Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Friggin in the Riggin

As I near the end of the build and approach some semblance of a launch date I realize how many little things I still need to wrap up.  So many in fact, that I feel a bit like a mental patient who hasn't taken his meds in a week or so.  The shop looks like hurricane Irma hit it and I'm getting a bit crazy.

As of my last count, I have the following major projects in a partially completed state:

  1.  Daggerboard
  2.  Rudder assembly (the whole steering thing in fact with Norwegian tiller)
  3.  Floorboards
  4.  Interior fairing and paint
  5.  Sails and Rig

There are lots of other things that I know I won't get done before my first test launch this fall, but the projects above are 'must haves' if I want to get the boat in the water and test it out before winter inevitably hits Central New Hampshire.  Being a backwards kind of guy, I decided to focus on #5 (sails and rig) this week.  On paper, it seems like I had this all wrapped up a while ago, but if you do a little math, having a bunch of spars I built that are hanging on a wall does not make a completed rig.

In between other projects from the week before, we had a good stretch of weather that gave me the opportunity to protect the spars using Deks Olje D1.  It's a combination of oils that need to be reapplied from time to time, but it is way easier than actually varnishing and gives the spars a nice warm satin finish.  We'll see how it holds up, but it's easy to apply and looks nice so far.

In the previous post I also mentioned leathering up the chafe areas on the spars so I had that taken care of as well, but that was about it for rig.  All the lines, blocks, sails, and everything else that makes a rig a rig needed to be done.

The sails had shown up several weeks before from Michael Storer's Really Simple Sails (He designed the Goat Island Skiff which is a similar boat to the Campion Apple).  I had taken them out briefly only to verify that the measurements were correct, but waited for the spars to be Dek'd before doing anything with them.

I am a total newbie when it comes to lug rigs (or any traditional rig for the matter), so this is all a learning curve for me.  A yard always meant something you grow grass on and make your kids mow; but now there are two on the boat.  Very confusing, and there seems to be about 10 million ways to rig a balanced lug depending on your budget.  I've spent almost every night for the last month researching the rigging procedure and asking questions on the woodenboat forum and other resources.  Now the time had come to just jump in and find out what sucks.

I had decided to use a mast traveler based on a bunch of posts recommending it in the woodenboat forum.  The traveler is basically a steel hoop with a hook to hold onto the yard and a halyard tied to the top end.  They don't bind on the mast and make the whole rig very easy to disassemble.

My welding skills are pretty weak, but it looked like the kind of project I could do.  I went through a number of iterations before settling on a design that I could live with and actually worked.  I used stainless steel rod but the weld is just regular steel so I coated them with rustoleum to keep out some corrosion.  I still have to leather the rings, but I think they will do fine.

Onto the sail, I started by lacing up the mizzen to the yard by tying each end off tight (the throat and peak) and then lacing the grommets in between with nylon cord that came with the sail. Pretty easy, but I'm sure it will need to be adjusted once I actually sail this thing.  Next, I tied off the tack and clew to the fore and aft ends of the boom.

For the mast I through bolted a Harken Carbo 29 cheek block to the aft side and ran Dynema line through it and tied it off to the mast traveler I made.  I tested it on our back deck by tying the mast to picnic table benches and hoisting the sail.
Amazingly, it didn't look terrible and despite me wondering how the yard would raise up above the mast, it did in fact do so.  Once you see it done, it makes total sense.  I added a cleat to the mizzen mast on the starboard side and moved onto the main mast.

The main was almost the same just bigger.  The only difference was that I used another Harken Carbo 29 cheek block through bolted to the aft end of the boom and a clam cleat just forward of that to make an easily adjustable outhaul.  Then I tied the tack to the forward end of the boom and ran a line from the clew through the outhaul block and made it fast in the clam cleat.

Finally, it was time to bring it all together.  I pulled the boat out of the shop and stepped both masts and raised the sails for a dry sail.  Again, I was amazed that it all worked and looked halfway decent. I showed some of the photos to Michael Storer (see above) who is an expert on balanced lug sails and he gave me a few pointers on what could be improved, but it wasn't a disaster.

