Saturday, March 19, 2016

My 1st Double Braid Line Splice.

During my Navy career, I leaned that you had to blow your own horn before someone else used it as a spittoon!

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been working on moving all of the mainsail reefing lines back to the cockpit so that I don't have to go up on deck to reef the sail. Like most monohull sailboats, Eximius demands that a person (normally me) goes up on deck to put in the mainsail reef to reduce sail area in anticipation of worsening weather. Going up on the deck is not the best place to be out on the ocean, but the way the lines were positioned on Eximius, it was a requirement. So we would normally put the 1st reef in place before we headed out and we would shake them out if the weather proved light enough to put all the sail out, for us, that's about 16kts, we like the boat upright.

During this job, I took the extra step of replacing the almost new Main Halyard. I had replaced just a few months ago, and used the old line as the template for the new, but the old line was a good fit in the line clutches and I was reluctant to replace the line with something smaller, which is what the owners manual indicated should be used. RTFM! The Main Halyard line is $2.07 a foot and it's 119' long! expensive! So I replaced it with the line size from the manual. In addition to the line itself, there's also the cost of having a shackle spliced into the end of the line where it connects to the top of the Main Sail. That's a few bucks too!

This time, I bought the tool for doing the splice myself, and here's the result - Did I hear a Horn blast!

This is my first ever Double Braided Line Splice EVER! And it came out just too cool!
The line is 3/8 StaSet Double Braded Line, the shackle was from the original Halyard.

See you on the Water.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


The Bimini, Dodger, the piece that goes between, and all of the side panels that make up the enclosure around the cockpit of Eximius are all Zippered! That's the good news, it means that we can remove them if we have to! (Ok, all but the Bimini as it has our Solar Panels atop of them, bolted through!)

And those zippers are probably at least 10 years old, I'm guessing some are much much older (Eximius will be 30 next year), so some of them get a little bit grouchy when it's time to exercise. I have had to resew a couple of them because it was so difficult to get the zipper to move along the zip that the force actually tore the stitches out.

I mentioned this to a good friend, owners of Spruce Goose, Joyce Klein, and she is a diver that works for a company that sells dive equipment online. This weekend, Joyce gave me a tube of Zip Tech and suggested it might make a difference.

According to the label, the lubricant does not contain any silicone or paraffin wax, both of which I have seen in other products. It's like a large lip balm

Well folks, it works! The first zipper that I lubricated using zip tech  when from a stubborn, already broke the zip tab, pain the butt zipper to an ooooooh, this is easy zipper!

With that success, I applied it to all of the zippers on the boat Dodger, they all responded, I'm sure I could hear them saying thank you!

I checked their price compared to Amazon, Dive Gear Express is better!

Zip Tech is certainly easy to use, I just applied it to the closed zip surface and then opened/closed the zip a few times, it got easier and easier as the lubricant worked into the zip. Then I wiped off any surface residue. The lubricant is a white solid and as I wiped it on the zip surface, the zip left a groove in the soft lubricant, so I turned the tube about 90 degrees each time I wiped a new area of zip. I probably used about 1/4 tube to lubricate about 20' of zippers, but really can't tell how much is left in the tube, so I'm ordering a tube from Dive Gear Express. From now on, each time I have to operate a previously unused zipper, I'm going to lubricate it with this stuff. When I lube the boat cushions, I'll be really careful to wipe off the excess, don't want it getting onto any clothing, although we haven't had to clean it off anything yet.

I would give this product 5 stars, reasonably price, good size, does the job and easy to stow aboard, won't adversely affect the zipper plastic or metal and will make opening or closing the zips sooooo much easier.

Thanks for introducing me to this zipper lube Joyce.

See you on the water.

Update April 3rd 2016
In preparation for an upcoming race, I have been working on leading all of the lines aft to the cockpit, including the Main Halyard (the line used to raise the Main Sail to the top of the mast).

Having completed the project, I raised the sail and tested the process of putting in and taking out the 2 reefs to reduce the sail area in anticipation of worsening weather. When I dropped the sail back down to the boom it stopped halfway down due to friction between the mast and and the sail slugs that keep the main sail secured to the mast but allow it to be hoisted and lowered.
Having done all this work to reduce the necessity of going up on the cabin top  to adjust the sail, it was disappointing to still go up on the cabin top to stow the sail.

Then it occurred to me, perhaps the Zip Tech would also lubricate the sail track? So I applied some of the lube to a cloth and inserted that into the track and raised it up the mast like a flag. A couple of times up and down and I felt it could be ready to test.
I raised the sail to the top and dropped it, quite an improvement, repeated the process, it got better. In all I treated the mast track 4 times, spreading out the lube along the length of the mast.
The result:

Pretty impressive.

I have purchased 2 more tubes of the lube from Dive Gear Express, here's a link to there website. FYI am I not affiliated in any way to Dive Gear Express, just good friends with Joyce Klein & Mike Megarity.

Thanks again Joyce.

See you on the Water.