Five Sons

The assembly team had a good laugh last night after day five of putting this big boat together. The building manual suggests allowing six hours for final assembly at the water. We took six days. This amazing crew headed home last night and I got some quiet time on the brand new nets, same ones on the Americas Cup boats.

Falling asleep was easy, but by 4am the anticipation of launching overpowered sleep. The mast base got assembled at dawn.



Pretty happy with that piece, especially considering it was hunks of chop and table saw aluminum stock a few weeks back. Definitely all measure thrice, cut once, stuff.
The ‘core team’ started arriving by 8 and we were targeting the launch at 11 on the rising, near-high tide. The morning was consumed with numerous final clean up jobs and considerable angst about the building wind on the Napa River (actually more of a tidal slough at this location). This boat is SO much bigger than the F27 and we already know what a handful that is docking/trailering in higher winds.
The plan was solid, the dock lines stout, and the big crew well instructed. Carlos backed the pickup down with the beams and floats hanging free in the air, Griffin was on the ramp / in the water directing, and Mr/Mrs Carter were alone on deck (thank you, friends for giving us that moment together) to feel F36 hull #5 float for the first time. Pure magic.
Charlie skillfully commanded the line handlers to move us from the ramp to the primary side-tie dock. The wind kept building but the boat was tethered to pilings from trailer to dock and we were basically flying a big kite.
Once the dock lines were secured we could stand back and see what exactly just came to be:


Those pictures are the product of 21 years, two families with five sons admonished by their fathers to “come over to the shop and help me lift the (insert heavy things here ) for too many years. It shouldn’t take that long to build a boat, but it has to be a balance with the life going on around you. So while this was a long build requiring patience from everyone involved, we now have an adventure platform we hope you all will come help enjoy. Yes, Phillip, we have lots more to post here as the work and sailing continues.

F36 #5 plans were delivered to California in 1995. And on June 15, 2016, Ravenswing became the Carters’ sailboat. Come on out to sail this summer. Just drop us a line.

I can’t wait for stepping the mast on Monday!!!

First sunset

F36 #5 became a trimaran for the first time today. Her assembly team struggled mightily on Sunday to bolt the beams in to their float sleeves and form the complete boat, but we ended the day with the starboard beams flanges 3″ above the float deck. Frustrating for everyone going home, and pretty much a freak out for the builder who crawled in to the cabin solo and quietly tried to figure out what went wrong. (Remember this had been put together in the shop two years ago so it was supposed to be easy this time). A fresh mind at 6am realized I must have added fairing and paint thickness to sleeves and beam ends that made the difference. Before anyone else returned to the site Monday morning, the float hull was pryed loose from its stuck position (thank you for that lesson Carlos) and lowered near the ground to give access to the sleeves / pockets. When the gang arrived we ground back all the added materials and greased the heck out of the parts. It was still a very tight fit but an hour of fiddling got the float properly mated to the beam. And the boat became a tri.

Huge thanks in the journey to water to everyone who made their ways to Napa. Carlos, Don, Rick, Dean, Goose – you guys are so kind with your time and energy. Charlie and Jim, what can I say, except 3 f27 Amigos wanting a shower and fridge in our fboat, right? Carters&Joe, although I’ve been a bit crabby in spots I am loving doing this work with you. Thanks for devoting this time to finishing the long project that has cut out many other things.

So, we’ll use Tuesday to test the motor, install the nets and daggerboard and finish up some hardware and safety items. We’re planning on the Weds 10:30am high tide to launch. (Need the high water at this ramp), and stepping the mast hopefully Friday. Call or email for more details as you wish.

It’s a little stunning to believe we actually made this:


Thanks Latitude38!

wow, Latitude gave our boat some nice real estate in their August issue. You can read their story in the online edition, or page 84 of the print mag. Go to Latitude site here

When managing editor Andy Turpin visited the shop, I was a bit vague about the project history between the two families. So a few clarifications from the article… Howard and I combined add up to about 7k hours. It was Howard’s idea to ‘take a bit of the forest to the sea; I liked that and have continued with the cabin woodworking he started. Thankfully, we have Farrier’s updated plans for the F39 cassette rudder system, so that part of the steering is built to plan. We’ve customized the steering linkage components, and of course all that trim tab / wind vane stuff. And for those who are really tracking my details, the beams fit in to sockets in the floats, not the main hull :)

A big thank you here to the Latitude 38 staff for taking the time to drive up to Santa Rosa, do the fact-checking phone calls and give us so much encouragement. That 2015 Baja HaHa start line is now sounding too optimistic, but Ravenswing will be out there sailing this year and we love the last line in his story.

