Sunday, June 3, 2018

Sportfisherman 26 - Over She Goes

The last of the hull sanding on Kevin Agee's 26ft sportfisherman was completed last week and epoxy barrier coat applied on the bottom, then she was ready to join the right-way-up rest of the world. See the video link at the end of this post for a time-lapse video of the turn-over.
Sanding and bottom barrier coat done, ready to go.
The turning was to be done with chain blocks hanging from a pair of 2x6x12ft planks bolted together, with 2x6 spacers between them, the planks braced by straps tying them to anchor bolts in the floor.

Previous boats of my own that I have turned over (34, 36 & 38ft) were all outdoors on earth surfaces and did not have turning frames around them. These differences changed how we had to accomplish the turning of this smaller boat on a smooth concrete slab and in rectangular protective frames.

We did it in two stages, with some rethinking and adjustment of equipment between the two stages. The rectangular frames meant that we needed to turn the hull 90 degrees, reposition equipment, then turn another 90 degrees. With my previous turns we could do it all in one extended process, lifting with lines attached to bulkheads adjacent to one sheer clamp and keep them there, simply lifting that side until the balance point, then lowering it slowly with those same lines and attachments. The hull had to be walked sidewards during the process, to always keep it close to the lifting gantry and it ended up rotated 180 degrees and back in the same place that it started.
Turning the hull of Didi 38 "Black Cat". This was done in one continuous turn from upside-down to upright.
Adding the frames around the hull creates pivot points at the corners of the frames and means that the boat must stop at 90 degrees and 180 degrees. We still needed to walk the boat sidewards during both stages and I had cropped the corners of the frames at 45 degree to help the frames to slide on the concrete slab during these movements. We had some issues with the frames sliding more than expected on the concrete and had to add precautions to control the sliding. In retrospect, it would have been better not to crop the corners, to leave hard 90 degree corners to grab onto the concrete rather than slide.

The boat dropped a few inches at the end of the first stage when the frames slid on the concrete. No harm done because the frames and padding did their protective work. But it warned us that sliding could be an even bigger problem in the second stage.
End of the first stage, time to change the lift point and reassess.
Looking at the boat on its side I realised that we weren't going to get this done with one chain block. The chain block already in use would be needed to control the last part of the turn. But, with the frames holding it very stable at 90 degrees, it was not going to continue the rotation without first being lifted at the other sheer clamp. So, we hunted down another chain block and rearranged the post staying before continuing. Mindful of the sliding problem of the frames on the concrete, we added two ropes tied to the frame and led through secure points against the wall, then under the boat to the safe side, where helpers could pull without risk of the boat falling on top of them. We also sourced two large tyres to serve as cushions under the frames if gravity did decide to take over control of proceedings.

The rest of the turn was done by lifting with one chain block until the balance point was reached, then easing out with the other chain block to lower the boat, interspersed with walking it back toward the lifting post before continuing.

Kevin was very relieved to get his baby safely grounded and stable again. The equipment was all removed then we all helped Kevin ad Michelle to celebrate this milestone in the project, with snacks and suitable beverages.
Job done, time to party.
Today Kevin and Michelle have removed the last of the temporary framing and finally got to see the hull without obstructions.
Temporary framing removed, we see her clearly for the first time.
Interior view from the engine bracket.

This design is still on the drawing board and not yet on our pricelist. To see our designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

End of the Sportfisherman Fairing

Kevin has been finding muscles in places that didn't have muscles before. Longboard sanding large surfaces tends to have that effect. But it is a process that must be gone through if the boat is to have a really nice standard of finish. Any shortcuts at this stage of the build will show in the final finish and take even more work to improve later.

