Next Passion

Wednesday was a forgettable day with cool wet conditions and not enough wind to finish a short course. The cut off time is 8:15 pm regardless of the start time for the different fleets and at 8:00 pm our position was hopeless so we started the engine and motored to the finish line to see if anyone would make it. A few of the early starters did finish but for the majority it was a wet, windless and win less night. With no post race BBQ it was a quick dash home to dry clothes and poached salmon and salad dinner.
With no race results to report there was no rush to print but for other reasons it has been an interesting week.
On Thursday Elaine and I had our vaccine booster shots and while she seemed energized, I was a bit flat for a few days and really only came back to life on Monday.
Saturday was a long haul to Gosford for the Laser racing and with a up and back course and a big shift in the wind it ended up reaching both ways for a pretty uninteresting race. Sunday was no better with the Middle Harbour Amateurs cancelling the club championship due to the tsunami warning. This was the right call given the circumstances so I dashed home to pick up some hardware from Bunnings. Now every visit to Bunnings seems to be accompanied by another Covid alert so I scored two alerts for the day.

Monday I was up early to visit Passion X and replace the raw water inlet pump shaft seal. This is a ten dollar seal which retails for something more substantial but you do need the genuine part don’t you? After watching a couple of different U tube videos on how to replace the part I was confident it would be an easy task if done with an impeller replacement. It was and by 11 am the task was complete and the engine running without a trace of a leak. One of the tips from U tube was to use an appropriately sized socket to push the seal evenly along the shaft and into the recess and that worked a treat. The next hour was spent mopping up every last drop of salt water that had leaked through the seal into the bilges. It was a good test of the bilge pump and I can report that the bilge pump works very well as long as you hold the float switch up until the last dregs are pumped away. Next there was a bit of mildew to wipe off the settee fronts above the bilges where the water had been sitting since last Wednesday’s wet and windless non race. Normally the bilges are bone dry and mildew is not a problem so hopefully we will resume normal conditions from now.

So with not much sailing to report how is the boat building going you might ask.

All the stringers are now glued in position

All the stringers are in and the critical path is waiting for the keel floor beam details to be completed. In the meantime everything has to be done some time so I am doing the time consuming tasks now like fitting cupboard shelves and chainplate frames.

The chainplate frame is three layers of 12 mm ply angled at 24 degree to the centreline and this is the template
Another view of the chainplate frame template showing the tricky angles to be negotiated

Twelve shelves have been fitted and there are four more to do. It helps that the hull is very true and a shelf on the port side can be turned over and fit the starboard side. There is some angling of the edges needed where the mirror image requirements have to be met but in general it has been a lot faster than anticipated.

I do have lots of little doublers to go over the stringers at each bulkhead and with 9 stringers a side and twelve bulkheads and one each side you can arrive at a number of 432 but that would be misleading. There are also bunk stringers to count and there are deductions. Many locations have a widened attachment point due to the intersection of cleats from different directions and some will have a doubler on one side and a thickened epoxy fairing on the other. I have a good supply of 12 mm ply doublers ready to go but I need to make a large number of 9 mm ones for the 9 mm ply bulkheads.
On Passion X the stringer doublers were finished square but on the new build I am rounding the edges of the doublers with a router to remove the hard edge. The hard edge looks modern but the rounded edge looks more traditional.

First the Wednesday sailing results and that makes it two wins in a row. Last night was special because we picked the breeze well and were up with Utopia at Goat Island after a windward work and we managed to hold out Joli to the finish. It was a bit more exciting than that because even though the fleet was reduced for the holidays and Covid caution it was still sailed seriously. At the start we opted the port tack but Joli continued on starboard tack well after the gun and forced us beyond head to wind into a stalled tack. The sailing gods have a way of giving it back and on the run through Humbug we caught the fleet because of freshening wind from behind and then Kevin spotted wind on the left so we pointed up to it and then ran away for a handy lead at Cockatoo Island.

