Category Archives: Commissioning

Sails On: Spring Rigging 2016

Sails On: Spring Rigging 2016
Sails On: Spring Rigging 2016

The final mission critical item on my to do list before Saturday’s launch was to rig the sails. I had hoped to order and receive three new halyards for running up the sails, but my timing was off. The new halyards will arrive midweek.

So today I headed down to Willsboro Bay Marina and   Installed the canvas. Now I’m ready for a to launch Errant on Saturday morning for the summer 2016 shakedown sail to Essex Shipyard.

Bimini Blues + Pressure Washer Bliss

Once the winter cover was removed and stowed I turned my attention to the bimini. I remove all the exterior canvas in the autumn before installing the winter cover, so in the springtime I need to reverse the process.

The first step is to remove the two foremost stainless steel bimini supports, reposition then ahead of the backstays, and then reconnect them. This permits them to fan forward and support the canvas.

Securing the canvas to the stainless ribs is as simple as fastening eight snaps and zipping a half dozen zippers. And yet for the second year in a row I false started, half-attaching the cover backward before realizing my mistake. In the photo above Errant’s bimini is secured, taught, and ready for sailing.

Next up? Time for a scrub-down.

Pressure Washer

I loaded up the pressure washer before heading down to the marina, planning primarily to simplify hull cleaning (in anticipation of bottom painting). The chore was moderately successful, but the worst soiling turned out to be a dock-rub that remained unchanged no matter how much I abused it with my jet of high pressure water. Looks like some heavy duty compounding will be necessary.

But there’s a silver lining.

Errant’s topsides were overdue for a eep cleaning, and the pressure washer proved its mettle removing stains and last season’s grime from the nonskid. I cranked the pressure and made pass after pass, waving the wand back and forth and watching the gelcoat emerge [almost] like new.

Not bad, right? No soap. No significant elbow grease. Just water, pressure, clean…

About the Bimini…

I noticed while installing the bimini that it’s beginning to fail. Too much weather. Pinholes are beginning to appear. The vinyl window is foggy, scratched, yellowing. It’s time to consider a replacement (and possibly a couple of modifications). Here’s the outfit that fabricated the bimini. I’m curious if they’re still around. Time to find out…

De-Mothballing Sailboat for Spring Launch

Spring at last! Errant will be launched on May 15. I will be traveling much of the time between now and then, so lots of pre-launch preparation and dewinterization needs to happen quickly, quickly. Today I got a good jumpstart.

The morning started with removing the winter cover. Temperatures were cool, but skies were clear and the winds were light. Pretty optimal conditions. Step one was to loose all of the teathers that secure the winter cover to the boat and cradle.

Once all of the winter cover tie-downs were untethered, the lacing at the bow needed to be removed.

Mission [almost] accomplished… unfortunately the lacing finishes way out of reach — even using the step ladder — so I had to climb up inside to work from the bow deck. Here’s a glimpse of the cockpit looking aft from the companionway.

And here’s a view forward once I finished unlacing and unzipping the winter cover from the bow.

The next step was to disconnect the bow section from the stern section by unzipping a series of connections roughly perpendicular to the mast. I folded the bow section on itself in 2–3 foot rolls, and then we folded the long roll of surprisingly heavy waterproof fabric until the bundle is compact enough to fit in a stuff sack for storage.

Then I continued the process with the winter cover’s stern section, starting at the mast and folding my way aft.

Once entire cover is removed, folded, and stuffed into the storage bags it’s time to remove the support substructure that supports the campus. I tend to go a little overboard installing styrofoam insulation on all obvious stress/abrasion points to reduce the chance of damage from wind and snow and ice during the winter. Before dismantling all of the supports, it’s necessary to clip the wire ties that hold the stars one place and then gather all of the styrofoam insulation for reuse in the autumn.

Mission accomplished! The winter cover is off.

Wire tie detritus. 

With the winter cover removed and stored, it’s time to install the bimini. Stay tuned. 

First Sail 2015

My father at the helm and my sister assisting with Errant's navigation. First sail of the season!
My father at the helm and my sister assisting with Errant’s navigation. First sail of the season!

