Sunday, October 19, 2014

Catching up,,,, and my first race on an i550.

I will try to catch everyone up on my progress. Allot has been going on since my last blog, I am nearly finished fairing the bottom and am planning to give the boat one prime coat, then flip the boat back over and finish the keel sleeve and install it in the keel trunk, then flip the boat over and touch up anything necessary and then prime and finally paint.


These photos are of me racing in Bellingham Washington on an i550 for the first time. It was an awesome experience, the other i550 owners were great group of people, competitive and fun to hang out with.
The boat felt good, upwind was predictable due to the short waterline, but as soon as you turn around the upwind mark you a rewarded with a fun downwind run that always seemed to go by way to fast for me (I like downwind rides). Here is my report after the race :Racing report from Bellingham Washington. I flew to Washington to finally get my eyes on an i550 in person before I head into paint on my boat. The internet photos truly don’t give these boats justice. 

I was excited to see the boats sitting in the parking lot on their trailers, the PDX boats were very clean, well thought out boats with carbon rigs and new North sails. I was sailing on Michael France’s aluminum masted boat that he readily describes as “cobbled together” with older used Melges 20 sails. 

Here are some things I took away from the weekend.

1- The i550 owners and crew were very welcoming and the camaraderie/hospitality was awesome.
2- As several people have said on here, the boats are very evenly matched and spars, sails, bulb shape/weight, really didn’t seem to make a difference,, tactics and sail handling did, (you make a mistake, the other boats are going to capitalize on it).
3- Upwind was a little slower due to the short waterline, I am happy to report, that even in moderate chop, the boat was surprisingly dry (dryer then a U20 in the same conditions). Being as I have sailed bigger boats all these years (20'-50’) hiking was a new experience for me, the next thing I am making for the boat, is a hiking bench for my office.
4- Downwind is where you will fall in love with these boats, spinnaker up, pole articulated to windward and like Tokyo Trash likes to say “drive her deep she loves it”…When the wind was up the bow wanted to dig in, and you have to get your weight to the back of the boat and hike, and the boat pops onto a quick plane,,,, great fun indeed.
5- If you are building, or thinking of building a boat you owe it to yourself to make the trip and visit the North West fleet, I came away from the weekend with several new ideas on how I want to rig my boat and a pretty clear vision of how I want to finish it.

Thanks again to Michael France for inviting me to sail with him, I appreciated the hospitality/knowledge/experience he was happy to share with another i550 owner. Giving me the trophy at the end of the regatta was a huge bonus, and will always make my first i550 regatta a great experience.

My sailing buddy's Randy and Lisa Shelton made two videos of the boat build for me, the first video is about the kayak build and leads into the i550   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yN2V-HIpl4

The second video is all about the i550 and was taken at mid build.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbdBLk71cMw

I would also ask you to go on Randy's Colorado Coconut Channel on utube https://www.youtube.com/user/ColoradoCoconuts . There are many cool videos they have done, including several national events. I might be a little partial to the U20 nationals video as I was racing on Juiced with my good friend Jim Ulatowski and Roy Burley.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Flipping her over

 Time Machines first trip out of the garage, Jordon, Jeramy, and Ashley were on hand to help flip her over.
 The floor of the cockpit is huge 4'4" X 8'5"....  The shortened cockpit seats will assure that you are always hiked out when the air is up, but the huge cockpit floor will give you plenty of comfortable spots for those light air races. I am going to install EVA foam to the seats, floor and foot bensons to spoil the crew (EVA foam is like the foam you see on paddle boards).
 LESSONS learned along the way:    I have been using an assortment of foam durablock long boards, and had been using 80 grit to fair with, as 80 grit was the lowest grit PSA paper I could find locally, even from the big auto body/woodwork shops,,,, after many days of sore shoulders and unnecessary extra sanding, I found 40 grit PSA (rhynostick rolls) online at Eastwoods   http://www.eastwood.com , and man did it kick my sanding into high gear,,,, the deeper scratches the heavier grit left behind were easily taken out with 80 grit paper after I was happy with the fairing of the west 410 filler. I also followed west systems advice and applied 3 coats of unthickened epoxy over the top of the microlight, all scratches were filled nicely and evenly. Note: do not sand into the fiberglass fibers, this is just to get the high spots in the fairing filler down in a hurry.
 Jeramy,,, our bowman for this maneuverer.

Now to push her back into the garage and get working on the bottom.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I get by with a little help from my friends.


I am getting some much needed help on time machine. 

Jordon and Jeremy have been helping on some fairing, you put a 250 lb National Rugby Champion on a sander, and the dust just seems to fly.
(jeremy just got a teaching job in AZ, and is planning to build his own kayak in the near future)...


