I got a bit of a shock when I tried to renew the insurance for Custard – my junk rigged Wanderer. Insurance was refused. The boat isn’t worth much but third-party insurance is essential for my sailing club and many other places. The reason is simple – insurance is calculated by computers and something that isn’t in the computer is unknown.
We’ve just returned from a holiday on the Norfolk Broads with the boat. Had a really lovely time – highly recommended if you are into sailing and / or boats. Having the boat moored at the bottom of the garden on a river, with a pub 1/2 mile down the river plus channels and lakes to explore, is a lovely way to holiday.
There is a stress concentration in the topmast tube where it leaves the main mast tube. This wouldn’t matter, except:
The topmast is thin aluminium so isn’t particularly robust;
There are scratches in the aluminium at the critical point from when I made the mast;
The topmast is already a bit over stressed in this design so as to reduce the weight at the top of the mast.
To stop the topmast buckling I’m making a wooden plug for the critical section from my last piece of decent Douglas Fir. The plug is in two halves glued together which allows the middle to be hollowed out. To allow initial working I screwed the two halves together.
After considering my options I made this on my metalwork lathe. This made it easy to get the outside to the right size along the whole length. I used metal-cutting tools – not elegant but gets the top done.
Next stage was hollowing out the middle. For reasons of speed I used my milling machine.
Then finished off with a powerfile / mini belt sander.
The mini-belt-sander is a very useful tool – I wish I had bought one years ago. Mine is Silverline – one of the cheapest – as it was light and compact for getting into awkward corners inside the boat. It has been excellent – highly recommended.
I’ve glued the two halves together inside a spare tube so it all lines up. I used Tightbond (waterproof PVA-type glue) as this should be fine in the conditions, is nice to work with and won’t stick to the spare tube (I hope!).
Once the glue has dried I’ll cut the square end off, neaten up the insides as far as possible and then put some wood preserver on it. It can then be inserted into the topmast.
Hopefully Custard will then be good for high-speed full-sail surfing!
Getting the sail finished was a bit frustrating but I got it done. The main cause of frustration was that I needed to have the boat ready for a family holiday in August and there wouldn’t be any time to test it unless I got it all done last week. However, it all got done in the end — phew!