Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Launch

Better settle in and get comfortable!  This one's kind of long....   
Here's the story of the days leading up to and including the Launch of our new sailboat! 

Sunday, October 27th:
Cody and I spent the morning building our mast.  We had glued together the planks a few days before, and were assembling the box that day.  It was quite a process- we had put together about 35 simple clamps, and built long blocks that support the hollow form at crucial points- where the spreaders attach, where the boom attaches, and at the base and the top.  So we got everything lined up, rolled on the epoxy, and then battled the breeze as it blew hundreds of leaves onto the sticky mast.  I felt like there was something wrong with cursing the wind while we were building the mast- which will depend entirely on a good breeze to function in the future, so I tried to stay as calm as possible, and pick out the little leaves as best I could.  

We were building in our friend JW's backyard.  Thanks, JW!! 
The dry fit.
  It was sunny but chilly that morning.  I wished I had brought my swimsuit so we could warm up in JW's hot tub when we were done!  

One of the support blocks.  
Cody cut "fingers" into the blocks to distribute the load evenly, and not create a "hard spot" in the mast.  If the block just ended abruptly, the mast would want to bend at that spot, not evenly throughout the length of the mast.  

We had asked a group of friends to help us roll the boat out of the shop, and had planned to meet them  at 3.  We finished glueing and clamping the mast at about 2:30,  Cody left JW's at about 2:45, and I stayed to clean up and wrap the mast in plastic sheeting (there was rain in the forecast) before leaving at about 3:15.  

This roll-out went about as smoothly as the last one.  There were some minor hiccups along the way, but nothing went terribly wrong.  With the boat supported only on a super strong axle in the middle and a some training wheels in the back it was surprisingly stable.  No one was hurt, and the boat was unscathed and in position for the crane.  

A HUGE thanks to our wonderful friends-  Mitch and Katie Dumke, PJ and Sarah Mannion, and Maddie and Tyler McQueen!  Thanks for the photos and videos, for your muscle and grit, the moral support,  and the psych you brought to the job!  We can't wait to take you all out sailing!  

L-R:  Beth, Maddie, Katie, and Sarah
The lovely ladies, checking out the interior.  

Beautiful Rabannah, ready for the crane.  

So psyched!  

The boat from the roof of the shop.  

We went home exhausted that night.  

Monday, October 28th:

We arrived at the shop early, and set to work.  We began clearing out the shop, taking apart the cradle, and cleaning the boat.  

Rabannah at Sunrise....   

Cody left to pick up the truck we were borrowing around 9am, and headed to the Salt Lake Marina, to pick up the trailer were were also borrowing.  

He arrived back at the shop around 12, and I was just heading out to pick up some lunch, when I saw the crane turning into the shop parking lot.  I whipped around and the action began!  

The crane operator began his set up, and Cody backed the trailer into position.  I was a nervous nelly- running around, trying to help.  I don't know how effective I really was, so I sat out for a while and took some video.    

Once the boat was heading onto the trailer, they needed more hands, so I helped adjust the blocking under the keel and tighten the pads against the boat.  She settled happily onto the trailer, we paid the friendly crane operator and helped him pack up his straps.  Then we moved the boat so it was right in front of the shop, and headed out to get a late lunch.  

After lunch, we headed back to the shop, and worked on finishing up odds and ends.

The 29th and 30th were fairly uneventful- lots more work on the boat and cleaning of the shop.  Cody's friend Andy came down to take advantage of the newly spacious shop to build some "volumes" for his new climbing gym in Park City.  I  think they look pretty rad!   

Thursday, October 31st: 

Crunch time begins in earnest.  We're cleaning out the shop, organizing tools, finishing the volumes, working on the last few odds and ends for the boat... We practically fill the dumpster by ourselves.  We're brainstorming how to get the mast up on the boat, how to strap it down...  

It's a full and busy day.  We took an hour or so in the evening to visit PJ and Sarah for our traditional Halloween goulash.  We picked up John Little's truck, and headed back down to the shop.  There was still more cleaning to be done, not to mention hooking up the truck, loading the mast, and more.  

We arrive back to the shop and hook up the truck to find that the trailer lights don't work.  Cody went to work trying to fix the lights which were in total disarray. After an hour and half of frustration he gave  up and settled for having just one light working.  We noticed that the lights were pretty dim on the truck we had borrowed and when we went to start it, it wouldn't.  We figured it had just gone flat while testing the trailer lights so many times. 

