Dagger Bagger

Sometimes it’s possible to worry too much about these projects. Last time we wrote of not knowing a reasonable technique for bulking up the daggerboard shape. After some careful measuring, it needs 5/16″ at the most, and most of the add will be 1/4″ or less.

We dug around in leftover building materials for some 1/4″ divinycel 80 (5lb density) foam core that had been saved for anymore interior panel making. Fortunately for timely efficiency (hard to get this stuff quickly) there was just enough.

The little pile of scraps was all we had left of three 4×8′ sheets from 2015.

Next we made a fresh vacuum bag with the last of the Stretchelon plastic, but it wasn’t quite big enough. So for a first, tonight we’re trying standard 4mil plastic sheeting from the hardware store. For a simple, flat part like this it’s working fine.

Thanks again to whoever dreamed up laminating curved panels under vacuum pressure. So satisfying to watch it work. This extra foam core will be very well formed on to the board.

Along with running out of vac bag film, we’re out of the fabric breather that lets air flow inside the bag, and soaks up excess resin. A quick web search at lunch today turned up an airplane builder who uses paper towels! He said use four+ layers. It was soooooo much easier to keep in position tonight, and nearly free. We’ll let you know next time how it worked.

In that last shot notice the darker seams in between the pieces of tan foam. That’s epoxy being forced up, and that will make the shaping process more difficult. The tools need to move between the hard glue lines and softer foam without gouging. There’s the downside of using all the scraps instead of single full sheets. We’ll just have to be careful.

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Sunday with a glue gun

We got back to the daggerboard reshaping this morning by digging out a bag of foam core scraps. This would take longer, piecing together odd bits. But it’s better than waiting days for a new shipment, and that stuff is expensive. So with the little tabletop bandsaw we got busy.

I’d forgotten that the 5lb density foam core is difficult to shape with sanders. For anyone else doing this, these abrasive wheels on an angle grinder so a nice job without leaving bad gouges. Easily found at Harbor Freight, etc.

Here after rough shaping.

Then we cut off the last trailing 1″, which will get rebuilt later with solid glass and putty so as to achieve a sharp knife-edge for smooth water exit.

After lunch we ran down to Napa Autoparts for some body filler. Since this will be buried under the fiberglass, we’re not worried about exposing bondo to the sea. And it has the huge benefit of hardening in 20 minutes. So the afternoon was spent flipping the board over, sanding one side while the other had its next skim coat hardening up. It took four passes to get where we’re happy this new core will give a fair fiberglass’s surface.

Ok, the tail end is ready; now we need a plan for bulking up the forward portions. Here’s how much it needs to grow:

Anyone have a clever idea of what to use for bulking up the board? Jeanne thinks craft-shop balsa that come in thin strips, adhered to flexible matting. Or we could rip very thin cedar strips on the table saw. I’ve heard of “core mat” but don’t know anything about it. Any good experience is most welcome.

Ah, the smell of cut cedar!

When we built the big daggerboard from the same cedar stock as the hulls, there were a couple of days where the workshop smelled like Christmas and the forest as every plane stroke during the board shaping released more cedar aroma. And then it all got sealed up with epoxy, glass and carbon, never to be seen or smelled again. Until today. It was major surgery, but at least it smelled great.

Recall the prior post where you saw how “high aspect” the foil shape was. Over 12:1, and that’s likely causing some stalling, and contributing to the howling noises when Ravenswing got up to speed. The experts agreed, it needs a more aggressive rounding shape up front and more severe taper. So we pulled out the original plans, did some tracing, resulting in some fattening and shortening fore/aft.

The board is a bit under 2-3/4″ at its widest. The exit slot at the bottom of the hull is 3-5/8″. So the new shape is going up to 3-1/3″ and 28-1/2 wide, for a 9:1 ratio. The last 11″ wide aft are too thick, so that has to go. The front 18″ or so are too narrow, so that area will be augmented over the existing shape.

Step 1, saw in to one’s well built, but poorly shaped big ass board.

