PMD Plans Build w/ Gunter Sloop Rig - Splash Report (Almost)

So at just shy of 250 hours, my PM was ready to splash yesterday.  I'm out on Camano Island, WA and wanted my first splash to be in fresh water and more controlled circumstances.  The recent discussions on other threads about splash anxiety had shone a big bright spotlight on my own.  Redardless, proudly sporting my Center for Wooden Boats t-shirt, I bundled her all up on my trusty Harbor Freight trailer and dragged her over to Lake Goodwin only to find out that the launch ramp was closed for construction.  After some deliberation, I decided to check out the ramp right next to my house at Cama Beach State Park.  So back I went only to find that the rollers were crashing into the floating dock with one foot waves.  Not exactly the calm/controlled conditions I was looking for.  So I went home and had a consolation beer(s). 

The weather forecast was for partly cloudy with wind yesterday and rain with no wind today, clearing up a bit this afternoon.  Since she's already loaded and ready to go, I'm going to head up to either Padden Recreation Area (pond) where I used to sail my EP or up to Lake Samish or Lake Whatcom, neither of which I've ever used.

I'll post a follow-up once I actually get her wet.  BTW, the boat's name is "TOY YOT".  I've got a vinyl cutter so have made some decals in a cool pirate font.  I'm also thinking of having Kraken arms reaching up from the graphite epoxy area into the red.  Ignore the blue masking tape.  I pulled that off once I got her on the trailer.

The standing rigging is all Dyneema and I'm pretty proud of the "traveler" I spliced.  It's easy on/off, very stout and fits perfectly between the two grab handles.  I'll go into more detail later about how I rigged the mainsheet.  Also, both halyards will eventually be stripped/tapered MLX.  I've also used several home-brewed soft shackles strategically in place of stainless hardware.  I'll probably do an entire post on just rigging.  Although this is the gunter-sloop rig, there should be plenty of cross-over for the lug-nuts or at least enough to give then some ideas.  

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RE: PMD Plans Build w/ Gunter Sloop Rig - Splash Report (Almost)

Lookin' good there, Cap'n Skully.


RE: PMD Plans Build w/ Gunter Sloop Rig - Splash Report (Almost)

Looks fantastic!

I'm right behind you, Skully -  one more coat of varnish and rigging yet to go on my PMD...

I'd be very interested in any rigging advice you have (I'm a sailing newbie & the manual is a little light there). I'm also planning to build a wooden mast too, so any guidance you have on that would also be greatly appreciated. If it's easier for discourse, you can email me at "tightrope AT icloud DOT com".

Thanks! And let us know how the sail went!







RE: PMD Plans Build w/ Gunter Sloop Rig - Splash Report (Almost)

I gotta head out the door to go to work, but I am planning on writing up something more substantial on rigging in the very near future, along with some observations from my first outing. 

With that being said, I wanted to highly recommend the wooden mast option it looks and performs great.  I made mine out of sitka spruce ($200 for all the spars).  I departed from the directions in one major way.  I hollowed mine out with a router/edge guide instead of a table saw.  I laminated mine up in two halves, notched out for the sheave at the top and hollowed out the center, then glued it together, then cut to length, radiused the corners, etc.

RE: PMD Plans Build w/ Gunter Sloop Rig - Splash Report (Almost)

So here are a few thoughts/observations about my first sail on "TOY YOT" last Thursday.  I loaded the boat onto my Harbor Freight folding trailer, threw all the gear into the back/on top of my Jeep and headed for the nearest fresh water boat ramp, Lake Samish, just south of Bellingham, WA.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by two college kids who were inspecting boats for zebra and quagga mussels, an invasive species.  I assured them that since I had just finished building the boat this morning that she wasn't contaminated.  I knew that when I specifically chose the gunter-sloop rig for better upwind performance, that the trade-off was a bit more time rigging her at the ramp.  That's okay with me because it's a labor of love, especially when you've built the rig.  It took about half an hour to slowly get everything put together (I'll get faster until passersby start asking me about the boat).  I've got Dyneema shrouds and forestay spliced onto small snaps that clip into heavy duty padeyes installed on the wooden mast and bulkheads.  When I spliced it all up, the rig was very tight as I have a tensioner built into the forestay, which attaches to the knee at the bow with a soft shackle. 