Today was the picture-perfect start to the sailing season. The sunshine and warmth and wind delivered an auspicious rebuttal to yesterday’s chilly, drizzly launch. And even more fortunate, I was joined by my father and sister for the sail south from Willsboro Bay Marina to the Essex Marina.

Lazy Day Log

The mostly north-northwest wind varied 6 to 12 knots with very minimal wave action. We motored north out of Willsboro Bay and raised our sales as we rounded the tip of Willsboro Point. Smooth sailing all the way, and approximately four hours of catch-up time. My father sailed most of the way, and my sister helped with the charts/navigation and even spent some time at the helm.

Docking still revs up my anxiety meter, and while I know this will change as my skills/confidence improve, I arrived at the Essex Marina with a twinge of dread. But light winds, forethought, and ample good fortune served me well. The boat responded perfectly, and my crew stacked the odds in my favor. A huge relief!

Projects on the Horizon

Errant feels ready for a summer of sailing. I’m excited as I look forward.

I still need to rig one or two reefing points. I’ll try to take care of that over the course of the week plus a handful of other projects that I still need to tackle including ordering and installing new halyards, ordering and installing new name, sealing a couple of slow topside leaks. But all in all, Errant feels ready for a summer of sailing. I’m excited as I look forward.

Water Level Worries

Unfortunately recent rains have elevated the Lake Champlain water level by 2+ feet, and the waves are now breaking over the marina’s docks and fingers. I had to set up a temporary spring stretched across the channel just to keep Errant off the dock. Fingers crossed that the rains will diminish in the lake level will begin to fall.

Sails Back On

Installed newly repaired mainsail on May 29, 2015.
Installed newly repaired mainsail on May 29, 2015.

I’ve just finished installing the main which was repaired by Vermont Sailing Partners over the winter. Yesterday I installed the genoa which they repaired also. While the sails are far from new, they were well repaired and fit great! Now I can rest a little easier that they’ll perform reliably this season.

Here are a few more photos of the last two days’ progress.

I replaced the old, worn out sail straps with three sizes of Blue Performance Sail Ties.

New Sail Wraps for Mainsail

Dutchman Sail Flaking System

I’m still sorting through lots of new-to-me items that take a little extra time and attention the first time through. Today one of those was the Dutchman Sail Flaking System. I think I’ve gotten it installed correctly, but I’ll plan on fine tuning it the first time I sail Errant.

If you’re unfamiliar, here’s a helpful video about the Dutchman Sail Flaking System.

The Dutchman Sail Flaking System is basically a super effective, easy, user-friendly system for controlling a mainsail. The Dutchman’s vertical monofilament control lines are woven/laced through the sail and secured to the topping lift. When the mainsail halyard is released the Dutchman gathers and automatically flakes the sail above the boom. Because my halyard and reefing lines are led aft, I can operate the system entirely from the cockpit, facilitating short handed sailing which is one of my short term goals with Errant.

Removing Winter Storage Cover

Removing Winter Storage Cover
Removing Winter Storage Cover

Spring is in the air. Not only is the weather warm enough today for me to work on Errant barefoot, but I broke a sweat removing the winter storage cover.

Gravity helps rather than hinders. And disassembly is just plain obvious.

It’s worth noting that removing the winter storage cover is a fair share simpler, quicker, and less aggravating then installing it last autumn. Gravity helps rather than hinders. And disassembly is just plain obvious. Figuring out how to jury-rig all of those supports last fall made removal all the more challenging. Today was pleasant in comparison, sort of like feeling extra super well after recovering from a cold.

More good news: the winter storage cover made it through the winter without coming unlashed and without getting ripped or chafed. Bravo!

Good Bye, Hobie Cat 16

Good Bye, Hobie Cat 16
Good Bye, Hobie Cat 16 (Note that Lake Champlain’s still frozen in the background!)

With spring launch around the corner and a half dozen “get Errant ready to splash and sail” projects already underway, I realized last week that it was time to focus.

Out with the old; in with the new. Out with a pair of aging Hobie Cat 16s , and in with a new-to-me Catalina 310. End of an era. Start of a new one!

I re-listed them on Craigslist, updating the information from a previous attempt to sell them last summer. Within 36 hours I had a half dozen inquiries. Three were ready to see the boats and make an offer. The first arrived Saturday. Sold!

