Building and Equipment Articles

The Birth of the Far North Frosty Association

by Don Boyd

So there I was, sittlng in the yacht club bar sniveling over the end of yet another summer's sailing. Then between Labatts Blues and trying to pick sonething out of my teeth with a swizzle stick that I'd sharpened on the patio, I over heard one of the silliest ideas that I'd ever nosed in on... The Cape Cod Frosty.

To be honest, I'd never heard of the Frosty until that fateful September afternoon, but North Anerican Fireball champion Tof Nlcoll-Griffith sure had. He explained everything. 'A tiny boat... looks like a radio controlled sand box... built from scratch... raced into December., costs only pennies a serving...' I was sold.

Well, misery loves conpany, and pretty soon Tof had whipped a few nore 'stragglers' at the bar into a lather over the idea. He organized a meeting so people could learn more or chicken out and showed magazine photos of the boat so close to our faces that it started looking big.

Within a week, armed with a sales presentation that could have sold cigars to the Cubans or refrigerators to the Eskimos, Tof managed to collect deposits on boat materials from over thirty people, who until that week, had never even heard of a Frosty.

In mid October, still numb from the lightning paced events, Frosty investors got together at a fabrication shop (which normally specialized in aircraft simulator floors, lab tops, and custom arborite work) owned by Jim Waldie and set up an assembly line. Tested and proven exact 1/4 inch arborite templates allowed pieces to be routered out four at a time. Stitching, decking, and gluing teams were set up, and an air of enthusiasm filled the shop. We all had a feeling that something important to sailing was happening.

While we followed the mystic reading from distant Cape Cod to the letter, we did decide to dispense with the closet dowel wood rod for mast and boom, and used aluminum. Partly because of rumors of computer mast bend simulations, but mainly because it was cheaper.

By the weekend's conclusion, 35 Frostys were in various states of completion and ready for the finishing touches to prepare them for the water. Since there was no problem manoeuvring the tiny boat from closet to temporary work spaces, even apartment dwellers were able to try their hand at Frosty building.

Our area's race schedule started the weekend before halloween and ended officially in early Decenber when the ice was thick enough to play hockey with the 'Fat Boys.

One special regatta was held on Grey Cup Sunday in honor of 'non-football addicts who'd rather get wet in tiny boats. Typically, even with a fine turn-out of 18 boats, boats were out-numbered three to one by spectators eager to see the new 'fleet.'

Occasionally we had to survive wind chills in excess of -15 degrees fahrenhelt (that's wow-give-me-a-break on the celsius scale), numerous snow flurries, rain squalls, and the odd swim. But nomally our first Frosty race year was sailed in passable weather and with big smiles. We got In 18 races despite a few cancellations.

Our local season begins as soon as the Pointe Claire Yacht Club harbor can't support a Zamboni... sometime in April. Also... the Far North Frosty Association fleet captain Tof Nlcoll-Grlfflth, and our measurer Jim Waldie would like to warn residents on the east coast that we'll be visiting you very soon!

There is a love affair growing with this silly little boat as news of our instant fleet has spread. We've received news coverage from the local newspapers (on slow news days), and even Pointe Claire Yacht Club commodore Mike Nicoll-Griffith, and the president of the Quebec Sailing Federation David Covo have been over-come by Frosty fever!!

New owners have painted their hulls wild colors and patterns unheard of in Canadian sailing, and names like Zipperhead, Cha-Cha Loco, and Cirrhosis of the River have sprung up on transoms.

The Clear Point Boat Company has been formed and is turning out super-easy to assemble kits. So far response to the kits (starting at $379 Canadian less sail) has been excellent. With easy access to kits we expect our numbers to triple by this time next year.

Stay tuned!

Time to Repaint? Try Latex.

by Tom Leach

Next time you decide that old Frosty needs a face lift try latex paint. It may sound dumb, but remarkable results can be achieved In 1/4 the time without smelling up your house or apartment with the offensive and headachie odor of alkyd based paints. The original old finish when sanded to a dull finish 1s an excellent base for latex paint.

Bruning makes an indoor/outdoor acrylic gloss called Aquathane which can be purchased In half-pints for a little as 12.65. Modified epoxy latex floor and porch paints are another good bet. They provide cheap 'fume-free' protection for your boat leaving that 'wet-sand' looking surface without driving your family or roommate from the house. Best of all, although a little more sensitive to bruising, the latex finish can be touched up and dried in a few minutes using a blow drier. Latex will also dry fairly quickly in a cool dry basement--say 50 degrees.

