Saturday, March 26, 2016

Autarkia's Capabilities

Yesterday was Good Friday.  I forgot.  Our plan was to go into Vancouver and get our fiberglass and epoxy but the place was closed.  I think that they will be open today according to their website so hopefully we can get what we need this morning.  It is pretty early as I write this so I won't know for sure until a little later on.

So we had an uncommitted day which was nice!  Went out for breakfast and just pooped around the Lower Mainland.  We found this creek that I've driven by on many occasions but never stopped to have a closer look.


This is the mouth off the Fraser.


It is spanned by this railway bridge close to the mouth.  We saw fish - probably eulachons - feeding in under it.


It is dyked on either side and those are unflooded cranberry fields to the right.


Looking the other way is a road bridge.  A short bicycle ride from there is a very trendy town that is now too expensive for the average person to live in, but has all the amenities anyone could want.

I'm not going to mention the name of place - just to keep it out of searches - but anyone following the blog could find out where it is if they want to.  I'm not saying that we'll ever bring Autarkia to this place either - I'm just saying that we could if we wanted to.  The Lower Mainland is peppered with similar places a conventional sailboat or a powered yacht could not go.  Kayaks, yes!  Canoes, yes!  Our kind of people!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Few Updates and More Waffling

So I bought an outboard.

In a previous post I lamented the complexity and lack of robustness in the newer outboard motors, and bandied with the idea of an older, cheaper two stroke pending a later project down the line where I might convert to electric.  If I were younger and richer I'd still pursue that idea.  Maybe I can assist someone else with such a project once Autarkia is done.

So a few days ago I was down at a marine store I patronize on occasion (who also sell and service power washers, garden equipment, industrial clothing and so forth - yes I'm digressing) and saw a trade-in 2011 Evinrude E-Tech 30 h.p. for sale at a good price, with 60 hrs total use on it.  This motor is a two-stroke, but has a great reputation for fuel economy and reliability.  So we bought it and added a new high thrust prop, controls and cables.  While I will always avoid a situation where we would ever need to depend on that motor for the sake of our safety, it is reassuring to Lorri and I to have a dependable and powerful motor on board.  It will be the only complicated and high tech device on the boat though, and will be treated with the same caution and respect one awards to being out on the water any time.  In other words, we'll try not to give it an opportunity to bite us.



On another note, I did some aggressive wood butchery the other day with a router and power plane, softening the sharp edges on the hull.



Later I gave everything a good belt sanding and marked out the stringer locations.



Because today, I am going to nail the bejeezus out of it.  I purchased 2 1/2 " copper flat head nails for the bottom stringer locations, and intend to nail into them through the three layers of 1/2 marine ply, and on into the stringers.  Furthermore, between the stringers, on a six or seven inch grid, I will nail the three layers together with 1 1/4" silicon bronze nails.  Both sizes are ring shank nails and will grip really well.

If you have been paying close attention to the blog you may have noticed that I was intending to do this nailing after two layers of CSM mat set in vinyl ester resin.  Well, once again I have changed my mind.  Fickle me.

I am back to epoxy and here's why.  It won't stop raining here (high humidity) and it is still quite cool.  Usually the temperature is hanging between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius.  These are unsuitable conditions for vinyl ester resin, and while it will seem to go off o.k. from what I have read can give very unreliable results.  I do not want to chance it.  So I have decided once again on Aqua Set epoxy (made in Montreal) sold locally in Vancouver.  It is a 2:1 epoxy and works well in cooler, humid conditions.

So, once all my nailing is done - likely by tomorrow, I'm going to drive in to Vancouver and get a 15 gallon kit, and 40 square yards of 10 oz. fiberglass cloth.  I will also get some filler to use with the epoxy and that will be the next step - filling all the screw holes (that are now void of screws), seams, and nail heads.

After that we'll be ready to glass. If I feel then that in certain areas more layers are needed then so be it.

A final point:  These steps will take less time than the vinyl ester/layers of nailed mat/cloth method (which I still think is a great way to go under the right conditions).  I am paid up in this space until the end of April though, and the landlord has an interested long term party that would like to take it over then.  So between now and then I really do want to get the hull finished, bottom painted, flipped over and transported home.

It took some agonizing to get to this decision though.  The bottom will certainly not be as bullet proof as Chris Morejohn's method.  But it will be long lived, and very waterproof IF we avoid damage.  We'll just have to be careful and know the bottom conditions of where we are.  I'll also inspect on a regular basis every time Lorri keel hauls me.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Canopy Up...Back to Work Soon

Finally I got everything cleaned up from the wind storm.  Since there is little risk of snow now I just put up a canopy over everything.  They are calling for very warm sunny weather starting the day after tomorrow too!

Tomorrow I can hit the ground running.




Friday, March 11, 2016

Hello Global Warming

Yesterday was a busy one!  I woke up to the wind...it was howling out there.  Looked int the front yard and saw this:


That's not MY trailer.  It's the neighbour's.  Luckily no damage.

So I thought I better go check on Autarkia and discovered this:



Well, no damage to the boat but the hoarding was toast.  Anyway, all the planking is done at this point.  I just have some screws to remove and a day spent with the power plane, router and belt sander and she'll be ready to fiberglass.  So I just cleaned everything up and tarped the hull for now.  Game plan being devised...


