Sunday, July 31, 2011

Slow cure

 The temperature is low the last few days, so my bottom sheathing is curing slowly.  I mixed graphite powder into the second coat of resin and there will be one more coat after I do some sanding.  I doubt that the graphite will make the hull any faster or the surface any harder, but it does retard solar degradation and can be left unpainted.
The outer stem laminated in place with long temporary screws to hold it while the glue cured.

I decided to start on the forward cross beam while waiting for the hull sheathing to cure.  I stapled some polytarp down on the table first because epoxy won't stick to it.  I measured out the stations and offsets and screwed down a block at each intersection.  This hollow box beam will have lower and upper chords consisting of two 3/8" (10mm) layers of Kauri laminated together so I'll have 3/4" (20mm) of solid timber on the top and bottom of the beam with solid block spacers.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Favorite glassing tools

 Anytime you're applying fiberglass cloth to a reasonably level surface, a plastic spreader or squeegee is the way to go.  Just dump the resin onto the surface and spread it around quickly with the squeegee.  Keep spreading the resin until the surface is no longer shiny but shows the texture of the fabric.  Excessive resin left in the fabric will cause it to float up and you'll have to sand those bumps off later.

A carbide or tungsten blade scraper should be used before any sanding after the resin has cured.  It takes off the high spots and doesn't make any dust.
Tomorrow I'll turn the hull over and prepare to glass the bottom.
I now have a powerful stereo system in the shop and it seems to be making me work harder, I should have had it in there long ago.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hatches and gunwales

I managed to find some plastic flush hatches that I hope won't leak too much.  I also installed doubler pieces to the inside of the hull at the cross beam and motor mount location.  Next job is to glass the cockpit floor, but may have to wait for a warmer day. 

The outer gunwales went on today too.  I still have to laminate an outer stem and round it off.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Closed up

Today I installed the cockpit floor, foredeck and after deck.  I will sheath the cockpit floor with fiberglass and lap it up 2" onto the side of the hull.  Now I have to go shopping for some plastic hatches and access panels so I can use all of that storage space below the cockpit and in the end compartments.
The cockpit appears that it will be just big enough for me to sleep in.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


After what seemed like a lot of progress in the first 24 hours, reality sets in during the next 24.  All those fiddly little parts to make and fit inside take a lot of time and don't look like you've done much.  Several half bulkheads have been filleted and glassed into place to support the cockpit floor. 
While I plan to use a stayed mast that will step on the cockpit floor, I want to have the option of using one of my unstayed rigs later, so I fitted a strong plywood box structure to allow a mast to step right down on the hull bottom. I could have glassed in a section of PVC pipe but didn't have anything the right size.

The cockpit floor has stiffeners glued to its underside and will be put in place tomorrow.  The fore and aft deck are also ready to go. I always hate covering up all that work in the bilge.

Monday, July 18, 2011

24 Hours

The Va'a Motu is coming along quickly.  I have a basic hull shell after 24 hours of labor.  Fijian Kauri stringers, 1/4" (6mm) Gaboon ply (nice and light) and epoxy glue. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Va'a Motu

I've been working on a new 20' (6M) design lately that borrows some features of the Tahitian va'a motu.  The hollow clipper bow, the raised transom stern, the mixed attachments between the ama and the iakos, and the curved gull wing iakos are seen on the fast lagoon sailers in Eastern Polynesia.

The forward iako is made stiffer and stronger than the aft one.  The more flexible aft iako acts as a spring to allow the ama to change pitch with the water surface.

The leeboard and quarter rudder are arranged in a similar way to the Tamanu.  An outboard motor can be clamped on the ama side of the hull.  The long cockpit between the water tight bulkheads has a raised floor and is self bailing.  The 20' (6M) hull is flat bottomed and requires six sheets of 1/4" (6mm) plywood to construct.

The stayed rig is high aspect with a sheetlet sheeting system similar to junk sails.  The sheetlets control twist in the sail and make reefing as simple as it is with a junk rig.

This painting of a va'a motu by the late Herb Kane is based on drawings and accounts from Captain Cook's visit.
I've begun construction of the full scale prototype and hope to have it sailing in a few months.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Grillabongquixotic's Blog

Chris Grill has published an extensive review of his experiences building and sailing a stretched (22') T2 design.  Anyone considering building a shunting proa should study this carefully.  Chris has sailed it hard in all conditions in the open sea.  His review is fair and well balanced about the good and bad points of this type of sailing proa.