Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rosa-J Sails Into the Sunset

We had our launch this afternoon and all went very well. There was a very light breeze and as it was late in the afternoon, we almost ran out of breeze completely on the way back. We also ran out of light, which was an issue as we had no running lights! Didn't expect that to happen but when the breeze went, it went completely.

It was the Sargasso Sea, the Doldrums, the surface was glassy smooth... and it was dark. Still, we made it back in one piece and I'd have preferred not enough wind to too much, particularly for our first time out.

Gave the oars a bit of a turn but they were very unsuccessful, with all the sailing stuff on the boat; rudder, rudder box, off-centreboard, mast and sail. You either have the boat set for rowing, or sailing. You really can't do both. So the idea the oars were going to get me out of trouble didn't work. Too much movement through the water to effectively row, even with the little bit of breeze there was.

L did a fantastic little speech and we named the boat with a proper little ceremony. Champagne, toasts, the full bit. This is a transcript of how it went:

'We now call on the 1st Mate to Christen the new vessel... oh hang on a bit, that's me.'
'I name this vessel Rosa-J, may God bless her and all who sail with her, may God keep all who sail her safe. Amen'.
'A toast to the Skipper'... I was choking up by this time, the emotion welling inside me.
'A toast to the first mate'... M was choking up now, it was such a beautiful moment.
'A toast to Rosa-J' ... the boat just sat there. I think she just wanted to get wet.

'We now request the skipper to install a coin at the mast step of Rosa-J as a good luck charm and as a symbol of generosity to his vessel, to show her that they shall care for her and attend to her need'. L actually handed me a $2 coin and I put it on the mast step. I'll glue it in properly tomorrow.

I then gave a toast to everyone present (all three of us, and a passing walker and his little baby daughter).

'Fairwinds to all!'.

'May she and all that sail with her be blessed with fair-weather.'

We then poured the little champagne we had left over the bow and placed a branch of green leaves on the deck to ensure safe returns.

After all that, we hit the water and sailed off into the sunset... literally. We were sitting a bit too far back, so the transom was dragging a bit but she clipped through the water pretty well. All in all, a very pleasant first run.

Here She Is

Goes in the water in about three hours. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sewing the Sail

I'm up to the sail-making stage and so far two things haven't gone as well as I'd hoped.

First, I bought a $25 polytarp from SuperCheap Auto. It had high UV resistance (so it advertised) and the next quality version up was nearly $90. Every pic I've seen of the PDRs that had polytarp sails had the plain old $25 blue type. So I went with that. It's pretty stretchy, if you stick tape to it during the marking out process then pull it off, it takes the blue colouring off and generally just looks a bit light and crappy. There's also a lot of work to make the sail, which would be wasted if it only lasts a couple of outings. Fingers crossed it works okay.

Second, there's a technique recommended in the OZ Racer instructions for sewing all the patches. Basically, you use a 10mm straight stitch, zig-zagging back and forward to create a huge zig-zag stitch. So you stitch 10mm, turn 90 deg, stitch 10mm, turn 90 deg, stitch 10mm... around every patch, then around the whole sail. Close ups of the sewing work in the rigging list site just look like normal zig zag stitching; not what the instructions say. I tried it as per the instructions and gave up in frustration after lots of jams and misfeeds, the wife tried it and called me all sorts of names, so after persevering as long as we could, we gave up.

So, we've now gone to plan B. Straight stitch about 1mm - 2mm in all around the piece being sewn, then go around again with a normal zig-zag stitch. Much easier for the machine and for the person sewing.

Still, making the sail is a huge job. Thank goodness the missus took pity on me and is doing the sewing part (though I'm sure it's going to cost me, big time).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Good Paint Technique

Found a great way to get a good finish using the KillRust enamel.

I used a disposable 75mm foam roller. This was a specialist item, supposedly ideally suited to enamel paints. Still wasn't great as the application left bubbles in the paint surface. However, I had some cheap foam 'brushes' that said they were specifically NOT suited for enamel paints. They wouldn't be any good for putting the paint on however, they work great when used to smooth the enamel and remove the bubbles.

