Second Outing with Shackleton

Every great Micro Adventure begins with food.  Since I don’t know how to make a sandwich, Bennett agreed to prepare the food.

DSC00417I was actually Bennett’s second choice today, but since his brother was in driver education, he agreed to go sailing with me.  Kids have it so tough nowadays.  DSC00418You’ve see this before.

DSC00419Yes, I’m grateful for the little outboard motor.  This is Idaho folks.  Nuking wind or no wind at all seems to be our norm.  And, it changes every 10 minutes.

DSC00426First half of our adventure was motoring and eating.  Notice the glassy smooth water behind us.  Bennett is licking his fingers after the Cheetos.  We used a Wave Front tiller clutch on the tiller handle…it allowed us to eat and motor at the same time.  Very convenient.

DSC00430Beautiful Palisade Reservoir near the Wyoming boarder.  DSC00431Now were talking…future R2AK participant here.  I love this expression.  This is no video game…this is the real deal.

DSC00434We sailed all the way back to the dock on a broad reach.  Bennett did almost all of the sailing.  Kids are great, sailboats are great.


  1. Loved having both sail and outboard.  In fact, the outboard saved the day.
  2. Rigging worked much better than Sea Trials #1.
  3. Reefing is still not acceptable.   It was very difficult to reach the lark’s head line…things felt off balance reaching that far fore and aft (Simeon, you were right).
  4. I have another idea in mind for my next outing using line, cheek blocks and cam cleats.  I’ll get there folks, but I’m not there yet.
  5. The Wave Front tiller clutch was awesome.

It was great to get out again and get a little more experience with Shackleton.  I have a lot to learn, but every trip teaches me much more than I could ever glean from a book.  I love my Scamp…so glad I built this little sailing machine.  

Sea Trails #1, what worked, what didn’t

After 15 months of hard work, head scratching, glueing, sanding and glueing some more, I finally launched Shackleton.  I imagined this culminating act to be euphoric in nature, heavenly choirs singing above my head and a feeling of immense satisfaction settling over me like a warm blanket.  Instead what I felt was frustration, confusion and dumb stupor of thought. OK, it wasn’t quite that bad.  But, it was anything but simple.  I believe it can become simple…but I’m not there yet.

DSC02776The front mast support was built too narrow, preventing me to step the mast with the boom, yard and sail still in the support.  I need to remake this part and widen it 2″ – 3″. Notice me leaning against it, to keep it from falling off the boat with my lower body.  This needs to be fixed.  I also need a longer halyard; notice how high it is up the mast (totally my mistake, I cut it too short).

DSC02780Floating level on her lines…this makes the builder very happy.  DSC02791Sail up, one reef in place (don’t have nettles yet).  Reboarding strap dragging off port side of vessel (Howard, aren’t you happy seeing those reboarding lines?)  Loose reefing lines dangling off the back of the boom.  But, I’m sailing…yes, I’m sailing.DSC02805Limited downhaul movement, but sailing.  DSC02792DSC02819Hat blown off, raising the rudder before I hit bottom.  Center board already raised (the 2:1 line lift works excellent for the CB).

Immediate problems:

  1. Lake was too small…felt a little trapped.
  2. Wind was too high…around 18 mph gusting over 20 mph.
  3. No lazy jacks.  The up & down process of sail, yard & boom was like a circus act.
  4. Continuous reefing equalled continuous frustration.
  5. Reefing lines were all over the place like spaghetti wrapping around my head.
  6. Downhaul was too short.
  7. Traveler was too long.

Immediate appreciations:

  1. Shackleton floated level on her lines.
  2. She felt stable.
  3. She felt quite stiff.
  4. Wet storage in BH 7-8 worked well to toss miscellaneous items.
  5. Long tongue on trailer proved essential (good call Simeon)
  6. Ergonomics were comfortable.