I described the general process of filling/sanding/fairing/sanding in my previous sportfisherman blog post. Now, to round off the process, Kevin sprayed on three coats of high build epoxy for the last sanding operation. This layer is much harder than the sprayed fairing layers, so much tougher to sand. Before sanding he sprayed on a guide coat composed of denatured alcohol with food colouring mixed into it. This is sprayed on in a thin film that leaves a very thin coating of colour after the alcohol has evaporated off. Longboarding this surface removes the colour on the high spots and leaves it in the low spots of any texture on the surface. Continuing to sand until the last of the colour has gone ensures that there is no orange peel or other texture left to detract from the gloss finish coats that will follow later.
The blue in this photo is the guide coat of food colouring and denatured alcohol that was sprayed on to assist sanding.
With sanding nearly finished, the hull is showing a good standard of fairness and finish to form a smooth foundation for the high gloss finish coats.
While Kevin was developing his muscles I was stripping out the temporary frames and formwork from inside the hull, items that are no longer needed to support the hull. This is to reduce weight for when the hull is turned over.

The next step was to start building the frames around the hull that will protect it and provide support while the boat is turned 180 degrees. These frames are at permanent frames 3.5 and 7, which spread the hull weight evenly and also are of similar width, allowing two similar frames to be built. The first parts added were the bottom frames, bolted to the frame bases, stiffening them considerably. With those in place the hull was raised with a trolley jack and blocked a few inches clear of the building stocks. Then the stocks were taken apart and much of the timber reused to build the turning frames. Once the stocks were out of the way we jacked the hull again, removed the blocks and lowered the hull to stand on the frames, resting on the floor.
Turning frames built around the hull, with carpet padding between the frames and hull. The diagonal braces needed to stabilise the frames must still be added.
With the temporary frames removed, the structure of the hull is more easily seen.
Work on sanding the hull, applying barrier coat to the bottom and completion of the turning frames is continuing, in preparation for turning the hull this weekend.

This design is not yet on our website, I am still drawing it. To see our other designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Fairing the Sportfisherman

Since my last post about Kevin Agee's 26ft sportfisherman project he has completed the glassing of the planing strakes and transom, after which the hull was ready for fairing to start. The fairing system chosen is from Alexseal Yacht Coatings.
Alexseal products for primers and fairing.
First to go onto the hull was 3 coats of high-build primer applied by roller. This formed the white base onto which the fairing/sanding layers were built up. It also gives a visual warning that sanding must not go any further into the coatings, instead more thickness must be built up to fill low spots before sanding can continue.

Next came a sprayed tan-coloured fairing coat that is sanded with longboards, removing high spots and revealing low spots that are missed by the sanding boards. The low spots are filled with a grey troweled putty, followed by more longboarding. Then the sequence of fairing coat, sanding, putty and sanding is repeated as many times as necessary until the hull is totally fair.

Sanding each time until the white primer is just starting to show on the original high spots ensures that there is not unnecessary build-up of fairing material on the hull. This is when the first fairing step showed its value. That first step was sanding out the bulk of unfairness from the raw wood strip surface before glassing the hull rather than adding filler to the low areas then glassing over them. Omitting that step would have increased the amount of fairing material on the hull, with resulting increase in weight.
This photo shows the bow after the first sprayed fairing coat. The white showing on the hull bottom is high-build primer. The edges of the fibreglass tapes on the bow show as ridges, even after feathering by sanding ahead of applying the high-build primer. The trowelled filler will be used in such areas to build them up flush.
Camo boat, good for duck hunting. After 2 or 3 cycles of sand/spray/sand/fill/sand the hull fairing is almost done. The white is high-build primer, the tan is spray fairing and the grey is trowelled filler.
Next will be a final layer of spray filler ahead of preparations for turning the hull over in coming weeks.

