Boom shakalaka-boom

Ok, you got a better song with Boom in the lyrics?

Today it was time to pull out the old mast segment we’ve had squirreled away and start creating the main boom. This stick is 18′ of a salvaged carbon mast. The section may be overkill but if we leave it as is, it should be a hell of a strong boom. One option is to cut away the last three inches off the skinny side and form a new, much lighter lower edge the whole length. Or we take Mike Leneman’s simple suggestion of making Swiss cheese holes all along the boom. That would also save weight and make it easy to run reefing rigging internally. And we also need to think through making sail catchers that stick out about a foot on both sides of the boom.



We started making a forward end bracket to bolt inside this boom, which will provide a strong pivot pin attachment to the gooseneck on the mast. One big bummer is that goose is already bedded and bolted to the mast at 54″ up (for the Shuttleworth it was commissioned to) but we need it a foot lower (that would get it to the level resting position seen in these sawhorse holding photos). Can’t really do that mast work until the boat is out of the workshop. Hmmm. The next update should have that boom end bracket to show you. And yes, the boom in this position shown is 6’3″ above the cockpit floor so fewer whacked heads expected. It’ll be about a foot above the hard top, leaving room for some solar panels up there.

The rudder came out of its final carbon layer vacuum bag this morning, looking good (and big next to a grown up!)

The yellow strip is a Kevlar piece to help make the leading edge tougher against hitting small stuff in the water. I’ll do a bit more final fairing on this board over the next couple of days and then it will be time to make the scary cut into it to creat the trailing edge trim tab. Cover your eyes, Mertyl, this one’s not for the faint of heart.

The boat has suffered some October down time due to excessive viewership of the SF Giants run. The prudent move would have been to purchase 10 gallons of epoxy, but instead the $ went to tix for Bumgarner’s shutout on Sunday.
Great time with Griffin!

But World Series parades also mean it’s time for the weather to turn. Cold epoxy does not flow well, and I finally thought it through – make a winter warming hut! This simple box (old Sheetrock and leftover styrofoam) is now keeping the fluids at just right viscosity, with an air temp in the upper 70s. Venting the box more or less lets us modify the temperature and therefore adjust the go-off timing of the epoxy hardener. REALLY wish I had spent the two hours on this box two winters ago :(

It’s warmed by a simple incandescent 60 watt bulb under an aluminum plate holding up the bottles.

Good things are happening building out the aft cabin furniture. Photos to come once the bunks are bonded in. Yes, doing some work on the inside even though I said no cabin work until all exterior parts are complete. Thankfully it means we’re getting to the end of the outside stuff and can see the light towards the winter interior build. We’ll skip the Giants parade and work on the rudder!

Wind vane and rudder progress

The shop neighbors who were perplexed by the stern tower were satisfied now by seeing the self-steering wind vane installed. It’s the brown unit in these photos. The actual vane that gets pushed by the wind is in a deeply “reefed” position, tilted way back to fit under the skylight ceiling.




The rudder control cables come thru the tower shelf and will get tied to the legs and then routed to the (to be built) yoke atop the new rudder’s trim tab pivot pin.

We’ll get back to those details in a couple of weeks when the rudder cassette is built.

The rudder has been shaped, wrapped once in bi-directional carbon and had the 14 layers of carbon unidirectional cloth added in the recessed channels down both sides of the board. First, here’s a look at how that embedded pivot tube just fits inside the shaped rudder.



And underneath the white fairing compound you can just see the staggered layers of carbon uni.

The only unexplained part of the rudder plans is how one would keep the blade’s curve intact over the area that gets cut out of the foam core and replaced by that big carbon-wrapped spine piece. So we have a flat spot there that I’ve had to build back up with fairing compound. I’m doing the fairing work now, before adding the final outer layer of carbon wrap.

Ok, that side is done and we’ll need a few fairing sessions to finish the other.

While the rudder layers cure, work progresses on prepping the windshield and hardtop for paint, and the floors for the aft cabin and equipment room. Pictures soon.

