Wednesday, August 27, 2014

British Seagull--A post for the Motor Heads in the audience.

Along with building and restoring racing dinghies, Martin Scott is also fond of mechanical projects.  Over the years he has owned Austin Healey Sprites, various MGs, etc. but his latest "motoring" project is an outboard motor:  A British Seagull Model 40 Plus.  Martin restored this one for his dinghy rather than buy a new Honda or Mariner. Its re-machined with new rings - re-chromed and with all new gaskets and decals. Martin says she goes first pull.

Martin, did you really restore this?  She looks brand new!

Seems simple enough.  Just wrap a bit of old clothesline around the top pulley and give her a yank, right?  Well actually it's a bit more than that.  Here's the simplified starting procedure (taken from "SOS" Saving Old Seagulls): 

Motor cold.
Release the air bleed screw on the filler cap a half turn.
Pull open fuel tap.
Close choke. (restricting air supply)
Press 'tickler' on carb till fuel just spills out.
Open throttle to full. (frequent usage may allow you to determine that you can use less throttle to start.)
Ensure motor in neutral, if clutch or gears fitted.
Wrap pull cord 3 times round rope pull, clockwise.
(Move crew away from just behind you!)
Steady tank with left hand and give steady but sharp pull on rope. (turning flywheel clockwise).
Motor should start on 2nd pull.
If not started after 4 pulls look to see what you forgot!
If nothing seems amiss, check plug to ensure you have spark, see if plug wet...
Make sure fuel is less than 3 months old and correctly mixed, either 10:1 or 25:1. depending on age of British Seagull.  Never less than 25:1 though!!
If motor has not been started in many a month, try 'super flooding' by simply placing cloth in your hand, over the carb intake, thus injecting copious amounts of fuel, and lubricating/sealing dry bearing surfaces.
Whip rag away when it fires!
As soon as motor fires up, shut throttle down to avoid racing and open choke as soon as you can, normally within seconds....
Check for coolant flow. (should be the thickness of pencil, dropping back to the water.)

(If motor hot, do not flood to start.)

Lovely restoration.  Almost too pretty to use.  I confess that every now and then I look at Seagull motors on fleabay.  But I then I wake up, smell the Castrol and after reminding myself of all the other projects I have which are unfinished, I go lay down in a dimly lit room and take a few deep breaths until the temptation passes.

The iconic sailor with a sail bag over one shoulder and a light weight Seagull motor in the other hand was featured in every advertisement I saw as a teenager reading random copies of Yachts and Yachting which were laying about at Brigantine YC, courtesy of one of the senior members. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

Further pix from Cornwall

Yesterday, Martin Scott teased us with a single photo of his Mistral.  This morning he provided several more pix showing the boat at various stages during construction.


This shot shows us why this type of construction is referred to as "stitch and glue".  One "sews" the two sides of the boat together with either copper wire or nylon zip ties and then pulls the skin panels into shape, usually around the main bulkhead.  Once the shape has been optimized, by locally loosening or tightening wires as required, fiber glass tape wetted out with epoxy resin is laid over the inside of the seams.  Once the resin cures the wires on the external side are trimmed off and an additional layer of glass tape is applied to the outside of the seams.  One can think of the adjustment of the tension on the various wires, to achieve the desired shape, as similar to the process a bicycle mechanic goes through while truing a spoked wheel.

Here, the skin panels have been pulled up around one of the bulkheads.  The ratchet strap is a convenient way to adjust tension while tweaking the the shape before permanently glassing bulkhead in place.

The main bulkhead and center board trunk.  The strips of laminated timber on either side of the trunk help establish the shape of the keel line.  I like the IMCA Moth insignia applied to the bulkhead.  Nice touch.

Copper wire "stitching" along the keel line on either end of the center board trunk.  The prop and shaped piece of wood, like the laminated timbers in the preceding photo help define the shape of the keel's rocker.  Many Mistrals have an awkward knuckle in the bottom aft of the trunk which is created when the skin panels are being tortured into place.  This one will not! 

More details of the bracing Martin employed in insure the hull will be twist-free when finished.


The bow after the wires have been cleaned off and the outside layer of glass tape applied.  Hopefully Martin will keep us updated as construction moves along!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Meanwhile, down in Cornwall...

A few years ago Martin Scott over in Penzance requested a set of Mistral plans.  We had a bit of bother with the international post but he eventually got them.  Martin was at that time busy with the restoration of a pair of National 12 dinghies and so the Moth, although started, was left on the back burner.  Today Martin sent me a photo of his Mistral hull which he built in a female jig.  She looks quite nice!  Here's what Martin has to say:  "I built it in a female frame jig on the floor and I took it out yesterday to see if will stay straight on its own. Yes its very stable with just a 2mm adjustment on the port gunwale a couple of feet from the bow.  . I should finish the keel tape and resin tomorrow so it can go back in the jig for finishing. I have used Robbins 4mm five ply and should look nice when all varnished. In the above state we are up to 19kg which is not bad as 5 ply is quite heavy. I have eye surgery scheduled for October - notwithstanding all my problems I still hope to have the Moth finished and sailing it in the spring."

Evolution fresh from the jig.  She looks quite sweet.  I hope Martin sends some detailed pix of that building jig.  Most guys pull up the skin panels of a Mistral hull by eye and hence no two Mistrals are ever quite the same!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Maine Moth Boat Update

You may recall that I posted a few pix of a pair of Moth Boats under construction at Cottrell's Boats up in Maine.  Today Lynn Cottrell sent me some new pix of boats as the project gets closer to the finish line.  They're looking good, don't you think?!  Sails have been ordered.  All that remains is to rig spars and add a few bits of hardware.  Hopefully these boats will be sailing before the season ends.