Through driveway sailing (mocking everything up in the driveway), I learned several things. There are a lot of initial problems that need to be overcome.  I’ll take one at a time:

  1. If you don’t have lazy jacks, the whole ensemble becomes entirely unmanageable.  Things come crashing down into the cockpit with lines going everywhere.  I knew this had to be fixed.  Since sea trials #1, I have rigged up lazy jacks.  The entire process of raising and lowering the sail now becomes very manageable, even might I say enjoyable.  The lazy jacks also allow you to drop the sail out on the water and still motor around with the sail being completely out of the way and stowed safely over head.  I can’t say enough about the importance of lazy jacks.
  2. I need some way to hold the sail & boom from drifting forward.  I rigged up a snotter line that wrapped around the mast.  This helped stabilize the sail immensely.
  3. There were just too many lines…mainly the reefing lines.  And, anytime you make an adjustment to the halyard or downhaul, all those reefing lines need to be readjusted.  It was a constant head ache and needed to be simplified.  Also, there was too much resistance in the lines to function as advertised.  The sail didn’t reef quickly or shake out quickly.  I had to apply significant pressure to coax the lines loose.  It was just all wrong.  After staring at the problem for over 2 hours and regretting all the hardware I purchased to make it work, there was only one solution…get it off.  Get it all off.  Clear the slate so my mind could come up with a quicker and simpler solution.  Here’s what I came up with.

DSC00470I remembered reading a comment from Phil McCowin on the Scamp blog about a simpler way to reef.  He referenced kite boarding and how they rig the sail to the lines.  This reminded me of the same system used to rig stunt kites.  If this works, it will be the simplest, fastest way to reef known to mankind on planet earth.  You simply tie a figure 8 knot in each fore & aft reefing cringle.  Three along the luff & three along the leach side of the sail.DSC00472Slip the lark’s head knot over the figure 8 knot.  Tighten the lark’s head around the figure 8 knot and your done.  The lark’s head knot is fastened to each end of the boom.  This line should be much smaller in diameter than the line used to tie the figure 8 knot.  Now you can adjust your downhaul and halyard all day long without ever needing to re-tension all those reefing lines.  I can’t wait to test this new system.  Tying in and shacking out a reef should be very simple and fast utilizing this system.  Time will tell.

4.  I hadn’t yet wrapped the spars to protect them from rubbing and banging against each other.  Many have used leather to protect the spars.  I was concerned about getting the leather tight and preventing slippage with tapered spars, so I settled on a simpler, lazier solution (remember, I’m a Ham n Egger).

DSC00468I have no idea if this will work…but I’ll sure let you know.

DSC00469I first wrapped the spars with bandage wrap.  This stuff sticks amazingly well to itself.  The purpose of the wrap is to add cushioning.  I then wrapped electricians tape over the bandage wrapping.  The nice thing about electricians tape is that you can add a little tension for a nice secure wrap.  DSC00416This seems to provide both protection and a nice cushion for the spars.  It will be very easy to add a little more tape as needed.

I’ll really looking forward to trying out these tweaks during sea trials #2.

Securing Center Board Bolt

It just wasn’t right…I could feel it in my bones.  Remember, if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong if I’m within 20 feet of the problem.  My life experience has taught me this.  Like the time I rode Todd Treasures motorcycle in 4th grade without asking…long story but it turned out bad; or the time I flipped my bicycle trailer while descending at 34 mph down a wet hill on the Oregon Coast.  The experiences go on and on.

I knew the center board bolt would come winging out on me when I least expected it, if I didn’t come up with a solution to this problem.

Thanks to many for their input on the Scamp forum.  I settled on this simple solution.

DSC00428 The bolt plate has previously been epoxied to the center board case.  This left only the bolt that needed to be sealed.  I slathered it with 100% silicon caulk.

DSC00425Then I took a small piece of wood, measuring 1 3/4″ x 3″, and drilled out the center with a 1 1/8″ forsner bit.  I test fit the depth on the bit cut for a snug fit against the bolt head.

DSC00426 Then I drilled out the outside of the block with a counter sink bit.  I plan to use 1 1/4″ ss screws.  They protrude through the block 5/8″.  I calculated the thickness of the case at this point to be 3/4″.   Notice I offset the counter sink holes, holding them up toward the top of the block a bit.  This allows better access in hatch #5 to set the screws.

DSC00418This is the block positioned over the bolt.  I will epoxy and varnish this block and then screw it in position.  It fits nicely along side the Vault.  Now I can sleep again at night.

