Pontoons

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Alm

Re: Pontoons

Post by Alm »

A follow-up on rudder. I browsed the web yesterday, and found such a beauty as a Sunfish rudder:
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Sunfish is a small sailboat, 75 sq ft sail (same as your sail area), leeboard instead of keel (called centerboard because it's lowered down through the hull slot in the middle). Manufacturers and dealers don't publish the drawings and never will (they have enough worries even without recent scandal with Chinese computer espionage network, industrial espionage has same long history as a political one). But from the Class Requirements (there are mandatory limits of sail and rudder dimensions for sailboats competing in races), Sunfish rudder has a hydrofoil shape and maximum allowed size about 1 sq.ft. So, John, - your rudder is about the right size. My Feathercraft stern bracket (gudgeons, whatever) is too short in vertical dimension to install Sunfish rudder (or Klepper rudder, which I also thought about).

I'm trying to minimize my weight in Baja trips (darn airlines with their limits, and K1 payload has its limits too), and will probably replace my desalinator PUR 35 with a twice lighter and smaller PUR 06. It's 4 times less efficient, takes 3-4 hours to desalinate a daily amount of water for one person, but I don't think I will use it more than once or twice in my lifetime. I used my PUR 35 more than once during 2-weeks Bahamas trip, but, oddly enough, had much less problems with water in less populated deserts of Baja and never opened the bag with PUR 35. Bahama islands are mostly populated by American and other expats, and people that own those yachts and multimillion houses (and sometimes - the whole island), are not friendly, and locals, predominantly black, are spoiled by serving riches, most of them greedy and rather indifferent to foreigners than friendly. Considering the history of Bahamas (piracy, booze smuggling during Prohibition, weapons and goods smuggling during US Civil War etc) - their mentality doesn't surprise me. It's different in Baja. When I stopped near Mexican fishing camps (if couldn't find more secluded spot), local fishermen often come to have a close look at my vessel and trying talking to me :-), this time my Spanish was better than last time, but still very "limitado", and they gave me fresh water if I asked (I only asked once).

As to the sponsons leaking air and/or taking water - I will publish a separate report on this. I tried sailing/paddling with one BSD ama deflated. This is possible, there are some stability problems and probably I need a Sea Wing from FC as a temporary "crutches" if one ama fails. Mostly, it's about stability. I can remove deflated ama with a 3 ft outrigger section and stowe it under deck bungees in a minute or two, so there is no problem of ama taking water in my case. In big catamarans with rigid amas the amas are part of the hull, so damaged ama for them is the same a hole in the hull below waterline. My vessel is different. I can continue the trip with both amas deflated, removed and stowed on the deck or under deck together with outrigger tubes and mast tubes, if needed. It's a kayak after all - I can paddle it. And I can repair my hull too (and why those guys couldn't, I wonder), if it gets damaged out in wilderness. The only problem in my case is stability - staying upright in heavy wind until I make it to some shore or until I replace the damaged ama (I carry a spare ama), if one inflatable ama suddenly fails, and I think I'll resolve this too. Will have to - waters in Baja in February were colder than I expected, so swimming around the boat doesn't appeal to me at all ;-)...

I carry a VHF radio for distress calls. I can't of course count on local fishermen monitoring distress channel at all times, but bigger boats do. I thought of PLB ACR Microfix, but will postpone this purchase for now, and I suspect in a few years Baja will be so full of gringo vacation cabins that I could simply yell for help from wherever I got stuck :-) ...

John Monroe

Re: Pontoons

Post by John Monroe »

Alex you certainly have been to many interesting places for your boating trips. You mentioned the water in the Baja being colder then you thought they might be. Hypothermia is something I have been concerned about when I am alone and might have to do a self rescue and get to shore very quickly. I can do a paddle float rescue but I have read of kayaks taking on water in high waves and becoming unstable while the kayak er can't bail or pump enough water to remain upright. So I built in the side water tight storage floatation in the sides. If I am in the water and try to get back in the kayak the kayak will just spin like a barrel, but if I fill the kayak about a third to half full I can climb over the side into the cockpit and, yes, it will paddle to shore with that much water in it while being very stable. The side floatation acts like pontoons when water is inside the boat and helps to keep it righted as I swim/climb over the side. I keep a canvas bag tethered inside the kayak just for filling the kayak if I go over. This little boat is very good in high waves and with the side floatation I feel very safe.

John

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Alm

Re: Pontoons

Post by Alm »

Rigid kayak somewhat limits your travel options, but it surely offers more options of built-in flotation (and generally, more options of any modifications and add-ons). I only had small flotation bag in the last stern and bow compartment in K1 in my last trip (there wasn't room for more flotation, as it was filled with food and gear). Sudden puncture in my K1 in the middle of sea passage is hardly possible, and flipping it over with both amas inflated - either. (Since I'm going to use it mostly in trimaran mode, amas will always be there). But I am concerned about possible outcome of sudden amas failure - particularly, if leeward ama fails in heavy wind. After some testing - see viewtopic.php?f=25&t=2606 - I'm a little less worried, though the testing did not answer all my questions. I don't know how much buoyancy swamped K1 would have (after I've righted it up), if it does flip over due to ama failure, with 370 lbs of gear, food, sail rig and me, and unknown amount of water. I read a report when people tried to roll it, without any gear, and had to do a "wet exit" after a failed roll, and swamped K1 could not be paddled without bailing quite a bit of water out first. (In fact, they needed to bail out so much water before continuing paddling, that standard kayak pump became nearly useless - a 10-liter folding bucket would be more appropriate). K1 was barely holding itself and the paddler above the water, and any wave could sink it completely, according to those people. Not to mention - buoyancy of swamped K1 filled with food and gear, and/or how to right it up if it flips over? There is a seasock in K1 that works like a bulkhead, preventing (in theory) the water from swamping the rest of the boat, containing it within the limits of the cockpit area, but I can't rely on it 100%. Seasock can be dislodged, or it can leak, or both.

Cold waters and warm air in Baja winter is a dilemma too. I don't wear any dry suit or wet suit there, because often have to paddle, and then it would become a steam room. Don't know if anybody wears dry suits in Baja at all. Winter air temps are at least 20C (72 F) on most days, and water offshore feels like at least 16C (64F). In some knee-deep tidal pool in a sheltered bay water in February can be 20C or warmer. But when heavy Northern wind blows for a few days, it is a cold wind and everything feels colder. Even though the sky is usually clear when this heavy El Norte blows. When wind dies, air becomes really warm.

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