Kaimusailing

s/v Kaimu Wharram Catamaran

Vessel Name: Kaimu
Vessel Make/Model: Wharram Custom
Hailing Port: Norwalk, CT
Crew: Andy and the Kaimu Crew
About: Sailors in the Baltimore, Annapolis, DC area.
26 October 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
21 October 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
20 October 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
15 October 2013 | Brigantine NJ
06 October 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
01 October 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
01 October 2013 | Bodkin inlet/Chesapeake Bay
30 September 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
30 September 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
25 September 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
22 September 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
12 September 2013 | Bodking Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
12 September 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
12 September 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
07 September 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
03 September 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
23 August 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
20 August 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
20 August 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
12 August 2013 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
Recent Blog Posts
15 April 2018 | st marys, ga

Hyper Collage

I said I would look for Mel’s hole and it’s on wikipedia at:

14 April 2018 | st marys, ga

Goodbye Art Bell

The work on Kaimu was delayed by the little "20 hour" dinghy project. I was hustling along, but careful not to make any mistakes. Some were saying they hadn't seen me working like this. I knew I was trying to make up time lost, but fortunately, my normal pace doesn't have to be accelerated that much [...]

05 April 2018 | st marys, ga

D4 at Rest

After 3 coats of gloss white had been applied to the dinghy hull I left it to dry while we went out for burgers at the gas station restaurant. The hull was dry to the touch when we returned and I removed the masking tape, turned the dinghy upright and removed the masking tape and plastic from the seats. [...]

04 April 2018 | st marys, ga

D4 Paint Job

After the interior of the dinghy got its last coat of epoxy, the foam pieces that fill the voids under the seats were forced into place. One of the bulkheads that is the aft seat riser for the midships seat was bowed inward and the foam pieces forced it out straight. Good. Now the foam pieces had [...]

31 March 2018 | st marys, ga

D4 ETL

Here is a link to a time lapse video of laminating the gunwales on the D4 dinghy:

29 March 2018 | st marys, ga

Superfoiling and D4 dinghy

My title for the previous post implied that there would be something about the superfoilers who raced their final regatta of the season over the weekend. I thought I had put something in the blog post, but it was not there, so here is a part recap of the regatta on Australian Sunday, our Saturday.

