Monday, December 31, 2007

Operation upside down a success!

Yesterday was another milestone in our boat building adventure. With the help of some friends (Steve and Rob) who were home for the holidays we were able to flip the hull over so that work can begin on the bottom of the hull.

The first step was to raise the boat up so that we could remove the cradle underneath. We clamped a couple of 2x4s to the transom to support the back end and did the same for the bow with some "safety sawhorses" on either side just in case. After we removed the cradle we took off the bow supports and set the bow on the floor. Then we removed the the transom supports and set the back end on the floor. We felt that with the boat on the floor it would be easier to rotate over and then raise up again. We are working on carpet under plastic so the ground has some padding.

Then with Rob and Steve's help we rotated the hull half way onto its port side being careful not to rest any of the weight of the hull on the side panel above the level of the seat tops because there is still very little structure there. After that we lifted the bow up above our heads which allowed us to rotate the hull easily from the back end and she just rolled over on the edges of the transom. This way we avoided having to lift the entire weight of the boat at once and put all the weight on the solid structure of the transom. This was Rob's idea.

While the boat was still upright and on "stilts" we used a bathroom scale to get an approximate weight of the hull. We took two measurements (one at the bow and one at the stern) and....drumroll...... she weighed in at a slim and trim 375lbs. Not really sure if that is a good weight to have at this point but it seems okay to me. Once the bottom is done I can almost count the thing left to do on one hand. Almost.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ready for flipping

Today we went to visit my grandparents for most of the day. When we got back we trimmed the edges off the seat tops and finished up the cabin seat top structure. Once the boat is flipped we will be able to trim the centerboard trunk, glue on the keel strip, sand and add the fiberglass tape to the chines and then fiberglass the bottom before sanding and painting. It will be nice to have a new view of the hull. Lame post sorry, pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Have a Seat

It was a rainy day today and we got somewhat of a late start but she is looking more like a boat with the seat tops glued in. We are very happy with the way they fit. Before sealing off the seat bays for good we installed a 1/2" ID PVC pipe conduit along the outside upper edge that will be used later on to run wiring. I suspect that my Mom and Dad will eventually outfit the boat with a small electric trolling motor for relaxing headway in still air. My Dad has lots of ideas for solar power on board. Permanent bow and stern lights are also planned.

Here are some pics of the hardwood structure in the cabin area on the hull bottom and of the seat top support joinery. The "short" stringer that runs parallel to the keel batten is seen in the first picture from overhead. It is cut short by a bulkhead that we added to box in the cabin footwell (which my foot is pointing into). The footwell is boxed in by that bulkhead, the centerboard trunk, the cabin entry bulkhead and another small vertical plate parallel to the trunk. Also in the first picture, the bulkhead that cuts the picture in half from top to bottom lies directly over the joint where the bottom of the hull transitions from 1/4" ply to 3/8" ply. The stringers are there to help strengthen this transition and provide more stiffness to to the hull and they do that very well!

Here are the joints we used in the cabin seat structure. We basically preserved the longest beams in each bay and tried to remove the least amount of material from those beams. Since it will not be possible to stand in our cabin, we went pretty minimal on the size of our beams. I think they will be plenty strong for sitting on and lying down on when your weight is distributed much more than when you are standing. Some of the beams were not glued in because they will be incorporated into the bottom of cabin hatches.
We also ordered the additional fiberglass, epoxy, and paint that we will be needing soon and hope to be on track for making some big time progress on the bottom before I head back to Raleigh in about 10 more days.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Got Epoxy?

After applying a final coat of epoxy to all of the inside surfaces in the hull we glued in the cabin seat framework and laid down all of the cockpit seat tops upside down for a coat of epoxy. Tomorrow we plan to glue the cockpit seat tops on as well as install the tabernacle bulkhead. We also made the final decisions on where to place the hatches. There will be seven in all. Three on each side of the cockpit and one in the rear under the tiller.

