Thursday, September 1, 2011

A new leeboard - not that bad!

Oh come on - they're not so ugly!  I always hate it when people get on these rants about how leeboards foul the whole look of their nice graceful sheer - and there aren't many more graceful than that of a Monomoy.  The thing is functional, dammit, so think happy thoughts and suck it up!  When you look at it, just envision the windward performance and think of that nice course just off the wind.... sort of how when watching Susan Boyle I always just see Jack Black up there singing, and laugh a bit - then someone tells me I'm going to hell.

Last night at the Dockyard we cut out and shaped a plank of 5/4 white oak to serve as a new and theoretically improved leeboard for Monomoy No. 1.  The design comes courtesy of the Niagara crew in Erie PA, whose work with leeboards for their own boats is rather extensive.  It uses no tripping lines or rose-lines to drag in the water, and is much slimmer - in contrast to the fat, wide leeboard design we currently employ.  The work was prompted by a desire to see how high on the wind we can get Monomoy No. 1 to point - we know her sail can be very efficient but thus far her fouled underwater profile has prevented her from really working to windward well.

We also had a great time utilizing some new melting gear - a host of small cast iron cauldrons, ladles and propane burners newly acquired - which will be used to cast the lead weight into the board.  I think there may have been a little too much fun had as maniacal laughs burst out around the fire pots when the test lead began melting.  Of interest - once the lead melts and is formed, it has tendency to shrink somewhat - making it easy to knock a molten slab out of the bottom of a pot or the mold.  This will have to be considered when pouring the lead into the board...

...but I digest.

The work went really well, and the whole board is shaped and ready to have the hole for the lead cut into it.  An evening working up junk into a permanent fender attached to the board, followed by a top line dressed with a few Matthew Walkers should finish it off nicely.  If we manage to finish it by this weekend, I look forward to trying it out on Hampton Roads in a nice, relaxing test sail.


The trip to Hatteras has been postponed indefinitely - most likely to next weekend - as predicted thunderstorms threaten to make the 26-mile transit difficult.  We could have gone today, except that we all have real jobs we can't just up and ditch - otherwise we'd have been back by now.  One thing is clear - the road (route 12) will be out for some time yet - and we have plenty of time to try for this 'feat'.  The new leeboard will also be a nice addition for the trip too - especially with its 'automatic' kick-up feature in the shallow waters of Pamlico Sound.  Standby for more on this.


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