Boat Angels.

Here’s the next hero of the story. Jim from around the shop corner happens to have a huge Gradall in his front yard and a few weeks ago I asked if he could help lift the boat bow a few inches on Trailer Day. So this morning he drives over with this

And we start asking, “if we get you close and you don’t extend the boom far, how much can this thing lift?” So imagine Eggleston’s huge relief when Greg’s sketchy plan of blocking and bottle jacks got trumped by complete security / capability

We’re hard pressed to buy this man a nice enough dinner in gratitude of saving the builder’s hide on this one. We had a big crew of friends on hand to adjust the Corsair37 trailer to fit the F39 hull, and after three hours of prep the boat rolled away from her Santa Rosa shop looking so differently from the Christmas 2011 arrival.


That’s Rick Waltonsmith, trailer owner, and your builder checking the fit. Rick’s new, definitely non-trailer able Explorer 44 tri “Round Midnight” is slated to be our buddy boat and/or sparring partner depending on the day:)
The dagger’s new 5/8″ slimmer waistline was glassed overnight, got fairing putty while the guys finished trailer strapping, and primer tonight.

This setback is delaying the water launch at least a day, so those of you planning a visit on Sunday be warned – not a champagne day! Hot, working, bad grass allergies and gnats kind of day. Now targeting Monday for splashing.
It was surreal towing this huge boat through the Sonoma and Napa counties of my childhood on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. Sailing can be a solo pursuit, but this week is the true definition of community as interested friends and new acquaintances are drawn to this launch by a shared human spirit of accomplishment (and the lure of some fun water time!)

We didn’t have enough blocking to get the floats high enough to join the beams this evening, so Jim, Griffin and I departed before sunset while Charlie and Carlos and Rick stayed in the field working on cartersboat with no Carters in sight because they wanted to finish an earlier problem solve. Jeanne, our sons and I are amazed witnesses to all of your generous time and spirit fellow boat assemblers. We are so grateful you are here bringing this to completion!!! We’ll rally at the SeaRanch in ten hours :)


Well in to the evening

Friday was a long one. Here’s Jeanne doing a heroic cleanup, including going after four years of dust under vee-berth

Beams loaded and rolling to Napa on little trailer

CrazyCrane got the mast off the trailer – Charlie is seriously all-in on creative boat solves!

Mast delivery to Napa Valley Marina


Assembly site a mile from the marina

But the best was rolling the boat outside in the eve. Wow does it glisten in the sunshine and make this family proud!

So we were feeling good at 7pm, and then came the daggerboard fitting. Remember this has never happened because it was too tall inside the shop. … Damn, the trunk is slightly shorter at the top and bottom four inches based on how Howard did his glassing work (hull builder) and we didn’t talk about that. I built the dagger to exact plans. It sticks and wouldn’t clear the foil shape slot thru the hull :(
9pm emergency surgery to cut 5/8″ off the trailing edge. Michael Metela next door is the second hero of the day (Nameless Tractor Guy was first )


The boys hauled it back on deck, and it slid home just fine. That left the boat builder a late night of glassing – vac bagging. At least it made it easy to roll in to the rack at 1:45am as the night watchman.

Ok, 7am Saturday now and a huge forklift / Gradall comes at 9 to help get the boat on the trailer. Stay tuned.

We shouldn’t be fabricating on the last day!

Fish or cut bait, so they say. It’s time to go sailing, even if a few interior trim details aren’t done, or the plumbing isn’t 100% complete. But the last shop / building day began with making custom clevis pins for the steering system. 1/4″ SS rod here getting cotter pin holes then cuts to eight 2-3/4″ pins …

So while Install Steering was intended as a one hour repeat of work done many months ago, final parts and tweaks took all the way to 3pm. All good now and the steering feels great – the water will be the real judge.



During the daggerboard edge refinishing we also squared up the bottom to a nice knife edge. I am further incentivized to keep this thing from touching ANY underwater obstacles. No repair hours, please.

