mostly unpleasant work they have done. They are the 'little guys' in this big business thing.

Anyhow, back on thread. The exhaust box has been epoxied into place, it is rock solid and is in the best possible place. The exhaust hose will be snaking up alongside the head hose before exiting in the hull side under the wing. Occupants of the forward 'double berth' will now have exhaust gurgling to accompany the occasional symphony and pong of the Lavac head being pumped out. Nice! The daggerboard trunk received my attention today. It is not the original, we built this around an old Catana board, wrapped in carpet to give some 'wiggle room' about 12 years ago. It was built with a decent lay up in polyester, the uphaul/downhaul boxes giving it extra rigidity. I think we used a length of 2x4 to form the downhaul box section. Remember that Triple Jack was built with 2 dagger boards, one just behind the fwd hatch and the other offset, just ahead of the rudder! Our modifications are described in a TJ thread long ago, but to cut a long story short, we got rid of the aft board and its casing completely and then grafted in the fwd casing just behind the mast. The original board and its casing were not 'state of the art' so, around the turn of the century, we made the new casing around a Catana board that we had made from 2 broken ones. That is what sits there today. Those repaired Catana boards did OK but ultimately broke, one after the other. BUT the casing survived. So, why today was I questioning the integrity of our casing you may well ask? Back in the day with the original board and casing up front we were always having to brace the casing against the sides of the hull to prevent it 'panting'. We used a variety of objects, the best being a large wooden mallet. Whenever we tacked these bracing objects would fall out which meant going way up forward to sort a new brace out. If it got fruity we would bear off and get the board up to deck level where the thing was better supported, at the expense of upwind performance. That damn board would not move up or down unless it was completely unloaded, which meant 'wiggling the helm' on a very broad reach. When we built our new casing we laminated it to withstand the board loadings. That was largely successful with those old repaired boards breaking before the board head came through the middle of the casing. But, here's the crunch. The current board was made with a full 55yd roll of uni directional glass. Even Irma could only slightly separate the skins of the top 3' as, upside down, TJ's full weight was ground into the concrete bridge. The casing is no match for this board. When racing hard I have watched the casing 'panting' going upwind. I have pondered the failure mode being the head of the board breaking the casing apart and flooding the main hull. That's where I was today! The 'fix' is hopefully a Coosa/uni laminated shelf/collar that uses the structural members either end of the board casing to brace against panting. Out with the tickling stick again. Watch this space to see how this 'collar' pans out. 

Steve focused on the stbd sponson deck and chain plate zone. After all that guff and even a video condemning the chain plate SS 'triangles' we are set to refit the originals. That's a bit of a climb down but no one can accuse us of not removing them to have a good look! They will be massively strong when we have finished refitting them. There is a new section of deck going in there too, we saved all the original bits but decided it was easier to make a new laminated section. Paul Junior found himself in the full morning sun with a 3'x4' double lamination on the port aft beam, sealing off the panel he fitted last week. He mixed up a 15 spot mix of fast, followed by another one. 'Should I use peel ply?' he asked. No time for that, it went off like a prom dress. Jo Jo is a wizard for nailing multiple small repairs, that is his craft. He sorted various 'rail wounds' on the 3 hulls in short order, he's a real trooper and a pleasure to work with. We sent him off to the store for snacks and drinks, he came back with frozen Jamaican patties. As the afternoon wore on we asked, 'do you think they are done yet?' We are making a mold for the helm seats, the mold was tough to release from 'the part' so that is work in progress. The interior chart table set will be one of these helm seats with a carbon windsurfer mast tabbed to the underside. It will locate in 2 possible positions in the shelf topping I was working on last week...one for chart table down, the other for max space lounging, again watch this space. Last and certainly not least is senior Paul. He epoxied on the cleats to support the floor hatch made last week. The whole floor assembly and engine hatch should be in place next week. Stroll on!

History this evening will have to be the old, possibly repeated shots of board, Irma bridge (check out the helm seats that survived!) and old board repairs. I remember anarchist Mr.Mad pointing out that our inserted battens and hardwood used to join two halves together were a 'pile of frikking shit'. I would have to agree with him!










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Hey, don't shoot me down for saying it...another gorgeous day here in the BVI's!

But it pissed down on Friday if that makes you feel better.

Good progress this week, on Wednesday we unpacked all the rod rigging that came with the mast from the 40' racing mono 'Blitz'. All the rod rigging is of no use to us, but it was time to look into how we can adapt the terminals to accept new rigging. Earlier in the thread I mentioned that my company has repaired and re-rigged a 2017 Chris White 'mast foil' 42 that had been damaged by hurricane Irma. A whole new rigging package came with the new mast foils from 'Future Fibers'. Lovely stuff it is too. One of the 4 shrouds was undamaged by Irma and I also saved all the terminals from the chafed/severed shrouds. We were hoping that that one stay would be useable on our new carbon spar but unfortunately it is about 5' too long. Next we take one of these terminals apart thinking that it's just a 'Norseman' fitting for Kevlar. Hmmm, not so easy at first visit. We didn't get too animal with it and instead wrote off to FF to see what we could do. Most likely they will be horrified that we are even considering using rigging that 'did Irma' and will offer a whole new package at great expense, but you never know, there's no harm in asking. We also looked at the spreaders and pondered how we would be cutting them down to become spreaders in a double diamond rig. Our rigging friend Deane Fonseca from Wickham's Cay Rigging wisely pointed out that, in a diamond configuration the spreaders will be subject to far greater compression loads that a D1/D2 arrangement on a Monohull. That got our attention because we were only just behind 'Alacrity' one Heineken Regatta when one of her spreaders failed and she dismasted...it was caught on camera but I don't have that shot. That was start 1, day 1 when the gusts were coming out of Phillipsburg like cricket bats. Looking at the carbon spreaders we have they appear to be very stoutly built, the game will be to create load bearing 'ferrules' that the diamond stays can bear on. We should be up for that. We also considered the running backstay and lower triangle. Deane suggested sweeping the spreaders back to allow pre bend to be induced...possibly doing away with a babystay? The lower shrouds and running backs will be relatively easy to fit with regular T ball fittings and some external reinforcements. Pretty exciting stuff, rigging is not really our realm but we are good listeners. Steve has been adamant that the stem head SS fitting should be removed for inspection. This was bent over sideways with its two sisters that we added about 15 yrs ago. As we bent the tangs back vaguely upright today the sisters failed. That cleared the way for the 40yr old forestay tang to come out. Once released we thought it looked OK but closer inspection showed crevice corrosion and a worrying crack, right where the tang exits the the bow laminates. It's been condemned and a new one will be made up.

In other news Jo Jo continued in the mast step area having midweek taken care of numerous rail grazes. We scored some cheap pails of Vinylester resin, that is being used all over the place where critical secondary bonds are not required. The casing collar is now laminated in place on its upper side, that will see a few laminations of uni this week, I'm pretty confident this collar will do a stirling job of stabilizing the casing. It's another one of those 'minor' items that this huge 'refit' has allowed us to take on. See picture below of coosa bond testing with a claw hammer. It was not a fair test of the uni cos the blow was across the grain, but see how the epoxy bond survived and the coosa itself failed up to the GRP reinforcement woven in. Paul senior continued sorting the salon floor, Junior tabbed and closed the large aft deck panel we removed to get access for chainplate and sponson attachment work. Next up for Steve and I will be chainplate refitting with oodles of uni.