Charlie gets sucked in

F27 owner Charlie Jeremias apparently didn’t get too turned off during the SoCal TaTa rally with me prattling on about the boat build; in fact he wanted to come work in the shop. So we figured a good day of vacuum bagging work would be fun. (Now if I could just get him back here to do the fairing…)
We tackled the last of the net lashing tubes – the 14′ sections on the float decks. Here’s the 3/4″ PVC bonded to the deck with epoxy putty fillets:

Then I had to hurry with the wetting out of the fabric rolls as Master Glasser Charlie confidently laid out the 3 layer lamination:

Here we’re ready to add the peel ply, perf’d film and breather before closing up the bag:

Then with the vacuum pump running we focused on the replacement carbon tube to encase in the rudder stock (next topic). The next morning I happily unpacked the bagging supplies from the float deck to see our new net lashing tube bonded in place. Came out just fine.

Once these tubes get faired and we cut the notches (same as was done on the beams and main hull), the float exteriors will finally be DONE!

Now back to the new rudder. At least the $100 Rockwest Composites carbon pivot tube showed up within 48 hours, so we’re quickly back in business. Charlie cleaned out that channel in the foam core to reset the proper depth. This time I used a more viscous epoxy and cabosil mix and pushed the tube in to a shallow puddle, and let that cure overnight. The next day saw further filling of epoxy mix to encase the carbon tube.

Now it’s game-on; get to shaping the rudder out of the foam core stock! This time I only cut three depth lines with the circ saw and went right to the power planer. The long process I described months ago on the first rudder was cut down by about 75%, and this one is being shaped better too. But of course if you don’t mind the power cord, the machine quickly chews it up.

20141012-000509.jpg under the cord in that photo you can see the depth guide lines cut where the rudder face will be 1/2″, 3/4″ and 1″ out from the centerline. Didn’t bother to spray paint in the grooves this time as they are easy to spot as you plane away the stock. The trick is to leave a good 1/8″ or so to do by hand (shur-form) and not take the planer down to the depth contour line. Also, looking at Jim Antrim’s plans for the rudder trim tab I knew that carbon pivot tube would be close to the newly exposed rudder skin surface. Sure enough, you can see that it will lie about 1/16″ in to the remaining foam area. Tonight I back filled that channel back to flush with the rudder face – but here it is before filling in the gap:

Tomorrow we’ll finish smoothing out this first rudder side, and when satisfied with the shape we grab the carbon fiber 12 layers of 6″ wide that needs to have more of the foam core rebated back to add this stiffener fabric. That step will make more sense with tomorrow night’s photos.

Stern tower finished

Here are a few more views now that the equipment tower is fabricated and faired. It will be getting a second horizontal ‘shelf’ but we’ll wait on placing that until figuring out if an electric tiller pilot (remote steering) can be mounted back there. This would be in addition to the primary windvane (no electricity needed) self-steering gear. We need to have the completed tiller in place first.

The legs have thru-holes for lifelines:

The top is a carbon deck and a simple hollow box below with access ports to hide the equipment fasteners and wires. The hole in the center of the platform is a channel to pass the windvane’s control lines down to the rudder trim tab. And the horizontal stick out the back is a little gantry for lifting and holding the rudder out of the water once docked or anchored. The ear flap on the starboard side is for the radar; the port side is flush son you can get to the aft steps easily.




I’m actually getting sick of the splotchy fairing patches look on all these big parts. It’s about time to get things primer painted so a cohesive boat begins to emerge. But we shouldn’t touch any painting until the fabrication work is complete.

After the Jim Antrim meeting the steps on building the integrated trim-Tab rudder became clear, so work is underway. During careful placement of the 5′ carbon hinge tube, we had a “runaway thermal event”, meaning Greg blew it by trying to bond the 7/8″ carbon tube in to the centered 1 9/16″ channel cut into the foam core, and expecting to have that work in one fill ‘er up with epoxy putty pass. As I was seating in a uniform depth, the mass of wet epoxy down at the bottom was too great and it superheated quickly. Realizing the problem, I tried to yank the whole tube out and quickly evacuate the putty. Instead the carbon melted and bent the tube that needs to stay arrow-straight. What a huge mess, along with the panic of losing the very expensive 2 1/4″ shaped foam core and triple layer carbon spine. Here’s the work before the meltdown.

20141006-235307.jpg that’s the spine about to be bonded in – 3 layers of carbon around high density foam, then center the whole thing in the low density rudder core. Also see on the left side the marks for the trim tab – it’ll be 4 1/2″ of the 16″ wide rudder and run about 3′ vertically.
So Monday morning began with another $100 sent to Rockwest Composites in Utah to replace the pivot tube. Monday night ended with a nasty two hour job of extricating the ruined tube and hardened putty from the soft rudder core. skilsaw, router, grinder and multi tool teamed up to make a fantastic mess but in the end the channel integrity is back and ready to take the new tube once the UPS truck drops by. We’ll do the bonding in multiple stages this time. Another expensive lesson learned.