Hyper Collage

15 April 2018 | st marys, ga
Capn Andy/Warm Spring
I said I would look for Mel’s hole and it’s on wikipedia at:
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel%27s_Hole
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Also there are other links.
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I kind of knew I was overdue for a blog post last time, but so much was going on that there was no continuity, nothing to report that made sense. I started on this and that and jumped around on projects. I am still in the middle of that jumping around. It might be a thing that goes on now for a month or so. The fairing of the bottom of Kaimu will take a couple of weeks at least. Then there is bottom paint. Trillium has been purchased by “Doc”, the local medical examiner turned boat-disassembly-guy, but hasn’t been finalized yet. I’m going out into the river and ferrying back some of the gear that is stowed on board Trillium, and that is mostly done. I really like that boat, but I can’t sail two boats, so it is bon voyage.
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I meant to take a break from working with epoxy due to my allergy to it, but it seems I must keep on, it seems that every task involves epoxy, fairing the hull bottoms, glassing the gas tank together. I am monitoring my rash and any other allergic responses to epoxy.
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I meant to post about something called hypercollage photography. It is a digital photography technique that layers multiple images and then makes a high definition image that can be very incongruous. For example:
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https://www.dezeen.com/2013/02/19/photography-by-jim-kazanjian/
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I first ran across this technique on saatchiart.com with works by Ysabel LeMay of the US. If you remember from art class, the background is painted first, then the midground, then the foreground, and things can get more complicated as we add more things inter woven with other things. Putting things in their place can be tedious and time consuming, so her works have a high price, but she limits the number of pieces in a series, so that also ups the price. In the old days of film photography, this sort of thing would be almost impossible, but with CGI, digital photo manipulation, it can be done. Do you like it? It doesn’t matter. The artist likes it.
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Normally when I don’t take a photograph for a while I wonder what is up. Am I depressed, where is my creative vision. Maybe it’s the place I’m in, reading a lot of Stephen Ambrose’s military books, filled with desperate struggles in awful circumstances, all of it expressed in personal accounts by those who somehow survived, but also some who wrote something before they were cut down in battle. He has a few books out there, Band of Brothers is one that most people have heard of, Pegasus Bridge, and the one I’ve just finished, Citizen Army.
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I read a book that has Eisenhower at the forefront near the end of the war, then I start Bill Clinton’s “My Life”, and Eisenhower is a political figure right in the beginning. I get a taste of the time when I was just a toddler and the nation was recovering from the wartime effort. We kids thought of the war as long ago, but it was not long ago, the effects on the nation were still evident. Now we have had a bunch of little wars and whatever anybody thought that the war to end all wars had happened, did not happen. The war to end all wars will be the war that wipes out humanity, but that might not end all wars. It seems that struggle is always a factor in surviving to pass on the DNA, but if you don’t make it, some other life form will.
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I am very proud of one of my nieces who is involved with oceanography, but more marine biology. She has compassion for the marine animals that have to endure chemicals, audio intrusion, and the effects of global warming. The biology is so complex and there is a debate about whether man is a big factor in the global warming cycle. I don’t care about that debate. There is a part of me that aligns with the sense that we are custodians of the environment and we should try to preserve it and pass it on to the next generations. The taildraggers want to make money, want no government regulation, but there are others who are trying to be good citizens of planet earth and work a little bit harder to integrate with nature’s systems.
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I had a thought that if a single boat like Kaimu was concerned about polluting, what about massive cruise ships.
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruise_ship_pollution_in_the_United_States
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It’s very difficult to look at a part of the picture, then look at the whole picture, a person using a latrine in a remote region might not have any clue about what this means when it is projected on a few more billion of humanity. This is kind of like where I can find the dividing line between environmental criminals and those who are innocent. Think about this debate and your own practices, do you pee overboard, what about bucket and chuck it? What if everybody lived on a boat and bucket/chucked it?
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OK, I was just joking, think about what whales get rid of in our pristine waters. But they have to at least have some biological sense that they are polluting their own waters. And the fish and all the other digestive beings that populate the ocean. There is a balance.
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So, I want to put a mechanical head that discharges overboard in the aft storage space in the starboard hull. It will have to have a lock on it so that no one uses it outside the USA mandates, that is, offshore. I will probably only install the through hull fittings and seacocks, then install the plumbing and head later.
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My plan was to work on the gas tank when we got hit with rainy weather, work in the woodshop inside where it is dry. The rain came through in a strong cold front that hit Sunday afternoon.
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The old gas tank was made out of wood and epoxy and maybe it could be tossed out, but it also provided a way to mount the new tank and also retain the old tank’s above deck features, two long storage bins with tops that were in good shape. The gas tank and the anchor rode locker were very similar, one before the mast and the other after. Both had long covers that covered storage bins, in the anchor rode locker one side held the anchor rode and the other side was a rope locker, in the gas tank the bins were shallow and could take winch handles or other commonly used deck tools.
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When I cut the tank part off of the old gas tank, the upper portion kind of fell apart. It was worth resurrecting because it was already sized to fit the space it was removed from, complete with mounting bolt holes (14 of them), so it was easier to repair it than build a new one. In the woodshop I carefully reconstructed it and screwed and glued it back together. Then I turned my attention to the replacement gas tank, an aluminum 22 gallon tank that needed protection from exposure to salt water.
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I had read Russ Brown’s online postings about working with aluminum and to get adhesion to aluminum he wet sanded epoxy to the aluminum’s skin. This prevented oxygen from oxidating the fresh aluminum surface. Normally when you sand aluminum the oxidized surface has no strength, if you glue to it the glue line will separate and all you will have is a coating of aluminum oxide on the glue. I needed to stick paint to aluminum and also have a barrier coat to keep salt water from it. It looked like the Russ Brown method of treating the aluminum with epoxy would enable both issues, so I cleaned the tank with detergent solution and a scotch brite pad, then dried the tank and sanded epoxy into the surface. I used the little harbor freight pad sander with 3M stick on 150 grit paper. I painted the paper with epoxy after I painted the tank. This was to prevent sucking up epoxy from the tank and exposing it to air. Afterwards I threw away the sanding pads that were soaked with epoxy and added a freshener coat of epoxy to the tank.
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I only painted the top of the tank and the ends, later the sides and bottom will be coated with epoxy and fiberglass which will wrap around the old upper fuel tank, new lower aluminum tank, and back up the other side of the old tank. In effect the fiberglass will be like a stork’s cradle and will support the new tank. When full it might weigh 200 lbs. so it needs support.
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The image is from German collagist Sabine Remy who has a website at  http://miriskum.de
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She is very prolific and not a hypercollagist.