History? Just our T Shirt logo by TJ stalwart John Nugent. He's on the mend and vows he will be back on board soon. We'll raise a Mount Gay tonic to that!






















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Absolutely fantastic news about Nugent!

I still have my 2016 BVI Spring Regatta TJ shirt that he made for all of us.

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No holding us back this week with plenty going on. Leo at Nanny Cay has fabricated a new stem forestay fitting from 3/8" 316 stainless and it looks like a piece of jewelry, almost too good to fit! Paul Junior offered it up today. During the process of enlarging the slot from 1/4" to 3/8" he and Steve noticed that the bearing laminates on the bow were no match for the new fitting. Hey ho, here's another grind coming up...we will be beefing up the 'snout' to firmly put out to rest any thought of that fitting making a bid for freedom, at least in our lifetimes. Like a bunch of girls in a clothes store we have once again changed our minds about the original chain plates. Steve being a surveyor presented the 'old SS triangle' to the resident surveyors at Hirst Marine Surveyors where he works. Out came the dye but first 'any porous welds must be ground out'. That in itself condemned the very thought of burying this 40yr old fitting back into the aft beam bulkhead, can't grind out welds that hold it together. SO we are back on the path of making new GRP chainplates (it has to be both sides). At the end of the day there's no point sailing around worrying about a fitting failing or a weakness that you know you should have taken care of, it makes for a miserable time when pushing hard. Steve started this project today by wrapping a 1/2" SS rod with biax to form the 'tube' that will later be massively draped in uni that stretches down the full length of the bulkheads. One SS rod will anchor both uppers and lowers with lacing windows along its length. With the new stem fitting this route had to be taken, it's all good.

Today I busied myself with the daggerboard casing collar. Several layers of stitched uni were applied top and bottom, biax will finish the job next time. The stitched uni is great but it refuses to make a 'curve' even when only 2" wide without bunching up. (hence the weights!) Steve spent a couple of hours 'skinning' a few yards of the 90/90 20oz that we have oodles of, ending up with braids of uni strands. They will likely be used to fan out the chainplate loads, I wish I had used them for my little project too. Ah well, older and wiser, learn a new trick every day.

The salon floor board frame is finished, just can't decide on varnish or oil. Think it's going to be oil. Sounds slippery but if a pressure washer is used first after de-oiling the Purpleheart allegedly the oil will excite wood fibres to create some traction. We'll see. Jo Jo is proving to be a bit of a star, I have never known someone rattle off repairs the way he does. He manages this on a diet of energy drinks and grapes, or 'Greps' as he calls them in his thick S.African accent! He is all over the mast step and stbd beam fairing, loving his work.

There's a break in proceedings next Sunday because we are all out yachting for a good mate's 50th bash. If we do Wednesday maybe I'll post then. In the meantime tonight's history feature is the incredible Malcolm Horton. Mal is a musician and fine artist who settled in Exmouth many moons ago having spent his early years in Birmingham. His art work is world famous but he never made it big. He did album covers for Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath back in the day. He loved TJ and blessed us with these fine works or art. Sadly it was all done in November and the 'key' was not good to the hull's paintwork. That poor sailfish was mostly gone by Finisterre once we left that December. Speaking of that trip, here's the first page summarizing a series of articles I wrote originally for Multihull International back in 1994. It's from the MOCRA 1995 year book. If it's legible I'll post the rest next time.

And finally folks, it's my blog so I can post what I like...here's Paul, his missus Katie, their daughter Erin along with my Claire and our Rosie at the helm during Saturday's Willy T 'Virgin's Cup'. We came second in racing class. Good times!






















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This thread is great, I love to see how you solve all the problems of doing it right.

l'm not a glass expert and you are doing far more than any thing I've ever done, but when I have a compound surface like where your dumb bell weight is I often first put a plastic bag of sand smushed and poked into the corners and contours all around the wet glass area.  On top of that goes the weight and "weight distribution" board.  Grocery produce bags are nice and thin to get in all the corners.  Finally, I push down hard on the weight and sand with more smushing and poking to make sure there is pressure against all surfaces.   I like how you've wound the twine round and round to keep the weight from falling off.   That would probably be more important with a bag of sand in the mix there. 

Seems to me a vacuum pump system would be best for this kind of repair but I don't have one and I don't do important structural work anyway.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A whole fortnight since my last post. One Sunday spent in the company of great friends anchored up in Little Harbour, Peter Island celebrating Didier's 60th. A fine time was had by all, especially the kids and the teenagers. Yesterday was just a washout in the BVI with frequent heavy showers. Tomorrow is much of the same, things will not be clearing out until Thursday. Hey ho, that's the way it goes, we may be looking at 2-3" of rain tomorrow!

So, unsurprisingly, there's not an awful lot to report on! Unlike Steve, my working life is based in Nanny Cay so I can have a bunch of TJ projects quietly taking shape. I'm still focusing on getting 'downstairs' sorted so we can put the lid on. 2 new projects down here will be blanking off the old hatch that gave access to the aft berth...the lid blew away in Irma but leveling that part of the cockpit will be much better...the other is fairing the rough looking ceiling where the old aft board used to live. The chart table dual position seat is nearly sorted. Engineering wise that has involved converting an old 'locker' into a structure that can take, let's say up to 300llbs wobbling about, supported by a 15" section of old tapered windsurfer mast. I'm quietly confident that the box structure is 'beyond reproach' but that old windsurfer mast does look very slim. It was a challenge just to laminate up tapered 1/4" wall thickness 'receivers'. The slightly ribbed mast section just did not want to let the receiver off. It took a hydraulic engine hoist to exert 2 volkswagen beetles worth of persuasion via rolling hitches and dyneema line. When the first one let go the poor mast section was rifled back into the frame of the jack 'quite quickly' doing some damage. I was sensibly working the pump at arms length and well out of range. With 2 receivers now in hand but a damaged 'stalk' I looked further down the tapered mast for another option. I found that the top of the donor carbon 'half mast' still had the sheared off ferrule from the original top mast firmly rooted inside for about 6", see the blue tape mark in the picture. Being further along the taper this section was a bit wobbly in my receivers but no more than an epoxy coat on both wouldn't sort out. This is turning out to be a long explanation of what should be a pretty simple process, the pictures tell the rest of the story.

Paul senior has finished up the fuel tank cradle, yes you all guessed it, out of purpleheart! That will do the job nicely and is headed for a spot below the double berth fwd of the mast. The donor tank was a gas tank but I found a fuel gauge sender that has a small return line nipple built in, dead handy! The rigging is going to be challenging, we are still researching how to use the original hounds through bolt that housed the rod shrouds. The mast step will be lower having got rid of the 'bubble of bullshit' over a year ago. We only have rough measurements from the old rig, I can see us stepping the new mast with temporary forestay and shrouds in order to even get accurate measurements of what we need. 

