State champs!

Gratuitous cross promotion here as we can’t help but shout about niece Molly Carter’s high school varsity lacrosse team winning Northern California state tournament this week. The final game saw frequent scoring, lead changes, many minutes tied, capped with Novato breaking the 9-9 tie literally as time ran out to win the title. Fans rushing the field, dogpile of players, people crying – the whole enchilada. Molly played a lot of minutes as a freshman, so it’s big shoes to fill in the coming years :)
Here with her brother Mack and the champs medal.

Back at the shop we had a big weekend of putting stuff together. There are 7 thruhulls; 3 below the waterline and 4 drains for sinks and pumps. First some BoatLife bedding caulk…

Press them in, deal with the backing plates and nuts inside, and wipe away the excess goo. Came out fine.

The only regret is buying the mushroom head fittings instead of the flush heads. That call was made over a year ago because I was insecure about cutting the 45 degree chamfers. In retrospect it would have been pretty easy. So here’s a tiny bit of robbed speed we’ll suffer.

We’re also tackling any last fabrication parts, including this plate inside the cabin that holds the daggerboard down-force turning block inside the dagger trunk. This will get carefully sealed and primed to avoid electrolysis as much as possible.


Luis in Lisbon asked about the opening ports. These are Lewmar Flush Mitre #3s:


20160523-184549.jpg they don’t really match with the wood trim inside, but we’ll love the ventilation and they look good blending in with the smoked Lexan from the outside. Also, these windows get more obscured by nice fabrics coming. Way to go Jeanne and Leslie for a whole Saturday of magic with foam blocking.

Patterns are being made for these pretties…

Now that the labor for hardware is done, we’re happy to have invested extra time in making backing plates, cutting individual bolts to fit in to acorn nuts, etc. The trim is looking pretty good according to recent visitors.


I’ve only ignored Keith’s excellent advice once, which was him saying it’s not worth building a pulpit. I haven’t had good luck with schedules, costs, etc with welders, and since the mast base is out for ransom right now we decided to utilize on hand materials and knock this off the list with labor. It also means we can feel ok about it as an experiment, and modify/change sans-guilt later.
Grabbed some thin-wall (schedule 200) 1″ PVC plus 90degree PVC conduit bends and epoxy putty / light glassed them together. Decided to use the heavy carbon uni we had purchased to make a bow sprit long ago. And the leftover 5oz uni 2″wide roll for spiral hooping around the uni. Then cover it with a light fiberglass sleeve and this nifty shrink-wrap tubing from Soller Composites in New Hampshire (ok, we did spend about $30 on new materials for this project)




Here it is part way thru the heat gun process. The film shrinks 2:1, spurring away bubbles and leaving a nice surface.



Because these are working from a 45 degree bend, it was pretty easy to line up the foot cut and site these on the deck.



There is also a cross bar intersecting the forward slope tubes, ahead of the forestay. Along with structure strength, it will catch the lowered furled up reacher.
Tonight we’ll make a sheet of three layer 1708DB that can then be cut in to four of these ‘feet’

We’ll show you in a few days how the feet become bolting flanges on to the tubes.
Meanwhile, the daggerboard is getting a bit more shaping love. After applying Coz’s clever guide tool, we realized that the port size was a little flat compared to starboard. Now THAT would have slowed things down. So we’re being careful with this shaping job (that should have been done last year!)


If you’re following this story and want to be around at the beginning of the boat’s water life, come on out. The basics are:
Fri June 10: morning: drive beams trailer to Napa then set floats on ground at Napa Sea Ranch (launch site). Deliver mast to Napa Valley Marina (a few hundred yards away). Evening: take empty boat trailer to Santa Rosa and transfer main hull from shop dolly to boat trailer.
Sat June 11: drive main hull to SeaRanch. Lift and bolt beams to hull, on trailer. Lift floats up to waiting beams. Install engine and nets. Expect at least all day.
Sun June 12: finish boat assembly items. Go to marina and dress the mast (halyards, diamonds, shrouds, etc)
Launch the boat!
Monday June 13: motor to Napa Marina for mast stepping.
Go sailing, God willing.

Let us know if you want to details/directions/a role in the process.

The new boat will first dock at Charlie’s house on the Napa River, and within a few days make its way into the bay for a summer dock. Probably in Richmond but we’re still poking around. There will be MANY “sea trials” sailing days and you’re all welcome to come along. We’ll be posting times via this blog, so sign in for updates if you haven’t already.

18 days to go. And the list is still long. I have an evening of tanks and hoses to go join together!

T – minus three weeks!

