Friday, February 29, 2008

Pre Start Update

SandyBottom called at about 9:20 (21:20) this evening just to check that her speed dial worked...that it did! She said that she was ready to go, and that SOS & DWSB we putting the last touches on their packing list. All sounded in good spirits. I'm sure they were anxious to get some good sleep for the early start and to make up for the restless days ahead.

Safe passage to all of our fellow WaterTribers.

Here are a couple overhead views of the start area. The great expanse South of the start line is the mouth of Tampa Bay. Last year Tampa Bay was a riot...I think this year will be a little more tame.

A major decision has to be made by all racers from the get go, that is go outside for speed, or stay inside for safety. I'll talk a little more about this tomorrow.

Geared and rearing to go!

T-minus 10 hours and counting. From the looks of things SOS and DWSB are set for a great start tomorrow. Here's the latest feed I've gotten...

Dawn Patrol rigged and ready just above the high water mark on Mullet Key.

Right now the forecast favors the sailors with 5-10 knot winds swinging back and forth between NE and NW, and the seas are looking like 2-3 feet. These conditions will be ideal for SOS and DWSB as they are new to their craft (Dawn Patrol). I'm sure they will get to take great advantage of the red and white striped staysail.

If any of you don't know SOS and DWSB are competing in this years Everglades Challenge in a B&B Yacht Designs Core Sound 20. This craft has proven itself in previous years, and even has 3 entries this year (or variations there of). SOS, SB, and DWSB chose to turn the stock CS20 plans into a weekend cruiser by building a cockpit on the bow end. It's really a nice design and Dawn Patrol has a set of expert builders for her construction (SOS, DWSB, and SB). I'm sure she'll see plenty of time in Jordan lake and many weekends in the vast sounds of the North Carolina coast.

That's all for now, I'll be back on for live coverage of the start (7 AM EST) of the 2008 Everglades Challenge. No news from SandyBottom thus far, but it looks to be another great year for racing. To see how everyone in this year's Everglades Challenge be sure to checkout the WaterTribe website where actual location updates are posted. This year there is a nifty new Google Map feature that shows where your favorite challenger was last located, and the locations of anybody else around them.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Welcome aboard!

Hello fellow regular readers and armchair WaterTribers.

I just want to get a post in here and welcome all to the global home of SandyBottom, SOS, and DancesWithSandyBottom for the next week. My name is Kotzebue and I will be your tour guide for the next week (officially starting Saturday). As you might have guessed SandyBottom, SOS, and DancesWithSandyBottom will be the captains for our harrowing adventure.

I'm kind of new at this tour guide thing. DancesWithSandyBottom and I have switch places from last year and I have a great deal to live up to. He is a world class adventure tour guide, I am a novice everything. I'll try my best to live up to previous years tour guiding, but I also have a second job so we'll see how it goes.

Some of you out there (I doubt many) are new to this site, but have been rerouted from SandyBottom's tour page; I hope you enjoy your stay with the Sailing Adventures of SOS and Friends.

That's all for now. I'll keep you up to date as the sights, sounds, and words stream in to Everglades Challenge Adventures 2008 HQ. I'd love to see some amazing hit counts so tell all you adventurous friends and family.

PS: Comment away!

A long night

It was a long...long...night. All thats left is rigging, and a few more cleats here and there.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It was there the whole time!?!?!

Lots of work has been done since the move on Saturday. (I accidentally posted the last post on my mom's blog by the way) so here is some of the story.

Saturday we had hoped to have the new trailer ready for the move but alas it was no where to be found. The manager of the store that we ordered the trailer from said that it was in route but apparently, no one was able to get in touch with the driver of the delivery so even the manufacturer didn't know where our trailer was. So we borrowed a loner trailer for the weekend in hopes that the new one would arrive on Tues. (the place is closed on Mondays, go figure). The loner was a monster of trailer with tandem axles and brakes but it worked. So we get a call yesterday from the store and they say that they screwed up a little bit and the delivery driver had dropped off our new trailer early Friday morning in the back lot of the store (apparently where they rarely go) and no one knew that it had been delivered. The driver then went to the hospital to be with his wife who delivered twins which explains why he was unavailable. So they had it the whole time!!! Today, Dad is driving back to the place with our boat and their trailer where they will be hoisting our boat onto the new trailer. (should be some good pics to come).

