Construction - VIII
Progress Report - Apr. to Jul. 2001
After enduring the usual
problems and excitement associated with moving into a new
house, it was time to return my attention to the boat.
There is still lots to do. It's amazing how much time (and
expense) can be absorbed with attaching hardware to the
Then there's the rudder that I've been
successfully ignoring up to this point. I glued together
the parts some time ago, but I kept putting off the
shaping the rudder to a NACA cross-section. Kirby
provided a sheet of offsets for what the rudder should
look like at 3 different "waterlines". So I cut
out templates from plywood, grabbed my power planer, held
my breath, and started creating lots of wood shavings.
Once I got it close to something related to the template,
then I continued with the belt sander.
The one thing I've learned about dating and marriage
is that you aim for perfection, then marry the closest
thing to it. The second time around, I did damn good. On
the rudder, though, I stopped in the region of "good
enough". I was a bit concerned about the rudder
being too thin if I followed the templates exactly. So I
left it a bit thicker and a bit fuller on the leading
Here we see both the top and
bottom parts of the rudder in the orientation that
they'll be assembled. The foil part of the rudder has
been coated with 10 oz. cloth for greater strength and to
seal everything up tight. The plans show a diagonal
member on the top part to resist the torsional stress on
the case as the rudder is turned. My diagonal is slightly crooked so it won't
interfere with the bottom pintle strap, shown here.
Most standard pintles are designed for rudders that are 1-1/2"
thick. The case here is a little over 3" thick. So I
bought the longest straps I could find and did a
considerable amount of readjustment to get them to honor
the new dimensions. The clip that holds the rudder in
place is visible above the lower pintle.
Lining up the pintles with the gudgeons during
installation is a bit of a practiced art. It only takes a
fraction of a dight to make them bind or refuse to slip
into place. It took a bit of encouragement (encouragement = hammer) before everything cooperated.
After I finally put the rudder together, I installed 2
control lines. One for raising the rudder, and one for
holding it down. Both of these lines are led to cleats on
top of the tiller. At this point I am skeptical that one
small line will be enough to hold the rudder down,
especially when moving along smartly.
When I moved the boat to the new house, I hadn't
installed the cockpit lockers yet. My biggest
consternation was over the latches. I could buy those
really nice elliptical snap clasps, but at $35.00 each I
looked around for other cheaper alternatives. And the
picture here shows what I installed.
Perhaps not the best or the prettiest solution, but they
work. On top of the hatch, the line is held by a knot and
an eyestrap. There are no sharp points to cut skin or
clothes. Each hatch is sealed underneath by a foam
Here's a closer picture of the forward end of the cockpit. The compass has a LED
light for night sailing. The bronze padeye below the
compass is for attaching harnesses. Singlehanding and
harnesses are just two things that always go together.
Here's a shot of the starboard side with the winch and rope clutches installed.
The halyard and the outhaul will be led through the
clutches. The cunningham will be led to a horn cleat on
the port side. Missing here are the fairleads that feed
the lines aft from the mast.
The plans don't specify a
winch. I didn't think much of it until I read about one
Seaward Fox owner who had trouble raising his similar
sized mainsail. He gave up and installed a #6 winch on
his mast. Winches are also good for hauling in stubborn
The two horn cleats on the bulkhead are for hanging
any spare lines, like the extra 30 ft. of halyard when
the sail is raised.
One nice June day a semi-tractor trailer pulled up to my
house and deposited a 45lb. box. I took the
cardboard wrapping off and the result appears in this pic.
My first duty beyond the careful inspection was to put
the mast in the boat to make sure the base fit correctly.
That was a scary moment. Not because I was nervous it
wouldn't fit, but because man-handling a long pole a few
inches shy of 31 ft. while balancing on a tiny foredeck
was walking the fine edge of disaster. Fortunately it fit
and I didn't break it, but it reinforced the need for a
Mast Raising System.
Engineering said that the mast would only suffer
cosmetically from UV rays, I wanted to paint it to match
the rest of my color scheme.
