long, and we need to be on our way to warmer weather – “done” or not.
One of the bigger projects that was a “must” on our list before heading south was providing some shade and weather-protection in the cockpit. That meant building a bimini and at least part of an enclosure.
Cathy had done some smaller canvas projects in the past – cockpit pockets, a cover for the generator box, a modification to the helm cover. But this was going to be a whole new dimension. An enclosure would have to be designed, a frame built and the canvas sewed and mounted so that it fit securely and looked nice. This seemed like a tall order for someone who barely knew how to thread a sewing machine.
reasonably well for trailering. With the backstay and mainsheets descending into the aft third of the cockpit, this wasn’t going to be the straightforward design of Orion’s center cockpit enclosure. Cathy talked through possible designs with Dave and our friend Pat, who builds canvas professionally. Using lots of measurements of the cockpit dimensions, she put a tentative design on paper.
There would be 4 bows. The forwardmost would be a single bow mounted on the cabintop. The next 2 would be attached at a single mount point on the cockpit coaming forward of the winch. The 4th would be a single bow mounted on the stern rail. The canvas that stretched over the first 3 bows would be continuous. However, the section between the 3rd and 4th bow would have to come down when sailing to allow the mainsheets free movement when the main was up. This panel also had to accommodate the backstay passing through it. Now we would try to build a mock frame that resembled this design to see if we could make it work.
measurements. Then we sent it off to Pat for a review. She gave us her comments, none of which were:“What on earth were you thinking?” which Cathy took as an endorsement to proceed.
Cathy marked the bow positions directly on this fabric, using the excess fabric for the sleeves that would hold the panel on the bows. A couple of days later, a bimini suddenly appeared where the hadn’t been one before. Maybe this really was going to be possible.
The next task was the forward panel or “dodger” section of the bimini. It was a little simpler than the middle panel, because there was only one bow. Another few days and there were 2 panels mounted. Wow! But she saved the most complex for last. The final panel had to accommodate the backstay. Dave had (thankfully) suggested we just take the mainsheets off the boom when we weren’t sailing to remove this complexity from the design. Cathy decided to make a drawstring sleeve to hopefully minimize the size of the opening for the backstay. Without a pattern to go by, she made her best attempt, which looked OK, but was woefully too big a hole. Rain would be able to pour through the opening. It’s back to the drawing board for that one.
So, what has Dave been doing to keep busy? The easy answer to that is everything else but the canvas.
On our trip down the bay, we were unhappy with the way we had to manage fuel. We needed to have
another fuel tank that could be easily deployed, so that we had more fuel capacity at hand for longer trips. Dave solved this by arranging the fuel locker with the 2 6-gallon fuel tanks end to end on the top level. He then plumbed them to a valve that would allow us to easily switch from one tank to the other. Then to ensure the fuel going to the engine was as clean as possible, he positioned a filter between the valve and the engine, with a glass bowl that lets us see the fuel and filter. It can also be easily drained if any water is found in it. That should take some of the stress out of our fuel management.
rode. There was a sizeable anchor locker, but no deck fitting to access it. Dave installed a small hawspipe (metal fitting with a cap) on deck to provide that access. Since the Columbia has cored decks, he drilled the holes for the fitting and the screws a little big and then coated them with epoxy to seal the wood core, before through-bolting it on. With the deck access in place, Dave was able to load the anchor locker with rode for the primary and secondary anchors, the primary anchor being the Delta.
There’s also a long list of smaller projects: replacing the fuel vent hose, getting new storage cabinets to fit under the stairs, repairing an anchor bag, upgrades to the water system, and sorting through things on Orion that will need to be moved to the little boat. Lots of things still need doing, but the list of the must-do’s is getting shorter.
Hampton’s annual Bay Days festival fell on a beautiful late summer weekend, and we got to enjoy more of it this year when Rick and Carla from Euphoria arrived in time to share it with us. With their spot on the Hampton Public Piers, they were in the thick of the festivities. This year, we sampled more of the many bands that were performing throughout the weekend.
Despite taking breaks for the festival and to visit with friends, we are never too far away from Orion Jr, and the next task to do. So far, the weather has been reasonably kind, but we know it’s getting colder. And we will eventually have to cut those docklines and head out.