Then we cut 1-1/4″ off the aft edge of the rectangular head of the board so it will fit in front of a new shock-absorbing heavy rubber insert we’ll add to the back edge inside the daggerboard trunk on the boat. Great idea from Keith!!!

Got the board level and plumb up on a makeshift table, ready for a new tail end. This feels like we’re building an airplane wing – fun.

Now we need to transfer the skinny pattern into wood and foam core. We had the off-cut from the shape-checking guide board to use in transferring the angle to the table saw. Note the light piece of wood against the saw fence is the same as what was on the dining table earlier.

So while the rest of you were out partying Friday night, we played with string and wood blocks in the tiny shed.

And in this final photo, see how the new shape will butt up against the rectangular head section. It’s those little sharp triangular areas on each side that sit on the exit slot block at the bottom of the boat when the board is deployed. This weekend we’ll fill in between these wood blocks with foam core and get this new tail shaped and ready for fiberglass. I have a feeling adding the right shape to the board on the front half will be much trickier than this aft-half job.

For those Farrier builders reading this, fear not, this surgery did not touch the super-strong area of the board (embedded hardwood insert and 6 layers of carbon uni the full length of the board). Thankfully the surgery started about 4″ aft of all that.

And while on the subject of good smelling wood, here’s a gratuitous shot of last weekend’s homework. This time the missus didn’t just hand over a photo, it was a whole how-to book of iron pipe projects. This is marital bliss – Jeanne gets to display her treasures and Greg gets to see all her treasures find a nice consolidated home. Win win, and the vacuum glides along like the shelves aren’t even there!

Dodging the rain

Yea! We’re finally getting some decent rain in Northern California. I have no problem bowing to nature in this case, even if it does screw up boat projects. In between showers, we’re getting stuff done. Here are the main sheet block pads done, installed with some leftover windshield super tape.

The starboard main cabin ports got their new polycarbonate pieces. This is 1″ Very High Bond 3M tape, then Sika 295 black sealant around the outside edge. the center one with the big cutout gets a ‘floating’ Lewmar opening port reinstalled next time I go down to the marina.

RickWS, I think we’re ready for baking, as 1.5yrs after launch I’ve finally hooked up the propane. The locker was built into/under the cockpit lazarette, and it sticks down into the equipment room alongside the freezer box. For service, it needed an overboard vapor drain, an electrical pass thru for the tank on/off solenoid, and one for the gas line.

Just need to fill the tank on that next drive to the marina and test it all out. Jeanne is on boat-strike until we can boil water for afternoon tea.

Also completed are those watertight Armstrong inspection hatch covers. First a look at the 10″ ones on the float bows.

So far in the rain both have stayed bone dry, so this looks to be a good fix on a previously poor execution. Here are shots of the 7″ aft ones; these required grinding away the original built-up bases for the old style ports, plus filling in the bolt holes. I’ll try to remember to get a photo of the one-piece Armstrong plates so this all makes more sense.

This next one may sound insignificant, but there was actually quite a bit of angst and procrastination about how to secure the various cabinet / locker doors. Mainly because I was a bit afraid of hitting the wood veneer doors with a crude hole saw. Proceeded with caution and now the doors latch shut!

Along with hot water, Jeanne would very much appreciate solving the tough ingress/egress issues of this boat. We could hop around the F27, but on this one the beams, coamings and cockpit seats are all much taller. I need to make various transition steps as we’re just not spring chickens anymore. First up is widening the coaming where the aft beams cut in to the hull. This is an odd spot in the boat design, and the F36 we saw in WA last September had these covered. So here goes.

They will be a little tricky, as they can only be permanently affixed to the beam and not the hull, for potential de-mounting of the beams/floats some day. We’ll update as we go on this one.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… the daggerboard has been sitting under a tarp at home awaiting some reshaping work. We got the paint stripped and cleaned up the little work shed to tackle this, now that the weather is moving towards epoxy-appropriate warmth.