Goodbye Art Bell

14 April 2018 | st marys, ga
Capn Andy/Warm Spring
The work on Kaimu was delayed by the little "20 hour" dinghy project. I was hustling along, but careful not to make any mistakes. Some were saying they hadn't seen me working like this. I knew I was trying to make up time lost, but fortunately, my normal pace doesn't have to be accelerated that much to seem like I was speeding along. I was starting work at about 11 AM, but if I started at 10 or 9:30, it would be noted by the local journalists and be asked questions. Like, was I motivated now, when I had been hanging back before, and the answer is no. I still had days when I was languishing in the bunk with aches and pains from the previous days work. I would get up and move along and do some more.
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I had a couple of items that were on hold while the dinghy was slowly taking shape. The new aluminum fuel tank had to be installed, which involved some careful integration with the existing installation. The deck plate on the cross deck right in front of the port hull forward companion way was soft on its aft end. This is a plywood flat piece that is covered with fiberglass and epoxy, not that big of a piece, I could cut it out of a single piece of plywood. I took out the partially rotten piece and now had a skylight below the boat, down under the crossdeck.
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Ron, the carpenter, once said that he always regretted using an old piece to pattern a new piece. His reasoning is that all the mistakes from the first piece are transfered to the new piece. He knows.
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I made large allowances around the perimeter of the new deck plate. We trimmed it down with the trim router with first a straight edge trimming blade, then the 3/8" round off blade. I took the piece up and dropped it into place and checked it as to fit. We only had to trim off a few thin flanges that the router bit didn't get. Next the new blank and the old deck plate and a bunch of epoxy tools were taken to the woodshop.
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It was a rain day but as yet not rainy. I screwed 4 sheet rock screws, 1 5/8 inch long into the old deck plate near the corners. These protruded on the other side. The plate was flipped over and now the screw points would allow the new plate to be coated with epoxy, flipped onto the screw points, and coated on the remaining side.
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Richard of Time and Tide came into the shop and saw the Bugs 3 drone. Oh, is that a new drone or did you find the old one? It was a new drone. The old drone had flown up in a gust of wind and was in direct line with the sun. I couldn't see it and it flew away. I ran around, trying to get an angle so I could get a glimpse of it. No good. A fellow on the dock said he saw it way up there. Very high. It was gone to the West, over the North River, and probably went down in the river. Gone.
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The replacement was less than a hundred dollars and I had had a lot of fun with drone 1, so I bought the replacement. Now I was skittish about flying it in the boatyard. Too many obstacles.
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While on eBay to buy Fineline masking tape I took a look at the Bugs 2 drone which will probably be my photography drone eventually. It has the GPS option which enables some autonomous flying, it can be returned automatically if it gets caught in a gust like drone 1. I was surprised to see an Australian seller offering this drone for about half of what I paid for the Bugs 3. I immediately purchased it for less than 50 US dollars. Too good to be true.
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I spent a lot of Sunday watching the closing round of the Masters Championship. I think golf is perfectly made for TV. And Augusta, GA, the venue for this tournament, is at its best now with blooming flowers and none of the oppressive heat and humidity that comes later in the summer.
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The deck plate had cured so that it wasn't even tacky, I could add a fiberglass layer to it. My plan was to glass the bottom of the deck plate right across, end to end, middle to middle, then trim that layer of glass flush with the edges of the deckplate. The edges of the deckplate were machined so that the upper edge was rounded, and the lower edge was square.
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Now we glassed on top of the deck plate and did a little trimming. The corners were snipped at 45 degrees so that the glass could be wrapped around the corners. Plastic painter's dropcloth was thrown on top and trimmed to allow wrapping of the glass around the corners. The edges of the drop cloth were pulled up tight and stuck down with Gorilla tape on the underside of the deck plate. When all was said and done, the deckplate had a new layer of glass that conformed to its sharp edges.
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The next day I removed the drop cloth and ground off any rough spots. Then the plate got another coating of epoxy to fill the weave of the fiberglass cloth.
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Next I began work on the fuel tank. The old tank was made out of plywood and epoxy/fiberglass. It had a continual problem of contamination of fuel with water, a lot of water. I had tried to cure this by raising the fuel fill and vent so that water would have to rise up 4 or 5 inches over the top of the tank to get into it. It made no difference. Now I was going to cut the tank and integrate a 22 gallon aluminum tank with it. The old fuel tank was bolted to the cross deck. It was like a big oblong rectangular box whose sides extended up above the top, forming a compartment with covers. Under the covers were the fuel fill and fuel gauge. I would retain this top part and cut off the box underneath. The new tank was the same width and about 1 1/2 feet shorter. It would attach to the remaining top portion of the old tank.
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The next day was dry and I brought the old deck plate and the new deck plate over to Kaimu and put the new deck plate down and saw it fit perfectly. The old deck plate was set up on yet another pair of sawhorses to make another work table, number 5. I brought the new aluminum fuel tank and the remnants of the old fuel tank to the wood shop to let the old tank dry out. I will work on that job whenever it rains again.
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I took the D4 dinghy out for a row over to Trillium and loaded it up with some of the gear stowed on board, brought it all back, made two trips, brought the Univega bicycle back also. The gear was stacked on the new table and I started to put the Univega bicycle together. Its chain was really kinked together and it took a long time to get the kinks out. I abandoned that to see if an overnight would allow the solvents I used to unkink the chain. The bike is heavier than the Serotta but has less miles. It has a steel frame that is already showing corrosion and paint flaking off.
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While I continue working on Kaimu, fairing the underbody, and putting the new fuel tank together, there was an announcement that Art Bell, host of Coast to Coast AM, had passed away. I spent many hours over the years listening to Art's program late at night while helming the catamaran along the coast. The image is of Art Bell from the internet. I wonder if you can find his interview with "Mel" about "Mel's Hole", a bottomless pit in the mountains of the Northwest. I will see if I can find it.

