Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Safety Ama

I've been cursed by a week of dead calm and cold weather, so no more sailing yet.  It was, however, a perfect opportunity to build the safety ama, an optional strap-on smaller ama that can prevent a capsize in those moments of inattention or a jammed sheet line.  It is still possible to capsize 180 degrees even with this extra ama, but it is held in place with just two quick release straps that can be released in the water to aid in righting the canoe.

I had enough foam left over from the main ama and shaped it without any central web/stringer.  It is also meant to be used as a primary ama on any smaller canoe that I may develop in the future, so the angled struts may look a little off when used as a safety ama.  It weighs about seven pounds.

A fiberglass dowel is glued into the bottom of the kiato and fits into a matching hole in the ama strut.  This prevents the ama from slipping out of the lashing.  The lashing is webbing with a spring loaded grip.  A good coating of fish oil keeps these going for many seasons.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Launch Day

Conditions finally calmed down so pushed him into the water for a first sail.  Sorry no sailing video or numbers yet as I wanted to fully concentrate on all of the parts of the canoe and see if anything needed changing.
It certainly tacks the way I had hoped, and not like any multihull I had ever sailed.  It comes around as quickly as a little sailing dinghy.
I only had about 10 knots of breeze but the speed seems as good or better than my other canoes.
A few things need to be done before the next sail.  It needs a stop thingy on the rudder so that when it's pulled down it stops at the right angle and the mast slot needs a pin so that the slugs don't fall out when the sail is lowered.
I now know more about the effect of curved masts.  The mast is a rotating one and having the head curved aft has the effect of over rotating the mast to the ideal angle.  Normally with rotating masts, you need control lines at the base to pull it around more than the sail would naturally do, but this one does it automatically.
The wind looks even lighter today so I'll concentrate on the details yet to be finished.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Hoist at last

Several things conspired to slow down progress:  The curved mast that was such a good deal turned out to cause innumerable nightmares when making a sail for it.  In the end after days of re-cutting and changing battens to less stiff ones, I finally got it to hoist without jamming halfway up.  I'm happy with the shape in the end but don't recommend pre-bent spars to anyone.
Meanwhile I caught a stomach bug that was going around and can only work for an hour before I have to rest for two.  Things are improving.
All this week the wind and squalls have been blowing through my front yard at over 40 knots, making my sail and mast fiddling more difficult than normal.
Sometime next week I should get out there on the water and see what happens.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sail (remaking)

I'm cutting down an old Tornado sail for the Va'a Motu.  The mast I have has a built in curve so I can't use the old luff of the Tornado sail.  I traced the curve of the mast onto the sail and added a percentage of luff curvature to that.  I'm using plastic slugs instead of a boltrope so that the sail comes down easily without me having to pull on it.

A few more jobs left to do on the hull: a shim between the leeboard and the hull side to make the leeboard aim straight ahead, make a tiller, and a snubbing horn for the sheet.