Sunday, October 25, 2009

It Floats. It Sails.

Yesterday morning was spent bolting on rudder fittings and a zillion other small jobs.

After lunch we put her under the crane and in she went. I550's all seem to look like they are stern heavy sitting in the water. This is not the real case, the bow just sticks up a bit.

It was blowing around 20 knots, down from the mornings 25 knots. We had the usual 1.0 to 1.5 metre Port Phillip chop.

We built in a Two degree rake on the forestay length. The boat seems perfectly balanced and the twin rudders grip well. Acceleration is phenomenal. The boat does not pound one bit provided she is sailed at around 15-20 degrees up wind, which is simply amazing.

More testing tomorrow after safety inspection.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Here It Is...

The last few days have been about screwing and bolting things on. Things like chain plates and forestay fitting, kite blocks, traveller ...and of course the stereo system. There is no truth in the rumour that we installed a giant sub woofer under the cockpit, we just thought that the access holes we made to get at the kite block locations would take a little speaker nicely..

Doug Prosser very kindly lifted her onto one of his many trucks with a forklift, then drove her down to RYCV.

Robert Hick is bringing down the keel today, hopefully we don't have too many problems fitting it. After much consideration we decided to lock the keel down with a single half inch bolt through the keelbox and keel and Frank Brockman made us a nice set of stainless steel bushes for the keel box sides and keel holes. We will epoxy them in. There will then be no chance of wood getting chewed away by the bolt if there is any relative movement.

We did it this way because the load paths and hardware of doing this through the keel top plate were just too complicated for me to get my brain around. The boat is lifted via Two Wichard pad eyes on the main bulkhead just eitehr side of the keelbox. We added some reinforcement to the inside of the bulkhead during the build for this. Lines also go to the kite block fittings.

Here she is....

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flipped And Painted.

Yesterday we flipped the boat, did a little more sanding and painted the entire deck with anti skid deck paint.

Last week we also readied a cradle for her at RYVC.

Images aren't uploading at the moment...

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Great White Whale And The Theory Of Relativity

Well there she is folks - the great White Whale, not a Clownfish at all, that's where the Theory Of Relativity comes in - boats expand in size by a factor of at least Four when the time comes to sand, fair and paint them. In addition, each minor blemish stands out like, well like, choose your favourite simile.

So anyway, back to the confessional. Fairing the boat is where you pay big time and money for your youthful exuberance and lack of attention to detail in the very beginning when you built your construction cradle, cut your frames, bottom and sides, joined everything together with cable ties and started slapping on the epoxy. The main truth we learned is this: Every time in the beginning when you saw something that didn't quite line up, or wasn't exactly fair and smooth, and you said to yourself "Oh that's no problem we can fair that", you were making a mistake.

The truth is that getting it right in the beginning is much, much, easier and quicker than trying to rectify a ripple in plywood, glass and epoxy with a long board. We've done it now, and the hull looks pretty fair, flat, square, parallel, smooth, whatever, and should, we hope, look good when Robert Hicks sprays the topcoat for us. Now back to specifics.

Firstly make sure your ply is cut exactly right. Ours was as far as we can tell. There was a minor error in the plans that was detected and corrected by Tim before we got too far.

As for the building cradle, we had those Eight offsets and built a cradle with Seven supports that matched the hull profile in way of the frames as far as we could tell. I suspect that this was a mistake, and if I was doing it again, I would probably just use Three Supports, 169.5, 110 and 36, that way I should be able to see a good continuous curve on the chines.

As for joining the ply to make the bottom and sides, our joints were all too stiff, so we got a flat spot at each join that had to be filled and faired.

As for fitting the frames, we got the bottoms to fit very nicely no problems, but we couldn't get fair curves with the frames pulled in to the sides. I'm still not quite sure what was going on there. Be aware that not getting it all to fit exactly is going to give you problems at your shear line when the deck goes on, requiring a little creative freehand planing, but hey it's your project and the hull still measures OK anyway. I suspect that part of the problem was caused by the aforementioned not supporting the boat on three points. Maybe if I had, everything would have adjusted itself a little when we fitted the frames. This is something older and wiser heads can ponder.

But anyway, back to the sanding and fairing. We followed Robert Hicks advice. He is a professional yacht designer and builder, and he has built our bulb, keel and rudders for us. The recipe he gave us was as follows..