If you've ever looked at a galvanic chart, you'll see
that carbon is at one end and aluminum is almost at the
other end. When the two come together, like when the mast
is in the mast tube and you add an agent like salt water, you get a
combination that corrodes the aluminum. To prevent this,
Comp. Eng. wrapped the buried part with standard
After the usual pattern of priming and
painting, I attached the sailtrack, halyard block, and
quite a few eyestraps.
Here's a close up of the top, complete with halyard and windvane. I packed the top
of the mast with epoxy and filler, then cut a slot for
I've never worked with carbon fiber before.
I learned quickly how tough it can be. I used stainless
steel screws in pre-drilled holes to attach the sailtrack.
Turning the screws became really tough duty. After
snapping off several, I had to drill the holes slightly
bigger before it would let me set them all the way in. I
don't think they'll go anywhere.
The halyard does not go inside the mast as the
designer recommends. Instead, I've fed the halyard
through eyestaps on the front of the mast. This way, the
mast remains watertight since there is no hole at the
masthead, and the halyard will always follow the bend of
the mast (critical to maintaining luff tension on
This pic shows the detail around the lazy jack attachment. The sailtrack is on the
right, the halyard fed through an eyestrap on the left.
The top part of the lazy jack is a 3/32" line that
is tied to an eyestrap on each side of the mast. I chose
to use line instead of the recommended wire because line
is a little easier to rig and un-rig.
Screws were used for all of the mast hardware save for one: the gooseneck.
Comp. Eng. recommended through-bolting the gooseneck
fitting. That provided a bit of a challenge since the
gooseneck is 5 ft. from the mast butt. I taped a wrench
to a long stick, taped the nut and washer to the wrench,
then slid the whole contraption inside the mast while
feeding the bolt from the outside. It turned out easier
than I figured.
The whole boom was assembled by Dwyer Mast
from the dimensions I gave them. It arrived in my
backyard a couple of weeks after the mast. The fittings
at the ends of the boom allow the outhauls to be run
Here's a closeup of the gooseneck and tack fitting. Just like the rudder pintle
straps, the gooseneck fitting had to be adjusted a bit to
conform to the 5" diameter curve.
From the last
two pictures it might be obvious that I was doing a dry
run at putting the rig together.
And here it is, complete with lazy jacks and halyard. The next logical step would
be putting the rig on the boat, but first I needed to put
on my engineering hat and concoct a...
Mast Raising System
The mast, even with all the hardware, is still only
about 45 lbs. Lifting it and swinging it around is not
difficult. But it is very awkward to raise. Being able
rig the boat on my own has always been important. So I
built the aids shown in this pic. The mast crutch holds
the butt in place and helps guide the rest of the mast
while it is raised. Once vertical it is easy to slide the
spar into the mast tube. The cross on the crutch allows
the mast and the boom to sit side by side while I hook up
all of the lines. You'll notice the boom is not attached
to the mast yet.
The crutch on the stern was built to
hold the mast and boom while traveling down the road. I
built a smaller crutch that fits into the mast tube to
hold the forward ends.
Once the spar is in place, I can connect the
gooseneck, remove the Mast Raising System, and commence
connecting the rest of the running rigging.
And here is a pic that attempts to show all of the rig at once. Pretty tough to
do since the mast is so high. The tree behind the boat
caused some difficulty since the mast would get hung up
in the branches during the raising and lowering stages.
But! All this hard effort was for a good
reason. Now I was able to confirm the locations of
additional padeyes and blocks for organizing the numerous
lines. And even more important, it gave me an opportunity
to accurately measure the dimensions for the sail.
I didn't time the mast raising, but the mast lowering
process, complete with all de-rigging and with no help,
took 25 minutes. Not bad.
Here's a somewhat closer pic with most of the running rigging hooked up. Not yet
installed are the cunningham and 2 reefing lines.
The boat's name shows up here, too. A sign shop made it from
vinyl to my font specifications. Installed really easy.
Here's a quick look at one of the oars, now painted. Instead of leathers and
buttons, I used twine wrapped and knotted around the
shaft for protection at the oarlock. I then painted it to
help glue it all together.
I am now waiting very patiently for delivery of my sail. The
ballast has been installed. All safety, navigation, anchoring
gear, and dock lines have been purchased. I still have fenders
and a few organizational things to buy. But once the sail shows
up, it shouldn't take long to get everything ready.