The view from Utopia as they pass us around Cockatoo Island


Around Cockatoo the quicker Utopia ran past but on the windward work we picked every shift right and even the covering tacks were onto lifts. While we were pleased with out tacks, Joli still gained on both of us by Goat Island.
Approaching Goat we were lining up to cross on port in front of Utopia on starboard. I thought we were well clear but just before we reached their line a strong gust rounded Passion X up and into an involuntary tack so we will never know if we would have crossed.
From there Utopia had us covered and we could not tack to round the island until they did. it is just as well that they held us up as we had a pretty significant header going into the rounding and that is where Joli on starboard lifted to the mark and made up ground.
From there it was a run home with Joli coming at us with breeze behind and then us pulling away when the breeze arrived. We had two more breaks our way, the first the freshening header approaching Humbug where with our jib held out we were able to come onto the reach quickly while Joli with the pole up had to run away. The second was sailing through Humbug without having to tack.
Ausreo was there but the light shifty conditions are not her strong point and she and crew wait patiently for stronger winds.

Between showers I took the covers off the new build and took some photos because with the forecast the covers could be on for a week. Lucky me the rain held off and I managed to glue another three stringers into their positions.

I can now glue in the side stringers except the No 1 at the bow where I have to leave it loose to fit the anchor locker floor. I might install the 12 mm ply sheeting on one side first before removing the very strong temporary brace that has been holding the stem while all stringers have been fixed in place. Anyway it is a debate I am having with myself because on Passion X all the internal furniture was fitted before I started sheeting but I would like to complete the skin back to the mast step so that I can leave the covers over that end.


Bottom stringers very curved compared to Passion X
A view from the quarter
Starboard side of the bow shaped ready for cladding. I had to do the shaping to find the best alignment for the stringer above the plywood tangent doubler

I keep looking at my boat building efforts and thinking that there has not been much progress. That is true because since my last post I have worked less than six days on the project. The other time has been sailing the Laser or Passion X and celebrating Christmas with the family .
We spent Christmas at Ballina hoping to cross the border into Queensland after our Covid test on the 24th. Christmas was great with a limited family gathering appropriate to the times but the border crossing into Queensland was a non event as the Covid test result was delayed beyond the 72 hour window we needed to get into Qld and the chance of another test result in time was negligible. Instead of a week in Buderim with our son Mark we had an hour face to face with his family on the border at Tweed Heads and headed back home the next day.

Wet weather prior to Christmas and my own plodding progress had dashed any hope of finishing all the stringers before our trip North but now with the unexpected early return home here was a chance to catch up.

As my new project is a prototype there are some surprises in the construction and the biggest obstacle to a speedy finish was fitting the 12 mm by 100 mm ply strips to the tangent stringers. This is the place where the flat sides and bottom meet the moulded ply chine so it is important to get it right. On Passion X the standard practice was to fit short lengths between the bulkheads. With the new design we opted for a continuous strip from front to back with slots cut in the bulkhead. The thinking was to join the lengths and add them to the hull in one go. Well that was far too optimistic as the front end of each strip had to be shaped to fit the bow and a 12 metre length was never going to behave. The next issue was the sweep of the bottom tangent stringer which is much more pronounced that on Passion X. I opted to cut slots half way through the 100 mm to torture the plywood into the required curve with lots of clamps and screws for good measure and the end result looks fine. It certainly looks much sweeter than the series of straight strips on Passion X but the other option of cutting the strips into the required curve is possible the easier one for future builders. The upper tangent is a slow curve and the plywood easily followed this sweet line.
There are now enough stringers fastened down for the hull to be easily covered with tarpaulins if the weather turns wet again.
The challenge ahead is to fix the remaining stringers in position and catch up to my original program by the time we would have returned from Queensland.
I have a lot of options to move forward including starting on some of the furniture elements that are better fitted before the skin goes on or I could skin the bow back to the mast step or I could skin from the gunwales to the upper tangent along the whole length.

What I cannot do yet is skin the bottom from the mast step back as we are still designing the floor structure. What I can reveal is that we have decided on a keel depth and weight. After much consultation with Dudley Dix we have settled on a 2400 kg keel at 2.6 metres draft which means the keel projects around 2.2 metres below the hull canoe body. With the extra beam and the deeper heavier keel the righting moments should be 50% more than the original Didi 40 CR and 40% more than Passion X so there will be a good increase in sail carrying ability. Obviously the extra weight and depth means a more robust keel structure and we are working through that now. It is not on the critical path as I have all the options mentioned above. It is nice to have these choices.

The plywood doubler on the upper tangent stringer merges with the bow bulkhead
The sweep of the bottom tangent stringer was hard to manage and lots of cuts were needed to torture the plywood to the curve
Another view of the sweet sweep of the bottom stringers
Stepping back to look at the emerging hull shape

Way back on 27th of November I posted a photo on facebook of the new build covered with tarpaulins and today it looks little different so what has been going on?

27th November photo of the bulkheads covered with tarps


At the 27th November all the bulkheads had been fitted but no stringers, backbone or sheer clamps.
In the intervening 19 days all the 22 by 44 stringers have been cut from 285 mm by 32 mm wide planks which means two cuts for each stringer then thicknessed, scarf joined and edge routered. The 22mm by 32 mm tangent stringers needed only one cut per stringer but they still had to be thicknessed to 22 mm, scarf joined and edge routered. Then there was the 100 mm by 12 mm ply doubler for the tangent stringers which had to be cut, joined and had the edges routered.

You need a big back yard to turn the 12 metre long stringers around from the under cover carport to the hull construction site


Fitting the strongback was an important task not to be rushed and I had to take 2 mm of the planks and re router the edges before finally gluing it in place over a two day period.
While fitting the strongback the stem and stern knees had to be installed locking the elements together and then the stem knee had to have 12 mm ply doubles added to build it up to 48 mm thick.

Laser aligning the stem
Two layers of 12 mm ply for the initial stem knee to be augmented with another 12 mm layer each side. All under covers against the weather.


Next in line was the sheer clamp and at this stage the port one is fitted while the starboard is biding her time waiting for her turn. With a bit of fine weather that will be tomorrow but if it rains and the gluing surfaces get wet the job will have to be delayed.

16th December progress showing the same tarps but including a strong back, port sheer clamp, and all the stringers scarf joined and sitting in slots in the hull


To be not too harsh on myself the weather has been not very boat building friendly and while the centre of the build is protected rain can still blow through and delay proceedings.
Another factor in the seeming measured progress is the care I am taking to keep the bulkheads straight. My budget of one stiffener per bulkhead soon blew out with up to three being required for the thinner 9 mm bulkheads but the time taken is proving well worth the effort as the sheer clamps are going on without deflecting the outboard edges of the bulkheads

A win is a win and we will take it. Thanks to Harbour Dive Services for keeping the bottom clean all winter and special thanks to the loyal crew who fronted up come rain or wind. As a result of sailing all the series races we had a handy lead over Utopia going into the last race but with a fleet of eight starters the series was still wide open.
We did make a good start on the pin end of the line only to have the wind disappear for a few minutes. The slender lead we had was soon overhauled by Utopia who with a clean bottom were keen to show what they could do. Meridian, Jackpot and who knows who else soon ran over the top of us going through Humbug but we had a trick or two up our sleeve. The breeze kept filling back in from the left so we reached out to the port side of the fleet and with the advantage of wind and angle managed to go over the top of everyone except Utopia.
Down the left of Cockatoo Island John Ewing off of Utopia took some very nice photos of Passion X which was pleasing as we had our daughter Natalie and her three boys on board for the race. Otis looked after the skirting while Reuben tailed for Mal and Don and we need them back every week. Hugo kept a close eye on the action and will soon be an expert tailer.

Thanks to John Ewing for the nice photo of Passion X with the family aboard. All members of the Richmond River Sailing Club


With the No 1 heavy poled out we managed to keep just in front of Jackpot to the corner of Spectacle Island but once on the work back to Goat Island we were overtaken by by Joli and Meridian. For a shore while we traded tacks with Joli and Meridian but they were soon away while somewhere a long way back was Agrovation, Sweet Chariot and Ausreo.

Another John Ewing photo as we chased Utopia down the Balmain shore


On the beat to Goat the breeze was shifting in direction and velocity but mostly it was dying giving the front runners a double advantage of being further up the course and the time to cover the distance widening.
After what seemed an eternity we rounded Goat Island and took off after the fleet who were now well down the track to Long Nose. Every so often a wisp of wind would come over the beam giving us optimism that we might finish the race within the time limit. Any thought of a handicap win had long vanished but we could see Utopia stuck in Humbug while Joli found her own breeze and sailed through for a third place on handicap behind the front runner Jackpot.
We felt that we had made up enough time on Utopia to finish ahead and that was the case. Also we had caught up to Meridian and while we did not pass them we were sure to finish ahead on handicap.
As we drifted across the line we turned to see who was behind and to our amazement there was Sweet Chariot running through Humbug in 20 knots of breeze and certain of a good second place on handicap.
Meantime back in the pre wind era Agrovation and Ausreo had retired leaving too few handicap place points for Jackpot to beat us.

