2005 May 22

Here are a few photos of some of the less exciting details that always need to be taken care of along the way. A note to the uninitiated: The chine runners, or winglets, are small horizontally protruding fins at the chines amidship, that help the hull function as a 'lifting body' to resist leeway. A centerboard or other retractible vertical fin would do the job better, but I have a mental allergy to moving parts and complication. The runners are easy to build and they protect the hull rather than weakening it as a board does. They take up no space in the interior, always an issue in a small cruiser.

Pre-fitting the 3 laminations of 3/4" Douglas fir. The first layer is fastened to the hull with temporary through-bolts at each end; succeeding shorter & narrower layers are screwed to the first as they are bent in place. Each piece was roughly pre-fitted to the curve of the hull bottom but left slightly oversize for later fine-tuning:

All 3 layers are glued in place held by the temporary fastenings and a couple clamps where one layer tried to bow out of line. A triangular fir filler strip and loads of brown epoxy putty fill gap where root of runner meets the rounded-over chine:

The runner planed roughly to shape. Being a prototype, at this point they were given a couple coats of epoxy sealer and taken sailing, to see that their shape, size & placement worked as intended (they did). Later some filler was added where needed, and the runner was glassed over with 2-4 layers of 9-oz. for abrasion protection and to tab it strongly to the hull:

The rudder blade was glued up out of 4 layers of 6mm plywood precut to shape, like a bread-&-butter ship model. Here it is being planed to its airfoil cross-sectional shape, using the glue lines in the plywood as visual fairing guides. Pleasant work and fast if you know how to sharpen edge tools:

Rudder head & blade shaped & sanded, ready for fiberglassing. Note smooth curves of plywood glue lines, indicating a fair surface. I've gotten by with just epoxy coating these parts in some boats, but the tougher surface of the glassed parts seems worth the bother. Areas subject to dragging on the bottom get local wear patches of several extra glass layers that can be renewed as needed, hopefully before they wear through to the plywood. Oversize holes will be filled with fiberglass/epoxy gunk and then re-drilled, to form a hard and watertight bearing surface for the pivot bolt and lift line attachment:

The 4 staves of the hollow oval-section mast. Each stave was backed-out with a rounded concave shape, using an off-axis fence on the circular saw. The aft piece has the lightning ground rod (actually a 1/4" o.d. copper tube) and masthead light wiring attached with short fiberglass tabs every couple feet, to keep them from slapping noisily when the boat rolls. Inside surfaces and joints are primed with epoxy and everything is ready to assemble:

And now it's all together, clamped up on blocks on a straight beam for support. See how the 4 backed-out staves come together to create an oval-shaped hollow core. The outside will later be planed down to a similar oval cross section with a uniform wall thickness. The boom was done similarly, but has a simpler square section with flat staves, since its aerodynamics aren't a big deal:

Spreading epoxy/microbaloon fairing filler on the hull with a 10" plastering knife. The entire surface wants to be covered to a certain minimum depth, I don't know what it is, you get a feel for it. I laid the goop on in vertical stripes, reloading the knife for each pass; then tipped-off the entire side lengthwise to even it out. Others more experienced will have their own preferred techniques. (Hole in transom is tiller port):

Later the filler was hand sanded smooth with 60-grit paper on a 3.5" x 12" sanding board. I'm sure well over half of the filler is removed in trying to get a nice fair surface; if you start to get down to the fiberglass in spots it's time to stop and apply more filler in that area. Here you see it near the end of the 2nd pass with 60-grit. Next it will get a coat of lightly filled epoxy sealer and then more sanding with 100-grit. Then a coat or 2 of sanding primer, wet-sanded with 120-grit, before the top coat of 1-part gloss polyurethane paint. Yes it's a lot of work; yes it's worth it. I'm not after a perfect auto-body finish at all, but I do hate to see bumps, uneven shadow lines or fiberglass weave showing through: