Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ama Cradles Completed

A few weeks ago, I put the finishing touches on the hull cradles for the amas. The construction from 2x4's was rather straightforward, with the exception of dealing with certain angles that my chop saw couldn't handle. The surfaces that come into contact with the hull are cushioned with foam pipe insulation, covered by strips cut from a neoprene laundry room mat faced with polyester. A very crude upholstery job to say the least.

Now, once the weather cools off enough for me to work with epoxy, I'll be able to redo the fiberglass on the tops of the amas.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Stripping Continues

After many weekends of being otherwise occupied (not to mention being down for a week with pneumonia), I've finally been able to resume my restoration efforts. Soy-Strip works like a charm. Now I just need to order some more to finish the job.  The cooler weather we've been having doesn't hurt either.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Naming of Names

I'm still trying to make up my mind what to name my Nugget, and I would imagine the choice of name would impact my choice of color scheme (which I need to decide upon within the next few months). I've put up a poll to solicit feedback. Here are the choices I've come up with so far:

  • Spyglass' Folly - Pretty much self-explanatory, at least for those who are aware of my Spyglass persona.
  • Fiddler's Green - Ah, Fiddler's Green, sailors' heaven, the opposite of Davey Jones' Locker, where the grass is always green, the girls are pretty, there is always music in the air, glasses overflow with rum, and the pipe bowls are always full of tobacco. The story goes that, in order to find Fiddler's Green, the sailor must take an oar over his shoulder and walk inland until he finds a place where nobody recognizes what he is carrying. Then he knows that he has arrived. This story should sound familiar to anyone who has ever read Homer's Odyssey. In order to appease Poseidon, Odysseus had to walk inland with an oar over his shoulder until he found a place where nobody recognized what he was carrying, and there make a sacrifice to Poseidon. Fidder's Green was also the name of the campsite I shared in the Texas Renaissance Festival's performers' campground with shipmate Marty "Tiburon Tom" Livingston. In fact, the name (for the campsite) was his idea.
  • The Fates - Three hulls, three Fates (Clotho, Lachesis, & Atropos). Why not? Well, maybe I don't want to tempt them, especially the last one....
  • Bedlam - This one also goes back to my Texas Renaissance Festival roots. The fictional vessel of our pirate group was a caravel named Pride o' Bedlam. For those who are not in the know, Bedlam was short for the Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem, London, an insane asylum.
Meanwhile, the weather has finally begun to cool off a bit (highs in the 80's), so maybe I'll be able to get some work done on the Folly/Green/Fates/Bedlam this weekend.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Amas Off!

With the intense heat we've been having here in Central Texas, I've made very little progress on my boat of late, but I've at least made some. I've finally had a chance to remove the amas. Fortunately, the hinge bolts were simple to remove, but clearly the supports that I constructed were slightly too short, as the amas dropped a bit when the bolts were removed.

Once the amas were off, I noted a bit of paint peeling from the top of one of them. I gave it a tug to see how easily the paint would strip off. Much to my shock, I saw that fiberglass cloth was coming up with the paint.  The glass had delaminated from the underlying plywood, which of course means that I will have to re-glass the top.
A little help was necessary to move the amas. Hauling those things around is a two person job at minimum.  David and I barely managed on our own.
My Nugget naked (without amas).  Now I could get a clear look at the trailer.

I've been giving thought to ditching the centerboard (in order to clear up room in the cockpit) and replace it with a shoal keel fin. (The "Fulô" in Portugal has such an arrangement, and the owner reports that his Nugget handles just fine.) Unfortunately, this would involve substantial changes to the framework of the trailer, and the boat would have to ride higher on it.
I gave a shot at stripping the paint off of one of the amas with Interlux Interstrip, but it performed poorly in the heat.  The solvents evaporated to quickly to do any good. Clearly, I'm going to have to wait until cooler weather to do this.  I also have a few quarts of Soy-Gel on order to give a try. Supposedly, it is effective over a broader temperature range.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Float Stands

I've been slowly making progress on my trimaran. The weekend before last, I built rudimentary supports to hold up the amas (secondary hulls) while I detach them, and this last weekend I also procured an A-frame engine hoist via Craigslist for lifting the vaka (main hull).

Larboard ama partially raised on sawhorses.

The most poorly engineered hull supports in history!

Supports ready to be slid into place.

Supports in place.

Next step: disconnect the amas from the akas (cross beams or struts).