For the past two days I have been preparing the bulkheads to take the now completed strong back. That means stiffening the uprights with some diagonal bracing and installing some cross beams to keep the light plywood frames straight.
I had planned for one cross beam for each bulkhead but in practice I found that two or three were needed to keep the plywood as straight as I wished it to be.

Diagonal bracing for the uprights and cross bracing for the light ply bulkheads before fitting the strong back

The view from the other side showing how much temporary bracing I installed


While the amount of bracing may seem excessive to some it is in my opinion needed to stop the bulkhead shifting while attaching the strong back and gunwale stringers. Once these are glued in place some of the bracing will be removed while some will stay in place until the bulkheads are stiffened by installing furniture elements.

With the rear third of the bulkheads stiffened I installed the strong back for the last trial fit and to router the slot for the stem knee. As it all fitted well I applied the thickened epoxy and fastened the rear section in place.

About now the heavens opened up for the second day in a row and brought an abrupt end to construction. Nevertheless the glue was secure under the tarpaulins and the scarf joins dry clamped waiting for a sunny day.

Under the boat awning and under the tarpaulins covering the transom I cleaned up the excess epoxy glue until the intensity of the rain forced me to retreat indoors.


Yesterday I finished early to go sailing in the Greenwich Flying Squadron twilight race and while we were rigged and ready the racing was abandoned due to the lightening risk. So I was wet yesterday and wet today.
If it is wet tomorrow I will try to find a dry spot to complete the gunwale stringers as I need to make up time for all the lost construction due to the weather.

Our neighbour was away for a week which was pretty handy since I was making a din rounding the inboard edges of stringers close to his front door. He is a very supportive neighbour but his comment that I had made little progress in a week was a bit flattening. Yes it does not look like a lot of progress since I fitted any stringers I had to get the boat under cover a week ago. In the meantime I had cut, thicknesses and joined all the 44 by 22 mm stringers and removed the temporary 32 by 22 from the hull. So he was quite right as it looked the same despite my furious pace of work.

Yesterday I spliced the 32 by 22 stringers, augmented the width of the strong back and glued up the stem and transom knees.

Another batch of nice splice joins in the tangent stringers

Today the strong back was cleaned up and planed to the final 30 mm thickness. The 300 mm wide strong back is at the limit of the thicknesser but it did the job nicely and made a lot of sawdust.

Taking 2 mm of the strong back makes a lot of sawdust
The strong back thicknessed and edges rounded ready for fitting to the bulkheads


The knees were trial fitted, the stern knee to the strong back and the bow knee to station 0. I was planning on a trial fit of the strong back to the bow knee but a heavy shower put paid to that idea. I did however manage to shape all the strong back cleats ready for the trial fit.

The stern knee fitted to the strong back. A nice firm fit


I have one more day of making sawdust and noise before I can give the neighbours a rest from the noise. That is to thickness the gunwales and cut the outer edges on 45 degrees to minimise the amount of planing once fitted.

Time to smell the eucalyptus blossom after the shower passed

No this does not describe our sailing on Passion X but rather the work I am doing on building a new yacht. A week ago with impending heavy rain I fitted in some under size stringers into the slots and threw tarpaulins over the construction. That worked out well as I could continue work in the 12 metre long carport. Being too wet to work anywhere on Saturday I took the trip to Gosford only to turn around and not sail in the 30 knots breeze. No such luxury was available on Sunday for the short spring series in shifty 20 knots of breeze. I did manage a second in the series despite getting stuck in irons in the first two races but after that I was pretty happy with the boat speed.

Any stringers on hand were slotted into the bulkheads to support the temporary cover against the heavy rain


Monday was still miserable but I managed to cut all the 44 by 22 stringers before retiring wet. Tuesday was a better day and all the 44 by 22 stringers had their ends cut on an angle ready for splicing together. Much of the day was spent selecting lengths so that the joins were not all in the same position in the yacht. By the end of day I retired injured. Not really injured but the hands were sore so I gave myself an early mark. Wednesday the scarf joins were paired and matched with a small block plane which meant a lot of turning stringers around and back again but the result is exceptional.