There are lots of things to work on and we stayed busy all day. We bought a 3" hole saw and put the new drill press to work on the mizzen mast base.

Saturday we visit the Grandparents so we are scheduling the big flip for Sunday. Meanwhile we need to order another one or two gallons of epoxy and after taking inventory, a roll of fiberglass for the bottom of the hull.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Epoxy Epoxy Everywhere

It was a rainy day in Chapel Hill, great day for some boat building. I'm going to try to do an update every evening from now on since we are planning on making a lot of progress. This morning Dad and I made room for a new addition to the basement workshop. An old Sears Craftsman 150 floor mount Drill Press (Model# 103). She was the perfect Christmas present for my dad. I found it on Craigslist and cleaned it up a little but it was already in great shape. I'm sure we will find lots of uses for it.

We got the inside of the hull completely sanded and got a coat of epoxy on all of the interior surfaces. In the morning we will put another coat on before the first coat completely sets to take advantage of the chemical bond that the second coat can get on the first so that we don't have to sand it all again. We also decided to lay fiberglass in the floor of the cockpit and the cabin floor for wear resistance. (Before/After)
After we coated the inside of the hull Dad started working on the mast base from 3 layers of 3/8" plywood laminated together. Soon we will be gluing in the cabin seat structure and the cockpit seat tops and hatch supports. We are not sure yet when we will flip over the hull since we are making a lot of progress on the inside I think we will wait until we get the seat tops glued on. Dad commented that he discovered the best tool for spreading epoxy. He says, my fingers are the best tool, "I know they are the best because when I get epoxy on my hands it ends up on everything".

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

With exams last week and lots to do there was little time for posting. But if I can help it, I will be sure to fill everyone in and keep up with the updates.

Last week after exams I drove Mike to the airport for his break that he will be spending in CO with family and friends. I'm sure he is having a blast. Then it was off off to give Trey a hand moving into a new place in Raleigh which included my services in helping him design and construct a "man bench" in the new garage that will certainly serve more than a few fixer up boats in the coming months. Pictures on the way.

After I got home I got to do some bike shopping and on Saturday Mom and I spent a good long while in the bike shop while I was fitted for a new road bike for my Ironman triathalon training. On Sunday I picked up my brand spanking new 18.3lb, Chrismas/Birthday present, 2008 Cannondale CAAD9-5 compact aluminum exreme speed machine. Its a sweet ride. Especially with a wireless computer on board.

The boat is coming right along. In these last few days Dad has done more work than I while I caught up with some friends from high school but we are in full swing now and pushing ahead. We have installed the centerboard trunk (which came out beautifully) and Dad has done all of the bracing for the cabin seat tops. We are planning to finish up sanding the inside surfaces tomorrow and lay down another coat of epoxy or two in preparation for paint and seat tops and gluing in the cabin seat supports. See the latest album below. We also had a chance to mock up the cabin structure in plastic sheet. Have a look.

I also picked up the mast sections from Randy last week. And the System Three Yatch Primer came in the mail too. We are on track for some real progress. Just need to DO IT.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Team NORSA at it again

For the last 3 weeks or so, Adam, Mike and I had planned a ride from Raleigh North to Virgilina, VA. Virgilina is a very small and unique town in that half of it is in NC and half in VA a total of about 120miles round trip and the plan was to complete the whole ride in one day leaving early in the morning. Tim was also exited about it and joined the group as did Adam's friend Steve who drove down from DC for the weekend. Team NORSA was on the road again.

We rolled out from Base Camp (Mike and I's apartment) at 7:36am Sat. morning bundled up for the low 40 degree temperatures and 100% overcast skies that greeted us. The forecast for the day was low 40s all day with increasing chance of rain after about 1pm in Raleigh and 100% chance in the evening. Being an optimistic bunch we just decided that we would probably be ok. We took flashy bike lights along since we figured that we would not make it back before dark. We were off.