This design is not yet on our website. To see our range of designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Argie 15 for Okoumefest

Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) hosts Okoumefest on Saturday 19th May, next weekend. This annual event is a day on the beach with a whole fleet of plywood boats of all types available for the family to try out.  CLC cut kits for us for the Argie 15, as well as a few of our other designs. I will be there and will have the Argie 15 that we exhibited at the Wooden Boat Show at Mystic Seaport, CT, ready for sailing. This boat was built by Kevin Agee from a kit supplied by CLC and was runner-up in the sailboat division of the Concourse d'Elegance at that show.
Argie 15 at the 2017 Wooden Boat Show at Mystic Seaport.
The Argie 15 is big 3:1 dinghy, for family fun under sail, oar or outboard power. It has a multi-chine hull built by stitch-&-glue plywood methods and detailing. It can comfortably carry a family of 2 adults and 4 children for day-sailing and is also well-suited to camp-cruising. Come to Okoumefest on Kent Island, Maryland. For more information, visit CLC Okoumefest.

For more info about this and our other designs go to our main website, mobile website or our plywood kits page.

Didi 40cr2 Builder Sheri Bamboat

Sheri Bamboat is the owner of XS-Marines, boatbuilder in Mumbai, India. They built the plywood Didi 40cr2 "Stargazer" for a customer and took moulds off that boat for future production building of the Didi 38/40 design range in sandwich GRP. Today an article appeared in Indian newspapers about Sheri Bamboat, telling the story of his involvement in sailing and boatbuilding in India. Read Sheri's story in the Mumbai Mirror.

Didi 40cr2 |Stargazer".
To  see our range of designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Progress of the Sportfisheman

The glassing of Kevin Agee's 26ft sportfisherman has continued. After completing the sides and bottom with a single layer of biaxial fabric cut from a roll 50" wide, the centreline was glassed with two layers of biaxial tape. The transom and bracket followed, also glassed with biax fabric from the roll.
This photo shows all stages of glassing the hull side. The light section in the bow hasn't been started yet. The dark section aft of that has been pre-coated with a layer of epoxy. Aft of that the glass fabric has been laid back against the hull so that the contact face can be wetted out prior to being laid onto the wet epoxy on the hull. This speeds up the wetting out process of the glass. Aft of that the glass has been rolled with ribbed rollers to remove bubbles and a layer of peel ply has been applied over the top with squeegees.
A few days later, the peel ply layer has been removed and the centreline has been glassed with two layers of biaxial tape, from transom to tip of the bow.
The transom and bracket have been glassed, lapped over onto the sides and bottom of the hull. The centre portion will be glassed after the hull has been turned over.
After removing the peel ply, the hull was examined to find and repair any air bubbles that formed in the laminate. A few were found and repaired. Sanding them out with an orbital sander, I could see that most were the result of out-gassing from the wood and one appeared to be from contamination. The out-gassing bubbles have a complete coat of epoxy against the wood, while the contamination bubbles have little or no epoxy against the wood. In this case the contamination showed as a pattern of four fingertips and a palm. The out-gassing bubbles were sanded down to the epoxy coat and the contamination bubble was sanded down to clean wood, to remove the contamination. All were sanded out to form a dished profile with a feathered edge on the glass. Then a patch was laminated into each one, to be sanded flush later.
An out-gassing bubble has been sanded down to remove the glass that hadn't bonded to the wood, forming a dished surface. This is then filled with a glass patch was laid in to fill the depression. This will be sanded flush before the fairing layer is started.
Next task on the list was shaping and fitting the planing strakes, one on each side. The strakes are parallel-sided over part of the length but must be tapered both horizontally and vertically, terminating in a point at the forward end. They must also be planed to a triangular shape so that the hypotenuse matches the slope of the hull bottom over the entire length. Most of the timber can be removed with a power plane, then finished with a hand plane.

We did a dry-fit to check for correct shape, placement and fairness, held by temporary screws. The target is a fair curve when seen from all directions, as well as matching alignment between the two sides when viewed from the front. The screws were used later for alignment to ensure that the strakes were glued on in exactly the right positions.
Planing strakes dry-fitted for alignment check.
Planing strakes glued on. After removal of the screws they will be glassed over.
This design is not yet on our website. To see our range of designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Vision Rowing Shells

In 2001 I was commissioned to design a competition rowing shell. The result was the Vision Single, which was built in Lightweight and Heavyweight versions. The builder was Slade Rowing, moulding the boats in female moulds from pre-preg carbon/epoxy with Nomex core. They were built in Johannesburg, South Africa, with the aim of selling into the international market.

The design that I drew broke with all of the traditions of rowing sculls in terms of hull shape. It was very advanced, with shape features not previously seen in rowing shells. Before designing it I told my client that I could draw a boat at least equal to the best but it would be difficult to sell to the traditional rowing community because it would be so very different.

The boats were very fast but, before they could be proven in top level competition, Slade Rowing failed under the weight of logistical problems that overwhelmed the company due to limited funding.
Vision Lightweight Single scull as built by Slade Rowing.
This design has lain almost unused since the closure of Slade Rowing. Now it is attracting interest again. A new Vision Single was launched in New South Wales, Australia, a few weeks ago and has been going through testing, with a second boat to follow. The two amateur builders have reported that their new boat has lived up to all of their hopes and is now ready to begin competition.

An amateur-built pre-preg carbon/epoxy/Nomex boat? No. They have built their boat from strip timber, with a layer of glass on the outside. The first boat was a learning experience and the lessons learned in that first build will be applied to the second build, modifying some details and techniques to improve the result in all respects.

Peter Bowman initiated the project. He was researching rowing shells on-line for a self-build and came across my Vision Single web page. He appreciated that this 17-year old design has advanced features, some of which are now appearing on boats built by the big-name builders. He asked me if it can be built from wood. I had construction drawings available but they were detailed more for recreational rowing than racing in a highly competitive fleet.

Peter teamed up with a friend from the rowing club, Owen Redhead, a tech science teacher. With Owen's expertise, the two felt capable of building the Vision Lightweight Single in strip plank using the low density hardwood paulownia. At 280kg/m^3, straight-grained, easily-worked and gluing well, paulownia is a good choice for boatbuilding when light weight is a requirement.
Vision Lightweight Single paulownia hull with deck and cockpit being fitted. Alongside is the frame over which the hull skin was constructed.
The new wooden boat, ready for launch.
Reports of the characteristics of the new boat on the water confirm those reported by Paul Slade. This is a boat that is fast, pitches very little through the rowing cycle, tracks well and carries its speed better than most through the recovery phase.

Vision Single being rowed by Rohan Hislop.
The first boat is a few kg over target weight but there are known areas where it was over-built, where weight can be trimmed out to get the next one closer to target.

This design is not on our pricelist. Email me if you would like to discuss buying plans for it. To see our full range of designs go to our main website or our mobile website.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

DH550 Charter Catamaran

The DH550 catamaran has been or is being built in the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Australia. All of these builds have been to the original design, as drawn for Phil and Laura Harvey to build the prototype "Wild Vanilla" as a family cruiser.
"Wild Vanilla", now renamed "Taika" under her new owner
We now have a new version of the DH550 , named the DH550 Charter. It was commissioned by a charter company and construction will start in the next few weeks. It has features that are better suited to charter service, in the cabins, bridgedeck accommodations and rig.

This version has four equal double guest cabins, each with en-suite heads and shower. There is also a compact single crew cabin in the bows of each hull and a shared crew heads with shower in the starboard hull.

More space has been given over to life outside, so the bridgedeck accommodation has a smaller saloon and larger cockpit than the cruising version. It has two galleys, one internal and the other in the cockpit. The forward cockpit, a working area in the cruising version, is changed to a social area with seating and folding table. The working cockpit has moved aft to above the outside galley, with helm and engine controls. All sail control lines, except halliard and reefing lines, are led to a pair of electric winches mounted on the cabin roof. This cockpit has large cave lockers to keep the ropes tidy and out from underfoot.
DH550 Charter accommodation
The rig commissioned by my client has in-mast furling for easy handling. It has vertical battens to support modest roach.The boom has been raised for better clearance over the working cockpit. It has also been lengthened to regain some of the lost sail area and to move the sheet further aft to where it won't conflict with the working cockpit. A pair of posts has been added in the cockpit to pick up the loads applied to the cockpit roof by the mainsheet.
DH550 Charter rig with in-mast furling and vertical battens.
I also drew an alternative charter rig with slab reefing instead of in-mast furling. It regains area by means of more roach

Aesthetically, the charter and cruising versions are little different. The working cockpit is fairly inconspicuous, so doesn't spoil the clean lines of the cabin.

