Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Progress on Long Steps and some other things.

Life has ambushed me a bit, so my work on things boating have had to fit in between other things of late.  But progress is happening,  I’ve another frame for Long Steps about done, that’s four.  That last one is the one at the after edge of the cuddly, it has a laminated beam over the top and being a bit short on  “treewood” ( as opposed to “plywood” ) I sliced up some scrap 6mm plywood to make four lamells, ( what you make laminated items out of) and laid out the curve, applied the glue and clamped it all up.

A day and a half later, and this at midwinter with no heating, the epoxy was all hard, and it was time to take the curved beam off the floor jig.
Springback!  Generally four lamells is enough to stop a laminated curve from springing back more than a mm or two, but this one straightened by about 20mm each end.  Plywood seems to behave a little differently from solid wood.
That springback was much too much, so that one will be used for the forward end of the after deck, it will be a little different to the plan but that’s ok, if you’re going to build Long Steps yourself, read the instructions where it tells you how much to increase the bend in the jig before you glue the beam up.

Another little difference,  I’ve used 6mm plywood for two of the frames where I’ve specified 9mm, this is to save a little weight, I’m being particularly careful in this respect so am looking to shave a few grams wherever possible.

But this means that there is a little extra work to do here and there,  the slots where the stringers go through  need to be doubled so I can fasten through the stringer and into the edge of the plywood.  Its hard to get a screw to hold into the edge of 6mm plywood so those little round doublers have been cut from scrap, and glued on, the slots will be cut a little later.

Frame 4, that’s the one that forms the forward end of the side seat boxes and supports the offcenterboard case, its also the forward end of the ballast tank, supports the cockpit floor as well as the “cuddly” sides and the after edge of the cabin top, it’s a busy piece of plywood!.  So there is still quite a bit to do to it in the way of seat supports, the piece that will support the cockpit floor, the edge pieces for the cabin sides and side decks and the piece that will connect it to the central spine that comes back from the stem through the other three frames to its forward face.

I’m also working on some of the background stuff, the organisational and logistics for Howard Rice’s venture south in his customised SCAMP.  We’re actively working on fundraising for the video that will be made, this is not a cheap venture and while we’ve had a wonderful donation there is still a long way to go.
Have a read here,
Please do consider putting a few bucks in or buying some of the merchandise, Howard himself is funding the actual voyage but it’s the video that needs your help.  While we’re doing well, it’s a big commitment, and you’ll see in the funraising section of the website above that we’re making progress.  There is enough now to make sure that its going to happen so any dollars you put in wont just vanish.  This is going to be the small boat adventure of a lifetime, and we want to make sure that we can all share it.
So please, a little each from a lot of people will do it.

Here in the South it was the shortest day of the year yesterday, the warmest on record throughout New Zealand.  Shorts and tee shirt weather for much of the day which was nice, but it’s a sobering thought that the lovely gate sales orchard just down the road no longer grows my favorite variety of peaches, for several years now , the winters are no longer cold enough here to set the fruit.

But the passing of the winter solstice does mean that the long hot days of summer are not so far away.  You people in the north, enjoy them while you can, it will be our turn in a few months.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Progress on Long Steps and a few other bits of news.

Progress on Long Steps.

Stem, frames one and two are done,  frame three is close.  Number three is the one on the forward side of  the cuddy that has the big hatches in  so it wont be completed until I have those hatches done.
I’m looking for a source of surgical tubing so I can make PT Watercraft style hatches, Russell doesn’t make the big SCAMP ones any more so I’ll make my own. There is a high degree of accuracy required to make these, plus design and engineering to make them stiff enough to work at that size but I think I can do that.
If though anyone wants smaller ones, hatches that are truly watertight unlike the plastic ones which seem to leak no matter how expensive they are, here’s the link to the right page of PT Watercrafts website.

They’re good guys to deal with!  Five star service and quality.

 This is B#3 being glued up, I had to replace the engine batteries in the ship recently, and at least until I take them to the scrap merchant they'll make good weights for clamping things together while the glue sets up.

B#1,  B#2 and B#3, I make each of these in two pieces, that is much more economical in plywood.

Stem, not quite complete, there is a little tidying up to do yet. I try and get every piece that will go into the boat as finished as possible while its easy to get at. Rounding off all the corners, scraping out any excess epoxy, filling screw holes and sanding it all smooth.  Much easier than trying to do it while standing on your head in a completed hull!
I've mentioned this little guy before, 10.8 volt Makita cordless circular saw.  Its great for long straight cuts in plywood, will cut gentle curves and is much better for some plywood cutout work than the jigsaw.  it will run about three lengths of a plywood sheet on a charge, but I have three batteries and its only a few seconds to change them.  I prefer its light weight over the heavier 18 volt ones. Its going to get a lot of work in the next few months.

