Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Argie 15 & DS15 at Wooden Boat Show

This past weekend was time for our annual road trip to Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, 500+ miles each way. We had our usual Paper Jet, slightly spruced up with a new coat of deck paint and non-skid. Normally we would take one boat on one trailer, an easy tow. This time we also needed to get the new Argie 15 to the show for Kevin Agee to exhibit in the I Built it Myself division of the show. So they had to both go on one trailer. The two boats made a neat package, more aerodynamic than the Argie 15 by itself.
Argie 15 and Paper Jet, the way we travelled to Mystic.
12 Hours aft of us on the road was Hunter Gall with his Didi Sport 15 (DS15) All three boats and our booth in the main tent were set up and ready for visitors Friday morning.
From left, Hunter Gall's DS15, Kevin Agee's Argie 15 and my Paper Jet.
This 26th edition of the Wooden Boat Show proved to be an exceptional one for us. The weather was good and the show was well attended, with a tremendous amount of interest in the two brand new boats. The high quality builds were rewarded with first place for Hunter and runner-up for Kevin in the "Owner-Built Sail" division of the competition. I extend my congratulations to both of them, their hard work and attention to detail really paid off.

Hunter's DS15 is a very interesting boat and really drew the crowds to talk about all of his details and innovations. It might be best described as stated by the head of the judging panel, who said that Hunter is like "the mad scientist of boating". I provided a clean and simple design, which Hunter used as a blank canvas onto which he applied almost every go-fast innovation that he could imagine. Of course it is his boat and the final result must make him happy and fire his passion for it.
Hunter's DS15, with red, white and blue colours achieved by staining the wood before applying the epoxy coatings.
The wet deck with open transom seemed to worry some visitors, mostly women. Surrounded by mostly traditional boats, they can't imagine boats sailing faster than the waves around them.
Hunter had intrigued the judges with his explanations of the theory of tacking daggerboards, his removable heart-shaped daggerboard foil and other add-ons, as well as the unique ways that he had executed some of the more mundane dinghy features. The judges encouraged visitors to chat with Hunter about all this and he had a ball with it. The boat has many 3D-printed items on it, including a carbon spinnaker chute that he had modeled in a 3D CAD program for printing.

Kevin's Argie 15 provided a big contrast, standing right next to the DS15. It is a big 3:1 dinghy that is outfitted for easy and efficient sailing with a minimum of fuss, able to get onto the water quickly and also to carry a family of adults and children in safety and comfort. Kevin built this boat to a standard that caused many to ask why a fiberglass boat was being seen on a show for wooden boats. The bright-finished woodwork of the boat is all two-tone in poplar and cedar, which set off the nicely painted hull and deck surfaces.
The pretty sheer and clean lines of the hull attracted many admirers to the Argie 15.
Spacious interior with minimal complication, as well as space for a bunch of people.
The Argie 15 may have originally been conceived as a 3:1 dinghy for basic family fun but it morphed later by adding seating all-round. This added 40-50lb to the weight but improved comfort big-time, also boosting safety by adding buoyancy if capsized or flooded. These are all features that attracted the lovers of simple boats.

The Paper Jet, Argie 15 and DS15 provided a nice contrast to each other, three very different boats from the same designer. Between the three boats and our display booth, Dehlia and I were kept very busy for most of the three-day show. I would like to thank both Kevin Agee and Hunter Gall for their efforts in building and showing their boats, also for their obvious pride in their own workmanship.

To see more of these and our other designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wooden Boat Show at Mystic Seaport

The Wooden Boat Show happens the last weekend of June, at Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut. This has been the venue for the past decade, all of which we have participated in the show. This started with us exhibiting the prototype Paper Jet at the 2007 show, where she won the Innovation Award on the Concourse D'elegance. She was a lonely modern trapeze skiff in a sea of traditional boats.

This year the show will be 30th June through to 2nd July. We will have the Paper Jet there again but she will be accompanied by two of our other designs, both exhibited by their builders in the "I Built it Myself" part of the show.

The Argie 15 that Kevin Agee has been building the past few months will be there. I built the striped spars using birdsmouth details, from alternating strakes of poplar and cedar. I also completed the daggerboard and keel using the striped blanks that were laminated from the same two species by Kevin. We launched her on Sunday and I will be sailing her on the North Carolina Sounds at Cape Hatteras for the next few days. For the moment she has some rig pieces filched from the Paper Jet due to lack of time to make new but she will have all her own parts for the show.
"Argie" gets wet for the first time. Me at the stern, builder Kevin Agee at the bow.
The first sail, in very light breeze.
The Argie 15 is our most popular design but we haven't seen one on the Wooden Boat Show before. If you are in New England and have built an Argie 15, here is an opportunity to show your boat along with our new one.

