Earths orbit around the sun

I feel the need to apologize for the lack of progress made good towards getting this ship into the waters.  My excuse has been the annual decrease in the ambient temperature which tends to reduce my ability to really get things done.  Epoxy becomes difficult to work, paint fails to cure, glue doesn't stick and my opposable thumb and fore fingers become ineffective tools.

I see no way to prevent the orbit of our earth around the sun.  Endless summers await us when this cat slips into the sea......ah, the thought of spring time in New Zealand and Australia.

Please offer my gift of an uplifting film entitled "Accidental Eden".  If you find yourself in the northern hemisphere at this time, make yourself a cuppa and take the time to watch this video.

Unfortunately for us Americans, this place is off limits so for the rest of the worlds travelers, please take care of this place before the embargo is lifted and the cancerous growth of american development threatens to destroy this gem.  It's places like this that inspire me to finish this cat.

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Happy Holidays to all!


Learning curves

Here's a rugged and practical edge detail that I came up with for various storage compartment openings.  The final detail will include netting that should keep gear in place in the event that we encounter waves on the ocean.

Here are five learning curves.  I decided to thermo form 3/4 in. PVC pipe for use as edge detail around the openings in composite panels.   As you can see, it took me a while to work out a method to produce smooth curves. After many failed attempts. I settled in on the following technique.  I found that uniform curves can be made by filling a section of pipe with sand and capping the ends.  I then used a heat gun to heat the bend area. In order to produce a uniform bend, it was necessary to apply differential heat to the bend area. To keep the inner bend radius from wrinkling, if the outer bend area is kept slightly hotter, this allows it to stretch while the cooler inner portion resists the compressive forces that would otherwise cause the pipe to wrinkle.

Once I produced shapes that matched my openings, I then set the guide of my table saw to allow me to cut a section out of the pipe to create edging.

Here's one of the interior storage openings fitted with the edging.

and again, here's a few examples of this edging being used around two storage compartments that are located inside the cockpit.


Hurricane Fortress

Here I am confirming the geometry of the bow anchor rollers.  I've taken the basic measurements provided by the plan set, plotted them out full scale on a scrap piece of OSB and used this to check the fit of my fortress XF-85 hurricane anchor.  After making slight adjustments to the pivot points of the rollers, I created a computer model that I can use to generate a cutting file so that the parts of the anchor roller assembly can be water jet cut, welded, anodized and then bonded in place to the under side of the bow beam.

In most situations, this size anchor will probably be entirely too large but since I am planning on sailing this boat into the Gulf of Mexico, I don't want to have to drag this boat off the beach and into the water again.  It's a real inconvenience to have to stop what you're doing and spend time and energy getting a boat back into the water after one of these pesky little hurricanes.  


Atlantic Hurricane season ends today

Although "Mariana" is currently in build on the Pacific west coast  (Hood River, Oregon. USA,)   Our first year plan is to  make our way back into what I consider to be my "home waters" of the gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.

Here's this years hurricane season compressed into 4 1/2 minutes. 


Forward port side cabin

Here's the view as you walk into the forward, port side cabin.  Rather than go with the traditional stark white interior, I chose a neutral sand color that will be a little easier on the eyes. In this photo, the light is coming from the kids room which is accessible by a ladder stairway.     

The entrance way to the kids room is up three carbon fiber ladder rungs, onto a small landing and then a step up into the cabin. This forward cabin will have two "pipe berths" that can be rolled up and snapped to the walls; converting the space into an open area. This cabin has it's own hatch so it will have good natural light and plenty of cross ventilation.


An innovative interior finishing system

 With the cold air starting to flow south over the north Pacific Ocean. the  Oregon weather is beginning to feel real.  However, since the boat is composite foam core construction,  closing the door to the forward port side kids cabin and placing a small heater inside, kept the cabin space a nice 77 deg while the exterior shop temp is around 30.

Since I wanted to focus my efforts towards projects that can be accomplished in the interior of the boat during the winter, I took the opportunity to experiment with a coating system that I could use for all interior surfaces.

Rather than spending another two years trying to sand all the interior panels slick as glass, I wanted to create a coating that would provide a slightly modeled, but smooth textured surface that would help blend slight variances due to specific glass reinforcements.  In other words, I want this boat to be a sail boat, not a New York townhouse or a condominium tied to a mooring ball.

Success:   For interior surfaces, I chose a two part high solids, chemical resistant, industrial epoxy floor coating intended for aircraft hangars.  It's tenacious and tough as nails. I experimented with the addition of glass micro balloons as a thickener and I found that  mixing one part high solids resin with one part converter and 2 parts micro balloons resulted in a nice, thick, lightweight epoxy paint.   I then used a 3 inch;  3/8 nap roller for application and  it produced the effect that I wanted.  My goal is to maintain an ability to take a pressure washer after just about every portion of this boat.

