Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hull #103 is born

Well, this weekend we made much progress and a lot of things went together just right.

On Thursday we cut the keel batten, Inwales and stringers from a honk'n 1"x12"x22' and cut the side panels to their final shape using a long thing strip of wood to spline the final edges for fair curves. We spent a lot of time making sure our curves were fair and correct which is very important to beautiful lines on the boat. We are working in a pretty small space and it is a challenge figuring out how to maneuver the long pieces around the room.

Friday, I made it back home after school to find that my Dad had went all out on some new tools including a new plane, Jigsaw, random orbital sander, new Carpenters square (a BIG ONE) and a bunch of clamps. The new Bosch Jig Saw is SWEET. 10 bucks cheaper than the nicer DeWalt Model, a lot easier to use AND more precise of a cut.

We glued the stringers to the side panels fastening them with drywall screws while the epoxy set up and got to work marking and cutting the final shape of the bottom panels. This went pretty fast having practiced on the sides and soon after, we removed the screws from the stringers as the epoxy had mostly set. The next step was to plane a taper into the bow end of the stringer on the inside to allow the hull to bend at the bow and then attach the side panels to the bottom panels at the bows in preparation for opening the hull. We finished up late and decided to sleep in since our epoxy would be drying anyway.

Saturday morning begun with another trip to our local Lowe's warehouse for some 2x6s and some more drywall screws in order to construct what would become our hull support cradles that we will assemble the hull on top of. We decided to go with a modified I-beam design for the cradle which uses two 2x6s running the full length of the cradle screwed to each other in an upside down "T" shape which holds the lower board in tension when loaded and prevents the top edge from bending. We used a cheap laser leveling device to align the frames on the beam and check that they were level with each other. In this picture the bottom and side panels are visible on the far left leaning up against the wall supported in the middle to keep the sides from falling down and breaking the bow joint.

The actual hull cradle stations are attached to this center beam and to 3 legs that extend perpendicularly out at the ends and the middle. Our temporary bulkhead is made of cheap 3/4" oriented strand board which is about 6 bucks for a 4x8 sheet. We made the cradles from the leftover OSB after cutting out the temporary center bulkhead.

After constructing the cradle, we laid the now joined hull panels which are sandwiched together in mirror image fashion onto sawhorses to complete the bow profile and stitch the keel line with brass wire to hold the panels together while opening. Here the bow is shown "wired up"

The next sequence of events from this step involves wrestling the flat hull sides out and into their final position onto the hull cradles into what looks something like a boat when you are done. This is the part that gives this method of construction its name, the "butterfly technique". We were a little worried because all the pictures of this step that we have seen elsewhere seemed to include 10 or so other "helpers" (insert nervous chuckle) to stand around the edges and support the sides into their final position. While this would have been nice, it was just us so instead we devised a support system of 2x4s that angle out away from the cradles and guided the side panels down and in where they would end up. It worked very well.

That said, the next step is still best explained visually but in order to help you with your mental images, the dialog between Dad and I went something like this...

Ok, lets try moving it this...err uhh, wait wait no no no thats bad...ok how about we. Ok now go over there. Yeah hold that.....ok now down, ok wait wait just stop there... "IT'S HEAVY"!.... ok thats good. Little more, no too far........(more of the same)....

(Click for larger/better picture)

Insert HARD PART here

And POOF, it's a boat. It's all downhill from here right? More to come.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nice Butt....Joints

Dad got some work done at home today on the panels that we left to layup last weekend. The butt joins look great from what I can see. I am planning a trip home after class tomorrow to get some more done before the weekend. We are hoping to get the side panel stringers glued on and the bow joint made in preparation for "opening the book" on the hull using the butterfly-like method of creating the hull shape.

We move steadily forward.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My Old Man and the EC

The Everglades Challenge 2007 was an experience that I will never forget and as Mike, Matt, Chris and I returned home from Florida I was already thinking about next year. These past months, visions of solo Kruger adventures and wild class 4 boats danced in my head daily and filled the margins of my class notebooks. I though I might go solo and build a Sandflea or maybe just a Matt Layden design after seeing Wizard yet again amaze everyone or maybe a faster trimaran to compete with the Tridarka and the Adventure Tri. The new Holopuni OC3 Mark 2 would be awesome 2 up but price and distance make it impractical. more drawing and dreaming....

