Working the punch list

So it wasn’t great planning, but the boat builder took off for the mountains a week before launching, leaving his dear wife and friend to tackle 100’s of fit&finish details. THANK YOU, ladies :)  Griffin and Greg supported the racers of the Lost & Found Gravel Grinder, including driving the 100 mile sweep land cruiser to pick up stragglers, fix bikes, etc. Great event from an outstanding organization – Sierra Buttes Trails Stewardship.

Last week’s boat work highlights:

The pulpit got it’s feet cut from a multi-layer laminate of 1708DB cloth, then bonded on to the tubes:



The bolt holes in the hull were finished, so we can launch without the pulpit and take time to finish and paint it later, then it will simply bolt on at the marina. Done for now!

Leslie got to build her first vacuum bag composite parts. We tackled the companionway hatch boards.


that’s medium density (5lb) foam, with high density foam inserts for the lock areas (yellow foam). Inside face of these boards is some extra heavyweight carbon uni plus a glass surface layers. Outside is kevlar cloth with a glass wear cloth outermost.



These probably won’t get done this week either, so we’ll whack something temporary out of plywood, and get back to these post-launch (see the pattern here?)

The mast base came back from welding working out exactly as planned. I was worried about aligning the holes for the big pins to hold the halyard turning sheaves, because of that 7 degree rise we talked about earlier. But once back on the bench it was obvious that the holes were in 90 degree alignment. So a few hours of careful drilling various needs and Griffin’s excellent wire brushing, and this was handed in for anodizing. The daggerboard is done too, so this will all get trial fit Wednesday.


Ever since Jim Antrim designed the rudder’s self-steering trim tab, we’ve avoided the problem of how to affix the tab to it’s steerer tube. No metal-to-composites solution seemed to make sense. One day recently Charlie and Geoff visited, and we brainstormed up a fiberglass pin solution. So the other day, facing one of those, “well, just gotta go for it” moments I started drilling holes in a rudder that would cost at least three grand to get replaced by a pro.



There you see the tab separate from the rudder body. One carbon tube was built in to both the tab and the rudder (above). Now a second tube slides in but has to get affixed to the tab and stay loose-fit in the rudder body to rotate. The red rod is fiberglass that we cut to make 3 cross-pins thru both tubes in the tab area.


these plugs got little carbon ‘butterfly strips’ glued over the top to keep them from sliding out, then they were faired in. (note to self – next post record the exact placement inches, and remember the tiny divots that mark the pin centers in case they ever have to come out).

Griffin shared the load on doing the bottom paint. I was so “over it” from all the fairing and primer work, so it was great to have a partner to crawl under the boat and paint about 2″ from one’s face. It all looks good, so of course now I want to make a bit more time to burnish it in to a fast racing bottom this week!


(there just might be a bit more orange showing up soon…)

This road has been long enough for each of the Carters to pass four birthdays during the build. No more teenagers to launch this boat!


Three more days in the shop to finish up steering, motor controls, daggerboard install, and paint for rudder, stern tower, beams undersides and companionway details. All that and a lot of little finish things (like 1/2 the plumbing!) make it a crazy home stretch. Charlie has the game plan for logistics in Napa, so now we hit the gas for a Saturday boat assembly.

PS – no shop time was sacrificed in the making of this post (typed as a passenger riding back from Sierras :)

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!

Golden Gate Bridge

Last week we showed off the white and grey paint job. But it needs a little splash of color, too. The paint purchase included a quart of nice royal blue, but it looked like Tommy Lasorda’s big belly in a Dodgers warmup jacket. My mother and her father would be ashamed. So we tried three time mixing bits of red into the can of yellow paint on hand, but the pukey gold results were frustrating. Then with the last of the red paint can, we dropped in bits of yellow in search of orange. Suddenly the boat’s accent color jumped out – Golden Gate orange :)


There are many ‘odds and ends’ smaller paint tasks being checked off. Here we’re sprucing up the wine cellar for Jimbo:

And the boom is finished:


We put together the bow sprit parts supplied by Keith at Skateaway Design. This is a slick system; it uses the pole only as a positioning device, not load bearing. All the forces are passed through to the bow, the bobstay and the whisker stays. The reacher roller furler hooks on to the stainless steel ‘J’, and the spinnaker tack enters the pole from the slot in the cone fitting, and exits the center of the end cap. (Note to self, the bobstay measure is 103″ pin to pin)



This sprit does not retract upwards; it turns to the side by ‘unleashing’ one of the whisker stays. The bow end rotates on the white delrin roller:

Question here for Keith…
Are you thinking that a halyard shackled to the outboard end is always the upward support means? Perhaps a phone call when you’re back home?

Windows and plumbing up next.

Like a ’55 Bel Air

Cream on top, pastel colors on the bottom… Looking good for cruising.