So, disposable foam enamel roller to put on an even, thin coating then finish with long, gentle strokes of the foam brush (known as a 'draw' stroke). Dampen the foam brush with paint first but work this paint out somewhere before use as you don't want to actually apply paint at this stage. Having the brush damp just improves the smooth draw stroke you use to remove any bubbles.

Even with this finish I can still see brush strokes from the undercoat. So, use a roller for all paint application, even the undercoat.

Floating Oars

My b-i-l scared me the other night, asking the question 'Those oars you made, do they float?'.

Hmmm, kwilla is a fairly solid, heavy wood but it is laminated with finger-jointed pine. I guess they float. Anyway, tested them in the swimming pool and yes, if I get tipped over racing around the lake, they will float.

Major sigh of relief!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Progress So Far

Mast Step

Oars, foils and boom
I'm back at work for a while (supposed to be retired but occasionally get called back for various projects) so I've been 'plodding' a bit over weekends and after dinner visits to the shed. Got quite a bit done, so here are some update shots of the finished oars, off-centrecase, mast step and hull work. Things to note:
  • I accidentally bought satin varnish when I should have bought gloss. I have one shiny oar and one satin oar.
  • I've stained the deck rosewood, because I could. It was left over from a bathroom renovation I've done. I've used Wattly 7008 two-pack floor finish over the top of this. I'll have to coat that with something that will provide UV protection. Guess it's going to end up with a satin finish.
  • Finished the mast with its coat of deep indian red KillRust. Looks very nice.
  • I've added some extra bracing for rowlocks.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Big Hole in Hull

Huge hole in my hull!

Yes, I cut the hole for the off-Centreboard (ie. the keel). The centreboard just fits, though it is a little tight. There are going to be scratch marks down the edge of the woodwork, despite my hours of laborious surface finishing. Oh well.

At least it goes in and out okay.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Epoxied the Spar and an Oar

I decided that as I'd used FJ pine to make the spar and as two of the laminations on the oars I thought I'd better give them all a couple of coats of epoxy. I think they'll be much tougher.

Here's the Oar

Thought I'd put in a 'before and after' photo.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Spar and Oars

Busy day!

The woodwork is finished on my spar. Finished it with my power plane, router and ROS. One hassle is that my 'temporary' workbench (which has been there for over a year now and helped with the construction of kitchen benches, bathroom benches, bathroom mirrors... the list is endless) curves down at the ends a bit... well, a lot. It's only four saw horses with a strip of yellow tongue flooring across the top. I hadn't noticed until I saw my spar today. Slightly boomerang shaped. I figure that will help me find my way home.

I had bits and pieces of leftover wood from the boat and a deck that I've put in so I decided to make my own 8ft oars. I think there's about $15 worth of wood in the pair of them and the cheapest 8ft oars I could find were about 10 times that, so let's hope they work okay. Will have saved me heaps. I'm sure I'll need them for the time that my sail takes me shooting out into the middle of Lake Orr and I can't figure out how to get back.

Now it's just a case of finishing them off (oh, and building another oar; I hear they work better as a pair).

Friday, October 1, 2010

Woodwork Completed on Mast

Very happy with the mast, looks like it's come out quite well. I did miscut the solid core that goes up the middle of the mast base, made it about 10cm too short. No idea how. Always remember, measure twice, cut once. I try to do this, so I guess I measured it incorrectly twice. Dohhhhh!

I've got a friend who was making the Oz Racer or the Goat Island Skiff, can't remember. I think he told me this was as far as he got. Explained that he had the plans and a 'sticky thing' and that was it.

Must admit, this seems to be going on forever. I bit the bullet and ordered more Bote Cote. Might as well do the mast properly. Got it from Boatcraft Pacific. They seem to be the cheapest, not just here in SE Qld but pretty much in Australia. They also have some great prices on imperial measured marine ply.