Archive for December 2021

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.