Saturday, March 28, 2009

The first sea trials are over!

I finished up the dinghy, well not totally finished but good enough to take the boat for a test sail.

The day was rainy with not much wind. The boat was solid as a rock but a little tippy getting in and out, but once your in it your fine. The wind was poor so I really didn't get to sail.

I didn't rig the sail until we were on site, so first I had to cut lines for everything and setup all the rigging for the first time. I think I did pretty good but I didn't have the holes drilled into the mast, sprit, and boom like I needed to but I made things work with a little duct tape! Although it wasn't perfect it looked nice.

The boom was to low, the sail wasn't tight, the tiller was to long, the oars weren't finished, and the daggerboard trunk had a leak. No real major problems other than the leak but that can be fixed. I am just a little concerned if the leak allowed the plywood to get wet. I am thinking that it probably didn't because everything was coated with epoxy pretty well. Just my putty work around the daggerboard trunk wasn't exactly good looking.

It was really a great experience though, to be floating in a boat that I built myself, it was very rewarding. I even had a freind video tape some of it, check it out!

Also, I haven't mentioned it but, I have been recording the entire construction process and posting it on the internet. Here is the first video, follow THIS LINK to check out the rest of them!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Nearing Completion!!!!

The dinghy is coming along nicely!

As you can see, I have the seat tops cut out and installed! Now the boat is really coming together and it doesn't look like just a bunch of plywood.

In order to install the seat tops I had to glue some cleats along the hull that would serve as supports for the seat tops. This was pretty easy, just had to make the marks, cut the blocks the mix some putty and stick them where they needed to go. I am really glad that the putty was sticky enough to hold the blocks in place so that I didn't have to worry about holding each one up while they dried. After they dried, I gave them all a good coat of epoxy.

I knew that cutting out the seat tops would be difficult because of the odd angles and the weird curves. So I went to Walmart and bought a few peices of posterboard to use as patterns. It didn't take me long to get the correct shape and cut out the seat tops. Once they were cut out I gave the underside of each seat two coats of epoxy so that I wouldn't have to coat the underside when they were installed on the boat.

Then I mixed up some more putty and just glued the tops in place, no big deal. I did have to put some heavy weights on top of the boards to hold them in place while the epoxy set up. (a vice and large chain work well for this)

I left a spot in the rear seat for a lid so that I could use that compartment for storage. I built the lid out of some scrap antique heart pine I had laying around from some of my furniture projects. It worked well and should look beautiful on the boat.

I also installed the mast step, it was no big deal....

The thing sure is coming along! I plan on being finished some time next week.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Built the sail today!

I have been gone for a week, but it was on a cruise so I am not complaining! I needed some warm weather......

(I will post about the cruise later)

Anyways, I am hoping to have the dinghy finished before next weekend so that we can take it to the beach with us, I am so ready. Since my sewing skills are not very good, my mother and I stitched up a homemade sail today. It didn't take us very long, I would say 2 hours maybe a little longer.

The material is a painter's canvas dropcloth that I bought from Lowe's for pretty cheap, under $20 bucks. It's a light tan color so it looks traditional. The only thing I am worried about is that it isn't water proof or water resistant but it's the first sail and a "trail" one before I make one out of a better quality and more expensive material.

It was no problem cutting it out, then we ironed the folds along the edges before we sewed them with my mother's sewing machine. Once this was done I just put a few gromets where I believe they should go (I looked at photos of other sails on the internet) and it was done. No big deal at all!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Slow Progress- Oars and Tiller work

I managed to get in about a day of work on the dinghy this past week. I was working on the tiller, the oars, and the cleats that the seats mount too.

For the tiller, I laminated three strips of 3/4 inch pine together to form a square post. The plans show a slot that you leave out of one end of the tiller for the rudder to stick through. It was pretty easy to laminate it together, I used waterproof wood glue instead of epoxy (epoxy isn't cheap) and I think it should work fine because I am going to cover the entire thing with epoxy.

After the glue dried I used a hand plane to taper the tiller into a handle. This wasn't very difficult and didn't take to long either, I enjoy using a hand plane. After I planed it down good enough I sanded it smooth and rounded the edges and it really looks good. I didn't get a photo of the final piece but I will once I put a coat of epoxy on it (hopefully this week).

I also worked on the oars a good bit. I finished planing one down but I still need to do some finishing cutting with my band saw and some sanding to give it a nice smoothe and fluid look. They really are looking pretty good!

Looks like I may not get to much work in on the dinghy this week because I will be working in my mother's roof truss manufacturing plant. I work here from time to time whenever they get busy (which isn't often enough in this economy) and now a lot of work has come in at one time.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Photos! Still making good progress too.

Things have still been going steady, I received word that I will not be heading out of town until the first of next week (that is if my bid gets the job) so that gives me more time to work on the boat.

I took some needed photos of my progress today, I think they turned out great!

Yesterday afternoon I coated the dagger board with one coat of epoxy, put a second coat on the inside of the dagger board trunk and glued the two pieces together. Everything went smoothly and they both looked great this morning.

(Click the photos for a larger image)

First thing this morning I started sanding the boat down. On the inside of the boat, the fiber glassed seams had two coats of epoxy on them and they were still pretty rough so I gave them a good sanding with my orbital sander (witch doesn't have as much since I knocked it off on the floor yesterday) and it is ready for another coat. I sanded the outside of the hull good also so it is ready for another coat of epoxy and then paint.

Since I put the dagger board trunk and the dagger board together I figured it was time to take the big step and cut a hole in the boat. It really wasn't that big of a deal once I trusted all of my measurements and marks. I cut it out with a jig saw with no problem and it was correct!

Since it has been cool here I have been sitting my epoxy resin and hardener in a large window in the mornings so that the sun will heat them up. Today I think I left them there a little to long and they heated up pretty good, which isn't always what you want. When I mixed the putty up I could tell the cup was already warm in my hand and since heat speeds up the curing time I knew that I didn't have long so I started applying the putty pretty fast. All went well up until the end when the putty was getting hard on me. I still slapped it all on and it didn't look to pretty.

I decided to go ahead and fiberglass it in. I cut the glass to fit and then mixed my already warm epoxy resin and started to wet out the fiberglass. I got about half way done when my cup started melting from the heat (the epoxy was getting hard!). I quickly dumped it out on the boat where I needed another coat of epoxy and spread it out. I decided not to do anymore epoxy the rest of the day, but that doesn't mean I was finished.

Throughout the day I had been gluing the strips of wood to my oar shafts that make up the wide part of the paddle. Once I had them glued on I started to shape my paddle down and I finished up one and then called it a day and went running.

Here is a photo of the paddle being glued together, I didn't think to snap one of the hand-planed oar, but I will tomorrow.

Making good progress is exciting, I can't wait until tomorrow to get back to work!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

PK 87: I'm making good progress!

I have been working on the boat the past few days, waiting to go out of town to work. I have the dagerboard cut and shaped and will probably epoxy it over today sometime. The trunk for the daggerboard is cut out and I have one coat of epoxy on the inside of it and I plan on putting another coat on the inside and epoxying the two pieces together when I epoxy the daggerboard this afternoon.

Yestarday, I had the boat turned upside down and I puttied the seams, glassed the seams over, then I put fiberglass over the two bottom panels of the hull. I decided not to glass the entire hull because....... well I'm not sure why not, but I figured I only needed it on the bottom panels because they will be seeing the abuse when I beach the boat. The fiberglass sheets went on pretty easy using a squigee and pouring the resin on. I was pretty surprised how easy it was, and this morning it looked fantastic and is pretty stiff. Just a few more coats of epoxy on the outside of the hull and it will be finished except for the rubrail and paint.

The epoxy/fiberglass it that I ordered with the boat wasn't quite enough. The kit from that was for the PK87 dinghy is for the rowing version and you need more resin for the sailing version. I oreded more epoxy Monday and it arrived just a while ago before lunch on Webnesday, and its a good thing because I am almost completely out of the first 1 gallon of resin and 1/2 gallon of hardener. I ordered the same amount and it should easily be enough, especially since I do not have to do much more puttying (if any) which is where I ended up mixing to much putty and it would harden before I could get it all on the boat.

So now I just got back from lunch and about to get back to work (on the dinghy). I have been videoing the building process but I am having a little trouble with the quality of the video so I have been discouraged and slow at putting them online. Maybe I will get off my but and do them right.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ive Been Busy!

Well, if you are wondering why I haven't posted any progress on the dinghy its because I have been busy. I managed to get some out of town jobs (small carpentry contracts) that are paying pretty well so I have been putting my attention into them. Work is hard to find these days so you have to do whatever you can whenever you can.

