Thursday, June 16, 2016

Catching Rainwater..

An upcoming project..
Water makers are just too expensive, (at least $2.000) and require ongoing cost and maintenance, and seem to be overkill for my 26 footer while coastal cruising.
However, did come across the portable Nimbus Watermaker WM5-50 (left) for the surprising low cost of only $371, but each time your replace the filters will be another $140, and it's unclear how often that might be required.
EDIT - My mistake, the Nimbus above is for freshwater, so that's no help.

Anyway, time will come my Grampian 26 will be my live-aboard for a time, or longer. And though I don't foresee any real difficulty maintaining a fresh supply of water for drinking and cooking,  as can just carry a gallon or two each time back from shore to keep reserves topped off. (I don't think I'll be crossing oceans anytime soon.)
Still, don't want to waste that supply on showers, or dishwashing, or flushing the toilet.. and I mostly do not care for resorting to showering in saltwater...
Many cruisers fabricate some form of inexpensive, very low maintenance methods of collecting rainwater which is drained to a holding tank for such uses, but they don't drink it... Some drink it, but only after a filtration unit... While others don't bother with a filter, convinced that rainwater is purer and safer to drink than public tap water.

My research has thus been brief, but I already know it will be necessary to incorporate a simple rain catching method to easily maintain an ample supply of clean water on my boat. It's been done for countless centuries for free, and is still so today.
I'll be looking into this closer soon enough.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Grampian 26 Six Foot? and other variations..

for sale on ebay
Was looking at this Grampian 26 for sale on ebay, (not that I'm shopping).

What I find curious is the much steeper slope on the cabin front - in that it almost appears straight up and down, whereas my own is much more slanted (which to me, not only looks better, but also provides that much more space in the v-berth interior).

The Canadian Yachting magazine review stated that "Early versions also had a slightly steeper slope to the forward end of the coach roof and lacked the ridge above the ports, which was a cosmetic variation on later models." which confuses my prior deduction (based on my hull #26349)  that mine is a 1972 and not a 1976 as it had been advertised on craigslist when I purchased it.
Or maybe the picture angles are just deceiving.. I dunno.
Update- Just had a brief chat with the guy who bought it 
And he says the picture is deceptive and does have the usual slant

for sale on ebay
It also states 6'1" headroom, where my own I measured mine to be only 5'10"..  Although 6 foot headroom was a big selling point for the Grampian 26 line, it seems this to must have varied an inch or two from boat to boat, as I have asked other G26 owners if they really have 6 foot clearance on the YahooGroups Grampian Sailboats forum..

Allen Stokell replied:
"Does my G26 have 6 foot headroom? Only when the cabin sole is removed."
But George Kuipers said;
"I have shrunk to just about 6' and can stand up with my hair touching the liner. A PO replaced the stringers under the sole and could have increased the headroom."
Which brings up another point.. My G26 doesn't even have stringers under the sole, nor does it appear it ever has. I'll take a picture under the sole and post below when I do.
I look forward to the day mine looks as good as the one on ebay..

Mine still needs a lot of cosmetic work..

Pictures from the Craigslist ad before I bought it back in October 2015.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

This Grampian really needed "fixing up"

Not sure if I have this in the links, but will be sure to add it if it's not there already..

Been watching this guys facebook page for a while. He uses it to "track progress fixing up my family's 1970 Grampian 26 sailboat" Which incidentally is what I will be doing here on this blog soon for my own G26...

Anyway, I've enjoyed watching this guys progress. If your interested, I suggest you keep scrolling down his page until you get back in time to August 22, 2015 - and start there, and go up.
There's nothing spectacular, I think his boat was gorgeous to start with (the above picture is actually before he began "fixing up",  can you believe it?!). It's inspirational if  you plan to do some work on your own Grampian 26.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Cleaning fiberglass boat hull with Spinach

Ever hear of cleaning your boat hull with spinach?
Well, not exactly; the ingredient is oxalic acid, but spinach happens to be very high in in oxalate (oxalic acid), as are Beets, Rhubarb, Cocoa, Kale, Sweet potatoes, Peanuts, Turnip greens, and that's just to name a few... Actually Oxalic acid is found in almost all plants, but in varying degrees, and there's only trace amounts in meats.

Now I didn't know that, nor do I particularly care, perhaps you don't either. But it is vaguely interesting that oxalic acid is also used to improve beer production at many breweries... And we all know that boats and beer tend to generally go hand in hand; so it naturally stands to reason that it must be good for cleaning the hull of your fiberglass boat (the oxalate for cleaning, and the beer for drinking while you work).