On top of everything else, this last Sunday, my friend Nyl brought up the plans from which the boat was built, along with a packet containing quotes and receipts from materials used in the original construction (it is amazing how much cheaper the materials were in 1968), an article written by the designer about boatbuilding on the cheap, a magazine article from 1968 about the controversy over multihull safety which cites the (then) recent disappearance of Arthur Piver, the man who designed my boat. Plus, a photo of my trimaran, in the water, back when it was new - sporting a cabin!

Sure enough, examining the schematics for the Piver Nugget revealed that it could be built in either a cabin or daysailer configuration. Finally knowing the name of the boat and its designer, I was able to locate numerous photos of other Nugget's on the web. It seems that most were built with the cabin configuration.

I'm now faced with two decisions:

  1. Am I going to build a cabin during this refit or wait for that as a follow-up project?

  2. How am I going to build the cabin? I'm kicking around the idea of building it from fiberglass in order to keep weight to a minimum.

I may or may not have to replace the aka beams, depending upon their structural condition, but I won't be able to accurately assess that until I've stripped the paint off of them. I know I'll have to rework the angle brackets (above the hinge mechanism) for locking them into place. The bolt holes don't properly align.

At any rate, I won't be able to do any glassing or painting until this Fall or Winter. Both require rather mild temperatures, and we've hit triple digits almost every day for the last few weeks here in central Texas.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Here she is, in all of her glory....

Thanks to my friend Nyl for putting me wise to this diamond in the rough. She's 24 ft. long, home built from glass reinforced plywood, sits on an outrageously over engineered home built trailer, and, like her master, she's 40 years old. Also like her master, she needs a little work. (Okay, a lot of work, on both counts....)

The behemoth was originally built by a gentleman in New Mexico in 1968. When he got too old to sail her anymore, he donated her to the Boy Scout troop in Victoria, TX. Sadly, due to the fact that most of the members of the troop who were interested in sailing had their own Sunfish sailboats, she sat idle most of the time. The troop decided to sell her for the cost of what they had put in on improvements (lights and such), coming to a grand total of $500. (The sails are worth that much alone!)

She mainly needs sanding and painting, plus the replacement of a few pieces of the exposed wood. I'll likely start off by removing the amas (the two secondary hulls) to simplify access for sanding and painting, not to mention simplifying the next step, removing the vaka (the main hull) from the trailer and inverting it. Not only will removing the boat from the trailer simplify sanding and painting the hull, but it will give me a chance to perform some repairs and modifications on the trailer, including correcting a design flaw which allows the trailer superstructure to block drainage from the boat's drain plugs. I'll also want to re-pack the wheel bearings and install Bearing Buddies. Removing this beast from the trailer and inverting it will be something of an engineering challenge, but after perusing some boat building and repair forums, I have some ideas about how I'll need to go about it, and I've already procured an A-frame hoist to help with this.

Instead of spanning the space between the vaka and amas with a trampoline, which is the usual approach for modern cats and tris, a deck surface extends out from the sides of the cockpit, almost meeting the amas. I have a friend who does upholstery whom I will be recruiting to build boating seat cushions for these areas, as well as for the seat which folds down from one side of the cockpit to the centerboard trunk. From the schematics, it appears that an option was included to build a cabin which spans these side decks and most of the cockpit, and it is clear from an old photo of my boat that it had one at one point. I have no idea when or why the cabin was removed, and am now trying to determine what it will take to recreate one, and whether to do so during the current refit or save it for a future project. (The term "feature creep" comes to mind.)

I've not yet settled on a color scheme or a name. The current front-runner for the latter is "Spyglass' Folly." As for paint, I've already ordered pearl powder to give the paint job a pearlescent appearance. Stripping off the paint for a new paint job will also give me an opportunity to see if any of the fiberglass needs repair.

Note how deep the hull is, even on the secondary hulls. I have no idea where the waterline is, so I don't know how much of this is draft and how much is freeboard. Hopefully I will be able to determine this from Nugget photos I've found. Also note that, in order to accommodate the folded-down amas, the primary hull rides pretty high on the trailer. This will make removing it from the trailer more challenging.

Cockpit, looking aft. Note the board which folds down from the side to the top of the centerboard trunk, forming a bench seat. Also note the side-mounted helm. The original plans call for a tiller.

Cockpit looking forward. There is ample storage space at each end of the cockpit. Note also the plywood pieces which serve as flooring for the cockpit, sitting on the stringers. The button to the left of the opening activates the lighting system.

A closer view of the side-mounted helm, as well as a portion of one of the side decks. The wood isn't quite as weathered as the gray appearance would suggest. The entire cockpit had been painted silver at some point.

A removable engine mount. I'll need to keep a close eye on Craig's List and eBay for a cheap trolling motor.

The rudder assembly. The large horizontal disk at the top is a pulley about which the rudder control cables run.