Anyways, as for the dinghy I have been doing a little bit but I just haven't been posting about it or taking photos.

I have cut and shaped the daggerboard and it is ready for epoxy.

Since it has been so cold my epoxy wouldn't dry so I purchased a small heater and closed in a small portion of my shop to heat.

I need to order another batch of epoxy because I am running low. The epoxy "kit" that I bought was stated to be enough to build the dinghy but I now have found out that it is only enough to build the rowing version and not the sailing one. Oh well...

I also need to order a few pieces of hardware for the running rigging and the tiller.

Other than that I really haven't done all to much, but hopefully I will have some spare time next week to get back on it and finish it up!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

PK87 Dinghy- Today, Stitched and Glued the Hull

Lots of progress today! What a great day it was, this being my first boat, seeing the pieces some together and start to look like a boat was great!

As I said in my last post, I took some photos!

The frames do not look level because, well that aren't. They aren't glassed in place although they are close to where they should be. The main reason they look out of whack is because the boat itself isn't level.

I think today went pretty well in all, even though I did make one pretty big mistake... When I was cutting out the plywood pieces I somehow got confused and cut the certain panels out of the wrong pieces of plywood. (There are two thicknesses of plywood and I cut the panels that were supposed to be out of the thinner piece from the thicker piece and vice versa. But! I now have a set of stencils so I guess I will probably be making another PK 87.

I realized this mistake once I had stitched the two bottom panels and the bow and transom panels together. When I was about to put the side panels on, I said to myself, "Self, how in the world are you going to bend this thick plywood like it is supposed to be????". Then I checked the plans and realized my mistake and felt pretty dumb. Oh well, maybe that will be my "big mistake" in this project.

So I had to run out and get new plywood and cut out all of the panels again. But this time I had stencils so it wasn't as time consuming marking them out. I finished cutting the correct panels out at around 11 o'clock, nearly half a day wasted. But once I had the new panels the hull went together in no time!

Stitching the hull together was simple and quick. Then, one of my friends, Jarrod Davis, decided to come check out my project and ended up helping me until we left at 6:20 this evening, what great help he was too.

With Jarrod's help, we flipped the hull (it was extremely light weight) and applied the duct tape on the outside so that when we puddied the seems from the inside it wouldn't seap through. I am a little worried about how hard it will be to get this stuff off in the morning. I think the way I put the zip-ties on wasn't the best way. I had them where the bulky connection part was on the outside of the hull so that made taping it up a little tricky. We ended up having to cut slices in the tape beside each zip-tie so that the tape wouldn't let the puddy dry around the bulkyness of the tie leaving hardened epoxy bumps all over the hull. I think we solved the problem but I will see in the morning how it all worked out.

But, when I think about it, the bulkyness of the tie on the inside of the hull could have been more trouble on the outside. Because puttying around what little bit of the tie that was showing was pretty thick, so maybe the bulkyness on the outside is the best way.

So, we brushed on epoxy resin everywhere that the fiberglass would be touching and then we puddied the seems. This went pretty quickly with the two of us working simutaneously.

One we finished applying the puddy we immediately began cutting and wetting out the fiberglass on the seams. This wasn't very difficult and I think it's easier to do it right after puddying so that the glass has something to stick to and hold it in position. Brushing the resin onto the fiberglass, "wetting it out", was pretty slow until one person started pouring the resin and the other quickly brushed it out. Once we started this method it really went fast.

Since I didn't put the frames in before I glassed the seems, I didn't want the hull to dry out of shape so we temporarily put the frames in place so that the hull will dry in the correct shape. Not sure if this makes a difference, but I didn't want it drying out of shape and then the frames not fit or the seems crack or fail when I forced the frames in.

That was it for the day and I think we got alot accomplished. With Jarrod there things spend up a good bit. Thanks man.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

PK87 Dinghy- Today's Progress, Plywood Frames Cut.

I am going to post a kind of daily thoughts and progress journal of the building progress. Mainly for a reference to look back on when I write up the "How To" guide for the stitch and glue dinghy construction. Here are my reflections on the first day.

UPS delivered the plans right before lunch today so I didn't get to start until around one o'clock in the afternoon. First I looked the plans over for a few minutes and read everthing. I tried to make sense of the diagrams for the plywood cutouts.

