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.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Launching Didi 40cr2 Stargazer

I wrote last year about the Didi 38/40 projects being built by XS Marines in India. The posts are at Didi 26 and 40 Projects in India and Update on Wide Stern Versions of Didi 40 and Didi 40cr .

They built the new wide-stern version of the Didi 40cr, now named the Didi 40cr2, from plywood for a customer. (Sorry, we don't yet have a web page for the new version, that will come soon.) During the build, they took moulds off the hull so that they can build this series of designs in sandwich GRP. They will be able to build the Didi 38, Didi 40 and Didi 40cr from those moulds.

Last week they launched the first boat, named "Stargazer". She is the second Didi 40cr2 to be launched, after "Passion X" in Sydney, Australia.
"Stargazer" being built from wood and plywood.

"Stargazer" covered with the GRP mould.
Didi 40cr2 "Stargazer" about to get wet.
She was launched on Friday, sailed on Saturday and raced (not seriously though) on Sunday. She had no spinnaker, which was to be added to her wardrobe this week.

"Stargazer" under sail.
After their first sail, builder Sheri Bamboat reported on her sailing qualities. "We sailed Stargazer from the Moorings near my yard to Mumbai on 23 March .  It really was a great moment. I need to thank and congratulate you on one of the most well balanced boats that I have sailed."

We wish Sheri Bamboat and XS Marines every success with building these boats for the Asian market. We also wish the owner of "Stargazer" happy sailing and successful cruising and racing on her.

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

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Longboarding on a 26ft Sportfisherman

Kevin Agee has been longboarding the past two weeks. This is not the type of longboarding that I do, surfing the waves on the longest of my surfboards. The longboarding that Kevin is doing is with a flexible board about 1m long, with a pair of handles on one side and coarse sandpaper on the other. This involves application of much elbow grease, removing any surface epoxy glue oozings left after initial cleanup when fitting the strip cedar skin, as well as high spots in the timber surfaces.

As part of the process, low spots are filled with lightweight epoxy filler, thereby reducing the amount of material that must be sanded off surrounding areas to smooth out the surface.

Boat with the pox. The grey patches are areas where hollows have been filled and then sanded flush. 
After that comes more sanding and more filling and more sanding and so on, until you are happy with the surface. A side benefit is some weight gain in arm, shoulder and trunk muscles.

The chine is also faired as part of fairing the hull sides. This is done by first trimming off the overlapping side planking at the chine, then planing them flush with the planks of the chine flat. Any unfairness in the chine flat must be faired by sanding/filling, the same as for the side planking. The hull will be glass-sheathed, so the hard corner of the chine must be rounded off to a radius suitable for the glass fabric.

Also forming part of the fairing process is filling in the holes where temporary screw have been removed. This is normally done by injecting or squeezing filled epoxy into the holes, then sanding smooth. Kevin used an alternative method that is quicker and easier. He used wooden golf tees, epoxied into the holes. After the epoxy has cured the tees are cut off flush.

Another job that is going on is fitting the keel runner. The runner is laminated in place on the hull from two 20mm (3/4") thicknesses but it needs a flat surface on the hull centerline onto which it can be bonded. This flat is rough-formed with a power plane then finished with a hand plane. The flat is continued all the way to the tip of the stem. In the forefoot area the runner tapers off and fairs into the hull to become a laminated stem capping. The stem capping must follow the tight curves of the stem profile, so it has to be done in much thinner strips than can be used for the keel runner.
The keel runner being glued in place onto the flat that has been planed on hull centerline. The chine flat is also being faired.
The stem capping is being glued up one layer at a time from stock that is 1/3 of the thickness used for the keel runner. This slows the process because the epoxy glue must have initial cure before the temporary screws can be removed and the next layer glued on. Multiple layers will build up the capping until the timber can be shaped into the bow profile that we want. The shaping is most easily done in stages, after every two or three laminations.
First layer of the stem capping has been glued on
He has been trimming the sheer as well. All of these features coming together are now giving the hull more definition, so the final hull shape is starting to show.
Final shape starting to show due to crisper lines to catch the eye.
The drawings for this design are still in progress and the design is not yet on our website. To see our designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Sportfisherman 26 - The Whiskey Plank

At my last post, the first layer of the chine flat had been fitted and the side skin was progressing. Since then Kevin has glued on the second layer of the chine flat then planed the outer edge for the intersection with the side skin. The side skin fits outside of the chine timbers, so the outer surface must be planed off flush with the frames. That is easy enough to do for most of the length but in the bow it becomes a bit more complicated.

Forward of Station 1 Kevin was unsure how it should be shaped because the chine flat tapers off, to disappear, with the side skin finishing flush with the bottom skin at the stem. That means that the forward end of the chine flat must be recessed adjacent to the edge of the bottom skin. It needs a tapered rebate that is deepest at the stem, tapering to nothing at the point where the width of the chine flat equals the thickness of the side planking. It was visualizing the details of this area that was troubling Kevin.

We shaped this area with a router and a straight bit of about 10mm diameter. The way to get the correct taper on the rebate was to set up a length of timber the same thickness as the side planks and broad enough to guide the base of the router. We clamped this timber to the frames to set the correct curvature and angle for the cut. Running the router along this board and deepening the cut in 2-3mm increments, we gradually worked down to a rebate surface for the side planks to fit into.
Timber strip set up alongside the chine as a guide for the router base, to set both the transverse angle and the fore/aft curve for the rebate.
The completed tapered rebate. 
With that rebate done both sides, the next task was to complete the side skin. The strips that fill in the rebate are neatly trimmed against the edge of the bottom skin. Further aft they can overlap slightly and will be planed flush later.

The last step in completion of the skin was fitting the whiskey plank, done with friends and family in attendance to celebrate this big occasion.
Kevin and Michelle celebrate completion of the hull skin after gluing in the whiskey plank.
Closing in the last of the gaps has made the boat appear considerably bigger than when we could see through it. Now the full shape can be seen and it is looking good. The skin will be planed flush along the chine this week and the sheer will be trimmed later, after turning the hull upright.
Hull skin completed 
The hull sides are now being rough-sanded prior to fairing. Next steps will be gluing on the keel runner, bow capping and planing strakes.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Sportfisherman 26 Strip Cedar Skin

The strip cedar topside skin of the new 26ft sportfisherman is progressing. The tactic of starting at the level of the aft sheer and running that first strip along the path of least stress seems to have worked out. The strips above and below the first one have been relatively easy to fit, each epoxied and nailed to the previous strip with plastic nails fired in with a pneumatic nailer. A few temporary screws with fender washers were used to hold them at bulkheads and ends until the epoxy had cured.

Fitting the strips is a two-person job, in the interests of getting each strip neatly into position with the glue in the joint where it is needed rather than creating a mess with it where glue is not wanted. Kevin's help came from his dad for a few days and from wife Michelle whenever needed.

After working upward to where further work had to wait for construction of the chine flat, they  continued down to skin the flare, from the bow through to the break in the sheer.
Port side of the flare skinned
My job was to prepare the outer edge of the plywood bottom panels to match up to the chine flat. For most of the length this is a simple matter of shaping the edge to a vertical surface for the rectangular chine strip to butt up against. In the bow this detail has to change because of the much steeper slope of the bottom panel. The vertical edge doesn't work, so a rebate must be formed for the chine strip to fit into, with the bottom skin overlapping over the top of it.

I chose to cut the rebate into the edge of the plywood with hand tools. I could have formed it with a router and edge guide, then planed the edges of the chine strip to fit but I wanted the rebate to have horizontal and vertical faces to match the square edges of the chine strip. Each side took a few hours with chisels, mallet, Shinto saw rasp and a bit of help from a rip saw to cut the top edge once the basics of the rebate had been started with the chisels.
Rebate to receive the chine strip, from bow to Station 1. The bulkhead in the photo is at Station 0.
The vertical edge of the plywood bottom, changing to a rebate in the bow.
The first chine strip dry-fitted to check the fit.
Now the hull flare has been skinned both sides, and the first strip of the chine flat glued in both sides. The chine gives more definition to the hull and it is starting to look really good.
First chine strip in place both sides, giving more definition to the bottom shape.
The cleat that will form the landing for the wet deck was fitted next. It fits into pre-cut slots in the edges of the bulkheads and the hull skin will be fitted over the outside.

The strip between the chine and the top of the cedar strips is the landing for the wet deck, slotted into the bulkheads.
The flare all skinned. The sheer won't be trimmed until the hull has been turned upright.
The second strip of the chine flat must be fitted and trimmed, then the skin will be completed by my next post. Watch for it after next weekend.

This design is not yet complete, so is not on our pricelist or website. See previous posts on this blog about the 26ft Sportfisherman for more info. See our full range of designs on our main website or our mobile website.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Cape Cutter 19 News

The Cape Cutter 19 design was commissioned by Nick Voorhoeve, for GRP construction from moulds in South Africa. From there they were exported to UK, where they sold very well. After a few years they sold the company to Honnor Marine and production was moved to UK.
Two fiberglass Cape Cutter 19s waiting for the tide.
Honnor Marine has recently been sold due to the retirement of the owners. The Cape Cutter 19 moulds have changed ownership to a new company, Cape Cutter Marine, which has moved production to new premises in Driffield, Yorshire. The website has been totally redesigned, offering the same services plus a lot more. The new owner has plans to improve production and expand marketing to reach buyers world-wide.

Under Nick Voorhoeve we were able to sell CNC plywood kits but Honnor Marine took away those rights. Now we have reached agreement with Cape Cutter Marine that we can sell CNC plywood kits worldwide. This will be done through the same companies that currently sell kits for our Cape Henry 21 design.
"Tiptoe", Cape Cutter 19 beautifully built by Ian Allen from a kit supplied by CKD Boats, our South African kit supplier.
Included in the expansion plans of Cape Cutter Marine  is the introduction of a GRP version of the Cape Henry 21. That should happen once all is sorted out with the Cape Cutter 19 production.
"Elvee", Cape Henry 21 built from a kit supplied by Big Pond Boat Shop, our Canadian Supplier.
We look forward to a long and mutually satisfying relationship with Cape Cutter Marine.

The Cape Cutter 19 Association is based in UK and has an annual rally. The 2018 rally will be in Scotland in May. More info.

See our kits page for a full list of our kit suppliers, with contact links.