 Here is an example of a super lightweight foam core epoxy/composite interior bulkhead panel with the finished coating.  


removing the cabin window support molds

After the high density edging has cured, the wooden support molds can be removed with a few swift karate chops

Once these wooden mold pieces have been carefully removed, the strips of synthetic roofing can then be peeled away.

In this case, the window pillar now has high density edging which will allow the window sheeting to be bolted in place. ( notice the unidirectional glass that makes up the outer layers of this structure)

playing catch up

Occasionally it's good to look back and knock out a few jobs that have been left behind or postponed. From a psychological standpoint, this is an important thing to do because as the project progresses, if a thousand undone tasks stack up, an overwhelming feeling of despair will creep over you in the night.
a study of compression

above, the edge strips around the bridge deck cabin are being held in place by strategically placed sprung pieces of wood.

makes for an unusual sight


Better is the enemy of "good enough"

In a few occasions, the plan set offers the builder  a choice between "good"  "better" and "best
In this instance, the note provided by the designer describes a few options to dealing with the openings for hatches, windows and any other openings that needs to be made in the hull or deck.

Here in lies the curse!  As quality of any structure approaches infinity, time and money expenditures increase exponentially.  Therefore, in the relatively short lifespan of a human, it becomes impossible for anyone to sail the ocean on a perfect boat.  

That said, since this boat is being built by ME for ME (and family and friends, and anyone else who wants to go sailing). Sometimes, the sea does not "play well with others". She cares nothing for boats and her primary job is to break them into smaller pieces. 

In spite of this, since my family's lives will depend upon the safety of this boat, I'm   going with option 3 "best" on this one.

Port side hatch cut out, edge routed the foam. filled with high density epoxy / micro filler,held in place with a strip of roofing membrane backed by sprung sections of thin wood.

 once the strip is removed, the result is a nice smooth square edging.

Since "best" means glassed edges over high density filler. its necessary to break the edges and create an approximately 1/8 in radius to the inside and outside of each hatch opening.
I've pre cut my hatch edging. This 8 oz.  45 * 45 bias glass tape conform nicely to the edges of all the cabin top hatch, the cabin window and deck hatch openings  

Here's the starboard owners cabin hatch opening after the glass has been applied then topped and smoothed  down with peel ply.


Forward deck hatches

The F-44SC includes an option for forward deck hatches and in anticipation of equatorial stuffiness, I elected to include them.

To account for the openings, a total of 17 layers of unidirectional glass is specified to strengthen the forward decks.

Had I anticipated the need for these reinforcements, I would have applied them before the sealing primer so to insure an absolute bond, I sanded the deck back down to the glass with 36 grit.

After applying 9 layers of unidirectional glass along the edges of the hatch opening, I topped it all off with a continuous piece of peel ply which will reduce the need for sanding.  The other 8 layers of unidirectional glass will be applied to the inside edges, the opening will be cut, the foam will be hogged out and replaced with thickened epoxy then the edges will be wrapped with double bias glass tape.

Since it's a cat, the same holds true for the hulls mirror image.


Who's the fairest of them all...

Fairing the port side hull

first "V" groove skim coat of epoxy / micro ; inner starboard side hull



 One of the tricks to smoothing out imperfections in the hull shape is to apply filler with a notched blade. This creates triangular ridges that make sanding large surface areas fairly easy because you're just knocking off the tops of the ridges rather than having to sand a solid surface.  In this instance, I'm using a mixture of a little more than two parts micro balloons to one part epoxy; mixing the heck out of it with a drill and paint stirrer. I decided to tint this layer so that I could distinguish between each application of fairing material.


Application of the filler seemed to work out best with a trowel that I made from an 8 inch sheet rock blade.  I found that 1/8 in. notches every half inch worked well.  I just cut them in with a file. 


 Once this fairing compound was applied and cured, I used a 4ft. sanding board to fair the hull by hand. With the ridges running fore and aft, I worked the sanding board at 45 degree angles from left to right and right to left.  I made the sanding board from a lightweight cedar board and a carbon fiber tube. I also discovered that I could introduce a precise curvature in the sanding board by securing a small strap across the tube with sheet rock screws. By adjusting the tension of the strap I was able to create a slightly curved board that followed the overall shape of the hull.

With an ipod and a little shoulder work, I was able to smooth the hull down until the high points just began to show.  At first, it seemed to be a daunting task to hand sand two 44ft hulls, but breaking the job into a few sessions over a couple of days made all the difference. After a few days of this, If asked, I would have to decline an offer to play a game of Twister.

After sanding the tops off the ridges, I used a straight blade to fill in the grooves with untinted epoxy micro mix. 

 This resulted in a good start to a fair hull.  From here, I'll use finer and finer grit paper to eventually arrive at a surface that is suitable for a final top coat. 


Test fitting the battens

Here I am sitting on the head of the main sail with my buddy Cory Roesler ( the primary instigator  of the sport of Kite boarding ) and the man himself; Romeo Rubichaud of RBS Batten Systems.  http://www.rbsbattens.com/  We rolled the main sail out in the grass, stuffed the battens and checked the lengths of each batten.   By trial fitting each batten, RBS was able to make final adjustments to the lengths to insure a perfect fit.  We also discovered the need to grind a slight taper on the forward ends of the two lower battens so that they fit snugly into the batten receptacles. 

