Season preparation this time was quite similar to the last: consisting mostly of work. However we did celebrate Kvark finally landing on her custom built trailer! Now all that is left to get her waterborne are some additions to the trailer chassis. After that we plan to explore the nearby ports, preparing for some longer legs later this summer.
Here we are again! Joosep, Katrin and Uku working on Kvark in the port of Käsmu.
Firstly we welded some “arms” to support Kvark on the trailer, which was built almost a month a go. Both arms are removable just in case we need to roll the boat over, work on her keel or simply make the launch process simpler.
Then we removed the existing wooden framing, which kept Kvark upright over the winter.
And then it was time to mate the frame to the sailboat. It was a delicate procedure, as weight makes “Kvark” a stubborn lady.
Joosep maintaining a close eye on the stress in the planks and his head.
Once on the trailer, all seemed like planned. The “car end” or aft of the boat was light enough for a man to lift. Here we see Kvark tilted towars the fore. This is the direction she will enter water.
A closeup on how we resolved the side-supports: they are threaded rods, running in a long nut welded to the chassis. Onto the end of the threaded rod we welded an universal joint (Invented by the Italian Gerolamo Cardano). The interface beteeen the boat and the joint is a plywood plate.
And there she is! All that is left do do is to construct two arms to the rear of the boat. Also we will add a small wheel to the car end of the trailer.
As you see, we opted for the classic “Egyptian” style of work: using levers to slowly creep Kvark upright into her trailer. The first night of this work ended in a slight frustration due to exhaustion and mosqitoes. But then, things took a seriously positive momentum when we met the local Pruuli family who gave us shelter, wine, sauna, tall tales, a good nights sleep in an actual bed and morning coffee. Thank you very much, family Pruuli! In the morning we had a fresh breeze of ideas, plus the help from an hydraulic jack and the local museums men Titus and Virko. Up she went!
We also did some painting. Of course on the freshly welded steel on the trailer and the anchor, which Uku welded up three years ago.
Katrin painting the frame of the trailer.
Red is a good color for the anchor, right?
The anchor looks like a Halloween prop now!
This time in Käsmu reminded us the need to acknowledge and be thankful for all the good people that we’ve met when building and sailing Kvark. She is like a silent bystander and matchmaker, getting the odd look and the very frequent question “Why does she look so.. strange!?” Then we say:”She was built this way.” There is a saying that a weakness can be a virtue. This is very true for Kvark. Build a boat and you will not win prizes in money or pristine looks, but you will win in all the stories you hear and the compassion that people have for your ambition and story – and the inspiration you can give to others.
We spent our last weekend getting fried in sunlight, preparing the launch of Kvark for the coming season. Many thanks to Magnus Otsa and Katrin Nigumann for the help!
Kvark in Käsmu, early June 2018. Uku standing on deck and Magnus standing by.
Our previous launches have either been very expensive (order a large truck with a large crane, 350+ EUR per time) or very tedious (half a day of Ancient Egypt style construction work and labor). The idea of building a custom trailer has been in the air ever since Kvark saw daylight a number of years ago.
This year we finally took the time to act and start the construction of a custom Kvark trailer. For this, a Volkswagen Golf rear axle was purchased from a friend, and some 20 meters of steel profile in 3 meter segments.
Drum brake before work.
Drum brake with internals removed (not a brake anymore, really).
The assembled drum with brake system removed.
All the brake calipers had to be removed from the drums first. The wheels would otherwise most certainly rust shut. It took a ton of grinder work to get all the rust off the axle. It came off of a junkyard car.
A lot of welding had to be done, in excruciating heat.
The trailer chassis took shape by the hour. Fortunately it is a rather simple build.
The aim is to have at most 70 kg of load at the car ball joint.
Of course, if you build your own trailer, you can add your own name to it in welding.
And a good cover of black paint gives rust protection. It is to be a fully submersible trailer.
Next up will be adding four arms to the trailer, two on either side, to hold the sailboat in place. We’ll add some rollers under the keel to make it easier to get the boat off the trailer.
Katrin working on oak and varnish.
We also sanded the exterior oak parts of old varnish and applied three new coats. Some painting was also done, plus a few patches of glass fibre on the rudder.
Kvark ended its second season on sea. This time with some new type of “fat” under the belt. We took on a more serious journey from Käsmu to Tallinn (about 70-80 km). The trip took three days with plenty rests in between. Though, yes, all the sailing was in rather strong upwind 9-10 m/s and progress was slow. The motor helped at times. Here is a shot from the last day, right in the middle of Muuga bay, on shipping lane of the largest Estonian transit port, with rising strong wind and larger waves than the video can tell (they were 2 m):
So about two hours after this video was taken, we called a rescue boat to come tow us to port. It was declared a SAR call (search and rescue). Long story short: we lost our mainsail, the engine took in water and died, and we were going back-and forth on the shipping lane with big tankers on it. Shit hit the fan and we were tired of it. But everyone survived, including Kvark 🙂 Lessons were learned and next season will be better. The sail back from Tallinn to Käsmu was a one day trip with good downwind sailing. Thank you!