Big like a bear paw

The first shipment of standing rigging parts came in from Colligo Marine. These are the lower anchors for the cap shrouds – 2 of the 3 big lines that hold the mast up.

We needed to have these parts in hand to properly size the “chainplates” to build in to the outer float hulls, receiving these anchors. These things used to be big steel plates bolted through the hull with huge chains attached to them. Instead, we’ll make them in carbon fiber, light and strong.
Grapefruit in photo gives some scale; these parts are at least 3x the size of similar parts on the F27. Colligo’s work here is beautiful.

The head compartment cabinets are all faired in, ready for paint. Need to make a couple of doors, and the L shaped part in the right of the photo is a removable section for easy access to the toilet plumbing.


Now we’re repeating the process of cardboard mockups for the dressing / clothing cabinets outside the head area, and the galley cabs. Jeanne came down to the boat and we mapped it all out yesterday.

Down on the workbench all of the new steering components got completed and faired out for paint. Just need to get a couple of bushings in then we can mount it all up and show you.

And that’s the edge of the windshield in that photo, also FINALLY ready for paint. So much fussy detail sanding and fairing on that intricate big part, and it was frustrating me so badly that I set it aside for months until Charlie came along with a fresh attitude and tamed the tiger. Thanks man!

Adventures in cardboard & carbon

Since we’re saving time making the bow sprit from aluminum stock, that eliminated the anticipated fun of trying to make a carbon fiber tube. But we found an outlet – the six foot steering connection rod you’ll see soon between the new tiller pivot point and the rudder cassette.

I don’t have much success getting all-around-glassed parts off the mold or mandrel, So thought we tried the method where you start with a thin fiberglass layer and make a lengthwise slit to get the new tube off the mandrel.



Once this thin tube was free, we rewaxed the mandrel (which was a piece of metal electrical conduit) and slid the tube back on with the idea that the finished carbon layers would not get stuck to the mandrel. Since we’re “free styling” on this project and it’s the primary steering linkage (a REALLY important part) it seemed that five wraps around with 9oz unidirectional carbon was prudent. Well that many layers of hot epoxy plus the vacuum bag smashing it in and no PVA mold release, etc meant no way was that finished piece sliding off the mandrel. So we made another slit and went back and resealed it afterwards. The result is a pretty thick tube that is comforting-ly stiff when you lean hard on it with no flexing.


The only metal in the steering system will be stainless steel nuts and ball joints embedded in each end of this tube, plus the bolts to connect pieces. Everything is built now but the rudder bearing I bought isn’t right and needs to be replaced. So stay tuned for the completion soon on that project.

And now to cardboard… It’s not the most elegant way to dream up bathroom cabinets but it works for us. The trick here was designing around the hand pump for the Lavac head and the big mounting brackets where the port side forward beam bolts to the center hull.


If you’re wondering, it takes six quarters of NFL championship games to cut, recut and generally fiddle with angles to get that mockup done. (poor Packers!) You’re seeing 14 panels that need to be made, adding up to roughly 4′ x 6′ of surface area. Large sheets of double sided laminations were curing on the vac bag table during the two football games.

And today began the cutting and fitting, like solving a big jigsaw puzzle. One nice trick for cabinet face openings is lining up center points of 4.5″ hole-saw cuts and connecting the arcs.


It’ll probably take a few days to get this all built out, as there are many intermediate curing steps on adjoining all the panels.

Sticker shock

A month ago I showed you the sketch and placement of the gas tank, based on the bid request sent off to ATL bladder tank co. The quote came in today; $2560! That’s nuts. The whole engine was less than that. No wonder that company serves government agencies. Oh well. We’ll look in to making a fiberglass tank, custom fit like the toilet tank.

We did spend $450 on a 4’x8′ sheet of smoked-grey Lexan with special scratch resistant coating. This included a minor panic in the Sacramento parking lot when the two 4×4 cut down sheets wouldn’t fit in the car (because someone wanted to drive the sport car, not the truck – duh). I tried to remember the final window height and had them further cut another 14″ on each panel. Fit in the car now, and turned out to be JUST tall enough once back at the shop. Lots of cuts were done:

If anyone else is doing this, here’s the right jig saw blade.

Lining up the windows for drilling was a two person job, taking almost a full day to get it all done right.

These shots show the silhouette of the actual window in the cabin, vs the larger ‘glass’ panels on the outside. We’ve maximized the viewing area from the cabin, honoring structural considerations, trying to get a bit of that open saloon catamaran feel (yeah, Arlene, I don’t want Jeanne to see your beautiful cat’s interior until our boat is done :)

A couple of these windows, plus two on the back cabin, are slated to get opening ports inset over the Lexan. Kind of a floating window within the window. It makes sense when you see it on the nice Benetaus at the boat show.
The new steering setup is coming along; making various parts in carbon and will be able to show it complete soon. We’re also scrapping the complex carbon bowsprit build and ordering a smaller, lighter piece of aluminum – thanks to some sage advice. All good. The only trouble right now is getting in to the 45 degree shop each morning. Hard to get rolling much before 10 right now!