Deck gear considerations for the "Hardware Store" dinghy class

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Richard Woods, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. Richard Woods
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    I'm trying to move the discussion on from the concept to details, as they may help other small boat sailors, not just those interested in the "Hardware store" class

    And for now I don't want to discuss low cost simple - or even complex - rigs as that is covered in depth elsewhere

    Instead I want to start a discussion on making/using simple deck gear, foils etc because I know those are things that get pricey quickly. Good gear makes a boat easier to sail, never mind faster, so it is important to all sailors

    The cheapest, simplest option is of course "leave it out". It is also often the fastest

    So what controls do you really need? Random thoughts here:

    You don't need a main halyard, drawback - you cannot lower/reef the sail at sea. Otherwise it's an advantage. For one thing the main halyard is the most loaded rope on the boat, so is the only one that needs to be high tech. All other control lines can be "hardware store" quality

    No halyard can mean no sail track needed. But if you have one on a wood mast what is the best way to make it? RV/caravan awning rail? Slotted aluminium tube bonded on or?

    Gooseneck. Make a Laser style one, so just a horizontal bolt, it has the advantage that the mast rotates. Mast step is a 1/2in 12mm bolt embedded in a wood block

    Rigging can be simply fitted at the mast end by pushing the wire through the (metal) mast wall and having a nicropress clamp on the inner end, easy to tighten on a household vice as you do it off the boat. Light and low windage

    Outhaul. Probably a lashing is good enough for most.

    Cunningham - essential but can be continuous rope with eyes tied in, as the Laser used to do. Biggest drawback, apart from friction, is not being able to take controls to the gunwales - or can you?

    Kicking strap - also essential. But no need for the ball bearing cascade blocks. Use a lever instead, cheap or free from scrap metal or even plywood, yet very effective for small movements

    Rudder fittings are expensive. What's the best way to attach the rudder? Daggerboard style? with a long vertical pin? "Pintles" built into transom and rudder stock - how?

    Tiller extension - we've used a telescoping brush handle for years. For shorter extensions plastic water pipe works really well and survives any capsize

    Sail battens - we used to use plastic electric conduit - light and cheap but prone to kinking after a capsize

    toe straps, old car seat belts from a scrap car

    You can get lanyards as tight as a shroud lever, but just not reliably the same setting each time. So good enough for us.

    That's enough now, just to get the ball rolling. Any suggestions welcome, but remember they should be useable on a racing dinghy, not a knockabout daysailer.

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs

    www.sailingcatamarans.com
     
  2. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    It's a great topic.

    There's some pretty cheap and effective halyard locks that allow you to get away with a low-tech halyard, although when they go wrong people like me spend a lot of time swearing in the dinghy/cat park. The Tasar and Hobie 20 ideas are pretty easy to use.

    Did you Brits use the Moth gooseneck that was just a piece of alloy wrapped around the mast, with a bolt through the boom? I suppose it does mean that you need a more complex mast base; in fixed rigs I've been able to get away with standard appropriate-size alloy channel from the scrap box at metal retailers.

    I really like that idea about internal rigging ends - great stuff.

    The plastic pipe tiller extensions also work really well at the other end of the scale, because the long ones are still stiff enough to allow good rudder feel AND they are flexy enough to bend when they have to; they work well on boats like Canoes (which is where I used one) and skiffs.

    Did you ever see those carbon Tornado blocks that were simply cut from a sheet of carbon that had been draped over a former that consisted of (IIRC) a 20mm bit of timber with a rounded edge? They were connected simply by tying a bit of line through a hole at the top of the block. Cheap and super light.

    When it comes to attaching rigs, the use of kevlar and carbon tows seems to be perfect for chainplates - have you heard of any problems? McConaghys did some interesting stuff using simple carbon tows to hold 18 Foot Skiff floors onto the hulls.

    On a slight tangent, I really liked Suki Solo's comment about stick-on battens - it's something I'd thought of but I assumed it wouldn't work. Then again, many of my sails are held together with stickyback so I shouldn've known it would work.

    I used to sail on a sailmaker's Mumm 36 where the sails were often just taped together until experimentation had finished - as far as I know, no seams ever parted.

    I had old car seatbelts as straps in my $500 Flying 15...they caused some comment when I spent $100 for two sets of class-legal sails and got the boat to top 10 nationally (aided by the fact that it was an 'off' year for the class)!

    In my younger days I found that the most economical gear could be found in the bins at the back of rigger's shops where good stuff could be had for the price of a carton of beer, but not everyone is that happy to sacrifice their dignity.
     
  3. Richard Woods
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    The only Moth goosenecks I've seen like that were on Europes (I had three). I agree with the halyard lock comments. I have used water pipe on very long tiller extensions. But I used to put a wood insert for the first 3ft so that it wouldn't flex too much at the tiller end

    I always go round to local riggers before buying a new mast. My best deal was getting a 35ft mast for my Gypsy catamaran for GBP50, it even came with two halyard winches. The netting beam on our Skoota powercat cost us a 6pack in beer from the local rigger. It was brand new and overlong. I sold the excess for a 12 pack....

    You are right, not everyone likes to sacrifice their dignity, but there are lots of deals to be had

    RW
     
  4. SukiSolo
    Joined: Dec 2012
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    Gooseneck. Make a Laser style one, so just a horizontal bolt, it has the advantage that the mast rotates. Mast step is a 1/2in 12mm bolt embedded in a wood block

    Prefer the wrap around jaw, stronger and no weakness to mast. Just need big washers for the clamping bolt!.

    Outhaul. Probably a lashing is good enough for most.

    No big deal to get a purchase to a V cleat which could be home made.

