Spars & Rigging

April and May 2015 – With the nice weather, I’m getting started on the new projects. Next is to build the sliding hatch, then the spars and on to the interior. I have just finished making the companionway entrance smaller, putting the cabin roof to fit up to the sides of the new companionway and so on. A good deal of work getting it all faired out and smooth, both the roof and the hatchway.  Then I put the runners for the sliding hatch on and sanded and painted the entire boat with Awlgrip 545 primer. I don’t have any photos of the details, but it ended up looking like this, after spraying two coats of Awlgrip 545.

I still wanted to use Fred Bingham’s fantastic double-coaming sliding hatch idea, so I built that.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville
Double-coaming sliding hatch
Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville
Double-coaming sliding hatch
Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville
The double coamings with scuppers between each coaming which the sliding hatch sits over when it is closed, as it is now.

I’ll put an image of it as finished next time I take some photos.

On to the spars. I did much agonizing and read many opinions on the best method for the masts. Hollow birdsmouth, hollow square or rectangular, solid… I ended up making the mizzen mast hollow square, using Douglas fir. I made the main boom 15’ 9” long, the gaff 7’ 8” long, the mizzen sprit boom 10’ 5” long,  the bowsprit 68″ long and the boomkin 54″ long. All of these, I made using Douglas fir. I also made the boom jaws, laminating white oak for these, about ten layers of oak, each about an eighth in thickness with a layer of Xynole in between each piece. I’ll put a photo of this.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville
Feb 15, 2015 photo of mizen being glued up

The nice thing about this mast is that I could make it by myself. It is about 20 feet long, tapered and will set a sprit sail.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville
Mizzen mast

Unfortunately, I used wood a bit too thick, and it isn’t very hollow. This is the small end, so I should be just able to get wires through the middle.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville
Milwaukee saw

The details are a bit boring, but here is what I did to make the 30 foot main mast.

It is methodical, but not difficult. Ruel gives the diameter at different points, step, deck, half way, gaff, and top. I used the Duckworks calculator to find the stave width (L) at each point. He gives the thickness, (H), as 1.25 inches. However, at the top of the mast this thickness is too great, as REuel specifies a diameter at the tip of a 2.5 inchs, so it won’t happen.  I reduced the calc to H = 1.0 inch thick staves there, and that came out to almost an inch width (L) at the top end still leaving a small hole in the center.

I set up 6 saw horses in a row and made them have the tops in a straight line, exactly. I used left-over wedges from sarcfing process to adjust the heights.

First, I ran all 16 2×4’s through my thickness planer, reducing the thickness to 1.25 inches from 1.5 inches. Then I ripped all of them to 2.25 inches wide, a little larger than the maximum calculated width (L), deck level. Then ran them through the table saw putting a vee on one edge. Made this vee a tad too deep, ensuring complete removal at the inside notch or corner, perhaps 1/32 of an inch overlap.

Scarfed, after ripping to width, with cut off saw and two boards set as guides for a 1/12 cut set on the saw horses. This gave 8 staves of about 31.5 feet, so I’ll stagger then so as to not have all scarfs at the same point.

Then, I marked and cut one stave and shaped it with a block plane and 8 inch Makita disk sander, 40 grit, till it looked good, with the width (L) gradually changing, corresponding to the calculated results and giving a nice looking parabolic taper.

So far so good. I used this one as a template to mark each of the rest and cut them with a cut-off saw.

Next, lined them up with vee’s facing down, clamped together, and sanded them, where they weren’t identical, to a uniform decreasing width.

Next, to reduce the thickness at the top end of the mast, I needed to plane each one on both sides to a nice taper from near the gaff point to the top end. The total to remove at the top was about 1/4 inch in thickness. From (H) = 1.25 to (H) = 1.0. This meant 1/4 inch total thickness reduction at the top, but starting from almost no reduction near the gaff point. So, I set the electric plane to 1/16 inch depth, and planed each stave on both sides; one pass from just above the gaff point to the tip, and two passes from the midpoint of the first pass to the tip or top. 4 x 1/16 = 1/4 total reduction.

Then, I lined them up, vee’s facing to one side, and had a look. When I clamped them lightly, the decreasing curve of the combined taper of the width, (L), looked off, too abrupt at one point, about a foot above the gaff. So, I clamped them all together, vee down, and reduced this “hump” causing this ugly curve with the 8 inch Makita sander, 40 grit. It’s really like a sculpting tool.

Next, I put some 8 in wide ply stations on each saw horse with U-shaped holes cut near the top, each U-shaped “hole” smaller toward the top end of the “mast”. Chalk line to get them straight side to side. Screwed to the saw horses.

Got some help, and dry fitted the staves. Raised and lowered the stations on each horse till middle stave in one side was straight, within 1/32 of an inch measured from the top of each saw horse. It looks good and straight.

I cut a piece of 5 mil plastic about a foot wide and 30 feet long, from the edge of my 60 foot greenhouse/workshop; extra lying on the ground. Will put this between the four bottom and four top staves when we glue it up, so I can separate the two halves and put in blocking, wires… and later glue two halves together.

Around September 15th, with the help of four people, we glued the mast together. We actually had plenty of time to get it done before the epoxy started to harden.
Staves being shaped – double taper

I’m not sure why the images are sideways, but I’ll fix them later

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville
Dry fitted main mast

At this point, February 2016, I’m working on the cabinets, ice box and head in the cabin. It is mostly done, but it has been cold and we went to Peru and Bolivia for three weeks in January. I made the interior compartment of the ice bow on Saturday.

The main mast,the two halves with solid pieces inside reinforcing at deck and base

Here is putting together the main mast after the two halves were previously epoxied together.

Main – painted, ready for rigging

Once the solid blocks were inserted, all was epoxied securely, the mast was planed then sanded round with the 8 inch Makita, then strips of sand paper by hand, primed with Algrip 545 and painted with Algrip, many coats.

First coat of paint

Meanwhile, the entire topsides and cabin were painted with Sherwin Williams paint