My “Essential skills for the beginner boatbuilder” courses are over for the year,  we had a good time, I’ve made new friends, learned as well as taught, and will be running those again next year, probably March / April depending upon what life throws at me. 
Watch this space!

Also a “Watch this space” happening is the planned voyage by Howard Rice in his Customised SCAMP down through the channels and islands of southern Chile toward Cape Horn, that’s a major undertaking and I have the privelege of being involved, not only in the voyage but also in the making of a feature length video of the event.
We’ve already got some background material filmed, there will be more, and Howard has four GoPro cameras on the boat and will effectively be making a video diary during his several month long voyage.
This is a stunning place, amazing scenery, interesting history and extreme weather.
I’ll be in Chile later this year to help with the preparation of the boat and the filming up to the point of sailing off.
We’re fundraising for the production end of the video making, so far its all self funded, but its going to be expensive so we’re soliciting donations as well as selling merchandise to produce what we think will be an extraordinary movie.
Your help will be much appreciated.

Heres Howards blog with a whole lot of information on the SCAMP, his, choices of boats, his own SCAMP, and the voyage. This is a good read!  Get your coffee or tea, you’ll be reading and watching videos for a while!

Its Saturday today, 7 20 am, the sun is up, but I’m not.
I bake scones for the meeting of our Writers group, I’m starting to write fiction for fun, putting daydreams on ( virtual) paper so I’d better get off my butt and get on with the day. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

I've just run the second "Essential Skills for Beginnner Boatbuilders" class

Three students this time, Thanks Reg, David and Matt, that was a great couple of days.
We had one Pathfinder builder, one making up his mind, and his family visited us while we were having a little break, they have two beautiful children so I suggested that the Pathfinders extra space might make for a less crowded boat when on passage.  As well we had one course participant who has about made his mind up to build a SCAMP.
For the Pathfinder builders, here's a good Facebook page.

Brinson is about to leave to go to the Texas coast to ride along on the Texas 200 with Peter Menedez in his Pathfinder .  Good luck guys, have a good trip.

Thats it on those courses for a while, I'm supposed to be in Chile later in the year, have commitments over summer so am thinking about running two more in April  or May next year. I do enjoy these, come away with new friends, encourage participation soI learn too.

There has been a suggestion that I might consider a " next step" course, I'll think over what might be included in that.

In the meantime, I'll get back to the usual blog posting in a day or three.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I've started the build, here's the first piece of Long Steps.

On Sunday I got started on the build of my very own adventure boat.  I get lots of emails from people who are out there having way too much fun, and its time I was out there with them.  Now, I’ve currently got six boats .  Six is not enough do I hear?
Well, lets see,  here's my collection.

Kairos, 43 ft, abut 15 tons, motor cruiser, draws nearly 5 ft of water.  She’s my home, has all the mod cons including hot shower, freezer and fridge, a recliner armchair, a monster big diesel under the main cabin,  and and and.  (And a lot of maintenance)

RIB,  a rigid bottomed inflatable. Not even dignified by having its own name, its about 9 ft long, is the tender for Kairos, stable, hard to row, but stable. It fits the davits on Kairos, is stable, carries a big load, has wheels to assist me in dragging her up the beach and is stable.  There has to be something good about something so ugly. Stability is good when taking friends and family ashore.

Scraps.  All of 6ft and a bit long, weighs under 50 lbs, is the tender for ---

May, soon, when I get around to it, to be renamed “Spook”. She’s an 18 ft on deck, long keeled one and a quarter ton gaff sloop with a cabin that will just sleep two.  She’s pretty, sails really well, and takes over an hour to launch and rig, and an hour the other way when pulling out. I love her dearly but she’s best when I can use her for a several day long cruise.

SEI.  My most recent design and build, she’s 15 ft, double ended, lightweight, rows well enough for me to enjoy an hour at the oars, she’ll be rigged for sail in the next little while, this boats a whole lot of experiments put together. So far its evident that the shape and structure are as I wished, but the experiment with some of the paint primer is not. I wont denigrate the manufacturer as they don’t claim that its good for this use, but I wont list it among my favourite paints.
I use SEI most days, row when the tide suits and among other things pick up as much of the rubbish  that floats down the river from the town upstream as I can.  Plastic is choking our oceans, this is my tiny bit to help reduce that.

PiWi.  Dennys old plywood kayak, this boat is a testament to how well a plywood boat can survive in spite of some less than optimum storage.  Its been repainted twice in 25 years, but the inside had three coats of marine varnish and that’s about it.  She’s getting  tired now, a bit soft in a few spots, but for use on the river where if she were to spring a minor leak I can get into shallow water she’s fine.
I’m doing a little work on her, hope to keep her in service for a while yet.

But I want an “Adventure boat”.  My real love is Sail and Oar,  a genre that’s become very popular in France and England, and is growing in popularity in Canada and the USA.  Long slim boats that row well enough, sail better, and have room on board to camp in some small degree of comfort. 