The boom is pretty substantial and the yard is pre-laced onto the head of the sail to save time, but that makes the mainsail pretty difficult to manage.  How are you guys transporting the sail?  I have to remove the battens to even think about folding/rolling up the mainsail.  Anyway, all of my connections are pinned with fast-release clevis pins so everything goes together pretty quickly.  I've got temporary halyards until I make my own tapered/stripped halyards, but I have to determine where to make the transition from cover to core just above the cleats.   The sliding hardware works great, so it's easy to set the mainsail.  I'm still thinking about either roller furling or a downhaul.

I got the boat all rigged, backed down the ramp and slid her off the flatbed trailer into the water.  She floated on her waterline perfectly.  I pulled her over to the little beach area next to the ramp and parked the Jeep.

I said on another thread that the most difficult thing about sailing my EP was the act of stepping into the boat from the water, kicking off and getting under sail in one smooth motion before you get blown down back to the beach.  Multiply this by about 10x for the PM.  The heavier boat, higher freeboard and deeper draft made this a bit of a challenge.  Luckily, I just emulated what I do on the EP and it worked just fine.  I pushed out and sculled out into deeper water, dropped the rudder as soon as it was deep enough and dropped the daggerboard into the slot to make forward way (she was getting blown sideways into the trees before I remembered the daggerboard part).

I then sheeted in and she took off.  It was only blowing 5-8 knots, so nothing spectacular, but just what I was looking for on my first outing.  Then came time to figure out where to sit.  I've had luck with sitting on the middle thwart on the EP, basically facing backwards.  I found, much to my delight that I could sit on the aft thwart with the tiller tucked up against my side facing forward as is proper on a small tillerboat.  I noticed she had just the right amount of weather helm, which was not only a nod to the designer, but also confirmation that I had the mast rake right.

I also noticed that even though I had rigged the shrouds pretty tight in the driveway, once they were loaded up underway, they slacked a bit.  This actually turned out to be a huge advantage in two ways.  First, the leeward shroud is slack which allows much better sheeting angle on the jib (parallel to the main).  Also, with that amount of slack built in, I can now drop the mast without disconnecting any of the standing rigging.  There was just enough slack to pop the mast out of it's hole in the base.  Nice!

The next bit of awesomeness I discovered was the tacking angle.  On the EP, I could only sail 60° to the wind, meaning I had to tack 120°.  With the gunter-sloop rig, I was able to do proper 90° tacks, which means I can actually sail to an upwind destination (e.g. Sucia Island).

I will go more in depth into the rigging on "TOY YOT" but I originally had rigged her with a 3:1 mainsheet.  On light wind days, I think I can definitely get by with a 1:1.  Regardless, I swing the boom out to the shrouds and put a stop knot in the mainsheet where it fetched up to the fiddle block.  That way, if I ever accidentally jibe, the boom can't take down the rig.  I also really like Michael's (aka Gramps) idea of the halyard and downhaul being continuous.  It also made me think of actually splicing the halyards to the cleats on the mast so they're permanently connected, which would make rigging/transport much easier.

It was time to head back in so I could de-rig and get home before my son's bedtime and of course that's when the evening breeze picked up.  It was with some reluctance that I strapped everything back down and headed home, but I was satisfied with a very successful first outing.  More importantly, it was great validation after 250 hours over 7 months and a few thousand dollars invested.

While at the ramp, I made some notes on my phone about things to tweak, but other than the purchase on the mainsheet, nothing huge.  Even though the PM is only 4 feet longer than my EP, it feels like 3x the boat, which was the whole point.  I've been dreaming of building the PM since even before I finished the EP.