I'll probably just tarp/untarp as the work progresses.  We'll see...

Anyway we just got Internet back this morning so I'm catching up.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Hot Water

I have been kicking this idea around for quite some some.  That is - a simple system to provide an adequate supply of hot water for showers, washing dishes etc, and for cooking as well.  However, we want simplicity and safety.

Since I have eliminated the possibility of us ever having a pressurized, on demand system that would require an electric pump, possibly a pressure tank, and a propane on demand hot water heater that frankly scares me the alternative is the simple act of heating water on the stove.

However, wielding around a big pot of hot water scares me too, especially as we get older.  We'll be heating water every day so the laws of chance may not be in our favor with regard to the possibility of a scalding accident.

So here is what I have come up with:


Autarkia will have a large galley.  There will be no shortage of counter space and we can accommodate a large, deep sink, a two burner propane stove with oven, a very large and well insulated ice box plus all the storage we could ever ask for.

So there is room to make a permanent crane/hot water pot assembly that can swing the pot over the big burner on the stove, over the sink, or over corner of the counter to fill the garden sprayer shower.  A locking pin could secure the pot in all three positions, or out of the way when not in use.  Pots are available ready to purchase with a spigot - and even a thermometer - that can be securely fixed to a gantry made with galvanized pipe.



I like it.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Moving Forward

I been building on Autarkia for just over 2 months now.  I am happy with the progress, but also I am aware of how LONG things can take to get done.  In the early stages of a project  (and I have experienced this in other projects I have done) we tend to dismiss the seemingly little, or easy things as a bridge we can cross upon arrival.  The problem is, once you start to get close to that bridge a hard decision must be made.

An example would be how I am to finish the hull once the woodwork is done.  In the post 'Bullet Proof Hulls' many things were discussed with regard to how I would fiberglass the hull - epoxy or polyester was a biggie.  I really agonized over that one.  In the end I have made a decision (vinyl ester) and am getting lot's of advice and help from Chris Morejohn in using his time tested and proven method.  I am almost done the plywood planking and am ready to drive to Vancouver for glassing materials so this part of the project may proceed.

I owe this partly to my efforts at keeping an open mind, but the brunt of the credit goes to those who have contributed herein and whom are showing a genuine interest in seeing a successful completion to it.  My warmest thanks to you all!

So, in that spirit and with the aforementioned reasoning I am making a decision with regard to the rig.

To preface however I have come to the following realizations:

If I am to design the rig in its entirety then I must sit down and produce an actual plan for the sails.  It is within my ability I think, given the excellent reference material in Practical Junk Rig (did I say junk? yes, I have come to my senses Bob) - but how much time would it take me to go through that process?  A lot I think.

If I am then willing to sew up the sails myself, what is involved with procuring the material, setting up up for layout, sourcing bits and pieces, and then actually making the sail (two of them in fact and the second will be better than the first which would really bug me)?  A fair bit of effort and time as well.

My time, as an aside, is a major consideration.  I am not really retired yet - simply in hiatus as they say.  While I am building the boat I am not earning income.  I will have to - and want to - do something job/gig wise until pension time.  So the time I spend building Autarkia is a careful trade off.

Back to the rig.  I had a sort of epiphany yesterday.  It was a compromise sort of epiphany but an epiphany nonetheless.  An that was: Most everything I need to build my rig is before me already.

Stay with me.  On page 156 of Practical Junk Rig by Hasler/McLeod is a design and specifications - complete enough for a sailmaker - for a low aspect junk sail of 227 square feet.

I will take two of those, thank-you.



I can shop those specs around with various sailmakers and have them made up.  Might have to use a Chinese firm and I understand that these days they can use the business. My preference though would be to go with someone in BC and if it won't break the bank that's what I would do.

This sail design will work with a 20 foot aluminum pipe extrusion as a mast.  If a short extension is required then I would build them up with Douglas Fir - I have lots.  I am thinking 4 inch pipe for these.  I wouldn't agonize over this though.  If a lot of concern comes up over the scantlings I would put a stay on either side Colvin style.

My mast hinge would be what I described in a previous post.  I have every confidence that this would be strong enough for a free standing mast.  That assembly can be farmed out locally to fab in steel.

I understand that the final result may leave some things to be desired so I'm vetting it here.  If there are no significant drawbacks though, I think it is a desirable way to go.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Phil Bolger's Chinese Gaff Rig

I think...not completely sure..but I think I have found the rig for Autarkia.





With this rig, from what I can see allows me to use simple stays on tabernacled masts...easy and light enough to raise and lower.  Also the main is a junk hybrid so the stresses are low (I can sew the sail up myself) and the height of the mast is low (you can get that gaff way further up).  Options for a mizzen and foresail are many and varied as well.

However, I am unable to find details about this rig - at least the little important ones that would allow me to build it.  Phil wrote a book titled '103 Sailing Rigs, Straight Talk' that is unavailable for the most part.  But from what I have read, he describes the rig in detail therein. There seems to be a few floating around Amazon and Ebay at crazy prices... I've spent a fair amount on books so far so it is out of that budget.

Fortunately, there is a copy at the Vancouver Public Library which I will go get maybe this week.

So for now... I am begging your thoughts :-)