The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Friday, December 19, 2014

Emergency Tiller

Corbin 39 cutter
The last time I went sailing, it was still warm, almost.
It wasn't very cold for winter. I was out at the  boat and the wind billowed under my coat and up my back as I bent over the chain locker fiddling with the drain hoses that get clogged with chewed up crab shells dropped by seagulls on the deck and by other debris blown from town over the marina.

My back got stiff, as I knew it would, and I was feeling lazy anyway, so it was a perfect day to mess around doing nothing special.

I remembered that I had promised Peter over at "Sailing Zoot Allures" to try the emergency tiller without disconnecting the hydraulic cylinder. A good thing I did too because the hydraulic steering selection knob was frozen on the "no feedback" position. Better to discover it tied to the marina than floating on the ocean during a steering failure with a rocky lee shore. 

emergency bypass
"No feedback is" the default selection of my Wagner hydraulic steering. Tried feedback a couple of times but it feels like the rudder fights back.

I sprayed it WD40 without much conviction other than it would make me feel better for doing something. Waited a while and then tried turning it gently with large vice-grips. It came free and I sprayed it some more and then exercised the knob for a while. 

After switching it to emergency bypass, I snapped the emergency tiller on. The tiller flowed back and forth using one finger.

Yes, I know, the boat is standing still and there's no pressure on the rudder. With that in mind, I fired up the engine, warmed it up, clunked into forward and gunned it. The large 3-blade prop is right in front of the rudder and the propeller wash looked like a stormy river flowing back from under the boat. I tried the same one-finger trick and it was a piece of cake. Of course, there was no weather helm or heeling but, still, I was steering with one finger pushing a stubby tiller attached to a barn-door rudder.

And to cheer you up after such a gloomy post, here's a Sailjet 40, the fastest motorsailor ever built. Don't let the sails fool  you, it's a speedboat. This is radical. I'm not sure if it makes any sense, but it probably does.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Tara comes to Peniche

A legendary boat built for extreme conditions, Tara is the platform for high-level scientific research missions. Website
Luckily, I and my entourage were invited to take a tour aboard in the morning before they laid out the gangplank for the public in the afternoon.

It's an amazing ship and the French crew were super friendly. Another benefit was that it made my boat look small, so maybe I'll stop bitching about owning an oversized boat, maybe but I doubt it. Here's Tara leaving Peniche.

schooner Tara
Uhhhm, Ana never looks this happy when she's on my boat. Maybe size does matter!
Tara the ship
Tara's galley.
Aluminum schooner
Checking out the work bench down below. I have to stop looking so "out of it" in photographs, maybe I should start drinking coffee again.
Tara expedition schooner
A big bad-ass bare aluminum schooner designed for ramming icebergs. No paint (except the orange square) and no varnish.
Unpainted aluminum
My brother Cesar deep in thought.

The entourage before lunch at the "O Sardinha" restaurant. Kathleen, Cesar's partner, took all the pictures.