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.

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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…

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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Patterns are being made for these pretties…

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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.

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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)

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

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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.

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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’

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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!)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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 :)

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

What’s it called on a boat?

The head? The water closet? Who says it can’t be The Throne just because it’s aboard the ship?

First we have the empty hole:

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Then stuff it with the form-fitted tank built last summer:

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Spend a day sketching, measuring, cutting, swearing and contorting a sore back to finagle all this sanitation tubing:

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And finally we can install the hardware;

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This is a Lavac vacuum pressure toilet. The flushing process is easier to understand than the common marine version. This one relies on the lid forming a seal; after use one lowers the lid and pumps the lever ten times. The vacuum pressure clears the bowl and circulates flush and rinse water. The waste does not drop straight from toilet to tank as it does in an RV; here we’re pumping up through a high loop (flooding prevention safety) and back down a heavy duty tube to the tank. We will empty the tank either with deck pump out services, or a thru hull valve below the waterline. That is only going to work while the boat is underway and moving quickly enough for the passing water to suction the holding tank. At this point we have to hope the speed required isn’t too great to be practical. Stay tuned this summer for more on that disgusting topic. Also, next week we’ll look at the grey water system that will supply the toilet flushing.

On to the view. Last year Charlie and I drove to Sacramento to get special scratch resistant Lexan (polycarbonate) for the main cabin fixed port lights (Windows). Unfortunately the many holes were drilled to the original plans before I read up on advances in adhesive products. We don’t need all the bolt holes! So I decided on a compromise of using the 120 holes and going with screws into epoxy fill, not through-bolts. And Sika 295 UV adhesive. (Note, needed just over one tube for the whole job). First we painted the area under the Lexan to help hide the adhesive and create a more uniform look.

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There are three panes for each side, roughly corresponding to the hull cutouts. On the middle panes, we’ve added a “floating” opening port for ventilation. Here’s that work, done on the workbench so the metal frame can be bolted together with the required flat surface.

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See how nice and centered that floating port is in the fixed pane? Well that of course didn’t fit on the boat! Thought it was so clever to work it out on the bench, but never held it up to check before cutting. Damn, it was supposed to be 1″ off center! The metal frame hit the hull so I went home Friday night deflated. Saturday noon trip to TapPlastics for $130 more Lexan and by dinner time we had two replacement panes cut, edge-radiused and drilled. Installation took from 8pm to 12:30am, and now we’re happy.

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Sunday was a half day prepping and installing opening ports (2 forward, 1 head, 2 aft cabin sides, 1 transom). We’re using butyl tape – very sticky and very pliable – works great and makes zero mess compared to caulk-like stuff in tubes.
Here’s a round porthole over the lavatory; photo records the last spot we can still see the tongue and groove construction of the cedar core. Howard did an incredible job on that, and it’s just one of the factors why this boat has taken 20 years to build.

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And with the primary painting wrapped up, we’ve been stealing away minutes from big jobs to do fun little final installs. I’ve been looking at the empty compass pods for a long time, and now think this turned out well. With one on each side of the cockpit this should work well for driving. Hopefully they’re not too close to the nearby winches!

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PS – it was kind of hard to see all the screw heads in that finished windows photo, right? That’s because my dear wife poked a lot of holes in this box so we could spray paint all the shiny little screws I don’t want to see :)

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Get back in the box

We last saw the new propane tank sticking up from the cockpit lazarette storage bin. Here we are post-surgery.

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The propane tank, regulator and solenoid valve will live inside this dedicated locker, with a vapor drain tube at the bottom, running straight to its own thru-hull about 18″ above the waterline. The new locker invades the equipment room – it’s the purple foam panel in this shot, with the still-open fridge sitting to the right.

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The freezer compressor will get a shelf below the propane box.
And back up in the cockpit, the propane locker gets a waterproof lid that sits 2″ above the lazarette bottom.

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Some of the finish parts are flat pieces that can’t mount directly to curved surfaces. We saw that months ago with building up bases for two winches. Here’s an inspection port for the forward section of the port float. Cut the 10″ hole in the curved deck, wrap the part in non-stick plastic and press it in to a bedding of epoxy/cabosil putty. Carefully trim the edges and let it cure.

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After some finish sanding that should look just right.

The same technique is needed on the last two opening portlights. We already cut the hull and made Lexan fixed windows, but later decided more ventilation is needed, so we bought a Vetus port for each side. The hull is curved at the top so we’ll do a buildup before installing the port.

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In that shot you can just see the original cutout – wider, shorter and with steep angles that match the stern shape. The new ports aren’t as sexy, but the occupants of that stateroom will be happier campers. The aft cabin is nice and bright now with all its holes cut.

The shop goes dark for the next six days as the builder grabs his bike and sets off with 4 friends riding to Santa Barbara. With a little luck we’ll be on the train home Sunday and slinging epoxy again next Monday. 350 miles down Hwy 1 should really raise the eagerness level for sailing this boat down the coast in Sept!

Fresh air

This afternoon we cut more holes in the hull to install four of eight Vetus opening ports. It was a bit disappointing to find the company does not provide cutting templates, but only a difficult to decipher measurements chart. So after some worrying we figured out how to use the inner faces and add back 7/16″, etc. Lots of pencil/ruler/scissor work but good results.

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The forward ports – round one in the Water Closet and rectangles in the fore-cabin – are the heavy duty ocean hull side rated. The three in the aft cabin are cabin-side rated, meaning the seals and latches are less aggressive.

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It’s very nice to see all this new light in the cabins!

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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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:

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

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

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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!

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