A license to Sail

Who would have guessed? The Missus is the one Carter who actually went to sailing school and earned a keelboat certificate!

Jeanne and friend Leslie Parsons attended Modern Sailing Academy in Sausalito, sporting handsome gear and scoring 94 of 100 on the written exam (to make Arlene proud, right?). Ted and Valda took us out on the Catalina today and the new drivers spent long stints at the helm learning SF Bay currents around Angel Island.

Back in the shop we had a good visit with Geoff who was down from Puget Sound. I saw photos of the 60′ tri he built – wow – and we traded tips and ideas. Makes me eager to learn more about the Wallas diesel stovetops, to pair that fuel source with the diesel furnace/water heater we bought a while back. Still looking for someone who’s actually cooked on one of these Wallas stoves. Also thinking of skipping an oven which could really improve the galley layout. Maybe carry a solar oven when cruising.

So not only is Jeanne exciting her husband by driving the boat, she came in to the shop yesterday and admired her new daggerboard. It’s in paint steps now; pretty great to have a big important part all done, and very rewarding to not have paid the $4k estimate to have one built for us (although we do have a solid $500+ in supplies in it).


Not having labor bills helps get the mind ok with ‘splurging’ on the good stuff in materials. And with all the time put in the dagger, there’s no way I’d use anything but the best possible primer to permanently epoxy encase and prevent water intrusion to the glass or wood.


This interlux two part system is designed to sit under the two part LPU topsides and hard-style bottom paints. The primer claims a unique overlapping stacking system that forms tiny continuous barriers like shingles sloping down a roof until the waters flows over the edge. At $119 a gallon, we better not have to see the dagger’s primer layer for a long time (never, ideally!)

A big thanks here to Colin for repositioning the main hull yesterday in the hot afternoon and hoisting the port aft beam back in place on the boat so we can build the outboard motor mounting system. Next step is to either get the shell of a 20″ shaft old outboard or get measurements online and make a faux motor shape. I’m noodling over the swing-up brackets attachment points to the back of the beam. It’s all a little trickier than popping the motor on the transom of an F31, but in the end I think we’ll really appreciate having the motor tucked 5′ farther forward, pushing right on the heavy beam structure. Anyone with ideas / cautions, send them thru!

Shiny bits

Today was a trip to the east bay to pick up the self-steering vane from ScanMar in Richmond. The wind vane component will get mounted atop a new arch at the back of the boat, and the white cables in the photo here are what connect the pendulum vane to a trim tab on the back of the rudder. I didn’t photo enough of the air vane at the top to get a complete picture, but this is just the start of this story.


In the second photo, see the stainless rod that serves as the hinge pin for the trim tab. On this display model, everything is external and not particularly hydro-dynamic high performance. So the next stop today was a visit to the design studio of Jim Antrim with our rudder in hand. He will draw up a recommendation for cutting the rudder to make part of the trailing edge the trim tab. Rick Holway will be glad to know that Jim designed a similar modification to the big local tri Defiance’s rudder; it was exciting to have him pull up those build plans on his computer today. That project was tricky as the control rods had to run up through the rudder post (because it’s under-the-boat rudder) Ours won’t be that intricate because it’s external, but we still have considerable work to build internal bearings and a carbon hinge running from top to bottom. Lots more to come on this topic over the next month.

And here was a very satisfying spend at the Oakland boat show. With the myriad choices out there for sailing hardware, I decided to (1) go with stainless steel to match our shiny Anderson winches and (2) buy local. The Garhauer company in Upland, CA were original suppliers to Corsair, and F27 Origami still has most of her 23yr old Garhauer gear working well. This is a family business doing their own manufacturing, and I spent an hour in their boat show booth picking out this loot:

This is most of the sail handling gear, plus the anchor roller and the solid stainless steel forestay chainplate. The rest will come from Colligo, in conjunction with all the synthetic standing rigging (no wires).
It’s fun to see how big this stuff is compared to our prior boats. The jib cars are the size of decent hamburgers! And that’s a big size 52 winch in the photo.


