Lachlan passed away in January 2010.  As a memorial, this site remains as he left it.
Therefore the information on this site may not be current or accurate and should not be relied upon.
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Welcome to Lachlan Cranswick's Personal Homepage in Melbourne, Australia

Sailing and Yachting Stuff in Deep River

(including links to Mast Floats / MastHead Floats for sailing dinghies, Albacore Sailing Dinghy Links, and night lights / Navigation Lights)

Getting to and things to do in the Deep River, Upper Ottawa Valley, Ontario, Canada area

'Does the Job' Albacore 6781 Sailing Dinghy rigged and ready for sailing with Crewsaver Mast-Float:  Ottawa River at Deep River . . . 'Does the Job' Albacore 6781 Sailing Dinghy rigged and ready for sailing:  Ottawa River at Deep River . . . Taser on the Ottawa River at Deep River . . . Does the Job' Albacore 6781 Sailing Dinghy rigged with firefly sail for high wind conditions . .
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Deep River Boating and Yachting links

Lachlan's Yachting stuff

Mast Floats / MastHead Floats for sailing dinghies - commercial and making your own

(For commercial mast floats: be careful to check the weight of the mastfloat, it's physical dimensions and its mounting method before purchasing. Most commercial sellers to not tend to give much information relating to this.)

  • RYA Research into Dinghy Entrapments


    • Despite the low statistical risk, there is sufficient range of incidents to suggest it is worth making sailors aware of the problem. Of the incidents reported, only a small proportion required medical treatment, but over one third were serious i.e. potential threat to life.

      The biggest risk results from complete inversion of the boat with the sailor tangled or stuck underneath. The probability of an incident seems unaffected very much by the conditions, since a number of incidents were recorded in light winds. The speed of inversion can increase the risk: some designs invert faster than others, but most will invert quickly if capsized to windward whilst sailing downwind.

    • Sealed masts do appear to have some effect in reducing the speed and likelihood of inversion. Some manufacturers have made masthead buoyancy available as an option.

    • Masthead flotation may be useful in training centres, or when learning to sail a new high performance boat. A great deal of time and energy can be saved if the boat will not invert, but will float on its side while the crew recover. 30 - 40 litres of air at the masthead appeared to prevent inversions in a range of boats and conditions during trials, with no evidence of masts breaking. The impact on sailing performance is minimal for basic training and coaching. Undoubtedly significantly less buoyancy would be effective in many boats, but a fast windward capsize can result in very rapid inversions. 20 litres was insufficient on many classes.

      If RYA recognised Training Centres feel there is a significant risk due to the nature of the boats, the students, or the conditions on the day, they may use masthead flotation for certain tasks. It is not mandatory or normal practice on courses involving beginners. If it is employed on such courses, the instructor should remove the buoyancy and demonstrate inversion to the course members.

    • A sharp, serrated knife was used in some rescues; this is now a requirement for safety boats in RYA recognised Training Centres.

  • Albacore Saftey - Capsize Recovery

  • CrewSaver Mast Floats / MastHead Floats for Sailing Dinghies


    • (Lachlan's note: not sure if given dimensions are correct as implies 40 litre float is smaller volume than 9 litre)
    • Approx size for 9 Litre mast float is 112x28cm (Lachlan's note: looking at following picture, it is probably more likely to be 112cm x ~10cm)
    • Approx size for 40 Litre mast float is 76x28cm (Lachlan's note: roughly correct volume)

    • Note from Crewsaver: "The image [attached to E-mail] is of the 9 litre smaller size, and working with RYA [Royal Yachting Association] who advised to only secure at the top of the mast and let the bottom end just fly."

      Image of Laser 2000 with 9 litre CrewSaver Mast Float / CrewSaver Masthead Float

  • Buying CrewSaver Mast Floats / MastHead Floats for Sailing Dinghies



  • Messing About In Boats' - July 1, 2001 - A Masthead Float By Bradford Lyttle


    • Tipping over in small sailboats is always undesirable, but, if the boat does not turn entirely upside down (turn turtle), the situation often can be remedied by quickly climbing over the side, standing on the centerboard or daggerboard, gripping the gunwale, and leaning backwards. This generally rights the boat, after which, taking down the sail and bailing vigorously, usually makes it possible to resume sailing.

      If the boat turns turtle, a much more serious set of problems quickly can arise. For one thing, everything loose in the boat tends to fall out of the boat and, if they can't float, to the bottom of the body of water on which you are sailing. Several years ago, I was sailing a Snipe in Burnham Park Harbor in Chicago, and a vortex gust coming around one comer of the McCormick Place Exhibition Center tipped me over. I had my wallet, spectacles, and other things in a covered cookie can that was designed to be lashed to the boat, but had not had the presence of mind to secure the tether. Everything went irretrievably to the harbor's bottom.

