Thursday, November 29, 2018

Check out this podcast!

Lots of folks buy boat construction plans. A percentage of them start building. But only a fraction of those purchasers ever float their boats. Mine is still in process; I've not joined that third category yet. But in this interview, I explain what keeps me going. THE VICTORY AND THE STRUGGLE: A Podcast For A Life Lived Uncommonly Well

Thursday, July 26, 2018

"Build to the work."

I am in the middle of dry-fitting the rudder and tiller to the transom.
This is the upper portion.
This is the lower portion, also showing the structural mock-up of the skeg.
And the backing plate for the upper gudgeon bolts (with temporary hardware).

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

This works on dry land, too!

Normally, under the conditions the Weekender is designed for, a boarding ladder is not a high priority. But along the R2AK course, it becomes an important safety feature.

I recently got mine dry-fit. In the process of testing it out, I realized that it is quite useful here in my garage as I continue the construction process.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

In Memoriam

I just learned that Paul Riccelli (known as PAR on several boat-building forums) passed away unexpectedly on May 30th, 2018. He helped me immensely with my build through his forum comments, personal emails and the fin keel plans I am using. He was also an early sponsor of R2AK Team Kingsfold.
And now he's gone. And he won't get to see my boat finished and floating.
That makes five people to date who are listed In Memoriam in my list of contributors to this project.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Cutting Holes in My Boat Today

No, I'm not sabotaging my project. I'm making progress. There are now four holes in the cabin wall for portlights, and one in the main bulkhead for a compass.
A friend of mine salvages old sailboats. A visit to his place got me quite a number of items for an excellent price. Thank you, Randy! The bulkhead-mount compass and my new boarding ladder are two of them. And this photo clearly shows the self-draining cockpit arrangements (another hole in my boat) I am in the process of building.
"Coincidentally," a construction error I made a couple years ago necessitated that I build out the base for my rudder's upper gudgeon. I had not settled on a solution for re-entering the boat after taking a swim until I found this hinged rung. The folded ladder tucks away nicely against the transom, out of the way of the rudder pushed hard over because of the extension I built quite awhile ago. I wish I had begun and kept a journal to document the many errors-that-became-features like this one which I have encountered building Kingsfold.

Monday, April 9, 2018

I can't do this alone, so, "Thanks" to:

Or, “It’s not what you know, but who….”
In this case, it's my brother, Greg. He is a long-time employee at Paul Fritts & Company. Notre Dame Magazine featured him this last year in this article about a Paul Fritts organ installed at the University of Notre Dame.
It may seem odd that a company that builds tracker pipe organs would have any connection to sailboat building. But through this connection, I have access to a bit of lead, some old growth lumber, and a high-tech table saw which will be the right tool for the job of cutting the pieces to build my hollow mast. To say nothing of my brother's considerable expertise.

My brother also enjoys spending time in vehicles that use the wind. See for yourself in this video I produced for the Puget Sound Soaring Association.

When I was exploring the idea of making a sailboat, one of the things about the Weekender design that attracted me was that it could be built with common hand tools. As the intended final product has morphed from the stock version outlined in the plans to what I am building for the R2AK, I have moved away from that to take advantage of other resources that go beyond "common hand tools."

Thursday, March 1, 2018

More Thanks

I visited Gig Harbor Boat Works this afternoon. Falk suggested a hardware change where the bobstay connects to the stem that will eliminate a potential water penetration point in my design. He also showed me an option for a stainless steel keel strip, and how to best use it on my boat. Then he gave me a tutorial comparing oarlock types—circular, oval, and "D."

I learned that compared to the circular oarlocks, the oval ones (oriented vertically) do a better job of keeping the oar seated properly while allowing good movement up and down. The advantage that the "D" oarlocks (combined with a flat face on each oar) provide over the other two styles is knowing precisely how your blade is oriented. A trade-off, however, is greater potential costs.

GHBW is sponsoring a sliding seat for rowing Kingsfold. Check out their sliding seat hardware here.

In defense of round oarlocks, Nate Rooks of Team Bunny Whaler (Full Race in 2016, Stage 1 in 2017) told me,

"Tim Penhallow used round oarlocks (just like you have) and oars for the whole way, usually rowing ~15 hours a day."

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Live and Learn

I've likely said it before, but I'll say it again here. Everything takes way longer than I think it will. Actually, I haven't really put as much thought into how long stuff may take to finish as I probably should have....(Although if I had, I may never have even started.) I am elated by how close to being finished this boat appears to be now, at least as compared to a few years ago.