Not only am I receiving help, but I am also giving some myself. This is a spinnaker pole, cowling I am rebuilding, off a friends U20, that broke on us in last weekends regatta, despite the failure we were able to improvise and go wing on wing with the jib and still get a 2nd place for that race.

Things are finally heating up in the shop where I can finalize a few things on the kayak. Building the kayak gave me the confidence that I could build a sailboat.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Still plugging!

Still plugging away, the lead has been poured and went well using a turkey fryer to melt the lead. I used less then 1 propane tank (I had an extra tank standing by just in case) the recycled tire weights were easy to use, and as soon as the lead melts the steel clips rise to the surface of the pot, to be whisked away by my $5.00 stainless steel slotted spoon.

If I were to do it again.... I would put two large 3" holes in the mould, to fill the bulb from, maybe tilt the bulb to each side to fill the ends, then pour the middle with the bulb level. I ran out of tire weights and had a small void to fill the next day.

I am using my limited time multi tasking, fairing the deck and cockpit, pouring the bulb, building a carbon fiber tiller, and planing a 3” wide strip down both sides of the keel, for the (5) layers of 3” wide unidirectional carbon fiber, followed by more fairing and filling. (I have been trying to convince my fitness minded friends, that sanding with a longboard is the next cross fit rage,,,,, but no one is buying it)….

I am continuing with the mindset, that if I keep a little momentum going, even small things, will eventually be big completed items.

                                         Jordon helping his dad out.
                                                   The bulb fresh out of the mold.

                            The dado for the five layers of unidirectional carbon fiber.
                     Here at the shop we do allot of scientific testing to assure quality control,,,, after jumping up and down on the keel,,,, it seemed like the perfect photo op of me hanging ten. Some test panels we get a little more scientific,,, and break out the sledge hammers to test their strength.
Might be a habit forming, here is another photo hanging ten, this time on a skate board, down the side of the main hull of a 43' Dick Newick designed Tri-Maran.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Plugging Away!

I am plugging away on "TIME MACHINE",,, the keel plug that is. As is the case with many of the parts on this build, and to prevent slowing things down, or just overthinking it, sometimes, you need to just roll up your sleeves and dive right in. We will get started on building an aerodynamic, 165 pound, torpedo shaped chunk of lead, but first we have to make a fake male plug in order to build a concrete female mold, to pour the lead male bulb,,,, I agree,,, a lot of steps.

 I lofted my bulb parts on paper per the plans, I then glued the paper cutouts to 2" building foam, and cut them out on my bandsaw (you could also cut them with a sheetrock hand saw). I had pre-drilled a 1/2" hole, to thread them onto a hardwood dowel, spray adhering each layer together as I went.
 I planed/faired all of this to my control marks, to achieve my final bulb shape. I started my first cote using bondo (an automotive body filler), but decided to change to 20 minute sheetrock mud, as it is easier to apply and sand.
 When I was happy with my fairing job, I painted the bulb with some leftover paint to seal the sheetrock mud. I then coated the plug with wax, and then neatly wrapped the entire plug with (1) layer of saran wrap, waxing the outside of the saran wrap also.
 I mixed and poured the concrete into my pre-built box, then pushed the bulb in place, holding it in position against its buoyancy (about 1/2 its profile) using a couple of wood scraps and screws. I let this dry overnight, leaving the keel bulb in place I added my next box directly over the lower frame. (I had used tongue and groove siding scraps, so it was easy to lock the two frames together).
 I added a couple of plumbing pipes to create pour/vent holes for the lead (pic above).
 The finished mold.
I was pleasantly surprised with a very fair mold. I plan to let this cure for a couple of weeks, before pouring the 165 pounds of lead. I am hoping that by allowing the moisture to evaporate from the concrete, that I will be able to get multiple pours out of the same mold?, although I am not 100% sure if it will, but it would be nice to help out another boat builder, by sharing the mold.

Note: I got all my lead , by going to a few tire shops, when I told the owners what I was trying to do, they were enthusiastic to help out. It is also a great way to recycle those old tire weights.

Monday, February 24, 2014

TIME MACHINE

                                      
After installing the cabin top on the boat, I cut out the access hole and climbed inside my now, completely enclosed boat,  I sat to look around and plan/plot my next steps and had a wave of nostalgia wash over me, sitting there, in my cool boat cabin (I almost asked the wife if I could sleep out in the boat, that night) I was transported back in time, to being a young kid building structures (boat cabins among a few!) with my friends out of all the bed sheets in the house, all the adventures we had dreamed,,,, what a great time, and not a care in the world,,,, so, for a brief moment (if only we could capture that magic in a bottle) I was a kid again. I have to think that the younger me, would think it is very cool,,, that his older self is building a boat, a boat for adventures, with my family & friends. 


After such a trip back into time, it seems only fitting that the boat has now named herself,,,
 "TIME MACHINE", and my mind, much like my younger self ,while thinking of adventure, is working overtime, thinking of the possibilities for boat graphics, maybe a bit of Jules Verne or H.G Wells. an image of rivets,gears and alchemical symbols.


My high tech clamping system while the epoxy dries.

On a building note: I filleted and taped the interior, but decided against fairing anything to save weight...

Layers of unidirectional and plain weave carbon fiber to reinforce the bow, there will be allot of force trying to pry the front of the boat apart.
I am going to use an aluminum bowsprit and mast for the first season or so, while I educate myself enough, to feel comfortable building everything out of carbon fiber.
These foot bensons should be bomb proof.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Floored

The cabin floor has gone in. I did not go with dual bunks and decided I wanted a one piece, seamless cabin floor, I also decided to try out my new HVLP gun and pre prime the interior, which was a good thing, as I am not ready to paint my exterior with it, it would seem that I have a little learning to do before I tackle that. FYI: I am using Interlux Primekote and will use Interlux perfection as my finish cote. Read the MSDS sheets as this stuff is pretty nasty when sprayed.


I also fiberglassed the cockpit floor and used peel ply for the first time, take my advice, go with peel ply, it left a completely smooth beautiful surface, (I also figured I will leave it on for awhile, as it makes a really good drop cloth and will protect the surface). As usual I am behind on posting, and can say that now that the cabin top is done, it was worth the time I spent priming, and sanding is allot easier while the top is off.

 Let me add this, prep everything you can before bonding the top sides, tape 6mil plastic sheeting to the floor, wrapping up the sides, and you are ready to bond the deck and cabin top, with little care if you have any epoxy drips or runs.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I won't bore you with the small stuff, but after squaring and tabbing everything in place, it just becomes a ton of filleting and taping. I got advice from a friend that is building a 43' Dick Newick designed trimaran in Aspen, CO, and after that I started doing my fillets as follows. 1- mix and fillet several feet (I usually would try to mix up and fillet about 8-12 linear feet). 2- after filleting, start precutting your double bias tape (set aside in an order you can remember). 3- set up a piece of plastic sheathing on a flat work surface (I did mine on a 1x12 set on sawhorses). 4- Wait until fillets start to gel, and mix epoxy in small batches, wet out the precut pieces of tape on top of the plastic (I used a chip brush and squeegee), wet out then lay the tape to your fillet and squeegee in place (I found the side of my gloved finger worked well) also use your finger to gently push/slide the tape into the fillet, so that you get a good bond. doing this technique I felt I was able to work very efficiently, and created my best fillets.

Stringers: I pre marked where I wanted my stringers to sit, then cut plywood scraps to length and roughly 4" tall, I then used a technique counter top installers use, and held my stringer to my layout marks, then used a 3/4"X3/4" block/pencil to slide along my hull panel and transferring the exact hull shape to the stringer, I then cut to the mark with my skill saw, check that it fits right, now use it as a template to cut another, (if you laid your frames out correctly it should fit perfectly on the other side of the boat), repeat until all stringers are cut, then you get the fun of doing more fillets, by now it will be second nature (I put my iPod on shuffle, cranked it up, and just kept moving).

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Stitching the hull and setting frames.

This was an exciting time in the build, and you get to see a boat take shape very fast. This is also where a good cradle will start to pay off. I found that my panels just laid in place, no bending, forcing, or very much tension on the zip ties was required. The green strap was used to just hold the sides roughly in place, there was no pressure on the strap, and the hooks kept the panel in place as I set frames and started to zip tie everything together. 


 Frame alignment/squaring the boat:  I had pre- marked the centerlines on all my frames, top and bottom and had snapped a chalk line down the center of the bottom panel when I had cut the frames/panels (I had also marked the centers of all my cradles) this helped in several ways 1- it allowed me lay the bottom panel, centered exactly on the cradle. 2- having the marks on the frames allowed me to set the marked frames to the chalkline on the bottom panel, and I was able to zip tie the frames in while also seeing their alignment down the centerline of the boat. 3- At this stage I had used auto jacks to level the cradle from my sloped garage floor and set the cradle level down the length and side to side, I then ran a string line down the length of the boat, at centerline, and was able to verify that my centerline marks at the top of the frames, lined up down the length of the boat. Everything lined up perfectly and after measuring diagonals from the stern, I had a little less then 1/16" variance in square,,,, TIME to start filleting…….
4- You will later be happy that you made those centerline marks as you construct your keel trunk, install your compression post, etc, as the marks have already been made, and by now you know that things will line up almost automatically. I hope that made sense and helps a little.


I plan to make the cradle available to any Colorado boat builders Spring/Summer of 2014 and would like to help anyone with an interest in getting their boat going, you can email me : i550sailor@aol.com