Almost ready to show you final photos of the daggerboard and hull-side net lashings, but there’s still just a bit more filling and sanding to do. Apparently the entire Memorial Day weekend wasn’t enough :)

Breaking radio silence

005 is back on the airwaves tonight after a busy month outside the boat shop. Some family health issues and the builder’s pursuit of the legal tender cut the boat hours way back. But now Mom’s leg is healing and the contract work with a friend’s company is sorted out. We need encouraging thoughts beamed towards Ontario, Canada on Tuesday morning as Stephen Marcoe pulls a Formula 30 cat on its trailer to the shop where our mast sits waiting near Toronto. Hoping to get two masts on the trailer that’s only expecting one, and get that long drive west started right away. It’s been two years of snafus in getting this 50′ stick “out of the mud” and I’m very anxious to show you photographic proof it’s been matched up to its boat in California! Stay tuned.

The daggerboard glassing and fairing has been attacked in little windows between trips to the hospital, etc. The whole project isn’t taking too many hours (maybe 30 ish?) but it’s going to be two months on the calendar this spring. One side is all ready for paint:

And the other got a thick layer of fairing compound just after this photo. Finished board seems to be about 100 lbs. I can JUST flip it over and move it around the shop alone.

Another small steps project done is the mounting base for the bow sprit pole. Again, we take a perfectly nice boat hull and put two nasty cuts right out front.


Before those cuts comes the molding-on of glass to make this bow cap. Mold release helped the unit pop right off when dried.


Here are the three fabricated parts ready to install…

And with the slices in the cap, a potential Halloween costume.


The cap got cemented on and the tangs glassed inside the bow forward chamber. Will get some shots during fairing, but this should be a great anchor point for the screacher/Drifter.

Today’s work (and recent past) is fairing in the net lashing tubes along the hull. Andy Miller warned this is tricky, and I hope these come out much better than the metal eye straps screwed in everywhere on older boats.
We’ll get photos when it all looks decent.

And wait till you see all the boat jewels acquired at the Garhauer booth inside the Oakland boat show. Spent an hour in there and came out with the entire package of sailing hardware. Two grand in stainless steel, strong and nicely paired with the 5 big Anderson winches awaiting their mounts. Gotta fair and paint prep first!

Is that the keel?

Hi folks – sorry for the time gap as I had some software troubles with the latest WordPress update. Plenty has happened on 005. For example, just when I thought the rudder was done, the conversation at the boat show with the founder of ScanMar self-steering systems led to purchasing an AutoHelm wind vane that will steer a trim tab on the trailing edge of the rudder (think of the flaps on the airplane wing). Haven’t heard of anyone who has done this yet with a Farrier cassette rudder system, so I’ve engaged Jim Antrim, a SF Bay Area naval architect, to design the modifications I’ll need to keep a working foil shape. Stay tuned on that story, after the first meeting with Jim.


So, the ‘keel’ – most visitors to the shop ask how the boat can be sitting close to the floor, “where’s that big fin that sticks under a sailboat?” Then we have the conversation about the 100,000 lbs of buoyancy from the leeward float and we look at the big slot in the bottom (and top) of the hull. Well that big hole is almost plugged with the new retractable daggerboard. It started life as these western red cedar 2×8″x10′ planks that we’re milled about 25 years ago.

Since the dagger trunk is already installed, we cannot build the daggerboard too thick such that it sticks or jams going up and down. The plans warn to make it smallish and later on use shims to take out any sloppy movement. So we calculated a 2.5″ thick wood core was needed before the fiberglass work. So that led to planing the planks down to 1.25″ each…

There’s a big thanks to neighbor Michael for the hour we spent using his big planer. Our machine would have taken much more work, plus his magic sawdust collection system made it all disappear!
Now the planks get arranged for glueing up – 80 board feet of 8″ cedar was a pretty big load!


This job didn’t get a full size plan and tracings as the dagger is one consistent for-aft size and built on parallel lines. So we just traced it all out right on the wood.


Now for the underwater shape – that comes from a full size drawing in the plans, and we took depth measurements at set intervals along the curve, just as was done building the rudder last month.

On the first side we started with the router,but the huge amount of material to remove proved daunting. So we switched technique mid stream, and I’d say this is the way one should try: set a good circular saw to the contour line depth that follows a straight line, and run the circ saw to cut that groove. Repeat for all the depths needed to create 1/8″ depth steps. 1/16 would be better, but my big worm drive saw couldn’t be set that precisely. Then we cleaned out the cuts with blown air and spray painted to get dark lines at the trough bottoms.