At this point we are both very tired and still don't want to risk driving at night to get the mast with the trailer lights the way they are.  So we decide to call it quits for the night and try and get a few hours of sleep.  We start to drive home in the truck and it dies almost immediately.  It is about 1:00am at this point and we realize that we now don't have a working truck to get our boat to the water with.  Its too late to fix it and we really don't have another option for borrowing a truck.  So we jump the truck again and get it back to the shop, then take our car home.  

We sleep for a few hours and then get up with a plan that just might work. There was another party of boaters that will be putting a boat onto the trailer right after we hopefully get ours off.  The plan is to call this guy Mike and see if he could tow our boat out to the marina, as he will be driving a truck out anyway.  We try to get ahold of him, and keep trying, but for nothing.  Eventually we decided that we were just going to go for it.  

The problem with the truck, as Cody determined, was the alternator was dead.  Which means that no power is going to the batteries, but if we were to charge the batteries for long enough we could maybe have enough juice to get to the marina.  We didn't have much time to spare on charging at this point, so we charged for 30 minutes ffffusing jumper cables and the Jetta. 

As soon as the cables came off the clock started counting down. We rush the truck to the trailer and hook it up. Cody timidly starts to pull away and the trailer jumps off the hitch!!  Oh my god! What else can possibly go wrong?!  We hook it back up and without a moment to waste, go for it.  Cody was too afraid to use the lights for fear that they would wear out the batteries, so in the early dawn we drove to the marina, with me following in the Jetta.  We had hoped to miss traffic, but with the later start than expected we hit it at full force.  Every second was agony, just waiting for the truck to die.  We just kept hoping, at least make it to I-80.  Then we made it to I-80, and started hoping to just make it to the marina exit, and we made that too.  We even made it to the marina and when Dave, the harbor master told us to "park over there"  we started to pull forward and the batteries ran out, just as we coasted into position. 

There were lots of eyes on the boat, and Cody and I answered lots of questions.  We were slated to be the third boat in the line up, and had a bit of time to prepare our dock lines and fenders.  PJ and Sarah came out with their girls to help and watch the launch- and they even brought us bagels.  Bless their hearts.  

PJ made a little video for us that afternoon- check it out here: 

It was a pretty incredible sight- the boat went so high up in the air- over a fence, down a steep hill and into the water.  Sarah was pointing to the boat and saying to Fisher- "Look!  It's like the pirate ship in Peter Pan!" and it was.  She sailed through the air gracefully, and settled down right where we had hoped she would- a little nose heavy, and above her waterline.  The Great Salt Lake is much saltier than the ocean, so everything floats higher in the water.  Also, Rabannah was unloaded, and there's more storage space in the stern area, so that weight will eventually even her out.    

We breathed a HUGE sigh of relief as the crane straps came off, and Sarah and I fought back tears.
  It was a beautiful sight.  We hopped aboard and began checking through-hulls to check for leaks, but they were all bone dry.  

There were 12 boats going in or out of the water that day, and we hung around and watched and waited for the activity to die down.  As we don't have an engine ready to move us, we just stayed in a temporary slip until the crane was done with it's lifting.  Then Cody hopped in the dinghy and rowed us to our official slip.  The boat moved easily through the water, and it was a real treat for both of us.  I got to stand at the helm, steering Rabbanah home, and Cody got to watch her slipping gracefully through the lake.  

We tied off to the dock, and met our neighbors, who advised us on which way the wind comes into the marina most often, and how best to tie up.  It was afternoon at this point, and we still had to charge the truck to get back to town, and we were getting hungry.  We reluctantly left Rabannah, bobbing gently and glinting in the sun.  

We dropped the truck off, and let John know about the alternator.  He apologized unnecessarily, and we thanked him for letting us use his truck, and offered to work on it to get it up and running again.  

We headed to the Blue Plate diner nearby, and had a big lunch- we were really starving!  I had a great eggs benedict with smoked salmon and homefries, Cody got the buffalo burger.  We topped it off with a truly amazing oreo milkshake.  It was probably the best milkshake I've ever had.  

Then, it was back to the shop- for the last time.  We talked to our landlord to let him know we were a little behind in the move-out process, and he said that it was fine.  We had just a little more cleaning out to do- and more dumpster filling.  We took apart the tablesaw, swept the floors, and said farewell to Shop 61.  We didn't get to see it completely empty- the new tenant showed up as we were finishing, and started bringing in his tools.  He seemed just as excited to start his auto-body business as we were to start building our boat.  
Life goes on, I guess.  

