Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sprit sail

Today I hauled up the recently completed sprit sail using scrap wood for the sprit and for the boom.  Despite the fact that I just cut out a sprit sail shape from an existing jib sail, the set of this sail is not so bad.
trying on the sprit sail for size & shape.
I didn't get the angle correct at the tack, so I think I will be re-cutting the foot of the sail.  As it works out I will need a sprit that is about 12'6" long!  Yikes!
the truth is I wish I could just lengthen the mast about a foot and a half and fly the sail as cut.  I'll think about it........
Sprit sail & temporary spars.
I am thinking that I will build a boom for the sail but not sure that I will use it.  I also cut out some clothe to the shape of a jib.  It will end up being a bit more than 100% of the fore triangle, probably about a 110%.  It think that it might make for a good single sail down wind.
Need to re-cut the foot of the sail.  A high clue will be nice for visibility underneath.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hove to

It's windy and cold out and I am inside, by the wood stove, stitching up the sail for Whisp.  It's a lot like being 'hove to' waiting out the weather, not making much way, but trying to get something done that needs getting done.

Long stitching a sail edge by hand.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Winter Reading

I first read this anthology of sailing stories in 2006.  I believe it was a gift from my wife's family in Los Angeles, CA.  Good books, can be read over and over thru out ones life, given a bit of time between readings, enough to allow details to become new again.
The setting of the first story in this book is an around the world ocean race!  The main character is a former Royal Marine.  Right away I am disinclined to read this story, figuring that it has very little to do with the way I sail and the things about sailing that interest me.  Way too much testosterone!!!!  However, I am totally wrong about that, well not the testosterone, but the story has everything to do with what draws me to sailing, and what draws most of us who would go out and try to use the elements to get us where we are going, knowing full well that those same elements could destroy us, and still we would rather do it this way than to turn the key and start up an engine.
Winter reading, by the fire, as suggested by the Author
When I can't be on the water, in a boat, the next best place to be would be by a fireplace, with a warm cuppa, reading about other people, having adventures upon the water, in boats.
I have to pace myself or I would sit and read this entire book from cover to cover in one sitting.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Foggy river row

In the middle of January, a warm day prompts a 4 mile row up and down the river.  The air so moist that is becomes dew on my hair and nose.

The visibility can be measured in hundreds of feet, as in about 500 feet.  Sound is takes on a very different quality in the fog.  Direction becomes disconnected to sound and very thinly connected to vision.  Direction becomes more strongly connected to the tides current and to the light breeze that I can feel coming from where the fog is thickest.

This is one of the reasons I enjoy rowing, and paddling and sailing so much more than any motorized method of movement.  I can hear and sense and enjoy, undisturbed by the thump and bombast of a motor.  The splash of the oars becomes loud.

Nobody else is on the river here right now.  There is no tug, or barge, moving out in the fog.  If there was I could feel it in the movement of the water, I would feel the thrum of the diesel engine thru the water.  There are no other craft on this part of the river today, it is mine and mine only.

The shore fades in and out of visibility.  The shore is ragged and jumbled, a mess after the storm, Sandy has had her way with the river and the land close to it.  Signs of the rebuke that the storm gave us for building so close to the waters edge, and so thoughtlessly.  The places that were wild before the storm, look little worse from the storm, except where debris from humans has washed up and lodged in the reeds and snags of tree roots.

The skiff is perfect for days like this.  She rows easily, smoothly and carries well, gliding on as I rest on my oars so as to listen and look around.  When I loose the shore to the fog, the skiff feels secure and I feel no panic about not knowing where the rest of the world is, I know where I am.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bow and stern

I cut enough of the cable wraps in order to lay the sides down flat so that I could trim of the excess at the bow and stern.
The real shape comes out.  The side panels are rectangles and flaring them out at the bow and stern gives the rocker to the bottom as well as the increased beam at the gunwale.
I also trimmed the brace at midships so that the beam is now at 3' even.  Because it sat overnight with the beam at 3'2" the boat is finding it's shape more easily.

Like a dory, I am using a "tombstone" transom, but I am also using it the pram bow.  The thin 5.2mm plywood bends in multiple planes, something plywood in not known for.
Although I have now done half the job if I was going to use the "stitch and glue" method, I am not sure that that is the way I am going to go.
Because I had the cable wraps lying around the garage, the boat, thus far has cost only $14.00.  If I use epoxy the price instantly will triple.  If I use glue and scrap wood and scrap nails, then the price only doubles.  Not that the price is the driving force here, but I also like the low tech method of nails and glue.
The hesitation is in getting the bevels for the chine log. Maybe it is time to read up some more on building methods........
Speaking of reading, I am rereading "My Old Man and the Sea" by David and Daniel Hayes.  The book is about a father and son who buy the hull of a Vertue class 25 footer and then fit it out and sail it down to and around Cape Horn, from New England.  It is a really great story, well written, fun and adventuresome during the winter months here.

What will this boat be named???  I guess it's shape is a pram.  Maybe I will call it "Sam the Pram" I am,  and I don't like green eggs and ham.  How about Spram, for small pram?  Or just Spam....spam, spam, spam, spam.......

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mark,cut, drill, attach, it looks like a boat!

One sheet of plywood, some penciled lines and japanese pull saw.  While laying out the lines on the plywood I made a change the the measurements from the model, never a good idea!

Cutting the bottom with a pull saw.
I shortened the bottom of the boat from 7 feet to 6'6".  The thought was that I needed more height from the bow and transom pieces.  This change took them from being 12" to 18" tall.
The bow has a nice angle to it with the transom being more vertical.

all the parts stitched together with plastic cable wraps.  So far the assembly is right side up and without frames or stations other than the midship brace.  The plastic cable wraps can easily be cut away for reworking or taking measurements.
The bow is about 3 inches taller than needed and the transom is about 6 inches taller than needed.  
I may use the extra height at the transom to put in a sculling notch and the bow to do something interesting, maybe a notch as well that would be a fair lead for a painter attached inboard to a cleat???

The beam at the gunwale is at 3'2".  The modeled was plan 2'6".  The lines are being made up as I go.
 After getting the sides marked, dividing the length in half and then marking every 6 inches along the bottom for the stitching, I moved the sides forward 3 inches and then began from midships and started attaching the bottom to the sides.
A thin gunwale and maybe a double layered (slotted) inwale??
 I think some cleats glued to the sides for a rowing position, about 6 inches above the bottom would also serve to keep the shape.  I will also have a brace forward and aft, probably about 2 feet from the ends.

tombstone bow and transom
When both sides were attached I then attached the bow and transom, setting the angle to use as much of the length of the sides as possible but keeping the full height of the topsides.  The angle at the bow and transom set the flare of the sides and the rocker on the bottom.  I also used a brace to set the beam at midships to 3'2".  At this beam the boat can be rowed or paddled.

The sides still need to be trimmed to meet up with the ends but I am going to wait until I have decided the best method for attaching the sides to the bottom.  I would like to put a chine log inside the boat but because I gave the transom 3 more inches of width at the bottom than the bow has, but they have the same width at the top, so a chine log would have a changing bevel and I don't want to try to work it out. 
I could narrow the bow piece to match the angle of the transom, but I have given the beam a big flare at midships so the chine would still change at the middle of the boat. :(  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Here is my first model of my single sheet of plywood boat that I hope to build this winter.  The idea is to get a boat for paddling in the pond, that I can carry easily to the water, and that would cost very little to build.

The model in this model, is Avo, a doll from South America and he is just the right height to be in the proper scale.
 The boat is 7' long on the bottom.  It seems to be about 7'6" overall.
 the beam is 2' on the bottom, and about 2'6" at the gunwale.
 It has a pram bow, or a small transom bow, in other words, it doesn't come to a fine point.
 But the bow is narrower than the stern.  All the parts, 5 of them, the bottom, the 2 sides, and the stem and transom are cut from one sheet of plywood, 8'x4'.  I intend to build this from Luan, the same stuff I used on Whisp.  I am still not sure if I will do a stitch and glue method or a chine log at the joints.
I am set to build this "design" just to see how it will come out.  It is a bit skinny, and a bit short, but I'd still like to see how it works.  I did find this designer on the web and really like and admire his work.  One sheet boats - FLO-MOFlowing Motion  (or,
I think I may try one of his designs as well.