Sunday, 30 December 2012

Catch-up photos

This is a couple of weeks back now.  I put the deck on cross-ways
rather than lengthways, as that made best use of the ply sheet.
Then covered with epoxy.  And now painted with undercoat.

Marcus is our Chief Technical Adviser and here he is checking that the
deck has been screwed and glued properly.

After painting with epoxy, we filled the boat with water to check for leaks.
We found a small one at the join of the centreboard trunk, now fixed with
the magic of epoxy putty.

And this is the "arty-farty" photo of the water in the boat.
Reflecting our Poinciana (aka "Flame Tree")
This is the Coaming Knee, cut to the Full Scale Plan.  If doing it again,
I wouldn't bother cutting out the triangle at the bottom, but leave it full
so that it sits against the Sheer Filler; that way makes the camber of the
decking there better, and helps with the epoxy connection to the foredeck.

Yesterday in the drizzle. The painted up boat: undercoat-sealer only at this stage.
We're waiting for the weather to improve to finish the aft decking.

And I don't seem to be able to pass the IFC tower without
taking a photo: 108 floors, the very elegant
Ritz Carlton at the top, the world's highest hotel.
Good place for an afternoon tea set: visitors to HK note.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Finally, she gets a name: "Gabrielle", the Battling Bard of Potidaea

Renee O'Connor as Gabrielle, in Xena: Warrior Princess
You know those car bumper stickers?  "My Other Car is a Mercedes"?
The transom sticker on this boat could be: "Our Other Boat is an X-Yacht".....
And she's called Xena.
And in "Xena: Warrior Princess" the TV series, Xena's close friend, confidant and co-warrior is Gabrielle. (Wikipedia: "She is referred to by fans as the Battling Bard of Potidaea")
So that's what we've decided for a name for our little Somes Sound 12 1/2:  Gabrielle.
It's taken a while to come up with a name, mainly because I wanted to wait until we had a "boat", that is, something that would actually float if put on water, and that's about now.
So: hi to Gabrielle.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Christmas Drinks

Sam and Juhi at our Xmas drinks, 15th December...
The only photo we have of the party!
Gabrielle in full Xmas regalia
Have re-started work on the boat, after our time away at King's Cup, and the Xmas drinks party: with centreboard trunk yesterday and today with the floor boards.
Some of our guests thought that we'd brought the boat in especially for the party!... and were amazed to be told that, "no", we'd built here right her in the backyard from scratch and with all Hong Kong woods...

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Christmas Boat

Marcus, our Chief Technical Adviser, making sure all
is well with the Keel.

Deck fitted

Here is the deck on and screwed/glued down (1/4" ply).
Note our Chief Technical Adviser, Marcus, overseeing work,
and Basil, the Deputy Technical Adviser behind him.....
Our Chief Technical Adviser is making close measurement of the plywood

Before putting on the deck, this is how we did the deck frames. Its not
according to the book, which has a single deck stringer, but very strong.
The Breasthook (at bow) is of ChaoMu, a Chinese mahogany.

I added a couple of extra frames near the Breasthook, to make sure the
join between two pieces of plywood would be tight, as I joined the
plywood widthwise, not lengthways, as that made best use of the board

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Deck Frames Installed

After coming back from King's Cup, we got this done on day one back, the deck frames and breasthook (the triangle at the bow) installed and glued in:
It's not the way done in the book, but I think easier and stronger. In the
book it's one single stringer up the middle mortise jointed.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Dry fitting deck frames

Looks like the inside has been epoxied, but it's just rain.  The deck frames
and the breasthook at the bow are dry fitted.
It' been six days since the last post in which we had the deck frames already cut... so why so slow?
Well, we've been held up by rain every day.  Not what it's supposed to be this time of year, normally our "dry" season.
Note the first bits of hardware on the boat: the two "hatch inspection" holes (they have covers which screw in).  The forward section is sealed and waterproof, as a safety measure, and the hatch inspection holes can be opened to provide ventilation when not on the water.
The main deck beam, the one furthest aft, has been epoxied to the deck bulkhead.  Eagle-eyed builders of the Somes Sound will note a slight departure from the plans.... hmmmm.
As soon as it stops raining, we can fit the deck.
Meantime, going to be held up by King's Cup, which we head off to on Saturday, day after tomorrow.
Follow our boat Xena here.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Doing the deck frames

The rough-cut deck frames.  Arlene measuring for the Deck Bulkhead.
Marcus, as always, offering technical advice.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Marcus supervises clean-up of where the boat used to be... Arlene using the
high-pressure hose, after we turned boat over. So now Jing gets her patio back.  