Ok friends, start your countdown timers ’cause we’re setting the launch date for the June 11/12 weekend. Many self imposed deadlines have come and gone over the past four years, but today we can actually see the finish line. While y’all are grilling, drinking, riding, sailing, etc for Memorial Day weekend, we’ll be hitting this punch list hard.

20160518-224539.jpg That’s the list on the shop white board, and of course there’s another dozen or so items in the margins of the little orange notebook the builder carries around :) (eg fix the flat tire on the trailer holding the beams out in the driveway)

All deck hardware is just about buttoned up now. About an hour more of securing a few more bolts to go. Ventilation should be good inside, with three deck hatches, the two companionways, a dorade up front, two opening ports in the main cabin, two in the bow, and three in the aft cabin.





The all-stainless steel purchasing for sailing hardware has Jeanne appreciating the “boat bling” look. All this stuff cost about like buying decent gold and diamonds, but hopefully the enjoyment per hour is well spent on the sea side of the equation.




Last year we wrote about concerns of the captive-pin mast base, especially after seeing the same design as our mast’s step having cracked on the Contour34 tri. Recall the Keith at Skateaway set us up with a receiver cup at the bottom of the mast. Yesterday we finally tackled designing and building a replacement mast step. Farrier’s F39 plan isn’t quite right because he has the halyards on either side of the receiver ball, while we built our mast for them to exit just aft of the ball. So we used Farrier’s load solving but did some shape changing. Things were a bit tricky because the deck slopes about seven degrees off level and we want the ball to sit close to level with the water. Here’s the one we’re replacing. Missing in the photo is a high density plastic insert carved with a cylinder to accept the round steel pin from the mast. Note the old piece is stainless steel.

So first on paper, then mocked up in wood. The plywood chunk at the left represents the deck slope.

Next was sharp blades on the chop saw and table saw to cut shapes and make the 7 degree bevels needed. Ouch, $125 for about 2-1/2 sq feet of 1/2″ and 3/8″ 6061 aluminum.

Took about three hours last night to cut and sand/grind everything in prep for the welder this evening.


The welding shop was happy to get things properly prepped, with 1:1 scale drawing and a wood go-by mockup. We had left the proper 1/4″ fillet weld spaces at the seams – overall not bad for first time amateurs. Then the casually noted, yea we can do this in two hours; that’ll be $280, sir. After that it’s a stop at the anodizer, and this will be a $500+ part even though we designed it and cut it all out. Geez.

The bow area got its last big job, the forestay installation. Thanks again to Colligo for custom cutting this in titanium. Kind of a pity it’s hidden down in the hole. Keith will note the nice big ring nut to anchor the jib tack adjuster :)




The bottom paint isn’t on yet because the thru hulls aren’t installed because one had to be special ordered from Forespar, etc (see how this works?), and we don’t want to mix up bottom paint until the daggerboard is also prepped. Last winter recall the America’s Cup foils building vet Cozmo pointed out the flaws in my dagger leading edge (“you know that sag will be slow, Carter” has been haunting for months ). He instructed on setting up a straight edge and re-fairing. Here goes: first see the problem gap.

20160518-232213.jpg next we filled that void.

And got the leading edge of the board back to a straight line up and down.


A quick phone call with the foil master tonight confirmed the next step is to make a careful wooden shaping jig cut from a proper foil leading edge shape (have that shape in the Farrier full size plans). He said we only need to worry about getting the right leading edge rounding, and a properly symmetric first three or so inches shape flowing back. So the jig can be short-legged, not pulled all the way down these very large daggerboard sides. A few more hours this week to go.

All the hardware backing plates are pretty woods inside – more photos next time- but anything outside is plastics. This 3/4″ high density stock from Tap machines very easily to make spacers under the rope clutches.

This is the stuff we’re doing each evening now as the push to finish the list heats up. Very excited for Saturday when Jeanne and Leslie measure all the seating areas and map out the cushion foam we’ve been squirreling away for a couple years :). Curtains begin this week too. Yea!

Time for bed(ding)

Quick update here before shutting down for the night. We’re really liking the butyl tape approach to bedding the deck hardware for leak prevention. (Reminder you can search the word Butyl on this site and find the link from last year to a pro tutorial)
Here the material is applied to the bottom of the part, and underneath the bolt head:




In some cases it makes more sense to put a small ring of butyl rubber around the bolt hole on deck, then press the part in to that. Try it either way. But in all cases the bolt head must be kept still, not disrupting the butyl placement, and the nut tightened against the bolt. I did all parts where one person can reach (coaming winches, for ex), but mostly this is a two person job. Great use of one’s son just back from college this week! (Thx Griff). And Charlie came to lend a hand too. He was forced to wash all the brand new bolts in acetone, and we were surprised by all the machining gunk at the bottom of the parts cleaning tray. This cleaning seems sure to help stop leaks later

Along with sailing and docking hardware, we have four hatches to install. Here’s the escape hatch under the starboard aft beam.