Ok.. Let me explain what the hell I'm talking about..
It all began when I came across this youtube video (below) of some guy and his wife (or girlfriend.. or his sister for all I know) were making various attempts at cleaning the fiberglass hull of their trailered speedboat. They didn't have a clue what they were doing, nor did they pretend to. They had already tried bleach, mildew cleaner, magic eraser, green scrubber pads, and repeat efforts, but the hull was just not coming clean.
Finally they bought a 6lb jug of oxalic acid (it's dry granules or powder) for $16.85 (that's the current price), then mixed a couple ounces of it with water and applied to the hull.
It's amazing how quickly and easily the hull came clean.. Now I don't mean the barnacles, I mean the embedded off color, stained, dingy, residue or whatever remains; the barnacles obviously require scrapin. But the point is that it almost instantly made the hull look new.

However, I couldn't help but wonder what they might really be doing to their hull?.. what if that acid was setting up some kind of chain reaction to start deteriorating the fiberglass?
So did a little quick research on oxalic acid, and amongst other facts, discovered that oxalic acid is the primary ingredient of toilet bowl, dishwasher, swimming pool, and spa cleaners..  and get this; it also happens to be the primary ingredient of commercial fiberglass hull cleaners!

A quick browse through boat forums also confirmed that using the method as in the above video
is an extremely effective and economical method of cleaning the hull.
Cost only about $16 for enough of this stuff to last a lifetime.

I don't know about you, but I'm convinced.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Grampian 26 praises on forums

Ken asked advice as he was considering purchasing either a Buccaneer 24 or a Grampian 26.  (

The best reply I think came from a guy named Eric...
 "..I have a G-26 and have sailed her for the past 5 years. Let's get to the point and tell you why I love this boat.
First of all she is built like a tank mine is a 1973 vintage and you can't beat the strength of her hull and rigging.
The Grampian is also the biggest boat for your dollar. I have refit mine from the keel up and I know her inside out now. Some of the things that I have done is redesign the galley and salon area and added custom cabinets throughout. I have also rewired her and given her all the love and care that she deserves.
To make a long story short I love this boat.
As for your questions regarding too much boat. [ ".. The Bucc only displaces 3000 lbs compared to the Grampian's 5200.."] I like to think that your best choice is to go with the Grampian for the following reasons.
1- The heavier boat is more stable in gusty wind conditions. Don't be mistaken though you should always reduce sail before getting into trouble.
2- The Grampian 26 has an extremely responsive and light helm and when the sails are balanced properly.
3- The amount of cabin space is ideal for both short and medium range cruising. My partner and I have been on weekend and weeklong cruises with my daughter and our dog.
4- The hull shape and lines make her fast, faster than most want to admit, I have hit over 6 knts sustained before. So my arguments for the G-26 are strickly from my own experiences. Not sure if you are aware or not but the Ottawa river can produce instant wind shifts of 15-20 degrees with speeds up to 50knts and sometimes gusting higher. I have sailed my Grampian in these conditions under reefed canvas of course but the boat handled itself well. Best of luck to you and if you have any questions please ask away. Cheers and happy sailing"

jimq26 also suggested the Grampian 26..
"Go with Grampian for space -Your 26 ft. Grampian has as much living space as most 30 ft. boats. Your daughter will enjoy the privacy of the huge fore cabin along with private head access. The two boys can share the port side double berth, and you can have the starboard berth. Nice to have the over 6 ft. headroom as well. Sorry - not familiar with the Buccaneer so can't comment.

So did William..
 I had a Grampian 26, It handled beautifully in all conditions. Make sure to have a electric fuel pump, $20.00. The heavier weight plows through the water. But is harder on the anchors, Our recent huricanes here in Florida, showed that the heavier boats broke anchor. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. i sadly found out, have parts and pieces.draerwm

Another Grampian 26 praise elsewhere at
AtlanticAl says..
I had a grampian 26 some years ago, best boat i ever had, tough boat, very well built, and great to sail, mine had everything cockpitt lead, had a racing foil on the forestay, two of us, could be getting one sail up on the foil before even bringing the other sail down, and we could have the sail that went up rigged as the other sail was coming down. Head was an excellent design, doors open either way, and make you feel you are in a big space, when you were discharging cargo.
 Really good boat, i had planned to sail mine to the uk, from florida, but had to sell it. Bought an irwin 35 couple of years later, and spent most of my time in the atlantic, wishing i was on the Grampian.
 One thing i didnt like, was the open cockpitt with the outboard hung on, and the sea able to just sweep in.