February, 2012

November, 2013
All told, it took us 1 year and 9 months.  We've invested approximately $30,000 into the project.  We're not quite done yet- we've still got to finish the mast and install it, install the rig, and buy some sails.  There's lots of hardware that needs to be installed on the deck.  We need to install a few more instruments- a depth sounder, maybe a speedometer.   But we've completed a big phase of the project, which feels really good.  

Thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement and help!  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Putting the Shine on!

As Cody continues his metal work, I've been polishing up the pieces he creates.  

These are collars for the stanchions- they slide around the stanchion post and will be screwed into the toe-rails to strengthen the stanchions.    The one on the left is rough still, and the one on the right has been polished.  

Polishing is a process of sanding the metal.  We started with 80 grit, and progressed to 220, to 400, to 600, 1000, 1200, and 1500.  It's pretty fun to see these pieces clean up!  

The hinge I'm holding connects the rudder to the transom, and you can see our samson post in the background.  

We've also primed the bottomsides, and got our first coat of bottom paint on last night.  

My favorite project lately has been painting the name and port of call on the transom.  
I transferred the lettering simply by printing it backwards, wetting it and burnishing the paper-  it worked kind of like a temporary tattoo.  

Then I painted the outlines of the letters with the same paint we used on the sheer stripe and boot top.  

My favorite part was filling the letters with gold paint.  We used a product called "liquid leaf" and it looks great.  It even looks good in the dusty fluorescent light of the shop- our sample piece looked even better out in the sunlight!  

Our launch date approaches! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Battle of the Bolt

Oh yeah!  I almost forgot.  The blog.....  Sorry for our long absence!  

What have we done since August?

Well...  We bolted the keel on! Like most everything else in this crazy project, it was a challenge and full of lessons, mistakes, and finally, success.   
Here's one of the smaller bolts, happily in place.  All the bolts were counter sunk into the floor, and once they were tight, we filled the holes with epoxy, so the floor is fair and level again.  

We salvaged what we thought was a one-inch diameter bronze bolt from an old boat.  It was the largest bolt we had, to complement the six 3/4 inch diameter bronze bolts we made.   We threaded the ends of the bolts, bought round bronze washers and nuts, made square bronze washers.  It was an expensive endeavor- silicon bronze ain't cheap.  For the washers and nuts alone we spent $120-  so you can imagine how happy we were to have that 1 inch diameter, three foot length of bronze to use for our leading bolt. 

 We rolled the keel beneath the boat, (with the help of Dylan- Cody's brother, who is becoming a leading expert in working with our large chunk of lead), lined it all up, and knocked the bolts into place.  We managed to get the proper torque on all the small bolts (80 foot/pounds), but when we went to torque the big bolt, something was wrong.  We needed to get a LOT of torque on this one- 200 foot/pounds.  Somewhere in the process, the bronze nut fused to the bolt, and we couldn't get it to turn without turning the whole bolt.  Cody thought if he could weld the nut to the bolt, we could torque it from the bottom.  The welding didn't go well.  And it didn't go well because the bolt isn't bronze.  It's brass.  And brass isn't nearly as hard or strong as bronze- and we couldn't rely on it to support the weight of our keel.

So, the next day, I was at the shop by myself.  Cody had tried to knock out the brass bolt the night before, and it wasn't budging.  I thought I'd give it a shot- who knows?  Maybe the bedding compound needed some time to set up, or loosen up, or cool down...  The length of the bolt was buried in the deadwood, with the rest in the lead, so why it was stuck was a mystery.  

The carnage.  You can see the burn marks from the welding attempt. 

 I pounded on it with our mini sledge, and screamed at it and pleaded with it.   One of my blows broke it loose,  surprising me.   I could only get out about 6 inches at a time, because it would hit the floor.   Once I had that, I would go down below and cut off the bolt from the bottom.   I repeated this process several times, until I had most of it out.  Then it got stuck again, somewhere around the keel.  Cody managed to get it all out later.   

Victory!  The offending brass bolt on it's way out.  

Replacing the brass bolt with the bronze one went pretty easily.  It knocked in smoothly, and torqued well.   Whew!  Today, the keel is in place, firmly attached, and  mostly faired and primed.  

What else have we accomplished this month?
I’ve painted the sheer stripe, and embellished a bit. 

It's a dark navy, the same color as the boottop.  

The boomkin bracket. 

Cody’s been doing a lot of metal work.  He’s made the bracket that holds together the boomkin- (which will attach to the backstay),  the gudgeons and pintles that attach the rudder, the plates that connect the tiller to the rudder.  Metal work is not his favorite.  It’s stinky and hot and difficult to get just right.   Today he’s working on the stanchion brackets, and the outboard mounting plate. 



