Friday, April 30, 2010

The Unlikely Voyage of Jack de Crow

Since I'm on the road all the time, I tend to do a lot of reading to pass them time.  This is good, but it's also not-so-good as I get to daydreaming about my unfinished Goat Island Skiff.  However, sometimes a book comes along that not only motivates, but helps embellish daydreams and pass the time.

I just finished reading this whimsical adventure book, and I highly recommend it to my fellow small-boat aficionados.  The author takes his 11' Mirror Dinghy from Northern Wales in England, down to the Channel via rivers and canals, then crosses the Channel into France.    Once in France he sails and rows his way across the continent's surprisingly extensive canal and river system until he gets to the Danube and takes it to the Black Sea.  Filled with fantastic literary references (he's an English Lit. teacher), sailing, rowing, high adventure, and out-loud laughing points, I enjoyed this book immensely.

This book gets me all the more excited for my Super-Secret Summer Adventure that I am planning in my Goat Island Skiff.  Tally-ho!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sanding delays, running rigging

Another 48 hours at home have come and gone, and my Goat Island Skiff languishes in the garage by itself.

Upon arrival at home I had big plans to drag the boat outside and give her a wash for amine blush and start the sanding process on the outside of the hull in preparation for finishing.  Here's my plan for the future:

-Wash the amine blush (if any) off the boat.  Amine blush is something that can occur during the curing of epoxy.  I use Marinepoxy from Duckworks, which does not usually blush.  It's not "non-blushing" epoxy, but it's kind of "blush-resistant" if you will.  However, I have epoxied in about a million different temperature and humidity conditions, and seeing that paint won't stick to blush I might as well wash.  It's easy.  A pail of water, a scotch-brite pad, and scrub a dub-dub.
-Sand the boat down smooth
-Apply Quick Fair for fairing some ridges and bumps.  Quick Fair is an epoxy compound that will fill abnormalities and the extraneous Fair will sand away relatively easily.
-Sand again
-Primer, two coats or so.  I'm planning on using Interlux's Pre-Kote which is a high-build primer to take care of smaller irregularities in the surface of the boat. 
-Paint.  More on paint later.

This is an ambitious list that will only be solved by time and hard work.  So when it rained and snowed both days I was home, I was pissed.  However, I can't change the weather!  So I spent some time tinkering with some other small items that needed to be done, primarily epoxy sealing the runners, some loose ply ends, the rudder cassette/box, and so on.  Not much, but stuff that needed to be done.

In bigger news, I received most of my running rigging from Duckworks!  This was a very exciting package, because it reminds me that I'm coming to the end of my voyage here and it's getting time to outfit the hull!  Yeah!

From top left, counter-clockwise:  Shock-cord for my rudder and daggerboard, three cleats for general purposes, the last cleat is for the halyard.  The fairlead for the halyard at the top of the mast, a clam cleat and another fairlead for the downhaul.  Next up, traveler blocks, two blocks for the boom, a small block for the spar and halyard, 1/4" low-stretch polyester rope for the traveler, mainsheet block yoke, sail tie-downs, and downhaul.  A nylon 3/8" mainsheet.  My super-low stretch dyneema line for the halyard is still on back-order and on its way.  I'm still looking for a mainsheet main block.

I'm super happy with the quality of the rigging.  It's all made in the USA, it's made well, it will last forever, and it was cost effective.  Race-Lite and Sea Dog Line bring us freedom from the tyranny of West Marine and Harken.

Hello to those new readers sent here from Duckworks Extraordinary May Webwatch!  Welcome to my amateur madness!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Daggerboard case intallation, spars

WELL I'm on a schedule where I'm home about 48 hrs a week, which means 47 hrs of boatbuilding, and 1 hour of laundry.  Not really.

So during my past 48 hrs home I got to it and was able to install the daggerboard case and I hit on a major find for my spars.

For starters, I dragged my boat out of the garage into the driveway and noticed a pronounced twist in the stern.  If the intrepid reader remembers, I glued down my rear seat last time, and gluing down the rear seat definitely locks in and twist into the hull.  Because of this I was super super careful to make sure there was no twist when I glued it in, using a level and some strategically placed buckets.  I ran outside and moved my boat... and the twist was still there.  There was no way I was going to get any work done if the boat was twisted.  Using some brute force and a rigid vacuum tube I rolled my boat to the pond and threw it in the water.... and she floated straight as a die.  No twist.  PHEW!!!  HOLY HOT HEART ATTACK BATMAN!

Back out of the water, I did some sanding in the interior of the hull to make it easier in the future, and went around installing the daggerboard case.  What is most important is that the case is straight.  If it comes off-kilter, I've got a giant blade dragging me off into some obscure direction that I'm going to counteract with the rudder, and it's going to be drag city.  In order to make sure that the case is straight, I stretched a string from the center of BH2 to BH3 over the top of the case.

