I started building a John Welsford Pathfinder in July 2008. The boat was completed in Oct, 2010.

This blog now records our use of the boat, but documentation of building the boat can be found in the archives.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Texas Heat

Texas is hot and dry these days.  Despite that, we had a nice daysail, a little over 11 miles on Canyon Lake, with 2 stops for swimming and cooling off.

You can kind of see from this how the wind is shifted and sometimes funneled by the hilly terrain around the lake.  Some people enjoy this constant action when sailing, but I really enjoyed the constant gulf breeze when we were on the coast.  I don't mind shifts in direction so much, but today we encountered a gust that lasted around 20 seconds (I estimate something over 20mph) followed immediately by absolute still, zero wind, for the next few minutes.  It is fairly common on these lakes and I suppose good practice.

Snacks are important.  And water.  I have filled the boat lockers with extra water, dried fruit and energy bar type things.  It is always good to have more than needed, especially water in this heat.

I recently made a new set of side stays.  The first set was made of a dyneema type line, but I never was entirely sure of the specifications of the rope, and I tied bowline knots in one end instead of splicing an eye so that I could figure out exactly how long it needed to be.  I wanted to make another set with something that I knew the specs on, and also eyespliced at both ends.   It is also good to have a spare set of anything on a boat.

I had been using turnbuckles to tighten the stays, the kind you normally see on boats with steel wire stays.  Although the dyneema is very low stretch and stronger than the wire rope, it does seem to stretch a little bit.  So, the problem of splicing eyes onto both ends is tricky.  I did my best to figure in the amount of length change that occurs from the splice and also to make them short enough to account for some stretch, but after using them on our coastal trip, they were a little too long to make good use of the turnbuckles anymore.

Todays experiment was to use a lashing to tighten them.  I believe this is what John Welsford suggests, but had never tried it before and I'm sure haven't done it exactly right.  However, it worked amazingly well for tightening the stays.  I can easily get the stays tighter than with the turnbuckles and much quicker.  I'm still not sure how to tie the knot, but this one held for a good day of sailing without loosening much.

My family has been great about remaining mostly cheerful during a very hot sail.

This is pretty much the only way to cool off.

I usually start with the mainsail reefed these days, only opting to shake it out if we can't make enough speed.  With the kids on board and the fluky winds here, I have been leaving that reef in a lot and we still get around the lake fast enough for me.  

Little guy is learning to sail:

Sister steering pretty well: