Thursday, August 16, 2018

Hout Bay 30 Cutter New Launch

Another boat to our designs has been launched in Russia. This one is a steel Hout Bay 30, built by Aleksander Kokorin of Kranoyarsk in Siberia. He launched into the Yenisei River, which is the largest river system flowing into the Arctic Ocean.

The Hout Bay 30 is a frameless design, so the hull is built over temporary frames that are removed at the time of turning the hull over. I have a few photos from the start of construction in 2009, then a big gap through to those at launch in 2018.
The temporary frames have been set up on the building stocks and the centreline stringer fitted.
The transom has been set up. The stringers will be tack-welded to the tabs that can be seen projecting from the frame edges.
Arriving at the launch ramp.
Setting up a bipod frame to raise the mast.
Boat afloat, mast in place and bipod ready to do its work.
And up it goes.
No sails yet but she looks very pretty in a beautiful setting.
See more of this and our other designs on our main website, or our mobile website.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Filling the Bilges of the Sportfisherman

Kevin Agee is building his 26ft sportfisherman in a rented industrial unit in Seaford, Virginia. He plans to complete her and launch in time to go fishing in summer 2019. Each week of evening and weekend work takes him another step closer to that goal.

Having built three big boats myself, of 36ft, 34ft then 38ft, I know very well the commitment needed for a project like this one that Kevin has taken on. It takes drive and determination to do it. The skills develop along the way, to produce a high quality boat of which he can be proud. The standard of work that is seen on the hull shows his dedication to creating that quality boat.

Work that is going on now is all below deck level and on the deck panels themselves.
The bilge is broken up into compartments by the bulkheads and girders.The large ones on centreline are for tanks, batteries and pumps, accessed via hatches and access panels and draining to bilge pumps at the transom. Most of the others will be foam-filled and totally sealed.
Looking aft into the cockpit from the cuddy cabin.
Looking into the cuddy cabin from the cockpit.
Meanwhile, alongside the boat the deck panels are being glassed, with heavy glass on the top and a light layer and peelply on the bottom.
Deck panels, with curing epoxy.
Deck of the engine bracket. The wings have been thickened up with two layers of Coosa Board, which will be glassed over and bonded to the transom and bracket with glass tabbing.
This design is not yet on our website. To see our other designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Cape May 25 Build in Russia

I am so often pleasantly surprised by the standard of work done by amateurs building our designs. They are dedicated to turning out boats of which they are justly very proud. I recently received photos of the gaff cutter Cape May 25 being built to a very high standard by Andrey Koslov in Voronezh, Russia.

Voronezh is a city of about a million people, in southwestern Russia, straddling the Voronezh River. The city was rebuilt after the Second World War, having been almost totally destroyed in a battle with German forces.The Voronezh River is a tributary of the Don River, flowing south into the Sea of Azov, which gives access south of Crimea to the Black Sea via Kerch Straight.
Very fair hull, nicely finished

Andrey Koslov with his hull, nearly ready to turn over.
Over she goes, with a pair of frames built around her.
Turning frames that double as her cradle. The fine hollow bow at waterline is one of the reasons why these boats are so quick in light breezes.
Ready for the interior and deck to start.
Thank you Andrey, for doing such nice work building your Cape May 25. Keep up the good work.

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

50ft Catamaran Build in North Carolina

There is a custom sister to our radius chine plywood catamarans taking shape alongside Albemarle Sound in Edenton, North Carolina. The builder is CRW-Con and the build method is composite reinforced wood construction, adapted by the builder from our radius chine plywood method. The base design is our Dix 470, expanded longitudinally to 50ft. The 470 is the second in our catamaran range that started with the DH550.

This series of photos shows construction of the first hull, which will be turned over in the next week or two.
Bulkheads and backbone set up, with stringers fitted into bulkhead slots.
First layer of radius skin fitted, foam fitted between stringers and keel structure in progress.
Plywood outer skin being fitted to sides. The opening is for the escape hatch.
Side skin completed, keel completed and glassed.
Glasswork completed.
Fairing with Awlfair.
Fairing with Awlfair.
This first boat has cruising keels and is being built on spec, with the builder seeking a customer for it. Interior configuration and finishes can be agreed between owner and builder if a buyer commits to the boat before the builder gets to a stage where he has to make those decisions. Anyone interested can email me, then I will put them in contact with the builder.