That’s an 8′ board in a 12′ shed, so the belly gets sucked in as one works. I’m pretty sure I built it to plan, but looking at it now, plus advice from the master Shipright during our Nov/Dec haulout, we’re thinking it really needs more bulbous-ness at the leading edge. We made a pattern of the hull pass-thru at the bottom of the boat while it was on land, and that is now transferred to a plywood cutout to use as a “don’t add more than this!” guide in this project. If anyone has ideas on how to attack this such that I work symmetrically, I’m all ears. Step 1 will be blocking and clamping it up on the trailing edge (leading edge pointing to ceiling) to at least be able to eyeball it. Here goes!

PS. Last time we reported on shore boat #1. Tonight I’m thrilled to report my dear sis Allie joined me on a trip to the SUP shop in Santa Cruz to look at VESL brand paddle boards. She was hooked and bought one while I shopped. Next thing I know, she’d bought mine too! Now that’s family love right there :). We can fight over the paddle board and the loser gets off Ravenswing via the portabote.

At 10′, the SUPs stick out the back of our new pickup’s 5.5′ bed, which of course sounds like an excuse to look for truck racks.

It was a bittersweet goodbye to the amazing diesel X5 bmw, but this Ram with the eco diesel v6 is powerful, comfortable and has averaged 24mpg over 6k miles, half of which were towing a 6,000lb trailer across the country. Yea, that’s my testimonial Fiat-Chrysler. You got this one right.

Jim’s least favorite boat!

195F586A-0399-4B6B-9336-B76111DFBEE8The game plan for Ravenswing’s dinghy is the folding 10’ Portabote and 4hp motor we found “barely used” on Craigslist a few years back for $700. The plastic hull folds flat and secures nicely on the nets. But the original heavy plywood seats and transom were a big bummer. A wise man would have coughed up the $1700 at the boat show for a new one, but no, we thought “we can just quickly redo those in foam core!”  Well over a year later that little project finally concluded. Still need to install the replaced motor choke parts scavenged at Bill’s Outboards in Sausalito last year, then we’ll go find out if Jimbo’s little nemesis boat seems any more realistic as the voyagers’ launch.

If you’ve crewed with us, you know my pain about the one piece of gear placement that had unintended consequences. The main sheet base blocks  in certain situations bang directly on the hull. 7EEC58DD-7551-4FE8-825E-A52206012971Here we prepped the area to mold some Kevlar protection pads.

199CE6A9-BF32-48DD-9A31-863F85F90CF6290329F1-AE6E-4142-BAA9-72CE2920F60FThey’ll get some paint and then get sticky-taped in place.

Carlos and I motored over to the sewer pump out dock for the maiden attempt at that task. Of course the big pump was broken. Tried again the next week and up came the unmentionable flow, although just for a moment. After checking all the pipes I could not figure out the lack of suction, and decided to blame the marina for not really fixing the pump. A few days later the head compartment smelled a little ripe so I removed the inspection port cover above the tank area and grabbed a flashlight to peer down into the holding tank. OOPS, the nifty-idea sight glass that we bonded on the inside before permanently joining the tank sections had, of course, been yanked off its mooring the moment the pump got achieved enough vacuum, and will now live in the bowels (I’m not sticking my hand in there!!!). Luckily there was just enough clearance between the tank top and under the toilet shelf to slide a new piece of clear plastic and the right permanent tape to seal this back up. Yuck. 837DB4DD-7CDA-4FA0-A564-04CD62AD62C2We expected to show you new starboard side portlights by now, but the Bay Area FINALLY got some real rain so our al -fresco boat is taped up until the sky dries and sun warms enough for painting to resume. 0249F9A0-AEC7-4F56-B606-4A44B07A4CD3The word from MA is optimistic about our mast getting in to production finally. Haven’t seen photos of carbon on the mandrill yet, but we’ve been assured that’s imminent.  Meanwhile, to stay somewhat sane, we’re taking some rides on OPB.  Rafi upgraded from the Corsair 750 to a really nice F31 OneDesign, ex-“F-bomb” out of San Diego, now LookinGoodII and it’s fast as hell. That’ll get the other bay 31s to take notice. We had a very windy Sunday afternoon South Bay blast, and the mutinous crew demanded the new skipper figure out how to reef the large main :).

