Tag Archives: wooden boat

An Aod Oolichan: the first cruise

Five days after the launch of An Aod Oolichan my Caledonia Yawl designed by Ian Oughtred, I was ready to take the family out on a multi-day camp cruising adventure. We packed most of our camping gear into waterproof bags and I went and found a flexible soft cooler that will fit nicely in the boat and not scratch up the paint.

Set up on the first cruise took a little longer than expected and we headed off at 4pm on Friday from the Jericho Sailing Centre with a nice 8-10 knot westerly. In overcast skies and forecast for rain mid-day on Saturday.

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We got to the shipping lane with a falling breeze and still 10 miles to Halkett Bay. So in the interest of safety we started up the new electric outboard to motor-sail (ePropulsion Spirit 1.0) which is about the equivalent of a 2-3hp petrol motor.

We arrived after sunset into a dark Halkett bay and tied up to the dinghy dock. (An Aod Oolichan is technically a dinghy). The camp sites are in a fairly wooded area of the park up behind the dock. We set up the tent quickly in the dark and made quick work of dinner with one-pot dehydrated Bim Bim Bap meal. To call it bim bim bap was a stretch but after a long day we were happy to have warm food.

The next morning we tried to set off early to beat the rain and get across to Plumper cove and set up camp there before the big rain.

It was a lot of fun to have a nice building SE breeze pushing us ahead of the rainwall.

Unfortunately the rain beat us to Plumper Cove

But the powers of a bag of chips to keep the spirits up should not be underestimated.

The wind did not abate with the rain. We found that as we were turning the corner of Keats island to Plumper Cove. By the time we got to the turn to the cove we were doing 6.5 knots and the breeze was up to 15-16 knots. I had all the canvas up and knew that when on a run the apparent does not feel as much. I did not want to gybe in these freshening conditions. So as we came up to Plumper cove we rounded up into the wind and simply dropped the main sail. Then tacked and came in calmly into the cove under jib and mizzen. Although it might have been a little early to introduce a high wind manoeuvre to my crew, their two weeks of summer sailing camp came in handy and they were able to assist without any problems.

We got a nice spot at the dock and unloaded all the camping equipment in a bit of a deluge.

My Hennessy hammock hexagonal rain fly tarps are a dream in these situations. They come with light high-strength cord tucked into little pockets at each corner making setting up the tarp in the rain a fair bit faster and easier. We quickly had one set up for the picnic table and another to cover the tent. We also set up another smaller rectangular syltarp over a hammock I picked up on Ecuador made of an old fishing net which we used to hang all our wet weather gear.

Plumper cove is a well maintained marine park with it’s own little library.

On Sunday the clouds parted and we set off for a day trip to Gibsons. It was an opportunity to connect with friends who had recently moved there and recharge the battery for the electric outboard that we had depleted on the first let to Halkett bay.

Upon our return to Plumper cove we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset.

And a chance for a summer family photo

… and the end of the fire ban. So an unexpected campfire.

Monday was a return to full sun. We set out early at 10:30am with a 20 NM return trip to Vancouver ahead of us around the south end of Bowen Island.

We had a beautiful breeze through the Pasley island group. But as we reached cape Roger Curtis the wind started to get very light.

For the next few hours my crew dozed as we motor-sailed along the coast of Bowen Island and watched Point Grey and the buildings downtown slowly emerge in the horizon.

It seems like the gunnels are like a favourite place to hang out.

After eight hours we arrived at the Jericho Sailing Centre with a strong flood pushing us.

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Overall I was super pleased that all that time building and thinking about each aspect of the boat meant that the transition to sailing was relatively natural. There are still many little things to tweak in the rigging (make lazyjacks) and the way we stow gear onboard. I was also pleased that we did encounter some challenging conditions that pushed us to adapt and work together as a family. It was a very successful first voyage aboard An Aod Oolichan and I look forward to returning to sailing around Atl’Ka7tsem / Howe Sound which on September 15th was designated a UNESCO Biosphere reserve. How fortunate I feel to have such a unique geography and biosphere right in my back-ocean.