Reading the plans wasn't very difficult and I started making some progress, putting some marks onto the plywood. It doesn't take a genius, just some basic geometry skills and careful measuring. The cutting went smoothly and I have all of the frames and hull peices cut out. Best of all, I didn't have to cut anything twice (but that may change when I start fitting the peices together in the morning) so no wasted lumber!

Once I had the pieces cut out I was preparing to start drilling the holes for the "stitching" and I couldn't find the Assembly Page that is mentioned in the instructions to figure out which way the pieces go together, and I looked through everything carefully at least three times. I ended up figuring it out on my own and I realized I didn't have my drill bits! So decided to call it a day a few minutes before 6 o'clock in the evening.

Overall it was good day I think and I enjoyed the work. I cant wait until tomorrow, I hope to get the pieces stitched together so that the boat will take shape! I will have some pictures at least to post tomorrow too.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Started Building My Oars Today

Since I ordered the plans for the Pram 8'7" I have to wait for them to arrive before I can begin building the boat. So until they arrive tomorrow (I can't wait) I have started working on the oars. I scoured the internet for a while in search of a simple oar design that would work for me. I found one and I began building them today, making a few minor changes in the design.

I was recording the process and have edited all of today's footage, I have done everything I can till the epoxy and fiberglass come in with the plans tomorrow.

It was pretty fun making the videos for a type of "How To" guide that I plan on sharing with everyone. Being my first time, I really didn't know exactly how to get good shots and what all exactly to say, but I think I made the best of it and the video clips were looking pretty good when I was editing them earlier today.

I am not sure when I will have the video up for the "How To Make Your Own Oars" guide but it should be soon. I plan on starting tomorrow cutting out the plywood panels for the dinghy and stitching them together. Once that is done, I will put on the first bit of epoxy and fiberglass and while it is drying I will finish up with the oars.

Not sure exactly how long it will take me to cut out the panels and stitch and glue them together but I should be pretty quick. Hopefully I will at least get as far as having the hull stitched together tomorrow, if the plans arrive early instead of late......

Monday, January 26, 2009

Im Building a Sailing Dinghy!

Thats right, I have ordered the plans and the fiberglass/epoxy kit from It should arrive sometime later this week I hope.

The design that I chose was the Prameke 7'-8". It has a beam of 4'8" and a overall length (LOA) of almost 8'. I am going to be building it using the simple stitch and glue method, I think it's simple at least, this will be my first time building a boat.

It is constructed out of plywood and the seams are fiberglassed and the entire boat is covered with epoxy and it can be painted. I think I am going to paint mine white but leave some of the wood grain pieces showing. I am also going to be building a sail kit for it (the sprit type rig), and some rowing oars because I don't plan on having an outboard on it.

I am going to go ahead and start on the oars, cutting the pieces out and having them ready to epoxy together when the plans and fiberglass/epoxy kit arrives.

I plan on documenting the entire process with my video camera and posting on the web. I hope to start the oars today, so maybe I will have some videos up soon!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

S&S Update: Been working on the Cruising/Emergency Equip. Section

I have been working pretty diligently on my website and I have added about five pages in the past couple of days. I probably spent about 6hrs total, it's sort of hard to believe that it would take that long, but writing the content is a bit difficult.

After reading the book Adrift, I was motivated to learn more about ocean survival and and survival equipment. I enjoyed writing researching the different things like The Ditch Bag and the many things that you should have in it. I read in depth about the differences in EPIRB's and which ones are best for certain types of cruising.

I think I have come to the conclusion that I would rather use my sailing dinghy as a life raft over an inflatable. I read different opinions about the subject and I plan on added them to the section as well.

When I was searching for information on First Aid, I read stories about where people have been seriously injured while on a short passage and were unable to get medical attention for some time. This made me more aware of the danger that sailing offshore puts the captain and crew in. I think I will be purchasing one of the books I have listed on the First Aid page. I would also like to take a first aid course somewhere locally to learn the basics of first aid.

I am not exactly sure what I am going to working on next, I need to work on the Sailboat Buyer's Guide more so that is probably what I will be doing over the course of the next few days.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Useful Blog Gadgets

Recently, I have been trying to find the most useful gadgets to add to my blog. I think I have found a few that I believe, will help myself and anyone who happens to read my blog. You can find these gadgets here on my blog.