Anyway, like I said, I'll delve a bit deeper into the rigging on a new thread, with some pics and possibly even some videos.  It's my birthday, so I think we're going to load up the boat and head down to Greenlake for another sail.

- Captain Skully

RE: PMD Plans Build w/ Gunter Sloop Rig - Splash Report (Almost)

Okay, so "TOY YOT" got her first taste of saltwater today.  I was pretty apprehensive about the second time I was to take her out, it would be on saltwater.  I live just around the point from Camano Island State Park that has a ramp on the Whidbey Island side.

I bit the bullet and drove down, rigged her up on the trailer (while listening to "Lord of the Rings"), backed down the ramp, warped her over to the beach with the painter, parked the Jeep, kissed my wife and son goodbye and shoved off.  The practice the other day really helped.  Within seconds, I was actually sailing again!

Because I was anxious, I made a rookie mistake, I sailed downwind for quite a while because it was calm and soothing.  I ducked around the point toward my HOA beach, but ran into a bunch of serious kelp, which almost caused me to round up.  My initial thought was that I'd beach her and go get the truck, but then I thought (pulled my cranium out of my sphincter) since she sails so well upwind, I'd tack out to Baby Island then back to the beach. 

I discovered after a while that I felt comfortable cam-cleating the mainsheet instead of constantly holding tension in my hand (like I did on the EP).  I also highly recommend keeping your mainsheet wet so it's easier to flick out with the added heft.  My tacking process is to blow the mainsheet, push the tiller over behind my back (always facing forward), blow the working jib sheet, get through the 90° turn, sheet in the main, then sheet in the jib.  Worked like a charm.  Keep in mind that I'm sitting on the aft thwart with the tiller tucked into my hip.  I'm occasionally ducking under the boom to check for traffic, but otherwise in a very stable/comfortable position.  I don't think I could ever have done this with the EP as I would've never made it back to the ramp upwind with the current.

I also learned that I should always take trawler wakes on the nose because quartering wakes made steering a bit wonky and I was a little concerned about getting pooped.

At this point, I was determined to sail back to the ramp, so I applied my tacking angle geometry to the landscape and was really impressed with how she sailed upwind, straight as an arrow, right back to the dock.  The only noticeable leeway was due to the current, so very little slip under sail.  I was able to make one last set of tacks, beam reach right at the beach, get down on my knees and pop the daggerboard up at the last second.  Smooth as silk, I slid up onto the beach, blew the main and stepped out like Leif Erickson onto Newfoundland.

I basically reversed the process to get the boat back up onto the trailer and de-rig.  During the process, I had the first passerby ask me about the boat and take pics.  Here we go again...  File that under nice problem to have.

Anyway, I've got my punch list.  I'm still happy to have the 3:1 mainsheet option.  I've got to figure out the outhaul and downhaul situation.  I've got to get my fender situation spliced up so I can avoid "dock rash".  Other than that and the other items on my list from the other day, it was a totally successful second outing on some "real water".  I'm glad I did it and that it worked out.  I remember being pretty impressed that there were very small loads on the rudder/tiller assembly while heading upwind and feeling pretty secure sitting aft with the tiller in hand, slightly feathering to weather.  I may actually make it out to Sucia without killing myself after all.

With that being said, see y'all in Port Townsend!

- Captain Skully

RE: PMD Plans Build w/ Gunter Sloop Rig - Splash Report (Almost)

Well, you certainly were having more fun than I was. Congratulations on the splash and the happy results!

What was the big difference in fresh vs. salt water? Just the physical environment (kelp, current, etc.)?

Nice boat and glad it worked out,



RE: PMD Plans Build w/ Gunter Sloop Rig - Splash Report (Almost)

Thanks, Laszlo!  Interesting question.  Yes, a lake feels like a much more safe and controlled environment.  The water was warmer and calmer.  Salt water leaves everything feeling gritty.  The trawler wakes were an interesting twist, even if they were 1/4 mile away or had passed several minutes prior.  I never felt in danger on the lake, but on the bay it felt like I could swamp the boat in a puff with the mainsheet cleated.  Not to be morbid, but having a son has made me much more aware of my own mortality and responsibility to another human being to stay alive.  The waves at the beach are a constant force to be reckoned with and can bash your boat up against the rocks or the dock.  I would definitely say the beach launch is much more of an advanced activity.  Even though I may be a newbie on this particular boat, I've got a lot of experience on others.