Caledonia Yawl Project: Installing the knees to the thwart

My next step for the forward compartment was to glue in the perimeter batten to hold the edges of the deck. I used small ribbed copper nails to hold down the battens in place while the epoxy set.

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I will leave the copper nails in as they won’t rust and won’t do any harm.

Then on to the knees that I had laminated a while ago, while I was in a laminating mode with the stems. I had enough off cuts of fir laminating stock to do the knees at that time. But since I’d just run the through the thickness planer when I had rented one for another task.

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The knees were first smoothed with the 1/4 round over bit of the router. That all worked mostly well except on one outer corner of the curve where the wood likely under tension ripped out with the router. I had to then glue the ripped section back down and sand it smooth.  To fit the knees instead of doing a template, I first cut the base angle and then scribed the right angles cuts to fit it to the inner gunwhale. When I made that cut I was a little conservative and I had the plane it down a few times to get it to fit snugly. I then used one side as the template for the other side and it went much faster.

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I’m now just going to do a touch more sanding before I get on to coating it all with Decks Olje. A two part oil finish that creates an fairly easy to refinish gloss coating. I like the rich clear finish it gives. Since I’m not planning on having too much material with a clear finish (Gunwhale, knees, thwart, Centreboard caps and bulkhead trim) I’m not too fussed about the cost. (nearly one third more than the cost of Cetol Natural Teak finish or most varnishes).  I have hesitated with my final choice for a while but ultimately decided to give Decks Olje a shot because of the penetrating oil of part 1 and the ease of touching up. In theory if you keep on top of it you could just touch up abrasions indefinitely without having to strip it all down as you would with varnish. Time will tell if I’m happy with it.

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: gluing the bow stem

When I ripped the strips for the bow stem I was not sure what the appropriate thickness would be so I played around with everything from 1/8″ to 3/16″ and up to 1/4″ most of my strips were 1/8″ thick.

Which meant that to create a 3″ thick stem I needed nineteen strips. Each strip needed to be buttered with epoxy and with so much surface area that turned out to be about 850ml of epoxy  or nearly a whole can. If all my strips were thicker I would have used much less epoxy. The lesson that I learned is that when laminating use the thickest strips that the mould will bear.

 

Nineteen strips of Douglas fir waiting for the epoxy

 

Then Fortunately Patrice came out to help me with the laying out of the stem on the mould.

a fair bit of epoxy squeeze out

Caledonia yawl project: Ripping Jig and other preparations for the stem and apron

To be able to get the 2″x 1/8″ thin strips needed to laminate the apron and stem I need nice clear (knot free) vertical grain wood. In my case that will be Douglas fir.

Last weekend I was able to find several 2×3 lengths that if ripped on its edge will give me 2.5″ wide strips that will give me the margin to plane down to the 2″ width specified. To do this you need to rip accurately, and the solution I found is to make a little jig that attaches to the table saw that should help yield consistent strips throughout the 8″ lenth. After each cut you move the fence over until the board stock rests against the jig guide wheel & repeat.

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simple ripping jig with roller

I also went back to the lumberyard to get western red cedar to build up my centerboard and rudder. I’m doing this while the strongback is free of the boat and I have a nice flat surface. That way I’ll get all my laminations done at the same time.

I’ve borrowed from the Gougeon Brothers and tu Gurit Embh. publications on wood foil construction.  Ian Oughtred’s plans and instructions in “Clinker Plywood Boatbuilding Manual” are good but basic and as water is so dense small improvements in execution should have dramatic impacts in performance.

lamination plan for rudder and centerboars

Centerboard stringer design in “How to build rudder blades & centerboards” by J.R. Watson

Gurit instructions for cutting a Naca profile for a centerboard

Gurit’s guide also suggests that in testing stiffness western red cedar sheathed with three layers of unidirectional carbon fiber had a 67% gain in stiffness over just using mahogany.