If you haven't tried the WEST epoxy system yet-, you have been missing one of the great wonders of nouveau fiberglass resln. The WEST system coupled with a good heat lamp makes Frosty repairs and rebuilding a snap. Best of all WEST system generates very little scent without the noxious odor you get from polyester resins. You can work with this stuff in the main house and Mon may never know or care!

Rattles caused by a loose trunk or sloppy tiller linkage add up to lost boat lengths and places in a regatta. Former national Frosty champ Bill Pagels showed me how to stop daggerboard rattle once and for all.. First cover your board with wax paper and insert it into the trunk. Then turn the boat upside down with the board in its normal position, dam the trunk and fill the board hole up with WEST resin mixed with micro balloons. After hardening the board can be pulled free due to the wax paper. The result is a solid, unyielding daggerboard which has changed that sloppy rattle into forward energy and lift within the rules.

Pickled Sailor and Sausage

by Jennifer Kano

I only recently contracted "Frosty Fever." I built my first boat last winter and raced for the first time on April 26, 1987-- a day I will never forget. It was also the very first day I ever sailed a Frosty . . . and I capsized. The water temperature was 48 degrees, and the dumb move on my part that caused the capsize is too embarrassing to relate, so I wasn't having much fun. But I can honestly say that I'm glad it happened because the experience prompted me to do some serious thinking about Frosty flotation.

I must confess that my initial (pre-capsize) reaction to the flotation requirement in the class rules went something like this: The boat is made of wood so it won't sink, and a cubic foot isn't enough to make it self-rescuing, so what's the point? One hour of Frosty sailing experience later, as I clung koala-bear-style to the bow of my capsized craft, the "point" became crystal clear.

I was picked up by the rescue boat in very short order, but had that not been the case, I could have hung on the way I was for an indefinite period of time because, thanks to the cubic foot of flotation I had so casually (maybe even grudgingly) stuffed under the foredeck, the core of my body was completely out of the water. In fact I was still totally dry from the waist up because the rela- tively slow swamp-and-sink nature of the capsize allowed me to scramble up along the hull as it rolled over. I was even warm enough to continue with my first day of racing for another two and a half hours without going in to change.

The moral of the story? Place adequate flotation in your Frosty--at least the required cubic foot, more if that isn't enough to keep you afloat with the core of your body out of the water just in case you find yourself pickling in 32 degree brine on some blustery December Sunday while four other capsize victims are picked up before you.

As a new Frosty sailor, I was very anxious to get a look at what other people were doing with their boats, so I spent the lunch break on Saturday of the Nationals examining all the Frosties on the dock. I noted all kinds of interesting things, including a wide variety of flotation schemes. One boat had no flotation at all, several had only two one-gallon antifreeze bottles under the afterdeck, and most of the rest had varying amounts of foam installed in a number of different ways. In the light of my new- found insight into the value of flotation, I was amazed by the relatively large number of boats that were equipped with less than the one cubic foot minimum very wisely required under class rules.

My own flotation scheme, which is made up of what I call "sausages," is rather unusual and I think a good one because it is cheap, easily removable, and only weighs about 16 ounces per cubic foot compared to nearly 48 ounces for the equivalent in either foam or antifreeze bottles.

These custom-fit flotation sausages are also very quick and easy to make. All you need are some strong elastic bands, heavy duty garbage bags (30" X 36", at least 1.7 mil thick), waterproof tape and some foam packing peanuts.

First, lay out the garbage bag and roll it up along the long, seamed edge until there is about 11" of the width of the bag re- maining. Temporarily tape the roll in place near the top of the bag and secure it with an elastic band. Fill the bag with packing peanuts. Gather the top of the bag closed and seal it with another elastic. Finally, wrap a strip of tape around the middle of the sausage to hold the rolled up section of the bag in place. Two sausages of this size add up to a generous cubic foot and will fit nicely under the foredeck even if you are a four-ballast- bottle sailor.

Be sure to check around under the deck for anything sharp that might puncture your bags before you stuff them in. Also, check the bags periodically for small holes. If my sausages ever do get wet inside, I plan to dry the peanuts out in a burlap bag on the clothes line and then start over with new plastic bags.

As we are all well aware, safety is of paramount importance in the Frosty, so take an objective look at the flotation situation in your boat and add more if necessary. After all, what could be more important than having enough buoyancy to keep your body up out of water that is cold enough to kill you in less than twenty minutes.