    Cunningham - essential but can be continuous rope with eyes tied in, as the Laser used to do. Biggest drawback, apart from friction, is not being able to take controls to the gunwales - or can you?

    I've been pondering something like this but for an inhaul recently. I'm fairly sure a simple limited pivot plate with cleat could be lead in a triangular layout in plan ie dual control! This has a simple purchase up/down above for Cunningham. CTs' good comment(on other thread) about 12:1 + well that is what is being used on conventional una rigs now not stiff wing masts...;)

    Kicking strap - also essential. But no need for the ball bearing cascade blocks. Use a lever instead, cheap or free from scrap metal or even plywood, yet very effective for small movements

    Some sort of GNAV with lever probably easier to reduce forward thrust from kicker. Your spot on this one Richard.

    Rudder fittings are expensive. What's the best way to attach the rudder? Daggerboard style? with a long vertical pin? "Pintles" built into transom and rudder stock - how?

    Almost certain you can build the fittings into the rudder, the gudgeon certainly in carbon or glass. With say a 10mm (3/8") pin it should be fine and simple to design a no pull out feature on pin. Fixed rudder cheaper. Long through pins tend to bend at some point and then are a PITA to extract especially whilst bobbing in a seaway....;) I'm going to build my own carbon fittings on the next rudder I fit anyway, the rudder is already built. Uni and plain carbon though. Glass will almost certainly be enough for a cheapo though just give it a fraction more section or small flanges.

    Harder to do the hull fittings without making a small tool, but it is simple shape.


    Tiller extension - we've used a telescoping brush handle for years. For shorter extensions plastic water pipe works really well and survives any capsize

    I still use a home made Ash one complete with custom end T type piece, cost 60p, too much? Life - well one lasted 12 years before I sat on it one time too many....

    Sail battens - we used to use plastic electric conduit - light and cheap but prone to kinking after a capsize

    That conduit may have a little too much plasticiser to bond well. Again a couple of strips of glass tape and some polyester or epoxy on some melamine faced hardboard and access to a table saw/mitre saw....

    Chainplates, I've made some out of 1" X 1/8" 6082T6 aluminium bar and they have held fine, fairly cheap and easy to drill and shape. Not put 600Kg + rig tension on though but reasonable pressures are OK.

    Discarded half broken old fittings can be a useful source of pins, part mechanisms which can all be given new life with a bit of imagination and work. Visiting the scrap bin of any local non ferrous stock holder can be worthwhile for aluminium and maybe some brass and stainless.
     
  5. Richard Woods
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    The rudder fitting problem shows the dilemma of a lowcost simple boat. The simplest, cheapest, fastest, lightest rudder will be a fixed one. It is also the least practical.

    I will be lashing the shrouds round the wing beams on my Zest, as I did on my Strike 15 trimaran. The stem is thick enough to take a hole for a forestay, so no chainplates needed. Old fashioned lanolin (not the scented kind!) is really good at reducing chafe

    Not sure how a simple gnav will work with a conventional gooseneck, seems like there will be a lot of friction and it won't be easy to make, at least by me. But then I have neither a router nor mitre saw, nor indeed any woodworking skill and I don't "do" metalwork

    Obviously with a wood mast and fixed gooseneck the answer is to go back to the 50/60's and have the boom wedge as used on OKs and Finns. Does the same thing as gnav

    So what is the best way to make simple jamming cleats that don't wear the rope too fast. I have cut Veed slots into thick grp sail battens, and then had a series of knots in the control lines. Sort of "digital" control rather than "analogue". But other ideas?

    Still working on lashed on rudder ideas, helped by the fact that my Zest has no transom

    RW
     
  6. SukiSolo
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    Obviously with a wood mast and fixed gooseneck the answer is to go back to the 50/60's and have the boom wedge as used on OKs and Finns. Does the same thing as gnav


    Not quite the same, as the loads are slightly differently distributed, probably less shear for timber with a gnav?

    So what is the best way to make simple jamming cleats that don't wear the rope too fast. I have cut Veed slots into thick grp sail battens, and then had a series of knots in the control lines. Sort of "digital" control rather than "analogue". But other ideas?

    A couple but they may be patentable so I'm not prepared to put them on the Forum at the moment. Spent some time playing with a rope clutch wear issue some years back, interesting time testing it too. Especially when the winch came off the mount screws with 2.5 tons on...;)
    There are a lot of old discarded Tufnol cleats around in the UK at least, they still work mostly if fettled and lubed. A bungee loaded cam lever would do the same thing? at least as a one sided cam cleat, though rope diameter intolerant.

    Still working on lashed on rudder ideas, helped by the fact that my Zest has no transom


    No reason why holes through timber won't work if enough diameter and spacing. Thole pin type? for a lashed solution.
     
  7. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    Nylon chopping board is a good source of a reasonably low friction material. I've used it for a variety of things Inc mast step.
     
  8. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    Yes I've used that as well. Also old kitchen sinks can be used for some stainless steel parts (but they are a bit soft for rudder and chainplate fittings)

    I was checking prices in the US. A single (eg mainsheet) block from Home Depot is about USD4. A "real" dinghy plain bearing block from a UK online chandler is USD5. You need three blocks and thus by going the "Hardware store" route you save USD3. Seems a bit pointless to me.

    I also checked the price of caravan/RV awning rails. Seems to be about USD50 for 20ft, plus the price of wood (ideally aircraft quality sitka spruce) and one off gooseneck/hound fittings etc, so more than the price of a used dinghy mast if I make my own.

    (I saw a complete Hobie 14 for USD100 on ebay/CL yesterday)

    Slightly off topic as it will be more than USD600, but my Zest dinghy will shortly be available as a kit boat in the UK from one of the major dinghy kit suppliers

    Richard Woods
     

  9. tdem
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    tdem Senior Member

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