From left: Adam, Steve, Mike, Tim (I w/ camera). It was cold but we were making good progress and having fun. Averaging about 15mph and with purpose we were exited to be on an adventure and awaited what challenges might lie ahead of us. Dun dun dun (...thats foreshadowing).

Adam had one flat tire at the bottom of a hill just before we got to Falls Lake which is exceptionally low due to the severe drought in and around Raleigh. We waited up for him and all was well. We made it to a gas station for a bathroom break in Stem, NC about 32miles out when the rain started. Mike noticed the drizzle at first and then bigger drizzle quickly followed. A check on time revealed that we would definitely not be making it home before and dark and while we are a rough and tough bunch, even we were not prepared to ride home in the the the freezing cold. No thanks. We voted, and with more weather on its way decided to return to base camp. It would be lunch in Raleigh at IHOP for this chilled crew

But not before photo proof of our progress as the Stem Town Hall Police Department building served as a backdrop. With a renewed energy we headed back to Raleigh. About a quarter of the way back we outran the drizzle storm that was moving west south west and the roads were dry again but it was definitely a little colder.

We made it home around 12:30 after riding a solid 65miles. Feeling good about our accomplishment and now fully realizing how much the temperature had dropped as the darker clouds filled in faster than expected we enjoyed a satisfying IHOP lunch and good conversation. Team NORSA has unofficially vowed to attempt the ride again in the near future. If your interested in coming along just let us know. Anyone who participates in a NORSA affiliated event automatically becomes a NORSA member whether they want to or not. Be sure to visit the official Team NORSA webpage for other exiting NORSA trip reports and upcoming events.

Highlight Reels:
Adam Breaks away...

Adam Races the Train...

Friday, December 14, 2007

A nice break and a big hole!

I came home yesterday to work on the boat for a bit before heading back to finish up exams. Dad had already installed the protective rope on the leading edge of the centerboard which looks very nice. He came up with a new method of gouging out a shallow groove in the leading edge for the rope to sit in that turned out great. While he worked on the tabernacle bulkhead, I started finishing the centerboard trunk.

We got the doublers glued onto the trunk sides and the 3/4" holes drilled in the doublers, trunk and board. Then we glued on the doublers and filled the holes with a thickened epoxy syrup that will act as a bushing for the stainless steel centerboard pin that will hold the board in the trunk. Before all that, we had to do what we had put off for a while now....Cut a giant hole in the bottom of the boat for the centerboard trunk. We chose to deviate from the plans with out trunk instillation because I thought it would be easier to get a perfect fit and I really like the result. The plans call for the trunk sides to sit ontop of the hull while we chose to have the trunk sides pierce the hull. All it means is that the joint edge shows up on the bottom of the hull rather than the inside of the trunk. It won't matter in the long run as everything gets fiberglass tape and epoxy. The trunk is fiberglassed to the boat with 3 layers of tape. The stock method however does mean that you don't have to make quite as big of a hole. Our centerboard fits perfectly into its slot with just over 1/32" of clearance on all sides.

Dad got the tabernacle top beam and lower front beam glued on and after we set aside the epoxied parts we cut out the cockpit seat tops. Now she really looks like a boat! After we get the tabernacle bulkhead glassed in and the trunk together and installed we will flip her over and finish the bottom. Time to order that paint for real. The aluminum for the masts should be coming in this weekend too. Grahams crew and fellow ECer graciously offered to drive the sections and track back with him from the coast to Durham so that we could just pick them up. Thanks Randy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Watching the weather yesterday I couldn't help but feel bad for Adam who took the week off for a short vacation down to Puerto Rico with his lady friend Julie. Trying to get away from the...cold? winter? temperatures??? here in Raleigh and all they get is rain all week. I guess its not all bad. At least he GETS rain. Raleigh posted an all time record high yesterday for December of 81 degrees. Sorry, Brian but I think I'll go for a run...I mean do some more studying...after I go for a run.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I can quit any time I want...I swear

It's been hard sitting in Raleigh studying this weekend while my dad has all the fun. I seem to have some kind of addiction. Anyway, Dad got the seat sides fully filleted and glassed into the soul of the boat. I think everything below the level of the seat tops is done now except the centerboard trunk. The centerboard is now full glassed and the leading edge rope is ready to be installed to protect the board from impacts.

