After we moved Dancing Bear's cradle into position with a farm tractor, we used a crane to hoist her aboard a truck for her trip to the sea.

we looked at several options for the toerail but ultimately decided to fabricate our own using black StarBoard. David and I went to work bolting them on. After we bedded and installed new pulpits, stanchions, padeyes, and the mast collar, she was starting to look like a boat again.

The original Barient winch es were cleaned, serviced, and remounted. David even managed to salvage the old, reliable, Barient worm-drive backstay adjuster. While the work on deck progressed, the new Westerbeke 44B diesel engine was lifted into place by farm tractor and bolted onto restructured mounts below, just forward of a new 50-gal-

lon aluminum fuel tank. The old prop shaft and tube were removed and replaced by G10 tubing, a stainless-steel shaft, and a gorgeous, feathering two-bladed Max Prop from PYI in Seattle.

After reinforcing the rud-derpost and slicing it in two to accept the self-steering quadrant, a new Carl Schumacher-designed elliptical rudder built by Doug Grant was slipped into Delrin bearings and capped with the original bronze tiller head. Since the old tiller was coming apart at the seams, I couldn't resist making a new one out of laminated strips of Coosa wrapped with several layers of carbon/Kevlar hybrid fabric. At least we now looked fast.

Friend and fellow Transpac crewmember David Logan helped with the cabinetry. Where the old refrigerator once lived, Dave fashioned the pieces for a nice sit-down nav station. He also assisted in building the new icebox and rebuilding a modified port berth and settee.

The old stand-up nav station had been nearly unusable. In its place, David built a nice little seat—with storage underneath and a sloped back—that we glassed in place. We also made a lift-up, forward-facing chart table, with storage underneath, and an outboard hinged panel for all the electronics.

Into the nav station went a full package of Raymarine gear and ICOM radios, powered by two custom-designed Blue Sea Systems distribution panels and switches for the new AGM batteries. Blue Sea has a very trick switch that ensures the starter battery is automatically charged up every time the engine is used.

Work days were getting longer, Mark's temper was growing shorter, and deadlines were approaching. We were down to the wire. With only a few short weeks until our scheduled moving day, out came the tractor and down came the mast from the rafters in the barn. We chased new wiring, changed the lights, replaced the sheaves, and ran messengers for the new halyards. With the new forestay, backstay, and boom from Spar Tech, the rig was ready.

It was now time to get her wet. We inflated the tires on the cradle/trailer on which Dancing Bear had been living for over three years, Mark hooked tractor to trailer, and we held our breath. She needed only to get to the top of the hill, where a crane and proper hydraulic trailer waited. With only slight protest, she made it. After we experienced a few anxious moments lifting her up and onto the truck, she was finally on her way to Marine Servicenter and salt water in Anacortes, Washington.

We had less than a month to get her commissioned, measured, rigged, and sailed 1,100 miles to the Transpac start in Long Beach, California. After the launching ceremony and a short break for some champagne, it was back to work. From Mark's previous experience, Samson Rope was his choice for all sheets and halyards: Warpspeed, Validator SKB, and Ultratech. Remnants of a spool of Amsteel Blue gave Dancing Bear several towel-drying racks with 8,000 pounds of working load and some multicolored composite cobwebs under the bunks.

On short notice, Selden shipped two aluminum spinnaker poles along with the

Owner Mark Schräder readies Dancing Bear for her launch, making sure that her mascot has a ringside seat.

correct cars to fit our existing tracks. Antal blocks and clutches completed the deck layout and rigging, providing Dancing Bear with a 3:1 mainsheet led to a cabin-top winch with an optional 18:1 arrangement for fine-tuning. The 8:1 vang was also led aft through a bank of clutches, as were the control lines for the three reefs. The goal of the deck layout was ease of use, plenty of power, and quick conversion between racing mode and cruising rig.

Staaf Sails, the local Elvstrom/Sobstad loft, put

together a versatile compromise sail package addressing both the requirements of the Transpac and the cruising and adventure sailing to follow it. Since the sails would be new for the Transpac, the temptation to go with high-tech sailcloth was overshadowed by the cost-effectiveness and longevity of Dacron. With two new spinnakers—a .75-ounce and a 1.5-ounce— along with two used kites, a 155-percent medium/heavy genoa, a 120-percent jib top, a 100-percent blade jib, and a new loose-footed main, the last pieces of the puzzle were in place.

On June 27, 2005, after 13 months and countless hours —with epoxy still curing and the sails having been set but once—we motored out of Puget Sound, rounded Cape Flattery, and laid a course for Long Beach. The start of the centennial Transpac loomed on July 11, but a more immediate deadline had us scurrying down the coast. My brother's wedding was scheduled for July 5 in Seattle, and I was to be the best man. We made it to Santa Barbara, California, for the Fourth of July fireworks, and I made it to the church in the nick of time. Dancing Bear, so to speak, would too.

Nebraskan Quinn Olson learned to sail on a 52-foot schooner while earning a B.A. in English from the University of Southern California. He's worked in the Race Operations Center for Around Alone, later providing shore support for solo sailors Robin Davie, Brad Van Liew, Tim Kent, and Bruce Schwab. He was a rigger for Selden and now manages the cordage department for Northwest Rigging in Anacortes, Washington.

Advanced Materials Used on Dancing Bear

Airex: Manufactured by Baltek (, R63 and C70 are the Airex products most often used in the construction of cruising sailboats. Introduced in the 1960s, R63 linear PVC foam is known for its light weight and durability and its ability to absorb energy without catastrophic fracture. R63 can be cold-formed and thermo-formed three-dimensionally and can be used with vacuum bagging. C70 is a high-stiffness, cross-linked, second-generation rigid PVC-foam core material with a combination of toughness, damage tolerance, and formability. Its smaller cell structure also reduces adhesive requirements.

Coosa: Manufactured by Coosa Composites (www. and marketed as a plywood replacement, this is a line of high-density closed-cell foam with a "dry," or non-impregnated, fiberglass strand within the foam. Heavier than Airex, it's also stronger, stiffer, and more durable. The tradeoff: It's hard to finish.

45/45 bias: With woven fabrics, the fibers can be oriented according to where strength needs to be greatest. With plain-weave fabrics, a more uniform strength can be

achieved by alternating the fiber orientation between 0/90 degrees and 45/45 degrees.

G10 tubing: G10 FR4 is a thermosetting industrial laminate of a continuous-filament glass-cloth material with an epoxy-resin binder. First introduced in the 1950s, G10 has characteristics of high-tensile and flexural strength, excellent electrical properties, chemical resistance, and low moisture absorption.

Kevlar unis: "Unis" is boatbuilders' slang for "unidirectional," as in "unidirectional fibers," and Kevlar unis are, in the case of the refit of Dancing Bear, strips of 2-inch reinforcement tape. Quinn Olson doesn't recommend its use to the do-it-yourselfer. "It's a pain to work with, won't sand, won't cut, and generally doesn't like to behave."

StarBoard: StarBoard is a marine-grade polymer produced by King Plastic Corp. ( Available in various weights and forms, it's the product of a process that produces consistently flat continuous sheets. It withstands the harshest marine conditions, won't rot or discolor like teak and other solid woods, and won't delaminate like wood laminates. It's easy to work with using standard woodworking tools.

Nim Marsh

Ahh! It feels good to have the keel back where it belongs: in the briny waters of the Pacific. All that remains to be done is to step the mast and sail to Long Beach, California, for the start of the Transpac.

CLOUD STREETS: Atmospheric turbulence over Savai'i, Samoa, creates a cloud street and different winds below and to the side of the clouds.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment