Monday, August 31, 2009

Pocketship Expense Report

I wish the photo above was my Pocketship but I did wet out all of the fiberglass on the bottom of the hull today. Hopefully, I will be ready to rig my boat at the end of September or early October.

As promised here is the summary of how much my Pocketship has cost.
All amounts are in Canadian dollars and include taxes, shipping, exchange rate if shipped from the US, and duty if applicable.

Pocketship Plans $293.16

Okoume plywood (16 sheets) $1074.08
Epoxy resin and hardener $1506.23
Fiberglass cloth and tape $404.83
Cabosil, wood flour, microballoons $294.24

Subtotal of above $3572.54
Note: All of the above is available from CLC (Chesapeake Light Craft) as a Pocketship kit for $3350 US.
My estimate is that the kit with shipping, exchange, and taxes would have cost about $4940.

Teak cabin decking $305.32
Timber for stringers, companionway, tabernacle, cleats, rubrails etc. $760.55
(this includes using mahogany for the companionway)

Primer and paint for cabin interior $141
Interlux primer, Brightsides, Schooner varnish, VC Performance Epoxy
for hull, topsides, cockpit $595

Sailboat hardware (includes all sailing hardware, hull hardware, running rigging) $2568
CLC sells all of this in 3 kits for $2467 US which with shipping, exchange, and taxes would have cost me about $3496 CDN.
My hardware also includes brass deadlights, turnbuckles, gudgeon and pintles which is probably about a $300 upgrade from the CLC kits.

Sails ordered from CLC $1496.22

Saw blades, clamps, respirator, shop disposables (tons of sandpaper, foam rollers, brushes) $727

250 lbs lead wheel weights from tire shop $80

New tools ( jigsaw, power planer, orbital sander, hand planes, pneumatic brad nailer, router and router table, bench grinder, table saw) $930.86

Total for my Pocketship $11,469.43
This figure is accurate within $100-200. I became a little lax lately about keeping track of some minor purchases.

If you already have most of the power tools the cost is closer to $10,500.
By comparison a brand new Club 420 dinghy like we took sailing lessons in this spring costs about $10-11,000. Pocketship is certainly a lot more boat than a Club 420 and of course I didn't really decide to build my Pocketship because I was looking for the cheapest way of getting a sailboat.

I still haven't purchased a trailer but it appears a EZ-Loader EZL80 15-16 foot 2000 lb should be about $1550 before taxes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Boat Flip: Part 1

Here is the photo story of the first flip of my Pocketship.

Remove one side of the cradle.

Remove the other side of the cradle.

Stare at the boat and realize there is not enough room in the garage to allow 2 people to flip it over.

Call over 5 neighbours and friends and carry the boat out of the garage.

Roll the boat over carefully and cross fingers the keel does not snap off.

Do my little happy dance since the boat is safely on the lawn.

Carry it back into the garage.

A completely different view of the boat that I will be looking at for a couple of weeks. I will jack it up so the keel is level later; it was now time to enjoy a beer with my helpful neighbours.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Not quite ready...

Last week didn't work out quite as planned. A combination of wet weather and neighbour and friend schedule conflicts meant I have postponed turning over the boat. Instead I spent a couple of days sanding the topsides, cockpit, cabin decking, and forward decking in preparation for painting.

Lazarette turned out to be a convenient place to toss all of the used sandpaper as I sanded all the topsides surfaces of this "large" 15 foot boat.

I use 80 grit on the first pass over to get rid of the drips and larger imperfections and then go over a second time with 120 to get that smooth consistent gray colour. I am still getting used to spots where initially I think I didn't fill the fiberglass weave enough and then it turns out just to be the transfer of the weave pattern to the epoxy coats. When wiped with a damp clean cloth the surface has a nice smooth wood grain finish which I guess means it is ready for primer and paint.

Final cleanup of the garage in preparation for painting has started. This photo show the boom, yard, and bowsprit ready to be moved to the more dust free basement for epoxy and varnish. The mast is also laid out for assembly.

I ordered the last hardware for my Pocketship, the sail track. I will have to use 6 foot pieces instead of 12 foot track. Shipping of the 6 foot sections was $12.95 by post rather than $200-$500 by truck freight for the 12 foot lengths. The track was only $130 so I will have to compromise and work with connecting 2 pieces of track for the mast and for the boom.
I should be able to post shortly a record of what my Pocketship has cost to build. If you want to leave a comment with your guess I'll help you out. It is more than $7,500 but less than $15,000.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ready to Rock and Roll

Time to go get some old tires and get organized with friends, relatives, and neighbours to roll over the boat. My single garage is too small (only the standard 12 feet wide) to flip the boat over so we will have to carry the boat out to the lawn , roll it over, and carry it back into the garage. I'm hoping 8-10 people should be enough. Note to self: hand out the beer AFTER the boat is back in the garage.

I just happened to have my rudder in place for a test fit of the gudgeons and pintles and tiller. The rudder is hollow construction but with a substantial timber frame. There are large 3/4 inch cheeks at the top making the rudder 3" thick at the top and 1 1/4" thick at the bottom. The rudder has an endplate or winglet or the rudder would have to be at least 8 inches taller. I'm using gudgeon and pintles instead of the eyebolts and rod attachment shown in the manual. The gudgeon and pintles cost about $50, which is cheaper than what 3 inch stainless steel eyebolts were going to cost me from available suppliers where I live. The arrangement works only because the bottom gudgeon mounted on the keel bottom is a "vertical" gudgeon about 1" wide.