Cutting the stringers ends on an angle for joining
A typical stringer join


Today is Thursday and the second batch of stringer were match planed and glued up.
Not wanting to leave anything for later I rounded the inboard edges of the stringers so not only will they look good during production but the chances of splinters is much reduced.
While the glue on the second batch of stringers was curing nicely in the warm afternoon I took the already completed batch to the building site and dry fitted stringers just under half of the stringer to the hull.
After dark I carted the heavy strong back to the carport to check if there was any movement post cutting. It looks perfect so there is little work to do to get that ready too.
Tomorrow I am going to try to join the tangent stringers as that will give me all the elements ready to complete the stringers, gunwales and strong back by Christmas.

At Greenwich Flying Squadron we have enjoyed our share of good fortune out on the race track and currently lead the twilight series in the depleted Black Fleet.
I am hoping that the Beck team will turn up for the series but understand that with a team of MC38s to train against our twilight is more of a social event.
Our results are a combination of starting the series with a good handicap and making appropriate sail selection topped off with a dose of good wind shifts.
Last week we were second to Ausreo on handicap and while we expect Ausreo to go well in 20 knots of breeze not even an optimist would have picked Passion X to lead the fleet around Goat Island and back to Cockatoo. We can credit the last minute genoa change for the No 3 Jib for that. Consequently we were only mildly out of control for the first half of the race. As the breeze abated the regular order was reestablished but we had time up our sleeve except for Ausreo.
So why did we get a second again this week. Well the No 1 heavy that we so hurriedly took down last week was still in the V berth and had to be folded sometime. That was the basis of the selection and to compensate for the flatter genoa we left the backstay very loose for the evening. Admittedly the regular order was established right from the start but we hung on to the rear of the fleet on the beat to Goat and made up a little ground on the run back to Spectacle Island. Along the Hunters Hill shore we were not in phase with the lifts and knocks but then again most of the fleet was suffering the same fate so we lost little time to Agrovation, Meridian and Joli while out in front with a freshly applied antifouling was Utopia followed by the reliable Jackpot.
Humbug is the last throw of the dice and we threw a double six lifting all the way to the finishing line. Having eyes only for the ribbons on the genoa I did not realise that Meridian and Joli were not that far ahead and so as we crossed the line our hopes for another good result were high.
Bonus points was a good photo of Passion X on the GFS facebook page.

Nice photo of Passion X with our carbon sports sails and little back stay tension.



With help from grandson Otis the last of the large heavy bulkheads have been mounted on the building frame. With a mighty effort by Tuesday evening we mounted the six remaining bulkheads to complete the heavy lifting.

The last three large bulkheads waiting to be fitted to the building frame

In the gloom of the evening I checked the alignment with the laser level while giving the local mosquitos a good feed.
Wednesday morning I revisited the alignment and noted the keel centre line was not exactly aligned. To help with this final check I used the laser level to true up a plank that could be temporarily laid down the keel centre line and completed the alignment.

All the heavy lifting done but now for the alignment.


It helps considerably to have fitted all the furniture cleats on the workshop floor as these provide a good reference.
The next stage of the build is fitting the stringers so Thursday was spent cutting large planks down to 32 by 22 mm sections for the tangent stringers and cutting 12 mm plywood into 100 mm wide strips where the flat sheets of plywood will meet the curved moulded plywood chines..
With a good soaking forecast I used the stringers cut temporarily hoping to get a cover over the stern. Alas the rain came too soon and too strong for any meaningful progress.

Test fitting available stringers into the frames. Note the temporary straight edge down the keel centre line


Today despite the frequent showers I cut enough of the main 44 by 22 mm stringers to fill the empty slots in the stern and get a cover over.
So hurried was the process that I did not have time for photos before pulling covers over and retreating from the rain.
Despite the lack of evidence I can report that I am happy with the alignment of all the stringers and she looks very fair and true. On my last build I played with the stringer alignment to get a fair line on them all. This time Dudley had provided much more comprehensive stringer location information so provided the frames are in the right place the stringers will be fair.
Surprisingly we have made reasonable progress on cutting timber. The strongback and gunwales are already cut and the scarf joins prepared. All the tangent stringers are cut and most of the plywood for the tangent stringers. Then about 20% of the main stringers have been cut so there is plenty to do if the rain persists.

My target for this week was to have all the bulkheads mounted and that is done. As for a target for next week that will depend on the weather but I think that I should be able to finish cutting all the stringers.

Since the timber for mounting the bulkheads to the building frame arrived on Tuesday I have mounted on average 1.2 bulkheads a day. Allowing for a day of rest that works out to exactly one bulkhead a day. This might not seem stellar performance but I have also been completing two coats of epoxy primer on each side of the bulkheads prior to mounting. During the week I did a couple of 9 hour days of painting and sanding as well as mounting a bulkhead.

