Sunday, August 22, 2010

Florida Guy Launches

So, Florida Guy has launched his boat - and it looks great, and he's been sailing it since June, and I'm extremely envious. On top of that I sailed on an Olson 30 yesterday for a spinnaker clinic (5 hours of pure enjoyment) and immediately came home and pulled Thumper's white, purple, and black spinnaker out of it's turtle and spread it over the backyard. Soooo cool! If only my Rodgers was finished.

But that won't be happening anythime soon. I promised my wife that the house remodel would be finished before any more boat projects are started, resumed, planned, fantisized about, or otherwise undertaken. Well, the fantisizing part might be acceptable - once in a while - but no actually picking up of the tools - unless it's for house stuff. Well, on a positive note, I will be able to work on Thumper through the winter. Hey, spring launch?????

Friday, June 25, 2010

Live From The Boathouse

Big changes!

All boat restorations, contraption building, and general tinkerings have moved from the backyard to an 18' x 40' former RV garage that, from this day forward, shall be known as the the Boathouse. We bought a house on a property that included this building. It's detached, it's heated, it's kind of ugly, and it's perfect sailing related projects. The only down side is that we've gutted the main house so remodeling projects will take priority over boat projects for a while. We did manage to sneak in a quick restore on 1983 Nacra 5.8 and 3 ton gantry crane awaits Thumpers arrival.

Cort and I have craned the Nacra off the trailer to add cradles and paint it.

Life is good!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Let The Sanding Begin!

Winter finallly decided to give it a rest and work has resumed on Thumper! I swear there was more done when we put the cover on last November. We couldn't use weather as an excuse anymore so Cort and I pulled the cover back and cranked up the sanders and shop vac. For added protection the ever prepared, and fashion conscious, Cort opted for the swim goggles and respirator combination. I heard that Cookson Boats is thinking of adopting the same equipment setup.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

From the Land of Ice and Snow

Work on Thumper has frozen - literally. Our boat is hibernating under a plastic blanket and layer of snow. It's kind of pathetic when you consider that this boat was built in Florida and has only sailed in the warm waters and sunshine around Tampa Bay. It's a sad state that's punctuated by the fact that a fellow Rodgers 24 restorer, in Florida (where else), has made rapid progress towards getting his boat in the water. I check out his blog every few weeks only to see images like this one from December 13th. Are you kidding me? How can it be that green in December? Geeez, they have plants growing out of plants.

I know this isn't a competition but that little thing that makes you trim in or foot off a bit whenever another boat is near has got it going on. The synapse group that controls competitive drive is firing away. Yeah, and the envy group is probably making a contribution too. Well, at least someone will be sailing soon. Nice job Florida Guy.
Oh, and sorry about lifting the photo fom your blog. Photo credit - Florida Guy.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

More Fiber in my Diet

I've reinforced the settee tops with carbon fiber remnants to allow for larger access panels while maintaining lateral support to the hull. The settee tops are tabbed into the hull and form the stringers that are closets to the waterline. I'll also add 1" aluminum angle under the 2" wide sections between the openings to keep the carbon fiber in plane and to form the ledge for the access panels to rest on. We don't want anyone climbing off the boat with carbon fiber splinters in their bum because they plopped down on the "bench" a too hard.

A hairline crack formed between the cabinet and the settee on both sides of the boat. It may be a result of the cabinets and the settees being strengthened and becoming more rigid as individual components. In order to tie them together, I routed out a depression accross the crack and laid in three layers of unidirectional carbon fiber fabric. I don't know what this would be called in the boat building world - in the architectural world it would be a gusset. I'll fill it in, sand it smooth, and paint over it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cutting Corners and the Fear of Cubism

The cabinet structures are rebuilt and their surfaces are filled and feathered into the surrounding woven roving tabs. The water damaged areas have new plywood that's been epoxied into place with a West Systems microfiber filler mixture. I glassed the front and side of the cabinets with some fabric that was laying around (6oz - I think), and used a low density/colloidal silica filler mix to smooth over it and bring the surface flush with the woven roving. If you go back to a previous post "What Holds Up The Mast" you can see how these used to look.

The image above shows the wicked sharp corners that, if left unaltered, would be a major hazard on the water. Since I'm not planning to use a rail molding around the cabinet tops the edges will be rounded over. I also wanted to add a more interesting geometric component so I clipped off the corners.

Here's the clipped corner with a new plywood wedge temporarily super glued into place. You can see the perfectly intact corner piece in the lower left hand corner of the photo. The precision cut was accomplished with, what is currently my favorite tool, a Rockwell SonicCrafter. I can't think of another tool that can plunge cut with so much control. In fact, it took a lot of personal restraint to stay focused and not hack geometric shapes into everything in sight. If it weren't for an irrational fear of cubism, our boat might have become an aquatic version of Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2. Anyway, the tool is cool.

A wide angle (yeah it's not that big) view of the cabin with rebuilt v-birth bulkhead and cabinet boxes.