RE: PMD Plans Build w/ Gunter Sloop Rig - Splash Report (Almost)

So no pics (you'll hear why in a minute), and sorry if you guys are tired of listening to me extoll the virtues of this PM with the gunter sloop, but I had to share my adventure yesterday.

So I loaded up to head down to the park where I can beach launch with my new dolly.  This means I can park anywhere, rig without being around the other trucks/trailers.  I wanted to shoot some video of rigging the boat and wanted to be able to select my backdrop.  Anyway, I got the boat rigged and splashed and it was at that point I noticed that it was blowing 12-14 knots and there was some significant wave action and even whitecaps.

I stopped and took stock of whether it was worth proceeding and possibly ending in disaster or power through it and see what happens.  I was just about to bail when of course one boat came to launch and two came in to get hauled out.  This gave me a few minutes to give some more thought to it, so I turned on my VHF weather.  It said that at the nearest station it was blowing 12 knots, so I thought that if I can't take my boat out unless it's blowing less than 12, then I won't get much use out of it and I certainly won't be able to make it out to Sucia Island someday.

So I tightened the straps on my life jacket and set the sails and tried to push out through the waves.  In all fairness to me, I had installed the oars in the oarlocks for the first time and they are right in the way of where I board when beach launching, so my first attempt was clumsily aborted.  I installed the oars in case I was dismasted for some reason and had to row home.  The wind was also blowing the boat around quite a bit, which was pretty annoying.  I pointed the boat back into the wind and stepped in over the stern quarter and pushed off, avoiding the oars.  I was able to scull out to where it was deep enough to drop the daggerboard, push the rudder down and sheet in.  I'm definitely going to have to rig a roller furler because the jib just flogs until I can sheet it in and its very distracting.

So I was able to safely get out away from the beach where things calmed down quite a bit after I got the boat under control.  I instinctively always sail upwind when I leave, so I can sail downwind on the way back, so I just headed upwind for my first tack.  As I mentioned in my "Destination Sail" post that I had already been to Baby Island, so I didn't feel the need to repeat that adventure, so I set my sights on The Center for Wooden Boats, which is just upisland from the park (and of course upwind).  

As I settled into my course, I noticed that the wind was indeed 12-14 with 1'-2' waves, some of which were breaking and whitecapping.  I also realized that I felt very comfortable in the boat under these conditions, although I noticed I was bracing myself with my foot higher up on the side of the boat on the last plank I had painted with non-skid.  I didn't feel like the freeboard was too low and when close-hauled, I was able to take the waves at 45°, which drastically reduced bashing.

I made it to The Center on one tack, which is a total testament to how well this boat sails upwind and has minimal slip.  In fact, almost all of my leeway was from being set by the ebb.  I sailed just close enough to the beach to not have to pull up my daggerboard, waved at some old gaffer in the boat shed, then did a "chicken jibe" to head back to the ramp.

As you probably well know, the turn downwind is very calming, peaceful and considerably warmer as your apparent wind drops.  I pulled the daggerboard and was able to scoot downwave right along the shoreline, looking at all the houses on the beach.  On my approach to the ramp, I dropped the daggerboard back in for traction and sailed right down the throat of the ramp between the two finger piers.  "TOY YOT" fetched right up onto the ramp with a scrunch as I blew the sheets.

All in all, another great experience.  I was once again impressed by her performance and am gradually getting more confident for more adventurous conditions.  As I referenced above, I don't have any pics/video because my phone was safely tucked into the aft buoyancy tank in a Zip-Loc bag, along with my wallet and keys due to the conditions.

Thanks for listening to my gloat...

- Captain Skully

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