The (mostly) finished products!  The rudder hinges, and the boomkin bracket! 

Cody has laminated up the tiller- a beautiful combination of Douglas fir and Mahogany.

Smile, Cody! 

All shined up!  

I’ve given the decks a good sanding and removed the epoxy drips, the excess caulking,  and a few saw burns.  I’ll probably sand them once more once we’re really and truly done, but they’re looking good! 

I’ve painted the floors, and will lay the nonskid strips today.  At first we went with a copper color- trying to somewhat emulate the wood, accentuate the copper countertops, but it just looked too orange.  So we instead went with a brick red, which I really like.  It makes the wood stand out, and it’s much darker than the orange was, so it should be easier to keep it looking clean. 

It's not quite as dark as it looks here- it's so hard to get the light right down at the shop!  

We’re planning to give our notice to our landlords at the shop on the first, which means we’ll be out of the shop on November first.  We’re really hoping to get the boat out a week or so before that, so we can have some room in the shop to finish some more wood work, (like the bowsprit, maybe the boom…) and to be able to clean it up and sell some of our tools.  Anyone looking to buy an old drill press?  

Don't get too excited- once the boat is out of the shop, we still have some work to do.  The mast, and the bowsprit, and all the rigging need to be figured out and assembled!  But then, maybe, just maybe, we'll get to go sailing. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

There's a hole in the boat, dear Cody, dear Cody.....

In the past few weeks we've tackled another big job on the boat.  Beth and I drilled out the deadwood and the lead keel for the keel bolts that will hold the 4000 lbs of ballast to the bottom of our mighty craft.  I will say that Beth and I both underestimated the amount of hassle this would be.  We started off by drilling through the 2 foot thick deadwood.  To do this we used a 16" auger bit, then switched to a regular paddle bit with two 12" extensions.  As you can imagine it is hard to start drilling a hole on one side and have it come out at the right spot on the other...

Double extensions, and it still barely made it.

So...the second hole we drilled went by really fast, in fact we only used the auger bit, mostly because we missed the deadwood and drilled out the side of the boat! 

It sounds worse than it is, Beth had it patched up a few days later.

I am to blame for the hole in the hull.  I for some reason thought that the centerline of the boat was not where it actually was and when I marked out where it was both holes were shifted to one side.  The first one ended up closer to center than we wanted and one of course came out the side.

We also managed to get the boottop stripe on before we left for a short trip to Bainbridge Island.

After running the entire way from the train station to the ferry we ended up being the last people on the boat.  Pretty lucky!

Beth's sister Amy plays "ULTIMATE! Frisbee" and we went to Seattle to watch her team play in a tournament. 

Beth says:
Most of the players from Amy's team came over for a barbecue after the tournament.  We had some great food, and a fun party, complete with crashers.  They brought pie, at least.  

We took a family hike out on the Olympic Peninsula.  It was a beautiful day.  
Grace was PSYCHED. 

We hiked out to a clearing with a small shelter, and had a picnic on the sunny river bank.  

We were on the east side of the Olympics, in the rain shadow.  It's really open beneath the canopy, with very little undergrowth.  The moss was beautiful, and a perfect spot for a break.  

It was nice to get away from the project for a bit, and good to see family.  
We did manage to visit a couple boat consignment shops, and found some good deals, and parts that are hard to find in Utah.  

When we headed home, we were refreshed and ready to get back to work.

Just a couple days ago I drilled out the holes in the lead keel.  Something I forgot to mention is how we are going to get the holes in the deadwood and the holes in the lead to line up.  What we did was to have the lead keel under the deadwood when we drilled it out so when we pushed through the wood the drill bit lightly drilled into the lead marking exactly where the hole should go.  
Looking at the bottom of the keel, you can see the hole is drilled through the 11" of lead and then countersunk so that when we put a nut and washer on they will be flush with the bottom.  The drilling was done with the auger bit and very powerful drill, it went though it almost as easily as the wood.

The keel upside down in the shop, I used a floor jack to roll it over, and you can see the drill with the 2 foot long pipe handle I used for the holes.

I've been hard at work on upholstering the boat recently.  I should be done by the end of the week!  

We're looking forward to the launch party...  It feels like it's coming up!  We'll be sure to let you all know the details as soon as we do.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Oooh. So shiny.

