Caledonia yawl project: the sixth strakes 

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.

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Cutting the gains on the very long sixth strake. Most of the gain is cut on the receiving fifth strake, (70-75%) but I like to cut the strake being fitted as well to leave a little more wood on both.
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The receiving gain all set to be glued up.
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The port sixth strake all whetted out with un-thickened epoxy before adding the thickening fibers West 406 & 403.
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All clamped up. It is 13-14 degrees C in Vancouver these days so it should set nicely overnight.

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.

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Removing the clamps the next day.
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Help with roughing in the seventh starboard strake.

 

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removing the clamps from the starboard sixth strake glue-up.

I’ll close this post with a little video of my daughter helping me with the removal of the clamps.

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Removing the clamps.

Caledonia yawl project: Fifth strakes 

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.

strakes number six roughed in


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.

Caledonia yawl project: strake #4

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. 

cutting the gains on both sides

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.

starboard strake 4 glued up

It was 30 degrees Celsius today in the shade so I had to work fast even with the slow hardner today.

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