PD Racer Build or Wow Did I Learn a Lot

Sold my 26 foot wooden Amphibicon sailboat for many reasons.  Upkeep was one of them.  Tremendous amount of varnish removal, sanding, revarnishing.  Never ending really.  This put me in a full blown sailboat Jones, I simply needed a sailboat – quickly.  Came across the PD Racer’s and all they stood for resonated with me.    However time was short as it was almost spring of 2011 and soon I would die without a sailboat.  Decided the simpler build presented by Shorty of Bucket  Ears was more to my ability.  So here is how it went.

First need a place to build.  The garage will have to do.  Will simply move wifes car out of garage when in building mode. Hey I never said I was neat.

Now must get lumber.  This was more challenging than you might think.  The odd bits and 2x4s where easy peasy and could be purchased in town.  The plywood was another matter.  It is simply easier to go to Lowe’s and Menards in Des Moines, though 45 miles away, and look through their selection of plywood sheets than to try to do the same locally.  So off I went.  Not sure what type of 4x8s to get but reasoned thus.  The boat is going to be trailered so it won’t be in the water for months therefore will go with exterior grade plywood.  It took 2 times to each Lowe’s and Menards to do a proper comparision.  Ended up with a sheet of 6 mm thick underlayment for the sides and 1 sheet of 3/8s for the bottom.  Checked prices of marine grade and felt for a first boat project what I got was fine.

Now time to start building.  Had a lot of questions.  Mostly answered by reading blogs and looking at others builds.  Thanks everyone.  Decided to use thickened epoxy as glue because there is no regular glue I can find that said it was good below the waterline (including titebond 2), and not sure how tight my joints would be and thickened epoxy is quite forgiving that was.  Also bought some ring shanked bronze screws from a boat restored in Des Moines who loves boats (Cedar Tree Boatshop).  I better send them a picture of the boat too they will love it.  Here the build is coming along and how I needed Shorty’s advice to just do it.

Had a bit of trouble with the bottom 3/8 plywood.  It started to bend the wrong way standing in the garage on end.  So I put some bricks to weight it and bent it over some 2x4s.  Filled in ply with thickened epoxy so it would be easier to paint and have it be waterproof.  Here is what bending looked like.

putting sailboat bottom on

Now it was time to put the bottom on.  I prefit everything using drywall screws with washers as clamps.  Then I remove the screws when it is fitting well, mix up a batch of thickened epoxy, apply it, and reattach the part with drywall screws with washers.  It was obvious I would need help putting the bottom on.  Hmm.  Who to ask?  Could ask wife but that is not without risk.  Decided to hire a friends daughter and friend to help with this.  It worked much better than I thought it would as they had experience building sets for plays in high school.  Plus they loved being involved.  They came back and painted too.

cartop carry sailboat

Here is the boat coexisting with the car in the garage.  It can be done.

I don’t want to admit the amount of time spent on getting a proper foil shape for the tiller and leeboard.  Let’s just say I used a tablesaw and set the depth to what was needed every 1/8 inch of the 12 inch wide tiller and leeboard.  Some of us are gluttons for punishment.  After this decided the simplest way for me to get a sail affixed was to take one of a direlect windsurf board and use mast and sail.  That is what I did.  Some obstacles were overcome but at least I didn’t have to sew up a sail, which I don’t know how to do anyway, plus the weather was getting nice out and clear water was showing on the lake as most of the ice was melted.  Got a trailer from a guy at work and modified it for the sailboat.

pdracer on trailer  

pdracer on water

Here is the sailboat on the water.  Sailed it an incredible amount.  Explored the lake in fine fashion.  Even tied up with marina friends who thought it was great.

I really need a better way of keeping the leeboard down, though I would like to remove it and add twin bilge keel which I might do now.  Also want to built one of those balanced lug sails out of polytarp.  Will try to find how to do this.  Currently another friend cleared out his garage and we are setting to building him one too.  He wants a cabin and as his dad is a carpenter I am sure this will not present  a challenge to him. 

Hope to see you on the water.  Intend to make a nearby messabout.

Live long and sail.