How I came to build my first boat - part 6
By Tom Mauer
Having moved the hull out into the driveway we are now at the mercy of the weather, and this has been a particularly wet spring here in the Philadelphia region. People have started giving me a hard time about building a boat saying that perhaps I know something everyone else has missed. We finally got fiberglass on the starboard seam in between bouts of rain and did some sanding. However I don't think I did a very good job. (Notice how it's "we" when the work moves forward, and "me" when we have a problem or need to redo something. Ah the joys of parenthood!)
So we decided to try something else. We used the wallboard type tape for the next layer… Holy cow is that stuff deep! We're waiting for a break in the rain to put on another layer of fiberglass. Then I get to sand again, yeah!
Not long after these photos were taken it started raining again, so we covered her back up and decided to start in on the mast and the foils. I don't yet know if this was a mistake but I went with 1 inch thick shelving. Having read other peoples experiences it looked to me like glued and laminated boards seemed to fair better than solid single boards. I'm feeling pressed for time, and also a bit lazy. So I went with these shelves in the name of laziness but also because I've seen them take a tremendous load with very little flex. I figure I'm going to glass them anyway so they should prove up to the task. I went online and read up on foils, and looked at lots and lots of photos and we found ones we liked. I cut them out and rounded the leading and trailing edges. I don't have a belt sander and so… our foils are not really foil shaped. They are just rounded off, and so that will have to do for now. (My father-in -law has promised me a belt sander later in the summer so I do foresee new foils in the future.)
Let's see, lots of rain, what can we do to keep moving forward? Foils… check. Rudder-head. Let's build one! Remember how "I" messed up the chines on one of the bulkheads? The middle of that bulkhead is now our rudder-head. (Never throw anything out!)
We glued on 1x2's on the top edge to extend past so that we can attach a tiller that will swing up out of the way if need be. Then we sandwiched the two sides along the front edge with a 1x2. We added four hooks into the top and bottom to act as anchor points for two bungee cords which hold the rudder in the head VERY securely. We drilled a hole in the 1x2's that extended beyond the top of the head and use a bolt and wing nut to attach the tiller. (Our tiller is a length of deck railing.) Keeping in mind we are on a tight budget we are using eye bolts on the rudder head and on the transom with a bolt from our old gate to hold them together. The gate bolt is bent at the top and we have a pin in it at the bottom so we're confident we won't lose our rudder mid voyage. "We" know that actual pintels and gudgeons would be better and "I" promise to save up for them next time.
Still raining… So what now? The Mast! Sure, we could do that. We ran out and got four strait, clear, 10 foot 1x2's and over the course of three days we glued them into a box. When the glue set we then ran our jigsaw (set at 45 degrees) over the corners. Then we commenced to sanding. Vaughan is really good at sanding now. We smoothed out the rough bits and rounded them a little too. The mast is still a box, but it has nice smooth round edges now.
Still raining… foils, mast, rudder… Mast step and sleeve? Yep, that's next. So we took some scrap 1x2's (about four inches long) and re-created a part of our mast to take to the local big box hardware store. We then tried to insert our mini-mast into some PVC pipe until we found one it fit in. Turns out it was a 3 inch pipe and it was snug. So we bought a 2 foot section of pipe and a toilet flange. The pipe fit the flange and so we are saved a little work, or so we thought. Turns out the rounded corners version of the mast is a little loose in our sleeve. However we plan to glass the bottom bit of the mast, so with a little luck by the time we're done we are pretty sure it should fit closer to snug again. We screwed and glued our flange onto a square of 1x10 and cut a hole in our deck to accommodate the sleeve.
In between rain squalls we quickly uncover the boat flip her over and put the deck in place to see where our step will sit. We mark it out and notice the BIG gap at the back from the slope of the hull. With the wind picking up we flip her back over and cover her up then flee back inside to contemplate the easiest way to make our step level. With a 10 year olds observation that shims are wedge shaped and a McGyver spirit of adventure we laminated four shims together to build a wedge the height we needed. Then I glued them to bottom of our step. (The court is out on this one as to whether this was a great idea "we" came up with, or if this is another one of "my" hair-brained schemes that didn't work out.)
I've been told that God promised not destroy the earth by flooding again, but I am beginning to wonder… Mostly because It rained almost every day right up until Mothers day weekend. The notable breaks in the weather tending to magically coincide with the nights I had physical therapy for my broken fingers so I had no time to work in the evenings. Funny how life works like that. Now being a good husband and appreciative of my wife "we" elected not work on the boat that weekend even though it was beautiful outside. No. We took a trip on Saturday down to Fort Delaware to spend the day at the haunted fort in the middle of the river (a trip she has wanted to make for about 2 years). It was a very cool trip, and Sunday we spent with mom doing more stuff she likes and taking her out for good food. It was an excellent weekend.
I do admit that I did sneak out for about 20 minutes Sunday evening and installed a bit of 2x4 to reinforce the bulkhead where we plan to put the leeboard. I notice that the clouds seem a bit puffy… and dark. Sure enough it rained off and on all the following week. If I can't catch a break I may not get this built by the messabout!
I know I was supposed to talk about the sail this time but it was postponed and put off and rescheduled, so just like real life I will have to reschedule that here.
Next time: More rain, a boy and his caulk gun, and the sail.