See how close to the waterline that is? Our intent is to NEVER use it as an emergency escape, but frequently make easy loading of groceries from the dinghy in exotic anchorages!

We took a recent drive to Sausalito and stopped in for progress on the Matthew Turner – being – built – tall ship (that’s probably enough for googling). The timeline has been roughly parallel with our build, but their scale is immense. If you drive through Marin, this is a must see!
This 100’+ sailboat is being constructed from local timber.



20160510-001236.jpg it’s just amazing workmanship, and even though they’re using modern tools, the techniques of traditional wooden boat building are fully in play. Hand carving every plank (averaging over 3″ thick!) and steaming them in place, three a day, for months, all by the continuous stream of volunteers. Mankind at its best :)

This ship is very close to Origami’s old storage yard, and the shop of builder Gordie Nash. He ran a little hands-on seminar for synthetic rigging, and we got our splicing techniques all figured out (and Papilon gets a STRONG bowsprit upgrade after her Farralones race)

Here we’re drawing the long end of the line through the splice hole to really lock in the no-slip feature. I hadn’t known that trick and now feel much better about my halyard shackles holding for life. Charlie and I each also ordered some spectra cover material so we can protect halyards near the shackle ends – the far end of this light colored cover is frayed and buried in to the cover of the halyard line. Tedious job but a great result, especially for a spinnaker or reacher deployed for days on the ocean.

We listen carefully to everything this guy says, except that he was a little embarrassed by the results of this year’s Vallejo 1-2. Yea, he bulleted both days. Again. 75 miles of racing with everybody to his stern, upwind both ways. Modest and damn good sailing.
And one curious note from that session – Gordie is covering his dyneema lifelines with cheap-to-buy electricians cable shrink wrap. Definitely need to get the NON-glue version, and you can pick most any color you can think of. Very clever.


4 more inches

Keith called today with a story of a friend’s boat build; things were done with a heavy hand and when it launched with the bottom paint done at the designed waterline, the boat settled in a few inches lower leaving unprotected topsides submerged a bit. What a drag to pull a fresh launch out of the water and redo the waterline paint job. So… Not that we think we’ll be fat and saggy, but it’s a lot easier now to add a few inches of barrier coat ‘just in case’

Here’s coat #2 of 5, with the roller headed northbound by about 4″ :). One more coat tonight and hopefully two tomorrow to finish this step.

I pity you guys as this website is now literally watching paint dry! To keep busy in between bottom coats today we tackled final builds on the stern tower. First is the little crane off the back to lift the rudder out of the water when stationary. If you look at older photos the top edge was purposely lower than the top of the tower. But overall this thing seemed too flexible and potentially weak. So it grew an extra foam core top, then more carbon ‘strapping’ wrapping over the top of the tower. Much stiffer now!

Next is the radar, to mount on the extra ‘ear’ of the tower to starboard. The mounting pattern of the Raymarine unit required some modification. And since we’re not interested in a metal bracket, we made a fiberglass foam pizza instead.


Last up is a shelf for the tiller pilot. This location should allow us to attach the ram directly to the steering gear, or more intriguingly to a second set of cables to steer the trim tab on the rudder just as the windvane system will do. Much more on that story to come once we get to sea trials.

This little shelf add is perhaps 5 ounces of foam and carbon, but further stiffens the whole structure – so much better than a big metal structure on the back of the boat! (We hope anyway)


Between the decks

So, we’ve reported on the hull exterior & deck being ‘done’, and you’ve seen the painted & trimmed interior. But there’s a bit more fabrication of ‘the spaces in between’. This weekend we tackled deck fills for water and diesel, through the cockpit coaming box and lazarette, to the equipment room. We’ll use flexible pipes between the deck fills and solid fiberglass tubes that bisect the tops and bottoms of lockers. The Forespar marelon deck fills are 1.5″ OD. 1″ sched 40 PVC wrapped about ten times in lightweight glass cloth gets to exactly 1.5″:



The pipe was coated in good mold release wax, so a few hammer taps on a big screwdriver popped it out


The diesel and water deck pass throughs are on the left, and the grey curve is a trial fit of PVC conduit that will carry the 110v shore power to the inlet on the right.

The lazarette currently has the main cockpit drain entering and exiting its aft edge.