Here are closeups of the companionway hood fiberglassed and epoxied but not finish sanded yet. I think I was careful enough that I can follow through with my plan to leave the nice mahogany companionway varnished and not painted. The lighter coloured trim handles are white maple simply because I could not find any 1 inch thick mahogany. The contrast turned out quite well even if I do say so my self. The companionway will be permanently attached after the boat is turned back right side up.

Not wanting to waste some left over epoxy I couldn't resist giving the port side rubrail a coat of epoxy.
As promised in a comment in my previous post this photo proves that there are some patch filled holes where screws temporarily held the rubrail layers in place. The big round patch above the rubrail is not a mistake; it is a 3/4" drain hole from the dorade box filled with epoxy. A 1/2 " hole will be drilled into the epoxy fill so that the plywood core is very safely protected from water penetration.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

All my fault! (as opposed to July 23rd post)

I am not too ashamed to admit to some construction faux pas, maybe it will help other boat builders to not duplicate the same mistakes.
Presented for your inspection the first mistake of this past week.
What is wrong in this photo?

It is a nicely milled companionway hood side piece but something is wrong. You know the old saying measure twice, cut once? The mahogany piece has its proper bevels to fit the deck camber and I measured more than twice to cut the groove for the sliding part of the hood BUT if you cut the groove on the wrong side there is no way it is going to work! On the positive side I was much quicker and efficient cutting out a replacement piece; practice does make perfect or as I used to tell my basketball teams when I was coaching, perfect practice makes perfect.

And now for mistake #2 this week. This photo shows the 3 layers required to make the rubrails.
As documented in the last post the bend at the bow is no fun at all. The photo above shows the clamping I used to accomplish the last 2 feet of bending.

On the starboard side this was not good enough for the second layer and luckily I had some hex headed screws that I could use my socket set on to ratchet in the piece of mahogany at the bow.

Because of the clamping technique I was not able to glue a layer on each side at the same time but had to alternate back and forth allowing at least 24-36 hours for curing before gluing on a new layer. The epoxy appears to have cured with a strong bond but I still have fears of being at a dock one day and all of a sudden a rubrail springs off and kills an innocent seagull or maims a bystander. But onto the mistake. I milled and scarf jointed all of the rubrail layers at the same time but when I went to put the final layer on the starboard side it was 6 inches too short. I scarfed in an additional foot or so and will attach it tomorrow.
That's it for mistakes THIS WEEK but here are a couple of extra photos.

This a scary step, cutting holes in the boat.

Here is the port side rubrail partly sanded and it does add a nice line to the boat (and still looks straight even after all of the clamping and slippery epoxy that makes lining up the layers difficult).
You can also see a test fit of the dorade vent cowl and a brass deadlight. I think the brass deadlights will look really classy against the white hull and will be a nice upgrade over the flush acrylic ones used in the Pocketship construction manual.

The companionway hood is milled and has been test fitted. The companionway decking will be glued on and epoxied this week and after some sanding of the rubrails and cabin interior the boat will be ready for its first turnover ( time to get all the neighbours organized and to remember not to hand out the beer until after the boat is flipped over).

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Almost good as new

This is the the repaired gouge the router made on the cabin front. Except for the filler color you would have to point it out to someone and it looks pretty good compared to the photo in the last post. All the topsides fiberglassing is now complete. A little bit of sanding has been done where the rubrails will be attached but the bulk of the sanding will be done much later after the bottom of the hull is fiberglassed and the boat is turned back upright. The woods always looks so nice after the epoxy is applied; it seems a shame to sand it to that boring gray color before painting. I now realize why kayak builders love their bright finishes. A Pocketship with a bright finished hull would probably look great but it would take more than the skills of this novice boat builder to keep the hull free of construction dings and scratches. I'm having enough trouble protecting the ribbon sliced tiama transom to finish in varnish. They say that doctors bury their mistakes; beginning boat builders hide their mistakes below the waterline or in watertight compartments.
I don't think I ever mentioned that after using the first 5 gallons of epoxy resin that I discovered I had used more than 3 gallons of hardener instead of the expected 2.5 gallons for a 2:1 ratio. Measuring the output of the pumps I found out the resin pump was pumping 10- 20% less that it should. I guess a little more hardener in the ratio is a better scenario than not enough. I had a spare resin pump but now I have had to order another gallon of hardener. It looks like I have about 3-4 total gallons of epoxy mixture left which by my calculations could be just enough to finish all the hull fiberglassing. If not I will have to buy epoxy other than MAS epoxy because it is not available locally and shipping just a gallon of MAS hardener from Noah's in Toronto was $40 plus the $139 cost of the hardener.
Speaking of costs I have now purchased all the sailing hardware and rigging except for the 5/8 inch sail track. Once I have tallied it all up I will include in a future post exactly how much my Pocketship has cost and the vendors I used.
The remaining photos in this post show the fiberglassed topsides. The cabin decking toe rails are in place and the first layer of the rubrails on the port side is glued in place. The rubrails proved to be a very reluctant bend on the the last 2 feet at the bow. You can see the large clamp I used to pull the rail to bow so that the temporary screws could be put in. I will find out in the the next day or so exactly how strong an epoxy bond really is when I very carefully and while crossing my fingers remove the clamp and screws. The sheerline of the first layer appears to be a true curve to me but it is difficult in the confines of a single garage to stand back and get a good broadsides view of the boat.