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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Look Back and... Next Year

I am not one to look back very often. But to get a sense of where things are and how we will proceed into the next year, it can be useful to stop and take a look back. First, review what I said about this time last year. The primary goals were
  • bulkheads
  • steering mechanics
  • tanks
Well, going strictly by that list, we are 2 for 3. The steering mechanics did not get in. But I have an excuse: the "18 degree problem". If you go back through previous posts on steering, I had been undecided on the type of steering to install due to unresolved engineering issues. I had anticipated steering would be preferred before aft cabin rough-in. Turns out this is not the case. Steering can wait some more, even beyond next year. Furthermore, I am going to claim "3 for 3" as I had only anticipated a rudder up to the frame only. I don't know why I had planned it this way, but in fact we took it through to complete lamination and installation. I seems a big project's "natural order" tends to play out in reality, despite what you had imagined or even planned. Don't fret about it, thats just the way it is. The rudder project was a case in point. So with that, here is a look at what we expect next year
  • Hull-to-deck bonding. This needs to happen sooner rather than later, before the hull/deck joint access gets covered up from the inside.
  • Chain plates - ideally this should be done at hull-deck bond time
  • Lifeline stanchions - ideally this should be done at hull-deck bond time
  • Bowsprit - again, ideally done at hull-deck bond time. This will require fabrication of bowsprit, and at this time I have no design for one.
  • Finish rough-in. By that I mean the bits that must be glassed to the hull and any large covering panels and faces. As for bits to glass in, we are about 90% complete.
  • Start finish-trim. I anticipate this will be started in certain areas of the boat by years end.
  • Basic Mechanical - this will slowly happen throughout the year. Things like head plumbing, bilge pumps, thru-hulls, etc.


Here are some things that *might* get attention this year. Time and finances allowing.
  • Install steering
  • Design/fabricate/install stern pulpit
  • Port lights
  • Begin deck gelcoat repair
Along the way Any small bits of extra time (what's that?) may see some work on the following
  • Finalize any rig changes
  • Design running rigging deck layout
  • Design electrical system
  • Begin mast rebuild
  • Shop evolution - at some point it needs to shift from a "glass and resin shop" to a "woodworking shop" as finish work begins. This will require some new equipment like a (good) router table, planer and a jointer (if we cant get our old one back).

So there you go. No problem! Should be done with all of this in the first two weeks!

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Fishing in the Bilge

One potential "timesaver" feature installed when the tanks went in, was two "messenger lines" to help fish anything in the bilge, under the floor, in the future. Something like some hose or wiring (not likely) could be pulled through under the bilge if necessary. One line on each side runs along the turn of the bilge. It is simply thin stainless steel wire-rope with eyes made up at the local West Marine. The way we tend to screw around in boats and change things, something like this might come in very handy in the future. In the picture you can faintly see it running up and diagonally terminating with a screw and fender washer.
From Building a Westsail 42: Tank Installation

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Spars Estimates and Rebuilding the Masts

We got a rough estimate on new spars for the main mast, just for curiosity's sake, from our friend Andy at Northwest Rigging. Basically, a new tapered main mast from Forespar (keel stepped) and a Leisurefurl boom will cost about $26,000 (the main mast alone was about $15000). Not exactly cheap, but not as expensive as I had anticipated. But, after thinking about it some more, we have pretty much decided to stick with the old masts. I feel better about myself tinkering on the old mast rather than working on a brand new mast. This is as close to a final decision as we have made on this matter. I still may change my mind, but I doubt it. It turns out sparmakers like Selden make parts that will likely match the extrusions of the old masts, including spreaders, mast heels and deck steps. So, having said that... We will have to "rebuild" the original masts. Now, the masts were never used and came with some basic rigging parts (sheaves, tangs, etc) and initial electrical wiring as they did from the factory 30 years ago. All of that will have to be replaced. Given the aged and weathered look of the surfaces, the masts will have to be sandblasted and painted. There is no conduit in the masts in which the electrical runs. The wires essentially "hang" in the mast the entire 50 feet. Which is really surprising for a setup that probably came from the factory. Seems that is a recipe for disaster for wires to "stretch" over time, never mind bouncing around inside the mast, possibly fouling the halyards. As we have no booms for either mast, we are strongly leaning to the Schaefer Boom Furler system. Seems any sort of boom or in-mast furling system gets a bum rap by SOMEONE. But the Schaefer system seems to get the highest marks from comments we have seen on the Internet. And, we talked to a couple locally on their second boat, and second Schaefer boom furling system that they specifically requested with the new boat. We have seen the system up close at boat shows and it appears to be a well engineered product. Whether we choose a boom furler for the mizzen has not been decided. At this time it seems a bit overkill. The advantage of this boom furler system is the "reefability", and on a ketch, the main is the one that gets reefed most often, not the mizzen. So we may go with a traditional boom for the mizzen.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