After glassing, go over the hull with a batten and fair any obvious hollows and bumps with your West system stuff. The next step is to screed the entire hull in a thin coat of West System fairing compound. I used a plasterers trowel for that. The next step is to get out the long board with 40 grit on it. Because we had relatively flat panels and frames spaced about Four feet apart at the back, I made a Twelve foot (2.4m) Two person longboard for the bottom and chines. You only need a Three foot flexible one for the sides.

Get yourself a can of spray paint in a suitably visible colour and liberally spatter dots of it over your hull. Apply the long board....After about half an hour the remaining paint will show you the low spots. If they are relatively small and shallow, fill them with "builders bog" (quick setting polyester) stop for lunch, apply a little more spray paint indicator and continue sanding with the long board. When you think you have it fair, apply your first coat of undercoat, then apply the long board, spray paint, filler and 80 grit to that. Repeat the whole process for Two weeks till you are sanding the final undercoat with 320 grit and everything is as smooth as it can get, or you just get too tired to care. Then apply topcoat.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Blinding White..

Well the filling had to stop sometime. We just got tired. So today we sprayed the deck with sandable epoxy primer. The more we put on, the better it looked.

Hopefully tomorrow, before a mid week social lunch, we will be flipping the boat.

....No videos though. I think my colleagues would agree that we don't photograph too well at our age.

Doesn't that swept back Luca Brenta lip on the cabin top look cute, as well as practical?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mast Arrives...

Friday morning....surprise! The mast arrives. Who could resist leaving the sanding and filling and playing with toys?

C-Tech have done a great job. Everything is well designed and put together, great workmanship and....light! We asked for Two sets of spreaders, the top set just supporting the masthead when we are running with the Assymetric because Port Phillip gets quite choppy at times.

The mast comes in Two parts, joined at the hounds, which conveniently reinforces that are. I also noted that the last few inches fof the mast base are reinforced, dealing away with the engineering "Free Edge Problem" that has been the demise of more than one carbon mast. To put it another way, carbon fibre is not "Black Aluminium" and must be worked and cared for differently.

We joined the Two sections and riveted in the tee ball plates then lined up and glued the spreaders for the result below.

A word to the wise... Those beautiful spreaders are a close fit with the mast, and they need to be placed on the sections before you glue them together or you will be in a world of pain because you can't fit them later. Luckily we remembered.

We were also not thinking clearly when we ordered a carbon tang under the jib sheave box for our Two part jib halliard - the lower spreaders wouldn't fit over the tang and of course the goosneck prevented fitting from below... Doh!

Our solution after deep thought and discussion with Alex was to carefully cut off the carbon tang and smooth the area down a little so that the spreaders fitted over it. We then drilled and tapped a hole to take a small stainless steel saddle to hold the halliard (Below).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Persistence and Frustration.

First the persistence. We glassed the deck, then put Four inch biaxial tape over the shear line which will hopefully keep everything together if we get a "love tap" from another boat.

We are in fairing and filling mode. My back aches from the long board. It seems we have forever to go. Sanding and filling, sanding and filling. My eyes just water epoxy and my cup of tea tastes like fibreglass dust, yeccchh.

Anyway, there is sort of an outline of a boat shaped object under there somewhere.

I think the Luca Brenta style lip on the cabin top looks good, should maybe help keep water out, and be a good base for some cleats.

Now the frustration.. Delicate readers may want to shut their ears here.... C-Tech very kindly shipped our mast last Friday, right on time and when they said they would. It is now Thursday and we are still waiting for those idiots at DHL to deliver. They managed to split the Two packages and send them to different locations.

Then they tried to hide their incompetence by spouting gibberish down the phone line. Just for the record, there has not been a thing called an "import licence" for general goods into Australia since about 1968, and in any case we have a free trade agreement with New Zealand. "Delayed by Customs" sounds good until we tell them that we have already paid GST and in any case checked with Customs ourselves. "Delayed by Quarantine Inspection' was a nice try until I tell them that there is no bug on this planet that eats or makes a burrow in Carbon Fibre.

We are still waiting. On reflection it would have been cheaper if I had hopped a plane to Auckland and picked the pieces up direct from C-Tech, then flown back. It's only a Four hour trip costing less than what DHL charged C-Tech for freight, and I might well have not to have paid GST of $500 as well. Plus I could have bought a bottle of duty free Whisky for Alex at C-Tech and another one for me on the way back!