Fair thee well

Lots of boat builders complain about the “fairing” work. This is the part where all the imperfections of roughing-in construction have to be smoothed out to get a perfect finish. In a factory setting, great care is taken to “fair” the finish inside a mold where new parts like a boat deck will be made repeatedly. In a one-off custom build, I have to do the same work, but it’s done on each part as we go. The 4 big beams looked pretty ugly before fairing began – the courseness of overlapping heavy 17oz fiberglass fabric, and some struggles with smoothly seaming the compound curves of the front splash diverters, etc all add up to lots of fairing work. Everyone advises to put time in to smoothing out the core surfaces before laying final glass layers; there were a few places I didn’t do that enough, and I’m paying for it now with extra fairing work.


Figured it made sense to start on the BOTTOMS where no one but the fish and curious kayaker will see – a good place to learn this skill. Of course the shop is now a big mess with little room to move. Time wise it’s good to have them all going because there are long intervals where the fairing compound has to harden before the next sanding.

Here’s one at the beginning; white compound is spread on with a notched trowel, then sanded back with a longboard to find level/even planes. The dark red sander is our first air compressor driven tool – an 18″ long sander for auto body shops; works well for this too.


And here’s one farther along, pretty close to final sanding…


The bottom sides should be all done by Friday night, and this weekend we’ll reconfigure the shop to work the top sides hopefully all at once and get this dreaded task completed. During drying/curing times I’ve been climbing up on the main boat, designing the windshield and hard dodger setup. It all has to be remove able for transport, so this is pretty fun freehand fabrication. Photos to come once we get past the cardboard practice stage :)

And a quick congrats to Rick Waltonsmith on recent upgrades to Corsair 37 Transit of Venus as he gets her ready for the Pacific Cup race to Hawaii this summer. Yesterday we watched as Swensunds yard put her back in the water after a nice bottom job. Just to be clear, our boat won’t fold up like that – we’d have to take the beams completely off to make things trailer ready. Anyway, it was a great afternoon sailing TOV on the Estuary, testing out her big Code Zero and carbon main. She’s all rigged up to GO FAST!



(Ted, Rick and Jim, note the yellow lifting straps – exactly the same thing as we did on Origami in Sausalito, only with much bigger shackles!)

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