Saturday, June 23, 2018

Afordable Slips in Deale, MD

Update: The 18' slip used by the PDQ in the foreground is now open. She moved on to Rhode Island leaving a big hole in the water that needs filled.

Still plenty of wide slips, suitable for boats up to 16'-18' beam for fraction of the going rate. Facilities are minimal, but water and charging power are included, the marina has proven safe through 25 years of storms (zero dock damage), and the water is just as wet.

Why so cheap? No facilities and the water is not deep enough for a monohulls's keel.

My new F-24 in the foreground, PDQ 32/34 Shoal Survivor next, and PDQ 36 Grizabella in the distance.

Why the spiff? I've been there for 25 years and nothing has gone wrong. That's pretty good.

Phipps Marina
Calvin Phipps
615 Phipps Road
Deale, MD 20751


Monday, June 18, 2018

The Parts of a Catamaran

We can use the made-up English names, or we can call them what the inventors did. Of course, most of the English names for parts are bastardizations of European words and older version of the languages.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

More Rudder and Anchor Locker Lid Progress

After drying for 3 days I cleaned up the residue with a cup brush in a cordless drill (a hand grinder has way too much power for working around balsa). I then thickened some epoxy with fumed silica and fitted a new balsa core around the remaining bits. I did not remove 100% of the old core because it was good and because removing it risked more damage to the skin. Tiny bits and wedges were used to fill the gaps and the whole business rolled down firmly.

Clean up your tools and skin using vinegar, which deactivates the uncured epoxy, and then soap and water.

The next morning I used a 120-grit disk on a hand grinder to level the whole business and blend the edge; the original epoxy residue and differences in core product made for irregularities in height, but nothing sands faster than balsa. A few moments with a finish sander evened it up and smoothed the edges; glass cloth must be laid over a smooth surface. I blew out the dust with compressed air and then smeared a bog over the whole surface, filling the gaps and radiusing edges; glass cloth must be laid over a continuous surface without gaps. This was followed while still green with 2 layers of 6-ounce finish glass cloth, covering the core and reinforcing the edge flange, which had always seemed a little weak to me.

The neatest way to trim excess glass cloth is with a razor knife while it is in a leathery state of cure. Finish sand when fully cured. Two coats of paint will finish  it.

As for the other parts, it's just been a matter of painting, drying, sanding, and repeat. Should be on the water mid-week, since I want the paint good and hard before assembly.

It's surprising how the cost of materials adds up. This totaled just over $200 all in, about 1/2 for resin and the rest for glass, core, paint, brushes, and sundry materials. On the other hand, a new rudder assembly, if it were available off the shelf, would $3500 or so. Custom would be more. 

If you like old boats, it really does pay to develop a skill set.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Rudder Rebuild and Adding a Fence

Why a fence? Because occasionally when bearing off hard at speeds over 12 knots and frequently at over 15 knots, the rudder will ventilate, compromising control. Air sucks down from the top, releasing the water on the lee side and reducing rudder force by about 1/2 just when you need it most. Better sail balance and gentle, preemptive steering help, but sometimes gusty conditions require a firm hand. Once the bow starts to dig in the under water center of effort moves way forward and gentle isn't enough.

Adding the fence is a simple project. Hack out a U from a bit of1/8-inch fiberglass scrap and bond it in place with a filet.

 Scaled from Ians design, printed, and traced onto 1/8-inch fiberglass. Should work.

The rudder itself was in good condition. A little fairing here and there, some sealing around the rudder shaft just to be sure, and she's good to go.

The problem is the rest of the rudder system:

  • The PO used a flat head bolt in the tiller pivot. This acted as a wedge, cracking the head of the wooden tiller. Fortunately we caught that early, and with a new bolt and a plate on each side, it will be fine. 
  • The bolt was all-thread. NEVER EVER use an all thread bolt for a pivot. They don't fit well and the threads are like a file inside the hole, cutting the hole larger, in this case about 1/8-inch larger. I filled the hole with epoxy and chopped glass cloth (cut 1/2-inch wide strips and stuff them in the hole after filling with epoxy--it really helps) and re-drilled. Good as new.
  • Never use fender washers where there is real load. They bend too easily. Both were bent into cones and had crushed the wood. Fill, sand, and install 1/8-inch aluminum plates. 
  • It was also just do for sanding and varnish.
Tiller to cassette fittings:
  • The PO used a galvanized bolt in the upper. That took some time. Others were seized with time. ALWAYS use Tefgel or Locktite Marine Anti-Seize.  
The cassette. These are the serious problems. The lower portion is shattered and the lower rudder bearing is just floating around. The PO attempted some repairs with Bondo. Good grief.

  •  The upper pivot was broken loose and worn oversized. The carbon bushing was just floating in the core foam. Fill and re-drill. And add some fresh fiberglass to replace damaged laminate.
  • Add some glass to reinforce the top. The cassette was molded in two parts that were just glued together, and they are thinking about separating. A few layers of 6-ounce cloth should be enough to discourage movement.
  • The lower bearing area was a complete rebuild. Grind out everything that is bad, replace with more glass, including multiple layers of unidirectional on the sides. Mostly 17-ounce triax and unidirectional instead of 6-ounce cloth, since real strnegth is needed. Also filling cracks in foam with epoxy.
So how is it coming?

 I ground off the junk and replaced it with 3 layers of 12-ounce unidirectional and 2 layers of 17-ounce biax, with 6-ounce cloth over everything. Strong.

 A thick filet holds the fence in place.

 Pivot holes in the cassette and tiller had to filled with epoxy+glass and redrilled. I also replace the worn surface glass with 2 layers of 17-ound biax. Should be better than new.

All that remains for the rudder and cassette is a final sanding and 2-3 layers of paint. The tiller needs ~ 3 layers of varnish. The anchor well cover is still drying in the sun. One more day, and then I can fit the core and cover it up, plus 2 coats of paint. 
Repairs like this are expensive, not because they are difficult per se, but because the many steps are time consuming.

Zoom! Not my boat, but a sister F-24.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Bad Core : Removing the inner skin and cleaning out the mess.

The good news is the only bad core is on the anchor well cover and could easily be taken home for repair. The bad news is that the core is bad. Very bad. This will probably be a day-by-day report, just because I feel like doing that way. Projects are always 80% waiting for stuff to cure.

Cutting the inside skin off. A hand grinders is a DIY essential; this only took a few minutes. Do wear goggles over your glasses, gloves and footwear; these are more dangerous than they appear. Yes, a wheel gaurd would help, but they constantly in the way.

We had noticed that the cover was spongy and heavier than it should be. I had also notice that when open it weeped water. It seems they had scimpped on resin when the laid it up, leaving pin holes all over. Since the locker is constantly wet, due to the drainage design, the core was constantly exposed to water vapor from the underside.

Not very water tight. Those are holes.

Removing the inner skin was a simple matter of grabbing one corner and pulling...

To releveal this....

And so I set about removing all that I could with a drywall knife and hammer. In fact, some of the core was left, since it could not be removed without damaging top skin. I treated what remained with a borax anti-rot formulation and left it in the sun to dry. It's interesting how the sections with enough resin were often fine, protected by resin in the cuts between the blocks. Right next to a good cell was mush.

I'll give it ~ 3 days in the sun to dry, and then replace the core and laminate a new inner skin, probably 2 layers of 6-inch cloth, lapping on to the edge flange, which is a little thin for my taste. A couple coats of paint and she'll be good as new, actually better.