      Because the Snipe had a wooden mast, I was very much surprised that it turned upside down. I had assumed that a wooden mast would float enough to prevent the boat in which it was stepped from turning turtle. What happened was that wind blowing on the bottom of the Snipe caused the boat to drift to leeward, water caught in the sail, and the turtle turn occurred. The experience freed me of the delusion that a safety factor lay in a wooden mast.

      Another experience that I had turning turtle occurred in a Flying Junior (FJ) that I purchased some years ago. The FJ is a 13' sloop originally designed as a trainer for teachng people how to sail the Olympic class Flying Scott. It has an aluminum mast. Because of its exceptional ease of sailing and seaworthiness, it became a class in itself, and the mainstay of many college, university, and other sailing clubs. I have had many fine sails with the FJ in the Thousand Island region of the St. Lawrence River.

      However, on one windy day, when I was sailing alone through a channel between two large islands out into the eastern end of Lake Ontario, during a tack, the mainsheet fouled on its swivel pulley/clamcleat fitting, and I tipped over. Almost immediately, the FJ turned upside down. While this situation might have posed an interesting challenge had I been in my teens, I was in my late 60s, and simply did not have the strength to right the boat or otherwise cope with all of the problems.

      Fortunately, there were a number of people picnicking on a dock on one of the islands, several of them noticed my predicament, and they came out in a power boat to rescue me. They towed the boat and me back to the dock, introduced themselves as members of the Kingston, Ontario, Yacht Club, and proceeded to right, and baif out, the FJ. On noticing that the flotation chambers had not been adequately corked and were flooded, they emphatically observed that I was sailing an unsafe boat, a criticism that was fully justified. The next day I changed the mainsheet pulley so that it would not swivel 360 degrees and foul the sheet, and solidly plugged the flotation chamber drain holes.

      These experiences turning turtle made me thoughtful about how to prevent small sailboats from doing so. In looking through a catalog distributed by Murrays, a California company that sells catamaran, windsurfing, and other kinds of sports gear, I noticed masthead floats that could be attached to the tops of catamaran masts. These were important safety devices. Once it has turned turtle, a catamaran can be much more difficult to right than a monolmll. The floats were made of molded plastic, teardrop shaped, and were of two kinds. A large version was mounted on ball bearings and had a fin at one end that would keep it pointed into the wind. The smaller float was simply streamlined, and did not rotate. In studying the floats more, I noticed that they were rather heavy, weighing several pounds, and somewhat expensive. While they might have been ideal for catamarans, they probably were too heavy for the small monohulls that I sailed.

      Therefore, I set about to design and build a masthead float suitable for my boats. The main body of the float consisted of two 1.5 gallon bleach bottles. I then made a 3/4" square oak piece whose length was the same as the diameter of the bottles, and down the center of the piece drilled a 5/16" hole. I had noticed in a boat equipment catalog that it was possible to purchase small ball bearings that would not rust and had purchased two of these that were 3/4" in diameterand acconnnodated a I/ 4" shaft (thermoplastic ball bearings with glass balls, available front McMaster-Carr Supply Cornpany). I then drilled Out the ends of the oak piece to accept the hearings with a snug fit. Next, I fitted a 1/4" stai niess steel rod about 30" long through the bearings. I held the rod in place with stainless steel collars secured with Allen head setscrews.

      After removing the rod, I made two nearly half-circular pieces of wood, which, when epoxied to the oak piece, made a disk with the same diameter as the bottles. For strength, I thickened the West System epoxy with silica powder. Using epoxy thickened in the same way, I then cemented the flat ends of the bottles to the disk. Next, I made an aluminum fin and epoxied it to the end of one bottle. This gave me a float that would turn and point into the wind.

      Calculations indicated that, since such a float would displace about three gallons of water, it should produce a buoyancy of approximately 25lbs. It seemed to me that this should prevent the masthead from sinking. However, it also was apparent that, once the boat had tipped over, the shock of the float hitting the water easily could break the epoxy glue, and the bottles would float free. Therefore, I lashed the bottles and wooden parts together with nylon string. Even if the float disintegrated, its major parts still should produce buoyancy. I drilled two holes in the free end of the stainless steel rod and screwed the rod along the top of the FJ mast.

      This float is much lighter than the commercial catamaran floats, and cost only a few dollars; the main expense being the ball bearings. I have used it for several years, and have not noticed that it significantly affects the way in which the FJ sails. I have not tipped over with it since it was on the boat, but have rea-son to believe that it will prevent the boat from turning turtle.