Well, that's about it for this episode. Here's page 2 of the 'off to the Canaries' article. Time to recognize another TJ stalwart, George 'KG' Lane. George left the BVI's a few years ago but was there in the very early days, was on board for the Canaries trip and has been heavily involved in TJ's haulouts and regattas over the years. One haulout Steve and I got down to Nanny Cay to find the original rudder had been hacked and ground back to its fragile skeleton. After a bad argument with his GF he had 'vented' on that poor rudder explaining, when he had calmed down, that it was 'a piece of shit'. Absolutely correct, we modified an old Privilege 39 rudder to take its place, somewhat hurriedly because the Heineken regatta was just weeks away. At that regatta he nearly came to blows with the ratings officer when we were calculated to owe the mighty 60' Irens 'Paradox' time. Passion got the better of him, but again he was right, it was a daft 'gift' rating. That actually killed our desire to race the Heineken, we have not been back since, preferring St Barths. He's not always been right, notably when, in that same regatta, he decided various lines on board were too long. The furling line got his attention and he lopped off a good 20 feet or so. When we unfurled the genoa the tail end shot up to the drum and of course he was directed to Budget Marine to sort that snafu out! Here's a shot of George and Geoff en-route to STM on a windy one and another of George with Steve and I in the boatyard. George can be seen sporting his fledgling 'Bobby Charlton', that is a great wodge of hair that can be draped over a balding forehead to give a more youthful 'full head of hair' look. Ha ha, I wonder how long it will take him to read this!


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The annual 'Round Tortola Race' made for a nice diversion this weekend. Back in the day this was a staple for Triple Jack but alas not this year. Steve and I got our regular ride on F31 'Island Hops' owned by Mark Saunders of TMM. Mark is a detail oriented guy and loves to have his boat prepared to win...as a team, along with Colin Rathbun, we duly obliged. 4 of the 7 serviceable local tris showed up along with a small racing and cruising class. Conditions could not have been better, 14-18kts and sunshine with a couple of squalls thrown in to make it interesting. After 4 hours we calculated that we just had enough over 'Ting a Ling' the F27, our winning delta was only 90 seconds! Cracking stuff.

Anyhow, back to business. Paul senior, Steve and I got busy on Sunday morning. I'm still in the damn salon, Paul helped me fit the new, now oiled floor frame. He also deftly fitted an old Nanny Cay dock plank either side of the daggerboard casing for a much needed step through. I finally epoxied in the captain's chair box lid. The seat got its slender carbon pole wrapped in a layer of uni followed by a biax barber pole wrap. It that enough? Time will tell. Steve was chainplating, setting up for the SS rod to be encapsulated and draped in uni. Paul junior was unable to attend having upset his constitution after consuming too many cheap, past sell by date real ales from the UK, 'Spitfire' I think. He was not overly confident in venturing too many steps away from the comfort of his lavatory. 

We should get Wednesday and Sunday in this week to get the momentum back.



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European bloke, how right you are.

Back in the day in Plymouth the cure would have been a 'Captain Jasper's everything burger' with a large mug of tea.

Got a good day in today. Hurricane season is done, winter weather has arrived. It's 27 C not 28.

I finished up the laminates around the dagger board casing collar and sorted the salon seat box with finishing tabs. Paul had session one with the main hull bow reinforcements, nice work gone on there. Steve continued with the new chainplate fabrication and absolutely nailed the stbd fwd beam fairing panel.. We are all following the Vendee Globe and our thoughts went out to Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss who was also laminating today. I hope he packed the fast catalyst, that extra slow takes a week to go off, Charal will be alongside him by then! I'm sure he has got some seriously good materials and training to take the task on. Word is that by heading SW he'll connect with the Westerlies first while the others are still in the variables. Seriously though, hats off to all of them especially Monsieur Cam at 61 in a non foiler doing the business. 500 mile days, cheese on bread, that is motoring! 







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Crikey, what a lot going on in the performance sailing world just now eh? Poor Hugo Boss, I was believing in his repairs, then no sooner had he got going again he picks up a fishing net at 20kts + which I guess rips off the rudder. What a bummer. And Edmond the trimaran suffering a similar fate, albeit closer to home. Anyhow, go Sobedo go, I hope they do it. For the Vendee my money is on Sam Davies for first of the fairer sex and Kevin Escoffier on PRB. We have a bit of a sweepstake going on.

Back to business, just Steve and I today. Paul junior had back spasms in his loft whilst getting the christmas decorations out! I got the engine cover installed and we had a first look at the new 'yacht like' salon floor. It needs a bit of chocking here and there to be right but overall it looks grand. I also ventured aft to close off the old aft board deck exit and did some general sorting out back there. It has always been an area of the boat that doesn't get much attention. Steve was on front beam fairing details. The time whistled by.

Ah well, a pretty lame posting but they can't all be high drama and exciting history!

See below a picture of 'Blitz' with her new rig. We have her old one just 50' away in the rack. We are gradually sorting out the details for converting it to a trimaran mast.













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On 11/29/2020 at 11:16 PM, racinginparadise said:

Crikey, what a lot going on in the performance sailing world just now eh? Poor Hugo Boss, I was believing in his repairs, then no sooner had he got going again he picks up a fishing net at 20kts + which I guess rips off the rudder. What a bummer. And Edmond the trimaran suffering a similar fate, albeit closer to home. Anyhow, go Sobedo go, I hope they do it. For the Vendee my money is on Sam Davies for first of the fairer sex and Kevin Escoffier on PRB. We have a bit of a sweepstake going on.


In the meanwhile, Kevin's boat broke in half...

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17 hours ago, Trovão said:

In the meanwhile, Kevin's boat broke in half...

So, my choices in the sweepstake were;

Charal, PRB and Sam Davies. Hmmm, I'm not retiring this year...Sam has hit something and is heading slowly North.

It really appears that sailing fast offshore requires a plan for hitting something big, I'm looking at our daggerboard casing thinking 'what if'.

If our rudder got swept off we plan to keep the outboard bracket so fitting an outboard could become emergency steering...maybe with the addition of a 'shelled out rudder part' that sleeves over the outboard leg?

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A rainy day here in the BVI's, not conducive to getting anything meaningful done! Two Paul's, Steve and I gamely hung around getting some stuff done but in the end the rain beat us, we packed up the tools and buggered off home.

Paul junior and Steve did manage to trial fit the new stem fitting, an old alloy plate that we fitted years ago as a 'back up' got removed and discarded. Senior and I messed about trying to level up the salon floor and cut out some plywood sacrificial panels to protect the shiny new bits. I got the saildrive GRP collar cut out and trial fitted. Having dealt with saildrives for nearly 30 years I long ago reached the conclusion that the factory rubber flanges are a waste of time. Gluing them on is marginal at best, when that fails I have seen thin battens used to secure them. Much better to simply knock up 3 or 4 lams of 10oz cloth and make up a GRP flange that can be secured with 50/200 or similar. You just need up to 5mm all around to allow the saildrive leg to rattle about a bit and it is job done. Epoxying it on will just mean that a new flange will be required when the saildrive leg needs removing, the 50/200 can just be knifed through come that time.

During the week I laminated up some 1" H80 divinycell which will form part of the aft cockpit 'wings'. So, all in all not the end of the world.

History? Here's a few shots of our first 'fancy' Quantum carbon main that was a beast of a sail. It met it's end off St Martin when the first reef block failed during a windy Heineken regatta. No safety line rigged around the clew, bad form! The reef lines were also foolishly around the boom which meant the belly of the sail was simply ripped out of it. Lessons learned there! TJ old timer 'Super' Dave Shaeffer looking slightly despondent with the remains, but still sailing with the second reef in. 



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Nice weather now and plenty going on.