So here it is, mocked into position with my centerline string.  I tried at first to do this on the ground, but I got much better results up on the buckets.  I think the runners are slightly different and offering tweaked ground handling characteristics.

I cut the ribs for the front of the seat amidships.  They actually came out ever-so-slightly larger than needed- a mistake- that ended up helping me out in the end.  When I put the case into position it would slip around with the oversized rib, I could gently cajole the case into position which was verified by the string.  When everything was straight, I carefully clamped everything into position.  You'll notice the square behind the ribs next to the case to increase gluing area.  The port rib is a little higher than it should be (remember, they were a tad oversize) and I'll plane it down level for the seat installation.

This whole skeleton will be glued together by the center seat.  This, with BH3 and the forward ribs will create the lever that will hold the case in place.  Remember, when I capsize, I'm going to be standing on the daggerboard to right the boat, with all my pressure on the case.  This massive gluing area will keep it from ripping out when I'm in the water in the middle of nowhere.

Here are two shots of my daggerboard case lined up with my string.

In other news, I went over to Goose Bay Lumber to grab some Doug Fir 1x4's so I could glue up some spars.  I had come up with some crazy idea to put the spars together as a laminated structure since I didn't think I'd find blanks that were large enough.  I did.  I found some finished 2x6 DF boards that were 20 feet long.  I had them cut to 12 feet.  A quick rip on my table saw, and I had two skinny blanks and one fat blank.

The spars are on average 40mm diameter.  I get 37mm with the blanks.  My spar is about 37mm x 40 mm or so.  I'll keep it like this for the length and not taper it.  It's kind of bendy, and I need some bendy up at the top of my sail, since I hear that the Duckworks sail can be a little flat.  This should help.  My boom will be 37mm x 50mm or so.  If these are too bendy, I can laminate some ply at key areas to stiffen it up.  This was a quick, easy, and totally suitable solution.  Easy!

Until next week, intrepid reader!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Daggerboard trunk glued up, and rear seat glued on

Ok my patient mates, here's some photographic evidence of my work on the boat last week before I left for self-imposed exile at work.

First, I finally got that bedamned daggerboard trunk glued up.  Somehow, I wasn't forward thinking enough, and I glassed up the daggerboard without really giving much thought to how it fit in the already made trunk.  Well, I did but discounted further planing on of the daggerboard and decided that I was done with all the planing and sanding thank-you-very-much and whatever I had, I had.

This was most unfortunate, because I few more minutes of planing would have produced a superior quality board, and it would have fit in my daggerboard case.  So then I was stuck with the project of widening my case, but only by 2-3mm at most because really, all I needed was 1-2mm.

Fortunately, I found 3mm Okoume marine plywood at Goose Bay Lumber, and cut it to fit over the framing for the trunk.  This widened the trunk appropriately.  Here is the widening sequence in pictures:

Very self-explanatory, I think.

Next, I still struggle with the hardward issues for the rudder and transom gudgeons.  I don't know how I'm going to get this rudder assembly attached to the boat.  The problem is that the hole to accomodate the tiller does not have the vertical clearance required to use a gudgeon-pintle scheme, which is by far the most convenient.  I toyed around with it and thought about enlarging my tiller-hole, but my pintle arms didn't fit around the rudder cassette.  A second order of larger, more heavy-duty gudgeons for rudder and transom fit great, except not with each other, and the arms were too long for the spacer in the cassette... A rod pushed through the gudgeons would not have fit cleanly and I would have had a clunky feeling rudder, the round peg in an oval opening thing, if you can visualize that.  So I still sit, wondering how I will fix this conundrum.  Many people have done it successfully, but I'm still hunting around for the best hardware.

Because of all this drama, I have delayed gluing on the rear seat.  I got tired of having it loose, and glued it on before I left.  Here, yet again, is my "Forest of Bricks" holding it all down.

And the gratuitous parting shot:

Friday, April 16, 2010

New post!

With nothing in it!

Work on the Goat Island Skiff has been temporarily stopped due to a return to work/on the road status.

I have pictures of some work I did just before I left, but they are unfortunately inaccessible at this point in time.  Stay tuned until next week!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Epoxy coating the interior, and more turtles.

Today I took advantage of some free time and some of the most glorious weather you can imagine in beautiful New England this time of year!

Drum roll please.......

I epoxy coated the interior of my Goat Island Skiff! Yeah!

This is big for two reasons:  One, I wasn't looking forward to it, Two, my back has been in such a state that I haven't physically been able to do it.  Being able to reach down in there and coat up the inside was a real good feeling, lemme tell you!  I was stoked.  Again, physical therapy = awesome.

