Thursday, November 13, 2008

Waiting for beams to get out of jail...

My trip to China went well. I spent a week in Zhuhai (quite humid even in October) and the second week in Shanghai. My first trip ever to China, and it was just a lot of fun overall. Air quality definitely was not as good as here in America, but otherwise you just really get a sense that China is just this really booming, growing place (I stayed in the cities, no rural visits for me). Labor and goods are darn cheap! - you can stuff yourself on an elaborate lunch or dinner for hardly nothing, like $6-8. My chopstick skills got pretty good too. Lastly, my work colleagues went above and beyond in taking me out to see stuff - thanks guys!

[Edit: thought I'd add a couple of pics and thoughts from my trip.]

This is some random street in Shanghai; note the long pole things used for drying laundry:

I was amazed at how many bicycles you see in China. Sometimes after people would get to work in the morning, you'd see a hundred old bikes all lined up and locked to a street fence. It was no big deal to see office workers pedalling down the street going to work (including women, in skirts and heels). This picture is actually of a bike rental place, but it gives you an idea:

People seemed very thrifty. Old bikes (and motorcycles!) don't get thrown out, they just keep getting fixed and used and fixed and used and.... Kinda cool.

Traffic was especially crazy in don't want to drive there, and you have to develop some extra guts to be able to cross roads. Despite the craziness, I never once saw an accident.

One day I had the chance to take a Shanghai subway during morning rush I know what sardines feel like! :-) Amazing to see how hard the folks trying to get on the train will shove the people in front of them.

Last China thought: you don't see too many fat Chinese people, or at least I didn't. At least in the city they seem to get a lot more exercise than the average American's I'm used to being around. I joked a bit with colleagues about feeling "white food guilt" over there.

Anyways...shortly after I left for China my beams showed up in Seattle, but obviously I was not here to go get them through customs, etc. So when I finally got ahold of a customs broker last week, he was a bit alarmed that I had waited almost two weeks to get in touch. Apparently after two weeks the Federal customs folks get suspicious of the delay and may take possession of the shipment? He also said that infrequent importers (uh, that would be me...) tend to get more attention as well. Long story short, the Federal custom folks apparently decided to do some extra examination of my beams and I won't be able to pick them up until next week. I have this image of fierce German Sheperd guard dogs sniffing and drooling all over my new beams in their opened crate...hope they're ok.

The broker guy was also somewhat incredulous that any sailboat part could cost as much as the beams did...guess he's not much of a boat guy. And this led into the long explanation of "well, actually I'm building a boat" to "well a trimaran has three hulls..." to "so these parts I'm getting connect the floats to the main hulls..." It all seems obvious to me now that I forget a lot of normal folks don't even know what a trimaran is.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What's going on?

I have 99% of the exterior lamination done (just a little touchup work left around the bow web). Have started thinking about how to level the boat and have been studying the the beam mount plan pages. Interesting stuff - I hope it goes well.

Ian finished making my beams and they are somewhere in the middle of the Pacific right now, aboard some ship named the Cap Saray. The ship will offload in Long Beach CA and then my beams will be trucked up to Seattle. Should be here first week in November.

As usual :) work has been keeping me busy. In fact, I'm preparing to leave very soon for a two week overseas business trip to China.

It's clearly been a disappointing year as far as progress on the boat goes, but such is life I guess. I'll just keep working at it as best I can.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

More exterior lamination

I'm not yet done with the exterior laminate, but it's getting closer. As of today I have run out of 'A' glass, so I need to make time this week to run up to Fiberglass Supply for more.

I've been lazy about picture taking lately, but here's a few. Here I'm sitting on top of the boat, cogitating about how I'm going to laminate the glass into the daggerboard case:

You can see on the starboard side where the leading edge of the laminate has reached. The port side is at about the same spot, and the rear half of the main cabin top is done. Also the bow edge is done up to the bottom of the bow web (still thinking about how to best blend that area into the hull).

I decided to pre-laminate the daggerboard case glass before the main exterior laminate...glad I did it separately, a bit finicky getting all this glass into place:

Now, when I do the main laminate, I'll just cut around the case hole and not try to lap it in (the glass over the flat spot will lap in a bit).

Lamination of rudder mount is completed:

(I keep the steel rod in the holes to protect them from stray drips of epoxy.)

Picture looking through the boat:

Despite the (relatively) high temperatures, the technique of coating the foam with bog before laminating the glass over it has worked great to prevent bubbles from showing up. Don't think I want to deal with all those bubbles again, and the attendant fairing issues.

I layed some temporary plywood on top of the cockpit floor, this helped a lot to distribute my weight and remove any worries about damage. Also, went with my wife to a craft store last week and they had sheets of 3/8" balsa that I could, that's some pretty tough (and light!) stuff. I am now thinking of using balsa for my double cockpit floor layer.

It was very cool to see the video of Oliver's boat sailing...

That's all for now, hope all the other builders are doing well.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Aft cabin laminated

Wow but it's a hot day today. Might break a record - it's over 85 deg F right now at my house. And easily 90+ in my boat tent. This is relevant because right now I only have Fast hardener for my laminating resin...makes things interesting.