Saturday, after the move I just kept on trucking and started installing hardware. We decided not to cut any corners with this and have been drilling out every hole for the hardware bigger and filling with epoxy before re drilling and installing. Meanwhile, Dad completed the long and monotonous task of installing the two sail tracks on the masts with all 200+ rivets. Sunday we dropped in the mizzen mast and clamped the main in to the tabernacle. WOWEEE it's a sailboat. We stepped back in awe. Then got back to work drilling the hole for the tabernacle pivot pin (In the rain) and the base pin. Then we tested out the tabernacle pivot. PERFECT. it just cleared the mizzen with about an inch to spare. Back up and bolted in, we raised the sails!!! Now it really looked like a boat. We did this so that we could determine how much of the masts we needed to cut off the ends (we left them long when we glued the sections together) No sprits yet though. We took everything down and Dad epoxied in the main mast tabernacle blocks into the main mast and riveted on the leftover sail track to both masts evenly while I worked on installing more hardware.

Monday, I got home around 5:00pm and started drilling holes for more hardware. We pulled the boat out again and tried out the new lower cut masts and raised the sails again. I also raised up the mizzen staysail to check the tack attachment placement and halyard block placement on the mizzen. All perfect, just need to rivet the block to the top of the mast and install the tack eyelets. We also raised up the sprits and set and marked the angle and marked where we needed to cut the sprits shorter to the right length and drilled out holes to be epoxy filled for the sprit hardware. Then back into the garage (where it is warmer but not much) to finish the rest of the hardware bedding. I drilled holes for the oarlocks, cleats (main and mizzen), fairleads (main and mizzen), centerboard hardware, bow U-bolt, Transom ladder, Anderson Bailer and also we glued in the base bolt for the tabernacle by bedding a lock nut into the front side of the tabernacle.

Today (Tuesday) I will go back home and install all the hardware while dad finishes the hatches. He has been working on the hinges and the fit of his beautiful fiberglass molded drain gutters on the hatches and it sure has paid off, the hatches are beautiful. The boat will be on the new trailer and there should be nothing stopping us from rigging the boat to completion today aside from cutting lines to their final length. And then ITS DONE....well almost.

There were some things that we have not started yet. We still need to make a mast gallows for trailering (probably just a temp one from pine) and also a plate to cover the cabin foot well (probably also temporary). We also need to make a seat board that is removable that will be used when rowing that just rests on the seat tops in the cockpit. We decided to leave off the gunwale strip for the EC because it would just be too much work. We will make and install it after the race and be careful not to bang up the edges next week. We are also planning to cut out an emergency rudder (probably just bare plywood cut to the right profile) juuuuuust in case. A broken rudder would make us pretty dead in the water. In the glades, a broken rudder would be an interesting problem to solve without a pre-planned spare. We will also have some spare fir stick stock on board (probably 2x2) and a sprit splint (aluminum tube that the two broken ends of a sprit could fit in) in case of sprit failure.

While Dad and I have been working on sails, rigging, and hatches, Mom has not been left out and has been spending ALL of her time either packing and preparing GPS's OR working on the cabin door that she is sewing for us from heavy cloth. It will be beautiful. She has been ignoring her boat for fear that we will not get done if she does not help and she is probably right. We will need to work on her boat as well as ours when we arrive in Tampa. Also, Mom was able to move my flight up to Thursday at 12:45pm which will put me in Tampa around 2:30pm. So I will be arriving a full day earlier which will be great because Dad and I will have some daylight to finish rigging the boat and hit the grocery for food supplies.

