Saturday, March 5, 2011

Knockabout Sloops Blog, The End

With my dwindling blog posts, it will come as no surprise that I am ending my KnockaboutSloops blog. All along this blog has been a personal resource that I have used to journal and organize my thoughts during the design and construction of Bolero, our custom engineless Knockabout Sloop.

I typically live a quiet private life that rarely draws attention to myself. On rare occasions one of my passions will draw me out a bit into the limelight. Such has been the case with long skinny sailboats and engineless sailing.

But in the end my real passion is sailing, not writing about sailing. And no amount of rants, or examples of engineless sailing will alter the conventional wisdom that sailboats need engines to be safe.

And no matter how many photos of gorgeous sailboats I post, and I have posted many, modern sailboats get beamier, the freeboard higher and the cabin taller and boxier. We are more and more a culture of convenience and luxury where beauty isn't valued.

So rather that try to convince others that sailboats sail just fine without engines, I will just go sailing.

And rather than post photos of long, sleek, gorgeous boats sailing, I will take ours out sailing.

For me it has always been about the sailing. Which is why we I envisioned this crazy project in the first place.

This blog has been a labor of love and I have enjoy the feedback and comments that I have received from the 90,000 or so visitors who have meandered in. I will leave this content up to provide whatever resource it may contain and I will also continue to moderate comments. Perhaps there are other "crazies" out there who will look at all this and see opportunity and not a bunch of sacrifices.

Cheers and Happy Sailing,
Bill

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Little Something for the Light Stuff

Since we sail Bolero engineless the most import feature of our modified Shields is her sail plan and our ability to alter the amount of sail that we have up as the conditions warrant. In fact one of the main reasons we selected the Shields as our conversion candidate was her fractional rig and her abundant sail area.

Even though the standard sail plan for the Shields class sailboats has a exceptional SA/D ratio of 21, I have been on the lookout for a way to add additional sail area for really light air. So when I stumbled on a new free flying drifter/Code 0 headsail on eBay last winter for less than $300 I took a chance and snapped it up.

Prior to purchasing it, I quickly drew it up to make sure it would fit and to check the location of the sheet leads.




For this sail it looked like the proper lead location would intersect our oar lock sockets and my hope was to find a way to use these hard points as an attach point for the turning blocks. In addition, with an area of 210 sq ft and an overlap of 180%, this looks to be a very nice increase in sail area for Bolero bring her SA/D ratio to 25.

Unfortunately, I decided to over think the installation. I figured that it would be sweet if the drifter was on a furler in front of the headstay. So I picked up all the necessary hardware only to figure out after stepping the mast that there just wasn't enough room between the spinnaker halyard the forestay for the drifter to furl. At least I didn't drill any holes






As it turns out this mis-step was a blessing. I ended up flying the drifter on the jib halyard with a small pennant so it would clear the jib. This allowed us to tack which we ended up doing quite often and made this sail much versatile.








This free flying drifter quickly became my favorite sail. It was quick and easy to launch and stow from its turtle bag without any need of a furler or spinnaker sock and it made sailing in really light air very delightful. And even though we are quite spoiled short tacking into our channel with our non-overlapping working jib, It was still pretty easy to short tack with this 180% drifter.

To my way of thinking sail area is safety and piece of mind for the engineless sailor. Often the engineless sailor is presented with all the things that they can't safely do without an engine. But I feel that each boats "safe" sailing envelope is dependent on how much speed and maneuverability they can generate from their sail plan in a given wind. Obviously if you don't have enough sail area with respect to your boat's displacement then you have transition to a motorboat. And in that event your motor is your only form of propulsion and is required for safety.

My goal has always been to outfit my boats so they sail in the widest possible wind range. And with the addition of this drifter the term "no wind" has a whole new meaning.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Some Long Overdue Eye Candy

Courtesy of Cliff. First a what is it request.

Do you know what this knockabout is? It was labelled as a Tumlaren, but I believe that is incorrect. I thought they all had canoe sterns...




Anyone know this sweet little boat? She looks familiar but I can't place her.

Cliff also sent along some extra pics. First a nice shot of a Concordia Yawl.




And some pics of the recently restored R Class "Aloha".




That Quiet Still in the Air

It has been a very quiet summer here at Knockabout Sloops and a number of folks, okay maybe three, have wondered where I got off to. I am still here, still sailing and still loving long, skinny boat with graceful overhangs.

First off, it is never really a bad thing when I go quiet. Just ask the friends and family. But the quiet here has been a result of a number of occurrences.

First it has been a pretty ordinary summer season of sailing for us here on Lopez Island. Summer was sort of a yawner. When the weather was good the wind wasn't, or other things were pressing, or it was a supper low tide, or it was a busy boats coming into the bay day. And there didn't seem like a lot of great days this year compared to last. And last year was so good that I have gotten a bit picky on when I choose to go out.

