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 deck.

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 edge.

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.

The Deck

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 weatherstrip.

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 anchors.

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.

The Mast

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.

Although Composite 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 fiberglass.

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 the sheave.

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 unstayed spars).

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 internally.

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. Very annoying.

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.

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