Well.  There went another three weeks!  They just flew by-  but late summer always does that.  Unless you're in Squamish, BC.  And you get to eat your fill of blackberries and long, moderate trad routes on perfect granite....  sigh.  So crunchy and delicious.

Anyway-  The Salt Lake City heat- while it is abating, has been getting to my brain.  So instead of blogging, I put my head down and work.  And we've accomplished so much in the last few weeks!  I didn't really realize it until I looked at our last post.

So-  First things first I guess.

The Keel Is Underneath The Boat!!!  Whee!  

Cody welded an axle for two big wheels we found at the NPS store.  It's sort of an industrial garage sale kind of place-  they've got all sorts of random stuff.  We wanted to be sure they would be strong enough to carry a fair amount of weight, so we called the manufacturer.  Apparently, they're good for 5300 pounds each at 11mph.  Since I don't think we'll ever do more than 11 feet per hour,  they'll do.  We jacked the keel up, situated the wheels under the balance point, and with another wooden axle under the tail end, we were able to push around our 4000 pound keel!  

I can now understand how glad the Cavemen must have been when they discovered the wheel.  Pretty crazy that less than 300 pounds of human can move 4000 pounds of solid metal without any powered assistance.  Makes you appreciate the power of simple machines.  

To fit the keel beneath the deadwood, we had to lift the boat up another 14 or so inches.  It's surprisingly easy to lift the boat-  the jack stands that support it have handles that turn to elevate or lower the pads that hold the boat, and Cody and I just turn them in unison.

Now the boat is really tall.  I am standing in this photo, between the rafters, looking down on Cody.  When I work on deck, I hobble around like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  We completed most of the work up there before we lifted the boat, but a few things remain up there.  

We took a break from work to visit Cody's family in Star Valley.  His Aunt Becky, Uncle Jim and cousin Sarah, her husband and two sons came to visit.  Jim and Becky live in Lacey, Washington, and had come to see us when we lived on Bainbridge.  It was so nice to see them again!  

Cody's sister Afton came up to join the fun from Colorado.   It was a full house!   
We all missed Cody's brother Dylan, who is still working up in Northern British Columbia, training sled dogs.  

We had great Wyoming summer weather-  cool and crisp at night, (down even to the mid thirties!) and warm and sunny during the days.  We swam in the pond, went hiking, messed around on horses...  

Sweet Capone.  He was so nice to me. 

Afton and Junior.  

I had so much fun in Star Valley that I stayed a few extra days.  Cody went back to Salt Lake on Monday, to get some more work in at The Mine, the new bouldering gym in Park City.  Afton wanted to come see the boat and hang out with us a bit in Salt Lake, so she gave me a ride back.  

We had a nice visit with Afton here in Salt Lake, as we always do.  She helped out on the boat, we went to some movies, (Oh my gosh-  The Great Gatsby!  SO FANTASTIC!), we ate ice cream.  It was fun.  I love her.  

 We said goodbye to Afton, and then said hello again!  She had to turn around about 15 minutes out of town because her "check engine" light started blinking angrily at her.  Cody helped her replace the spark plugs and wires and that solved the problem.  After we said goodbye for the second time, it was back to work.   

Since Cody's got a paying job these days, I've been doing full time at the shop by myself.  Things run a little differently when it's just me.  

To do lists are throughly doodled upon.  

I am enjoying the work- it's so satisfying!  I've installed the windows and their waterproof gaskets, fitted out a cutting board holder,  I've sanded and painted and epoxied.  It's nice to be more involved in the process, to make plans and carry them out.  To finish things!

We're at the stage where lots of surfaces are getting their finishing touches.  The cabin roof is nearly done, the cabin-sides and windows are done,  the deck is nearly complete, the interior is looking liveable...  The exterior...  Well, we'll get to that in a minute.  

I work hard when I'm at the shop by myself.  There's nothing else to do!  
But when Cody's there, I usually go hang out in the nice, quiet, dark aft cabin and play games on his new smart phone.    

Lately, the most exciting thing we've done is PAINT!  

We've now got three coats of beautiful, glossy paint on the topsides.  
We use a method called "rolling and tipping" which gets us that super smooth finish.  Cody rolls on the paint, and I follow him with a brush, brushing perpendicular to the roller marks.  The brush pops the bubbles left by the roller, and smoothes out any drips.  

We're off to the Seattle area at the end of this week for a visit with the Allens.  All three sisters will be home at once- and it's not even Christmas!  I'm looking forward to some pickleball, great food and quality time together.  And we may scour some secondhand boating shops while we're there....  

Until next time...