      After the second summer of use, the bottles broke away from the epoxy securing them to the disk. My guess is that the plastic of the bottles constantly flexed slightly and gradually pulled loose. I then reattached the bottles using clear 100% silicone sealant. Since the silicone is flexible, I expect that the bottles won't pull loose again. However, were I to make another float, I still would begin with silica-thickened epoxy as the material with which to cement the bottles to the wooden disk. The thickened epoxy, although it did not last indefinitely, did create seats into which the bottle bottoms fitted snugly. This made the silicone hold better when it eventually was used as the adhesive.

  • Capsize Prevention System Article

  • Topic: Mast-floats - ease of capsizing Albacore


    • If you sail in shallow water with a fast current, as I do, you may wish to consider hoisting a 3 litre fizzy drinks bottle to the mast head, if and only if the conditions are very gusty. On my home bit of water, inversion will probably result in a bent or broken mast.

      If you get a loop of tape sewn to the sail (or an eyelet) next to the bolt rope about a foot below the headboard, you can tie the bottle to the head of the sail and hoist it with the sail so it isn't any trouble. If not, make sure your burgee halyard is through a stout metal lined or all metal eye at the mast head, rig an extra halyard through it with ~ 3mm nylon cord and hoist the bottle on that. Last alternative, fit two extra eyes to the front of the mast at the head and tie the bottle on before stepping the mast (my preferred option if I *have* to use mast head buoyancy, which can be 'suggested' by our race officer/OOD). The bottle should be prepared in advance by leaving it in the freezer over night with the cap loose (or if you have access to dry ice, put a SMALL chip of that in) then closing the cap so that at normal temperatures it is pressurised) and a coarse net worked round the bottle using small cord so as to have some way of securing the bottom of the bottle to the halyard. (the neck is secured using a constrictor knot)

      OTOH if you sail on water thats deep enough to invert without damage or on a lake or dam so there is no current, *DONT BOTHER*, just practice righting from inverted as others have reccomended. I have inverted an Alb 3 times in about 20 years (once in my current boat, and twice in a GRP Alb with a ~6000ish sail number.) The GRP alb was a ****er to right as we had great difficulty breaking the suction. It seriously helps if the jib sheet is long enough to throw right over the bottom of the hull so you have something to lean back on. Also we found the underside of the gunwale to be very slippery and grip tape along it from the shroud to half way back along the centreboard case would have been very welcolme. As my boat has the jib track through bolted along the gunwale I haven't bothered with the tape on my own boat as there is enough grip to stop me slipping with the protruding nylocks.

      The best solution is not to invert in the first place. To that end, train your crew NOT to climb the boat once the mast has hit the water (anyway its undignified to be fighting them for space on the centreboard :-) ). If they wont learn, first make sure they have a decent wetsuit, and if that doesn't persuade them to let go, consider chastising them with a paddle or finding other crew ;-). Other measures might include fitting a steel centreboard as I have. (Original equipment for the class was a 1/4" galvanized steel centreplate) You *can* capsize an Alb with a steel plate in but she'll durn near right herself and it would take something pretty creazy to actually get the boat inverted. Steel centreboards have been covered at considerable length before so I am *NOT* going to rehash that discussion except to say they are not thought well of by the die-hard racers. My experience has been that I can put the side deck a couple of inches under water and still coninue sailing. I dont really worry if I occasionally immerse the lee jib cleat in a gust if sailing solo. Quickest way of going for a swim I know of is to be hiking hard and get caught with the jib aback and cleated on a sudden wind shift :-(

      Ian Malcolm. London, ENGLAND.(FORUM REPLY PREFERRED)
      ians[at]the[dash]malcolms[dot]freeserve[dot]co[dot]uk [at]=@, [dash]=- & [dot]=.
      'Stingo' Albacore #1554 - All varnished hot moulded woodie.

  • Albacore BOUYANCY - Mast Floats (tieing 6 litres worth of pop bottles to the top of my mast)

  • Albacore: Anti-Turtle Mod' By Malcolm Rook

Albacore Sailing Dinghy Links

Tasar Stuff

From a Tasar user (weld up that autobailer):

>"Likewise the original bailer was weak. I have always put a stainless one in
>that requires a little oversizing of the original cut-out. Do not use the
>bailer in anything under planing conditions as the bailer will not function
>without the suction below that boat speed provides. I only use mine when
>conditons bring spray inside or we've for whatever reason, have taken on
>water. The boat always comes up dry if you capsize, and that is the beauty
>of the boat."

and now that I think about it,,In the old days I never opened the
thing...but it didn't leak either.


Portable / Clampable Bow and Stern Lights

Taser on the Ottawa River at Deep River . . Image-to-Art picture rendered by Lyle Kroll of Taser on the Ottawa River at Deep River

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