Then I remembered how much fun it was to have company on the race and I started thinking that another team might be possible. Mike wants to do it again and I have also sparked interests in Tim and Adam. Tim is now interested in the UM in a sea kayak and Adam is hoping to enter the EC in a Laser dinghy/sculling conversion. Anyone else who is thinking about doing the race for the first time or just not sure it they will have the time, all I can say to you is DO IT!

So...... After a suggestion from my mom (Sandybottom) and some quick research, I proposed that my Dad and I should build a Graham Byrnes designed Core Sound 20 and race together in 2008. Hazaaaa!

My Dad (who is not an old man) was reluctant at first. He has acted as land crew for my Mom during every Watertribe event and Team RAF's as well last year and has always said he liked it better on that side of this race. But it just seemed to fit. I need a boat and a sailing partner and he wants a boat (especially a Byrnes design) and I want him to sail with me. Anyway, we already started so now he has to do it.

On a side note, RidgeRunner and GreyBeard (also EC vets) are also going to be racing in a CS-20 so double the fun! Doug has been working on his for a while though and is quite a bit farther along. We will be pressed for time to get the boat done for March. Boy does that sound familiar.

Some background:
Graham Byrnes, owner of B and B yatch designs is a naval architect and passionate expereinced sailor who is a three time Everglades Challenge veteran and took home the win for class 4 in 2007 with his super fast EC-22 finishing in 2 days and 8 hours and 56 min. Graham took my Dad (DancesWithSandyBottom), Wizard and I out for a sail after the race in Key Largo and we got to see just what his boat was made of (fast stuff).
His Cat Ketch rigged designs are efficient, easy to rig, easy to sail and easy to reef. Its a wonder they are not seen more often. My Dad fell in love with the EC-22 which is really a souped up version of the Core Sound 20 with all the go fast mods for weight reduction and maximum sail area. After shooting Graham a few emails, he was excited to help us in any way he could and we were excited to be building such a well designed boat.

Progress to Date:
The very next weekend (last Saturday) we visited Graham and his wife Carla at their shop in Vandermere, NC where we got to talk to him more about his design, see his workshop and...pick up some supplies. Thanks for a great visit Graham (nice dock!). We returned home to a cleaned out basement which we had prepared the weekend before and started work immediately so as to maximize the time we were both at home since I am still studying full time in Raleigh, a 40 min. drive away. Here are some shots of our progress from 1 weekend! As my GrandPop would say..."I don't mess around". I like to think this is a phrase shared by all of the Stewarts.

"There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats".
-Kenneth Graham

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Busy Week

Lots of homework and studying this week. Lots to do so that I can have the weekend free to work on ... other projects. I'll let you know how it goes.

I found this quote in the corner of my calendar planner. How nice that someone thought to put uplifting quotes throughout.

"You always pass failure on the way to success"
-Mickey Rooney

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bear Island. Another salty adventure.

Just pics for now. I'll post a report when I get the time. I'm a little....busy. Muahahahahah.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Team Norsa home again

Back from an awesome weekend of Bushwhacking, canoing, and mountain biking. The weary team returns with sore muscles and smiles on our faces.

We arrived Friday late afternoon and set up camp at Morrow Mountain State Park group campground and dropped off our trailer before heading down to God's Country Outfitters to check in with the race director.

We met up with one of the guys who was renting one of the extra canoes that we brought down for other teams (we brought 2 extra and rented them at $40 a pop). He was racing the 12hr like us in a 2 man team and we got to talking since he looked like he had been around the racing circuit before. He was from Pennsylvania and we knew that we wanted to talk to this guy a little longer as soon as we heard him say..."Yeah, we wanted to get in one more before we went to nationals". He also said that he mostly does 24hr races and made himself out to be quite the hotshot . Team shirts and all, you get the idea (We had a hard time justifying why they were staying in a hotel friday night). Our other favorite quote was..."You guys have altimeters on your watches right"? We must have asked each other about 100 times during the race.."TIM! whats the altimeter reading? I think were almost there!" They were nice guys really, fun to talk to.

Anyway, we hit up the Walmart Super center for dinner supplies and powerbars and a whistle for Tim to finish up our required gear (which was never checked), headed back to camp, ate and did some last minute rigging and packing of food, water and boats. Racing started at 6:45am.

We were up at 6am and after the pre-breifing, with a blow of the horn, it was a mad dash to the top of Morrow Mt. to get our maps. Very steep switchbacks for about 3 miles and we were the first ones to the top. We felt good biking in close formation up the mountain passing other packs with ease (and maybe pushing a little hard so early on). We joked later that the newbies were saying "holy shit," while the old guys were calling us newbies.