Little grommet neighbors have been hanging around the shop neighborhood lately so they got the fun of pulling tape

Then it was time to stand back and breathe a sigh of relief:




And this is where we think the waterline wraps around the tail end (stern end rests up above the water):

It’s a nice ten-foot paint job, especially for a first time amateur. But since the cockpit needs to be a one-footer, we’re wet sanding today and carefully applying one more coat with newfound roll&tip skills. Cross those fingers! (Yes, all this is counter to news a few months back about having a pro spray guy come in, but that’s what money and logistics’ll get you).

We decided to paint all the metal (aluminum) strut/support parts for the floats, but wanted to anodize the bow sprit. Finally made it to that shop yesterday – nope, our 72″ pole is too long for the tank (yes Bill, by 4 inches!). It’s at least 100 miles to the next anodizer shop so that’s not happening. What do you think, just paint it like the other stuff, or go find the local powder coating place? I don’t know how powder coating stands up to the sea. Hmmmm

Getting the hang of it

Note to self (and other builders): it takes one quart of mixed two-part Interlux paint to cover one coat of everything exterior above the nets.

We thought the purchasing department might have gone a bit overboard on paint buying, but the last Off White quart was cracked open late today to start the rudder and radar / vane tower. With the hard top and hatchboards still to go, (plus a few cockpit area spots needing a third coat) hopefully we have just enough!

Prepping for, and rolling out, this hard candy shell style marine paint has been quite a learning curve, including trial and error of supplies. One has to go bold, even when running up the hill to Home Depot to buy more foam roller covers. Yea, get four of those 5-packs, we’re going to burn through them! Mostly science, but part art in getting the thinner amount right, how much pressure on the roller, etc. I’ve actually not been “tipping” off after the roller; getting good results with small rollers, going back over the work after about a minute and having the roller pop the first pass’ bubbles. Anyway, here are a few glamour shots at the end of a long work weekend.



And for those of you who’ve been in the shop and seen these parts strewn about in their ugly/raw forms, happily note they’re shiny and about ready for prime time.


And here on the port side anchor locker door you see the hawse-hole where the windlass mounts and drops the chain below the deck.


Well, Bob it probably won’t be 72 degrees in the shop during the evenings this week, but if it’s in the 60s we’ll get cracking on the topsides (that today seem a helluvalot bigger than blank BurmaShave billboards to paint…

As good as Christmas presents

Like a kid tearing in to birthday or Christmas presents, all that blue masking tape ripped cleanly off today, and this was one project that went smoothly and was very satisfying.


No more painting today, as NorCal was visited by a long spring shower.

Lola and Coco enjoyed the wet walk, but it’s too damp and cold to paint. So we had an odd-jobs day, installing some cabinet hardware and cleaning up paint drips/runs, etc in the cabins. Hopefully we’ll be back in business tomorrow.

Sorry about the missing photo yesterday. Trying again here with that upside down boom…


Slip sliding away

I told Keith on the phone today that the boat is finally almost done, and yet the list of things to do seems to be growing! Kind of stressful. “The nearer your destination, the more you’re slip sliding away…” (Thanks to Paul Simon for sticking that one in my head all evening)
Maybe we’ll spend time this weekend separating the punch list in to pre-transport vs post-launch tasks. We don’t really need the boat in the workshop to make the freezer lid or test out the self-steering windvane installation. Let’s get sailing and sort the niceties out during the summer.

Good news is that we won’t slip-slide on deck. Finished the whole topsides non-skid job tonight. Here’s how the past four evenings were consumed.

After wet-sanding at 320 grit the entire deck and cockpit first coat from last week, we set out to mask the waterways (smooth parts) to delineate all the non-skid. No rulers or tape measures – just consistent distances from edges provided by sliding a couple of paint sticks around.
Then to round off all corners, Mrs.Carter came aboard (finally found a non-itchy / non-nasty job in the shop!) to cut 1/4 rounds using a 1.5″ circle.


She would cut about 10 ‘moons’ on the cutting board then we lifted the edge and transferred them to the deck where needed. (Leaving no knife marks in the paint the way it’s often done). Must be a hundred or so of those little buggars done. There
were both inside and outside curves to do and this extra couple of hours made the job look much better.



With the masking done it was time for another solvent wipe before rolling on the same Interlux Perfection “Off White” but this time with Awlgrip’s nonskid plastic beads mixed in. This is definitely something to practice off the boat; tricky to get the bead mix ratio and roller saturation right for an even distribution of grit on deck. We had this learning curve on the beams months ago. Once the paint and beads are mixed in your bucket, only pour small amounts at a time in the roller tray so you can frequently stir the bucket and refill the tray – keep those particles even suspended in the paint.
The Second coat went on late today and it all looks good, and I like the texture. It’s pretty aggressive, but that is intentional because there’s so much slope to these decks that we’re scared of loose footing.