I spent the morning doing more rough-fairing of the hull. I'm just about done. Not super happy with the results - just too hard to get things looking nice when you're sanding both foam and bog. Not looking forward to the real fairing.

After I got 95% done on the fairing, I decided to do some lamination work, starting at the aftcabin. I laminated the cabin top, the gunwale\hull-sides below the aft cabin, and also did the uni-glass for the aft cabin. Here's a rare intra-lamination picture; I'm wrapping this piece of glass around the hull (foam is pre-bogged & wetted, so the glass sticks nicely) preparing for further wet-out:

Here's the uni at the rear of the cabin:

Not very interesting to look at, I know.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More transom work plus shop cleanup

I've been working some more around the transom. Here's the rest of the double layer of foam on the hull areas getting fitted (left side already glued, right side dry-fitted):

Glueing the right side:

Cutting the glass to size:

With the lamination all done:

You can't tell from the picture but I made the fillets nice and large, and ran a round-over router bit over the edge of the rear deck, before lamination. Should look really nice after fairing.

I climbed up into the boat for the first time today and sat in the cabin - then fell under the "sailing daydream" spell. Felt really, really good to see what I've accomplished so far. The cabin feels roomy to me, even with the daggerboard case. I can tell that I'll have to be very careful walking on the cockpit floor - it's quite "spongy" under my weight. Best to keep my feet near the hull sides where the fillets and tape are.

I lost some time yesterday to a household plumbing emergency (leak) which kinda sucked. I've been working on rough-fairing of the hull foam - as usual it's difficult wherever you have bog sticking out. I'll do the best I can but will then leave it up to the fairing to make it look good.

I finished up the day with some shop cleanup and made a run to the dump to get rid of accumulated debris. This was needed to make more room along the starboard side of the hull - was getting tired of ducking under the gunwale:

Plenty of room in the "shop" for more main hull work now.

Osram VII site available again

In one of my earliest posts I mentioned being inspired by Tony Bigras' Osram VII catamaran project. His website was down for a long time, but it appears that he has found some hosting space once again. I can't tell you how many hours I spent reading his stuff and looking at his pictures - I'm quite the arm chair sailor I guess. Anyway, it's definitely worth taking a look at in my humble opinion; click here and then click on "Older projects", then the Osram VII link.

I like his boat naming scheme, ie "Osram I", "Osram II", etc. I still haven't come up with a good name for my F22.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Main hull in cradles

Slow day today, but I did get two cradles built:

Obviously one cradle is for form frame #5, and the other for #8. I measured the distance from the hull bottom to the gunwale line at each of those locations and built the cradles so that the hull would be positioned roughly to make the gunwale lines level forward-to-aft. I'm not expecting it to be perfect, but hopefully it will get me in the ballpark.

Later my neighbor came over and we got the hull lifted up again and positioned in the cradles, on top of the strongback:

Cradle fit turned out good (I traced the outlines using the FSP's):

Check out those snazzy handles on the cradles...and I wonder if the thrift stores will want their baby mattresses back - free! (only a little bit of epoxy added)

From the rear:

I can push down on the rear deck with just a little bit of force and lever the bow up into the air - pretty cool.

Eventually I will remove the strongback and put the cradles directly on the ground, but right now it makes a good level platform for installing things like, beam mounts.

I am thinking about making another cradle to support the transom. Although in theory it won't be needed after the exterior lamination is finished and the beam mounts are installed.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Starboard lower hull laminated

This morning my neighbor came back over and we lowered the hull the rest of the way down:

No sounds of creaking or other distress from the hull so I'm assuming all is well. I rough-faired the lower hull foam and got ready for laminating. Here I'm rolling up 22 feet of 'A' glass on a tube:

About 2/3rd's done:

And all finished:

You can also see in the picture above how I've rough-faired the gunwale line as well; doesn't look too bad IMO.

I made sure I had the requisite 2" overlap at the join seam; usually it was more like 4-5" overlap, but in the heat of battle (laminating) I just wasn't willing to stop and trim things up. The keel is a good place to have a little extra glass anyway.

Our dog "Beau" was out supervising for part of the time; he's a 9 1/2 year old boxer:

Tomorrow I need to build myself some main hull cradles. Then in the evening my neighbor will help me hoist the hull back up and then lower it into the cradles. After that I'll start fairing the edges of the deck and gunwales and get ready for finishing the exterior lamination.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hull removed from frames

As mentioned in last post, it was time to remove the main hull from the frames. I've been both excited and nervous about this step - excited for obvious reasons, and nervous since I didn't have a really good plan in mind for how I would accomplish this. I decided to use my tent frame as a lifting point, although I wasn't sure if it would be strong enough (certainly the tent manufacturer does not support this type of use!). Lacking any other plans, I reluctantly decided to go ahead.

Fortunately one of my neighbors was willing to help me out, and he already had the necessary lifting equipment. Thanks a ton Sean - I couldn't have done this without you. (He was also much calmer than I was, since I had visions of fallen\smashed boat dancing in my head most of the time.)