There are airplanes in the sky again and even a few boats at anchor in the bays...the BVI's are slowly opening back up. I wouldn't call it a 'rush' of tourists, I think around 600 to date, all of them doing 4 days quarantine either ashore or afloat. 3 new cases imported, all positives after day 4. It's good see some normality coming back and a bit of business...but most of us have essentially written off this season. The seaports are still closed so no ferries. That may change late Jan but no there are no plans yet to allow private yachts in, unless delivered here by a few approved companies. Nanny Cay is suffering, no new business sailing in at all, it's just boats leaving. 

A good week onboard the 'Triple Jack'. Steve and I carried out a monster grind fest on Wednesday which was mercifully overcast but no rain. I used the air-fed outfit and spent 3 hours suited up with 15 cubic feet per minute of air conditioned luxury clean air filling my hood. 2 Honda generators running flat out and 4 grinders to share the love. I find the 'flapper wheel' grinding discs best to use these days, they are more tolerant of tight spaces and you can use them to 'edge' grind at a pinch. They last better too.

With that done the door was opened to repairs all over as you can imagine. Today I bogged in a new panel to replace the cockpit hatch lost in Irma and then glassed in the inboard stbd chainplate deck panel. That area is subject to aft beam 'loadpaths' so it was tabbed in well. Steve set up the form for the stbd chainplate and got the uni ready for action. Paul Junior fitted the new stem fitting and then shot down below to add 2 large tabs to his foredeck repairs having seen that it was all ground ready to go! Senior was a bit quiet having lost his 15yr old pooch this week, poor bugger. Having only buried her on Friday afternoon I suggested he might therefore be in great shape to dig the rudder fit hole. He managed a smile, but was happy to just form the cleats we need to hold down the new floor frame. We had him laughing like a drain later on after a couple of beers.

We had a bit of a shocker with those panels I laid up last week using regular cheapo boatyard resin. To refresh, the first coat on the divinycell was thickened resin, then a layer of chop strand, then 90/90 biax, then a 10oz cloth, then peel ply. All done without any exotherm, peel ply fully wetted out and what I though were a perfectly legit panels. I pulled the peel plys off once cured and all looked OK until I pulled at a corner and found the 10oz cloth was simply lifting away like a second peel ply. Bollocks! Today I gave up all hope of it being just one corner and we easily pulled off the 10oz cloth from all the panels. I have no idea what went wrong, some years ago we treated all the topsides to a layer of 10oz cloth but used epoxy, none of that has failed. Is cheap polyester really that bad? There was nothing wrong with the chop strand to 90/90 layer, nor the bond to the core. The pulled off 10oz is still 'resin bound', it feels like a well starched shirt. Hey ho, older and wiser, I have more vinylester on the way!

The rigging scene is hotting up. It looks like we can re-use the synthetic 'Norseman' terminals after all. The big question is how to attach the shrouds to the mast. Stemball to eye fittings are available but we like the look of the 'cheeky tang' composite 'ears that would accept the hefty spectra loops we already have spiced to the shrouds. For the Atlantic 42 application they looped over a masthead knuckle on the fixed part of the mast foil. All good stuff, a solution seems to be on the cards. If anyone has used the cheeky tangs it would be great to hear about them. I guess a lot hinges on the quality of that SS bolt!

No history, just a couple of happy faces. That's Jo Jo and his brother Daniel, they both have jobs at another yard now and are as happy as Larry. I think they got their back pay too, the Labour Department here made sure of that.

















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Good evening from the BVI's on this, the shortest day...always a good day when you know the days are now going to draw out.

We are still some way off the momentous 'fitting the coachroof' moment...projects keep cropping up that require the sun roof to be open. The latest is cutting a large access panel out of the port beam longitudinal bulkhead. Why? Well, during the week I was looking at the aft beam box sections (see last pic below of one being built) and I asked myself where the weak point is. I identified it as the aft transverse panel of this structure. Then, looking closely at the panel after hosing GRP dust off every nook and cranny midweek I noticed streaks of 'paint failure' cracks in these panels. They were along the loadpaths presumably created by the sponson driving upwards into this panel or the rigging loads creating similar loads on the opposite tack.  Bear in mind that these 'aft beam boxes' are the only connection between the main hull and the sponsons aft of the mast. For 38 yrs they have been subjected to regular abuse in the form of rig tension loads on one tack followed by nastier twisting and compressing loads on the other tack. Then along came Irma and in the blink of an eye catastrophic loads were cruelly applied fracturing the stbd side and possibly compromising the port side. It has to be said that the boxes you see below survived intact. The port side vertical panel that closes off the box in the cabin had an almighty bow in it but I think that was there before Irma, my memories are a bit sketchy. Anyhow, back on topic, it's time for Steve and I to figure out what best to do. I print out the shot of the box section being built and another of TJ hanging vertically in crane slings after Irma.

In the past our repairs had been focused on what was broken or showing signs of breaking. Notably after the 2001 Heineken regatta the aft beam bulkhead structure was obviously in trouble amidships. We duly sistered up the bulkhead with 1/2" ply both sides up to the 'box sections'. That worked well but it's that old cherry of making one part of the boat so strong that the loads get transferred somewhere else. Now we have the stbd outer box section to sponson connection rebuilt and possibly stronger than the original more will be asked of the box. Since Irma Steve has been surveying and as a result he has a keen eye for weaknesses, in his words 'most repaired structures will display problems where the original structure meets the repair. Aye Aye! Sunday morning saw the grinder come out for an 'under the surface' examination of these paint cracks. Sure enough we found fractured laminates around the cracks, zoom in on the photos here and you can see. The solution? Well, at the very least we will be laminating both sides of the aft walls of the box. The forward faces have the aft beam fairing to share the loads, so maybe that's just an inner laminate there. Sadly the 'Triple Jack, Exmouth' signwriting that was expertly sign-written by our old Cockney friend Tony Parrot will be ground away. His masterstrokes will be gone with the mists of time, those letters have been 'touched up' by wives and girlfriends over the years, we have always worked repairs around them! At the end of this rebuild we don't want a boat that is just good for a few more years, we want to finish up with a platform that can last another 40 years, why not? With this aft structure sorted there will be precious few other areas of concern. Chainplates done, stem fitting, front beams, aft beams and bulkheads, foredeck, mast step...it will all be in our minds and to our abilities 'beyond reproach'.

Other stuff done this week that was getting shit done, not creating more work...

Stem fitting, glassed in at deck level with 1mm gap all around, stbd fwd beam fairing FINAL lams, aft cockpit 'tunnel' hatch closure panel glassed in, fuel tank frame fitted...yeah.















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  • 2 weeks later...

Evening all. Here we go into the 4th year of this blog! What a thing. We all had some time off but there has also been some good progress. Today Steve and I got a good few square feet of biax over the outside of those aft box sections. A new batch of Vinylester resin has arrived so we are using that for large panel repairs rather than epoxy. After laminating today we prepared a few test panels to see how it is adhering to various surfaces from raw core to ground 40yr old TJ panels. It would have been nice to do the test first but we figure something has to be really bad for large panel laminates to fail...but I have to say I'm a bit twitchy after seeing that 10oz cloth rip off easily like a 'peel ply' with regular Boatyard Polyester resin. The new resin today wetted out the cloth nicely and all the signs are good, so fingers crossed. Paul junior knocked the stem fitting down some more and did a big old 'Christmas pudding' fill on the snout. He'll be having a dusty time fairing that lot out next Sunday. Then it will be stem fitting up and sealed into place with outside lams completing the job around the bow. Steve and I also laminated two 14" by 8' panels on to the inner stbd sponson where it was ground back nearly to the core. That will make the sponson 'whole again' before we tab it to the aft beam box section next weekend. Last Sunday week was just Steve and I on site. Steve nailed the port fwd sponson internal tabbing by crawling up into a near impossible spot. There's unlikely to be much traffic up there for the conceivable future. I got busy grinding off numerous paint layers across the mainsheet winch plinth...of course some delamination was found so that's will need some remedial action. Situation normal!