D4 at Rest

05 April 2018 | st marys, ga
Capn Andy/Warm Spring
After 3 coats of gloss white had been applied to the dinghy hull I left it to dry while we went out for burgers at the gas station restaurant. The hull was dry to the touch when we returned and I removed the masking tape, turned the dinghy upright and removed the masking tape and plastic from the seats. It looked great except for the edges that the masking tape was supposed to keep clean and straight. There were many blobs of paint that crept under the masking tape. I had wanted to use Fine Line tape but the autoparts store didn’t have it, they just had the green tape. I will know better next time.
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It was time to install the oarlock sockets and touch up the epoxy coating on the gunwales, where I had to sand off some 50/50 fairing mix. The screw holes for the oarlock sockets were drilled for the screws to thread into the holes, then the holes were drilled with a larger drill to make a void for epoxy paste that would protect the wood from moisture. When the screws are screwed in they bite on the lowest part of the hole and the epoxy paste sets up around the screw. This means that the boat is ready to launch and test row around a bit, the next day.
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I had help carrying the dinghy out of the woodshop. It is a snap with two carrying it. Then I put it on a hand truck and rolled it down to the river bank. A fellow there helped me “heave ho” it, splashing it into the river. I pulled it down alongside the dinghy dock, then rowed across the river and back. It was windy and of course it was easy going with the wind, but terrible fighting against it on the way back.
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The enclosed flotation means there is no space under the seats. My rowing position was cramped, I had no leg room. If the stern seat were a simple plank with space underneath, I could have stretched my legs just a bit more and put my feet under the seat. Another reason no to build it as planned. Also the plans put the oarlocks 9 inches behind the aft edge of the midships seat, too close for me. I can live with it. If I built this dinghy again I would put plank seats on a fore and aft stringer.
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The image is of the D4 at rest at the dinghy dock.