The procedure seems to have settled down to one of mounting a bulkhead with clamps and checking with the laser level before screwing it to the building stock for the duration of the build. Inevitably after the laser level check there is a small adjustment to do the following morning before starting on fitting the next one.

I have fitted all the light bulkheads and from now on it is a two man lift.

Today I would normally go to Gosford to sail the Laser but with a forecast of 5 knots and a very wet Sunday on the way I decided that the priority was to get a tarpaulin over the frames that extend out in front of the awning where I am doing the boatbuilding. That meant finishing the bow instead of installing one of the largest frames. As a bonus I used the front section of the strong back to hold the frames together so that from the bow it is starting to look like a yacht.

Everything has to be done sometime so I like to do tasks when they will add the most value to the progress. Todays tasks included taking the masking tape off the three frames painted last night and shuffling the bulkheads around so that “F” could go on the garage floor for the final reinforcing piece for the engine bed. This is an important frame as it is at the aft end of the keel and takes the grounding loads from the keel. The top of the strongback goes through a 192 mm wide 21 mm deep slot to form a very solid I beam with the 30 mm deep 300 mm wide strongback. When I say it takes the grounding loads I should explain that the I beam ties together the rear three keel floors and the combined three floors take the grounding loads but the keel floor attached to bulkhead F is in the middle.
The next task was to prepare the forward part of the strongback where it bends sharply down to the stem. On the previous yacht I cut half of the keel off and scarfed in a replacement piece as it is easier to bend two 15 mm thick planks than one 30 mm plank. This time because the strongback is narrower at the bow I used the bench saw to cut halfway through the plank sideways and then turn it over and cut the other half. As the plank became wider I did each side in two passes so as not to overload the motor. Once cut from station Zero all the way back to bulkhead A I cleaned up the cut with the hand saw. The whole process was remarkably quick and the slot is clean and ready for gluing back together once bent into the final shape.

The strongback was cut into two halves to facilitate the bend at the bow.


Somewhere in this exercise I used the laser level to do a final check in bulkhead E and moved it 2 mm sideways and 2 mm down to its final building position.
With all the preparation out of the way I became a carpenter for the afternoon making up a temporary frame off the front of the building frame to hold the bow. At the same time I could chat to the neighbour who was watering his garden despite the forecast of a downpour tomorrow.

Station zero mounted off a temporary frame with the strongback tied down into the approximate final shape


There is a deal of satisfaction when all the elements line up as they should and by 6 pm Elaine was giving me a hand to pull a tarpaulin over the front frames in time for tomorrow’s rain.

The front bulkheads covered in tarpaulins against the rain forecast for tomorrow.


Despite the wet weather forecast it is a Club Championship at Middle Harbour Amateur’s tomorrow so it will be a day of boat building.

A view from the stern looking past bulkhead E to the mast step at bulkhead D

Saturday is normally a sailing day when I hitch up the Laser and head to Gosford but I have had a bit of a frustrating week with my mega project so that took a higher priority. The tasks for the day were not overtaxing but fate had other plans.
Before I could prime my transom to protect the timber from the weather I had to router a 48 mm wide 12 mm deep slot for the knee. Just a few minutes into this task and the faithful old Ryobi router died. It had a good life building a lot of yachts and I possibly pushed it a bit too hard but these are handyman tools, not life long assets.

My old router died almost as soon as I started the days tasks


A quick trip to Bunnings secured a new, more powerful one but one that fitted my router table well.
Armed with new router and a new found respect for looking after it I soon finished the three tasks, the transom, the mast post and the stem bulkhead.

A new router make quick work of the slot


The stem bulkhead needed further attention as I had to move the station position 12 mm from where I had planned to mount it and that meant a 4 mm trim to the shape. In the calm of Friday evening post the Balmain afternoon pursuit race I set up the stem bulkhead on the kitchen bench and carefully remarked all the positions for the new trim line. That done the execution on Saturday was a mundane if careful task.

The tiny stem bulkhead is finished ready for the stem knee. Next job was to router a slot in the mast post stacked in front of the pile of bulkheads for just that task


The dilemma before me was whether to epoxy saturate the laminate cabin beams to protect them during the construction of whether to start the epoxy primer surfacer on the plywood bulkheads.
As it was a warm day and good for epoxy work I opted for the epoxy saturation first as I could stack the frames and do multiple laminated beams where the white epoxy primer would need shuffling around on the front lawn.
With three bulkheads stacked on the garage floor I was able to get the rest away for the weekend and will leave the white epoxy for another day.