It's good to have the help and support of some of the most respected innovators in the modern days of sail. 


Bow tube web detail

The bow tube is further strengthened by the addition of two webs that provide a base for the forward walkway between the two trampoline nets. In this photo, you can see 24 oz triaxial glass draping down from the port side web. I then used a dusting of  3M 77 adhesive to hold the glass in place while I smoothed it under the bow tube and back up along the starboard bow tube web.  With the glass in place, I saturated the glass with resin, covered it all with peel ply and worked things in place with a plastic "bondo" spreader. 

I then laminated the inside of the webs using one continuos length of triaxial glass.  To create bonding flanges, I screwed two temporary boards (wrapped in packing tape as a release) along the top edges of the webs and worked the glass up the sides of the webs and inwards.  

After removing the boards, the resulting flanges that were created needed to be roughed up in preparation for bonding the top deck plank in place.

Here I am about to mix up some low density pour foam. 

Since I didn't want to have to worry about water making it's way into the void created by the bow tube and the webs, I decided to fill the space with foam. It's often difficult to anticipated the volume of foam that is produced when mixing part A with part B.  

After the foam hardened, I used a hand saw to cut off the excess,  then I finished things off with a rough sanding block to produce a flat surface in which to bond the center bow net plank.


finish the boat already....

Tang; patiently waiting for me to finish this boat.


Groovy : "cool", "excellent", "fashionable", or "amazing"

So one of the tricks to arriving at a fair hull involves applying a thin layer of microbaloons and epoxy over the entire surface and then hand sanding all 44 ft. of this boat with a "long board".  By applying this layer with a grooved spreader, the resulting surface can then be sanded so that just the tips of the grooves need to be knocked down.   One day, once I decide its time to stop sanding, I'll go over the entire surface with a sheet rock blade filling in the remaining groove recesses.

here's a photo looking up towards the port side gunwale

The grooved spreader produces an approximate 3/16 inch deep pattern 

another photo showing the portion of the hull just above the port side center board slot

Here's the notched spreader that I am using to create the surface to be sanded. The sanding board is made from a 4ft long piece of western cedar covered with 24 grit sand paper.

Groovy (or, less common, "Groovie") is a slang colloquialism popular during the 1960s and 1970s, springing out of African American culture. It is roughly synonymous with words such as "cool", "excellent", "fashionable", or "amazing", depending on context.
The word originated in the jazz culture of the 1920s, in which it referred to the groove of a piece of music[1] and the response felt by its listeners. It is a reference to the physical groove of a record in which the pick-up needle runs. It first appeared in print in Really the Blues, the 1946 autobiography of the jazz saxophonist, Mezz Mezzrow.[2] The term in its original usage had largely vanished from everyday use by 1980.[3]
Starting in the mid-1960s, variations of the word "Groovy" were used in the titles of several popular songs:

The cover of the original 1965 release of the single "The Sound of Silence", backed with "We've Got a Groovey Thing Goin'."


Main Sail in the dry grass field

646 square feet of main sail

Doyle Sail makers did a beautiful job on the sails:  http://www.doylesails.com/   Here's the main in the grass field by the shop.  Sail inventory will be:  main, roller furling Jib, screacher and storm jib.  Although it is difficult to get a true feeling of scale from this photo, this main sail is impressive. .....square top, fully battened with three well reinforced reef points  and hardware for Harken sail track. 


Fenced-in area

Carbon stantion bases

Stantion bases being trial fitted along edge of deck. ( I haven't bonded them in place just yet)  I chose to create bases for each stantion which are permanently  bonded to the boat.  To do this, I used a 3 inch hole saw to cut a hole through the deck glass being careful not to cut through the inner glass laminate. I then dug the deck foam out and filled the void with a mixture of cabosil and epoxy.  Once cured, I sanded the high density fill area flush with the deck and covered it with two additional layers of 24 oz triaxial glass which created a strong reinforced area in which to bond the bases.

Here are the finished stantions with a temporary line attached along the top.

SNL  "Fenced in area"  Billy Bob Thorton: http://snltranscripts.jt.org/01/.phtml 

Travis: I think there's something I need to make clear about my fenced-in area. You see.. everybody in Gilbert County's got a damn fenced-in area that's cluttered with crap and brown weeds invading them like a cancer! Well, see, I'm better than that. I'm gonna make my fenced-in area an area that's neat and special, with a special purpose. And then all the naysayers will have to say, "Dammit! He really did something with his fenced-in area, and now I feel inspired to clean up my own fenced-in area!" And others will see my fenced-in area, and inspiration will go on and on and on, from person to person, just like that! [ reflective pause ] I want my fenced-in area to be an inspiration. And.. if y'all can't understand that.. then I was born in the wrong world.