I could go on quoting comments which praise the Grampian 26.. and in case your wondering, I've not come across any negative comments for the Grampian 26 at all, anywhere!.. Except that she's ugly

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Interesting bits..

I tried to find specifics on how the Grampian hulls (particularly the 26's) were laid up, but
didn't really find any. But here's a few interesting excerpts about the factory
From ..a transcript of a talk by Gill Bibby on his days at Grampian Marine given  at the Grampian Gathering 2002, hosted by Etobicoke Yacht Club – July 27, 2002.

Gill Bibby tells of how Grampian Marine vastly improved production under the leadership of
Don Wilkinson.. (Excerpts)
"That was the start of the Grampian that I knew. Don Wilkinson was a production person who knew fibreglass.  He had been hired to run production and Grampian was going to increase production.  He told me, months after that - I asked him ‘What made you pick me off the line to help you run this thing?’  ‘Well,’ he said, ‘I know fibreglass, I do not know boats but all I know about a boat is pointed at one end and flat at the other.  All I want from you  is to see the points going through the door..."
"..Through ’72/73 we were building at least 4 possibly 5 26’s a week.  Now it appeared one a day went out the shop – it took two weeks to build a 26’ boat  - one a day left the shop..."

"..We’d only been at it for  7 or 8 years, most of us, plus the old Grampian employees – they were a good crew, we had a very good Grampian crew.  No one person could take credit for Grampian boats.  It was a team that we put together.."
"...Alex Markham was in the glass shop - glass men are hard to get.  There’s something about breathing all those fumes all the time that  drives you crazy.  So Alex was in there for a long time and he turned out some good fibreglass.  These  are the people that we have to thank for what we have.  I’m glad to say that I am their representative..."

"The 7.9 metre was supposed to save the 26’ line. It was a re-work of that hull.  It didn’t quite come up to  the scratch that we wanted it to.  It had more accommodation, more headroom, but the old 26’ could still sail circles round it.  Doesn’t always work to change one..."..we changed the 1,000th [G26] boat into the 7.9 metre – there’s no doubt because I was there."

Q:  I read about a 26’ that sailed around the world…
A:  These are stories I can’t tell you about.  There’s no doubt it’s strong enough to do it.

   Read the entire transcript at:

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Blister me this..

I was browsing videos on youtube and came across one titled "I'm On A Boat- Fixing Fiberglass Blisters" by a guy named sv Velocir.
Now, I've not clearly seen my hull below the waterline, nor have a clue what degree of blisters may, or may not be present there.. but as for this video. something he said had captured my attention.,,

Before his demonstration of fixing blisters on the hull of the boat there, he makes mention of another boat elsewhere in the yard which was built in 1957 and has no blistering at all.
He explains (almost verbatim) it's because that back in 1973 during the Irianian hostage situation, fuel prices went up, the prices for fiberglass poliester resin also went up, and boat builders reduced their manufacturing cost by using less expensive and inferior quality resins, and for this reason boats since about 1973 have had more and more blisters.. many boats are built with vynlestic resins (for the first coat) which are less permeable to water. so blistering does not occur as often - it is thought.

A quick search on the topic turned up an article called BLISTERS AGAIN? by David Pascoe
"Not long ago a marine surveyor wrote a letter to the editor of a boating publication. In that letter he indicated that it was his experience that prior to around 1970 he had encountered very few fiberglass boats with bottom blisters. Then, suddenly in the mid 1970's, bottom blistering seemed to blossom into a chronic problem throughout the boat building industry. He further wondered if the 1973-4 Arab oil embargo, which dramatically raised the price of oil (and therefore the price of plastics) for a year or so, didn't lie at the heart of the problem. ..."
There's are many other sources that concur with these observes, but there's also some who xay the view is twisted.. David Pascoe in the article above goes on to say...

"The fact is that boat bottoms blister because builders knowingly make the decision to the cheapest possible resins to reduce their costs..  ..This is the reason why some boats blister while others do not."

It's an interesting article you ought to check it out:

So is it true fiberglass boats built prior to 1973 are less inclined to suffer blisters?
This site says "Gelcoat blisters don't matter!"

I wouldn't know one way or the other, but I find the topic interesting.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The physics of sailing..

A fascinating, as well as an entertaining 10 minute video on the physics of sailing..