And a big thank you to skipper Bill of Dragonfly 1200 Emma for taking me as his crew in Saturday’s double handed Corinthian Race. I didn’t bother bringing the Sailing Instructions because the boat sports her own printer! I was expecting a gentleman’s leisure race, with the fine leather couches and all. Well, we had some issues with the electric winches and the scrawny crew’s muscles. Let’s just say that 65’ mast and big sails are a darn good work out. The appreciative skipper provided a nice dinner and snazzy new crew shirt, so all was well. Emma is a beautiful craft and we encourage all local tri fans to get out there with Bill when you can.

For followers of Farrier Marine’s Philippine progress, the F33 Carbon made it to SF and Gary Helms brought it to the Bay Area Multihull Assoc annual meeting. It’s for sale (295k) and absolutely amazing looking. 33’ of ocean ready rocket ship. Strap in and blast away!  Go talk to Gary!

Fixing stuff

February for Ravenswing so far is about tweaking – some little, some big. And trying not to get frustrated about the hours spent in 2015/16 doing it wrong the first time :)

Fresh water is carried in two 23 gallon Nauta flexible bladder tanks. Spots for each were built along the hull under the dining settee. But we had trouble with the closer-to-the-pump tank collapsing / air-locking as it emptied but didn’t draw well from the forward tank. Also, we flush the toilet with grey water captured in a Plastimo flexible tank from the galley sink. That sink drain has a diverter to choose overboard discharge or grey tank filling. But the spot for the grey tank was cramped, so the toilet pump was not getting a strong rinse water flow. Taking a fresh look at things, the Tank Stack was born this weekend. The saloon/settee table makes it tough to get into the large, deep locker under the forward seat tough to get in. It’s a bit of dead space. At the bottom of that locker was already the forward fresh water tank. Then there are two “levels” of removable shelving above the water tank. We moved the grey tank onto the mid level and the 2nd fresh tank to the top level. Here they are, starting bottom-up…this dance only took four trips to the hardware store for numerous new hose pieces, clamps, etc. Both the fresh water and toilet rinse work really well now. (Hold that thought, soon we’ll have a holding tank fix for your entertainment)

Also this weekend was tackling the starboard main cabin port lights (the incessantly leaking windows). We installed them with Sika 275UV and screws. This was a bad combo and we suffered crazing in the polycarbonate around the screw heads, and condensation issues where larger sections of the window ran over solid sections of the cabinsides. We’ve since learned, or decided anyway, that the modern Very High Bond tapes are sufficient for these port lights. And despite the original intent of sleek-looking faux one-piece glass as seen from the outside of the boat, the new windows will be cut 1″ larger than the holes in the boat, and the whole area will still have the black background. The ‘no fasteners needed’ decision was backed by how well that Sika is holding the original panes. A real bear to get them off! Including actually breaking away fairing/primer/paint in a few spots. This mess was a couple hours cleanup, including filling the 30+ screw holes, which three years ago had been carefully over drilled from the cedar core and replaced with thickened epoxy. And now we’ve filled those same holes to make them disappear :)we made paper patterns today and will get them to Tap Plastics when they reopen Tuesday. We made the original set from a 4×8′ sheet of markelon polycarbonate, but this time we’ll pay the pros to use their special saws and routers.

Keith reached our mast builder the other day; bad news is they haven’t started the two masts ahead of ours. Good news is they are geared up to build them concurrently- some efficiencies in assembling – and the owner says he’ll be delivering ours on track this spring. Sure would like to see some carbon being laid out though!

I had a pleasant light-wind sail on RickWS’s Explorer44 tri Round Midnight last week and the conversation has me thinking I need to copy his reefing system. Jimbo knows we struggle getting Ravenswing’s reefing clew under control with that little winch on the boom. I have time to modify the boom and deck right now, so we’re considering running the reefing clews and tacks back to the primary cockpit winches. Need to figure out how to turn the lines from the inboard boom end down towards the deck; how would turning blocks mount? Maybe the new mast rotator arm should be mounted forward of the mast, not aft as it was before…

Fellow plotters and schemers, how would you set up the boom and deck for cockpit-handling of reefing lines on this boat?