That plus boatbuilding, and using boats are different hobbies.  Related but different, and if my shop is empty I’m lost. So Long Steps is under way, the build at least.

I built the stem on my day off last week, by the time I post this I hope to have a little more done, and am very much looking forward to my  next “Day off”.

Here are some pics, that assembly just fits on a sheet of plywood, its 2.40m long (just under 8 ft) by a metre high ( 3ft 3in, about).  The bulkheads mount at the steps in the top edge of the spine, that’s B#1,  B#2, B#3 and B#4, which takes the spine back to the after end of the cuddy, the high part being the support for the mast step and the low place aft supporting the cockpit floor in the cuddy area.
Building like this means that in conjunction with all the other bits the boats skeleton clicks together “egg crate” style.  She will build upright using her bottom panel as a base, all the bulkheads/frames erected on that, stringers wrapped around and the planks around that.
The bulkheads have much of the interior framing already on them when they go into the boat, so the inside doesn’t take long to build.

I’ve only just begun, from small beginnings and all that.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Long Steps, a preview/

Long Steps.

I think that I’ve mentioned before, that in my plans range we have “Tread Lightly” which came from a little poem about how we should treat the earth on which we walk (metaphor), and “Walkabout” which is an English language word for the spiritual wanderings of the Australian Aboriginal people, and that “Long Steps” is the next in the series of names.  I am wanting to travel further, to  see new coasts, to explore new territory both within myself and in terms of where I will sail.
Hence “Long Steps”.

To sail  along the coast of New Zealand is a real adventure, there are wonderful harbours, tiny sheltered coves, rivermouths and amazing beaches to explore.  There are though stretches where there are cliffs and reefs, where a haven from foul weather may be  long way off, and any boat venturing along there needs to have both a cautious skipper and the ability to cope with seriously bad weather.

Other considerations are that the boat should be fast.  Not blazingly fast as in a racing boat but the difference between a conventional sailing dayboat which will average 3.5 knots over a days sailing and one that will average 5 knots is going to make close to two hours difference when covering a 35 mile days distance.  A boat that will maintain a good speed on all points of sail and in a wide range of  conditions without stressing the crew is very desisrable when covering long distances day after day.
By not stressing the crew, I mean that it should offer some protection from wind and spray, several comfortable seating positions, a place where the  boat can be helmed standing up, and she should have a comfortable motion in a seaway.
Further on the stress and fatigue issue, the force needed to adjust the sails sheets should be low, the helm should be light, the boat should track easily and be able to hold a course without the skipper at the helm.

Very very important, as she is intended to go into remote areas far from possible assistance this boat has to be such that  she can be self rescued by her solo skipper in case of a capsize or swamping.

She has to carry a weeks worth of stores, gear for cooking and camping aboard including a really effective tent, ground tackle so she can anchor , communications and safety equipment, spare clothing and a bucket.

There are lots more considerations to mull over when I’m chewing the end of my pencil sitting at the drawing board, too many to list here.

Designing or all of the above is a big ask, and the design work started well before picking up the pencil and drawing “Long Steps”.  I’d written all this out, quantified it, estimated weights and spaces, identified out the target  hydrodynamic numbers and the shape required to fit all of that before I started working on the shape of the hull and the rig.

So here is the solution to the equation, Long Steps is 5.850 long plus boomkin and in my case a short “prod” bowsprit for a single luffed spinnaker.  She’s narrow enough to row, has a self draining cockpit floor that’s 0.600 wide by 2.7 long, has around 140 kg of water ballast, a “standing  up” area just ahead of the tiller, and I’m planning to put a swimming pool beanbag in there as well to ease the back and butt. Sshe has over 2 tons of bouyancy built in, all of which can be accessed through hatches for stores and equipment, and of course there is the little  “cabin” which is really a raised storage and bouyancy chamber with a  cuddy, now called the “Cuddly” in the case of my SCAMP design which the idea came from and which is a practical and much loved feature of that boat.

The hull shape is a development of the Walkabout, fast, dry, easily rowed, with the ballast, the offset centerboard and self draining cockpit of the SCAMP.
The rig is the lugsail with mizzen yawl that’s become popular on several of my other cruisers, and, well, its time I stopped rambling and showed you the pictures.

We have below the  body plan showing the shape and structure. The second is the rig, note that all the fittings are listed, they’re all from the Duckworksmagazine catalogue, good gear at a good price by the way.  DW will have the fittings list and can supply a package deal including all your bits of string.
The third page shows, in response to a short thread on my Facebook page, how the lap joints in the planking are made.

Apologies in advance for the poor pics, I went and had them scanned but the Blogspot system wont accept them so its back to an inadequate camera.

Watch this space, I’ve only a couple of sheets of plans to draw now, and will be starting the build very soon.