More Mast Inspection

I have been inspecting the masts further. I started to remove some of the masthead hardware. It required tools including a can of WD-40 and a 5 lb sledge. Basically, things were pretty scary. For example, the tangs for anchoring the top of the shrouds was secured with one big 3/4 in stainless steel bolt, through the aluminum mast, secured with a big FERROUS steel nut (read: it was a big piece of orange rust). I got the nut off with some work, but the SS bolt is still seized in the mast.
From Building a Westsail 42: Mast and Rig
30 Year Old Technology The masthead sheaves were all seized up. The SS clevis pins holding them in came out ok. But I had to whack the sheaves with a hammer to loosen them and slide them though the top. It looks like all the masthead sheaves are is these big aluminum sheaves spinning on stainless steel clevis pins. Metal on metal. Something you never see these days. Inspecting the sheaves reveals quite a bit of corrosion. I guess something to be expected after 30 years. But, heck, even our 25 year old sloop has a better masthead setup than this! But, this can be easily remedied. Replacement composite sheaves can easily be had. Including ball-bearing sheaves.
From Building a Westsail 42: Mast and Rig

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Even I have my Limits

Fifteen degrees Farenheit. About six inches of snow. Nope. No boatbuildin' today. No sir.

Friday, December 19, 2008

More on Steering... still

So, if you have been reading this blog, you have heard me go back and forth what type of steering to install. I have been split between cable-in-conduit and transmission steering. It was looking like cable-in-conduit was going to win out, not so much because it was cheaper, but there was the "18 degree problem" with the transmission steering. The 18 Degree Problem Just a recap on what this is. The Westsail 42's rudder is raked back at 18 degrees. With transmission steering, to be efficient and reduce stress and wear on parts, you want the input and output angle on the universal joints to be very close if not equal. Now, as one follows the geometry from the steering pedestal to the rudder post, *something* along the way must take up this 18 degree difference. While one could adjust each little bevel box on the way a couple degrees, it is not enough to take up the entire 18 degrees. Cramped Spaces There had also been the problem of cramped spaces in which to run the transmission steering. Existing spaces and bulkhead placement really confined steering component placement and limited options. Aft Berth and A Solution I had stated earlier that I wanted to get the steering design hammered out, and dry fitted, before roughing in the aft cabin. Well, upon closer examination, I determined that doing the rough frame-in would be ok and would still leave plenty of room to workout the steering. Once I did this (couple months ago) the key to the solution of these two problems revealed itself. The primary restriction for the transmission steering design so far was that the torque tubes needed to run under the floorboards, all the way aft, where things really narrow. But, once the framing for the aft berth was installed, I noticed there was significant overhang over the aft most floorboard (it didn't surprise me, as this was the design all along). So I thought "why not route the tube to come up through the floor and under the berth and then right angle aft?" This would solve the cramped space problem and, since the tube is under the berth it cannot be seen nor get in the way of anything else in the cabin. So with that I did another iteration over transmission steering. During which I noticed that Jefa makes a beveled final reduction gear that I could turn sideways and rotate the output tiller arm to take up the 18 degrees. This introduces a 2 degree deflection in the final drag link, which is acceptable. Did you get all that? Well, if you didn't here is a drawing.
From Building A Westsail42:Drawings

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Boat Building can be soooo Glamourous!

Certification in VacuFlush Marine Sanitation Devices (aka toilets and poo tanks) This last week I got some training on installation and maintenance of VacuFlush Systems. Put on by Marine Sanitation of Seattle. Anyone whoever has owned a boat with a head knows these things are often smelly and a pita to maintain. Inland and coastal overboard discharge regulations require holding tanks for the poo. So, head systems have become complicated. Nevermind they are often manual and require some knowledge by the user on how to properly operate. VacuFlush systems put a new twist on head systems. They have been around for years and are often found in motorhomes and travel trailers. The idea is that it relies on a vacuum, instead of water, to flush the bowl. A pump keeps the system behind the bowl in a vacuum, then, when flushed, uses the vacuum to evacuate the bowl into the holding tank (quite quickly actually). In fact it uses a little fresh water, but overall consumes %60 less water than regular head systems. And, since it is fresh water, it is less smelly (often it is the seawater that is the cause for head smell). And, now that I am in the know, they are easy to service and repair. One nice thing about these systems is that they have created "all-in-one" systems that have the holding tank, vacuum pumps, overboard and deck discharge fittings. Designed to fit some of the more common spaces. We will probably use two of these all-in-one units for the Westsail as they are compact and easy to install.
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

One... Must... Evolve...