So that photo above is “Good bye, Hobie Cat 16.” He’ll pick up the other one this coming weekend, although he wondered aloud if it might work to tow one behind the other. It might. But the NYS Troopers would likely consider it a ticket-worthy offense.

So, a poignant benchmark. But the time is right. Time to learn some big[ger] boat skills…

Here’s the Craigslist advertisement.

2 Hobie Cat 16’s with Trailers

Hobie Cat 16s ready for new owner(s)
Hobie Cat 16s ready for new owner(s)

What’s even better than a lightning fast Hobie Cat 16? Two dirt cheap, lightning fast Hobie Cat 16s!

So why am I selling them then? Too many toys, too little time, and a bride who would rather waterski…


This is your chance to grab a 1978 Hobie Cat 16 AND a 1974 Hobie Cat 16. Both catamarans come with sails and 2006 Karavan trailers. And lots of spare parts including trapeze, “dogbones”, etc.

Hobie Cat 16s waiting for new owner(s)
Hobie Cat 16s waiting for new owner(s)

But there’s a caveat… If you want to sail both boats, you’ll need a couple of replacement parts.

I’ve had the white Hobie Cat 16 for about a dozen years. I’ve flown hulls, won races, and generally had a blast with it. It’s FAST! Or, it was fast… I banged it up during a small craft advisory when I shouldn’t have been sailing solo (too much wind), and it bent/dented the mast slightly and broke the rudder assembly. After taking inventory of the damage and preparing to order replacement parts I spied the tan Hobie Cat 16 for sale locally. So I bought it.

Older Hobie Cat 16
Older Hobie Cat 16

My plan was to cherry pick the best parts from both catamarans and assemble them into a better-than-new (or at least cheaper and faster than new) “time machine” to blast around Lake Champlain. But 3-4 years have piled up and I haven’t had time to tackle the project. So, I’m going to sell the catamarans which will make my bride happy. Unless they don’t sell quickly and I start tinkering… 😉

Newer Hobie Cat 16
Newer Hobie Cat 16

The bottom line is, I want to sell both Hobie Cat 16s together along with both reliable, new-ish (2006) trailers, ready for the road. You can combine (use the mast and rudder assembly from the tan H16 on the white H16) the two, or you can fix the broken rudder assembly and repair/replace the mast, giving you two inexpensive and VERY fast catamarans.


Newer Hobie Cat 16 Sails
Newer Hobie Cat 16 Sails

Priceless! If you have the time… 😉 Basically, I’d suggest you search Craigslist and eBay for other comparable Hobie Cat 16 sailboats with trailers. Prices usually range from about $750 (for 1970s to 1980s fixer uppers in poor to marginal condition) to around $1,500 (for water-ready, moderate to good boats with trailers) and big piles of cash for newer, race-ready cats. Of course, you won’t usually find the new H16s for sale because, well, for the same reason many of us have hung onto the older catamarans. They take very little maintenance, are easy to store, guarantee a ton-o’-fun every time you head out, and… let’s be honest, because they’re liquid rockets!

Older Hobie Cat 16 Sails
Older Hobie Cat 16 Sails

I’m asking $1,600 OBO (or best offer) for everything (both H16s, both trailers, and all sails, parts, etc.) If you’d like to make an offer (or have something cool to trade like an aluminum utility trailer or a load of cedar/locust fence posts), feel free to contact me. But make it reasonable. If you don’t hear back from me, your offer was too low (or your trade wasn’t enticing enough!) If you’re in the ballpark, I’ll either accept or counter-offer.


Hobie Cat 16 Rigging, Odd, Ends
Hobie Cat 16 Rigging, Odd, Ends

The condition of these Hobie Cat 16s is a mixed bag. (See the description above.) By repairing/replacing a couple of parts you can have two complete catamarans. Or, by combining both, you can have one complete catamaran with a spare trailer and spare hulls, spare sails, spare parts. As for the 2006 Karavan trailers, they’re still in super condition with nominal time on the road.


I’ve included all relevant information to the best of my ability, but you can also search Google for “Hobie Cat 16” for additional details, wild stories, known problems, maintenance/repair advice, etc.