There has not really been a 'rush' of tourists come here, it is still desperately quiet, we might be up to 2500 now? In a regular season we get that number aboard just one Cruise ship! (remember them?!) The ports are still closed to all but a few local operators who have been granted permission to move boats around. Just before Christmas I teamed up with an ex-employee of mine to deliver 'Blitz' down to the USVI for 'the season'. It was smooth enough and good to be out on the water but our movements were closely monitored, it was 'tie the boat up in Caneel Bay, leave and check back into the BVI's'. So now there's a new strain and it has surfaced in the UK eh?, Cheese on bread! To be real, the prospects for the Caribbean regatta season are looking pretty bleak. The Carib 600, Heineken and STIR all come before the BVI Spring Regatta so they will be good gauges. To be frank I can the see the 49th BVI Spring regatta being a 'locals only' event, after all it is only 12 weeks away! We just plan to keep the momentum going and will see how it all pans out.

On a lighter note, here's a picture of a 2006 haulout with a good turnout with all looking pretty happy to be there. Sadly Olaf Krieger (far right) and Tony (aka #9) alongside Olaf are no longer with us. Olaf was a TJ star crew but not for the normal reasons. The highlight of his year was the haulout, followed by the Heineken Regatta. He was not a great sailor by his own admission, but he loved fixing the boat and drinking Heinekens. Or was it the other way round? He would never miss a delivery to STM and would always crack open a Heineken when STM was in sight, with no regard to time of day or how cold/knackered we all were. 'Vell, ve are going to ze Heineken Regatta, no?' One year we used 'Vivid White' antifoul. Sending him off to collect that was hilarious. If you are German it comes out something like 'Viffed Fveiss'. 'No Olaf, Vivid White' and so it went on. If that is not funny enough try 'Wind Vane Steering'. Makes me laugh just thinking about it!

Number 9 only sailed with us for one season. He famously asked what his place was on board before one race in STM. 'You are number 9' Steve and I replied! Of course that stuck. He was a true English gentleman with a wicked, dry but cheeky of sense of humour. His wife ran off with the milkman so he took up sailing! Poor Tony died quite suddenly in his girlfriend's arms from a brain aneurism in 2008.

















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I think about 6 months ago I reported that all repairs forward of the mast were finished, hmmmm, that was an exaggeration. Now they truly are, apart from the snout fill fairing, the stem fitting up and into place and a few lams around the bow. Paul junior was off turtle tagging on Sunday so they have been delayed a week but Steve and I completed the last 'blanket lams' on the port fwd bean to sponson connection. That was the last of it! We also connected the stbd aft beam box back to its sponson which went a lot quicker than we had imagined. Even passers by are now remarking that we must be close to painting! Nice one! The Vinylester resin is in full flow for these large laminations, the test samples we did last week were convincing so happy days. The underside of the beam box to sponson lamination was three 70" tabs, 16", 12" and 8" wide. We wetted those out on top of each other on plastic. Then we pulled the plastic onto a suitably sized oblong of old carpet. The whole shooting match was then taken to the underside of the box and we able to whack the whole lot up in one go using dry rollers on the carpet to smooge the laminations in place. It worked really well, none of it tried to make a bid downwards to freedom! Once the carpet had done its job it was dropped away leaving us the plastic to work the laminates, then off with the plastic and we had a perfect upside down treble laminate in place. As that lot started to set up we shaped up triangular core 'step downs' to fit into the narrow void from above. They went in with putty and 3 top tabs followed to complete the structure. All very satisfying seeing the aft beam convincingly bonded back to the main hull. It's really hard to see how this zone can ever be a problem in the future, dare I say!?

We also came up with a plan to close off those large oval access panels we cut out of the inner aft beam bulkheads. Again it's going to be a 'belt and braces' upgrade that will work in concert with the new coachroof when it comes down and gets bonded in place. More of this next time. I'm going to be focusing on that, along with the interior aft beam box reinforcements whilst Steve builds the chainplates.

The historical shot is a good one. Guy Rowsell at the helm in the storm we sailed upwind for a week to get into, returning to Exmouth from the Canaries in 1992(?) The only weather information we could get was Meteo France on a short band battery radio. With only schoolboy French it was really hard to make sense of it, 14 always sounded the same as 40! No GPS of course, no satnav, no phones, listening to these forecasts wasn't really enabling us to plan a route home, it was more like 'what are we in for?' Fortunately the storm was out of the south and that was the direction home so we survived by literally keeping a press on and staying ahead of those 'large houses with balconies'. We did get nailed by one and nearly flipped which was very scary. All this with a crazy amount of excess weight on board, a heavy timber 'ammo' box with spare winches, a spare mainsail, bikes, windsurfers.... That winter trip to the Canaries and back from Exmouth makes me cringe now. It's not like we were looking after the boat, it was more like the boat decided to look after us. We were not reckless but we were lucky to get away with it! As Steve aptly puts it 'what fun and fear we had'!









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People say that large waves don't come across that way from a photo but is that a monster on your stbd quarter behind the closer wave or something else?

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Eric1207, nah, I don't think that is a big wave behind us. I didn't take the shot and it was close to 30yrs ago but it looks like the sun had come out briefly and has highlighted a low cloud astern. I'm pretty sure we were either under reefed staysail or bare poles at that point, the problem was 2 wave trains merging. We got caught beam on to a breaking side swell, that's what nearly sent us over.

On the subject of being sent over what about the AC eh? It was bad luck to meet that big gust on the bearaway but why oh why didn't they go for the other gate? Ah well, it's been a good excuse to stay up late and drink a few beers, hence the late post!

We have been cracking on this week with a full house on Sunday. I made up the aft beam box inner bulkhead 'stiffener' panels. Steve demolished the port side chainplate, cutting the thing out and creating access panels. Would it have failed next week? Likely no. Would it last another 40 years? Definitely not. As I have said before there will be great comfort in knowing we have 3 bullet proof connections holding up the new mast. Worth the extra work. The boat would have looked daft with one new composite chainplate and one 40yr old rusty triangle!  Steve's joke..."I used to play triangle in a reggae band but gave it up, it was just one 'ting after another'!

Steve also got the smaller of the 2 access panels cut out of the stbd rear beam ready to go back in. If you follow the pictures you see how he first created a lower 'fence' against a bit of ply strip. Then the clever bit, necessary because there is no access to 'get inside' and laminate the back of the panel. Core is removed 2" into the panel and 2" into the boat. Non structural ply battens get glued to the underside and allow the panel to sit where it came from...then the inner skin gets laminated from above creating a continuous inner laminate in a 4" frame. After that a thinner core will bridge the gap before the outside laminates finish the job.