We hauled last week so Bolero is neat and tidy and stored snuggly in her Clearspan shelter. I have a few posts, with pictures, in me summarizing my experiences with our new electrical system, a pretty good failure, and our new light air drifter, which was a roaring success, although I did take the long way to get there.

In addition to a average summer sailing season this summer brought about a complete upheaval in my computer hardware. I transitioned from a Tablet PC, which I have used in one form or another since their inception, to an iPad and an old Apple Power Mac G5. I have used many, many computer systems in my life, including Apple and find them pretty much interchangeable. But I am working toward replacing my old tablet PC with the iPad and using it for most everything I do and only falling back on the "boat anchor" G5 for the really heavy lifting. Blogging on the iPad has not yet overwhelmed me and this is my first iPad blog post. But I expect it to get better and better and with the winter dark time approaching I will keep at it.

In the end, Knockabout Sloops was always my way of organizing my thoughts on Bolero's conversion and in that capacity this blog has served me well. I am sure that there will always be an occasional post of some gorgeous slinky boat that I will need to pass along, a rant or two about sailing without an engine and of course every photo of Bolero sailing that kind folks send my way.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bolero Sailing into Fisherman's Bay, Lopez Island Washington



Turns out Skip, the brother of one of our mooring neighbors, took a sweet little video of Bolero sailing back into Fisherman's Bay last season, 17 September 2009.

Fun to see the ole girl under sail. It was blowing pretty nice outside so we took our customary second reef prior to reentering the bay.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

1949 Sparkman & Stephens Yawl Bolero


BOLERO, 1949

Perhaps because we share a name and a common designer, I have always had an affinity for Bolero. But she is truly in a class of her own.


BOLERO, auxiliary yawl underway, 1954

I find that I like to compare boats to classics such as Bolero even though most fall horribly short by comparison. I have always been more comfortable looking towards greatness, and failing, than looking towards mediocrity and succeeding. Just my odd way I guess.  In any event the view is better. Much, much better.


Heading East, 1954

Bolero was built for ocean racing and I am still quite in awe of the time in history where racing boats were also works of art.
BOLERO – Large Modern Ocean Racer
Sparkman and Stephens Design No. 711
LOA 73’6’’, LWL 51’, beam 15’1’’, draught 9’6’’, sail area 2,480 sq.ft.
Designed in 1946 for John N Brown. Launched by Nevens in 1949.

This boat represented the new technology of the post war era and in many ways in size and scope was the prototype of the modern maxi yacht. It was considered by many to be the most beautiful S&S boat ever designed (a claim shared with her near sister, BARUNA).
Her interior is laid out for 8 guests and a crew of 4. It makes an interesting comparison with modern boats of similar size, allowing for spacious accommodations.
Her design plans are revealing for they show a quality of construction which would probably be impossible to match today. Of composite construction, double planked mahogany 1 ¾ inches thick on metal lightened web frames, she was extremely strongly built. The construction sections show the extensive use of metal reinforcement allied to wooden blocking, spruce beams, white oak partners round the openings, extensive use of metal tie rods and a Douglas Fir clamp 7 ¼ x 2 ½ inches thick. The metal work was entirely in Monel or Everdur Bronze, materials which would be prohibitive today, if at all available.
She was fitted with coal galley stoves, early forms of refrigeration and very extensive interior furnishings. The extreme elegance of her double-headed rig belies the amount of physical manpower needed to sheet a 170 % overlapping genoa measuring 1500 sq. ft. A coffee grinder winch is mounted amidships in the most stable area in order to sheet the jib sheets via turning blocks; the double runners would necessitate extensive manpower requirements during tacking; again the mainsheet is led downwards at mid-boom to control lift and back to the cockpit winch mounted on the cabin roof. The small looking mizzen stay sail is nevertheless 540 sq. ft., the size of many smaller boat’s genoa jibs. Both BOLERO and her earlier sister BARUNA were built to the maximum size allowed under the CCA (Cruising Club of America) racing rule for the Bermuda Race which worked out at approximately 72 feet overall.
In the 1951 Bermuda Race BARUNA and BOLERO found themselves racing against each other. Despite the almost 10 years that had elapsed between the two designs, the two boats both fought it out neck and neck arriving at the finishing line 466 miles later, only 24 seconds apart (the older boat winning on corrected time by 15 minutes).
COPYRIGHT 1999 PATRICK MATTHIESEN
Well apparently, thanks to Cliff for the heads up, Bolero got a make over at Rockport Marine. So she's good to go for another 60 years.



And she looks almost as gorgeous in color as she does in black and white.

Friday, May 21, 2010

1986 Mini 12 Metre J Boat

So perhaps the Rhodes Evergreen in the post below is bit more boat than you are looking for. But you still want you some long and skinny. How about this.


She is a 21 ft long mini 12 metre. You are going to have to act fast on this one as she is on the auction blocks of ebay. Her location is Pocasset, Massachusetts.

Check the full listing for more photos, but here are some teases.







Now I do think Bolero is looking a bit pudgy.