We plotted our points and headed back down to the get the boats, cross the river and got to the transition area with out incident. Our first stop was CP2 (mandatory) where we completed the "special challenge", a high ropes course. The course was pretty easy but waiting in line for 15min. to get on the stupid thing was hard. We were all feeling really good, NEXT.

Off on the bike we hit all the waypoints designed for the bike (near a bike or jeep trail) and it was 6 hours of HARD biking over extreme grades and rocks with breif moments of jogging through the woods to the CP. We did have to backtrack once after getting a little exited on a downhill run and blowing by 40 points but we decided to go back for it. We finally finished the bike course with about 5:30 hrs remaining. We got in the boats again and went for the canoe points.

We decided (for some reason) that we could hit the canoe check points faster by landing and running through the woods to them instead of paddling up to them so thats what we did. We landed and started running. We were off by about a 1/2 mile on the first one and it took us a while to figure it out but we got it (it was hanging off a limb over the water, imagine that). The second one took us pretty far off course but we did find it (well Adam did) literally he just happened upon it walking toward the river. The return to the boats took us onto to a road where we jogged for a while before taking a creek bed back to the canoes (A pretty major detour) By this time we were down to 1hr and we needed to get back to base camp.

We made it across the river post haste and hurried up the trail to base camp and turned in our map with about 15min to spare. This is the part where you are supposed to start the Orienteering course so thats what we did. We threw everything down, got the "O" map, located the first point and ran for it. We made it back and finished together with about 1 minute to spare and 5 more points added to our score for the first O point.

We got some mad props for our "never quit" attitude and found out that the hot shots from PA didn't get any of the "O" points which we thought was kind of weird since when we finished they had already showered and everything so they must have thrown in the towel hours ago (not very NORSA'esque)

Pizza, Subways and gatorade awaited us at the finish line (a welcome sight) and we ate...a lot while we talked to Altimeter guy and his partner comparing routes and strategies that we used. The awards followed immediately afterward and though we didn't get top 3 we were still really happy with our days accomplishments. There was a raffle of sorts also. Tim scored a $30 floor pump, Mike got trail guide for Uwharrie forest, Adam got a bottle of electrolyte powder and I got another event T-shirt.

We slept well that night and woke up around 8am. We left the camp ground at 9:30 and made it back to Raleigh by noon. The whole trip ended up costing us about $10/person plus the $90/person entry fee and thats not including all the free stuff we got. Not to shabby.

Great trip, awesome adventure. Another one for the NORSA record books.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Team NORSA (NC State version) packed up and ready to hit the road for the Gold Nugget Adventure Race this weekend in Troy, NC. Wish us Luck.

From Left: Mike, Alan, Tim, Adam

Monday, October 01, 2007

Van Halen

Back from the weekend and what a weekend it was. Went home on friday and got to visit with my little sister home from App State for the weekend and hung out with the fam. I went on a 5 mile run that afternoon with a new pair of kicks that i picked up earlier in the week from Raleigh Running Outfitters (Brooks Adrenaline GTS 7) they are pretty sweet and no more knee pain to speak of although most of the knee pain I had experienced in the past was most likely due to what my mom called "weekend warrior running" and my lack of proper stretching especially my IT band (a subject on which I am now educated). Saturday morning I went on a 25mile bike with mom and dad (dad on his new recumbent bike) and promptly fell asleep when I got home until about 3pm.

Trey and friend Brandon picked me up from the Hill around 4pm and we hit the road destined for Greensboro, NC where we had tickets to Van Halen's second concert of their 2007 tour. We hit the store for some pregame essentials and joined the masses in the parking lot outside the Greensboro Colosseum. A few people stopped to talk to us mostly drunk old dudes who wanted to tell us some story about the last time they saw Van Halen. Our favorite question of the night (being that the three of us were just over 20 years old) was to ask these guys, "So...what were the 80's like"? It got some laughs and some weird looks.
Bob Marley's son "Ziggy" Marley opened and when Van Halen came out it was like nothing I had ever seen. Seeing Eddie Van Halen play Eruption LIVE was really really really incredible. I left with a Van Halen t-shirt, ringing eardrums and a new respect for the electric guitar.

Stay tuned for updates on team NORSA's participation in the Gold Nugget Adventure race this coming weekend. That is all