Monday, February 27, 2006

Mizzen Mast Step

Well, this weekend on the Westsail wasn't as productive as last. I had some non-boat errands to run which ate into time. But, I did get the mizzen mast step laminated. This is the "floor piece" that will support the stainless compression post for the mizzen mast. It needs to be beefier than the typical floor timber to sustain the loads of the mizzen rig. The original Westsail construction called for two 3/4" marine plywood pieces laminated together with a wide steel bracket bolted to the top. This one is made of six pieces of 3/4" Coosa Board, each laminated together with 170z knitted 45/45 and CSM glass. Thats 17 layers of roven glass, plus it will probably get 2 or 3 skins of glass when it is installed permanently. I went with six pieces not so much for the strength, but for the width. I wanted some extra play when it come time to spot the post permanently. The flange of the post will be about 3 1/2" square so that should give me some room. But having the extra load capacity is always good too. Next step on this particular project is to trim and shape it in the bandsaw to get a close match to the hull curve. Other projects this weekend
  • separated the cockpit floor from the deck. It was temporarily sealed last year to keep rainwater from leaking in when she wasn't very level.
  • installed temporary floor in the forward head
  • built a more permanent landing outside the shop door. Now one can immediately turn left outside the door and walk up the stairs to the boat. No more step down/step up. Reduces the risks of a twisted ankle.
  • Reconsidering the design of the forward bow section. Once you get up there and see how fast the hull sides converge, you realize you really dont have as much space as the drawing seems to suggest. Still working on that one.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Latest Weapon in the Tool Arsenal

Anyone who has done repairs to their boat, or has been around boat building knows that these days you tend to use a lot of sealants and adhesives. One of the most popular being 3M 5200 Marine Adhesive and Sealant (very strong, and permanent, stuff). Now, anyone who has tried to squeeze out a cartridge of this stuff, especially on a cold day, knows your hand starts cramping after a half a tube (unless you have a particularly strong grip. Me, I have delicate engineer hands.). Even with a good manual caulking gun it can be tiring. Anticipating that I will be using a good amount of 5200 this season, I decided to buy an 18v cordless caulking gun. It is a Rigid brand I ordered online from Home Depot for about $120. It is variable speed and will accept 10 ounce cartridges and larger. I was a bit surprised at how big and heavy it is. Though it is no heaver than your typical 18v cordless drill. When I mentioned to my wife that I bought one these, she rolled her eyes and said "why do we need one of those?" Which, after thinking about it, lead my to the following philsophy... Power Tools Are Your Friend Building a 42 foot sailboat is very labor intensive (duh). And when you are only two people building (most of) the boat, your chances of success are most improved by making the construction jobs easier and faster without compromising quality. Ingredients for this a good well thought out design and construction process, and, POWER TOOLS. Why use manual tools when a power tool can do it better and save you the energy? With manual tools you will just be more tired at the end of the day, possibly slowing down the process. Makes sense, don't it? Or, maybe I am just a wimp. Anyway, enough of this, we have a boat to build. Later.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Thruster Tube Part III + Floor Timbers and Bulkheads

Another sunny, if somewhat chilly weekend. The Westsail got more work done to her than I had planned this weekend (hope that continues!)

Cut off the ends of the thruster tube and started grinding to shape the edges. There will be a slight flare of the tube on the leading edge to help deflect away water flow from hitting the rear inside of the tube. In turn the rear part of the tube and hull behind will not be flush with the original hull skin. This to reduce the flat surface of the inside tube that faces forward. All of this to help reduce drag. Started the "rough" fairing by using high-strength v/e filler to give things a rough shape. The final step will be to put a layer of CSM and veil glass over the whole area, followed by some fairing compund, then, grind/sand it smooth.