I still have to rig the main sheet to the boom and setup the boomkin and sheet for the mizzen, but I've mounted the main sheet swivel base on the daggerboard trunk, so I'm pretty close to crossing this project off the list.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


I'm still a bit hobbled with my new hip this week and I'm trying to take it easy so I took on a few less physically demanding tasks this week.  The leathering on the mast step I did the week before surgery was actually fairly fun so I was looking forward to working on the spar leathers to prevent chafing. The problem is that I have never done any stitching, let alone on thick leather.  Lucky for me though, the interwebs are full of tutorials and videos detailing every step of the process.

I started with the mizzen yard because it was the smallest and hopefully not too visible knowing that I'm never all that great on the first go round.  I figured that by the time I got to the main boom, my work would be acceptable.

After finding the mizzen yard attachment point (520 mm from front end), I took a piece of 9 inch wide leather and wrapped it around the yard to find the circumference.  Once I had that, I used my wife's fancy cutting tools (a Fiskars roller shear and some sort of quilting cutting board) to cut the width needed to circle the yard with a small gap in between the seam (so
the stitches pull tight).

Next I marked a line 1/4" from the edge of each side and took a four hole leather punch and hammered out holes on both sides.  I found the leather punch at Hobby Lobby and it works quite well as long as you put the leather your working with over a piece of softwood so when you hammer on the punch there is something for the punch to dig into once it pierces the leather.

I applied a coat of contact cement to the back of the leather and the area on the yard where the leather will be covering and then pressed it in place and held it there with a spring clamp.  Using waxed sail twine, I unrolled about 7 feet or so and fitted a big sailcloth needle on either end.  I won't go into detail of the herring stitch (aka baseball stitch) because there are literally hundreds of tutorials online that describe it better than I can, but it is pretty simple and easy to do as long as you pay reasonable attention.

My mind did wander a bit a few times and I skipped a stitch and was forced to redo a few rows, but overall it went pretty well and it took about 30 minutes to do the whole thing.  It's not perfect, but it seems strong and should provide good chafing protection.  Just three more to do and I expect each one will get better as I perfect the technique.

Friday, September 15, 2017


I've been a bit slow on the updates lately, but I've been picking away at a lot of little things and not really finishing any one thing.  After painting the boat, I gave the paint a few days to dry, my son and I flipped the boat back over onto the trailer bunks so I could get more work done on the interior. There aren't any big jobs left, but lots of little things that will just suck up time. On top of all of that, I had my hip replaced last Thursday and I had a bunch of non-boat related things to take care of before getting my hip chopped and taking a few weeks off work.

Anyway, once the boat was flipped over I started on the bow area to get that completed.  It was in pretty decent shape, but I still had to frame in the hatch opening and fair a few spots on the deck.  I glued in the plywood riser pieces and followed up with a round of fairing compound on the surrounding deck area.  Another round of fairing and a bunch of sanding and I felt like the foredeck area was good for primer.  

At the same time, I started working on the mast partner assembly.  Knowing at the start that the mast step and foredeck design was of my own doing, there was no plan to follow, so it took me quite a bit of thought (ie. drinking beer while staring at boat) to come up with a design.  The number one feature I wanted in the mast partners was that it should be able to be easily opened and closed so the mast could be stepped and unstepped in seconds.

What I came
up with is best described with photos, but a few words on how it works can't hurt.  So the design is basically a thick piece of Sapele with a 4 in circle cut in the center and then that piece cut across the circle perpendicular to the centerline of the boat.  On the aft piece, I mounted a 1/8" stainless steel plate in which 2 - 5/16" bolts come up from the surrounding deck area and capture the piece with wingnuts.

It took a bunch of trial and error to come up with the final design, but I think it should work pretty well and should certainly be strong enough.  For some of the final test fittings, I pulled the boat out of the shop and did a trail step and it seemed to work as planned.  I slide the butt of the mast into the step, raise it up to full height, and then slip the aft piece over the 5/16" bolts and then snug it all down with wingnuts.

After I was satisfied with the design, I leathered the new partner to protect the mast from chafing. I had never done it before but found a number of tutorials online and it didn't seem too hard.  I found some suitable leather pieces and 1/2" copper tacks online and went to town.  I cut out the pattern lathered up both the back of the leather and wood with contact cement and once dry I set the leather onto the wood and tacked it all in place with the copper tacks.  I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out, we'll see how it holds up over time.

Finally, I put a few coats of varnish on the partner assembly (not on the leather) and put two coats of primer down on the foredeck that I had faired and prepped earlier.