Paul Junior sanding off the 'Christmas pudding' fill on the bow and then went off with Senior to cut out 6 hatch frames out of 1/2" marine ply. Senior also got busy leveling up the salon floor frame. There you have it, this week in a nutshell. Looking ahead we have the cockpit 'wings' to ready to laminate which will be 2 full sheets of 1/2" H45 divinycell with 2 structural lams top and bottom and possibly only one layer of chop to 'join' the 2 cores together. I say possibly because it has been vaulted that there is no point having a structural laminate between 2 sheets of core, it's the outside lams that do the work. Personally I think that some 90/90 with a layer of chop either side would be great for the middle...these wings will accommodate the helm seats and one spinnaker winch either side. Fire away folks!

History, that will be the 'car port' poles over our work bench, they are very nearly 'history' having succumbed to the sea blast. Time to finish up! 














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  • 2 weeks later...

Aye aye, a bit of a slow patch. Last Sunday week it was just Paul junior and myself. I trimmed the 2 new aft beam box bulkhead panels and did a trial fit...junior Paul did the final fit on the new stem fitting. Then we both went on our ways, boating for me and the family being such a glorious day. Yesterday? Horizontal rain, no work possible. It did clear up in the afternoon but a day off was had by all.

So, the Carib 600 and the Heineken Regatta are both off. More cancellations to follow I fear. The 49th BVI Spring Regatta is still on the cards but I fancy it will be a local affair only. An unusual complication is that all the bareboat companies are fully booked early April, there are no bareboats available to rent to race! Most of those bookings are re-bookings from previously cancelled charters, it would be unlikely to see them all actually happen. To be honest it's all a bit of a relief, one does not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that Triple Jack will not be finished by early April.

Steve and I had a little diversion doing a carbon repair on a HH daggerboard. It was bent and the skipper wanted it straight again. Seriously though, a line had gouged a decent sized hollow into the leading edge. Some careful grinding and 9 laminations later it's a fix.

Talking about boats being fixed 'Soma' is on the move. She is now in the working yard getting the Irma holes sorted and a spray job. Great to see that old war horse getting up and running. Soma will be back in Cruz Bay offering quality day charters. Over the years we have had some monumental battles with Soma, let's hope there's more to come under new ownership. I can't imagine the new owner having the same intensity as Nils and his crew, but bring it on!

Here's a link to the 2009 BVI Spring Regatta, the first few shots show us possibly overhauling Soma, to leeward, off the start line. I seem to remember that we kept them at bay for a good part of the first beat up to Dead Chest, but I might be wrong. We only appear early on, the rest of the video is very pedestrian!

Here also are the latest pics.
















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12 hours ago, racinginparadise said:

Talking about boats being fixed 'Soma' is on the move. She is now in the working yard getting the Irma holes sorted and a spray job. Great to see that old war horse getting up and running. Soma will be back in Cruz Bay offering quality day charters. Over the years we have had some monumental battles with Soma, let's hope there's more to come under new ownership. I can't imagine the new owner having the same intensity as Nils and his crew, but bring it on!

Here's a link to the 2009 BVI Spring Regatta, the first few shots show us possibly overhauling Soma, to leeward, off the start line. I seem to remember that we kept them at bay for a good part of the first beat up to Dead Chest, but I might be wrong. We only appear early on, the rest of the video is very pedestrian!

Here also are the latest pics.
















Im happy Soma will live again. It was tough knowing she was sitting there, slowly dying. She’ll be back with a new carbon rig built on the last section of that Sparcraft 590c wing section. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to helm her again in a race or two, so you may not be done with me yet! 

I remember that leg...our little headsail didn’t have much oomph in the sub-10 Kt range. Once the breeze came in a bit we’d walk away. 

I didn’t remember that video...totally cringeworthy. My German friend who raced with us that year made it. Thanks for digging it back up! That year (2009?) we were BROKE! We slept on the trampoline for the regatta. Our sails were shot, we were eating PBJ’s 3 meals a day. “Want to year me bark like a dog? Ask me how tings are going. Rough! Rough!”. 


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Sedate progress this week.

Nothing to be ashamed of, and nothing to do with regattas being cancelled right, left and centre. We may be moving away from the Peninsula soon and before that happens we want to be done with GRP work...we are getting there. I contented myself dry fitting the port beam box longitudinal bulkhead stiffener panel. It worked great, all the curvature disappeared as I tortured it back into shape with three 8" coach bolts each side braced thro 2x4's inside and out. Now it needs a nasty grind session before getting epoxied into place. Steve closed off one of the stbd access cut outs and ventured into advanced chainplate lamination details. Here's the link to the way we think we are going, nice project.


Poor Paul Junior was tasked with emptying and re-organizing the chaotic storage cupboards under the workbench. We helped empty it and did an Irish jig stamping on a herd of ninja cockroaches...then handed over to Paul. He is the only one with an ordered mind to do this. The end result was very satisfying, 5 tape measures and 7 pairs of scissors surfaced.

To round off the day it was a roastie up at Paul Junior's. Here's a pic showing how our fairer halves in the foreground have been driven to drink as we trundle into yr. 4 of this rebuild.

History mixed with thoughts of buoyancy...how easy would it be to sink your multihull? In this picture TJ is close to sinking as she has ever been. The sponson hatches were all off or open for ventilation. The only thing holding her afloat after the lightning strike blew out the senders was those same aft beam boxes I am working on now. OK, so normally you would not be sailing with the sponson hatches all open, granted. BUT, it was shocking to get that early morning call, Rich, TJ is sinking!  Steve thought I was taking the piss! Needless to say the access hatches for the aft beam boxes will be sealed with rubber gaskets and plenty of fixings. 











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39 minutes ago, Dex Sawash said:

That Milwaukee M12 angle drill is the second best tool I own (just behind the M12 quarter inch drive ratchet)

Ooh, I feel a sub-thread coming on - "Cordless tools I have known and loved". I still remember my old 9.6V Makita 6095D with the 3/8 chuck. If the weather was warm, the battery would last at least 20 minutes.

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Yes!  I love my M12 angle drive drill.  Put a 3" 3M grinding pad on it and it makes an awesome little grinder too.  That's mostly what I use mine for.  You can shape composite material very quickly with no hassle, less mess (it rotates more slowly than an actual angle grinder so does not throw material as far),  no shock risk (if you have your boat on the water and are leaning over the side), and it gets into tight spaces.  I'm heavily committed to the M12 line, but the angle drill really stands out.

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I really like this thread for many reasons, including the photos. It does get a bit hard to get to the bottom of the page. Is that because the photos are large? I usually reduce photos a lot before posting them. Is that why the page takes a long to load or do I live too deep in the woods? Looking forward to the next chapters of "The 9 Lives of Triple Jack", however long it takes to load.

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On 2/9/2021 at 5:43 AM, Buidsear Fiohda said:

Ooh, I feel a sub-thread coming on - "Cordless tools I have known and loved". I still remember my old 9.6V Makita 6095D with the 3/8 chuck. If the weather was warm, the battery would last at least 20 minutes.

Who remembers when Makitas were orange, all of 7.2 volts.  Mid/late 1970s IIRC. 

And here's grandpa's hammer.  The short handle must have a story behind it but its handy for tight spots.

Buidsear Fiohda, is that Snagglese for something?