That needs a dedicated drain tube, especially since the propane well was added in this compartment. And there’s already a second overboard drain for the lazarette on its forward hull edge. So here’s a simple 90degree form with non-stick tape and peel ply laid in before the glass channel is made.


And the new piece tabbed in place.

It looks like the diesel Espar heater will exhaust through the hull up high in this area so we’ll wait in placing the second half of the diesel and water filler pipe pass through tubes until the exhaust pipe is in place.

Random segue over to wood finishes: we’re happy with the transparent non skid that was added to the sole (floorboard) panels a couple months back. But that was added to a floor-finishers polyurethane that came out too yellow. The companionway sills and steps needed non skid yet we don’t want to cover the woodwork with the standard tape. So here they are redone in Interlux Perfection topsides paint with zero pigment (labeled simply Clear) and a heavy dose of non skid powder.


20160111-225010.jpg Very happy with the results.

And while we await that big box of electrical parts, we’ve finished up cable runs and installed most of the cabin lights. There are two halogen map lights, and everything else is LED. There’s a bit of angst about turning on all these lamps for the first time in place – really don’t want it to be the sterile, operating room blue-white look. The catalog copy and packaging has lots of “warm, soothing” descriptors but the old marketing hand here says “we’ll see”.


Hopefully usps will deliver and we’ll dive in to 100’s of crimps and heat shrinks over the next few evenings.

4th coat

It occurred during the endless sanding tonight that maybe all the fairing work is what truly makes it the builder’s boat. The hands on every square inch of this 39′ beast, multiple times with big sanders, the “torture board”, hand sanding tools and finally just holding the damn paper until it gets too hot in your fingers. All the fiberglass, carbon and fancy epoxy buildups – now we sand that labor and money away. Could be frustrating, but instead tonight just maybe it’s more like sculpting – keep chipping away and we’ll find that pretty boat in the stone. Lots of chipping away, to be clear!

The deck area is close. Where other builders get it done in three fairing passes, we’ll apply coat #4 tomorrow to fix various blemishes and still unfair spots.

Marking the blemishes with a pencil as soon as they’re spotted in sanding is a big help later.


See the shiny (low) spots in the last photo of the companionway slider cover; that’s probably one more pass of putty then final sand before primer. A couple more days of spot fixing like this will have us ready on the whole boat down to the water line. Next up will be somehow lifting the hull a few inches off its big trolley and fairing the whole underwater area. A busy weekend ahead…

Heading outside

I know, nothing here for a month and now two posts in one evening – what gives, Carter? We’re blaming it on time spent starting up a new company. The boat didn’t get finished quite soon enough before a good commercial opportunity cropped up. So we’ll be splitting time now until the launch. The business is centered around shipping ports and this boat will make a fine floating office. For my Haggin friends – Wychocki and I are partners again, now with EagleRail

We’ve happily declared the interior complete enough to move back outside, finish all fairing and do the complete exterior paint job. Along with the video in the prior post, here are more interior details.

Installation of the tiger-eye chart table top:



A grab rail over the saloon

And completed galley


There’s a lot of planning work behind the electrical system, particularly because we want to get the higher capacity / reduced weight and size of lithium batteries but not pay the $6-7k prices of pre-packaged marine lithium iron phosphates. The rise of battery cars is helping bring costs down for the DIY types. After a lot of digging plus advice from an experienced friend, we’re now shopping for four 3.6ish volt LiFePO4 cells with 400 amp hour capacity. These are dramatically smaller and lighter than a lead acid pack of 400amp hours. These cardboard mockups show them just fitting in a shallow locker under the sea berth / couch in the saloon, with room just aft for charging and switching equipment.

A lot of people on the Farrier trimarans discussion forum are interested in switching their Fboats to Lithiums so we’ll be chronicling the progress here with dedicated posts once more info comes through. Right now the 400 amp size is hard to get from China. One firm is offering 700 amp hour cells for almost the same price, but they are too big for our spot. So we’ll keep digging.

Meanwhile it’s sore arms from sanding the deck. There are just a few spots needing final fairing compound skimming tomorrow, then we’ll progress to topsides. Even with $800+ in great sanding machines around, the back breaker always comes back to hand sanding. The curves around the hatches tonight are cause for tired hands.

Making sanding blocks to fit non-linear surfaces may not seem necessary but has been a big help to get consistent results. For example, having dowels the same size as the shaped trowels that make fillets yields clean sanded curves.

But for the 90% of sanding time the loud machines are running, perhaps the best tool is the FM/iPod ear safety covers. This is making the soul-sucking work of sanding a bit more bearable. Thanks Colin for leaving these with the shop!


It’ll be great to get the ugly splotches all covered up soon with nice consistent primer paint!