Tuesday, November 4, 2008

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


Christopher Gulbranson said...

Hi there,

It's Brainchild1 from the clc forum. I just thought I would share some of the things I have learned building boats. Since this is your first project and it is a huge undertaking, I thought you might benefit from my 2 cents. Just making a kayak from a kit with pre cut parts is a challenge and something to be proud of. I have built an arctic tern from a kit from Pygmy boats and it turned out to be the most rewarding project I have ever undertaken. I also have helped my father design and build skin on frame kayaks. I know this goes without saying, but your cuts must be 100% accurate. Even with pre cut parts the stitching can be very tricky. If your cuts are off by even a 16th of an inch you are in big trouble. Before I ramble on any further, I must say I am envious of you. I wish I had the space to build a pocketship. As you can imagine, there is nothing more rewarding and satisfying than building your own boat. Once the hull starts to take shape, you will find yourself staring in amazement at what you have created. Sounds corny, but it's true. I guess I am writing you because I wish someone would have thrown some reality my way before I started my first boat. So here is my unsolicited advice. 1) The boat you are building is far more complex and time consuming than any kayak or canoe. That being said, it will take you a very long time to complete. Don't worry about what clc says when it comes to the time it will take to finish it. Their estimates are always for experienced builders. 2) You will spend at least 2 to 3 times as long sanding as you will building. There is no way to rush the process unless you leave drips, and that is not an option. Buy a good orbitol sander. 3) You will probably need more epoxy than the specs require. To save money, it is a good idea to learn to estimate how much epoxy is needed for a given situation since after a couple of minutes it starts to jelly up and is no longer useful. 4) Thickened epoxy is your friend and can cover up and fill minor mistakes, but be aware that it starts to boil and rock up within a very short time. Don't waste time when using it.

I wont bend your ear anymore. Although I have not built this specific boat, if you have any questions or concerns I would be more than happy to correspond. I do have a fair amount of experience with glassing and stitch and glue construction.

I look forward to seeing how your boat turns out. Good luck, and have fun.


Dave C. said...

Thanks for your input. I am under no delusions that it will take me only the amount of time that CLC estimates. I researched a lot of plans before picking the Pocketship and selected it not just for its design and seaworthiness but also for the very comprehensive manual and full size patterns. Hopefully, this will assist in making accurate cuts.

I have purchased a good quality DeWalt sander since I have seen references to boatbuilding being 90% sanding!

I have done a lot of woodworking; furniture building, large self-designed decks, laminate flooring, skylights, patio doors etc. so I am fairly confident about the construction aspect of boatbuilding. However, I have not done epoxy work on a large scale so that is going to be an on the job learning experience. You may hear from me when I get around to epoxying in the spring.

Dave C.