Thursday, December 31, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
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
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
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.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
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 Duran............so 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
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.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
This shows the plywood bulkhead on the starboard side after being cut down. The red dashed line indicates it's original shape and height. You can also see that portions of cabinet top and sides have been cut away. Since the cabinet adds rigidity to the chainplate anchor points - something will have to be added to compensate for the loss of plywood. I'll cover that in a future post.
This shows the new aluminum bulkhead compared to the line of the old one.
The complete aluminum bulkhead. I couldn't cut 1/2" aluminum plate with my saber saw so each side consists of two layers of 1/4" plate - etched and laminated together with West System Epoxy.
Friday, March 20, 2009
I tried to think of sanding as a Zen exercise bit I didn't attain enlightenment - only a deeper hatred of sanding. When you’re crammed into the stern of a boat in a space the size of a carry on bag, wearing all manner of claustrophobia inducing safety gear, and you’re wrapped up like a burrito by several feet of Shop Vac hose and power cables trying to sand the underside of the cockpit sole, it’s hard for the mystical transformation of consciousness thing to kick in.
Despite that I’ve developed a compulsive desire to buy power sanders. Sometimes I walk into Lowe’s or Home Depot for no apparent reason and walk out with a belt sander. I decided to collect all the sanders from the boat and the tool shed to gage the true extent of my problem. And……………..I am sick. I’m a sick man……………..man. It might be a compulsion or possibly a fetish, I don’t know, but I am sick, sick, sick.
And, I just realized I'm the Imelda Marcos of power sanders.
The sander collection - minus two that were ruined when water got into the boat last winter and one that burned out.
Monday, March 9, 2009
The repairs along the edge of the deck were solid glass and easy to complete but there was a soft spot in the cabin house under the mast step that was about 24" in diameter. Though there is a compression strut under this area, a soft spot here would not allow for proper tension and tuning of the rig. The only thing to do was to remove the outer layer of fiberglass replace the rotted balsa core and reglass the entire area. The original builders of the boat left the balsa core exposed when they cut a slot for the keel control wire which allowed water to migrate into the core and create the soft spot. To guard against future problems in this area I filled the area directly under the mast step with a blend of epoxy, high density filler, and microfiber filler. This should not only stand up to the compression between the mast base and the strut but should also illiminate the possibilty of future water intrusion into the core.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Area around hatch and mast step.
Horizontal portlight slots glassed in and faired.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
This is John removing the original plexiglass portlights - he's 16 now.
And this is Cort, 6 years ago, keeping the lines in order.
Will call this the "Before Photo" even though the boat is in worse shape now.
This is the future "After Photo" - courtesy of Photoshop.
The "cabin" looking back towards the companionway.