Not only construction takes time. Jumping through the hoops to be able to enter the R2AK does too. And because Ed and I aren't seasoned—Dare I say salty?—sailors, we have to spend more time in order to demonstrate that we and Kingsfold are safe to be allowed on the course. Fair enough, actually. I want to be safe enough before I venture out there, too.

So Ed and I had a phone conversation today. It is clear that we will need to postpone our entry in the R2AK until 2019. We will not be idle during that time! Keep an eye on this blog for updates.

[photo by Ed Heyman]

Building the Network

This video and a photograph with dimensioning on it, posted on the Team Facebook page, led to some valuable guidance from Nate Rooks, Former Director at Stanford Rowing Camps and Former Assistant Rowing Coach at Stanford Athletics. More importantly, he and his brother Cooper completed the full Race to Alaska in 2016 and reprized Stage 1 in 2017.

I also found some excellent information on the Angus Rowboats website. Doubly helpful because Colin Angus finished the R2AK in 2016.

I ran my oarlock riser designs past my mechanical engineer son. He did some calculations and simulated an exaggerated stress test on the third version I sent him.

The result of all this wonderful help is that I will be lowering my oarlocks considerably, and now have proven information to optimally locate them on the side decks.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Thanks again!

In between answering questions from other Seattle Boat Show attendees today, Falk Bolk of Gig Harbor Boat Works guided me in determining the final dimensions and arrangement of the cockpit seats (and placement of the oarlocks) to accommodate a sliding seat rowing system in Kingsfold.

It is the contributions from people like Falk at Gig Harbor Boat Works that are making this a successful project.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Next (Last?) MAJOR Construction Phase

Here is a Photoshop approximation of the seats and raised cockpit floor. Now that I think about it, this is the next-to-last major construction step. The fin keel will be the last.

Lots more work remains before we sail away into the sunset. But completing the cockpit will feel really good!

Monday, January 8, 2018

“You’re provisionally accepted for the Race to Alaska 2018 Stage 1—subject to your heavy weather sailing and capsize tests.” ~R2AK Race Boss

So as soon as the boat is finished, rigged, and on a trailer, the plan is to create videos of a couple different activities. Find a small lake to launch in, pull her over and show we can right her again. Then, on probably multiple occasions, sail on some bigger water in stronger winds testing the boundaries of what we can do.

The footage will be posted on this blog.

The Weekender design and Kingsfold's modifications in particular have some useful features in this context. I shared Team Kingsfold’s status on a forum dedicated to the Weekender design, commenting specifically on the permanent foam flotation I’ve added, and the compartments that are sealable, and that I widened my transom 4” beyond the stock design. I received these comments from Paul Riccelli, a yacht designer and expert on the Weekender, and Al Stead who built and actively sails a Weekender.

Riccelli said:

The capsize tests previously done will be a fair bit different than your build, though I'll bet you'll be a little disappointed about the results. My capsize screen of a stock Weekender shows a max of about 70 degrees of positive righting arm, usually less, because they tend to be built heavy. I'll bet you're a little better than stock, because of the raised cockpit sole and hopefully some side and under side deck flotation you've installed. It'll still suck, compared to other boats, but this is not your fault, but a function of a relatively narrow, flat bottom, short LWL craft. This is common of boats shaped like this, in fact, you're will be better than the average, short and flat bottom boat, but not ideal in the conditions you'll see.

[What you described] is about 140 pounds of flotation, with the foam (not much) and another 40 pounds in the keel, though not very handy in this location for these types of tests. With the seat backs sealed, the forward bulkhead sealed up, you'll approach what is desirable in a swamping, but roll over prevention is more a function of hull shape and CG location. The wider butt should help quite a bit too. ... I'll bet she holds up to a press longer than the stock transom, with softer heel angles, though if she's heeled over a fair bit, so the transom drags, steering in particular and handling in general, will likely get cranky so reef early. The wide transom will also make following seas dangerous, without careful skippering (she'll want to broach more readily).

Stead said:

... The biggest thing to keep you safe is to be able to seal up the cabin in bad weather.  If that stays dry, you are good to go.

That gaff rig is your ally.  ...  You can spill tons of air in a split second as well as lower the center of effort.  [The peak halyard will be routed to the cockpit and clearly marked so we can scandalize the main in a moment.] That low aspect rig will help you on most points of sail other than going to weather. ...

After sailing Duckie for eight years, I think that the Weekender is a pretty reliable little vessel.  She is not a blue water boat, but she's not bad in a blunder.