D4 Paint Job

04 April 2018 | st marys, ga
Capn Andy/Warm Spring
After the interior of the dinghy got its last coat of epoxy, the foam pieces that fill the voids under the seats were forced into place. One of the bulkheads that is the aft seat riser for the midships seat was bowed inward and the foam pieces forced it out straight. Good. Now the foam pieces had to be trimmed to be level with the bottom of the seat. This was done with the angle grinder and flap disk or the belt sander with 40 grit belt. The angle grinder was faster but left a surface with undulations. The belt sander smoothed them out and after some time, all the three seats had foam fitted under them, between the bulkheads. In the bow, the towing eye was bolted to a backing block. The bolt was trimmed with a cutting disk, and the ragged edges of the cut were smoothed with the flap disk. This resulted in a very professional looking stainless eye bolt. Its hole in the bow transom and through the backing block was drilled oversize, let’s say 1/2 “ for a 3/8“ bolt. The bolt was bolted into place, centered in the oversized hole, and the flange of the eye on the exterior of the bow transom was marked on the transom with the sharpie pen. Now it was reinstalled, smeared with “glue hard” to fill the void in the oversized hole, and tightened. The foam pieces for the bow seat were reinstalled.
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Now the seat tops were glued down on the bulkheads and transoms. The transoms had a batten glued on that had the angle of the seat top and was glued right at the height of the bottom of the seat so that the seat would be level and supported by a bulkhead and by the batten on the transom. This was easy to mark because all the seats are at the same height from the baseline, a batten run over all the bulkheads will be flush with all of them, and marking that level on either transom was straightforward.
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The mix of epoxy to glue down the seats was of course “glue hard”, 4 or 5 parts of colloidal silica to 1 part of glass microfibers. This produces a manageable putty that sets up rock hard and is a very good structural adhesive. The method to apply the mix to the bulkhead tops was to scrape off a straight blade with the mix on it across the edge of the bulkhead top. Excesses and thin areas could be rescraped, just get along until the bulkhead tops of that seat are looking evenly piled with a 3/8“ string of epoxy mix. Now the seat which has been lightly coated on the bearing surface with the same mix is plopped down on the bulkhead(s). Excess that squeezes out is scraped up and added to the mixing bowl. Now the gaps between the seat top and the hull sides are filled with the same mix, jam it in there, fair it, remove any excess, it will be difficult to remove it without power tools after it sets up. The edges of the seat that meet the transoms are also filled this way. The seat tops are held in place with gallon jugs of, what else, a new shipment of epoxy, three gallon jugs, three seats. Yes, I planned it this way.
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The next day the edges of the seat tops that jutted out a bit here and there were trimmed off, mostly with the angle grinder and the flap disk. The trim router and the rounding off bit were used for most of these edges to make a smooth curve from seat top to vertical seat riser. The edges closest to the hull sides had to be shaped with the flap disk and the pad sander.
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Now there was fairing work, applying an epoxy mix of 50/50 microballoons/colloidal silica and trying to get a smooth surface on the interior of the boat. First some high spots had to be ground off. This might be a piece of previous fiberglass or glue hard that stood out, or it could be drips that had set up. The procedure is to get it as smooth and level as possible by grinding and sanding. Running the gloved fingers over the surface might reveal imperfections that the eye can’t see. It seems that when a coat of paint is spread over a surface that seems to be smooth, then the imperfections are revealed, so, there is an alternate finishing procedure that coats the surface with high build epoxy primer, which will reveal some of those imperfections, then they can be sanded out. We won’t be doing that one. After we have sanded and ground as much as we care to, remembering to leave some epoxy on the surface. The more epoxy that is left on the surface, the more protection the wood underneath has. It is a case of cosmetics vs. utility. We now trowel on the 50/50 mix making it thin as possible, and fair, and tapering fair curves in the surface.
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What ended up was not as good as I would have liked, but mostly it was fair. I was missing a tool that would get the corners of the fillets smooth, but I was satisfied with a less than perfect finish. First the interior of the hull was faired, then the exterior, which was easier, no inside corners. A persistent problem was getting small pieces of grit into the mix. These track through the surface of the fairing compound on the hull, producing small valleys. They can be removed by running the trowel by again, but you also might make another little valley if the piece of grit is still there on the trowel. Good luck trying to find and remove it.
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Now the hull is left to set up hard and the next day the endless sanding begins. I used a random orbital grinder and 60 grit velcro pads. My grinder, from Harbor Freight needed a vacuum cleaner attached to it. This does a nice job, until it fries, Harbor Freight. Next was a loaner from Ron the carpenter, a Bosch unit that had its own receptacle to remove the sanding particles. They both sanded about the same, except the Bosch didn’t burn up. The sanding went well into the night with one half of the hull bottom and 3/4 of one hull side sanded, and one grinder apart, smoking.
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It turns out that disassembling the Harbor Freight grinder was a blessing in disguise. On the one hand it helped cool the smoking parts from the interior of the sander, and on the other hand I found out how the random orbital sander worked. It is simple, there is a central motor and shaft which tries to spin around the sanding pad, but the sanding pad is not attached directly to the shaft. Instead it is attached to a large bearing that is off center to the shaft. When the shaft tries to turn the pad and bearing, it all spins, but when the pad is brought down on the surface to be sanded, it starts oscillating like one of those circus rides that spin in and out. In our case the big bearing started to seize up and now the pad was not oscillating, it was just spinning, and being off center it made vibration. Also the big bearing squealed while all this was happening. Sissy.
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I sprayed some WD-40 into the big bearing, not very much, didn’t want WD-40 all over the woodwork, and found it to rotate freely. I reassembled the sander and tried it out. It sanded well, but after about 18 hours of sanding, it started to squeal again. It actually worked better than the Bosch, when its bearing was binding a bit. I found that using minimal pressure on the sander and letting it run almost as fast as when it was not in contact with the surface was best.
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After the hull was sanded inside and out, the areas that were to be finished bright, that is, clear to allow the wood texture to show, were masked off with masking tape and pieces of plastic drop cloth cut to size. This took a while. It ended up best to lay the plastic down and get at least one edge to fit within about 1/2“, mark the other edges with sharpie pen, then cut it out and tape it down. The areas masked off included the knees and breasthooks, the seat tops, and the gunwales. The tops of the gunwales were masked off with just tape, later the bottoms were masked when the hull was turned over after painting the interior.
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Yes, were were laying paint on this hull. I had a quart can of gloss white Rustoleum and ended up using the whole quart for one coat of the hull. It seemed that the bare 50/50 mix just ate up the paint. Probably the second and third coats won’t use as much.
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I went to the local home improvement store and bought a gallon of the same paint. What I don’t use will be useful to Col. “Smokey” Johnson, 83 years old, who is restoring a steel boat that needs this same paint.
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I took a picture of the paint project in the morning. The green masking tape is on the gunwales.

D4 ETL

31 March 2018 | st marys, ga
Capn Andy/Warm Spring
Here is a link to a time lapse video of laminating the gunwales on the D4 dinghy:
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/8728395@N03/27243176078/in/dateposted-public/
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The procedure is detailed in a previous post. This is the dry fit of the laminating strips, later they are reassembled with epoxy to glue them together.
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Now the hull gets a coat of epoxy inside and out. This is the last coat for the inside, the outside needs another coat. The breasthooks and knees were sanded to remove penciled markings, they will be finished bright. We are coming up on the two week mark of work on this little dinghy, but the end is in sight. It looks like next weekend will be the launch date.

