Caledonia Yawl Project: Fitting the outer Stems and the Keel

So switching up the tasks from laying the strakes is a big shift and the boat is really feeling substantial under my hands now. Each action is now in relation to this compound shape and having to add or remove material to fit something new. I have started working on the stems.

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Bow stem before the bow is planed down to match the profile

Just placing the outer stems on the hull before I had done any preparation just started to transform my conception of the hull further.

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I have now started to plane down the faces of the stems to match the curve of the outer stems I had laminated with the inner stems months ago.

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Planing down the stems face. Nice to see the glue lines of the plank rebates.

I have now also cut the douglas fir stock I had been keeping for the outer keel pieces.

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Planing the hull to receive the stem and the outer keel
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The rough cut for all the pieced needed for the outer keel

I decided for simplicity’s sake to build the keel in four pieces and glue it together rather than shape one single piece of wood with the centre board slot cut out.  This approach should be just as strong and offer much more  ease of building.

I have also started to look for materials and hardware that will be needed.  most pressing will be more fir for the gunwales which I still have in stock. Early in the process I bought rough dimensional 2×4 fir from Dicks lumber that was still green. It has now seasoned for several months, I used some for the stem lamination and kept the rest for the outer keel and the gunwales.

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checking the plans regularly

So the hardest piece of hardware for me to source in Vancouver so far has been the half oval brass rub strips to go on to protect the keel and stems.  Either it is not possible to ship from US based distributors to Canada or shipping from Classic Marine in the UK would be cost prohibitive. I did find Tendercraftboats.ca
who are based in Ontario as a supplier of 1/2″ half oval but not 3/4″ half oval that is necessary.  Their catalogue was however very good and I was able to find 6″ long bronze machine screws for the rudder gudgeons that will get through both the outer and inner stems.
I also found that the supply a bronze bow eye that will work well with a 6″ machined bolt.  Peter at Tendercraft boats has been very helpful and I am looking forward to my shipment arriving.

 

For the half oval after some searching I considered UHMW (ultra high molecular weight plastic) which was done by Yeadon on his Hvalsoe 18.  I found a quote from Associated Plastics that was almost the same price as what I found from Alaska Copper & Brass who have an office in a suburb of Vancouver for brass half ovals. Going trough their catalogue I was able to find exactly the half oval dimensions I was looking for. Both 3/4″ and 1/2″ in 12′ lengths. I will end up with a little left over which I’m sure I’ll find used for elsewhere on the boat as rub strips or chafe protection.

 

 

The seventh strakes (sheerstrake) and the Whiskey plank

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.

Strake 7

    Starboard strake no. 7
Port seventh strake all glued up.
Seen from inside where I crawl to remove any squeeze out glue

All glued up and ready for the outer stems soon

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.

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.