With careful juggling of bulkheads I was able to epoxy prime the laminated beams on four bulkheads

Meanwhile out on the lawn and out of the garage to give me some working room were bulkheads waiting for white primer which never came today. Perhaps Monday will be kinder to these bulkheads

Waiting for white epoxy primer. At least the mast post got two good coats of West epoxy.


Another Friday afternoon at Balmain and another windy day. It seems that the No 3 jib has been the only headsail to see the light of day. That is not exactly right as we had the No 1 light up for one twilight race but apart from that the Carbon Sports No 3 has been the only headsail used.

With the appropriate level of caution we left the reef in the main from last Wednesday night and made good progress in our pursuit of Irukandji and Odyssey.

Irukandji with a full main started to pull away on the run back from Goat Island so we took out the reef to try to keep up. That worked for the downwind portion of the race but once back on the wind the breeze increased so we struggled with the extra sail area.

Avalon did catch and pass us and we never caught Irukandji so it was a fourth place out of a diminished fleet of six yachts.

I don’t mind sailing with the No 3 jib. It has a very nice shape and covers a reasonable wind range. Also it is good practice for the new Passion that is under construction as she will have non overlapping jibs although about 30% bigger than Passion X

The second night of our twilight series was a windy one with plenty of action so it is not surprising that there are no photos on the Greenwich Flying Squadron facebook page. Sweet Chariot and Passion X opted for a cautious rig with small jibs and a reef in the mainsail and were rewarded with second and third place on handicap. The permanently reefed Ausreo with a lot more weight and waterline took the handicap prize which in the conditions was to be expected.
Third place was what we expected given that we were close to the front of the feet and at the half way mark were mid fleet on fastest times.
Our small crew did well under the circumstances and we did have a little luck with the phasing of the shifts around the healands.
Back at the garage most of the bulkheads have been finished and the final touches may happen tomorrow.
Planks of Meranti have been selected for the backbone and all the timber for the gunwales has been cut. I did make up a giant mitre box for cutting the splice angles on the 32 by 100 mm timber but I will need a much longer saw to be able to use it. On Passion X the Makita power planer was used to cut all the splice join angles and I am still experimenting with this one.
When the weather is right I have a stock of timber to cut into 22 by 44 mm stringers so there is plenty to do.

I have been getting a bit ahead of Dudley Dix who is designing my new dream racer cruiser to the ISO standards. Dudley has other clients to serve and believe it or not he has another life with his yellow Lotus Europa and his surfing passion. That said he has been very responsive and making good progress.
While waiting for confirmation on some of the vital statistics I have spent time installing as many structural cleats and furniture cleats as seems practical. That includes optional cleat for removable floors in some cupboards where I will be routing the services This is not needed for functionality but for appearance, not that anyone but me will look into the bottom of a locker looking for a tiny removable floor. However with time to spare I have been adding little finishing touches.
When it comes to finishing the random orbital sanders that I discovered during the Passion X project have been put to good use finishing the sawn surfaces of the triangle cleats so that there will be much less filling and sanding at the end of the project.
One of the benefits of building a second time is to know what surfaces need some minor details differences whether for comfort, durability or just plain old appearances. I have to confess the latter one does exercise my mind a lot as I like the aesthetics of cleats finishing at some visual logical end point rather than just the functional one.
Today my only task has been to fit the 32 by 32 mm triangle cleat that joins the deck and the bulkhead. It is fine Meranti and quite stiff so I have left the cleat as one long length for ease of bending and after the thickened epoxy has cured I will cut out the center section where the deeper cabin hatch goes down to the cockpit floor level. The clamping arrangement for a triangle cleat is a bit agricultural so I will leave it to cure overnight and go sailing this afternoon. That will leave me just a few 20 by 20 furniture cleats to finish this last bulkhead before shuffling the deck again for a final check.

Not too shabby considering the plywood arrived 4th September and we did not have plans at that stage. Did I hear you say “Well done David and Dudley”

Fitting the 32 by 32 triangle cleat to join the deck to the bulkhead. Post cure the center section will be cut out to allow the hatch to be extended down towards the cockpit floor. Note the agricultural clamping arrangement.