For you Latitude readers who’ve just clicked over, notice the Follow button on the right side of this website home page. Sign up with your email address and you’ll get the latest installments of the build sent about once a week. WordPress does NOT use the email addresses for anything else and the list is confidential.  I’ll be posting details about launching and test sails where we’ll need plenty of crew to shake down the new boat. Hope to see you out there. 

We only got a few of the “credits” into the article – there are many more fantastic supporting companies and individuals to this project (I don’t think you can build one of these boats alone!). We love the help from Skateaway Design, Colligo, Digital Marine of Sausalito, Fiberglass Supply in WA, Applied Poleramic (epoxies), Golden Oldies Multihulls in Reno, and MultiMarine in Venice (yea, that’s Leneman’s summer splash tshirt I’m wearing in Latitude shots). If any readers want sourcing help, drop me a line. 

Thanks for reading!

Messing about

Remember Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence? All day long before they escaped to the river rafting. Today’s version was fairing putty for the aft cabin. To one bucket, add: 4 pumps of epoxy resin, 1 pump of hardener, a half scoop of Cabosil and a scoop and a half or so of phenolic micro balloons. Stir and add balloons til just past runny. Smear on walls, bunks, cabinets, overhead, etc. Repeat process when bucket is empty. Over and over :)

Peeking in the porthole later, it looks kinda like whitewashing the walls. However this leads to sanding tomorrow! And probably a second, finer coat of fairing compound. All in the name of GETTING TO PAINT – the new big goal.

After the cabins get primer paint, we’ll bond in all the wood trim pieces. The foam panel to wood seams will get touched up, then the finished wood gets masked off for the final paint. So all that wood trim is getting epoxied now.

Every piece has a number written on the back for placement, as they’ve all been cut to size. Lots of little busy work and not much to show you here on the website for a bit.

The bike trip last week was great inspiration for this fall. Rolling down the pacific coast highway, thinking about sailing the new boat on a parallel path soon!


Big rain eliminated the 5Th day leg to Santa Barbara, but we enjoyed 300 miles anyway. And we learned that strenuous biking burns about 5,000 calories over a 75 mile day. So we of course chose to eat like kings. Bill attacks tri tip and linguisa in Santa Maria…

Thanks for the good company, my friend! And to Mark, Dave and Steve. And especially Fred for driving the suitcase car :)

We feel your pain

It’s just plain not fair that our kid and friends in the East are nailed with all this cold, when out West it’s full-on sailing season.
But keep working hard Colin, while Dad is out messing about with boats. Today the workshop went dark for a little on water R&R thanks to Charlie’s F27 and her new screacher. We did a lot of hanging out in The Slot watching these guys.


Really interesting watching both Oracle and Artemis Americas Cup teams trying to keep the boats up on foils thru the tacks and gybes.

And it was great fun to have accomplished multihull designer Richard Woods aboard today. Check out his boats at
Smart boats that are kind to the builder and a joy to sail – the way they all should be!

Watching the boats practicing hot sailing gives another shot of energy to the build shop this week. Sorry Keith it’s so darn cold in PA that your boats can’t come out to play :(



Very motivating…

… Seeing another builder’s boat get launched! Saturday was the first dip for Andy Miller’s F22, christened “Dart” at the Alameda crane launch pad.



His project took about four years from purchasing the plans, with very impressive dedication in the off hours from his busy engineering career. It was fun watching Dart go through the build stages and it’s very inspiring to see the finished product – makes me want to get painting!


Dart floated well above her waterline (before we stacked 10+ humans aboard), the new engine fired right up, the beams unfolded perfectly, and the Ballenger rig looks fantastic. Andy has some used f24 sails to modify and use before making that one more big purchase. Can’t wait to get out sailing on this speedster :)
Great work, Captain Andy!


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!