Archive for August 2021

With at least three days a week gained from not being able to move more than 5km from home there is a lot of time to be filled with new activity.
Like many in the same situation Elaine and I have been exploring every street and detour in our district. In the process we are passing neighbours doing the same circuits in reverse. We are very fortunate that we live in a leafy suburb which up to now has been free of the virus and we hope it stays that way.
The daily walks are an opportunity do the permitted shopping and to get the take away coffee so the cars are getting very little use, the yard is getting cleaned up and the house is getting a little attention.
Outside of these limited activities I have been negotiating the design of the new yacht and attending doing a little boatbuilding.
On Passion X the winch bases were formed inside your standard household bucket and then glassed into the cockpit coamings. Punting on a similar arrangement I have laminated up four winch bases out of epoxy glass. The epoxy is more difficult to work than the polyester used on Passion X but with a little patience it lays up well. On the positive side the working time is longer but not by a huge margin. Each winch base has ten layers of glass adding up to 6 mm solid laminate with the base reinforced with a 9 mm plywood insert. Each base weighs 1.45 kg and will be heavier once laminated to the 12 mm plywood coaming.
The first winch base was done to completion so that I could check the finished product before mass production. The production three took three hours a day over four days to complete excluding the time waxing the buckets with mould release. It is a bit like baking a cake and there is quite a bit of satisfaction seeing the finished product come out of the mould.

Winch bases ready for a boat

One of our household jobs was getting a Council clean up and in the clean up out went the moulds from the wings on the original Passion. They were beautifully finished and gleaming with mould release wax but they had to go to make room for the next Passion.
On the new yacht I expect the cabin profile will be similar to Passion X and while the Naval architect has told me to wait I have pressed ahead with laminating beams.
Like taking laminates out of moulds, laminating beams has its own pleasure. The meranti layers of the beam have been cut from two different planks and then end for ended to ensure that any variability in the quality is not concentrated in one place. Then the formwork for the clamping has to be adjusted for the spring back that occurs when release from the clamps. In my case an extra 10 mm of deflection had to be built into the approximately 2 metre arc of the beams. By trial and error I found a radius that gave the required extra deflection over the 2 metre length and look forward to seeing if the spring back does bring it back to the exact designed curvature. The other trick with laminating beams is that the ends will not conform to the arc so the beam has to be formed over a longer arc than the finished product and the straight at the end lopped off.
When all these things work out well the beams are a sight to behold as well as being incredibly strong.

First cabin beam

What a disaster for New South Wales today with another record number of Covid Delta cases and no sign of a tempering in the transmission rate. I don’t blame anyone but the virus itself as it has skillfully mutated from a manageable infection to an insidious sneaky version. One could not think of a more sinister plot than to mutate in this way so that all the lessons learn from the first wave prove useless in the second. Who would have thought that the Hermit Kingdom of Western Australia would prove to have the best strategy and all the compassionate jurisdictions proved to have a failed approach. Now I think the old adage that you have to be cruel to be kind is reasserting itself and will be etched in the minds of the citizenry after this is all over.

In this new age of isolation I need a new hobby to take my mind off the world as there has to be more than life than waking up late in the morning and waiting for Gladys to deliver the daily dose of bad news. In the absence of a new hobby I have turned to an old one and committed to building another yacht. This had been a thought lurking in the back of my mind and I was actively exploring ways to supercharge Passion X. After professional advice we settled on a new deeper keel at 2.7 metres draft and 300 kg heavier. That needed a larger fat head main to push it along in the light breeze and a plumb bow for more waterline length. Thinking of the cost of those options I decided that a new boat was a better option.
My initial thinking was for a leisurely design development and a phased construction so that when Passion X was ten years old I would have a new yacht to launch.
The Covid 19 Delta variety has changed all that and I am now looking to lurch headlong into a building process for something to do if this pandemic proves to be an enduring phenomena.

The specification for a new build was to be within the 40 ft limit for Greenwich Flying Squadron but with longer water line, wider beam, deeper draft and more weight on the keel. The original idea for the rig was to have something like the Sydney 38 but after the design consultation process I have opted for a taller genoa and slightly taller mast to avoid the need for a fat head main.

Initially I wanted to keep the draft to 2.6 metres with the extra beam providing more stability but that did not work out so I think it will be the same specification as the keel proposed to be added to Passion X. That is 2.7 metres draft and 2300 kg weight.

It is early in the design process with version D or is it E under development. Unlike Passion X the radius chine will have a variable radius and give an appearance even more like a production yacht. The V of the bottom will taper off at the transom where the wide boarding platform of Passion X will be sacrificed to the speed gods and added in front of the bow for the same overall length and longer J.

It is too early to share shapes with you but I am getting excited about the project which under the circumstances is a very good thing. Last time I had a boat to build it was great for my general level of fitness and weight control so I am hoping to shed some Covid Kilos in the next few years.

In anticipation of the project starting soon I have ordered almost the whole Australian supply of high quality marine plywood which is in transit as we speak but I cannot start anything until the design is finalised. Perhaps I will see something in a few weeks

In the meantime you can wonder at my stupidity or envy my determination. It’s your choice.