We also managed to find an adapter that lets us hook the orbital sander direct to the shopvac. The clumsy hose is much easier to deal with than epoxy dust and invisible fiberglass slivers. The holes in the bottom of the sander pad suck all the dust away. A winning combo, just try it.

With any luck, I'll come home after my exam on Wednesday and install the centerboard trunk when Dad isn't looking, Muahahah. Meanwhile, its the plank...I mean books for me.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


While I'm busy studying for exams next week, dad is pressing onward with the foredeck beam and the tabernacle bulkhead. If all goes to plan, we will have the centerboard trunk and tabernacle bulkhead glassed in by the end of this weekend and get a few more coats of epoxy on the inside and maybe even get her flipped over to start work on the hull.

Here is some sail for thought. This is the sixty-six foot AAPT entrant from the 2004 Sydney to Hobart race skippered by Sean Langman showing off their kite spinnaker. Kites were disallowed the following year but in 2004 they were legal. AAPT placed 2nd in 2004 into Hobart in 04 from 3rd the year before. This whopping sail/kite is 420sqm (4,570 sqft!!!). Remember thats a 66ft long boat. Just something to keep the brain juices flowing for everyone out there building a boat. Link: 12-5-07 AAPT kite Spinnaker

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Have a Seat

Well almost. Now that all the underlying structures for the seat tops are glued in we can start sizing and fitting the seat tops in the cockpit and the cabin. Click the picture for the full album with more pics (different angles).

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Rolex Regatta 2008!

Trey is hard at work on plans for the 2008 Rolex regatta in St. Thomas. I'm not sure how we will be racing yet, together or on separate cats but we sure did have a blast last time. Here is a video of Team Velocity on our chartered Nacra 20 "WAR" in the 07 rolex regatta. In other news, I'll get pictures of the latest on the CS20 as soon as I get em!

Saturday, December 01, 2007


New update! As of friday night Dad glued in the cabin seat stringers around the perimeter of the cabin in preperation for cabin seat tops. I worked on the transom and aft seat stringers and installed the vertical transom support and the top beam. Here are some pictures.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Team RAF videos

Here's some videos that I had forgot about that I found on google video.

Team RAF's very first sea trail in a homebuilt sailing canoe rented from the school for 8 bucks and my windsurfer rig plus a sunfish board for leeway and a paddle to steer. 4 guys in a tub, blub, blub, blub.

Also, Mike, Matt and I out on the hobie 18 on Jordan lake ripping it up.

Wish we had time to go sailing. School is such a party pooper.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Back to school....mumble..grrrrr.. mumble

Yesterday we got the forward, lower cabin and side bulkheads glued in and today we installed the diagonal stringers in the bow and the straight stringers behind the forward bulkhead. We also finalized the location of the side wall in the cabin floor. Dad is going to install the middle cabin bulkhead tomorrow and then we will be ready to size cut and install the cockpit and cabin seat sides and seat longerons. Then we will be ready for a few more coats of epoxy and then painting of the closed off areas before gluing on seat tops and working on the hatches. Soon enough we'll be flipping the hull over for some fiberglassing and painting.

You probably knew that cats don't like water but did you know that they like boats. Sailors have taken ships cats on board for years. My cat has never been on a boat but she would probably be a pretty good ships cat. She sleeps so much she probably wouldn't know the difference.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving update

Happy day after thanksgiving. We had a fun day visiting with family today. It was nice to see everyone again. We got some more progress made on the boat this evening and plan to continue working on Sat. afternoon and Sunday. I have to get some homework done too though.