One of these days, any day now, I won’t have anything left to build.

Deck Rigging Hardware

I decided to add backer plates to the deck rigging hardware.  This lifts the rigging a bit and makes it easier to engage  and tie off lines.

DSC00412This is a simple pad eye, located on the port side of the mast.  It will hold the Ronstan double becket block.DSC00408  The cam cleat with fairlead, also on the port side, will secure the downhaul line.

DSC00415Moving to the Starboard side, the swivel base deck block to run the halyard.

DSC00416 And a 5″ cleat to secure the halyard…I don’t want this one coming unloose.

DSC00417Cabin top looking aft.

Steps I followed:

  1. Glued up the backer blocks from left over scraps.
  2. Shaped backer blocks according to rigging hardware shape.
  3. Used rigging to drill holes in backer blocks for proper alignment.
  4. Used backer blocks to drill holes in cabin top.
  5. Used screws through rigging to clamp epoxied backer blocks to the cabin deck.
  6. Used fender washers underneath to secure all rigging.


This took some patience running back and forth to the hardware store.  The holes for the various rigging parts were not all the same diameter, so I had a lot to keep track… bolt diameter, bolt length, fender washers and nuts to fit everything.  Now getting ready to sand and varnish the top of Shackleton.  

Rigging Hardware

Warning:  This blog post may be boring, especially if you already know how to rig a Scamp.

Rigging hardware has always been a bit of a mystery to me…largely because I don’t understand it.  There are very few sailboats in Idaho, so there’s not much to look at.  Also, Scamp is a little different from other sailboats…simpler…yet different, with the balance lug rid and all.  I knew I was in over my head, so I called Chuck at Ductworks to get his input and advise.  He helped me with my wants and needs.   $600 dollars later, I almost have what I need.

DSC00411This is a glance at most of the hardware I will be using.  A couple of pieces are backordered (traveler swivel block and sail outhaul cleat).   Let’s look at each piece separately.

DSC00408First off the lines.  The black at far left is bungie cording I plan to use as sail ties.  The white is 100′ of 1/8″ solid braid polyester for sail lacing, the red is 35′ of 5mm Marlow Excel for the halyard.  The 4mm (3mm?) Marlow Excel in blue, lime and black will be used for reefing.

DSC004092 closed bow eyes for anchoring.

DSC00420Four 6″ deck cleats for tying up at a dock.

I decided to try the continuous reefing system explained by others.  The following 3 images pertain to the parts needed for the continuous reefing setup.

DSC00408 9 Cheek blocksDSC00419 9 pad eyes (to keep all the reefing lines straight).DSC004183 cleats to cleat off the reefing lines.

DSC00410Rudder uphaul & downhaul cleats (note the downhaul is the auto release type to allow the rudder to release upon impact)

DSC00414Top of mast & sail outhaul blocks with straps.

DSC00417Halyard swivel base deck block.

DSC004155″ Halyard deck cleat and two 4″ veranda cleats (to tend the halyard & downhaul lines).

DSC00412Downhaul double blocks (deck block with becket).

DSC00413Downhaul deck cleat with fairlead.

DSC00411Boom swivel block and mainsheet stand-up tiller block (I will be bringing the mainsheet down to the tiller for one handed sailing).

DSC00416Mainsheet tiller cam cleat (for occasionally cleating off the mainsheet when conditions permit).


Wish me luck.  I’m sure if you asked 100 people how to rig a Scamp you would get 101 opinions.  This is my first attempt…we’ll see how I like things and then make changes from there.  Sometimes in life you just have to move forward and see how things work out.  This is my ready, fire, aim approach.  



Putting the Heart into Shackleton

As you know, if you read my blog, I chose fixed ballast for Shackleton.