20140419-000419.jpg now it’s relatively easy with the power hand planer to shave down the board until getting close to the spray paint lines. And we found the final shape with the ShurForm.

Next up was rebating out more wood to make 10″ wide carbon fiber stiffeners down each side. Our original football field worth of unidirectional carbon rolls is now down to a single first down’s worth.


The plastic pipe segments near the top of the board are where the pull up and pull down ropes will be attached.
And actually, before the carbon went on, the cedar was cut through to refill with a hardwood insert of maple at the intersection of the waterline below the boat and the board’s midpoint.



The fiberglass skin is now applied, except for wrapping and vac bagging the board’s edges tomorrow. More photos in a few days when it starts to look good. It’s sized like a barn door, a tad over 8′ long. Gonna take a couple of us to wrangle it up on deck for trial fitting!

For Schildknecht

Yea! The rudder is complete and it’s very exciting to have this vital part of the boat here on the table instead of the plan diagrams not too many days ago. The last touch today was to wrap the leading edge in Kevlar – not in the plans but we decided that about 12 more ounces of weight to put a bullet proof vest-like protection on the front where crap hits a rudder seemed like a smart trade off. It’s the remnant fabric from the full hull length keel-line protective strip that went on the main hull 15 yrs ago.
Can you see the color scheme of the Pittsburg Steelers? (The rest of you can stare blankly while Bill S. laughs)

And that foam blank to the left is another rudder to build – for Colin’s rehab Coronado 15 project. Figured we might as well do an airfoil shape too.

Stood the rudder up in position so you can see the difference from the similar shot of the foam cutout a couple weeks back. Makes more sense now!


In that last shot, see that the rudder will actually drop another 8 inches or so once the floor isn’t in the way.

Writing this tonight while trying not to stare at the curing oven thermometer. Space heaters didn’t work, and like others I’m on to trying heat lamps. Got to 115F with about 600 watts of lamps. Added another 540 watts tonight and we’re passing thru 105 as I type. The Applied Poleramic folks want their ER2 to post cure at 160 for two hours. They told me by phone that I could substitute some time for heat, like maybe 140 for four hours or so. If we don’t get far enough the shop neighbor has a friend at the car painter – we could haul all the beams, the rudder and other structural stuff over there for an evening bake off. Guessing he’d charge a few hundred and it’s a big pain in the rear to transport this stuff. Tonight’s red lamps should look quite familiar to Mom – remember keeping all your dogs warm in the shed on the freezing Sonoma nights?


107 and still rising. Time to go cut out glass fabric for the windshield frame.

Baked Beams, anyone?

It got warm in Santa Rosa and my thoughts turned to summer BBQ – hot dogs, baked beans, cobs of corn…
But really we need to post-cure the epoxy in the beams and steering parts, so we need a big oven to reach and hold 160 degrees (F) for 2-3 hours per session. Made this from Sheetrock and ripped 2x4s, just big enough to house one forward beam resting on its furniture dolly.

Pulled the top on, and it started working right away, but the fan-aided space heater hit a safety kill setting at about 95 degrees. So tomorrow we’ll follow Gordie Nash’s advice and find a cheap baseboard wall heater at Home Depot. And perhaps have to take some license pulling out any safety settings if it has a brain.

The rudder took shape nicely and has now gone thru the carbon lamination steps. Each side got a staggered 14 layers staring from the top down. There’s some extra wraps over the upper edges, and the outer skin of the second side went in the vac bag this evening.

The last step will be adding a bit of Kevlar tomorrow to the leading edge, just to provide some impact resistance.

While the rudder was in a bagging step, we free handed an idea for strengthening the slot where halyards will pass thru the windshield back to the winches. Simply take 24″ of PVC pipe and tape it to some foam:

After waxing the mold, we made three trips around with wet fiberglass and let dry overnight. Cut it in half the next day and pop out the molds from each 12″ piece (that’s the step in the photo). I need to take a winch to the shop and mock up all the exact positions for these line guides, then we can cut the windshield frame openings to match and glass these tunnels in.


And here you can see the decision on how to affix the removable windshield to its base. Bolts will go in horizontally along this grey wedge that has been set at the proper angles desired for each window pane going around the frame.

This windshield base is now ready for glassing this weekend. After a bike ride. :)