My friend Trey (skipper with me for Velocity Sailing) has been a great help in getting some of the hardware and misc supplies here and there. He has a large inventory of used parts that he uses to fix up used boats. I also borrowed a secret weapon from him that Dad and I will use during those long black MOONLESS nights in the glades. Lets just say, it will illuminate the situation.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Weekend Approaches

The third to last coat of paint went on last night in the cockpit (Thanks to mom) and the decks (Dad and I). The cockpit is much harder to paint. Pictures soon. Today (friday) we will put on the non skid additive layer in the cockpit and the side decks and lightly sand the second to last coat before putting the final coat on top. Dad laid up the last hatch drain assembly for the aft hatch and we made the oarlock riser blocks.

Here is what we think is left to do between now and Tues :

-Paint on non-skid
-Last coat of paint
-Pick up the trailer
-Move boat (Saturday)
-Rivet sail tracks onto masts
-Cut masts to final length and install hardware and end caps
-Paint rudder cheeks
-Varnish thwart, oars, sprits (2 more coats), rudder, tiller (3 coats)
-Install drain/bailer
-Install cleats, blocks, hardware: deck, thwart, masts, sprits, centerboard, rudder cheeks.
-Install ladder
-Install rudder gudgeons on transom and rudder housing
-Install centerboard
-Install main mast in tabernacle
-Install bow and transom U-bolts
-Make/install fabric cabin door.
-Install hatches with hinges
-Name the boat
-Put name on boat

-Plan(route, food, cloths, gear)/Complete the EC (THE EASY PART?)...knock on wood.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thursday Update ( 6 days till "pencils down" )

Yesterday I went home to work on the rudder and help with the painting. Dad got 4 of the 5 hatch drain assemblies installed and we put a coat of paint on the decks and cabin. I glued the rudder cheeks together and installed the tiller as well.

Mom put a coat of varnish on the center thwart, oars and sprits and was applying a second coat of topcoat to the decks and cabin this morning. Saturday is a 50% chance of light rain so far so we are crossing our fingers that it will stay dry until in the afternoon.

The sails and line arrived today from B and B yachts. They had been waiting on the battens to send them out. Graham and Carla have without a doubt been the most dependable and helpful resources so far in our boat building experience. When we need that extra gallon of epoxy (which has happened more than once), POOF there it is on the doorstep. Like magic! But really they are just that good. Thanks a million Carla and Graham for all your help.

Today we will get a third coat on the decks and a coat (or maybe two) in the cockpit. The oars, sprits and thwart can be re-coated in 12 hrs and we need 3-4 coats on them so that is ongoing as well. We want to get 6 coats of paint on the boat total before the move. The "topcoat" is a hard shell enamel paint that goes on very thin and dries to the touch in about 30-45min and is then ready to be re-coated.'s backbreaking work so there is recovery time involved. Plus we are sanding the second to last coat lightly for a smoother finish and adding non-skid additive as well in some areas. It is 90% cure in 24hrs (I think) and then requires about 10 days to reach 100% hardness.

If it comes down to it, we will just install the hardware "as needed" when we push off the beach :) but hopefully it won't come to that because it sounds difficult.

Monday, February 18, 2008


It's all coming together now in these last 9 days before the parents pull out of the driveway and head for Tampa. All the parts and pieces are converging in the family room. Most of the hardware is in (blocks, cleats, ladder, oarlocks), and Dad picked up the beautiful new oars and scull on Thursday. The bumpers are here and the inflatable beach rollers are on their way as well.
Friday night, Dad and I installed the cabin roof hand rails which serve both to help support the roof and to hang onto when going forward to reef the main or set the anchor. We also installed a toe rail along the side of the cabin near the gunwale to prevent a foot from slipping off the side deck. We will also have non skid additive on the decks and cockpit floor.

Saturday, we got a coat of primer in the cockpit and got a final coat of epoxy on the railing pieces in the early morning. I worked on the rudder installation and Dad built some more hatch lid drain channels out of fiberglass.

Sunday we finished up the sanding and I left for school as Mom was putting the second coat of primer on the cabin and decks. The rudder is receiving its final coats of epoxy in the next couple of days. It will then get varnished. The center thwart and oars are also on the list to be varnished.

