More Fiddy Bits
Dec 19-20, 2014

When last we left the Boathouse, we had the mast wrapped up and epoxied. This week we finish the mast and spars and work on the foils. In the meantime . . .

. . . Duckworks had delivered the sail. I'd made one of these from polytarp once - that was a NICE sail - but I wanted to give this boat all the advantages I can, so professional sail it is.

Really Simple Sails is run by our good friend, Mik Storer, who is also the designer of the Goose.

Two reef points, the first for "Hmm, it's getting rough out here" and the second for "I wonder if I am going to die this time?"

I cannot be more pleased with this sail. The stitching is textbook, and it even includes little features like leech ribbons.

Enough about the sail, now back to the mast. This is what greeted me at the Boathouse - cured epoxy and packing tape.

Step 1: Bust out the belt sander and get that baby smooth. I didn't even bother removing the tape, just grind it off with my 40 grit belt. I love this belt sander from Harbor Freight - it has been a great value for the money.

After sanding, I decided to test the strength of the mast. I put sawhorses under where the halyard block and mast partner will go, set the self timer, and stood on it. It held my 190lbs just fine. Then I thought it'd be fun to measure the deflection of the mast with my weight on it, so I grabbed a yard stick, set the self timer again, and . . .

. . . fell on my ass. So much for science today.

I routed the corners off the mast with a 1/2" roundover bit, then sanded the whole thing, first with 60 grit, then 120 (the finest sandpaper we use - if it is smoother than my hand, it's not sandpaper.)

Sanded and routed, but as yet unfinished, the mast weighs in at a whopping 13lbs. That Alowood is very pretty, but very heavy, too.

I decided to make an art project out of the spars and foils, mixing the Alowood with some mahogany that had been donated to the Boathouse by our good friend, Chuck Gottfried when he finished restoring his wooden schooner, Baggywrinkle. I dry fit the pieces together to see how it would look, then . . .

. . . planed everything down to a consistent width.

Before gluing, I thought I'd better sweep up - man, I am making a lot of sawdust.

The rudder blank is 48" long and the leeboard blank is 60" long. I wanted extra length to be able to trim them to size for the hull. That's enough for the day, time to turn out the lights and go home.

A BIG storm hit the coast that night, rain on the roof woke me up more than once. That, coupled with a near king tide*, made for a lot of water in the slough. *the actual king tide will hit on Sunday, this was just a practice run.

Unclamp and plane That's a very nice planer we have.

Connie brought Patience and a new visitor, Brianna, in for a visit.

Patience was very proud of the mast she'd helped assemble. That is a damn fine mast. And yes, I put Brianna to work sweeping up.

My wife was very touched by the gifts Patience had made for us, so she got some gifts for her, too. Crafty things and card games. They were very well received.

After the gifts, the girls wanted to go out and play in the rain. They wanted to take a boat out and I was sorely tempted to let them, but Connie reminded me the wind was blowing a good 15 kts and the girls might not make it back. Instead, they went puddle stomping.

I finished up by trimming off the ragged ends of the rudder/leeboard blanks, wrapping the ends of the mast/spars with fiberglass tape, and doing some other epoxy work.

I think I am going to make another set of spars for the boat - something from kiln-dried fir (all the reasonably priced spruce I have access to has a lot of knots.) I might end up making lighter versions of the rudder and leeboard, too, but damn, that Alowood is purty.