Saturday, July 4, 2015

Hull # 667 Moves On (with some sadness)

June 12, 2015

Well, I finally made the decision to sell the Westsail.  This was a painfully agonizing decision, and one that I still (sort of) regret.  When I look at the bigger picture, however, I know this was the right decision.  Realistically, this project had a completion date some 6 to 7 years out, and this timeline interferes with so much:  time spent with my kiddos, a potential move to a larger home and renting this property, my career has me traveling more often, etc. 

I am a bit of a perfectionist, and so the idea of finishing out an interior, and systems, to meet my requirements made perfect sense to me.  Plus, I just love having a project I can walk out the back door and immerse myself in - shedding the stress of work.  Coming to grips with not finishing a boat to my specifications / wish list of features is difficult, but the tradeoff is worth it.  The Westsail was meant to satisfy my need for a project, and be that boat to sail off in during retirement.  As it stands now not much has changed, those two goals were just slightly modified.  The plan remains for post-career voyaging, but will be in a finished boat needing only minor refitting; the plan for a project remains as well, it just morphed into a Cape Dory Typhoon.  The 19' Typhoon will be kept in the water with plans to sail her as much as I can with the kids.

So, I have years to plan the boat purchase, but more importantly, more time on the water with my kids...and maybe raising crew for the post-career adventures!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Back on The Bottom!

     Since finishing grad school, my free-time has opened up dramatically; however, I have since taken on a project fabricating new brightwork and painting a sailing dinghy (see my time on the W32 has been spare to none!  Well, I have determined to hold myself to at least some amount of time per day to establish the needed "momentum" to complete the build-out....and at least while the W32 is in my possession.  You see, I am at a bit of a cross-roads:  either keep and complete this W32, or....fulfill this nagging desire to own and sail a W42.  Only time will tell which path I follow...I have put a lot in this project thus far (time and money), so my decision needs to be made soon.

Anyway, sticking to the commitment I made to myself, and with daylight burning, I managed to get 1/2 an hour on the starboard bottom sanding.  

Using 80-grit PSA pads on the Porter-Cable 7335, 6" pad, I prepared half of the starboard side for its inevitable 120-grit pass.  With light fading fast, I wrapped things up with "at least some amount of time" spent on the project.  Cheers!

Total Time: .5 hours

Monday, January 6, 2014

Mast Compression Block Install

After final preparations were made to the mast compression block (laminating, wrapping in cloth, fairing minor imperfections), I got around to installing it Sunday, the 5th of January.  The mast compression block would be the final leg of a vertical structure taking the mast load to the keel.  The block measures 6" x 6" x 4.5", a cube, and is laminated in construction; it consists of 4 1/2" thick solid fiberglass sheets, an 8/4" thick teak block, and a 1/2" thick block of purpleheart.  With some last minute trimming of the port mast bulkhead to bring in line with the underside of the floor timber, I vacuumed all surfaces and wiped down with solvent to prepare for the installation.

Placing the solid block into position, I took some measurements for length of cloth (1708 biaxial) and generally preparing for the installation - rehearsing the install mentally so as to avoid unnecessary complications.

The dry-fit from overhead shows good position for the block to accept a distributed load from the floor timber.  A final section of the floor timber will go in after this installation of the mast compression block.  For the picture below, the final 3/4" thick meranti board will be attached to the existing floor timber on the forward side (the upper portion of the picture).  This final section of the floor timber will serve to accept the forward sole substrate.

The dry-fit of the mast compression block standing forward of the floor timber, looking aft from the starboard side...

...and a final picture of the dry-fit from the port side.

Satisfied with the mast compression block's dry-fit, I went ahead and measured for the cloth needed for the installation.  Only one length of 1708 biaxial would be used for this initial bonding in of the compression block, the balance of the pieces would be used to clean up the uneven glass in the forward portion of the salon's bilge.  There were voids that I wanted to fill and clean up in this area.  The glass cut list, shown below, is sitting in the referenced area. 

With final preparations made, I moved the epoxy dispensing system to the boat and set-up a work area for mixing and saturating the cloth.  First step was to mix a small amount of the epoxy to wet-out the work area.

