Caledonia yawl project: port and starboard strakes #3

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. 

port strake three getting glued on

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.

nice rabbeted planks

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.

Four more to go! 

the bow, looking quite fine

Caledonia yawl project: port strake #2

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.

cut gains on the garboard

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.

dry fitting port side plank #2

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.

Fingers crossed.

5/07/2016

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.

port strake #2 glued, seen from the bow.

port strake #2 seen from the stern

Bulkhead repair on a Fiberglass boat

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?

That is the question we are asking ourselves. 

Caledonia yawl project: cutting the gains on the garboard 

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.

Continue reading Caledonia yawl project: cutting the gains on the garboard 

Caledonia yawl project: glueing the garboard strakes 

Last night I escaped after dinner to the boat shed to keep the momentum established over the weekend. All the fairing and bevelling was with the intention of glueing the garboard strakes. The most interesting part was as I was dry fitting the garboard strakes to see the angles of the curve of the board at each floor.

dry fitting the port garboard strake and fairing the floor timbers

What happened after that was a lot of epoxy… Pre-coating the surfaces with unthickened epoxy to sink into the fibres, then applying epoxy thickened with West Systems 406 colloidal silica. For the next couple hours my latex gloves were wetted with epoxy and I had started a process I could not stop.

garboards all glued up and held in place with temporary drywall screws.

When I finally pulled off the gloves, the two garboard strakes were on, all the squeeze out epoxy cleaned off and it was one in the morning. Fortunately gluing is quiet so I did not bother any of the neighbours. It will be interesting to see how the second strakes line up, in the meantime it feels good to reach this milestone.

Caledonia yawl project: bevelling the keelson 

In a nice turn of events, my children are off visiting my brother in Victoria with my mom, which is giving two full days to work on the boat.

After gluing the keelson to the aprons last week I’m now ready to do the beveling so that it is ready to have the floor timbers and garboards glued to it.  The challenge is that there is a fair amount of wood to plane down and it is not just one angle but a whole series of changing angles called a rolling bevel that follows the contour of the boat.

Continue reading Caledonia yawl project: bevelling the keelson 

Caledonia yawl project: placing the aprons

This was a scary set of cuts to make. The laminating and dressing of the aprons took so much time it seems that the act of shaping them to be ready to mate with the keelson was trepidatious.

the bow apron roughed in before cutting

my workspace is small so i had to get creative to brace the apron to cut it

the bow apron in place and held by a clamp

the stern apron in place

I also did some work on two pieces of cherry I picked up to see if I could make cleats and other rigging out of it.

the cherry ripped into managable slabs with a chain saw

Caledonia Yawl Project: bracing the station moulds

I spent the morning today checking and double checking the alignment and squareness of the station moulds. 

The stern apron just needs a little more planing to fit in the slot. It is nice to see the shape line up well.

The moment of truth came when I dry fitted the keelson and it fell into the notches perfectly. I just had to make a small adjustment for station 2, otherwise everything lined up well. I still have a few more braces to put up and then I can get started on the next steps: placing the floor timbers, cutting the slot for the centreboard and the gluing the aprons to the keelson.