The fiberglass tape came in on Wed. (Hooray) and we got to work immediately and glassed the port seam and installed the aft bulkhead that will support the rear seat. Then Thurs. we removed the temporary bulkhead, fitted the side bulkheads for gluing and made some final decisions concerning the cuddy cabin. We decided on the seat height inside the cabin as well as where the entryway bulkhead should go.

We played with the idea of extending the cabin door bulkhead to the center thwart giving a LOT of cabin space. But maybe too much. And the cabin door would have to be offset to one side (probably opposite the centerboard) because of the mizzen mast location and other problems as well such as the sail getting in the way of the cabin door when running downwind. We decided on a location that leaves 7ft of horizontal room inside the cabin for laying down. We also decided that the narrow width inside the cabin around the centerboard was too small to warrant feet room on both sides of the keel batten (thing that runs down the middle of the boat) so there will only be foot space on the port side of the cabin. Thus the starboard seat top inside the cabin will be wider than the port seat top. A board will be made such that the gap between the centerboard trunk and the port seat top can be closed when in "sleeping" mode so that there will be ample sleeping space for two persons. This picture gives you an idea of the space there will be, i.e. not much. But enough to change cloths and get out of the elements. There should be enough room for 2 people to sit side by side. Also, I am sitting the wrong way for what I just described since there would be no foot room on the starboard side. Also the centerboard is offset to starboard by about 3 inches due to the main mast. This has a negligible effect on sailing performance and makes the keel stronger since the keel batten does not have to be split by the board.

This picture is as of tonight (firday night) and you can see (from the bow back) the tabernacle bulkhead, shortened forward bulkhead, the lower half of the cabin entry bulkhead and the side bulkheads. None of which are glued in yet (thats for tomorrow). The sticks are representative of the cabin entry bulkhead. The top stick is 48 inches above the keel batten which we decided was a "comfortable" height for a sitting person. The cabin roof will curve forward and down meeting the bow deck at the location of the forward bulkhead. The tabernacle bulkhead is the furthest vertical wall inside the cabin. There will be a 8 to 12 inch wide (not sure yet) rail around the cabin side for walking forward to the main mast. We are planning another bulkhead between the forward bulkhead and the entry bulkhead that will end the foot well in the cabin. There will be storage under the cabin seats on port and starboard as well as under the forward seat.

This picture shows the cabin entry bulkhead and centerboard stuck in. It is not in the correct position (it's way too far forward) but you get the idea. We fiberglassed the centerboard trunk sides today as well and hope to get the trunk installed this weekend as well. The trunk will be installed first then the lower cabin door bulkhead will be installed around it. We are planning to sink the trunk sides through the hull and butt the king posts against and bottom and trim the trunk sides off when we flip the hull over. This will make more sense with pictures later. If we get the side bulkheads in tomorrow we can also start on the vertical cockpit seat sides and hardwood longerons and we also need to finish up the hardwood on the transom that goes across the top and the vertical piece plus the aft seat support stringer across the middle of the transom. Aaaand we need still need to glue in the bottom stringers that support the 1/4inch forward bottom panels under all those cabin seat bulkheads.

With any luck, we will be ready for epoxy paint after this weekend because we will be ready to close up the cockpit seats with seat tops!!! Ok maybe we won't get thaaaat far but you have to think BIG. Hey dad, better order the epoxy paint.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving approaches

Last weekend we finished shaping the centerboard and got the tabernacle bulkhead cut out and made a pattern for the forward bulkhead. With fiberglass tape on its way we hope to get a LOT done over Thanksgiving. I took the centerboard back to school to do some final touches on it with a joiner. We also got out sprit booms roughed out and just need to shape them. I'll try to get some pics of the centerboard up soon. Meanwhile off to class.

Here's a funny picture I found.

Put on some lifejackets people!

