Tag Archives: sailing

Prototype 3

Summer of 2013 build

Its raining like hell. Sump pump rattling in the basement. I’ve been clearing the decks as spring fades and summer struggles to arrive. Just finished the stitch-and-glue, plywood and epoxy soaking tub I promised my honey for Valentines Day. We’ve had some sweet nighttime soaks already. Moved my outdoor shower around the corner of the house on the deck. Reason –  we’ve got some new neighbors moving in next door. They’re planning to fix up the barn and will have a sky high view of my naked self in the AM – not a pretty sight. Built a rolling platform under an old Hoosier cabinet I refurbished so now I have have a new stand-up desk in my office/studio.

Sailing machine up and running

And most important of all got my Windrider 17 expedition trimaran cleaned up and tuned up and fixed up – and had my opening season shake down cruise on Lake Champlain. Everything worked. Amazing. I do love that little bugger. Has taken me off Key West heading for the Dry Tortugas – didn’t make it. 130 miles on the OBX Challenge around Core Sound. Island hopping and disaster dodging in the North Channel of Lake Huron. Gotta go back to that remote beauty.

Next steps on the Sky Yurt

So now I am ready to rock on Sky Yurt – Prototype 3. I was ready to begin to build the cover last fall and just ran out of time. Planning to take a few steps back. Do some reevaluating, and then take a running start. I’m not going to make major changes. Just obvious lessons-learned improvements so I can get the upper-inner cover on and then begin to work on the outer tent structure.
Tasks – Need to rebuild my outer hubs for starters. Reinforce the hubs for the fiberglass connecting rods that will hold up the cover. Might be able to slim up the top and bottom hubs as well, now that I’ve got the insert angles figured out. I’ll try to do a better job documenting and taking and posting pics. Any ideas and advice deeply appreciated. Onward -( that’s the name of my boat too).

Two big concerns – wind and ventilation

“I’ll huff, and I’ll puff….”

Graf Zepplin

Graf Zepplin

As I was working on my build/design project with the Sky Yurt, one big issue kept churning around in my mind – the power of the wind. I knew from sailing just how powerful the wind can be. On a sail, as the speed of the wind increases, the force on the sail increases exponentially.That’s why almost all boats have sails can be reefed and the sails have lines (sheets) so they can be depowered and lines (halyards) so they can be dropped completely. I began to look on the web for tent structures similar to the Sky Yurt – I wanted to see how professionally engineered structures dealt with wind forces on a large expanse of fabric. There are some huge fabric structures – most of these are tied to steel masts set in concrete and looked beefy enough to dock the Von Hindenburg zepplin. Way out of my league.

Gone with the Wind

One big concern was the fact that I really couldn’t find any-tent like structures that were set up like the Sky Yurt – none at all. I found tree houses well-secured to trees and structures built on slopes with some space underneath, but nothing that was trying to combine a large umbrella like work space with a living quarters above. It just might be that if similar structures were built, they were impossible to secure against strong winds, and blew way or were quickly abandoned. Working on dealing with wind forces was going to be a major challenge – and maybe would scuttle the whole project.


Crash and burn

Crash and burn

I also knew that tent structures could be hot. Fabric can trap solar energy and hold on to it. We had an old army tent as kids and it could be stifling in the summer. I had to make sure the whole structure wouldn’t  blow away, but also make sure that the air could escape from the workspace without congregating in the upper yurt. I also wanted decent airflow in the yurt itself. I had a sense that if I could design the shelter to be secure in strong winds, that solutions to the ventilation issues would suggest themselves. I started to look on-line for earth anchors and tie down straps, the kind they use to keep small planes from blowing away when parked on the ground. The project was getting more complex, more challenging and more exciting.