What the shed did next……

Pathfinder build project week 12 and general blog stuff.

Welcome to the second post in my new format for reporting on the Pathfinder build – something I noticed straight away with these posts is that I can rattle off quite quickly the work side of what I did but then there’s also going to be a lot of parts where i’m experimenting or making patterns : in this post for example i’m going to talk about the results of experimenting with the rig ideas.

Something that I noticed as a result of only posting once a week is that I leave the post ‘on the blocks’ for several days which lets me come back and tinker with the post when i’m not tired out and frazzled at the end of a day problem solving all day long ; this week for instance has been a lot of thinking on my feet as I make and dry fit new parts.

One funny thing that happened during the week was when I was quickly dry-fitting one of the side deck planks because it kept moving a tiny bit and that was affecting a line at each end. Basically, when i’m dry fitting one part to another I drill a clearance hole in the part going on , quickly swap to a pilot hole – in this case in the top stringer and then swap bits again to a driver bit to pop the screw in with. I must have been looking at and thinking about the resulting line while doing that because the next thing I knew was that I’d obviously just taken the pencil that lives behind my right ear and put that in the chuck and was trying to drive a screw in with it !. Definitely time to take a break except that when I got inside the house to make a coffee I couldn’t find the coffee jar but weirdly found the milk out on the side – yes….i’d stowed the coffee jar on the milk shelf in the door of the fridge.

Section 1….what I worked on this week.

Job 1 – about that rig idea. In the previous 2 posts I wrote up the inspiration for the Lug rig option and then in the last post I showed some pictures of how I was experimenting practically with the mast position and the mast foot and partners engineering ; what I needed to see before I went ahead with the Lug rig though was seeing it with the cabin top in place or at least the forward cabin face to get a feel for what it would be like to manhandle a thick and heavy-ish spar over the cabin top and into either the forward mast hole or slightly further aft in the slot through the kingplank. Looking back it was a day well spent boring big holes in my poorly executed kingplank and playing around with a length of 100 mm soil pipe as a mast surrogate : with the cabin forward face dry fitted I then got to play with a full length of soil pipe with some weight added and found that it was more than a bit of a mare to handle and place in the slot – worse still to get it out again while imagining a heavier spar. Now, I think that the only way I could make that work would be with access to a crane and my absolute requirement with this boat is to be self reliant with all it’s systems and handling and that includes rigging the boat and/or dropping the stick to pass under bridges.

The outcome of my practical experiments is that i’m not now going to have a Lug rig much as I would love to have a Lugger once in my sailing life – instead i’m going to build a high aspect (short gaff) gaff rig and probably in the form of the soft wingsail that Hanneke Boon designed for the Wharram catamarans : I had one myself in the shape of a Tiki 26 and I also sailed and skippered the big Pahi 63 with soft wingsails and short gaffs and , I have to say, really like the short gaff idea and practicality. My final thoughts about rig and sails was to do a modern cruising ‘squarehead’ sail but that starts to make the sail handling gear and mast making more expensive straight away because the mainsail needs a track and ideally long battens – It’s also a very load-y rig and one best deployed on boats with high stability.


This means that I can still build a long wooden spar in hollow birdsmouth but it’s section is likely to be an 80 mm tube with an 18 mm wall thickness compared with the 100/20 for the Lug mast and of course it’s weight is much further aft…..in fact in practice the mast foot will be in a tabernacle hard up against and attached to the cabin’s forward face.

Or I could just do a simple alloy tube mast………thoughts continue.

Soil pipe as experiment with Lug rig placement

Job 2. Dry construction stage.

When I was starting to write this up it seemed as though I was doing different jobs and I was writing it as such – however, what Iv’e been doing mostly this week is lots of dry-fit construction of the decks and cuddy : that’s taken most of 3 days with a few smaller jobs on the side. A couple of days ago I almost had a lid on (decks and cuddy) from foredeck to stern deck and it really looked like big progress but today , as I write, most of it is off again because there’s still lots of detail work to do before I can glue the lid on.

The job sequence has gone something like :

Make and dry fit the cuddy front face. Take cuddy face off again , lay single sheet of 6mm plywood over one half side of foredeck and scribe all round to make one side of foredeck and partial side deck. Re-attach forward face of cuddy, add foredeck and side deck piece, make pattern for one side of cuddy aft bulkhead and make cuddy side…..dry fit same. Make and dry fit stern deck. Make and dry fit longitudinal bearers for side decks, make and dry fit side decks.

