Friday, July 25, 2014

Skiff work

Today I cut down the sprit yard, got the mainsail set up for stitching, and installed a "keeper" for the rudder, to keep it from floating out of it's gudgeons.  I made the rudder lock, I guess I could call it, out of some yellow pine and a bronze screw.  It is a teardrop shape and hangs from the transom just above the upper pintle.  It can be swung out of the way so that the rudder can be placed or removed but hangs in a way to keep it in place the rest of the time.  Simple.  I may start stitching up the sail tonight, shouldn't take long to do the seam but the patches and attachment points still have to be worked out.

IT has begun

Yesterday I started the repair of the Venture 21 by taking the old winch rig for the centerboard off and sizing up the new replacement one.  I also bailed out all of the water that had leaked in over the past couple of months during the heavy rain storms, about 10 gallons.  I have been leaving the hatches open to dry it all out.
I also took off the starboard forward lifeline stanchion and straightened it out, almost to what it was.  It is plenty good enough.  I took off the remaining wire life line in preparation for replacing those lines with rope.  In my thinking rope is plenty strong enough and it has more elasticity.  Stanchions are know to rip out or bend and at least leak after being worked by force on the lines.  On my larger boat the lifelines are rope and have served just fine.

Today I got the grinder out and ground down the spots on the deck that will need to be repaired with fiberglass and epoxy patches.  The four points where the bow pulpit was and the mast step.  I intend to use just fiberglass to repair even where it was cored with plywood.  I like my repairs to be stronger than original if possible.

Getting all the gear together and protection for myself I was reminded of how much I hate working with fiberglass. This alone is enough of a reason to get rid of my glass boats and make the fleet all wood.  Upon starting in with the grinder I was immediately taken back to the days when I remodeled my Bristol by cutting out the cockpit and making a flush deck, by the smell of melting/grinding gel coat and polyester resin.  It isn't a totally unpleasant smell in that it has connotations of really great times doing fun and crazy things with boats back when I first started boating.  It is really the dust that goes everywhere and is always itchy later on.  I have found the best way to get if off is to shower in COLD water with shampoo to float all of the dust off.  The cold water keeps your pores from opening up and letting the dust get deeper in to your skin.

It is good to see these great big holes in the deck right now because I know that they mean progress.  In truth I'd much rather just scrap this boat and build a wooden replacement for it, but I hate just throwing things out when they can be made useful.  Nobody nibbled at the Craig's list add for the boat, so I guess that I am stuck with it for now.

I am thinking of it as the "Frankenstein" boat.  I will patch it, and get it back on the water with whatever can be had for free or really cheap.  I intend not to do anything about the accommodations below.  The boat is just to get me on the water as cheaply and easily as possible for daysails.  If I stick to this line of thought I might just get back on the water for Fall sailing.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Pram on the lake

I took the pram out this evening.  Both when launching and returning I got stopped by people asking about the little boat and saying nice things about her.
I got to row out to the islands and lie back and listen to the birds that live there.  The pram is only seven and a half feet long but she rows pretty fast.  She is a bit small for me but she is easy and quick to get out on the water.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

putting the mast on a diet

I spent a good portion of yesterday with a spokeshave and the mast.  It is a slow process to shape, or in this case, reduce the shape of the mast with just a spokeshave and my eye, turning the mast constantly to check to see it stays round, but not at all unpleasant work.  I have to be aware of what music is playing on the shop radio as my strokes of the tool tend to sync up to the tempo of the music.  This can be a real advantage at times, but risky at others.  A pile of shavings on the shop floor tell me I did skinny up the stick a bit.  Those shavings will make good bedding for the chicken coop and I won't have so much weight aloft.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Rudder mounted on skiff!

Today I got the pintles on the rudder and got the rudder mounted on the skiff.  I am using a push~pull stick rather than a tiller.  This makes more sense for a small boat.
tiller is cedar and the push pull stick is yellow pine
 I got this idea from Ian Oughtred's Caldonia Yawl.  I have seen other vessels use it too.  The stick allows movement fore and aft to balance the boat, and keeps one from having to duck under the tiller or lift it over your head.
The "arm" is slotted thru a square hole and a peg keeps it in place.  I used a chisel to cut the square hole in the tiller.  I may change out the peg for a wedge.  A piece of line attaches the arm to the stick and serves as a universal joint.  Simple, cheap, affective, and it even looks kind of right.  I fashioned the gudgeons out of scrap stainless steel plate, but I bought the pintles.  The pintles are set in a dado.  I hope to paint the bottom of the rudder white, put a red stripe above the water line and varnish the upper section and the steering arm and stick.  I also need to put a "keeper" or lock on the top of the pintle to keep the rudder from floating up.  I have seen simple metal tabs that pivot on a screw but I might consider a piece of shock cord, in case of grounding so as not to rip apart any of the wood or fasteners.  I will probably build a longer push-pull stick later.  This one is about 5 feet long and a 7'-6" one would fit stored in the cockpit and might allow for steering while working at the mast.
I got to use my egg beater drill and my brace to drill the holes.  I haven't been using the brace as I have not bits for it, but the set of Milwaukee drill bits I have are 3 or 4 sided so they lock in the chuck on the brace.  It was very nice and quite and more controllable  than the screw gun or electric drill.
I am not sure how well the cedar will due for a rudder.  It is light weight and that is why I am using it, as well as it's being able to handle the moisture.  I will have to watch the stress points, at the pintles and at the steering arm.

Monday, June 30, 2014

WB show at Mystic

I had a great time at the Wooden Boat show in Mystic CT yesterday.  The small craft collection is just beyond amazing.  The weather was glorious, the people were friendly and the boats, they were magical.

Monday, June 16, 2014

WoodenBoat & Launchings!

I got a package in the mail from Wooden Boat Magazine.  In the package was a very nice letter, a copy of issue #239, July/August 2014, a decal that says "Proud Wooden Boat Builder", and a cap with the Wooden boat Launchings Logo and the issue # embroidered on it.  The letter stated that my pram was included in this issue of the magazine.  And so it was when I looked inside.

WoodenBoat Magazine | WoodenBoat, Small Boats, MotorBoats, Getting Started in Boats, and Professional BoatBuilder

I didn't set out to be recognized in anyway when I started building these boats, but the admiration they have received when I launch them at the lake or river and from a few comments on this blog has been appreciated.  It is true that I offered up the pictures and descriptions of the boats, so that they might be noticed, but it was only after I had completed them and been presently surprised by the result and impressed by how easy and inexpensive, and enjoyable the boat building and designing process was, that I thought to share that discovery with others, and see if others saw what I appreciated in these boats.

The Sam Pram, Tartlet

It is fun for me to see the boat in a magazine.  It is still fun and amazing to me each time I put her in the water and climb in, and she floats, and rows, and takes me away from shore to be in that place where men often go, where we are not exactly welcomed, but not turned away, somewhere between beneath the surface, where we can't breath, and below the sky, where we can't fly.  Neither place is really ours to inhabit for very long, but in a boat we can dance between them and for long periods of time.  Even the slightest little boat, such as this pram, is a "magic carpet" that can take us, under our own power, to that place between and a part of sea and sky.