Confessions of a “Kiwi” Grinder

I spotted them while shopping with my wife in the Cabo marina. Four 12 meter yachts gracefully resting in their slips like stallions – two black hulls and two white hulls, all with aggressively raked, carbon fiber masts. Multi-million dollar machines with only one purpose – to go fast! I had heard about them from the hotel concierge. I learned more from the employee behind the desk at Cabo Adventures. At least two boats with paid crew and 12 to 15 gringos as additional crew are matched against each other on a two leg course. Sometimes all four boats race if there are enough paying tourists. The boats are actual America’s Cup contenders put out to pasture, with the only alteration the addition of a diesel engine to maneuver in and out of the marina. They are sleek looking boats with a large cockpit area beginning just aft of the mast and extending to the stern about 4-5 feet deep. The deck is clear of rigging with one large sliding hatch designed to move monster genoas and spinnakers in and out of the hull with great speed and orderliness. There are no lifelines, so the foredeck is only for the surefooted and crew members who are hooked on. Gringos were allowed only in the cockpit and forward of the twin helms. We were to do the heavy work while the Australian Captain and his Latino crew kept us organized and all working together. We were to be the grinders. Oh, did I mention there are no heads aboard? We were adequately advised to make use of the facilities on...

Gelcoat Repair On Boats

By Lenny Rudow Published: December 2011 Crazing in gelcoat, also known as spider cracks or stress cracks, plagues countless boaters. Here’s how to fix the problem. Crazing is an incredibly common issue on modern fiberglass boats, and although it usually starts off as a matter of cosmetics, in severe cases these surface cracks can grow, deepen, and eventually threaten your boat’s structural integrity. They usually form in areas where the fiberglass is under unusual stress (such as rail stanchion and anchor pulpit attachment points, transom corners, and around hardware), or in areas where significant impacts have occurred, such as rub-rail collision zones or where a heavy object was dropped. You’ll want to fix them quickly because they can grow worse over time — but don’t worry, it isn’t a hard job. With a little bit of know-how and a few basic tools, you can tackle this task on your own. Before You Begin If the cracks on your boat were caused by impacts, such as around rub rails or where a heavy object was dropped, move on to Step 1. If, however, the spider cracks appeared at an attachment point or in a high-stress area, there’s a good chance they’ll simply return after you fix them. In this case, before you attack a single crack, you need to reinforce the area. Adding (or up-sizing) backing plates to attachment points and bracing to high-stress areas is probably going to be necessary. There’s some chance you’ll discover the need for significant repair work, such as a broken bulkhead, which is best left to a pro. But in most cases, DIY reinforcements...

Lighted Boat Parade Hints

These hints are from Jerry Olson for the annual lighted boat parade PYC puts on around the 4th of July each summer: Lighting up your boat: Assuming that you find some miniature lights, or you dig out the Christmas decorations, the next problem is power. These days, small power inverters (that convert 12 volts DC to 120 volts AC) are common and inexpensive, but what size do you need? The answer of course depends upon how many lights you are putting up. Miniature light strings come in sets that are multiples of 50 lights. That comes from dividing 120 volts by 2.5 volts per light (the real answer is 48 but the manufacturers rounded it to 50). Each group of 50 lights uses 25 watts of power, so a 150 light string uses 75 watts. Six strings of 150 lights uses 450 watts. That tells you what power of inverter you need. Next you need to connect it to your 12 volt power system correctly. Let’s assume that your inverter is 100% efficient (most inverters do not use much power for itself). To figure out how much current you will be drawing, divide the wattage by 12 volts. For our example of six sets of 150 lights, that would be 450 watts divided by 12 volts or 37.5 amps. Note that this is too much to draw through a cigarette lighter. For a load over 15 amps I would recommend connecting the inverter directly to your house battery. Most inverters come with battery clamps. Forty amps may seem like a lot of power, but your alternator should not have...

Keel Alteration

Submitted by Tim Davis “Gale Force II” Some of the PYC members are aware that I altered the keel on my 1987 Hunter 40 in the spring of 2006. Since I have had so many people inquiry about the whys and wherefores I will share my experience with the club. I won’t go into all the reasons why we decided to buy another Hunter 40 after the previous one burned. The only difference between the two models was the keel configuration. The former was a 41/2 foot shoal draft and the later was a 61/2 deep fin keel. I bought the deep draft knowing that I would need to shorten the keel if I planned to continue my tenancy with Dan’s Pepin Marina. I had seen several 6 foot draft boats hung up in the marina. Any slight doubt I may have had went away immediately when I came into DPM on Labor Day 2005 and went aground trying to tie up to the transient dock. During the off season of 2005-6 I researched keel shortening and quickly concluded that the “go to” company was Mars Metal Co in Canada. I told them I needed to shorten the keel by 12 inches. They have software that once programmed with information about the boat model and keel configuration will calculate the amount of replacement weight to keep the same Righting Moment. Hunter Marine had long ago discarded the information about my keel model so I had to provide the statistics needed by Mars. This I did following their instructions. Mars told me that cutting a foot off the iron keel...