Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Cape Horn Windane pt.1 Blog #133

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

With his episode, I get to install a bit of hardware that Little Bear has never had before: a windvane.

I chose Cape Horn Windvane for a few reasons:

  • Price
  • Simplicity of construction
  • Reputation
  • Proven track record

I’ve never sailed with a windvane before but I can see the value of not being glued to a tiller / wheel.  I expect to do a lot of single-handing so being able to roam about the boat without having to tend the tiller seems to be a very good idea.

The Cape Horn also has the ability to integrate an auto-pilot. And because the windvane supplies the power for the tiller a smaller, efficient pilot can be utilized. Bonus.

Installing the windvane was fairly straightforward. However, for the first time during the refit of Little Bear I hurt myself.  I caught the tip of my  finger between a strut and the chuck of my drill. I basically ripped my finger nail off.  In the video you can see the moment it happened.  I dropped the drill but it is tough and suffered no damage.

I have yet to rig the vane with blocks and line but I don’t think that will be a big deal.  I just have to follow the instructions correctly and away I go!

As always fair winds, following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Bowsprit Platform on! Blog #132

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

This episode is all about getting the platform installed and aligned. There was a bit if a curve-ball I had to deal with but nothing that liquid joinery didn’t take care of! Oh the wonders of modern technology & chemistry.

The one part of this job that I wish I didn’t have to do was to take off the forestay. But the bowsprit pulpit won’t go back on with the forstay / furler in place. So, off it came.

The biggest challenge was to drill the holes for the support blocks and get them aligned. I explain in the video where you can actually see what I’m describing.

As always fair winds, following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Bowsprit Platform Prep Blog #131

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

After leaving everyone hanging in regards to how I expanded the thru-hull hole, I reveal the mystery of how I did it. A simple enough tactic and it worked very well.

The next project is to get the bowsprit platform mounted on the bowsprit. Without the platform, sail management at the front of the boat would be a very scary proposition. So, the platform must be reinstalled. The teak for the platform was in very rough shape when I took it off. Previous episodes show how I repaired & restored the wood. I’m glad I put the effort into restoring it. Teak is beautiful wood and holds up well in the maritime environment.

The first thing I did was to epoxy the G10 brackets I made into place. They are probably a bit redundant as they are an addition to the sprit that wasn’t there when I bought the boat. But considering that the platform is fairly thin compared to what the plans call for, I feel better having them in place. Stronger is better, in this case.

The sail maker came by while I wasn’t here to measure the boat for sails. This may prove to be an issue later on.

As always fair winds, following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Sail Loft Blog #130

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

This episode is the documentation of a trip to the sail loft. Some months ago I contacted about three different lofts asking for quotes for the boat. I asked a high-end loft, North Sails, and a lower end, budget loft for quotes. As I expected, the high-end quote was out of my price-range. Mind you, you get what you pay for and what they offered was definitely in the excellent category. The low end just seemed too sketchy so I decided to go with North Sails. They’ve been around a long time, are a global company and have a good reputation.

So, in this vid, I take my sails into the NS loft for an assessment.

The consultant was reluctant to say any of my sails were junk but I decided to buy new genoa (130%), inner jib / stays’l, and main. It was an interesting visit to be sure.

As always fair winds, following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Out with the old! Blog #129

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

This post should have come before the previous post but in a fit of air-headedness, I got them reversed. Ces’t la vie.

I got the old zinc’s off, and I took out the old speed-log through Hull. I tried to remove the thru-hull elegantly and properly but it proved to difficult for culture and class. So, I resorted to a small sledge and smashed it out. 😀 When all else fails, get a bigger hammer.

As always fair winds, following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Of Zinc & Holes Blog #128

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

With the major projects on Little Bear winding up, I have a minor project to get done: New Zinc’s. Not much mystery surrounding this project – take the old ones off, put the new ones back on. All shiny and clean.

This is what the old ones looked like.

I’m no expert on electrolytic or galvanic corrosion but these zincs look pretty bad. I have NO idea when they were replaced last, but I’m glad the prop & shaft and other bits of metal in the boat aren’t adversely affected.

The other smallish project I’m tackling is the installation of my ‘tri-ducer’. The challenge with this is that the new thru-hull is larger than the current hole in the boat. Which means I have to employ my genius super-power and figure out how to enlarge the existing hole. How will I do it? Ah, grasshopper, when you are ready the solution will come….

As always fair winds, following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Copper Coat Sanding Blog #135

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

Months and months ago I decided on using coppercoat to treat the bottom of Little Bear. The keel is relatively deep at 5′ and long. Cleaning that much underwater real-estate doesn’t really turn my crank so the best solution I could come up with was coppercoat.

While coppercoat is expensive up front the long term savings make this choice a sound financial decision.

In this episode I have to sand the coppercoat in order to expose the copper. This is a necessary  step because it’s not the copper that stops marine growth but the oxide that is created when copper reacts with salt water. If the copper isn’t exposed, it won’t react, and it won’t oxide, meaning that it won’t have any repellant properties.

While I consider myself to be a fairly creative chap, I was really at a loss on how to make a sanding-the-bottom video interesting. I also found this project to be physically painful and demanding. The reason being that I had to assume an awkward position with the sander for an extended amount of time. Well, enough whinging, let’s get on with it…

As always fair winds, following seas, and God bless.