Another shot of the work area prepped for further work.

With the temperature in the mid-70s, I work feverishly through the bonding process to ensure maximum working time before batches of epoxy began to cure - time is money when it comes to working with epoxy!  So, as a result of my frantic pace, I took no pictures of the bonding process.  The remaining pictures show the completed installation of the mast compression block.  Wet cloth can be seen standing  proud of the top of the floor timber, and this will be ground off after it fully cures.  The picture below provides a good overview of the work area.  With thickened epoxy (colloidal silica), I applied a liberal amount directly on the keel / bilge underneath the floor timber.  The uneven surfaces would be filled by this thick mixture and provide an excellent foundation for the block.  I spread a good amount on the top of the block as well, and then placed the 14" length of cloth (saturated with epoxy) on top of the block.  I then slid the block into place, resting underneath the floor timber.  I wrapped the lengths of glass up both the forward and aft side the floor timber, and rolled out air bubbles in the cloth.  With the balance of the thickened epoxy and with a squeegee, I presses the mixture into the voids, top and bottom.

As mentioned above, while I was working in the area, I took the opportunity to address some sloppy glass work from the boat's initial lay-up.  The water tanks will eventually be installed in this portion of the bilge - the main salon, stretching nearly 11 feet - and wanted to prepare as reasonably smooth surface for the bilge.  I began by applying thickened epoxy (colloidal silica) to the voids and valleys.  I then came back with 4 pieces of 1708 biaxial to improve the surface in this forward section.

The mast compression block after the installation, top view.

Finally, the mast compression block installed - standing forward of the floor timber and looking aft.  There will be further tabbing work on the floor timber as well as dressing up the fillets around the base of the mast compression block, but this served as the initial install of the block.

Total Time: 5 Hrs.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Engine Pan: Go or No-Go? (test-fitting of the B-38 template)

Saturday was the day to see whether the factory laid-up engine pan was to make it into the boat build.  I started by securing a length of string (plumb-bob string mind you, this is hi-tech stuff!), centered in the shaft log.  The string represents the center line of the propeller shaft, and serves as the reference point from which ostensibly the engine is built around.  But to build an engine around this datum, it is first necessary to install an engine bed to accept the engine.  In this case, I was going for the installation of a nice, factory laid-up engine pan (complete with gelcoat).

As you can see, the string is following the center of the shaft log as it is extended into the engine room. The string was pulled tight, and clamped to the forward portion of the engine pan.  

With the string, representing the propeller shaft, pulled tight and secured in its proper plane and positioning, I lowered the B-38 template I recently crafted into position.  With some cajoling of the template and use of some scrap wood, I was able to align the template in the same plane of the string. 

As can be seen below, the string intersects the aft portion of the engine template precisely in the position intended - at the gearbox output / shaft coupling - 3.1" below the bottom of the template.

Ensuring that the engine shared the string's (propeller shaft's) plane, the forward portion of the engine template also intersected the string at 3.1" below the engine template - in this case, the bottom of the engine template represents the bottom of the engine feet.

So with the engine template in position, it was time to talk myself into making this W32 engine pan work in the boat build.  To begin with , I looked over the port side of the template.  In the picture below, the immediate issue of the location of the port aft engine motor mount - represented here by pictured block of wood.  The engine feet have a width dimension at the base of roughly 2.5".  So the first issue is the port side's aft motor mount base interfering with the outboard side of the engine pan.

Moving to the port side's forward engine motor mount, the problem is obvious. The engine for which this pan was originally designed for - the Volvo MD-17, or similar from the '70s - has a wider dimension.  The Beta-38, although holding more horsepower, has a smaller plant dimension, and is more narrow at the forward end.  As a result of the narrow width the B-38, the motor mounts ended up well-inside the engine pan's bearing surface.  If this pan was to be used, I would need to accommodate  this void, and fabricate an extension of the pan's bearing surface to accept the forward motor mount.

Here is another shot of the port side's forward motor mount position, showing it falling inside of the more desired location.

