Thursday, September 27, 2012


The camera seems to have added a time-travel function, unless it really is still 2010. Great! We'll easily make our launch target with this feature!

Forward! means removing the screws (done now), heating and removing the screws that didn't want to let go (done now), filling screw holes (half done), shaping the skeg, shaping the keel, adding the stern rudder post, shaping everything else that doesn't look like the boat...

Much to be done. We're hoping to begin glassing next week, and Robbie and Trevor have both been very occupied in making it so.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

55 person-hours... 48 yogurt pots... 14 disposable brushes... several old t-shirts... 20 pieces of plywood...

 ... and the second hull is planked! 

First came the fairing of the stringers, and dry-fitting of the planks...

... then the sweeping up ...

... that was Monday. We had expected it to be two days, so there was definite jubilation.

Then came the labelling, all in appropriate nautical terminology of course.

Then came Tuesday. Cousin John Hodgkins came to assist... little did he know that he would spend nine hours wiping up epoxy inside the hull -- oh, and scraping it too, sometimes. He has definitely earned the little umbrella in the drink on deck once we're launched.

Robbie and Trevor applying glue for the first piece. Note relaxed cousin and stylish gloves. This was I think the last time I actually saw him until lunch when he emerged from beneath the hull having rather spoiled the gloves' pristine appearance.
The procedure -- both piece and frame wetted out with epoxy, then a thick buttering of epoxy with wood fibre on the frame. Frame held in place with a couple of screws, then nailed on with bronze ringnails. Trevor hammering from outside... Robbie holding a metal bar against the hammering spot inside, and watching to be sure glue squeezed out all the edges. Inside crew had hearing protection. 
Nine hours later, the last piece goes on and Side One is complete.

Procedures changed a bit for Wednesday. John was working on a project of his own, so the three of us took on the second side. In some places on the first side, Trevor used 1" steel screws rather than nails. Screws are removed once the glue has set somewhat. Nails are not. Both the screws and the nails have the same function, though -- they are not structural, they are just used to pull the plywood in to the stringers. Neither Trevor nor Robbie were entirely happy with the nails we had (for supplier reasons, they weren't the length we had for the first hull). So for side two, we decided to use only screws. This turned out to be quite a bit quicker than the nailing procedure. Robbie was able to take up John's fallen wiping rag while Trevor put the screws in from the outside. 

I continued mixing. This may be becoming a habit. But dreadlocks and epoxy really should not mix.

We finished the second side more quickly than the first -- the screws were definitely quicker, and pulled the plywood in more completely. The second day was a lot calmer than the first, too -- minimal hammering.

Trevor's family came to cheer down the home stretch -- here's Naomi supervising.
And after appropriate cheers, rum, wine and congratulations all round, a bit of cleanup to be done.

Today? On with the keel (two more planks added), and underway with the stem, shown below bristling with clamps at the end of the day.

Still lots to be done, but planking in two days seems amazing.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

That was fun -- let's do it again!

The one moment in the project when I rather wished we were building a monohull.
With the first hull finished, what could we do but begin another one? And quickly, too. Average temperatures are a good bit lower in November than they are in October. We're fairly sure we'll get the temperatures we need to finish glassing the second hull if we can do it before Hallowe'en... but after that would need either good luck or a lot of propane to heat the shop.

We may all be zombies by Hallowe'en, but it does look like we're on track. Here's the progress so far.

The backbone, beam troughs and bulkheads for the second hull were already built, stored in the boatshop rafters.

Down they came, to be reunited with the smaller bulkheads we'd stored in the workshop.

Trevor sanded everything to get rid of the mold that had grown on the plywood surfaces. Ugh. We're still puzzled about why it grew on the plywood but not on the spruce of the shop. It's gone now, anyway.
Stringers are all assembled, and bevelled, and currently on the wall of the shop. Here they are arrayed on the floor (in the way) before they moved to the wall (also in the way, but differently. And they'll be installed soon.)

No task is more satisfying than checking things off a to-do list.

Coffee -- official beverage of the 2012 boat build.

Beginning the setup

We hoisted the backbone to position it on the larger bulkheads.

Eventually all the bulkheads were in place, and things were braced.
And then it was time to level and straighten and such.
Ready for the next phase. Clever observers will see the first keel piece on the far end.

We have gone beyond this now -- currently two layers of wood are glued on the keel, and one on each of stem and stern, and the whole backbone bristles with clamps. But that's a story for another day.

Safe and sound

Hull #1, the starboard hull, is safely established in the alpaca meadow. Trevor and Robbie built an astonishingly large shelter to go over it. The shelter will protect the paint job from UV damage. We really want the hulls to look the same age when we launch.

The frame looked absolutely gigantic. It seemed a bit more reasonable in size once the tarp was in position.

In the photo on the right you'll see that one side of the shelter isn't tarped. That's the north-facing side; it really doesn't get sun, and leaving it open means the hull is more accessible. Hatch covers are open, and screens have been installed over them. (We want to be the first to live aboard.) The shelter's tied down with ropes to rebar -- you can see the guys in the picture, but you do have to look closely.

While in preparation and cleanup mode, Robbie and Trevor put a solid top on the ramp at the end of the boat shop. It seemed to make a lot more sense than removing the ramp they built to haul the first hull out. It will also eliminate my graceless scramble to get into the shop from that end -- the other end has steps.