The last two strakes, are called the sheerstrakes as they mark the sheer line of the boat’s profile. The month of December has been colder than usual and so the progress has been arrested a little as I waited for the weather windows when the temperature is above 5°C or close enough so that the epoxy will set.
I was able to get the starboard sheerstrake glued early in December, but the port Sheerstrake had to wait for the Christmas break.
Starboard strake no. 7
Once the glue set for the port side I was able to declare the hull complete. Tradition has it that the occasion is celebrated with with a little whiskey.
Next up is the planing of the bow and stern stems so that I can glue the outer stem pieces I made earlier.
Boat building for me is a meditative process where the time spent constructing is oriented towards a goal of creating a vessel that will float and satisfy as certain aesthetic aspiration of elegant form. The ends and the process are both motivations in their own right.
For Halloween yesterday I met up with several friends with children who had organized to give me a belated birthday gift.
It may not be evident right away but this is the port city of Douarnenez’ stylized type of the port of call letters “DZ” that you will find on the bow of fish boats boats next to their registration number. It is these little things that keep the process and enthusiasm going when I sometimes struggle to find the free time to make significant progress in the construction.
Today I started on the beveling of the landing for the sixth strakes. Before starting I laid them up in place to see how they landed and mark where I’ll cut the gains on the ends. It also feels good to get a preview of what it will look like.
I was able to include my children with the removal of the clamps after it was glued up and they participated in roughing in the seventh strake on the starboard side.
I’ll close this post with a little video of my daughter helping me with the removal of the clamps.
I’ve squeezed in a few visits at the end of August and early September to be able to glue up the fifth strakes.
Last night I came with my little accomplice to check on the set of the epoxy and remove the clamps.
We pulled out the sixth strakes and just clamped them on before doing any bevelling to see how they landed. They seem to look quite fair and they really complete the turn of the bilges so that the boat’s form is really taking shape.
There is something satisfying about establishing a rhythm on this project. The planking is one of the few areas where there is an opportunity to repeat a series of steps and learn to improve at each iteration.
The movements become familiar, the use of the tools more intuitive and the fairness of the bevels and gains improves.
There has been an addition to the tool chest. After three trips to the Vancouver tool library to borrow the same rabbet plane, I realized that it was maybe worthwhile to invest. So I bought a rebate plane that just uses a 1″ chisel as the iron from Lee Valley.
It was 30 degrees Celsius today in the shade so I had to work fast even with the slow hardner today.
This is getting exciting, the third strakes are close to the boats waterline, so we are getting a good sense of the boats under water pofile.
It amaze me how little rocker there is along the length of the keel and how much nearly flat surface there is that is almost the full beam of the boat. I can see that despite being a double ender this boat might be quite capable of surfing down the swells on a downwind run.
Cutting the gains was much easier this time around than it was on the garboard planks. After so much slow progress with not much boat to show for it, I’m finding it immensely satisfying to attach these planks.
I have to squeeze my boat shed time between other competing obligations and interests. Not to mention a desire to hold on to a good nights sleep. As such my boat building seems to progress in micro-bursts.
I in a few hours I was able to cut the bevel and the gains on the port side garboard to get ready to glue the second strake.
The change in angle between the garboard and the second strake is large enough that it seems that the bevel takes away all the gain. So that the plank does not appear to sink down into the garboard.
Maybe it is possible to do it by cutting down deeper and reducing the gluing surface. But to my eye, it seemed better to focus on the fair landing of the plank on the stem rather than trying to worry about the gain on the garboards.
My hunch is that all the subsequent strakes have much smaller bevel angles and so the gains will look better.
I managed to get out at 8:15pm and glue the port strake #2 this evening. I’m pretty pleased with the way it looks.
Two weeks ago on a regular Wednesday night I was crewing on a good friend’s sailboat. We had a great race in very shifty winds and crossed the finish line in second place in our division. Only to realize that a change in the course we thought had only applied to div1 and div2 also applied to us. We had rounded the wrong windward mark on the third rounding. Having figured it out before the race committee did, and to avoid any later protests in good sportsmanship we informed the race committee that we would retire and forfit the race. Another boat close to us who had sailed the same course as us was adamant that they had sailed the right course and was going to protest the race committee.
Having retired our thoughts were already turned to putting the boat to bed and pulling the beers out of the ice box once we were tied to the dock. So I still don’t know what happend with the protest.
What happened after that is that one crew member noticed two small cracks in the gel coat of the central bulkhead of the boat on the port side where the chainplate is bolted. We had a lively conversation about what it meant and how extensive the repairs might have to be. The following Wednesday the crew came back to help prepare the boat for repair. Remove as much stuff as possible from the boat and detach the shrouds from the port chainplate and then remove the chainplate bolts.
The next Wednesday we started to explore and cut into the forward side of the bulkhead to see what had caused the port chainplate to move up and crack the bulkhead Fiberglass.
What we found is that the location where the chainplate goes through the deck has historically not always been well sealed. Water had come through and seeped into the bulkhead which is a sandwich of Fiberglass and balsa wood core. The sandwich of balsa was saturated and the wood was rotten and soft which compromises the strength of the bulkhead.
So what next? Clean out the rotten balsa replace it and re-glass? Or replace the bulkhead entirely?
Today I tackled something new, cutting the gains on the garboard so that the second strake appears to taper nicely to meet the profile of the garboard as it gets to the bow and stern stem.
To accomplish this I needed a rebate or a shoulder plane, which I don’t yet have in my tool kit. So I got a membership to the Vancouver Tool Library to allow me to access the tools I don’t yet have. As you might imagine shoulder planes or rebate planes are not super common tools, but they are precisely what makes the tool library such a wonderful service. I can easily imagine some kind of franchise where clusters of a few blocks have something similar.