The plywood wedge was sized to allow it to plane across the angled cuts on either side and provide a gap for the epoxy/microfiber mix (the white stuff). I'll also fillet in the corners on the inside of the cabinet boxes. This will make a strong wood to wood bond and a more rigid anchor point for the chainplates. The next step will be to refine the corners with fairing filler and round over the edges around the top. In hind sight it may have been easier to take everything back to the hull and start from scratch, none the less, we have progress people.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Every Day is Earth Day

It's Earth Day fellow consumers and hopefully people everywhere will take the time to think about what they might do to better the planet. I'm happy to be a part of an earth friendly sport like sailing and am proud of the world sailing community for it's devotion to environmental issues. Sailing isn't merely a sport, it's a mindset and a lifestyle that requires an interest in the mechanisms of the natural world. Because of this mindset we see sailors at the forefront of many environmental efforts, but there's always more that we can do as individuals and as a community.

Today is also the 40th anniversary of the first non-stop single-handed circumnavigation by Sir Robin Knox Johnson. He finished the Sunday Times Golden Globe race on April 22 1969 to worldwide acclaim. As one of the worlds most prominent and accomplished sailors he has also been an advocate for the marine environment.

Happy Earth Day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A New Bow for Thumper????

The weird weather has given me time to Photoshop a modification that I've been thinking about since the boat first landed in our driveway. I bought it specifically for Utah Lake where the average depth is under 10'. The swing keel is perfect for the water depth but the short waterline length and light weight will be a big disadvantage upwind when the wind cranks up. In a fresh breeze the chop turns into steep breaking rollers that are very difficult for a small boat to make headway against. Because of that, I've been obsessed with the idea of putting a new bow on Thumper (here's where boat design professionals should begin rolling their eyes). A Naval Architect would prabably say that a new bow would add wetted surface area without a means of compensating - since we can't change the keel shape.

I don't understand boat design on the level that would guarantee a specific result but, for the sake of what if, let's say that I'm going to wing it. It would take the process back to the days before Pierre Bouguer (no Jerry it's not pronounced booger) when boat building was an intuitive seat of the pants thing. I could template the hull, enter the info into my CAD system, and produce the geometry for fairing the new bow into the existing hull. I read about a construction technique where template plates were attached to an existing hull and low density foam was used to fill between them. This created a faired surface that could be fiberglassed over. I'm comfortable working with the materials but as far as the design goes - complex hydrodynamics and characteristic equations are over my head. In other words, there would be a lot of guessing and probably a little trial and error. Of course, I can always rebuild it or even restore it to it's original shape if I really screw it up.

This is the existing bow shape.
Bow option with a slight rake to the stem.
Bow option with a plumb stem.
Bow option with a tumblehome stem. This one could be even more radical and extend the water line by 3 or 4 feet.
The reality is that this will most likely remain a Photoshop modification only - but it's interesting to think about.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Name

We've been kicking around possible names for the boat. One idea, for example, was Pidowit. That's how my daughter pronounced piglet when she was two years old. Why piglet? Well - they look like little boats and they're fast and slippery. Friends have also made suggestions that include the inevitable "Viagra" as well as several things that can't be put on the transom of a family boat. Although this - @#&!%*#! - might be graphically interesting.

At one point I thought about messing with the ultra conservative locals by calling it "Fewer Guns - More Gay Marriages". It's catchy - but maybe a tad wordy. And, radio communications might be a little confusing. An emergency broadcast might go something like this, "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, this is Fewer Guns - More Gay Marriages two miles southeast of Pelican point.......blah, blah. Not likely to get the desired response - although it might send a fleet of bass boats screaming my way. No, we needed something else.

One day my son Cort was working in the boat with me when he noticed that it made a cool drum sound. We talked about calling it Drum - but - that was the name of a Whitbread maxi (big sailboat) in the mid 80s that dropped it's keel during a Fastnet race. It was also owned by Simon LaBon of the pop band Duran there's that. Plus, Drum seemed too weighty for our little boat. To put it in movie industry terms, DRUM would be a great name for a Major Motion Picture. What we needed was a title for an Animated Short. As I continued to over think potential names Cort said, "How about Thumper"? I liked it! Not too pretentious, looks good graphically, and it fits the personality of our boat. And, if we decide to be really obnoxious and cocky during a race start sequence, we can yell "YOUR'RE GONNA GET THUMPED SUCKA" at all the other boats.

Thumper it is.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


This week saw progress but it isn't really apparent. I replaced or repaired more of the plywood structure and filled and smoothed around those repairs. It's not that interesting - so I'll just describe the concept (so to speak) for this restoration.

Performance is always a priority but this also has to be a creative exercise. In other words, it has to be fun. For the most part, I can only play with the stylistic side of things. The hull and deck colors, random details, and the cabin are open to interpretation.

The great thing about this boat is that the simple construction allows for experimentation without being too concerned about causing irreparable damage. There's no hull liner and almost everything is completely accessible. You can grind out and lay in a tab anywhere. However, we want to keep things simple and we don't want to add a lot of weight. I'd like the boat to have a more minimalistic aesthetic than it already has. But, it should also surprise you a little the first time you peek through the companionway.

There are a few things that will impact how the cabin will eventually look. For example, the settees and cabinets originally had a mahogany veneer with standard teak molding but they've been rebuilt to the point that they'll have to be painted. So, that's an opportunity do something unique like painting them with a metallic paint or cladding them in aluminum or both. The cabin sole (floor) wasn't in the boat when most of the water damage occurred so it can be refinished and reused. I will probably concentrate all the wood finishes in the center of the cabin with the keel trunk clad with wood as well. The boat didn't come with a ladder so I can design and fabricate one that's consistent with the overall interior aesthetic. There are a lot of possibilities and, all things considered, this should be a fun project.