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On 2/9/2021 at 7:43 AM, Buidsear Fiohda said:

Ooh, I feel a sub-thread coming on - "Cordless tools I have known and loved". I still remember my old 9.6V Makita 6095D with the 3/8 chuck. If the weather was warm, the battery would last at least 20 minutes.


8 hours ago, eric1207 said:

Who remembers when Makitas were orange, all of 7.2 volts.  Mid/late 1970s IIRC. 

And here's grandpa's hammer.  The short handle must have a story behind it but its handy for tight spots.

Buidsear Fiohda, is that Snagglese for something?



I am going on a limp here...

According to Google Translate, it is Scottish Gaelic...

Fiodha is an old Scots Gaelic word meaning 'made of wood', And 'Buidsear' means butcher...

So a wooden butcher? Or a butcher of wood??? I let you decide....

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On 2/3/2021 at 1:01 AM, soma said:

Im happy Soma will live again. It was tough knowing she was sitting there, slowly dying. She’ll be back with a new carbon rig built on the last section of that Sparcraft 590c wing section. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to helm her again in a race or two, so you may not be done with me yet! 

I remember that leg...our little headsail didn’t have much oomph in the sub-10 Kt range. Once the breeze came in a bit we’d walk away. 

I didn’t remember that video...totally cringeworthy. My German friend who raced with us that year made it. Thanks for digging it back up! That year (2009?) we were BROKE! We slept on the trampoline for the regatta. Our sails were shot, we were eating PBJ’s 3 meals a day. “Want to year me bark like a dog? Ask me how tings are going. Rough! Rough!”. 


Nothing cringeworthy, turning up for regattas is awesome 

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Crikey, I have just realized it was Valentine's Day!

Only joking, I got some house points in yesterday shopping with the girls, stayed up late to watch the AC, woke up late as a result...only to be blessed by tea and toast in bed with the girls and the 3 dogs! Reality kicked back in shortly after that and it was off to Nanny Cay as per normal for a Sunday morning. Back in Exmouth, Devon, the marine folk would always be very clear about their responsibilities to family life when their boat was hauled out. The boat came first and the family would consider it a bonus to even get a sighting in. We just do Sunday till mid afternoon and the occasional late Wednesday, so far it works. If I start offering up 3 or 4 posts per week you will know it hasn't worked out!

Only Steve and I on it today. Paul Junior and his missus had a big 'dress up as a rockstar' party Saturday night. Paul being Welsh and barrel-chested probably went as Tom Jones. The host who was turning 50, made sure that each person invited had to step up on stage for a Karaoke session to the tunes of their chosen star. I'm sure I'll get a full report in the morning!

Anyhow, back on topic. The king of the cordless tools has to be the Dewalt 60v Sawsaw. I call it 'the liberator'. Stick in a decent blade like the AX, 'wood and nails' and you have a potent beast. Even the LED light stays on after the motor is off, just like an old Volvo so you can search for that digit you have just torn off. When we do a big catch up video you will see it cutting out that saildrive bed we removed from the Lagoon 380. It was effortless. 

On board today I fitted the port side aft beam box panel. That went really well, it took a bit of time to set that up for a trouble free wet fit but it was time well spent. A lot of structure added in that panel for very little weight. After that I cored up one of the stbd aft beam 'windows'.

Steve focused on tearing away the reams of Portuguese chainplate laminations on the port side. Yonks ago I did the same stbd side when that chainplate came out. Frank Wood described laminating the new chainplates in when Triple Jack was arrested in Lisbon in 1980. He and his team certainly added a heap of glass! To be fair, this GRP work and the SS triangular chainplate itself were not about to fail. I have touched on this a few times before...we are simply building new chainplates to last the life of the boat. With that in mind Steve, over the last week or so has become worried about the size of his pin he is using. It's not the length, it's the girth. The current pin is 1/2" solid SS. There's no way that rigging tension would break this BUT at 1/2" it's a big ask to have dyneema lashing put up with such a tight radius. We are at a stage where is is easy to change up to 5/8" or even three daughters.

History, here's one from 2019...only 2 years into the 'Haulout'. 

It goes on and on and on.

















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On 2/11/2021 at 9:47 PM, Laurent said:



I am going on a limp here...

According to Google Translate, it is Scottish Gaelic...

Fiodha is an old Scots Gaelic word meaning 'made of wood', And 'Buidsear' means butcher...

So a wooden butcher? Or a butcher of wood??? I let you decide....

Nice bit of sleuthing. I feel like I've been unmasked!

...and I would have gotten away with it too if it wasn't for those pesky kids.

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Love following your thread @racinginparadise.  My gosh you do love that boat.  We brought our trimaran back to life (and from the insurance scrap heap) after a bad lighting strike but it was nothing like the scale of what you are doing.

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Relentless progress this week.

Paul junior got himself a new project, the cockpit wings. The originals were a cobbled together mixture of shitty foam sandwich and plywood, Irma took out one side so it made sense to start from scratch. They provide a base for the helm seat and forward of that we have a spinnaker guy winch either side. We made up the board with 1/2" Divinycell with 90/90 in the middle along with chop either side, then more chop and 90/90's on top. It's not hard to guess what materials we have in abundance! The result is slightly lighter than plywood but it will last forever. Paul will love this project, it's something to really get stuck into!

I fitted the stbd aft beam box stiffener panel, that went in very well. Steve is now making epoxy tubes for the new 3/4" round stock for the chainplate pins. We were not happy with skinny 1/2" pins. Just when he thought he was done grinding, more layers of suspect lams were found, so out came the chisel. We have the uni GRP ready for action, all 7yds of it. 

Next Sunday will see the coachroof come down for some wing to deck and 'general attachment' planning. That should be interesting.

No history just a few shots showing the old cockpit wings and an hilarious shot of Paul and his Missus off to the rockers party last Saturday night. So, he didn't go as Tom Jones, it's not unreasonable, he went as the lead singer of 'Kiss', Gene Simmons(?) Katie is Sia Chandelier. I had never heard of her. A saw a video of her dancing around like a demented midget but the song wasn't bad, she just needs to watch 'Flashdance'. Paul promised me that he didn't go round telling the ladies 'I have an 8" tongue and I can breathe through my ears' but he did admit to having a nap in a flower bed for 'about an hour' after an early few too many tots of Tequila!













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Onwards and downwards with the coachroof.

A full work team happily witnessed the coachroof settle down into place, it's been 'hung up there' for so long you kind of forget how meaningful that 16'x8' part is. No doubt it will be raised and lowered several more times before it finally comes to rest as we fine tune the mating surfaces all around. This weekend it was the new wings. Some projects just give you headaches with new parts meeting the original boat but the new wings look like being a breeze to fit. Paul Senior and I gently coaxed the port wing into place whilst Paul Junior concentrated on making the rounded edge forms with Steve and some 1 1/4" PVC pipe. Even the small triangle of coachroof, trimmed off to follow the line of the aft beam, perfectly filled the void between roof and bulkhead. Some days luck is on your side.

The project roof ridge upright was bang in the way of the stbd wing. No problem, another upright went in and then out came the liberator, problem solved. Next week the stbd wing will be fine tuned and fitted. Steve cut out 6 yards of uni into 8" strips, from 56" to 10" for the chainplates. We are going for 19 laminates giving approx 3/4" of uni over the pins with a biax in the middle. The longer unis will be splayed out onto a full bulkhead's worth of biax either side. 2 or 3 visits should see this done to ensure wet on wet lay up as far as possible. That is a 'shed load' of GRP unis but we are looking forward to sailing hard to windward in big seas knowing that the chainplates are totally beyond reproach. 3/4 inch pins with 3/4" of fresh uni over them, 7" wide. The only failure mode I can imagine would be the whole bulkhead with the deck being torn out of the boat. No way!


