Saturday, March 28, 2015

"On the Road": An Improved Rolling Rig for UNA

We've got big plans for UNA this year. I feel that most of the detail bugs have been shaken from her. She could stand the extra coats of varnish that never made it in the build. And, added creature comforts like a boat tent, storage bags, oar pads, and reworked mizzen controls should enhance the experience. All of this and more will get a good evaluation on the water soon.

An afternoon last fall.

A final winter project will allow for more to come along. With plans for hauling UNA to places distant, I built a second tier onto her trailer. This "box kite" will allow more boats to roll with us. I can easily carry 3 kayaks high and a small dinghy (Gigi?) slung under the upper cross beams.

The box is constructed from 2x2x1/8 aluminum angle. I purchased 100' in four 25' lengths from B&G Metals east of town. Strong, light, fairly non-corrosive, and easily cut with a hacksaw, the frame went together quickly. 3/8" SS bolts with washers and aircraft nuts hold it all together. Cross braces keep the whole thing rigid and square. 5/16" square U bolts clamp the frame back to the trailer. Its not going anywhere. A second set of lights increase the rig's visibility. At 6' width, it meets the beam of the truck and still has an inch or two to let UNA slip through on the inside. Some left over from fixing up fiberglass edges of another now protects varnished outwales from metal angles. All tolled, not bad for $150, eh?

Looks distorted, but it is square!
Rubber gaskets slipped between the galvanized steel trailer and aluminum frame should deter corrosion between the dissimilar metals. For cushioning the top cross beams I may glue on some closed cell foam. Not sure yet.

A close up: side marker, edging trim and cross braces.
That's enough of the piddling now. The temps are warm enough. Lets go sailing!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

One Ocean Kayak's "Cirrus SLT"

The weather has finally turned for the warmer. We'll get to sail UNA again in the next week or so in the company of a few buddies. Life is looking up. Winter did droned on here, but some boat projects did allow dreaming of new adventures. Too cold for much of anything, the dinghy "Gigi" was hung in the shed to wait for paint, her spot in the garage was taken up by a different build. This one is a stitch and glue kayak for my youngest boy. Perhaps as a set of rolled plans, it was a bit too abstract to qualify as a birthday gift for an 11 year old at the end of last summer. Though I hadn't, and still don't, plan on documenting this project much, yesterday I was struck by some beautiful lines and decided to take a few pics. This little pretty is a 14.5' boat from One Ocean Kayaks. Gigi is more lapstrake in build than stitch and glue. This new addition is a true edge-to -edge s&g boat. The designer, Vaclav Stejskal, has perhaps the best site I've seen sharing detailed performance numbers on kayaks. Much of it is beyond my patience to understand, but I'm glad he has taken the time. His designs are an obvious passion. Honestly, I saw a sweet little boat that appeared well thought out and bought the plans. Vaclav uses his boats, no doubt went through several prototypes, and that care shows in the precision of the full size templates. I frankly was amazed the panel joints could be so tight. 

Stern with hull and moulds.

Half of the fun is figuring out the right method to approach craftsmanship. Jig saw cuts to within 1/32" of the panel cut lines followed by a light pass of a hand plane delivered much better results than aiming to hit the line precisely. Also, mastering how to snake 18 ga. copper wires between deck panels as you close it up took several "fails" before discovering a crisp fish hook shape or "J" was easiest to knit close panels with needle nose pliers. We're now ready to glue the seams and order some glass.

Stern with deck.
Fine lines of the bow.
The hull is made of 4mm okoume ply. The deck is a lighter 3mm. In order to keep the 3mm aligned I used hot melt glue that will be scrapped off after the first pass of epoxy gluing the joints. I'm continually surprised at the shapes one can get from flat plywood.

Wires and hot glue dabs

I'm looking forward to tripping up the James River or down the Appomattox for and overnighter with my boy.