So, coating the interior is much like the exterior.  It came out very neat, too.  I am pleased with the result.  Here's a romantic picture of her in the sunset, just her and me:


 She looks good.  So far, I've done two coats of epoxy.  I'm supposed to do three, which I did on the exterior, but I feel like two is good enough especially since it's not going to be saturated in water.  Not to mention it's going to be covered in two coats of primer and two coats of paint.  I should be ok.  Maybe I will do three layers on the bottom and chinelogs...

That all being said, I want to point out again how she can ride on her side when turning her over:

This is HUGE.  To those who have extensive dinghy experience, you all know exactly what I'm talking about:  Turn the boat over, get it on a side, attempt to balance it on the gunwale, fail, catch the boat, wrestle around one of the ends in an attempt to get to the other side, fail, watch boat fall to ground in a random direction, wince at possible damage, etc etc etc.  It sucks.  This baby, she rests on her side.  You can walk away.  Drink a beer.  Pick your nose.  Go on vacation.  She will sit, on her side, patiently.  Awesome.

Finally, I caught a Painted Turtle today.  This is a quite common turtle on the North American continent, and not as big or as long lived as the Blanding's Turtle that I found a few days ago.  What's neat about this one is that I've been trying to catch one for a year.  Now, that doesn't mean I'm out everyday like it's my job, but many attempts and sneaky approaches have been tried, to no avail.  Catching this guy, while swimming, is a minor coup for you know who.  Me.  Quite beautiful.  Hissed at me when I picked it out of the water.  I put it back where I found it, and I hope it forgives me.

A little grumpy.  

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mast in boat, re-epoxy-ing, and neat turtles

So, I've been pre-occupied recently with other events, namely, my impending return to work after some serious back-rehab (phys. therapists = good), some life events, and so on and so forth.  So, this is good.  I'm broke, my back is better (which means I can actually do some work in the hull as opposed to just staring at the bottom of the boat), and springtime is coming.

One harbinger of spring is the emergence of turtles through their long torpor and into the light once again.  Today I ran into this chap, a Blanding's Turtle which is actually considered endangered in New Hampshire.  They don't mate until their late teens, and they can live to around 80.  Anyway, I moved this guy for a photo-op only to later find out they're endangered in NH, so I feel like an ass, but I treated him gently and placed him back right back where I found him.  Actually, this could be a her, I should find out.  Handsome, regardless:


I will report this to the Dept. of Fish and Game, they keep track of this stuff.  I also reported a Bobcat that came trundling through my yard two days ago.  That, was neat, but it was too quick and I have no photo.  Sorry.

With the mast all built, I tapered the base per the plans.  If you remember, I made the mast slightly larger than the plans called for, not much, just 1mm here and there, but it affected the fit in the mast partner and step, and those had to be enlarged.  This was not a big deal, it's only a little bit and if you may recall, intrepid reader, I made the stock of the partner and step bigger than called for.  So I feel safe doing this.  Here is my great friend Matt, recently returned from Overseas Adventures Extra-Ordinaire doing his duty, and helping me out at the annoying task of rasping the mast partner larger.  Welcome home:

He did a most fantastic job.  Then I ruined it.

After some rasping and Dremel-ing the heck out of the mast step, we got the mast stepped:

I offer you many vantage points.  The overhead is kind of neat.
The mast is currently being fiberglass-taped right now, two tapes at the base, two at the top, and two amidships, one covering the single knot in the lumber.

Also being worked on is the hull.  I sanded the epoxy coating I gave it the other day, and added a third coat.  This was a technique I stumbled upon doing my BH's.  If I sanded and then added a last coat, it came out super smooth.  I'm hoping for the same with the hull, especially since the I'm trying to get the fiberglass tape down smooth.  After aggressive sanding, I'm thinking the extra coat will fill up to the gap.  Here she is, sanded:

So next up, I have to figure out the rudder hardware problem.  This is worthy of another post.  I cannot, for the life of me, get my rudder hardware figured out, and it's beginning to piss me off.  By hardware I mean what attaches the rudder stock to the transom.  Some gudgeons are too small, others are too big, I'm going nuts.  Also, I have to figure out what to do with my daggerboard trunk.  It needs to be, literally 1mm wider, and I don't know how to do that.  A lot of glue, maybe? when I glue it together?  These are two items that are holding me up.  Also, I have to epxoy coat the inside of the boat, with nice weather finally on its way, there shouldn't be a hold-up.  I really want the hull ready for paint when and if I get some time off from work to come back home.  If I'm home for 24 hours, I want to be able to get mucho stuff done.  So that is what I'm staging for right now.