Monday, June 26, 2017

A New Trailer

I've always been plagued by crappy boat trailers with lights that never work and very questionable safety margins.  Currently I have 3 trailers in the yard, one of which I bought new in the 1990's and for my O'Day Daysailer and the lights have not been fully functional on it for many years.  It seems that the wiring harness on these trailers are just awful and break very easily.  Another one of the trailers for my Force 5 actually has working lights, but the trailer itself is kind of a disaster.  I had it welded last year to hold it together, but I really don't think it's very safe.  The third is just a hot mess and it just needs to be cut up and thrown away.  It's that bad.

So the new boat is going to need a trailer and I've been looking on Craigslist for several months now and haven't found anything suitable. Either they are too long or too crappy or are too stiff for such a light boat that I expect the Apple to be.  So this weekend I finally decided that I am sick of looking for another disaster so I went out and bought a new one.

It's a galvanized Karavan KBE 1250 and it has sealed/submersible LED lights that actually work and are bright.  Woohoo.  I'm sure I will break the harness somehow in short order, but at least it will not shake the boat apart.  It has the new style torsion suspension that I'm told has a less bouncy ride.

I have to spend some time setting the boat up on it though because the rocker of the hull does not allow it to sit flat on the bunks and there is currently only one roller up front.  I think I will add another roller aft to support the hull weight, but I'm not really sure the best way to handle it (suggestions are appreciated).

Friday, June 16, 2017

Moving Aft

With the forward deck area roughed in, it was time to move aft and fill in some structural details that should really stiffen the boat up.  As I've said in previous posts, I have gone rogue for the interior and other than a few vague reference points, I am not working off the plans anymore.  It's not that they aren't good, I just wanted something a bit different.

So with that said, I spent a fair amount of time staring at the empty hull trying to envision where everything would go and how it would fit.  After many beers and many days, I finally arrived at an executable plan.  Part of the consternation I had came from deciding the elevation of the floor which dictates the elevation off the hull of the frames.  I ended up running a taught string fore and aft and found an elevation that would allow for flat floors for the entire length of the cockpit and a transition area to seat with watertight tanks on each side.  To add to the mix, I'm planning on a removable thwart to allow for a sleeping area when not underway.

Once I established elevations with the string, I made hot glue templates at the frame locations and cut out the 4 frames needed with the bandsaw.  After a few adjustments with the rasp to get everything fit well, I mixed up a batch of thickened epoxy and fileted them in place.

After letting them cure I made templates for the side panels of the cockpit seats. Since these will be watertight, they are extending down below the frames and will be filleted and taped to the hull.  I notched out the location of each frame for both sides and got them fitting in place nicely like an interlocking puzzle.  I cut white pine stringers (I think that's the wrong word) to add some rigidity where they mount to the frames and epoxied everything in place.  I know that eastern white pine is not particularly rot resistant, but it is light and all of it will be encapsulated in epoxy and not continuosly exposed to water, so I think I'm good.  Plus around here it is really cheap.

After waiting for another cure cycle I cut more stringers to help strengthen up the top and to act as a surface to mate the top of the seats to and did some more epoxying... The endless small bits glued into place that have to wait to cure is getting old at this point, but what can I do.

Finally, I made templates for the top of the seats, but left the forward section open for now.  I plan on mounting a bulkhead bilge pump (Whale Compact 50) on one side so I want to have an access panel from the top for servicing, but I haven't decided which side to mount it on yet.  The side that I don't mount it on will end up being epoxied in place.  The other, more practical reason for not cutting the seat tops to full length is that I am trying to save wood and only have a 4'x4' sheet left.

Next up I will be taping the frames over the filets with 75mm tape as well as the bottom of the seat sides.  I'll probably hold off gluing the seat tops in place until I get some of the aft deck framing completed.

Thursday, June 8, 2017


I have not been good about keeping up with the blog over the past few weeks, but I haven't been idle. In fact, I've done a lot of small bits of work that all add up to serious progress, but it's tough to know where to start.

I guess the best place is where I left off last time with the forward section;  I had begun to put in the deck beams at that point and had finished up the structural pieces for the mast step and partners.  I continued on with more deck beams and settled on a hatch configuration (rectangular 250 x 380 mm). Epoxying them in place proved to be a bit of a challenge because there wasn't a lot to clamp to so it took a bit of creativity to get it all done.

As I progress further into the build, I'm amazed at how the little stuff really slows you down (especially when there is epoxy involved that has a cure time).  It seems like the net change of the boat is much smaller than at the start, but that's what everyone tells you; I just didn't want to listen.

Anyway, once I had all the deck beams in place I put three coats of white rustoleum paint in the forward area that would be soon be covered by a deck and only accessible by a hatch. I also did three coats in the cubby areas adjacent to the mast step that would also only have access via deck plates. The paint took a considerable amount of time to dry because the temps were cool, so it ended up taking many more days than I had hoped.  Once the third coat was mostly dry, I started fitting out the deck.

I used the same 6mm plywood for the deck and once I had it fitted nicely (I used 2 pieces to span the area), I buttered everything up with epoxy and screwed it in place with #8 3/4" SS screws.  Once that set up, I ran a thick filet down each side of the hull and covered with 75 mm tape to really tie it into the hull. I will eventually sheath the whole deck in 6oz cloth just to provide a little more strength and abrasion resistance, but I'm calling it good for now.