Talk about big seas, the NE Caribbean has just had another bout of  'Christmas winds', even the 'Dark and Stormy' Anegada race was blown off. Saturday morning saw one nasty squall bring in 40kt + gusts, boat breaking stuff. Add insult to injury, the 2021 BVI Spring regatta has just been called off. That was hard on the heels of the BVI Ports Authority announcing that the Ports would remain closed until at least April 21st. No visiting yachts, no passenger ferries from St Thomas, no business! 'The season 'done gone' as we say here. The only bright side is that we have another year to finish the rebuild without missing regattas. There is no slowing up on the project, quite the reverse really, we want to finish up! When the coachroof went down this weekend she looked like a boat again, even young Rosie moved in with her toys! 

History tonight will be a few shots from the early days of this rebuild, they qualify!



























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Steady as she goes today.

Just Paul Senior, Steve and myself but good progress made. Paul Junior was off tagging turtles, I think I got that right. The stbd wing got it's initial fit, we also tidied up the aft beam to coachroof line, getting rid of an 'elbow' and simplifying the lines. Steve planted in the new 3/4" GRP tube he laminated up for the stbd chainplate, that definitely looks better than the 1/2". Once Senior departed we got into a late grinding session, prepping multiple areas for lams next week. That's it really, nothing more exciting than that to report.

A bit of history? Well, I've probably posted this link before, but being halfway into the 4th year of this rebuild I figure that's allowed. It's a video that my son Ryan and his mate Alex put together featuring racing in 2016, including St Barths. I see that 'Les Voiles' is off for 2021, hardly surprising really, but what a shame.

(15) Triple Jack 330M 2016 - YouTube











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On we go. The new wings got their PVC rounded rails sealed off with a layer of 5" 10oz cloth, possibly not the lightest solution but quick, easy and solid. The stbd salon fwd bulkhead 'Coosa' repair panel finally got laminated in place. That Coosa really wicks up the resin and it is SO easy to shape/cut. For repairs like this where more tabbings will overlap the Coosa board entirely it is a great product to use. Just think of it as a high density, well behaved and dimensionally stable core! Paul Junior roughed up a sponson aft supplementary bulkhead for the port sponson from the same template that produced its partner on the stbd side. Steve templated out the biax lams that will completely cover both sides of the chainplate bulkheads both sides. The first layers of chainplate unis will be laminated in on top of these to ensure wet layup. We cannot do 19mm of chainplate in one shot but the first 8 lams will be fanned out onto these fresh large biax panels...nice!

No history today, just a few shots of 'Soma' in fresh paint. I met Brendon, the new owner. He was after a matt finish but that has not been achieved yet. I have heard talk of using flattener in the clear coat or even plain wet sanding, we will see. When I met Brendon there was only one rudder by the boat. He explained that he had dropped it and had it elsewhere for repairs adding that it was more secure just leaving one on site. I reminded him that we just use one rudder! It's great to see 'Soma' getting sorted, I'm sure there will be 'unfinished business' to be resolved on the racetrack some day not too far away! We look forward to that.
















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  • 2 weeks later...

While I have seen Soma many times here on the forum, and not given it much thought, I just realised I've probably seen Soma first hand. Took this picture in april 2014 outside Nanny Cay, while briefly cruising through BVI on a 52' alu mono. Sorry for the hipster filter, was new to instagram and all.


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No work last Sunday because we were all up at Anegada for Steve's secret 60th. His Seawind 1000 was the only boat in the anchorage. We collectively booked out all the new bungalows at 'Cow Wreck' near West Point. A fantastic time was had by one and all, it was such a treat to enjoy Anegada without the crowds. When you get the chance head to Cow Wreck. Ann and her family will look after you, the bungalows are brand new and thoughtfully appointed. 

Today was business as normal. The new wings made their way out to the boat for final fitting. The coachroof at the end of play today, was raised for the last time. After some careful grinding it is poised to go back down for a final fitting. Steve and Paul senior got into some reshaping of the fwd coamings that will soon be connected to the coachroof. The atmosphere today was 'chirpy', there's a lot of elements that will come together quite quickly in the next few sessions. Nice to write 'sessions' and not 'years'!

Paul Junior attempted to break a 4x2 with his forehead and failed miserably, see below! It bought on a reflective moment.

The J24 outboard bracket came off the transom mount. It will remain part of TJ's gear despite the Yanmar. The pushpit came off too, one bolt was looking ready for replacement! In general we save good stainless fittings from 'yesteryear', I have no faith in the crappy stainless fasteners available locally. Our rule in the BVI was to always buy metric fastenings from St Martin, a better standard of European SS.

History? Some nice drone shots of us clearing Little Camanoe during a Round Tortola Race.





























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May 17th 2020, nearly a year ago, we craned the new coachroof into place and rigged up the 'falls' to lower it up and down. Today we epoxied it into place. That hardly qualifies to be described as 'rapid progress' but that's OK, today was the day. Steve and I ticked off the final outstanding job that involved me slithering head first into the stbd aft beam box for a final round of tabbing around repaired panels. That was it, a '20 spot' mix of colloidal and fibre was deftly applied to the wetted out mating surfaces and the coachroof came down onto its marks. A happy moment that we marked by simply packing up and walking away! Tomorrow is a holiday and no work on board is planned, but I'm sure I'll sneak down there to simply jump up and down on the roof for the sheer hell of it! It will be a few more weeks until all the making good and 'double tabbing' inside and out is completed, but just that epoxy putty bond across the 1.5" wide aft bulkhead is massively structural and very satisfying. We were so busy today no video and only a few pictures were taken, no matter, the written word will have to suffice.

This weekend is normally the BVI Spring Regatta. In its place there was a RBVIYC regatta up in the North Sound, Virgin Gorda. In the multihull division 5 Corsairs had a ding dong battle in perfect conditions, Saturday being the best day. See below a shot of them close tacking thro the narrow channel between the 'Bitter End' and Saba Rock. A shame to miss out on that but hey, we have a boat to fix! 










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Nothing to be ashamed of this week.

The wings got bonded in place, they just need tabs and a couple of knees underneath. They look great and will transform the ease of movement in and out of the cockpit. The flat panels either side of the daggerboard casing got some serious attention form Steve. At this stage of the re-build we are getting quite good at 'showing problems the short stick'. That means, for example, if a flat panel is not straight and it doesn't match the other side, saw draft the top laminate and show who is boss. The match up of these panels to the new coach roof was always going to be a challenge, having asymmetric panels does not help, so out with the tile cutter! Same story for the dog house dome, that got some 'remedial attention'. 

History? Well, I have started to look more closely at Frank Woods' type written accounts of TJ's early exploits. Here's 3 pages describing the recovery of TJ off Newport to a freighter in 1981 during the Observer 'Twostar' transatlantic race. The mast ball socket had failed and the rig had gone. Here's the up and down of it! Also a nice shot taken during a Heineken regatta seemingly ahead of a faster boat and well pressed! 













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