Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Warm days for last minute projects

Here's something I've wanted to build for a long time.  The perfect plywood rack in a humidity controlled environment.  We run a dehumidifier 24/7 here in the basement.  Now for the plywood to use in those long anticipated building projects.

I took advantage of a warm day to painstakingly mold a 24 foot piece of e-glass tape onto the keel chine of Tridarka's second ama. (You will recall that Tridarka is our 21 foot trimaran sailing boat. The Amas are the outer hulls that keep it upright). As I previously explained the radius had to be re-sanded often removing most of the old glass which had not been properly saturated (epoxy starved). This is a nerve-wracking process of working against the clock while applying and squeegeeing excess epoxy.  When I say hand squeegee I mean it.  I used my gloved hand to mold and massage the glass around the tight corners.  At least three applications of epoxy were added to make sure of the wet-out while urgently rolling out any runs and drips.   Did I mention nerve-wracking?

Perhaps it's time to unveil our winter project.  "Ha," you say, "don't you have more projects than you can do in a year already."  Well, right you are.  However the outside work on the bigger boats is at an end.  So we bring out the plans for the Kiwi Puddle Duck racer.  Karen is quite taken with the idea.  It's a small 4'x8' sailboat that builds rather easily and is lateen rigged.  I just happen to have the rigging from an old Sunfish which is just about perfect for the project.
Karen has already work her magic with a really nice and creative binder for all the research on our project.
I promise not to slum up the pages of this blog too badly with blow by blow stuff.  If I do any detail stuff it will carry the appropriate warning so the reader may skip that edition of the blog.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

No Guts, No Glory

Go ahead, drill a nice big hole in the side of your boat.  Is it in the right place? If not, what would you do then?  Are both sides of the boat the same? How do you tell on a rounded trapezoid?
Well there it is.  It did turn out just fine after a couple of hours of timid check and recheck.
Next, what size are should the pilot holes be?  How long should the screws be?  It is balsa cored sandwich.  Therefore the screw should end before the other side of the sandwich.  Answer to what pilot hole size--Google like always. One-eighth inch for a #8 sheet metal screw.

Here's the base mount for the cable clam, a really nifty way to seal out the water.  I had to bore a hole in the gasket block and slit the side afterwords.  Then mounting the wedge gasket looks like this.

   Finally the two nylon sections are screwed together compressing the wedge gasket.

You got to love good engineering!  This is what the final product looks like.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Solar Power to Burn

Now that's what I'm talking about!  Here is the latest addition to Belle's long term sail capabilities.  I had suffered with a large, ungainly and un-achored solar panel which frankly posed a safety hazard and simply wasn't charging well anymore.  So I decided to splurge and buy a set of stanchion mounted 85 watt panels.
This is quite an undertaking from an engineering standpoint and the electrical wiring standpoint.  I will document my findings as I go

The #10 cable is daunting to work with but the waterproof box and weather tight fittings handle nicely once they are managed correctly.  These kits come from  I don't want to say that the directions leave a bit to be desired but, I dare say they probably think that if you can't figure it out, you probably shouldn't be tackling the job.  Well, I'm just stubborn enough to think I can. So far, so good.
Here's the basis of the stanchion mount.  With the Stainless cross bar these babies are here to stay.  The are also fully adjustable for correct sun angle side-to-side.
Next comes the new Blue Sea modern three stage charging system.  It will handle up to 25 amps so I plan on mounting the old  solar charger (120 watts) on the bimini.  This will give me about 17 amps total charge under ideal conditions.  The batteries are well taken care of with the intelligent charge system.  More to follow.