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

DH550 Catamaran Video

Today I saw a rather nice walk-through video of the DH550 "Cheetah", posted by Wiley Sharp. This boat was custom-built for her owner by Peter Lane in Trinidad, to a gorgeous standard. She has beautiful veneered finishes throughout, unusual for multihulls. Click on the link to watch the video.
The layout of "Cheetah" is a bit different from our standard layout, modified by her architect owner to suit his needs. The normal arrangement is four equal cabins, two in each hull with a large shared heads with shower between the two.

The other big difference between "Cheetah" and the other boats built to the DH550 design is in the powering. "Cheetah" has a pair of electric drives powered by large battery banks charged by solar panels backed up by a diesel generator. Each of the other boats has a pair of 50hp diesel motors.
DH550 "Cheetah" on launch day.
"Cheetah" and most of the other boats have daggerboards but the design includes a cruising keel option, as fitted to "Friends Forever". The drawings also show the option of dual steering, one inside the saloon as used on "Cheetah", and the other in the forward cockpit. The two wheels share a common shaft that passes through the bulkhead that separates the two.
DH550 "Friends Forever" under sail.
Cheetah was built from scratch, using plans only. There is a company in UK, Exocetus Marine, that has developed a very comprehensive CNC kit that includes all plywood components that go into the boat, to speed up construction of amateur and professional projects. Boats are being built in Australia, Germany and South Africa using their kits.
DH550 being built from an Exocetus kit in South Africa.
More recently we have introduced the DH550 Charter, with interior layout more suited to charter service, as well as aft elevated cockpit for helming and all sail handling.

See more info on these and our other designs on our main website or our mobile website.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Bilge Finishing in the 26ft Sportfisherman

I haven't posted about Kevin Agee's 26ft sportfisherman project for awhile. Since we turned the hull over, he and Michelle have been doing the rather awkward work of cleaning up then glassing all of the compartments inside the hull, below wet deck level. With a skin condition that does not get along well with lots of laminating and sanding epoxy/glass, I have stayed away from this work.
Sportfisherman 26 hull in its cradle. All the work is going on inside it now.
All of these bottom compartments have been sanded, glassed and sanded again. The inner hull sides have also been sanded smooth, ready for glassing.
The wide compartments on centreline will serve as the bilge, also housing the tanks, batteries and pumps, so will be finished smooth. The outer compartments will contain foam flotation sealed in, so will be left rough.
Inside the engine bracket has also been glassed.
This photo shows the detail used at the break in the sheer. The two laminated sheer clamps overlap and intersect as they do to give proper control over the shaping of the hull side surfaces and tying in of the sheer clamps with the frames.
The pain of glassing the bilge compartments could have been reduced by glassing both sides of the bulkheads and girders below wet deck level before installing those items into the structure, likely cutting the awkward work in half. But that is the value of hindsight and we know for future builds of this and other power designs that will follow.

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

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Paper Jet Skiffs in Siberia

Siberia, Russia, counts Lake Baikal among its natural treasures. Lake Baikal contains the largest single volume of fresh water in the world. Irkutsk, on the shores of Lake Baikal, is the home of Ivan Vasilyev. He bought plans from us in 2009 for the Didi 26, which he built for himself and now races in the local fleet.
Ivan Vasilyev's Didi 26 "Orca" racing on Lake Baikal.
Ivan and a group of friends plan to build the bigger sister, the Didi 38, in the future. But at the moment they are working on a project with smaller boats and for a different purpose.

They are building a bunch of skiffs to our Paper Jet design, for sail-training at their yacht club. Our design was selected because of its versatility, able to be used by sailors of widely differing abilities due to the designed-in variations in rig configuration. Three basic rig configurations plus other options are possible from the modular rig components, without needing three complete rigs per boat. The Paper Jet can morph from a docile una-rigged single-hander, to a single- or double-handed sloop, with or without trapeze, through to a full trapeze skiff for two juniors or one adult, with fathead mainsail and asymmetrical spinnaker.
Paper Jet basic rigs and deck plan.
Ivan and his group have bought plans for six boats to date. Some are being built from plans only, others are from CNC kits that have been cut by our kit supplier in Irkutsk. The boats are progressing nicely, most of them being built in the same location.
The first Paper Jet starts, with bulkheads and backbone set up on the building stocks. The boat alongside is Ivan's Didi 26 "Orca".
Hull skinned and turned upright. On top is one of the hollow wooden spars, built using modified birdsmouth details.
Three of the boats taking shape, with another starting in the foreground.
Paper Jet with deck and wings skinned and cross-beam structure in place. This X-frame adds versatility to the design by supporting the two mast positions.
Three of the boats with deck and wing skins being completed.
I look forward to photos of this growing fleet, teaching new sailors of all ages how to sail and also doing class racing.

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

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.