The Schooner Sara B Log

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September 04, 2012     Post 40
Update and Cruise Report

Sara B on her mooring at the Pleasant Beach Hotel
We have now sailed Sara B version 2.0 for three months and the results are quite encouraging. Her tough new plastic hide seems to be keeping her dry except for a few small seeps that may be associated with deck penetrations. And her new keel works great. I can detect very little change in her helm and overall behavior under sail and that is good. Sara B was always a mannerly little schooner and she still is. I even think she tacks a bit better then she did before. Certainly she gets around at least as well. And the exterior ballast has stiffened her up some. The effect is noticeable when she gets her rail down. Back when she had a bilge full of lead she'd roll her rail under quite readily. Now, however, she stiffens up and it takes more wind to actually get her rail under.

The first time we had her out in some wind ( a puffy south wind 15 to 20 or a bit more) we did hear an alarming creaking and cracking noise from the main mast partners. It seems that perhaps when we installed the wedges we re-shaped them a bit unevenly. The 'high points” sounded rather dreadful as the mast compressed them against the dynel lined mast hole. As the summer wore on, the noise continued though it has abated a little. Perhaps we can make a new set of wedges or resort to some non traditional material. The original slightly tapered and hollowed out wooden wedges that fit tight to the round mast do look like a bit of a trick to create.

Chelsea, first leg of the cruise

As time went on we noticed the tiller was getting harder to shove over. It seems the rudder stock swelled up a bit and started binding on the lower fitting and the liner tube. We debated hauling out and pulling the rudder but decided we'd just live with it. We also noticed a slight tendency to 'creep' forward when the motor was in neutral due to drag on the newly lined clutch drum. Chris has it adjusted as loose as possible so hopefully at some point it will wear in. Until then we use reverse more than previously. Late in August we decided we would try to get in a short cruise along the south shore. The original plan was to go west to possibly meet up with Greg and Naomi but weather decided otherwise. Chris Sue and Cody R went to Sodus instead and spent a couple nights by Thornton Point. We then returned to Fair Haven and swapped out the crew to take my sister and friend Queeno to Oswego.

Schooner Lotus of the Sea Scouts with Sara B anchored in Sodus Bay

At Oswego we had a bonus point of interest, the sailing canal boat Lois McClure rigged as a schooner was visiting for a few days. Her traditional details fascinated us. She had a 'shin cracker' wheel, a 12 foot oak plank centerboard and carried two old anchors that had been recovered from actual wrecks on the bottom of Lake Champlain. Several of her crew came over to visit with Sara B at the old Goble drydock. One of them turned out to be Dennis Montgomery's son! He had been volunteering and they signed him up for the rest of the tour as an intern probably because he knew how to caulk wooden decks! The Lois Mc Clure's skipper Roger Taylor gave us a deck tour. He knows traditional boats and rigs extremely well and pointed out details of the replica to illustrate just how sophisticated the old timers were about doing things effectively on a sailing boat. Earlier while looking at Sara B he asked if her fisherman staysail had a spar. ( He noticed her halyards ).Our fisherman staysail with a small spar works well for running he told us. How many people would be able to tell us that? His breadth of knowledge was impressive.

Cody at the helm

Ironically, when I got home and was looking for our copy of Alan Vaitses covering wooden boats with fiberglass book to loan a friend who is thinking about trying to save an old woodie, I found it was published by Roger Taylor's company International Marine. So in a strange way, he may have helped extend Sara B's life. We hope he wasn't too offended by her glass job when he looked her over at Oswego- since that book helped a number of tired old boats live on for a few more decades. Strange world-

At any rate, we rolled home from Oswego in light winds and very uncomfortable slop left over by a northeaster during the night. We had John Pupparo along for that leg and I sailed with Cody aboard his good little Sea Farer sloop. Sara B's odd little cruise was quite a success. Once we get the 'sticky rudder' issue resolved, she should be good to go next year. It sure has been nice not to keep looking in the door at the little red bilge pump light on rough days. At this point, the Big Cover Up and the keel conversion seems to have worked pretty well. It still feels like a small miracle to me to see her out on the mooring and to walk by the barn and NOT see her looming shape in there.

At the OMF compound with the US Army tug LT-5, Lois McClure & tug, and the OMF Ontario

Sue, Queeno, Mary Gwen, take the Bubble for a ride

Sailing by the Oswego power plant

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