Superfoiling and D4 dinghy

29 March 2018 | st marys, ga
Capn Andy/Warm Spring
My title for the previous post implied that there would be something about the superfoilers who raced their final regatta of the season over the weekend. I thought I had put something in the blog post, but it was not there, so here is a part recap of the regatta on Australian Sunday, our Saturday.
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Over the season the skill levels of the all the teams improved as they learned how to handle these difficult boats. Now in the final regatta the team that had been so dominant, Team Euroflex led by Nathan Outerridge, began to have trouble. In one race they were on the wrong radio channel and missed the start. They had their very able crew, Iain Jensen leave to go sail in the Moth World Championship regatta in Bermuda. The replacement crewman suffered a nasty cut and was treated by medical staff on the racecourse. He soldiered on.
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Euroflex were playing catch up and had to win out on the final day if they were to take home the trophy. They did so in patchy and gusty wind conditions with the wind direction shifting up to 30 degrees. At the final windward mark of the last race they needed a second to squeak through to win the regatta and series, they were in fifth, almost dead last.
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Nathan Outerridge, who was mic'd up, said "We have to be patient now". All the boats were suffering in the turmoil of shifting and gusting winds and Euroflex kept picking away at them, picking up a place here and there. Their main rivals, Tech2, were way ahead and in better breeze, seemingly headed for victory. As Euroflex came down the course, closer and closer, Tech2 seemed to choke a bit and understood the final leeward mark. They had to jibe again and work down to the mark, a short distance, and they were not up on foils, not going very fast. ZIP, Euroflex went by on foils. Now the two boats were see-sawing as the wind shifted this way and that. Finally Euroflex made it over the line 7 seconds ahead of Tech2. Their victory came after a tough fight and after a long season where their dominance was fading with each regatta. The have won the first Ben Lexen Trophy, which is the trophy for the superfoiler series.
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Back to the D4 dinghy construction. We had taped the exterior seams and now sanded them a bit, after they cured, to knock off any blatant high spots. Ron, the carpenter, suggested I use his Bosch orbital sander, so I did. He has lots of professional power tools, so I expected the Bosch to be special. It is, in a way, it vacuums the sanding dust into a self contained receptacle and I emptied it by hitting it with the shop vac. My own Harbor Freight random orbital sander would probably do just as well, but I would have to hook up the vacuum to it. The other sander I was using was the cheapest Harbor Freight palm sander. I have never seen any size sandpaper sheet that would fit it. I am using some autobody sand paper on a roll, the kind that is self sticking, so I roll off a bit, stick it to the pad sander, which needs two pieces of paper on it, trim the first one, then lay another beside it. This sand paper is 3M "gold" and it works well.
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The way it works out, I started epoxying the inside of the boat first, so it is one step ahead of the exterior of the hull. My plan is to put 2 primer coats of epoxy on and then follow with two coats to build up the layer. Some where along the way I have to try to fair out things like the edges of fiberglass tapes, any imperfections in my joinery work, and other divots that can happen when power tools are involved. Then a couple coats of paint should get this puppy out of the woodshop and out for a test row on the North River Marsh.
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After the next coat of epoxy was painted on both the interior and the exterior, this would be a first primer coat on the exterior and the second primer coat on the interior, I went out to the home improvement store to get some 1 1/4 inch wide battens, ten to the pack at about ten dollars for the pack. The plans called for 1 1/2 inch by 3/4 inch gunwales, laminated, but no lamination schedule was provided. It could be two laminations of 3/8" or three of 1/4". The battens from the store were .3 something inch thick, so too thick for 1/4" and too thin for 3/8". I sat there inspecting the battens. They are made out of junk wood. Only about half of them were straight, most had some knots, and they were only 6 feet long, so I would have to build up the laminations not only in thickness, but also in length. Think many small pieces of wood, complicated glue up, time consuming.
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Here came Ron, the carpenter, to the rescue. Why don't you use those cypress pieces over back in the corner. He had gleaned a bunch of lumber from a couple of tug boats that had redone their interiors at our docks. There were nice marine plywood panels with a white marine textured finish on one side and they were not mounted on furring strips, pine, they were mounted on straight grained cypress, 3/4" thick, and about 2 inches wide. Nice looking wood.
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I grabbed two of the cypress planks and ripped them to 1 1/2 inches wide, then cut 1/4" slices from their faces. Now the saw kerf is 1/8", so I took off a quarter of an inch, plus the saw kerf of 1/8", then another 1/4", and another kerf, and that was it, the last cut just trimmed the final 1/8" off and there was no residue. I had two perfect battens from each piece, but I needed 3 on each side, so I took another piece and ripped it same as the others. Now I had 6 8 foot battens of clear grained cypress, 1/4" thick and 1 1/2" wide, and as left overs, 3 8 foot battens 3/4": wide and of various thickness.
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This was beautiful wood, the grain ran straight from one end to the other. I digressed from my epoxy plans for the day and got involved with the woodworking of the laminated gunwales. I had to cut the ends of the gunwales to match the angles of the bow and stern transoms, plus I planned to round off the gunwales, and also round off their ends at the bow and stern. I cut them to length with the angle of the bow and stern transom echoed in their ends. This was time consuming, because I tried different ways of getting the length correct for each lamination layer, and had to redo some. It is important to err on the side of excessive length, you can alway cut off some, but you can't stretch these pieces of wood very much if you cut them too short.
