Saturday, May 29, 2010

Still Working to Close in the Cabins

This week I've been able to get back to work on Element II  on a daily basis, at least for a couple of hours each morning.  As some of you who have stopped by my other website or blogs may know, my latest book, Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It's Too Late, has just been released this week.  I am now on a mostly full-time writing schedule working to complete my next book, which according to my contract has to be done by September 1.  Since I won't be taking on any other outside work until at least that date, I now can devote some time to the boat, as I certainly can't spend all day writing.  This is a good time of year to make progress too, as epoxy and paint cures fast.  Since I'm doing the boat work first thing in the morning, the temperatures are not unbearable.  I'll try to update here a little more often, but most of my keyboard time will be spent working on the new book and promoting the just-released one.

Here's a shot of  where I'm at today with the hulls - after just putting a first coat of paint on the cabin tops and sides:

The walk-on surfaces of the cabin tops will get non-skid on the next coat, laid out in patterns similar to those on the foredecks.

Other than endless sanding, filling and fairing to prep all these surfaces for paint, the other jobs I've been working on this week were fitting the main companionway hatch covers.  This involved making and shaping teak receiving blocks for the stainless steel tubing upon which the hatch covers slide. 

When building the coaming for the forward ventilation hatches a few months ago, I planned the layout so that there would be just enough room for the hatches to fit comfortably aft of the Bomar hatches when slid forward and resting on the cabin tops in the open position. 

I can't imagine sleeping below in a Tiki 26 in a hot climate without those forward opening hatches.  While sleeping aboard the Tiki 30 Abaco in the Florida Keys a couple of weeks ago, the open Bomars funneled the breeze right onto my bunk, forcing me to look for covers before morning.   The Tiki 26 should have such hatches shown in the plans.  If I had an older boat without them, I would be figuring out a way to retrofit them if I were sailing South. 

Here's another view of the cabin top with the main hatch closed.  The sliding system works beautifully. 

After making sure all the angles were correct and pre-drilling and fitting the teak receiver blocks, I took all this off and proceeded with fiberglassing the hatch covers.  Abaco's varnished teak hatches are fine to look at, and mine are trimmed out in teak as well, but I want no bright work to maintain above decks, so mine will be glassed and painted.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Photos from the Rendezvous

I'm really glad I made the trip to Islamorada last weekend to attend the 3rd. annual Wharram Catamaran Rendezvous to be held there.  What a great bunch of people and an inspiring collection of Wharram catamarans.  Here are a few highlights, as well as a link to a slideshow of all of my rendezvous photos:

The anchorage near the beach at the Lorelei Restaurant is a perfect location for a gathering of Wharram cats.

Shallow-draft catamarans can come right in to the dining area, as David Halladay's Abaco did throughout the event, picking up and dropping off passengers interested in test rides.

There was a decent breeze all weekend, allowing for some fun Tiki 30 sailing with the spinnaker up:

One of the highlights of the show was this nicely-built Tiki 21 trailered down from North Carolina by Rick Hueschen, who built the boat, sewed his own sails from nothing but the plans, and designed and built a custom, expanding trailer that allows him to easily launch and retrieve the boat.  Rick and his wife and daughter slept aboard the boat using a custom deck tent he also designed and made.

Here's a comparison view that gives a somewhat distorted idea of the size difference between the Tiki 30 and Tiki 21.  I was using an ultra-wide angle lens, so the difference is not really this extreme.

And out in the anchorage, here's a shot of Greg Russell's Pahi 31 and Gene Perry's Tiki 26:

Greg Russell, with the help of his friends Paul and Matt Garcia, sailed the Pahi 31 down to Islamorada from Panama City, in the panhandle of Florida.  In light winds, the trip took 7 days.  They are somewhere out there on the way back now.

Gene Perry is an inspiration to us all, still sailing his Tiki 26 at age 85.  He sailed down from Hobe Sound with the help of a friend.

Dan Kunz, who keeps a Tangaroa Mark IV Plus in the marina at the Lorelei, worked hard to put this event together and organize everything so that it went really smoothly.  I hope this spring rendezvous continues as a tradition for many years to come.

I also got a chance to take a look at a Tiki 46.  This is Kitty Wake, sailed by the Kittles family, who built her in Michigan and now live aboard full time.  They did not make it to the rendezvous, but were moored nearby in Boot Key Harbor at Marathon.

To see all of my rendezvous photos, check out this slideshow hosted on my photo site:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Headed to the Wharram Rendezvous This Weekend

I'm leaving Thursday to drive down to Islamorada, Florida for the Spring Wharram Rendezvous.  I've missed all these events since I started building Element II, but this time I'll be in attendance, although without a Wharram cat.  I'm planning on staying aboard Abaco, David Halladay's Tiki 30, which will be there along with several other Florida Wharram cats.  I will be taking my 17-foot Arctic Tern sea kayak, so I can get around the area and to use it as a platform for photography.  I have at least three and possibly four magazine articles lined up that I will get material for on this trip. 

Hopefully, hanging around all those finished boats and committed Wharram sailors will give me some inspiration to get back in gear on my own build.  I've been at it very sporadically.  I just signed another book contract with my publisher and have to complete an entire manuscript by September 1.  With other work to do as well, this doesn't leave much time for the boat. 

Since my last post, I've assembled the companionway hatches.  Here they are sanded and shaped, then coated with epoxy.  They will also be sheathed with fiberglass cloth.  The plywood is 9mm okoume, and the solid wood trim is all teak.  You'll notice the 1-inch diameter holes in the extended sections on the outboard ends.  This is for a one-inch stainless steel tube, upon which the hatches will hinge and slide - Tiki 30 and Tiki 8-Meter style.  I decided to go back to this method of securing the hatches after much internal debate over the pros and cons.  In the end, the convenience and elegant simplicity of this method won out over any advantage a forward-sliding hatch would offer.