This version is only offered with cruising keels, for simplicity of operation. Lack of the daggerboard casings also gives more freedom for fitting in the required accommodation in the forward guest cabins.

The two steering stations are separate, connected only at the tillers on the rudder shafts, giving 100% redundancy. In the event of breaking a steering cable, the boat can still be steered at the other helm.

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

Monday, April 16, 2018

Glassing the Sportfisherman

Glassing of Kevin Agee's 26ft sportfisherman started yesterday, using WEST epoxy with a slow hardener to give ample time to do the work. We settled on a procedure that would give a surface that will need the least amount of fairing after completion of the glassing. That needed the glass fabric, 1708 biaxial glass with chopped strand mat on one side, to be laid down in a single length to eliminate transverse laps.

The procedure was to set up the roll of glass on a stand in front of the hull, then roll it out onto the bottom of the hull, cutting to size and shape. The 50" roll width was enough to cover one side from alongside the keel runner across to the chine, including the overlap onto the side. We cut two of these, one for each side, then rolled them up, ready for use.
Glass fabric laid out on hull and cut to shape.
The glass layer was to be covered by a layer of peel ply, so the order of tasks was to pre-coat the wood with epoxy in increments of approx 4ft, roll out the glass, wet-out the fabric with epoxy applied with mohair rollers, roll out the bubbles with ribbed rollers, lay peel ply over the top, squeegee smooth, then move on to the next 4ft section and repeat the process. The peel ply we laid in transverse strips so that we wouldn't be working with two rolls one behind the other to complicate the process.

Michelle mixed the epoxy, Kevin worked from the side on a ladder and I worked on top from the other side of centreline. We worked from transom through to the bow. About half-way through we realised that the planned completion of both sides of the bottom was not going to work. How was I going to work on top of the hull with fresh laminate where I had to stand? So the plan changed from doing two bottom panels in the day to doing one bottom panel and the opposite side, to remove any conflicts.
Half bottom glassed and covered with peel ply.
Glass wrapped onto transom. The glass roll on top of the engine bracket is for other bottom panel.
Two of Kevin's friends arrived to help after lunch, so we now had five working together to follow the same procedure. This was a big help because measuring out the glass for the side needed the glass to be held up against the hull, rather than calling on gravity to hold it there as we could with the bottom panel. The two new guys had done this work before, which none of the other three of us had done. They introduced the additional step of laying the glass back against the previous work to roll resin onto the contact surface of the new glass before it is pressed against the resin on the plywood, speeding up the wetting process.
Hull side glassed and covered with peel ply. It wraps across the chine flat and onto the bottom. When the second bottom is glassed there will be a double layer over the chine, a high-abrasion area that needs greater protection.
Side laminate wrapped onto transom. 
Other work that was done prior to starting the glassing was gluing the bottom panels onto the engine bracket, as well as structural epoxy fillets around the perimeter and inside the bracket. Some of this can be seen in the photo above.

The rest of the hull will be glassed over the next week.

This design is still not on our website, so there are no links to the design in this post. To see our range of designs go to our desktop website or our mobile website.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Cape Cutter 19 Developments

Following on my post of a few weeks ago with Cape Cutter 19 News, I have some more developments to report.