And here it is yesterday, painted and heading up on deck. This is NOT a trailer boat :)

We got in on deck and stood it up to drop in to its trunk, but after repeated tries / angles we couldn’t clear the roof. We’re not confident that the dagger shape is the same as the cutout in the hull bottom, and if we need to enlarge the slot we need to know NOW, with time to rebate and re-epoxy. So Jeanne and Griffin made patterns from the actual daggerboard and we messed about enlarging the slot a bit tonight.

Epoxy seal went on tonight, primer in the morn and new bottom paint tomorrow and Sat before launch. That’s cutting it close.
Leslie took a whack at the motor controls and this all mounted nicely. Looks easy but the cables and wires passages through the boat were tough. Many more hours chewed up there.


So that’s a wrap, and transport activity starts in the morn. The must-do punch list is short, and bigger bolt-on items can come later in June and July.


If the logistics go as planned (boat hull fits on the trailer, for example) we’ll be floating by Sunday. Let’s hope all the wheels actually roll this boat to the water! Stay tuned.

Working the punch list

So it wasn’t great planning, but the boat builder took off for the mountains a week before launching, leaving his dear wife and friend to tackle 100’s of fit&finish details. THANK YOU, ladies :)  Griffin and Greg supported the racers of the Lost & Found Gravel Grinder, including driving the 100 mile sweep land cruiser to pick up stragglers, fix bikes, etc. Great event from an outstanding organization – Sierra Buttes Trails Stewardship.

Last week’s boat work highlights:

The pulpit got it’s feet cut from a multi-layer laminate of 1708DB cloth, then bonded on to the tubes:



The bolt holes in the hull were finished, so we can launch without the pulpit and take time to finish and paint it later, then it will simply bolt on at the marina. Done for now!

Leslie got to build her first vacuum bag composite parts. We tackled the companionway hatch boards.


that’s medium density (5lb) foam, with high density foam inserts for the lock areas (yellow foam). Inside face of these boards is some extra heavyweight carbon uni plus a glass surface layers. Outside is kevlar cloth with a glass wear cloth outermost.



These probably won’t get done this week either, so we’ll whack something temporary out of plywood, and get back to these post-launch (see the pattern here?)

The mast base came back from welding working out exactly as planned. I was worried about aligning the holes for the big pins to hold the halyard turning sheaves, because of that 7 degree rise we talked about earlier. But once back on the bench it was obvious that the holes were in 90 degree alignment. So a few hours of careful drilling various needs and Griffin’s excellent wire brushing, and this was handed in for anodizing. The daggerboard is done too, so this will all get trial fit Wednesday.


Ever since Jim Antrim designed the rudder’s self-steering trim tab, we’ve avoided the problem of how to affix the tab to it’s steerer tube. No metal-to-composites solution seemed to make sense. One day recently Charlie and Geoff visited, and we brainstormed up a fiberglass pin solution. So the other day, facing one of those, “well, just gotta go for it” moments I started drilling holes in a rudder that would cost at least three grand to get replaced by a pro.



There you see the tab separate from the rudder body. One carbon tube was built in to both the tab and the rudder (above). Now a second tube slides in but has to get affixed to the tab and stay loose-fit in the rudder body to rotate. The red rod is fiberglass that we cut to make 3 cross-pins thru both tubes in the tab area.


these plugs got little carbon ‘butterfly strips’ glued over the top to keep them from sliding out, then they were faired in. (note to self – next post record the exact placement inches, and remember the tiny divots that mark the pin centers in case they ever have to come out).

Griffin shared the load on doing the bottom paint. I was so “over it” from all the fairing and primer work, so it was great to have a partner to crawl under the boat and paint about 2″ from one’s face. It all looks good, so of course now I want to make a bit more time to burnish it in to a fast racing bottom this week!


(there just might be a bit more orange showing up soon…)

This road has been long enough for each of the Carters to pass four birthdays during the build. No more teenagers to launch this boat!


Three more days in the shop to finish up steering, motor controls, daggerboard install, and paint for rudder, stern tower, beams undersides and companionway details. All that and a lot of little finish things (like 1/2 the plumbing!) make it a crazy home stretch. Charlie has the game plan for logistics in Napa, so now we hit the gas for a Saturday boat assembly.

PS – no shop time was sacrificed in the making of this post (typed as a passenger riding back from Sierras :)