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It ended up that the quickest and most worry free method of laminating the gunwales was to carefully machine one end. This consisted of rounding off the bevel that matched the angle of the transom. This was subjective, artistic, using the angle grinder with the coarse flap disk, wood vaporized before it, but be careful. Looking ahead, I put a short off cut of one of the gunwale laminations under the curve I had just carved in the end of the gunwale and marked it, then using the same flap disk shaped it identical to what I had just done. I would use this as a pattern for the other gunwale. The other end only had one layer that was machined. There was also a pattern made of that for the other side.
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Next the gunwale laminations were clamped to the gunwale. Many clamps were needed to keep the lamination strips aligned edge to edge, plus keep the whole thing fair to the plywood gunwale. Now we had 3 1/4" strips that were fair against the gunwale of the boat. One end was already machined, the ends of the laminations were carefully positioned to all be ending at the same point. At the other end, of course, things were not yet machined, only one layer had been shaped, and that was used as the pattern for the others. First the angle was cut using the multitool and a halfmoon blade. Then the laminations could be taken off the hull and lined up to machine the corners off that end. It turned out that further machining off the hull would need more machining later, so I'm leaving out some time consuming steps that aren't necessary.
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Next the 3 strips on each gunwale are remounted on the hull, maintaining their edges, top and bottom, fore and aft, as much as possible. Now we are going to drill holes for the temporary mounting screws at 3 inch intervals centered on the centerline of the gunwale. The ends have already been machined, but there might be a need to remachine them a bit. Be careful not to grind into the hull with the flap disk. You might have to take them off to clean up the strip that is closest to the hull.
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Next a rounding off bit in the trim router is run all around the gunwale strips. My own method that I actually used was very time consuming, but it involved removing the strips, mounting them on a work table, and machining them there. Very stable. But still I had to do some routing in place on the hull, so maybe you could do it all there. I unscrewed the temporary sheet rock screws and laid all the gunwale strips down on the hull, in order, and prepared to soak them with epoxy and glue them all up.
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Somewhere around this time Ron, the carpenter, came into the shop and began helping me. He was all fired up with woodwork, working with 14" wide clear teak cockpit coamings for a long time blue water cruising couple who knew what they wanted. The boatyard owner, manager, and chief crane operator, also came in and got sucked into the job.
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Everything was preassembled, predrilled, and disassembled, soaked with epoxy, and now we were trying to put it all back together again. It's a funny thing how epoxy is a great lubricant, so when you clamp together something dry, then try to do it after the epoxy glue is on it, things don't go the same way, you need additional force. We worked from the center of the gunwales out to the ends. One guy (me) holds the laminations and using both hands holds them to the hull and bends them up so the other guy (Ron) can use his variable speed drill to set screws, secure each point one at a time. He complained that he had on his nice shirt and it would be ruined with epoxy, and I guess I couldn't argue, he had on the wrong costume. The boat yard owner ran errands for us, get screws, bring that bag, and I had to say to him, payday is tomorrow, I will bring my checkbook. I was glad he was interested in our project and I also knew my payment schedule better than he did. He smiled.
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After all the gunwale laminations were lined up, glued up, screwed up, it was a relief to discard the protective gloves, it was late, stand down from the build, let it set up overnight. In retrospect, we should have worked a little harder. The hull was upright, so excess epoxy from the glue up was streaming down the hull like tears, like a thousand tears. These would also set up, so that was an additional job the next day that could have been taken care of by taking a quick wipe of the hull under the gunwales with some paper towels.
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By now the twenty hour dinghy must be a big joke in the boatyard. Many came in to see the progress. I got polite compliments, but when I was busy describing some detail and pointing to it, when I looked up, they were gone. It was nice to see it sitting there with the gunwales laminated in place. I started to remove the screws. I found out right away they were mere pawns in the epoxy game. The first one sheared off its head. And then it turned out I had to physically get the screws to turn before I could use the electric drill to remove screws. I used a nice phillips head screwdriver with vice grips strongly fastened to the shaft to work each screw loose, then I could whizz them out with the drill. Other screws were filled with epoxy in the head. I used a small ball peen hammer and the scribe from a carpenter's sliding right angle guide to chisel out the epoxy embedded in the phillips screw heads. They all ended up coming out, except for two, who got ground flat.
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It was a big step to have the gunwale strips ready to go, so now it was time to turn the hull over, upright, to work on it. It feels heavier than before, still not too heavy, but how to grab out there 4 feet away at the other beam and pick it up, and turn it around. It turned out I found out how to move the hull, first set it down on its transom, then you can spin it around. It will position on the sawhorses but you have to move your feet and prevent the sawhorses from tipping. When the boat is inverted, all the seats are at the same height, so you can get your sawhorses in at that height and the project will be level and stable. Not so with me, my sawhorses were made for the outrigger canoe, so they are only 2 feet wide, and not wide enough for this project. My bad.