The Pickled Sailor Strikes Again
or Yet More on Flotation

by Jen Kano

Perhaps the most important safety rule in our class rules is #3 - Flotatlon, because a capsize in frigid water is a potentially life threatening situation and carrying adequate flotatlon in the boat could mean the difference between life and death. Without added buoyancy your boat will not keep you up out of the water, and I've seen many capsize victims floating neck deep in water waiting to be picked up. With the flotation required under class rules, you can cling to the boat and only be about waist deep in water. This increases your survival time--not to mention your comfort level--tremendously.

The first day I ever sailed a Frosty I capslzed (If you're interested in the gory details see the Sept. '87 issue). The water temperature was 48 degrees. I had the required one cubic foot of flotation in the boat and I discovered that clinging to the boat kept the core of my body completely out of the water while I waited for the chase boat. Thanks to that flotatlon, the experience wasn't nearly as bad as I had envisioned it might be, but it was bad enough to make me add another cubic foot of flotatton to my boat (under the fantail).

My last capsize happened last March. Air temps were in the 20's, the water temp was 38, it was snowing sideways and four other boats had already gone over. After being thrown into the water, it took me less than 10 seconds to right the boat swarm back in and stand up... Yes, I can stand in my boat when it's full of water which leaves me completely out of the water from the shins up. I can even bail the boat out and sail back in if necessary, and all because of two pounds worth of foam packing peanuts sealed in plastic trash bags that provide about 126 Ibs. of buoyancy.

The only thing my flotatlon didn't do for me that day was keep me from getting wet (only a dry suit will do that), but I wasn't as wet as you might think. I was pretty much dry from the midriff up, and I had a couple of dry patches on my thighs, too. Apparently I wasn't submerged long enough for enough water to seep into my foul weather gear to soak me completely.

All this is a long-winded way of saying: PUT AT LEAST A CUBIC FOOT OF FLOTATION IN YOUR BOAT--it's cheap, It's easy, it's sensible, and it's a class rule. 'Nuf said.

The Go-fast Bottom

By Clark Marshall

Making the bottom of your Frosty smooth and slick is very simple if you just follow these steps. Keep in mind that you must fill up the wood grain to get a smooth surface and sand thoroughly in between coats to minimize paint build up.

1. Putty with Bondo all copper wire holes and seams. Sand entire bottom with 100 grit sandpaper. Clean.

2. Apply one coat W.E.S.T. system epoxy. This saturates into the wood for added strength and water-proofing as well as filling the wood grain. Sand really well with vibrator or hand, using 100 grit, until the finish is dull and smooth. (Skip this step if W.E.S.T. is unattainable or the bottom is already painted.)

3. One or two coats of flat white marine paint, sanding and cleaning in between coats, using 150 grit. (Two coats minimum if no W.E.S.T. and bare wood.)

4. A final coat or two of semigloss marine paint-- the color of your own choice--hand sanding in between coats with 220 grit will give you a smooth finish. Wet sanding the final coat using 400 or 600 grit wet- dry paper will give smoother results.

Good sanding means good sailing!

Haulout Revolt

by Alex Kovaloff

[The following article is adapted from Sail and Paddle, the bulletin of the Toronto Sailing and Canoe Club.]

This fall a remarkable event occurred at TS&CC. The sailors refused to quit and so they staged a haulout revolt. Led by co-conspirators Tof NicolL-Griffith and Derek Griffiths, sixteen sailors organized a weekend Cape Cod Frosty stitching bee. And lo and behold, miracle of miracles, sixteen little wonders were born.

I got in the game a little late but let me tell you, the enthusiasm is catching and deadly. I had decided, perhaps foolishly, that not only would I build the boat but also make my own sails. Like I said, this Frosty virus can be deadly.

There's an interesting madness that takes you over when you build one of these things. You don't sleep right. You begin to carry a tape measure wherever you go. You make unseemly phone calls at ungodly hours. Who looks for dry suits in December in Toronto? I'm looking at snow right now outside my window. Your friends ask you if this is an iceboat and where you will put the skates. One woman asked me how long my mast was. When I told her it was 123 1/2 inches, she snorted. Oh well. I even took to carrying a small camera in my car just in case I spied a Frosty, so I could photograph its secrets.

The sail is almost ready. We sewed it at school on an industrial sewing machine. It's rough. but it fits the specs. And, I think it will work. The hull is stitched and epoxied. I put in a couple of reinforcing struts that were not in the original plans. This weekend I will mount the vang blocks inside the hull; then I can stitch the deck onto the hull. After that I have to mount the vang on the mast sleeve and rig the boom. And then paint and aesthetics. More feverish planning.

There is a magic to this boat building thing. It draws people together and the madness is catching. For us at TS&CC it has created a winter sailing community. We come down on Sundays to watch the boats race and we talk. The club is alive and so are we.

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