It should be fun for the Saturday morning unmasking, then we’ll finish painting all the gloss areas of the white portions of the entire hull. Might get to start the platinum grey below-the-nets topsides by Sunday afternoon.

(Did anybody notice the jib car tracks are running across the deck, not longitudinally? Thx to a wise old tri mariner)

While deck paint dries we’ve been working paint steps of all those loose parts. Here’s the boom after all it’s final sanding, getting a black “don’t look up in here” treatment to the open underside. (Recall months ago we’ll run the outhaul and reefing systems inside but with easy access, which Lenneman will totally approve :)

Just rewards

This one’s for Schildknecht

THAT tasted good after seven hours of painting the deck and cabin top today!

Four and a half years of looking at raw fiberglass and carbon, parti-color fairing putty, various primers, sharpie pen marks and general grunge… And tonight it’s magically replaced by a decent looking boat. Phew!





Of course there’s a ton more work to do. That’s the first coat, and we had a bit of trouble from cleaning the surface with mineral spirits, not the expensive Interlux 2333N thinner. The paint started orange-peeling so it took some fussing with re-rolling as it began to get tacky. That mistake was corrected by re-wiping the whole project again. And we had roller problems; as the paint got closer to its curing time or the roller cover was on more than a half hour, the solvents began to eat the foam roller. So we have little bits of crap to sand off in a day or two. I have some (supposedly) solvent and epoxy-proof rollers on the way. And we’ll try the ones Andy Miller text-reco’d this afternoon. (Y’all can search back on this site about 1.5yrs for Andy’s F22 Dart launch party). Dart is up in Washington now, but seeing her splash that first day has been motivating our work for a long time now. Yes Andy, almost…

Thank you to Mrs. Carter for spending her weekend keeping the Homefront gardens in lovely order. The boat builder seems paint obsessed, shirking yard work duties. Divide and Conquer, I suppose. Thanks honey!


It’s all in the prep work, we hope…

How many times have you heard, “a good paint job is 90% about the prep”? I guess that makes tomorrow our moment of truth, as there’s nothing left to do but start rolling & tipping the deck on a fine April Sunday. The whole exterior of the main hill is 220grit sanded down to the waterline.




It took half of Friday and all Saturday to finish sand (and of course fill and re-sand three more little pinhole fields). That includes sixty bucks spent on the commercial painter neighbor’s assistant. He hand sanded the net lashing tubes all along the hull, plus the entire cockpit and windshield base, because I was just too damn sick of these picky areas that have taken too many amateur hours.

Along with the hull painting we’re trying to keep pace with all the loose parts. Tonight was another primer pass (and some fairing filler in spots) on these:

Tucked in to that photo are the 16′ boom, 6.5′ rudder, stern radar / windvane tower, engine bracket / sled, lazarette lid, and main cabin and aft cabin hatch covers. There’s not enough room in the shop to spread everything out properly, so we’re juggling moving stuff inside and out during the day.

Ok, we’ll watch more YouTube videos for reminders on roll&tip boat painting, and cross those fingers for a good looking deck tomorrow.

Prime-ary season

Never mind The Donald and Hillary and Bernie, etc. Over here we’re focused on finishing up the Primer work and starting the final paint!

As expected, laying on the primer paint exposed a number of little surface imperfections, so that’s led to quiet (non-posting) days of more filling and sanding. See the colored fairing compound ‘fixes’ above the primer paint layer:


The good news for us is that’s the last of it, and the second coat of primer, where needed, goes on this evening. Then we’ll sand it all down to 220grit and begin final painting the deck with Interlux Perfection two-part LPU. Off white for the deck (same as the floats) and Platinum for the topsides (same as the mast and beams). I just ordered some West Systems roller covers, as everything sold locally disintegrates with the solvents in these paints, leaving roller residue in the surface. We can sand that away at the primer stage, but it would be a disaster in the final paint. If anyone has an actual roller cover brand name personally proven to withstand marine two part paints, please let me know!

There was no boat building last weekend because of the opportunity for a coveted crew position in the Doublehanded Farallons race. Skipper Andrew Scott had F27 #277 Papillon ready for battle, and we pulled off a 4th overall, 3rd multihull result. We were faster and corrected out over all under-30′ boats. It was a day to prove ‘waterline is king’ as the F31R had enough length and mass over the F27 to handle 25-30kts and really ugly square wave seas still sailing fast. The two F27s that finished the course were at their limits. Hats off to the F31 crew, and I have no problem with 2nd and 3rd going to a $2mil+ Gunboat and an expensive carbon-rig 40′ J120. Surfing 25 miles home on the ocean, getting overpowered downwind even with double reefed main and jib, meant a tired crew needing recuperation, not boat painting for a few days :)
Maybe next year we tackle the course with 39′ in the water…