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It was nice to see the little boat sitting there on the sawhorses with the clear cypress gunwales attached, ready for more murderous efforts from the boatcarpenter. I needed to get another coat of epoxy inside and out, and typically we would work on the inside first, then flip it over, and then work on the outside. The twenty hour construction time was now a big joke. I had overused it, so I was now just working on a rowboat and just get it done as soon as I can. I paid my quarterly bill at the boatyard and had to give an estimated time of launch, and ETL. June 28th.
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I did another coat of epoxy on the inside, then flipped it by setting it down on its transom, moving the sawhorses, and setting it up again. A lot of work was done on the transom, I knew it was lopsided, so I sprung a new batten and marked the new arc from transom to transom, but still nearly reaching the transom's old peak. I marked it and cut it. It had to be sanded with the belt sander to get the wood to align with the marked line, then work a radius on the edge, roll the sander from side to side
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I did a lot of work with the belt sander, the angle grinder with a 40 grit flap disk wheel, and with the pad sander with 150 grit with self adhesive pads. The bow transom was shaped with these tools and the whole belt line of the boat, and the angles going up into the transoms, all were worked so that it all blended in.
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A new coat of epoxy was applied inside and out, not a small job. A side job, shaping the skeg was done at this time and epoxy used to glue the skeg's two parts together. The skeg and four pieces I would call gussets were machined out of a short piece of the clear cypress. The gussets have a proper nautical name, the two at the stern transom are called knees, and the two at the bow transom are called breasthooks. I have run into breasthooks before, and they are tricky.
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I had to be careful to organize cutting out these things from the little piece of wood. Beautiful wood, clear straight grain. The gussets are corner braces put into the corners of where the hull sides meet the transoms. The angles of the meeting faces are very complicated, but one thing is pretty sure, the opposite sides, port and starboard, have angles with the transoms that enable the two gussets at that end of the boat to share an angled cut, that is, you could put the two gussets together end to end and they would share that transom face. No wasted wood. That was my hope. The reality was that all three corners of the boat were different enough that I had to cut and recut, sand, belt sand, aggressively sand with a flap disk on the grinder, and the professional boat carpenter, Ron, said, they are tricky aren't they.
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The skeg presented other problems. I faired its arc where it meets the hull and it did fit precisely. The drawing in the plans shows the point of the skeg being rounded. It is kind of like a shallow triangle that starts in the after part of the keel and builds up toward the stern transom. It mates with the hull right at the keel centerline, and it is rounded off at the transom, I used the bottom of a plastic cup to mark the curve and sanded it off with the angle grinder and a flap disk. Now the skeg is the very bottom of the keel on the aft end of the boat. It is now square, but a quick run of the trim router with the rounding off bit (3/8" radius) makes its bottom and aft edges rounded, right around the curve where they come together. I then used the pad sander with 150 grit to smooth out any machining marks, remove any stains, markings, and I brought the piece out to a small group of yardbirds having a gam on the porch outside the woodshop. Piece of a boat, I asked, and they said yes, indeed. They were working their way through two cases of beer, though.
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Now it was time to start gluing things together. Ron had gone off to cook some chicken soup, so I had no help. The procedure to get the skeg glued to the keel is difficult, and almost impossible, alone. Ron did come back to the woodshop while his soup was heating up and helped me by holding the skeg in place while I tried to screw it to the hull with a couple of machine screws sunk into the centerline of the keel in the area covered by the stern seat. It seemed to go almost too easily and he left to enjoy his soup.
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I went easily because it didn't go at all, the bolt at the stern didn't get into the skeg, just bypassed it, likewise the second bolt further forward. I now had to scramble and try to get it screwed together, alone, which is almost impossible.
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I had gorilla tape which helped to hold things in place while the screws were vainly turned, hoping to have them bite. The impossibility is that you can't reach around from the inside to the outside of the hull and reach the keel. I kept at it and had to crawl around in the dust of the woodshop floor, getting down and in, then scrambling out and up, try to get it to bite here, no, it swings away, nautical words, I try again. Somehow I got it to bite, then worked both screws, brought the skeg up tight against the keel, slapped on three big pieces of gorilla tape to hold the leading edge of the skeg against the hull. Ron came in and I told him what happened. He helped me turn the hull upright on the sawhorses to continue and glue on the breasthooks and knees.
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I was using the usual epoxy mix to bond pieces together, first unthickened epoxy is applied to the mating faces, which have been sanded to a matte finish beforehand. Then the remaining epoxy is thickened with "Glue Hard", which is my mix of 4 or five parts of colloidal silica and one part of glass microfibers. This is a very tough mix that bonds things together. Difficult to sand, but machinable.
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We are now going into a very religious weekend. It was on Good Friday the 13th when the catamaran parts that would become Kaimu arrived at Norwalk Cove Marina, in the year of 9/11.
The image is from the i60e camera and it shows the little dinghy lit by the yellow sunlight of the woodshop.
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