First is the CNC plywood kit. Years ago two plywood kits were cut by CKD Boats in Cape Town before the moulds for the GRP boats were sold to Honnor Marine, who rescinded the rights to cut kits. Now, with the moulds and GRP production under new ownership of Cape Cutter Marine, we are once again able to sell CNC plywood kits. I completed the new files, with jigsaw joints to all components that are too large for one sheet of plywood. The kit comprises bulkheads, centreplate casing and skin panels for hull, deck and cockpit. We will be able to supply kits in USA and they will also be available from our normal kit suppliers in various countries. Email me for more info.
Cape Cutter 19 being built from one of the two kits cut years ago. The new kits will be similar quality but with jigsaw joints to larger panels.
The other development with the Cape Cutter 19 is under the water. We have had a bilge keel (twin keel) option for the Cape Henry 21 for a few years. The first was launched in Cape Town in 2012. Sailing reports have been of good speed and handling characteristics, with the owner very happy with his boat and other observers impressed with her speed. There is not a similar boat with centreplate nearby to allow comparative sailing to tell us the differences but that will happen sometime in the future, when the opportunity arises.
Cape Henry 21 with bilge keels, being launched in Cape Town, South Africa.
We have not had the bilge keel option for the Cape Cutter 19. A few people have asked when we will have this option and it has now happened. Today I have completed the drawings and will add it to our pricelist in the next few days. The first boat with this option will be built by an amateur builder in the Philippines. This version is able to dry out on shallow moorings, standing upright on the twin keels and skeg.

To see our full range of designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Monday, April 9, 2018

26ft Sportfisherman - Working Both Ends

The longboard sanding of Kevin Agee's boat is done. The hull is as near to fair as it needs to be at this stage. Still to come is the glassing, followed by sprayed fairing compound and final fairing.

I completed the shaping of the stem capping. This involved planing and sanding it flush with the hull skin then rounding off the tip to a radius suitable for the fibreglass cloth to wrap around. Also fairing it smoothly into the front end of the keel runner.

The hull is looking very nice, with fair curves to the profile and chine edges. Any bumps and dips in those edges will catch the eye, so it is worthwhile to take care with smoothing them out before any glassing is done.
Stem capping shaped flush with the hull skin and rounded off to a neat radius.
Fair curves
Fairing of stem capping into keel runner completed.
The other work going on is building the bracket that will support the outboard engine/s. Previous posts have shown how the fore/aft gussets pass through the transom and bond onto the girders inside the hull. Now the laminated plywood engine board has been built and glued onto those gussets. Before doing this the gussets were checked for alignment relative to each other and the transom, with some minor trimming to true them up.
Completed engine board. This is the aft face. The stepped bottom edge matches the angle on the boat and will be planed smooth before the bottom skin is glued on.
Front face of the engine board, slotted for the gussets that will connect it to the transom.
Engine board glued onto the gussets.

Test-fitting the bottom plywood onto the engine bracket.
Glassing the hull will be starting soon and in a few weeks the hull will be ready to be turned over. Follow progress in future posts.

This design has not been completed yet, so is not on our website. I hope to have it available in a few months.

See our range of designs on our main website or our mobile website.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Sandy Point Yacht Club Easter Regatta

Sandy Point Yacht Club in Langebaan, South Africa, is a rather informal group of like-minded people, led by Commodore Bruce Tedder. Langebaan is a holiday community about 60 miles north of Cape Town. The Langebaaan lagoon is one of a very small number of lagoons that can provide shelter to ocean sailors around the coasts of South Africa. It also provides excellent small boat sailing on flat water, with sometimes very strong winds (and very chilly water). The "like mind" of the club members is a love for sailing classically-styled small boats.

One of my designs, the Sentinel Explorer 18, has attracted a strong following in the Langebaan area. The Explorer is a GRP Lapstrake design, full-bodied to carry a good load as a family fun boat. With a gunter rig that has fairly modest proportions by my normal standards, this boat has proven itself to be ideal for safe sailing in the sometimes robust conditions of the area.

Sandy Point Yacht Club hosts a regatta every Easter weekend. The core of the fleet has been the local Explorers but the reputation of fun casual racing has attracted an expanding range of small boats to the event. The photos that I am showing here are of some of the Explorers racing. I also see two of the smaller sisters, the Sentinel Challenger, in some of the photos.

My thanks to photographer Kerryn Arthur for making them available for my use.