Thursday, January 19, 2006

Boat building saga begins

OK, I give up. It has been raining everyday for the past almost 4 weeks, and Seattle is living up to its fame. I was waiting for dry conditions to start building the boat, but the weather gods are not accommodating. I am itching to start the boat, and I finally decide to heat the garage and start on the boat.

I have been reading a lot about boat design, oar positioning, different kinds of sails, rigging, helms, etc. I can't wait to rig this boat up and start sailing. I finally started on the boat, and what used to be a heap of plywood now resembles a boat! I don't have professional tools, so I have to improvise and make do with whatever I find in the garage. I did buy a neat circular saw with a laser sight. The laser is cool. It draws a line in bright red light showing me where I am going to cut. Since I don't have clamps, I had to improvise and use bungee cords and rope to hold the seats together while the glue dried.

The first thing I had to do was, create long strips of plywood. Since HomeDepot does not sell plywood that is longer than 6 ft, I had to scarph (or is it scarf?) two pieces together. This seemed challenging to an inexperienced hand, but once I started, it is pretty straight forward. I used a belt sander to create the scarph and glued the pieces together. Since it is still winter, the glue took 2 days, instead of the usual 12 hrs, to dry. The joints look good. I will be applying fiberglass on top of them. So, there is no compromise on strength of the joint.

Oops, I forgot to introduce the boat. It is a 12 ft long flat bottomed sailboat built of fiberglass laid over a thin plywood hull. Initially, I will set it up for rowing. Once I find its sweet spots and characteristics, I will design the sails and rig it for sailing. It has a carrying capacity of about about 550 lbs, which will be reduced to around 500 lbs once I rig it for sailing.

Now that the boat is taking shape, it looks bigger than I had imagined. Now, I am having second thoughts on cartopping it. Cartopping will work when it is a rowboat, but once it is rigged up for sailing, I will have to get a trailer. I was getting ready to hunt for a roof top bike rack for my car, and now am thinking of hunting for a trailer instead. I was telling my wife that we should make sure that it is a breeze to get the boat from our garage to the nearest lake. Otherwise, we will not use the boat as often. Imagine, if it takes half a day to get the boat to a lake, you won't have any energy left to row/sail it in the lake. So, I am leaning towards a trailer now. We still have a couple of months to go. So, we have time to think about it.

Gotta go. Time to attach gunwales on the boat.