So ever since the beginning of this project I have done most the CAD design work using a product called "Visual CADD". This is a product that came out in the early 90's and was written by the GenericCADD (80's DOS CADD program) folks. While I have had a copy of AutoCAD 2005, I haven't bothered to use it, as VisualCADD's user interface is more intuitive and easier to learn. However, Visual CADD really only covers about 80% of what you ultimately need to do. If you need to do anything more complex, then you may be limited by VisualCADD. Well, I have arrived to that very situation. The things I need to do are a bit more than VisualCADD can handle. So I have taken the plunge. I am forcing myself to learn AutoCAD. And, with VisualCADD, I may have made matters worse in that my master document is getting so big and with a lot of "garbage" (layers that I have pretty much abandoned and have gone obsolete), that a straight export to AutoCAD is impossible. If I try, AutoCAD complains about errors in the drawing. So, I have had to export from VisualCADD layer by layer and bring them into AutoCAD one by one. In the end this is good as it forces me to exclude all the "old" stuff that does not need to be brought over. Just added "AutoCAD 2005 for Dummies" to my Christmas wish list. More later...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Update: Diesel/Electric Propulsion

As you probably have noticed by the links on the sidebar, I have been following the projects of the Emotion Hybrids company located in Florida. Their report from the Annapolis Boat Show reveals some interesting things (taken from the press release):

Other noteworthy developments at the show included:

  • Extensive discussions with Bill Southworth, the first buyer for our new 32 kw motor. The motor is still undergoing bench testing, but Southworth plans to install it in his 58' LOA custom carbon fiber yacht, Barbara Ann, as soon as it's available.
  • Pledges from representatives of Spectra Watermakers and Climma marine air conditioners to produce 144 vdc models for operation directly from the E motion battery pack. A 144 vdc watermaker would work much more efficiently than the standard 12 and 24 volt versions. And a 144 vdc air conditioner would eliminate the need for the inverter required for Climma's current AC models.
  • An offer from an executive of Jeanneau, one of the industry's most respected brands, to provide the E motion system as a factory-installed option on the company's elegant yachts.
My take:
  • The Barbara Ann project should be interesting. I think this will be the first displacement monohull installation this company has tackled. And, it will use a new 32kw electric motor.
  • More commitments from equipment makers to produce 144 volt versions, and, an offer from a leading production boat maker, Jeanneau (who only make displacement monohulls I believe) is an indication that diesel-electric is gettings a serious look by the industry.
Disclaimer: while we are not ready for, and have not chosen propulsion for the Westsail, I am keeping an eye on D/E. The reasons for which are too detailed to go into this post (maybe later).

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Putting the Tanks To Bed (almost literally)

All tanks are IN! None are coming out! Fitted, secured and floor supports installed. Including the battery box. Furthermore, the tanks got covered with plastic to keep things clean and dust free for the rest of the project. We shouldn't need to access this area until final floorboards are fitted. Whew!
From Building a Westsail 42: Tank Installation
From Building a Westsail 42: Tank Installation
From Building a Westsail 42: Tank Installation

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Grey Water Tank is IN!

An it ain't comin' OUT!
From Building a Westsail 42: Tank Installation
Did the final fit and installation of the grey water tank this past weekend. Unlike the fuel and water tanks, this one can never be removed. The length of the tank is 47 1/2" inches which is exactly the length of the aft center compartment including the 1 1/2" thickness of the bulkhead. The installation was done by cutting an opening in the lower bulkhead between the engine room and the main salon, under the center fuel tank compartment. Then the tank was slid through the opening, into the compartment from the engine room. Cleats to secure one end were fitted on the opposite wall, and two cross members fitted with cleats on the underside, are used to hold the tank down, and keep it from shifting from side to side. The cross members also help support the fuel tank above.
From Building a Westsail 42: Tank Installation
The tank is not lying directly on the bottom of the bilge, but, two feet made of fiberglass u-channel are tightly strapped to the underside to keep the tank up off the bottom. Strapped because nothing seems to adhere well to polyethylene. Truth be told, it can still be removed for now, but once the engine room gets filled out (like with an engine) there will be no space to slide the tank out completely.
From Building a Westsail 42: Tank Installation
Any future maintenance on the tank (like cleaning) will have to be done via the 6 inch inspection port mounted on the top near the aft edge. As long as 9 inches is kept clear aft of the tank, the hold down bracket can be unbolted and the tank slid out to reveal the inspection port. Should something foul the tank beyond use in the future, that cant be fixed via the inspection port, it will need to be abandoned in place, until fuel tanks and/or engine come out (hopefully never).