Friday, November 21, 2008

All I Want for Christmas...

I am not neglecting this blog but since my Pocketship plans have still not arrived there is not much to blog about. I have purchased some new tools, a DeWalt orbital sander, a jigsaw, and power planer. Everything is ready to go so now it is just up to Santa to make an early delivery of the plans.

If the plans do not arrive soon Christmas will take precedence over boat building and in January we are away for a month to attend my son's wedding in Australia. I guess I should  resign myself to the fact that boat building will probably not begin in earnest until mid-February.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is all of this really going to be a sailboat?

10 Sheets Okoume BS6566  6MM $459
5  Sheets Okoume BS6566  9MM
1 Sheet Okoume BS6566  3MM 
1 Sheet Tiama  18MM
50 yds Fiberglass Cloth
50 yds Fiberglass Tape
10 Gallons MAS Epoxy Resin
5 Gallons MAS Hardener

Building your own Sailboat

At this point it is hard to believe that this 650 pounds of material is going to turn into the sailboat shown in the photo.

As soon as the plans finally arrive I'll be able to start cutting out panels. Canadian Prairie winters are not really suited to working in an uninsulated garage so epoxying is probably on hold until spring. Hopefully I can slowly move the plywood to my basement workshop and 
have all the parts ready to epoxy and start assembling in March. I am still investigating how practical it is to heat the garage with portable heaters and see if it is possible to get started in the garage sooner.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ordering the plans and building materials

Having decided on the CLC Pocketship I ordered the plans on October 23rd. After a week I still had not received confirmation of the shipping charges and was becoming a little concerned, especially since I had chalked out an outline of the boat in the garage to reassure myself that I had made the right choice by going with a slightly smaller boat length.  A followup email revealed that the Pocketship plans are so new that they are still in the final stages of being prepared for shipping and should ship shortly. 

Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) sells a kit for the Pocketship that includes pre-cut hull panels etc., epoxy resin, and fiberglassing materials for $3350 US.  However, agreeing with my son that I couldn't really tell people I built my own sailboat if someone else cut out all the parts, I started looking locally for marine plywood. Good luck to you if you live in the middle of the continent and have access to reasonably priced marine supplies. The best plywood I could find locally was Marine Grade Fir which of course is not close to the Okoume supplied in the kit. Okoume and Meranti (1088 and 6566) have equal and more plies and have other properties more suitable to boatbuilding ( something else that I have now read more about than I could have ever imagined). All the wooden boatbuilding forums out there have a wealth of information useful to new boatbuilders---take advantage of them!

Through the forums I learned of Noah's Marine Supplies in Toronto. They have all types of Okoume and Meranti marine plywood and cheaper than the local Marine Fir.  I decided on Okoume 6566 since the only difference between it and 1088 is the uniformity of the veneer facing. But I am not  bright finishing any of the wood so this is not an issue.  Noah's prices on epoxy and fibeglass materials were also cheaper than sourcing them locally.

I was able to order all of the identical materials in the CLC kit for $2,799 Can; the CLC kit after converting to Canadian funds would have been over $4000.  There of course is a $200- $250 shipping charge but I am sure shipping from the States would be even higher. As a bonus since I am outside of Ontario I saved more than $200 in provincial sales tax.  

Next: Waiting for the plans and supplies to arrive

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Which sailboat to build...

There is no shortage of information about building your own sailboat on the Internet. Trust me, in the last 2 months I think I have seen more than I could have imagined. I knew a reasonable size for a first time builder would be between 14 and 20 feet. But which boat to select? First it was going to be a Stevenson Weekender, then a Bolger Micro, or maybe a Vagabond 18. I ordered Study plans for 3 Fisher-Selway plans, the Goshawk, Galway, and Ptarmigan 17.  I looked at the Hartley 16 and 18 and the Belhaven 19 and some others I have forgotten. But I kept coming back to the brand new CLC Pocketship design.  The final decision was made, as usual, on a lot of compromises. Designs over 17 feet would not be practical to fit in a single car garage during the construction phase. Some designs were for boats that were simply too heavy to work on unless I could manage to get 12-15 people to turn over a 700 kg hull. Some designs had a flat bottom which would be great for a day at the lake shown in the bottom picture but not so great for days like in the first photo.  On Lake Winnipeg ( the world's 11th largest lake) there are more choppy days than calm days so we needed a boat that would cut through the chop rather than bounce on top.  

The CLC Pocketship was small enough ( 14' 11") to work on easily in the garage, yet with a V-hull, ballasted keel and a weight of 800 lbs should be very seaworthy. It has a cockpit almost 7 feet long for our primary purpose of daysailing ( larger than some 19' and 20' plans I looked at) and a very sleepable but simple cabin. 

 PocketShip plans include a 116-foot long roll of full-sized patterns for all plywood parts in the hull (and many other parts besides), 11 pages of traditional scaled architectural drawings, dimensioned diagrams for sails and spars, and a spiral-bound instruction manual with each building step photographed and/or diagrammed---more than 450 photos.

These very complete plans means there is no "lofting"  for this first time boatbuilder.

Next: Ordering the plans and building materials

How I decided to build a sailboat...

Maybe I will test out the sailboat in the pool first!

I have never built a sailboat before, in fact I have never even sailed a boat. So, how did I decide to build a sailboat? As usual, it was my son who talked me into it. I have recently retired from 32 years  of teaching and of course the first question people keep asking is what are you going to do with all of your free time.  My answer of doing what you do on holidays and weekends except full time usually is not sufficient so I needed to find a project.  All of the household and cottage projects and renovations are complete or up to date so I needed to be creative. My son has been living in Australia for 4 years and is planning on purchasing a boat to live on.  He suggested I build a sailboat and then maybe with the experience I could build a larger one for him. It started partly as a joke but the more I thought about it the more intriguing the idea was. My wife has often suggested we look at sailing as another activity to enjoy at the cottage as we head into our retirement years. Thus the seed was sown and I dove into researching building your own sailboat.
I have never been afraid of any kind of home renovation project whether it was wiring the basement for a family room, decking most of the backyard , or the scariest of all, cutting holes in the roof for skylights or knocking out walls for patio doors.

Next Installment: Which boat to build