Sunday, September 25, 2016


Last time I posted about the awesome belaying pins my buddy made for me. To return the favor, I made this door mat from a pattern found in The Arts of the Sailor by Hervey Garrett Smith.

It took 50 feet of 3/8-inch manila, and another 20 feet of 1/2-inch around the outside. My first attempt was in 1/4-inch rope, and there 50 feet made a hotpad trivet for the table not much bigger than a doily. This one looks a little lumpy, but I think it will flatten out as it gets stepped on.

Just a small distraction from painting the boat. The weather being colder, I couldn't paint. But this week promises temps in the 70s, so I hope to finish painting the bottom. I'm going with Rustoleum.

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Home-made Boat

Back when I was sailing the fiberglass production model Lido 14, I thought a home-made boat might look amateurish and clumsy. The Lido looked like a professional job. But the more I sailed that boat, the more I decided it had no character, and no soul.

So I'm feeling very close to finishing the new boat, the boat I built myself. I've been told I could have it finished in a week, if only I didn't have to work my day job. And it doesn't look too clunky, if I do say so myself. I've made almost everything on the boat myself. I milled the scantling timbers myself out of 2x8 lumber. I laid the epoxy and fiberglass myself. I designed new elements beyond the plans, like the foreward hatch, and the centerboard. My wife and I sewed the sail together, and I set the grommets.

But this evening I got by with a little help from my friend Cody. He's an incredible wood worker. I was worrying about how to make the belaying pins for the rigging. I want this boat to feel salty, and belaying pins do that. Round things require a lathe that I don't have. Cody, however, also makes his own gear, and he made a lathe that is powered by a foot treadle. And he made my belaying pin in an hour. It would have taken me several hours (and several failures), or else I would have had to pay $12 each plus shipping to order them online. So I don't feel too bad about having something I didn't make myself.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Fall weather closing in

The mornings are down in the 40s these days, with a cool, fresh bite in the air. Daytime temps are still in the 80s. Once temps dip down below 70F in the daytime it really puts a crimp in the cure time of epoxy. It seems the boat (is she called Romany? Furthur? Calypso? other suggestions?) is sooo close to being done, but there are still a hundred items on the completion list. Installing the inwale, the mooring bitt, the mast step, the skeg, the seats. The whole rudder is still just a dream, though I have the hardware in hand. And then there's all the paint and varnish. Not to mention rigging: installing the various cleats and blocks and lines and sail.

But small slow progress continues. Today I installed the mast partner. That's the part about a foot above the floor that holds the mast. It looks and feels solid, if I do say so. I still need to install the mast step: the part that seats the foot of the mast against the floor. I got another gallon of epoxy in the mail last week, and today I started laying fiberglass on the floor and deck. There's still a couple of hours of daylight, so I might get a little more done as well.

That's not my actual mast, by the way. It's a section of lodgepole pine that I thought about using as a mast, but in the end I glued up a couple of 2x4s (pronounced "tubafer"), and rubbed off the corners until it looked sort of round. But it still gives you the general idea, doesn't it?