Outside In

Well, that exterior build punch list is down to just a few things like a pulpit on the bow and a wood plate under the mast base. Short enough to move on to the cabins, and finish up outside in between other projects. Here’s how the past week went down…

The boom is done and ready for paint. This was a really satisfying project, remaking this spar from Transit of Venus’ original mast.
The control lines for three reefs plus the outhaul live inside the boom.


The hole on the end of that last photo will hold a spectra loop to catch the topping lift. Three reefs around the sheaves in back, with the outhaul just ahead. Here’s the boom end with line guides inside, before capping the end permanently.


And despite Charlie’s reluctance to cut holes in a friend’s boat, I got him to make these nifty exit holes after we tried out a few design options. (Got a little inspiration from a GM Futureliner restoration show)

Next up was replacing a hatch on the port float bow (that unfortunately went missing when we moved the hulls 3 years ago). We took the inspection port off the starboard one and used it as a mold to get the curve right.


This will now sit idle until a new 10″ port shows up to match the existing one.

And up in the cockpit, we finished up more details. All six winches are now mounted; this mid-cockpit pair will handle the reacher and spinnaker sheets. The barber hauler controls are just ahead of the winch, and check out the new little pods for the compasses – there’s a duplicate of this over on the port side. Seems like a good spot, up and out of the way of seated crew / guests, and right in the sight lines of the driver from either down in the cockpit or out on the beams and/or nets.

Speaking of the nets – they’re here! Recall last fall we saw F22 Dart’s at the first launch, and we followed up in purchasing 30lbs of Dyneema mesh. Yes, these are fishing supply people that sell it by the pound. This same stuff was on the America’s Cup boats last year, and doing it this way is costing about 1/3 or ordering complete trampolines from known suppliers in FL, etc.



Work this week in the main cabin shows progress quickly because each task is smaller. We’ve figured out a BlueSea 12volt electric distribution system, and the complete panel will live here above the radios and chart table.


The galley is figured out now. The propane stove/oven unit got it’s mounting built (but installed photo forgotten). The metal trim of the unit fits right over the raised wooden rails and trims out nicely.

Then looking to the left, we get a big, deep sink – after all, this is a second home, right Dad? The circle left of the sink is a garbage can built in to the countertop, so Jimbo can say it’s a real boat. And the freezer unit is at your far left in the photo.

In the sink there’s a very deep strainer basket – that’s important to catch any food scraps as the drain water is set up for a grey water catch tank which will supply the toilet flushing. When we have a few gallons of “grey” stored up, the sink will be switched to drain overboard, via reachable levers in the cabinet. More on that later.


I noted in F39 Henny’s and F33 Arno’s blogs recently each spoke of it taking about three hours to get vacuum’d panels all set up and working. That’s my number too. This morning was about 3 1/4 hours getting all the fabrics cut, bagging supplies ready and prepping the after lunch lamination session. Last week we let a wetted sheet slip inside the bag for that float hatch and developed a wrinkle in the piece (that had to be ground away and patched). Got me thinking that we really shouldn’t move a piece at all during the wet out process. So today we tried marking the first-to-table peel ply with the exact foam core locations then taping the peel ply taught at the corners. This worked well.

Here’s the galley countertop – the darker yellow foam is high density for the faucets area.


These four pieces (various galley parts) are what took 3 hours to get ready – that’s about par for our course.

Getting the vac bag placed so that it draws in tight against inside cut edges, like the sink and garbage cut outs here, is not yet mastered. With this under mount sink, that edge will show so we’re guessing there’s work to do after un bagging tomorrow to clean up those inside rims. It’s tough to get enough loose bag in all the right places as the pump quickly draws down the pressure. We could do some practice runs without epoxy, but I’d rather just assume today was the last need for that kind of piece on this boat! :)
Bought some hardwood tonight so tomorrow we can tackle the plumbing thru-hulls. Best done with a sober and steady hand…

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!



Fits just fine

Thanks again for good counsel from Keith Burrage, Richard Woods and Mike Leneman on ‘going light’ with the engine. This is, after all, supposed to be a high performance sailboat. Today we received the 107lb Suzuki 20hp four stroke with fuel injection (no carb, Dad, so no repeats of fighting the old Evinrude on Lake Pinecrest!). Finally there’s a small EFI motor. And at $2,350 after rebate, with delivery and all the accessories included, this complete package is actually less than just the folding Gori prop needed for an inboard diesel. Wow, better sails ahead.


After many days of angst about this motor placement fit, it turned out great. The boys provided the muscle and we liked both the in-water position (waterline at the upper splash plate, prop nice and deep), and it stores up even higher than i wanted.


Now we can get started on the real bracket. Stay tuned.

While awaiting the motor it was time to pop a skylight in the living room.