Cut, shaped and tacked in more floor timbers and lower bulkheads up forward. All planned for the forward section are now in place and installation of the aft ones have started. This at least will enable me to put temporary plywood flooring up forward. No more twisting me ankles trying to walk on the sides of the hull! Note, these are not being glassed in just yet. They are tacked in with adhesive. Once the fore/aft/center sections are in, I will hold a "resin and glass" party on some warm weekend (or week) this summer to tab-in and glass over everything. Be sure to invite your friends! Did some musings on design this week... - Thinking about making one of the forward bulkheads watertight. At this time, I have not completely thought out as to what it will take (design/construction technique/effort) to do this, but we are considering it. - Dishwasher. Came across some "portable" dishwashers on the web. Targeted at RVs. My wife has seen one of these installed in one of the new Nordic Tug 53's that looks pretty trick. I am consulting the CAD software to see if and where one can be fitted.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Bow Thruster Tube Installation Part II

We had dry weather with moderate temperatures this past weekend. It was just the right conditions to glass in the bow thruster tube on the Westsail. Floors and bulkheads in the forward section were waiting on this step as a bulkhead is to be located just inches forward of the thruster tube. Installing it wouldhave made the glassing in of the tube more difficult. First step was to fill any significant gaps between the cutout and the tube. This was filled with a thick mish-mash of resin and milled fiberglass.

Next, glassing was done on the inside. Three layers of 17oz 45/45 roving knitted with CSM was tabbed between the tube and the hull.

Finally, on the outside, four layers of same kind of glass were overlaid around the ends of the tube, up against the hull. Each one feathering outward an inch greater than the previous, overall reaching out about 5 inches fromthe edge of the cutout.

The final step will be to cut the sides, fair it, and round over the inside edge of the tube. There may be one more layer of glass + viel that will go on just before the fairing is done. With the glassing on the inside done, however, foward bulkhead installation can resume.

Other things that happened this weekend:

  • configured dust collector ducting into the garage.
  • installed another work light inside the boat
  • installed two coiled reel extention cords in the boat fore and aft.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Stormy Super Bowl Weekend

High winds knocked out power locally on Saturday morning. It stayed out till about 8pm that evening. Started reconfiguring the dust collection as best as I could with cordless power tools and the amount of light available. Moved the main dust collector outside with plans for ducting to go up into the boat, and through the wall into the garage. Also fitted a finer filtration bag. Also, added a new 20 amp circuit in the garage. The existing 15 amp circuit that served the whole garage was getting overloaded. Moving the dust collector outside freed up alot of room in the garage. Who'da thought moving a 42 foot boat next to your garage would help free up space ?? Wont stay that way for long I am sure. Next weekend, weather permitting, I hope to finish the thruster tube installation. At least the glassing-in portion.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Coming Home

So, I have not made many entries these past few weeks and for a good reason. The Westsail came home to it's new space next to the garage. We had always been debating if it would be better for it to be home and wether there would be enough room for it. Well, certain external events (which I wont go into here) suggested that if we were going to move it home, we should do it now. So we did. The last couple weekends were spent preparing the site next to the garage. This included - setting back a fence about 25 feet to make room for the stern. - removing about 4 or 5 inches of grass and dirt of the newly exposed area - filling it in with about 4 tons of gravel Much of this was done with the assistance of a small excavator rental. Just seeing me try to operate this thing was an adventure in and of itself. Trying to learn the controls that operate the backhoe was quite amuzing. This while trying to maneuver the thing on its dual tracks. In the end it wasnt too bad as I only ended up - taking out a piece of trim out of the corner of the house. - popped the new fence out of one if it's fence brackets - finally breaking an already rotting old fencepost. - torqued the gas meter without causing a natural gas leak. We purchased a set of stands and contacted a local boat hauler with a hydraulic trailer to pick it up from the boat yard and make the 5 minute trek across town to our driveway. Other than the tedium of loading and unloading on the trailer, things went pretty smooth and she is tucked in quite close the the garage. Once there we built a temporary fence around the boat (based on concrete piers) to hide the inevitable stuff that will accumulate below the boat. Followed by a set of stairs to get aboard. Having her home will be good in that I will be able to spend a couple of hours on her after work. Especially during the summer hours. Also, no more getting to the boat yard only to realize that I forgot an important tool or part having to go back home and get it. Despite being 5 minutes away, it can be very frustrating when this happens.

So, next up is reconfiguration the dustcollection system to allow ducting into the boat. Also, need to wire in a new 20 amp circuit in the garage with an outlet leading next to the boat. After that, real boat construction can continue .

More pictures of the move can be found here.