Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rudder and Tiller

Here's a pic of the rudder. Two pieces of half inch plywood with a bolt joining them together. This arrangement gives a pivot so the rudder can pivot up if it hits a submerged object or when you want to beach the boat. I used a door hinge to mount the rudder to the transom instead of the traditional gudgeons and pintles. I already had the hinge laying around and the idea of this boat is to be inexpensive to build so it seemed like a match to me. I'm into the idea of shabby sheik and don't mind adapting it to a sailboat :)

Here's a view of the other side of the rudder. The hinge is mounted on top of a .5" thick piece of plywood which acts as a spacer and allows the rudder to swing fully in both directions with out binding on the transom. On the inside of the transom I have a large backing plate of .5" plywood to better support the hinge and rudder. I took out the hinge's pin and replaced it with a quarter inch galvanized bolt. The idea being that I can quickly remove the bolt and remove the rudder for trailering. I still need to shape and trim the rudder and will post a pic of that latter.

Here you see my tiller and extension. It's 8 foot long which is longer than the plans call for. I had an 8 foot 1X3 so I just used the full length thinking I can shorten it latter if needed. I think I may like having a little extra reach forward. I haven't tried it yet but I think I might be able to reach the mast while still holding the tiller. Could be a good thing. We'll see.


This is the leeboard spacer/mount that is attached to the outside of the hull. It's 4" by about 1.5" by .75". I wasn't quite sure what size the plans were giving me but decided the plans must be showing a full sized drawing which measured 4"X 1". I ended up with 1.5" cause the scrap I used was already that size and bigger is better :) When in the down or submerged position, the leeboard rests on the surface of the gunwale, spacer, and the chine. Having the spacer in between the wale and chine means that when you tighten the bolt the leeboard won't pull snug up against the side of the hull and prevents putting an unwanted bow in the leeboard. The spacer also gives friction to help hold the leeboard in position. So far that seems to work fine.

This is a pic showing the backing plate inside the hull directly behind the leeboard spacer shown above. Dimensions are 4" X 4" X .5". The backing plate helps to reinforce the side of the hull which is only .25" thick.

Here's a pic of the leeboard mounted to the hull in the up position. I added that little square of .25" thick plywood at the bolt hole just for the heck of it. I leaned the boat up on it's side so I could move the leeboard into the down or submerged position and it felt pretty solid there resting on the wale, chine, and spacer. Yes the .5" plywood does seem somewhat floppy for a leeboard but I'll go with it and can replace it later with a stiffer solid piece of wood if needed. The leeboard still needs it's leading and trailing edges shaped and I'll post a pic when that's done.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


So I had to take a step backwards before going forward again. The chines, wales, and bottom had been dry/trial fitted. So I dissembled them, (step backwards) and reassembled with epoxy, (step forward).

But first, I had to fair the invisible fiberglass butt joints. Here's a tip for you future builders. When setting up the fiberglass butt joints, be sure you get the 4 ml thick plastic that goes on the outside of the joint during the layup process. If you use thinner plastic as I did, you'll end up with unwanted texture in you butt joint from the wrinkles in the thin plastic. Even though my joint was compressed during the layup, there were still wrinkles in the thin plastic, argh. The 4ml is thick enough so that it will lay smooth and flat w/o wrinkles and give the glass joint a nice smooth finish.

So I had unwanted texture and thus some extra fairing to do. I mixed up some fairing compound from epoxy and thickening solids that I purchased with the epoxy. The solids were inexpensive, about 5 bucks for a quart I think. I spread the fairing compound on and around the glass joints, let it dry, spread on more fairing compound and sanded it down until I got the joints looking pretty flat. Ha, easier said than done. Seems to me this fairing thing takes some practice. I guess I did ok for the first time. I can always go back and fair further. Most importantly, the fairing gives a smoother surface for a better seal at the chines and sides, and at the chines and bottom. Yeaaaah, lets keep the water out.

The fairing compound is the purple colored stuff you see. It was fun to work with. Kind of like playing with putty in a way. If the fiberglass joint was smooth, this is all I'd have to do, fair in the edges as you see in this pic.

Here the entire joint is getting fully covered and the unwanted texture is magically disappearing.

This pic is further along in the fairing process. It's actually pretty smooth here and more fair than it perhaps looks in the pic.

This pic shows the bottom attached with epoxy, screws, and clamps. Funny, those PVC clamps have a pretty stiff grip. You can't beat the price. :)

This is a shot of the joint on the hull bottom looking pretty fair now.

Yup, have to fair all the screw holes.

I had some saw marks and unevenness on the side where chine and bottom meet. Figured I might as well fair it some long as I'm at it. Oops, pic is closer than I had intended.

While the boat was upside down I thought this would be a good time to lay a bead along the bottom of the gunwale and the side of the boat. Just another bit of fairing. This part was easy. I smoothed the bead with a popsicle stick. It blends in so well you have to know it's there to see it.

In this pic everything has been assembled with epoxy and basically faired. Making progress and moving forward. :)