Saturday, May 26, 2007

Sailing Inspiration

Today is my first day back to work on the boat in over a week. Last weekend I took a four-day sailing trip on Element, my Tiki 21, cruising to the Gulf Islands National Seashore just south of where I keep her docked. It was a great trip and provided some new insights on these designs that I will apply to the building of Element II. I'm really looking forward to doing the same trip in the Tiki 26, but I was quite comfortable on the Tiki 21 and spent each night sleeping aboard in one of the single bunks, even though I had expected it to be too hot to do so this time of year. There was a nice breeze each night though, and no rain in sight, so I was able to sleep in the starboard hull with the hatch open, which is much simpler than having to pitch an tent on deck each evening. I cooked on deck using a portable two-burner stove, washing dishes in a bucket and keeping food and other supplies in dry bags on the bunks while underway.

I'm going sailing again tomorrow, to take my girlfriend and her daughter out on the boat for the first time, (and possibly the last). The reason for cramming in all this sailing all of a sudden is not only because of great weather, but because I have a possible buyer coming to look at the Tiki 21 next week, and if he likes it I won't be sailing again until Element II is launched. This is okay though, because if it does sell I will have much more time and money to devote to getting this build finished. It really is hard to divide time between two boats, and selling the smaller one will help me get the Tiki 26 finished much faster. The Tiki 21 served it's purpose, that's for sure, mainly in helping me make the decision about which boat to build and also the complete refit of it taught me a lot about potential problems that can be built out of the new boat by starting from scratch. The man who is buying it needs the trailerability of the smaller design, while I need the extra range and load-carrying capacity of the 26.

I found a new supplier of clear Doug fir lumber this past week and brought home some nice 16-foot 1 x 8 pieces. Today I ripped and scarfed the upper topside stringers for the port hull and when the glue cures these will be ready to glue to the upper topside panels, which are already joined up. I've also spent many more hours sanding bunk fillets and finishing up everything in the lower hullsides in preparation for installing these topside panels, which will hopefully be done in the next few days.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Preparing the Topside Panels

All the bunk panels are now installed and the fillets made. I still have some sanding and final passes to make to tidy up the fillets and prepare them for a clear coat of epoxy, but I decided today that I should start glueing up the topside panels, which have to be joined with butt blocks like the lower hull panels. I will also have to scarf the solid Doug fir stringers that go on the upper outside surface of the topside panels and glue these on, so while waiting on epoxy to cure on each of these steps I can be finishing up the bunk and inside hull coatings below the topside level. I've decided to go ahead and continue work on the port hull before starting the starboard one. At this point, I plan to continue through installing the topsides, then turn it over and fair and glass the outside. It will then be a solid and protected unit that I won't have to worry about while building the second hull.

The photo below shows the first of the two topside panels in assembly. I'm short on workspace right now because of the green boat you can see in the background at the end of my workbench. This is a stitch and glue ply epoxy John boat I designed and built for my father several years ago for fishing in local lakes and streams. It's twelve feet long, and has its own trailer, but I've been storing it in the shed to keep it out of the weather until I have time to do some badly needed maintenance. It has bright finished rubrails and deck pieces of mahogany and ash, and these have suffered water intrusion after the sun broke down the epoxy and varnish coatings, and will need a quite a bit of work. Another reason why I don't intend to have any exterior brightwork on my Tiki 26.

I'm hoping my father will use it again for fishing after I've repaired it. Before starting the second hull of the Tiki I will move it to the other workshop in my girlfriend's garage, where I also plan to work on the crossbeams, rudders and other small parts.

Another big item in my way is the Honda 9.9 hp outboard that you can see clamped to another workbench. This is the outboard I salvaged off Intensity, my Grampian 26 monohull that was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. The engine was not submerged, but it does have a broken tiller handle. I need to sell it to clear it out of my way. I think it's too big and heavy for a Tiki 26 and plan to use either a 5, 6 or 8hp 4-stroke. Anybody need a repairable Honda engine for cheap?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Installing Bunks

I'm now in the process of installing the bunk sections in the port hull. These have taken quite a bit of time to prepare, due to the need to finish the lift-out hatch sections and the bearers they rest on before installation, as well as applying two coats of epoxy to the underside of all these parts before installation. I now have the two forward sections in the main sleeping area forward of bulkhead three glued down and the preliminary fillets made. The section in the area of the companionway, between bulkheads 2 and 3 is also glued in, and the aft section is ready to go in as soon as I finish detailing the fillets below bunk level in this area. The photos below show the bunk sections, and the access hatch openings and covers.

This is the area between bulkheads 3 and 4, with the added floor section visible below.

The same section, looking aft, at this point the companionway area bunk section is not fitted.

Here are the two forward bunk access hatch covers. They simply drop in place on the bearers that are glued under the opening edges. A 1-inch diameter finger hole in each cover allows easy removal.

Looking forward at the two forward bunk sections, from the companionway area.

This is the section in the companionway area, which is mainly used as a sitting area with a wet locker/footwell below. The floor access panel I mentioned before is also visible here, allowing storage of small items right down into the V of the hull. Note that I did not cut this sitting section out in an oval, as shown in the plans, but instead made an opening with parallel sides and bearers under the edges, similar to the bunk access hatch openings. The reason is to allow for a removable, sliding section that can be used to fill part of this opening, depending on the sitting position needed, or to extend the length of the aft or forward bunk, if needed.

Here is the sliding section. The corners are rounded to match the opening, so it can be used at either end of the hatch cutout. This is another idea borrowed from the Tiki 30.