This hatch fits under the boom, away enough from the mast rotator arms, and is oriented to draw the breeze in to the main cabin while underway or anchored in to the wind. Also good for sighting the main pretty much over the sea berth. Seems a nice extra bit.

Does it come with a moonroof?

The UPS truck brought goodies today, thanks to the clearance rack at Defender.com – saved many 100s on this order :)

To further brighten up the main salon, here’s a healthy sized (14″x20″) ceiling hatch. Should make for nice stargazing on cool nights. Vetus brand looks really well made, with the satin finish to match the big Lewmar one over the fore-cabin.


The Plastimo Offshore compass is new but since the white dial doesn’t sell well, they reduced it from 225 to 80. SOLD! And will mount nicely in the cockpit.

Also picked up two dorades for continuous ventilation. In the first photo the base is open – look near the black ring at the bottom…


That base is spring-loaded, so if water gets in the round tray gets heavy and plunges down to shut off the whole thing. See the difference in this photo:


Back to the beams, two have been finished in fairing work and the other two get a big push over the next couple of days. To better handle the uneven face gap from the form frames mentioned a month ago, this time we’ve tried some 2mm “core mat” which worked really well to add some very light weight bulk, and then a thin layer of finish fiberglass.

Nice to find the products to help amend minor lapses in finish work!

Do a little jig

Well, not exactly dancing in the workshop, but we did make a drilling jig today and got very nice results with the net lashing points on the beam edges. These slots cut in to the long tubes will allow us to loop small lashing line around a skinny rod inside the big tube, creating anchor points for the nets every seven inches along the beams, the float decks, and along the sides of the main hull.

First up was a practice piece to get the depth right. Cut on the left didn’t take enough of a bite…

The drilling jig is simply some hardwood pieces screwed together and carefully drill pressed. It’s enough to get the pilot bit started on the actual work surface, then set the jig aside and finish each cut.


These were cut using a one-inch hole saw (the wood-cutting version burned up quickly – needed to upgrade for metal-cut bits). The outer edges point in, following the circle, so another straight cut is needed next.


Note the little paper pattern in this photo – that got marked on each hole with about 35 degree legs so the lashing line can run out at angles and not rub.

Got both leading edges of the two being-worked beams done. Next is some fine-finish work around these cuts and two of the beams will finally be complete.

And while glue was drying – back to the hatches. Decided to beef up the locking area (it’s also the grab handle) with sturdy aluminum plates. That’s another pound or so added to the boat, but intruder security is the one place we don’t mind taking a small hit on performance wise. It’s a safe house before it’s a race boat.


And the framing for the aft cabin hatch is coming along. Style is matching the main companionway area. This work allows procrastination on the hard dodger design decisions. :)


No Monkey Business

We got to thinking about keeping the boat secure at anchor and in port. The main companionway door-boards should be both light and strong. I’m thinking I’ll make them from foam core with some carbon fiber, and add plate aluminum as a security measure. And for warm nights / extra ventilation we’ll fabricate open pattern boards, perhaps with vertical rods that spin so they are difficult to saw. Today we roughed in the door tracks; these are much beefier than what I see commonly. Half inch metal, and the screw heads will disappear under the final finish work.


In that photo you can also see the companionway grab-handle detail. I built the frame today for the aft cabin hatch, and as a side project made up some decorative wood inserts to make a ‘similar but different’ look for the aft entryway. All of this was after deciding to build a traditional sliding hatch and boards, rather than buying a big hinged glass hatch. Those run over $500, and would open up right in the path of the tiller arm. The slider should prove safer and more versatile for ventilation and privacy options. And hopefully everyone will enjoy the looks of the woodworking :)


window recut and fridge

One thing learned about this project is it has to be OK to make changes, before things get too late. For example, two months ago it seemed wise to solve for the non-parallel big ceiling bands to get covered with a nice mahogany veneer symmetrical box that would also house the saloon lighting. So I cut the windows to line up with this (future) box, and left that part of the ceiling un-faired. But here in August, really looking at all that, the box idea is unnecessary weight and building complexity. We’ll do a simpler wood trim. And so the 6 windows needed to be reshaped on all 12 sides. That meant temporarily securing back the original cutouts to grab more tapering width on some edges and re glassing those pieces back in. And making deeper angled cuts on other sides. Then glassing all the window edges to cover all the final cutout sills. Now the windows are in synch with the asymmetric ceiling bands, and I like the new ‘leaning forward’ look better than before. So that’s about five hours of fix instead of probably 50+ for the original idea.


Here’s this evening’s work on the refrigerator. The whole thing is sort of a deep triangle as the bottom follows the hull contour. You can see the four inches of solid foam core on the sides. Under the pink layer glued in here is another 1.5″ foam layer. Next up is glassing in that bottom, fairing and painting, then building the back where the clamps are here.