Return to boat-building

Well, this post is dedicated to the folks who wrote when we launched Ravenswing they were sad the build-blog was over.  The silver lining of losing our first mast turns out to be an opportunity for a fresh crack at “getting everything right”. I watch (via the web) other builders meticulously keep their boats in the workshops until they are truly complete; our path was different – we had enough boat to go sailing, and by mid 2016 we wanted out of the $925/mo shop rent. In retrospect it would have been a crazy push to get to Mexico last October. Here in early 2018, the boat-builder hat is back on and things are getting done with as-professional-a-job as we can muster.  When we finally step that new mast, Ravenswing will be ready for adventuring.

I apologize for leaving you hanging back at the boat yard!  Here’s what happened when we put that calibrated scale in-line under the launch crane:IMG_5143That 9,300 INCLUDES about 500 lbs. of liquids (water, gas and sewer) that were not able to be removed due to weather just before the haul out. Most everything else was aboard – full galley, all sails, boom and rigging, uninstalled wind vane and furnace. So we’re looking at 8,800 + 300 for the new mast + an autopilot, water heat exchanger, solar panels, 100 lb. dingy & motor.  So we’re in the 9,500-10,000lb. range “dry” all equipped.

The bottom job looks sharp! That’s two coats of Trinidad Pro back bottom paint. And we paid the experienced hands to re-do the boot stripe. All better now. IMG_5145IMG_5141IMG_5146

I’m happier with the way the stripe & bottom wrap from bow to stern. A little hard to tell from the second photo, but the aft end looks good now. IMG_5147IMG_5148

So what does “actually finishing the boat” mean?  This will be the story for the next few months.  Here are the cabinet / locker doors that were built in Santa Rosa then sat in storage all through our house moves, etc. Just need latches still. IMG_5186IMG_5184

About the mast:  we awarded the fabrication job to Composite Engineering in Mass. back in October. They had hoped to start by Thanksgiving week. But here in February our mast is still down their list a bit. Conversations re: timing are happening; stay tuned. Meanwhile, we have some parts that are being re-used so stripping what’s left of the old mast required some ugly butchery.

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A half hour of careful angle-grinder work finally yielded the permanently-embedded mast rotation ball receiver cup:

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This’ll get bolted to the bottom of the new mast, then the white plastic (delrin) cup inserted and greased to sit atop the mast step ball.  We’ll spare you photos of the mind-numbing job removing all 150+ Tides Track mounting brackets which we had painstakingly tapped into the mast mid-2015.

With apologies to those of you suffering severe winter, but it’s been pretty glorious in sunny CA. We set down the boat tools for a weekend of pruning the fruit trees and creating a new bed for raspberries and boysenberries (pretty sure Pop smiled down on us) IMG_4944IMG_4943

Colin got a brief break from his (fantastic) Raleigh, NC Paramedic job to come see the new home base. IMG_5155Just a bit after Ravenswing got back to her slip after the boat yard, the elder two hit the road in the travel trailer for five weeks. Spent Christmas in Raleigh (Griffin flew out), and  for New Years the boys tried their hands at some anti-aircraft duty on the USS North Carolina. IMG_5283

But I was most impressed with the helmsman’s job – seems one must have command of all the faculties when this is the view from your wheelhouse!IMG_5281

The USS NC played a significant WW2 role in the Pacific and is a really interesting museum – worth the drive.

So yes Ravenswing missed another Three Bridge Fiasco, but that was a wind-bust for most of the 350+ entered boats. Only three finishers, I think, two of which were our bay’s quick F25Carbons.  At least we still get to sail while Ravenswing awaits her spar. Thanks to Dad and his good ‘ol Catalina 30. A mellow November day aboard Maggie; sure beats shoveling snow. IMG_5140