Friday, July 25, 2014

2014 North End Beach Walk

It's been a couple years since I've walked to the north end of Brigantine.  I had an idle afternoon so I decided to see how the various storms have altered the undeveloped part of this barrier island.  Newbies to this blog can view the pix from my earlier excursion here and here.

In the interest of time we drove rather than to ride bikes to the north end of Brigantine Avenue, and parked near where the road dead ends.

These houses are still under repair almost two years after Hurricane Sandy.

The City has repaired the promenade and the narrow, adjoining beach has had its sand replenished.


This photo, taken a few days after Sandy, in roughly the same location as the one above, shows how the storm had scoured the sand away, leaving the rip-rap exposed and the prom somewhat in disarray.

The end of the promenade provides access to the "wild" beach.
One still finds odds bits of storm debris.  This was part of a deck from someone's house.

The small observation platform survived.  This structure provides a shady perch for birdwatchers.

The north end of Brigantine is part of a wild life refuge.  You can read about that aspect here.

Neon green sea weed.  Mermaid's hair?  I'm not sure.

This one I recognize:  bladderwrack.  Nature's bubble wrap.

Just a few fishermen in beach buggies this day.

I encountered this odd totem.  Who constructed it and its meaning are mysteries.

An old gum shoe, a brick, a shotgun shell casing propped up on a block of  flotation foam with accompanying line, wood and plastic pipe.  Most unusual.

The gloved hand reaching towards Heaven reminds me in a vague sort of way of work by the sculptor Carl Milles.


Milles' The Hand of God.
Another totem.  This tree or one just like it was here two years ago.  Either Sandy spared the original or its perpetrators are persistent enough to erect replacements.  A crispy dead Christmas tree complete with a cross on top.  Are odd beach rituals conducted here or is this a way for surf fishermen to mark the location of a favorite fishing hole?

Apparently Sandy couldn't be bothered to remove the stumpy remains of the old jetty when deliciously tempting beach houses were on offer.
This fencing, running from the dunes to the surf beyond the low tide line is new and different.

The State is getting a bit more attentive to the needs of beach-nesting birds.
Juicy looking clouds were forming as the day wore on but the sea breeze kept them more or less over the mainland until sunset.

As we near the end of the island one can see uninhabited  Pullen Island on the other side of the inlet.  One can see fresh vehicle tracks in spite of the fencing.  Perhaps a fish and wildlife agent was checking up on the State's dwindling supply of Piping Plovers.

Another view of Pullen Island across the north end sands.  We used to beach boats and picnic there before the wildlife  restrictions were put in place.

It was too hazy to see the southern end of Long Beach Island.  On a clear day one can see Holgate and Beach Haven.

The breaking waves mark the location of the bar in the unmaintained Brigantine inlet.

It's very restful.  We didn't see another person north of the fence.

Walking back we encountered a kite boarder.

As we exited the wild beach I noticed this enclosure.  At first I thought it was a holding pen for wayward plastic Adirondack chairs.  Further investigating revealed that this is a "dog park".  The chairs are provided for dog owners who apparently are the dog equivalent of parents who want their kids to get exercise but don't particularly want to be engaged in the process.  And so with that observation, to home and to a nice cold beer. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

2014 Brigantine Moth Boat Regatta Pix

All the "big wind" sailors who stayed home from this year's BYC Moth Regatta because of uncertainty over the status of the new club house missed a great event.  We had 9 boats: one vintage, 5 Gen I and 3 Gen II.  Yes, the clubhouse was slightly unfinished, but we did have flush toilets (you had to go to the bar to find a sink that worked to wash your paws, but come on--that's not a big deal).  And we had plenty of breeze out of the NW.  Enough to make the wires sing and produce white caps in front of the club dock.  Yes, launching was a PITA but once overboard the the racing was close and exciting.  Friday night, prior to the racing, Judy and Joe Courter wined and dined us as is their custom--good times!  The bottom line is that Bill Boyle took the Vintage award in his Abbott, Walt Collins, sailing his Europe won Gen I and John Z won Gen II sailing his Collins-constructed Mistral. 

Bob Patterson (Shelley Mk I) blew up after crossing the starting line during the first race and there were other casualties as the day worn on.  Next year we might be civilized enough for linen tablecloths and candle-lite, and yes, perhaps even complete plumbing in the restrooms but don't count on it!  What you can count on is a good day of racing.  Photo credit:  Ingrid Albaugh

Launching into the strong NW wind is always a bit of a hassle at BYC but nothing we can't deal with.



Drew--our RC.  Well done sir!
Lining up for the start of the 1st race.


A few seconds after the whistle.  Bob Patterson is Nr 217.

The fleet stretches out as we encounter a goodly gust.

That same gust ripped the center traveler horse out of Bob's Shelley!  Joe Courter tries not to run completely over Bob's sail...
Your old diarist had a good day out.
As did diaristson.  Say isn't Nr 43 Richard Petty's NASCAR number?  May have to paint that boat blue...
The jet ski kids were out in force but not a problem.
Vintage champ Bill Boyle in his Abbott Moth.  For those familiar with Fran Abbott's boat, the original hull number of this one is 1603.  Bill was borrowing a sail from Tweezerman for the day.
Walt Collins the Generation I champ in his Europe.
John Zseleczky sailing Walt's old Mistral Y2K Bug to victory in the Generation II division.  Hey John--time to finish Y2K2!
Occasionally I got lucky.
But most of the time I had a splendid view of Walt's transom.
While we were out racing, a young man from Maine arrived to buy Tweezer from Bill Boyle.  He rigged her up and sailed around a bit before packing up for the long ride back home.  Maine is getting to be a hot bed for Moth Boats.  Perhaps a northern regatta in a couple years?  Road Trip!
Back at the float at the end of the day.  Looking for my launching trolley and a beer.