Turning to the starboard side's aft motor mount position, the location here, like that of the port side, is too far outboard.  Again the base of the motor mount could not be seated properly due to the engine pan's outboard surface.

The starboard side's forward motor mount can be clearly see to be too far inboard, missing the pan's engine bearing surface - similar to the port side.

Here is another shot of the starboard side's forward motor mount (again, represented by the wood block in vertical alignment to that of the template), missing the engine pan's bearing surface.  With many of the questions I had now being answered by the alignment of the B-38 template over the engine pan, I had satisfied my curiosity and resigned to the decision to start fresh and build an engine bed customized to the B-38.  Agonizing over this decision was eliminated after further consultation with a friend and experienced builder.  The engine installation is still a ways out, so the B-38 may not ultimately be the engine that I install, or dimensions may change.  For now, however, the engine pan will be a no-go.  

Total Time: 2 Hrs.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Engine Template (Beta 38)

In the early evening I set out to release the recently laminated mast compression block from its clamps.  As can be seen below, there was ample squeeze-out of the thickened epoxy binding these laminations together.  Over the next couple days, I will take time to clean up the surfaces and then bond two layers of 1708 biaxial cloth to further prepare for its installation.  As fun as that was, the primary focus of today's work was to build a template of the proposed engine installation - Beta 38.

First order of business was to deconstruct the pallet I had around the shop over the last couple of months.  The pallet delivered a load of meranti, and while it was not cabinet or marine grade plywood, it was good enough for an engine template.  

I started by ripping the board down to a more manageable size, with a width sufficient enough for the maximum dimension of the engine.  Next I found what would be the center line of the shaft / gearbox output - I struck this line down the length of the board.  Next, I found the maximum starboard dimension from the center line at ~9" - happens to be the air filter.  Alternately, on the port side, I found the maximum dimension to be ~10.5" - the alternator.  So from here, I had the maximum width of the engine, and struck two lines the length of the board to represent these measurements.  I then rip cut the board along these two lines, arriving at a width representative of the engine's overall width.

I then found the location of the center lines of the flexible motor mounts, roughly 8 and 1/8" from the shaft / gearbox output center line, and struck two lines the length of the board.  From the aft end of the board I measured and found the locations of the centers of the four flexible motor mounts, and then pre-drilled the board to secure the four blocks shown below and which represent the motor mounts. The Beta motor mounts have a vertical adjustment of roughly 1" - from 65mm to 90mm.  The blocks used to represent the motor mounts were cut at 3", or a the mid-point of the adjustment range.  Using the mid-point of the adjustment range in the template process, after finding the engine's future resting place, would allow for fine-tuning of the engine's actual installation. 

The template with "motor mounts" attached.

With the 'motor mounts' secured, I turned my attention to securing two blocks, forward and aft, to accept a string that will eventually be run from the shaft log and which will represent the shaft itself.  The center point of the shaft happen to be 3.1" below of the bottom surface of the engine template.  The bottom of the engine template represents the bottom surface of the engine feet - the engine feet are essentially angle irons which secure the engine to the flexible motor mounts.  It is worth noting here that the center point of the shaft / gearbox output is the datum from which all other measurements are taken.

With the engine template constructed, I'm looking forward to finding out if the factory engine pan is a "go" or "no go."

Total Time: 3 Hrs.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mast Compression Block, Interior Cabin Side Prep, Chores

After the excitement of the Christmas holiday, I took some time for a different kind of rest and relaxation - boat building.  Spending a "half-hour or so" in the boat, or the shop, often translates, literally, into hours!  Good times.  The goal for the short amount of time I had was to bond together the various laminations of the mast compression block, but quickly expanded into a few tasks that needed to be completed.  Before I went straight into bonding together the laminations of the compression block, forming one solid block, I brought the material into the boat for a dry fit.  I vacuumed up the fiberglass dust, from the last marathon round of interior surface prep, in and just around the targeted work area, solvent washed the keel underneath the floor timber at the mast bulkheads, and then placed the compression block in place for a dry fit.  The keel steps up roughly 5" inches at the forward end of the main salon - just aft of the mast bulkheads - and continues forward with a slight upward slope.  I placed the compression block on the keel and slide it underneath the floor timber.  The floor timber (a lamination of 4 18mm meranti boards) is installed level; however, due to the upward sloping keel, the void between the top of the mast compression block and the underside of the floor timber varied in dimension from front to back (sorry, no pic).  The aft portion of the void was roughly 1/4", and the forward portion roughly 3/16".  Most of the void would be filled with two layers of 1708 biaxial glass - to be installed prior to installation; and the balance of the void will be filled with colloidal silica-thickened epoxy used to bed the mast compression block in place.  The idea is to create structure from the mast step down to the keel, thereby transferring the load of the mast directly to the keel.  I will install a mast compression post  of Brazilian cherry (roughly 2" X 4") from the cabin overhead to the top of the floor timber - completing the mast step to keel structure.

The mast compression block consisted of four 6" X 6" solid fiberglass boards as the base, followed by a 6" square 8/4 teak block, and capped with a 1/2" purpleheart square.  The glass board will protect the compression block from lingering bilge moisture, and the density of the wood material will serve to provide great structure for transferring the mast load to the keel.

I painted out all surfaces with straight epoxy (no thickening agents), and then immediately came back with an application of epoxy thickened with colloidal silica applied to surfaces that would be bonded.

I wrapped the compression block laminations in plastic, applied 1/2" teak scrap to the exterior and clamped the block tightly while it cured.  The next step will be to apply two layers of 1708 biaxial cloth to help fill in most of the existing void between the top of the mast compression block and the underside of the floor timber.  As stated above, the balance of the void would be filled by thickened epoxy.

After the compression block was left to cure, I turned to cleaning out the smaller shop vac - the one dedicated to the boat.  The fiberglass dust does a quick job of clogging the vac's filter, to the point where it will fail to pick up large fragments.  This was a time-consuming chore, but necessary.

While I was in the boat dry-fitting the mast compression block, I noticed that I had only partially prepped the cabin sides.  This would be the last of the interior surface prep.  I started by removing a small amount of mahogany trim with a 1/4" wood chisel.  Most of this paneling had been removed a while back with a simple pry bar; however, a few stubborn areas remained.  Removing these well-bonded areas by hand would prove less difficult and time-consuming as opposed to using the sander.   With those areas at least 95% taken care of by the chisel, I set out to prep the port and starboard cabin sides.  Using my Porter Cable 7335 (outfitted with a 6" PSA pad), I made relatively quick work of the port side... 

...and the starboard side.  A few voids presented themselves through the prep sanding, and will be filled prior to applying the new wood paneling.

Before I closed up the boat, I brought the factory engine pan back down into the engine room for another test fit.  I was curious to see the fit of the engine pan after having just cut out the old engine beds.  It's a great looking engine pan, and sits very well in place.  The issue I am presented with is the engine's (Beta 38) oil pan and sump clearance, as well as getting access into the deepest part of the bilge - just below the engine pan. I believe I can overcome the engine clearance issue by bonding 3/4" G-10 boards on either side.  The G-10 boards would then be drilled and tapped to accept the motor mounts.  The added height would allow the engine's oil pan to clear the lower portion of the engine pan.  The second challenge: access to the bilge.  The roughly 12" long access just aft of the engine pan (see the "black hole") would be all I would have to get an arm down there.  Perhaps I could cut out a bit of the aft portion of the pan to allow better access...

Total Time: 4 Hrs.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Finished Up Interior Surface Prep

Today I completed the interior sanding, surface prep, in anticipation of further bulkhead installations as well as furniture.  Over the coarse of the afternoon, I worked my way from the bow to the forward side of the mast bulkheads, sanding the hull, overhead, underneath of side decks, and bilge.  I was just way beyond having the energy to snap some photos of the work, but did have some photos available from day one of interior surface prep - showing the engine room.

Starboard engine room.

All sanding was done on the Porter Cable 7335 5" and 7336 6" random orbital sanders, using 40-grit psa pads.

Cockpit locker shown below, port engine room.

Parting shot of the stern.

Total Time: 5 Hrs.