Without further ado, here's some pictures; this is a lift strap tied around the hull:

We used an electric hoist for the rearward lifting strap; the hoist is chained to the bottom rail of the tent; the two wood braces are to minimize the bowing of the tent walls:

After achieving lift-off with just one strap (located at the rear main cabin bulkhead), we got busy removing form frames starting from the transom moving forward. The battens were cut away piece-meal from below using a cutoff tool, then were broken off as needed until each frame could be removed:

In the picture above, the boat is indeed being supported from above, but the clearance above the battens is quite minimal (we didn't have a lot of lifting room due to the low clearance at the top of the tent).

After removing up to about form frame 5 or 6, we attached another lift strap at FF #5, and picked up the remainder of the boat. For this we used a chainfall tied to the bottom support rail of the tent:

Hey look! It's a side-ways flying boat:

After that we rigged a couple of more straps under the boat, attached to the mid-height tent support poles. Suspending the boat like that gave us enough slack to be able to turn the boat over:

Damn but this is a nice looking boat (but I'm biased):

I had picked up some cheap used baby mattresses from the local thrift store to use as padding under the side of the boat. Should have gotten more though, since I didn't feel comfortable laying the gunwale down without any padding. So we left the boat semi-suspended for the night:

I made another shopping trip this evening for more mattresses. Tomorrow we'll finish laying the boat down on its gunwale, and then I'll get busy fairing the rest of the bottom hull half and preparing it for lamination.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Starboard settee and rudder mount

Last year when I installed the daggerboard case support web, I only taped the upper portion, thinking I'd wait to do the bottom until after I had rolled the boat to a more helpful position. I changed my mind on that and taped it upside down - lots of fun. Glad I wore glasses and a hat.

Next was the starboard settee; here it is set into position so I can tape the backside:

After all taping was done:

Here's the foam bed for the rudder mount:

I've decided to double the foam thickness after of the transom\aft-cabin, per the option described in the plans. I'm a big guy and I'd like the boat to be as strong as possible. Here I'm taping over a extra layer of foam that I glued to the lower portion of the transom:

I'll be glueing the rest of the double-layer later on. Also you can see the cutouts for the rudder mount in the picture above.

Trial-fitting the mount:

My levelling strategy worked great and was easy to adjust.

I first tacked the mount into position with a heavy layer of bog on the bottom of the mount, then let that cure (didn't want to risk it moving around while I was taping). Here's some of the mount taping:

I guess I could have done a neater job of taping, huh?

Finally, here's the rear deck all closed up and taped:

Doesn't seem like much for two days work, but I am really glad the rudder mount is in. I've also removed 90% of the remaining screws holding the hull to the battens. I'll finish that up tomorrow, but I think I'm now ready to remove the hull from the frames.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Fwd bunktop taped

Last two days seemed to fly by. Great weather, but this means it gets warm in the tent (90+ deg F, easy). Call it my sauna weight loss program.

I made a mold plate for the fwd bunktop, out of scrap wood:

Here it is installed with all of the the taping done:

You can also see from the above picture that I've got my anchor well hatch cut out. Really makes things easier when you can stick stuff thru that hole.

Here's the fresh flanges\tape after the mold plate was removed:

The fwd bunktop glued and clamped in place:

The anchor well hatch makes it easy to setup for taping:

All taped and peelplyed:

Finally, I got up early this morning so I could laminate the lower port hull half. Tried to do it myself, but I haven't figured out a good way to manage the roll of glass as I'm working my way down the hull. Fortunately my daughter was home and helped my out - thx Cindy!

Almost done:

I plan to wait to laminate the bow until after I have the hull upright.

View from aft (glass is kinda moving up and down due to my difficulties in managing it, until I got my daughter to help):

Best of all, no bubbles! On the downside, I had planned to peelply the glass but it was warm enough that we just didn't have time.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

What's this - actual boat work?

Finally got out to the tent today. First I finally got my bow web glued in place; for some reason I forgot to take pictures of this - wait til tomorrow. Also taped in the upper (port) side of the bow web, along with glassing the inside of the upper bow nose. That's not a fun area to work in, very tight and I keep slipping down the gunwale.

Then I started fitting my daggerboard into the case. Here's the (not yet fully faired) board sticking out the top:

No sticking points anywhere, though the board feels a little bit sloppy (just a little) in the case. I'd rather live with that than a stuck board.

Here's the "A" daggerboard section traced out on the bottom of the case:

I then jigsawed out the bulk of the waste. First chunk comes out:

The poured-insert turned out pretty thick. All of the chopped glass I added to the mix settled to the bottom of the insert though.

Getting closer:

The hole turned out to be too small (I was worried it'd be too big), and I had to gradually enlarge it. I tried various tools but finally settled on a round rat-tail file. This was good for increasing the opening while keeping the curves nice and even. To be honest, there's not much left of the insert by the time you get to this point:

It looks like a nice fit, but I need to finish fairing, priming, and painting the board, then re-check the fit, before I can declare it done.