Friday, November 16, 2007

The training continues

Out for a ride after class this morning NORSA members Adam and Mike and I enjoy a 12mile bike ride around west raleigh to umstead. Brrrr cold and getting colder. Adam and I continue our training for the Ironman Louisville in 08. Going home this weekend for some more boat work. (Oops sorry bout the pics 11-18-07)

Good sesh!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Your building a WHAT? Can you do that?"

More progress on the boat this weekend. We filleted and glassed the starboard seam before we ran out of fiberglass tape but still managed to: Get the keel Batten glued in and the side bulkheads made as well as the partial aft bulkhead which will support the rear bench seat (in place of the optional aft deck). We also made some initial measurements to figure out where the mizzen mast, center thwart and tabernacle bulkhead will go and got the centerboard trunk sides cut out as well as glued together the strips that make up the centerboard itself.

Lately around town while running errands and such we run into people that my dad knows from work or wherever and after I am introduced, my dad says, "yeah, were just picking up some tools (or whatever), were building a sailboat together." Pretty much without fail there is a double take involved from the other person followed by something like: "Aaaaa Ooooo very nice"....or.... "Is this something that you do a lot?"....or my personal favorite...."Really!?...Can you do that?"

I always loved working with wood and remember building stuff with my dad when I was really little like little wood chests, benches, birdhouses and stuff but I have really started to remember how much fun woodworking is since we have started the boat. In case you haven't caught on yet, boat building is definitely high on my "practical skills to know" list. How about you?

Note to self...hard to eat pizza with dust mask on.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Messing Around With Boats

Finally I got a chance to post a weekend update. Saturday was a great day of racing on Jordan Lake. We had 13 Hobie 16 show up for the first annual "SWEET SIXTEEN REGATTA". Prizes and swag was provided by hobie and sunjammers sunglasses. Race committee consisted of NORSA's own Adam Domanski and some NC State Sailing club groupies. We got in 5 races and had some great wind.

After an awesome 2nd place finish in the first race John Cathcart (my weekend crew) and I were stoked but with a string of poor starts and a couple of starboard port incidents at A mark soon made us ready for a hotdog or two and we settled with 6th place overall. We had a great time. Good wind, a boat that didn't break (too much) and we didn't get wet. Can't do much better than that. (Click the picture for more regatta photos. Thanks Jana)

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better than this, I saw a Yellow Cat Ketch sailboat launching from Vista and starting to sail around carefully avoiding our race course. No Way, I thought. Could it be a Core Sound? Yup, sure enough I sailed over (which nearly cost us a start..oops) and said hey to Ken Potts who I had not met until that day but who is an active contributor to the B and B yachts forum on and was actually already following my Dad and I's build of our CS20 on the site. Actually he was the first to reply to the thread I started. Anyway, after we hit the beach I went over and we talked boats and the EC for a while before parting ways. Ken is out on Jordan Lake almost every other weekend with his recently finished CS17 "Southbound" and I've got an open sailing invitation and a... summer job offer. COOL. Thanks Ken. Great to meet you. I hope you don't mind I posted a picture of your boat. It looks GREAT.

That evening we got the Inwales dry fitted and trimmed them to length. We also got the transom wired in and checked that everything was square and symmetric. Sunday we got the Inwales glued in and had just enough time to get the entire center seam down the keel line filleted and glassed.
It took us a while to figure out just how to go about this because it was impossible to reach the seam at the bow from the side of the boat. We ended up with a mission impossiblesque hanging stretcher that I laid on while I glassed the seam starting at the bow and worked back. Since the boat was on wheels, we thought we would just roll it forward as we worked. It ended up being a little harder than that but it got the job done.
If you are familiar with the boat plans you may notice that we are missing the forward bulkhead. We are working on incorporating a cuddy cabin in the design of the boat that will be based a lot on the design of the EC22 (especially from a structural standpoint). Since the boat will be used for week long getaways and weekend camping cruises, we thought a cabin would be a great addition to the design. It will also be really nice to have a place to sit up or stretch out that is out of the wind or rain during the EC.