Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Harris family has a reunion every few years on the North Carolina coast.  Beth and I had not planned on going this year because we knew we would be so busy, between working, and working on the boat, we have our hands full.  I had hoped that other family members wouldn't show up, making our absence less noticed, but no.  Everybody is going this year, which hasn't happened in quite a few reunions.  Pops(grampa) called about a week ago and filled us in on what we were going to be missing out on, and I told him we would look into coming out.  Two hours later we had tickets and with some help getting from Charlotte to Columbia from my aunt Melanie and uncle Norman we are going to NC for a week.

One extra bonus this trip has afforded us is a deadline.  We really wanted to get the fiberglass on the boat before the beach trip.  And a few hours ago we wrapped up the last of the big fiberglass work on our now shiny hull. Nothing like a little pressure to make you pull 14 hour days.

We wear tyvek suits to keep the copious amounts of epoxy, I bought the smallest size they had, I don't think a lot of girls do this kind of work.

We wet out the hull with a saturation coat first.  Then we apply the fiberglass fabric, followed by another pass of epoxy to saturate the glass. The glass we are using is a 9oz tight weave.  Which means that it weighs 9oz per yard and the tight weave just gives it better resistance to abrasion.  The glass on our boat is non structural, it will strengthen the boat some, but it is primarily for abrasion resistance and water barrier.  The glass usually needs a considerable amount of work once its saturated.  Here I'm using a special ribbed roller to chase out air bubbles caught under the fabric.

The hull is glassed and looking smooth.  There will be more fairing to do, but it should be minimal.  Epoxy is pretty crazy stuff, it looks exactly the same wet as it does dry, so there is lots of touching wet epoxy out of curiosity.

The good old Tartan 27 that is being slowly cut apart in the parking lot was in much worse shape than I was told.  Luckily it doesn't matter, but you can see in this picture that when I cut open the decks water was pouring out. 

Hoping for Surf, Cody and Beth

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Three's a Crowd

I have had my eyes out for sailing gear on KSL (better than craigslist in Utah) for a couple of weeks now.  As you can imagine the market for used sailing equipment in the desert is very small, not many people selling or buying.  Last Monday I saw an ad for something that just might work for our boat...  another boat.  I had always tossed the idea around of buying a cheap run down boat for parts, but figured that with the limited amount of boats around here it just wouldn't happen.  But it did!   I called on this boat, a Tartan 27.  It turned out to be the perfect fit for us, the guy selling it had bought it with intentions of fixing it up, but instead he just let it get worse.  

The boat had been stripped of almost everything, winches, cleats, stanchions, windows, all work that we now didn't have to do.  I was concerned that the owner would be offended if I told him that we were going to cannibalize his boat, but he just wanted it gone and didn't care what we did to it.  The most important thing that we are getting from the Tartan is 2500+ lbs of lead.  With lead selling for 60 cents a pound this alone would have been worth buying the boat for. 

We moved pretty quick, borrowing the owners boat trailer and a truck from a friend, we moved it to the shop on Wednesday.  
The boat was in a neighborhood chock full of kids that were stoked to see the huge crane. 

It was pretty exciting lifting during lift off, there was lots of creaking.

Nestled in on the trailer and ready to go.

We hired another crane to drop the boat in front of the shop.  It looks pretty ghetto, so now we finally fit in!

Beth scrounging the hull for anything of value.

Sailing the high asphalt.  I have been slowly cutting away at the hull. I think I might just throw the whole thing into the dumpster piece by piece.  Its probably not allowed but most things that happen in this complex aren't allowed.   The Klan suit is to keep me from itching while cutting through loads of fiberglass.  

The keel!!  This thing ways 2400 pounds, and then there are some other lead bricks elsewhere.  I had all the bolts pounded out before we lifted it off the trailer.  The plan was that the keel would stay on the trailer and the boat would lift off without it.  No luck.  It is glued on pretty well and will have to be taken off another way.  

With crane fees we are into the boat about $1000.  It has been a lot of work, but we have so much stuff, lots of teak, freshly powder coated window frames with new glass.  The list goes on and on.  I think it was well worth it.  

Until next time.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Keel and Stem

Work on the boat as of late has been visually slow, we have been working on the keel(not the heavy part) and the stem.  The keel assembly on our boat is larger than just the space it would take to place the lead.  This means that a large portion will be what is called deadwood,  just filler.  Having the keel larger has advantages and disadvantages.  Generally a smaller keel will yield a faster more nimble boat, whereas the longer keel like we have will be slower to tack, but will want to stay on course and be more forgiving to the helmsman.  The balance of sailboat design is a never ending compromise.

We have decided to put a minimum amount of deadwood on now and do the rest after the boat is rolled over.  The shape of the keel makes it a pain to glue up and shape while its on the boat.
Here you can see the keel and the hull, we are just filling in the areas where the keel isn't touching the hull.  Making a curved surface flat.

Once that is done we will glue and bolt on the deadwood and the lead portion of the keel.  This picture shows the airfoil (well, hydrofoil) shape of the keel.

Here you can see the very first layers of the keel taking shape.


We've also been working on the stem post, which is the square cap that runs along the point of the bow.  Ours is made of Ash, which is a very hard wood, so it will stand up the thumps and bumps we may encounter.   It also covers and protects the end-grain of the plywood sheeting, which is crucial to avoid rot and water damage.

I've been working on my dinghy lately as well-  we made a trip to the fancy wood store, to buy ash, and a nice bright piece of purple heart  (an exotic hardwood,) caught my eye.  I needed another layer on the gunwales, so we picked it up.  Cody helped me add a thin stripe of fir, to really set off the amazing natural color of the purple heart.  Things are coming along! 

Oh, the abundant wildlife to be found just outside Shop 61.
Six Canadian Goslings!  So cute!


Well, gotta go.  
We've got important stuff to do, like take hands-free phone calls.