Just a quick note about the stern deck for now – mine is going to be a lot deeper because I intend to fit a narrow solar panel right across the stern deck : at the moment that is looking like it will be either a 40 or 50 watt panel. It makes the back of the boat look more like ‘Walkabout’ and as I don’t intend to sit in the back of the boat will make a semi sheltered stowage area.

Foredeck and cuddy dry fit.

Job 3 – wet construction stage – stern.

For some reason I started the wet (glue) assembly stage at the stern by first attaching the wider stern deck because I had wet primer curing in the bow compartment and not much else to do at that moment.

In the new style blog it’s my intention to talk about some part of the build that i found difficult – so for this week’s post the hard job was laminating the stern deck doubler from underneath the fitted deck. The first part, which is the outer surface of the deck, went on first but has quite a ‘crown’ which matches the curve of the transom : it actually took me 3 tries just to get that piece on because I made a small measurement error which placed the piece off to one side slightly and then struggled a bit to get the 6mm ply to form a fair curved plane and not to twist away…..what it needed was to attach the exact center of the deck first and then slowly work out each way keeping the edge aligned with the transom and only fastening the deck edges right at the end.

My real problem came with trying to fit a second piece underneath the deck which forms it’s first layer of doubling and basically the crown of that piece has to be pushed up hard against the underside of the deck itself ; quite easy at the open end but to get the crown at the transom to match the deck curvature and be in ‘glue’ closeness I had to push and brace the doubler up with a support post first and then drilled through both layers and bolted them together temporarily with 2 short M10 bolts. Iv’e yet to fit a thicker doubler where the mizzen mast goes through the deck and I will likely fit a narrower but thicker piece under the exposed edge as well.

Stern deck doubler clamped and bolted.

Job 4 detail work – bow.

I’m basically getting ready to permanently attach the forward face of the cuddy and the foredeck but , when I thought about it a bit more, I thought it best to do more work up front with the lid off because I can work by standing next to the boat and not laying inside at a back knackering angle. So far my job sequence has been : sand and prime the bow compartment (grey primer is all it’s going to get), drilling out bow girder and stem band for the bow eyebolt and ordered same, continued priming white primer in bunk flat space and today applied one layer of cream multicoat to see what it looks like…….finally, made parts for the compression post cheeks which go on and in before I can glue the new kingplank in.

If I go for the rig that i’m now working on for the boat (high aspect short gaff) then the mast will go in a tabernacle right up against the forward face of the cuddy and the combination of compression post side cheeks and wider/thicker kingplank is what will support it.

Compression post cheeks go on.

At the end of this week I’ll be working on the stern deck doublers, pre-coating lots of the parts that I made during the week and taking the cuddy front off to play around with the size and position of a couple of fixed ports. The other job that I’ll start to work on is to cut out the glass over the deck access hatch points and do the prep work to fit the plastic access hatches – that will be the first hardware to go on the boat. Right now Iv’e got some admin to do as I need to get online and order more resin, some fasteners and maybe treat myself to a palm router and rebate bit to do the ports and windows rebates with……I quite fancy the cordless Ryobi one as that’s the range of cordless tools that I bought into.

In the project blog iv’e found that what I tend to do is just write about what iv’e done that week or in some cases my thought processes for a job I need to do – what I don’t do is talk about all of the errors and mess-ups that happen in a working week. This week it wasn’t just trying to drive a screw with a pencil but things like not being able to find my measuring tape on several occasions because iv’e taken to keeping it in my pocket and when I go in the house and sit down it gets left wherever I was taking a break…..at the computer for example : then I ran out of pencils with points , I often have half a dozen scattered about and collect them up and sharpen them all at the end of the day but the other thing I lost this week was the only decent pencil sharpener.

Oh….then I ran out of epoxy, then paint rollers, then gloves…………

That’s about it for my week.

The one thing that I just couldn’t get right this week was the line of the coaming, below is one attempt at making a pattern – the fairing batten is just there to show me where the straight line would be between the stern deck and a mark on the cuddy……still looks like pants !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s