One of the first ones I liked was the Follow gadget. This gadget enables readers (who also have a blog or an account that supports the Follow gadget) to "follow" your blog, pretty straight forward name. If you look on your dashboard, under Reading Lists and click the Blog's I'm Following tab it will show you the recent posts of your favorite blogs that you are following. This can be really helpful so that you do not have to visit each blog to check for an update. There are other ways to be notified if a certain blogger has posted a new entry, but I like Follow the best.

It can also be beneficial to you. It is nice to see how many people are interested in your blog and are "Following" you. Also, when someone views your blog for the first time and sees that you have a lot of followers, then they may be more inclined to stay and read more of your blog to see what makes your blog so popular.

Another that I recently added is the Labels gadget. I wanted some way to organize my different blog posts so that readers could view the blogs that deal with the subject they are interested in, since I am not blogging about one subject in particular. In order to use the Label gadget, you need to add the correct label to each post (you insert the labels under the text box that you enter the content of your post in). Then, once you save the post, the label automatically goes into the gadget.

The Top Commenter's gadget is a good way to help your blog and other bloggers. It gives people an incentive to comment on your blog posts by displaying those who commented the most on your posts in the gadget window. If readers see someone who has posted many comments, then they may choose to see what that particular person is blogging about. It is a great way to help people contribute to your blog and to help your fellow bloggers.

The last gadget I have is a free Hit Counter. Basically, the counter counts every time your blog's page is loaded. This will give you an idea of how many people are reading your blog. This is a very useful gadget.

I definitely recommend that you add these gadgets to your blog if you haven't already!

Does anyone else know of any great gadgets?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

"Working" online today, and playing.....

Today, it's to cold to work on my South Coast 22 project boat and sadly I couldn't go down to my sailboat in Panama City, Fl which is about an hour and twenty minutes away but oh well.

So today I worked on a new part of my website Sailing and Such, the Sailboat Buyer's Guide that I am slowly working on while I am in the process of selling my Watkins 29 and buying a newer and possibly a bit larger sailboat as soon as the Watkins sells. Its a little slow going but I will have it finished soon.

I worked on my AdSense ads on my website a bit today too. Mainly just blocking ads that were not relevant to my content.

I also looked around for different blogs to follow today and I found a few pretty good ones. One is The Adventures of Tiller,Heron,Margaret and Don which is about a couple who live on their Westsail 32. Another is s/v Pelican - Following A Dream which is about a family of four who are out cruising for two years before their oldest starts highschool. The last one I found was Solitare I, a blog that has been around since '06, a pretty good while. It is about two people who seem to live aboard their sailboat and are out cruising. I hope to find some more interesting blogs to Follow, so if you know of any sailor's blogs let me know!

I am still getting used to "blogging" and I haven't quite figured out if I am going to blog about anything specific or just anything and everything.

Let me know about your blog, I hope you have the Follow gadget too!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My life right now......

Right now, there are a lot of things going on in my life. I have a website, Sailing and Such which I am trying build into a large and successful website, and a site that is helpful to all sailors. Its coming along pretty good I think, I have a decent amount of people coming to my site each and every day and it seems that the number keeps growing. I am proud of my first, 3 month old website.

I also have a project sailboat that I am working on right now. I am not able to do a lot of work at the moment because (1) its cold (hard to fiberglass and paint in the cold) (2) money is tight. Hopefully these obstacles will be overcome soon and I will be able to complete the project boat in time to sell it this Spring or early this Summer, in time for someone to get some good use out of it. You can follow my progress here.

I also have a 1987 Watkins 29 that I am trying to sell in order to move up to a newer and maybe a bit larger sailboat. I am getting a few bites on the boat, but no hard-set buyers yet. My fingers are crossed though!

As for a job, I am currently unemployed but I still do some work hear and there. My parents own a truss manufacturing company where I work whenever they get behind and I am also a pretty good carpenter and I do work from time to time. A dream, is to get my website, Sailing and Such, to make some money and support a cruising life. But like I said, this is a dream. ......It could happen.....

I'm going to try more blogging....

I have decided to try blogging a bit more. Well, I have decided to start blogging period. I started this blog a little after I created my website Sailing and Such and I have never really done anything with it. Now that I am trying to get more and more traffic to my website and make it known to more and more people, blogging seems to be something that other website owners do that I don't.

I am not sure what all I will be posting about in my blog. Wether it be a daily journal type blog, what I am working on with my website or whatever comes to mind. It maybe a mix of alot of different things.

Anyways, I know that NO ONE is reading this blog right now so I feel that there is no need to make this post anything special.

We will sse what is to come........