 Possible advantages may include:

  1. Simplicity (fixed and always present)
  2. Lower center of gravity (placed directly onto the bottom of the hull)
  3. Lower maintenance (no water intrusion into the hull)
  4. No mussel transport (big deal in Idaho…mandatory inspections at state lines)
  5. Increased storage (not that anyone needs more storage in a Scamp)
  6. Safer (impossible to forget to fill with water)
  7. Quicker (nothing to fill & top off)
  8. Adjustable (by cutting 3/4″ dummy blanks to take the place of the steel)

Possible disadvantages may include:

  1. Steel plates may rust (but I don’t think they will because I epoxied them with graphite)
  2. The steel plates could clank around inside the vault and gain momentum (I built the vault very tight to the steel.  I then added nylon straps around the steel to keep them off each other and to provide a bit of a bumper effect.  These straps also allow me to lift out the steel plates if needed)
  3. I may get condensation in the vault (I’ll need to keep an eye on this and possibly drill a few holes through the vault for proper ventilation if it becomes a problem.  The nylon straps also provide a slight air gap around all the plates)
  4. Heavier trailering weight (not much though…like hauling around your skinny buddy in the trailer, approx. 175 lb.)
  5. Inadequate hull strength (I epoxied an additional 3/4″ bottom plate directly onto the 3/8″ hull, and then filleted this plate to all the surrounding bulkheads to tie it in place.  The sides of the vault were built onto this bottom plate)

Enough talk…let’s see the photos

DSC00421This is looking down into the vault.  The lid has been places onto the hinged hatch cover.  You can see the stainless thumb screws and washers on the non skid.  Yes, the lid fits through the hatch…but just barely.  And, yes I did have this figured out ahead of time…but just barely.

DSC00422If you look very closely, you can see the head of the center board pivot bolt at the far right side of the storage compartment.  I reversed the head position of the CB bolt for easier access.  This will allow me to keep an eye on the CB bolt.

DSC00425Behold the mighty six steel plates.  This is the moment of pure and utter reverence…please offer up a minute of silence here.  Notice the nylon straps going around each plate. They provide a cushion between the plates and allow me to lift them out of the vault if needed.  Otherwise, it would be next to impossible to remove the plates.  They weight around 27 lb. each.  Notice how tightly they fit.  Possibly another moment of silence may be in order.  The top also snugs down onto the nylon straps, so in the event of a capsize, the plates are held securely in place.  I’m feeling some serious love here!

DSC00426 Notice the cut out on the right side of the vault lid.  This allows me to pull the CB pivot bolt without removing the vault lid.


It felt a little symbolic dropping the weights down into the vault today.  Sort of like I was breathing life into Shackleton.  I wanted to share this moment with you so you could revel in the joy that both boat and builder felt at this time.  I can feel things coming together for Shackleton.  I’m hoping to have everything completed within another 2 -3 weeks.  I’ll keep posting my progress.

Tiller Arm Installed

While waiting for my rigging to arrive, I installed the tiller arm in Shackleton.  This was a really fun step to complete.  After climbing in and checking the position, I believe the arm will work well for sitting or standing.   Time will tell.DSC00417DSC00422I left a slight protrusion of the tiller out the back of the rudder head for visual effect.  The pin is 3/8″ x 2 3/4″ and fits beautifully.DSC00423 John Welsford designed the tiller cut out through the transom perfectly.  Check out the 1/8″ clearance when the tiller arm is thrown fully to port.DSC00424And to starboard.DSC00425The arm comes through the cut out with a good safety margin above and below as well.DSC00427Finally, with the rudder completely to port, it still clears the outboard motor bracket.  How did I get this lucky?

Now if that rigging would arrive

Outboard Motor Bracket with Motor

This was my day of reckoning.  Would the outboard motor bracket really work the way it was designed?  Well, in the shop, it appears that it will work out just as planned.  DSC00431 Notice the room for the tiller handle…with the handle at a 45 degree angle.  DSC00432 Plenty of clearance here to run the controls.DSC00433 This photo better shows the relationship between the outboard bracket and the rudder.  I didn’t want the motor to cavitate in wave action.  Looking at the depth of the prop, I don’t force it coming out of the water.  DSC00430 This photo shows the clearance of the tiller arm in the horizontal position.  I’m happy.DSC00427Notice how the rudder, fully deployed toward the port side, still misses the motor bracket.  This is at the end of it’s swing.


Love the bracket.  I’ll post an update once I have had the boat in the water under motor power, but this is exactly how I designed it to fit and function.