We are planning a boat moving "party" this weekend where we will attempt (with 15-20 friends who are readily volunteering to help) to move the boat from its land-locked basement prison into the wild out of doors. If you are not too far away and want to lend a hand, leave me your email in a message and I'll shoot you the details. We have been slowly conditioning the boat to get used to the outside by leaving the doors and windows open downstairs which also conveniently serves as good ventilation when working with the epoxy :) Here is the latest. It look like this just might work.

Also, this just in!!! Mike was visited again by our friendly flying squirrel just minutes before I got home and snapped this glamor shot. We are already thinking of ways to give it some propulsion (we are aerospace engineers) Maybe a little jet pack mounted on its back. If only we could hold it down and take some measurements and find its C.G. hmmm.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Whats in a name?

I have been back and forth to work on the boat all of last week and most of this week working feverishly on schoolwork and sleeping as much as possible in between. All the while we have been trying to think of a name. The parents are stressing out over it more that me but I must admit that I have criticized more than added to the list of name choices until now. I wouldn't exactly say that I believe in fate but sometimes I do think things come to you for a reason.

This evening Mike and I were doing homework in the apartment when we heard a noise in the kitchen. We had heard the noise before in the night and in the morning had found some insulation picked out of the ceiling inside the cabinet above the stove and curiously, Mike had found three nice nuts (yes nuts, like off a tree) carefully deposited in a box of corn starch. The box was otherwise undisturbed and I swore Mike was pulling my leg. He assured me that he was as surprised as me so we figured we had a squirrel that found its way under the roof of the building. Well tonight he made his appearance.

We were alerted by the noise and crept to the kitchen with my camera, turned the lights on and pulled the cabinet doors open as fast as we could. We met the visitor face to face like a deer in headlights and we scared the crap out of him. He promptly hid behind a bag of corn meal. When we pulled back the bag, there he was...a little squirrel. But no ordinary squirrel, this was a FLYING SQUIRREL. (A Southern Flying Squirrel we found out). Almost immediately after he had worked up enough courage to jet back into the ceiling Mike said, "Alan, thats what you could name the boat, Flying Squirrel". I thought about it for a second and I kind of liked it. Maybe it doesn't make much sense as a boat name but I think its my top pick for just that reason. Here is a video that Mike got upon meeting our visitor. Pretty cute little feller.

Anyway, out of curiosity, what name is deserving of our boat. At the top of the list so far is "Dawn Patrol" (named after my mom), "Aurora" (dawn in latin, also named after my mom), "Flying Squirrel" (brought to us by a furry visitor), "Dragonfly" (works because it is a Cat Ketch), and "Course Hound" (suggested by friend Trey as a play on core sound and buoy racing). What do you think? (I'm partial to Flying Squirrel)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Light at the end of the tunnel?

Well, not quite but ALMOST. Lots done this past weekend. The sails and hardware are on the way and we are building and epoxying as fast as we can. Here is the very latest! There are a lot of pictures here and I don't have time to write about all of them but if you have a question about something, don't hesitate to leave a comment.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Cut, Glue, Sand, Glue, repeat

Deck structure...check. Plans for this weekend include:
-Install deck
-Install cabin roof and sides
-Install tabernacle
-Paint masts

Got epoxy in my hair today....unfortunately, vinegar seems to work.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

About Time

It's about time I got some pictures of the boat to date so here they are. As of Saturday night we got the final coat of epoxy in the cabin and 1 coat on the entire cockpit. Lots of small jobs being worked on all at the same time and everything seems to be in a constant state of stickiness. 2 more coats in the cockpit and then more painting. Side decks, bow deck and cabin roof on after that.

The List:
Shape the rudder, seal and varnish
Finish rudder cheek and install
Varnish the center thwart
Shape and seal the Sprit booms
Install the tabernacle
Install side decks
Install bow decks
Install cabin roof pieces
Paint cockpit
Paint cabin
Paint decks
Paint masts and install sail track
Order and install blocks, eyes, fairleads, cleats, ect.
Pick up new trailer (yup, we bought one)

Thats it in a nutshell (I think). Timing is key now so that we don't get stuck with no time to paint something we forgot. 3 weekends left!