The other new boat is the prototype of the Didi Sport 15 (DS15) design, which was commissioned by Hunter Gall. Hunter has built her over a long period and has produced a very interesting boat in a red, white and blue colour theme. Hunter is Australian but now Naturalized American. The red/white/blue is a patriotic choice of colours and his hull has a small US flag laminated into the epoxy under the stern.
Red deck, blue hull and white trim

The DS15 has a very modern hull with a bit of retro-styling in the deck details.
The colours aren't sprayed paint, as most would expect, which would give opaque finishes. Instead, Hunter dyed the plywood surfaces to allow the grain to show through, then coated with clear epoxy finished with clearcote to add depth and UV protection. This is a radius chine plywood boat, so the rounded part of the hull is laminated from two layers of plywood strips. The strips of the outer layer were edge-matched so that the grain runs through, with very tight joints that are almost invisible The result is a very interesting boat. Come to the show to see her, inspiration from an amateur builder who has never built a boat before.

To see more of these and our other designs, visit our main website or our mobile website.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Argie 15 Nearing Completion

It has been a long time since my last post about our Argie 15 project. Work has been going on but big life events have taken away from the time needed to write blog posts. The main event was a change in the status of builder Kevin  Agee, now our son-in-law after marrying our daughter Michelle last month.
Newly-married, our daughter Michelle and new son-in-law Kevin Agee.
OK, time to get life back to normal. The Argie 15 is nearing completion and looks very different from when you last saw it. It took its first road trip, on my Paper Jet trailer. The destination was my own garage, for painting.
Ready for preparation for paint.
After turning the boat upside-down, final inspection, masking the rub-rails and other bright-finished surfaces, blowing off the dust with a leaf blower then cleaning with acetone, it was ready for spraying to start.
First coat was a high-build epoxy primer, to give an easily-sanded layer to form the foundation for a good finish.
Next came a white primer. This was needed to cover the grey epoxy, which can cause blotchy problems with finish coats.
When I sprayed my Lotus, I changed the colour from the original red to yellow. I sprayed the yellow over a grey primer and found that yellow paint has problems covering grey. What initially looked like good cover is a bit green and blotchy in low-light situations. The green tone is the grey primer showing through and the blotchiness is caused by variations in the yellow film thickness. I must spray another coat over the car to get a uniform yellow colour. Lesson learned, we added a coat of white primer to the paint schedule of the Argie 15 to ensure good cover.
A coat of high-build epoxy primer also went onto the vertical surfaces of the cockpit because these will be gloss white. The horizontal areas will be beige non-skid, so a perfectly smooth surface was not needed.
The transom was to be white, so that was sprayed first, then masked off with paper before spraying the rest of the hull.
Completed hull painting, with yellow hull and white transom
The varnished rub-rails laminated from cedar and poplar set off the hull nicely. The holes through the hull sides are to drain the leeward side seats if any spray comes aboard when sailing in lumpy and breezy conditions.
 The new boat made its first public appearance by doing bar service at the wedding. It worked as a giant cooler, holding beers and soft drinks on ice for the wedding guests.

The other work that has been going on is building the spars. I am doing that work, having decided to make wooden spars using the birdsmouth method. In keeping with the varnished woodwork on the hull, I have made the mast and boom from alternating strips of cedar and poplar. I won't go into the details of building the spars in this post but will do that in later posts on my Boatbuilding Tips Blog. The Argie 15 plans show the mast in two sections, so that the rig can be stowed inside the hull. I could have made the mast in one length by scarphing the strakes into long lengths but elected to stay with the two-part mast. This allowed me to work with lengths that fit more comfortably inside a single garage.
Gluing a mast section using the bidsmouth method.
Mast sections and boom shaped and being epoxy-coated. The one closest to the camera is the boom, the other two being the two sections of the mast. The long mast higher up in the garage is my Paper Jet mast, built by a similar method.
Launch day is approaching. The sails have been made and hardware will soon start going onto the deck and rig.

See more of this and our other designs on our main website or our mobile website.