With all of the restoration projects this past 12 months I have been relegated to dreaming about how the boat will sail. Since getting it back in the water I have been itching to take Wookie out and try the electric motor and new sails. I have now had several occasions to do this and can state with quite a bit of humble relief that all the hard work has definitely paid off.
The Flicka is, and has always been, a dream to sail and to be sure I am not stating something here that dozens of other sailors have not experienced. However with all of the restoration on the boat I did begin to wonder. Was my expectation level set too high? I did the measurements for the sails but were these correct? I specced out and chose the electric motor but was this a good idea?
Firstly, the new sails are easy to handle, perfectly cut and truly beautiful to look at. Secondly and just as importantly the engine has yet to disappoint.
My goal has always been to motor out of a marina to open water and then return back after sailing all day. This means a battery capacity of 4 to 6 nautical miles with about 25% reserve in case of emergencies (battery 2 X 12v 105amp AGM batteries which equals 1 X 24v 105amp). Each time I have done this I motored out between 1 to 2 nautical miles and approximately the same on my return and it seems I have used less than 25% of the battery power. This is better than expected primarily because I have found I only need to run the motor at 2/3 its power to push Wookie adequately along. It is important to note each time I have gone sailing the water was quite calm and the winds light so I have yet to experience strong currents. Obviously when this occurs I can motor sail and so unless the wind is on the nose I do not need to depend solely on the motor. What has surprised me is how powerful the 2.0 RT Torqeedo motor really is, which has so far been a big relief.
It is always important to carry a second anchor (and on occassions even a third). On Wookie my requirements for this were:
- This anchor had to be easy to store and simple to deploy;
- This anchor had to store in the lazarette;
- This had to be a dependable second anchor, a lunch hook and something I could carry on a dink as an anchor.
My choice for this anchor is the Danforth 5H (Hi-Tensile) rated at 1000 pounds holding power for boats up to 31 feet in 20 knots of wind and only weighs 5 pounds. To this I added 8 feet of 5/16 stainless steel chain attached to 100 feet of 3/8 inch 3 braided rope.
To store the rode and chain I took a small plastic tool box and on one end cut out a 2 inch hole to feed the line though and on the other a 3/8 inch hole to feed the bitter end through to tie off in the cockpit (would be embarrassing if all this fell overboard).
This entire set-up fits neatly in the lazarette and meets the requirements I listed above. As an added bonus the toolbox has a small storage space on its lid in which I store a winch handle, tie-cutters and a flashlight. The anchor is mounted in the locker on a Seadog stainless deck anchor chock set.
PS. I laid a layer of fibreglass to cover a myriad of screw holes in the lazarette, sanded and prepped all of this before giving it a coat of paint. I also took this opportunity to upgrade my whale manual bilge pump and installed new hoses and clamps.
One of the advantages of the Flicka’s plumb bow and full keel with its transom mounted rudder is that it likes to sail in a straight line without pressure on the helm. Probably why this boat is revered for its offshore sailing and cruising capabilities. There are many options available to secure a tiller but I opted for something I felt was dependable, beautifully built and simple to use called The Tillerlock. This is made from stainless steel, naval brass and rated a “best buy” by Practical Sailor.
Looking After The Tiller
One of the issues of having the tiller mounted in rudder cheeks is that to look after it properly one needs to remove it to varnish. The other solution is to paint or gelcoat the end of the tiller that is bolted inside the cheeks. After a few months I decided to gelcoat this.
Tiller In The Cheeks Needing Maintenance
The tiller was removed. The end was masked off, sanded and coated with a layer of two-part epoxy. This was all wiped with acetone and then gelcoat was applied with a brush. Once the gelcoat dried this was wet sanded and installed back in the cheeks.
Tiller Sanded Epoxied And Gelcoat Painted On
Tiller Installed Back In Rudder Cheeks
My Famous Cooking Pot
As I live on Wookie, I get ribbed mercilessly by dock neighbours about my lack of, and choice of, cooking utensil/s. Pots for Wookie may seem a simple decision to make but when space is a premium then creativity is required. Consequently I have not rushed out to buy any fancy pots until I have discovered exactly what it is I need. Once I do purchase the “ultimate set” a bespoke storage locker for these will be built below the sink.
Amazingly I have (after several months now) yet to decide because my one and only pot – my famous coffee pot – seems to handle all my needs. It does this with exceptional aplomb.
I have a small 2 quart stainless coffee pot, with a coffee percolator insert, which I tossed (actually use this to strain used varnish).
In this pot I:
- Boil water for my tea;
- Cook pasta, rice, veggies;
- Boil meat and fish;
- Boil and scramble eggs.
This pot is functional because the lid is attached and flips back, it has a handle that does not get hot and the spout is well suited for steam to escape. Just as importantly the holes in the spout are a built in strainer (this makes draining my pasta and rice a breeze). So I ask, what else does an ageing lone sailor on a small boat need? Even better, if I am eating alone, I just eat out of the pot reducing my cleanup and use of water (I guess its true that you can take a chap out of the bush but you can’t take the bush out of this old Rhodesian).
Summer has arrived so Wookie now has some awnings to help keep me cool.
Ghosting Along – Early Morning Engine Review