Forgot to get photo of all the guys who helped out in turning over the boat.....
Here Steve and Chris.  Oh... and Marcus too; he's always around offering
observations and technical advice (and keeping an eye on the cheese...)

We knocked up a rough and ready "Rain Frame" from plywood scrap,
to keep the cover convex so that rain doesn't gather in pools.  Works
pretty well; rained last night but not a drop in the boat

Yesterday: we laminate the first of the Sheer Clamps onto the sheer plank
Stupidly I forgot to get a photo of the guys that helped me turn the boat over last Friday.  They were: Rocky (and two of his staff), neighbours Chris Hammond and Steve Wallace, Ken Wiltshire and Chris, and Wolfie.  Thanks to all those folk!  Turning her over with eight of us was pretty easy and she fits nicely on the cradle.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Turnover day today

Looks like varnish on the transom, but it's just clear
epoxy, which needs sanding then about 6 layers of
varnish.  The white paint is undercoat; final colour
British Racing Green, aka "Sea Green"

Just before paining outer stem, keel and deadwood.
About 8 guys have committed to coming by 3:00 pm today to help turn her over and put her on the cradle for the next stage of the build: sheer clamp, decks, seating and coaming. Then off to the club for the lead keel.

Monday, 12 November 2012


This looks pretty cool!  Yin-yang.... The starboard side
is painted in white undercoat, the port side in epoxy
ready to take its layer of white.  After another coat of
white, we'll turn it over and later paint it in final colour:
British Racing Green, like the example at the head of
this blog.

Just another shot, from before the sanding and painting.
I'm going to paint the whole hull in British Racing Green...
A Jaguar XK140 in British Racing Green.  (I used to own a maroon XK-120)
.... without worrying about the waterline.  That's a whole lot easier than having to work out the waterline, then painting below the waterline a different colour (usually black) and I justify it by it's being like the cool new look of Ker 40s which are all one colour....
A Ker 40. Black & Red... And White all over...

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Keel and centreboard trunk added, and the Bl#$%y Deadwood too

This is what she looks like now, with outer Stem added
Keel added, Deadwood added and Centreboard trunk added

Arlene cuts the Centreboard Trunk Cleat

Arlene cuts the hole for the centreboard slot

Cutting the centreboard trunk slot

The Centreboard Trunk with its cleat at top.  We joined this up to the hull
with 4-foot long Japanese clamps. That worked well. Then 2" screws to hold it.

Cutting the Deadwood was a real hassle.  Neither our Band Saw nor our
Table Saw was big enough to cut it, so we had to cut by hand and by
cross cutting by band saw and jig saw.  Here you see a plywood pattern
to try to make sure the whole thing came to some approximation of
what it was supposed to.

And this is it in its original form, after hand cutting and band-saw
cutting.  A real hassle and it turned out to be a bit of a dog's breakfast....

And here it is on the boat.  Still needs some trimming.... The magic of
epoxy putty will help too...

The reason for the Deadwood being such a hassle is that neither my table saw nor my band saw was big enough to cut it.  Mine are good house-hold versions, but I think what's needed are industrial versions, with a jaw of 12" for band saw or radius of 10" for table saw.  

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Planking finished...

Last board on.  Kind of looks like it's s'posed to... 
Somes Sound 12.5 in backyard, Hong Kong.

This is why wife Jing is a touch annoyed about this,
taking over the patio where she wants to hold parties...
Not too bad, I'm kind of pleased with it.  Looks a lot like the photos...  Mind you, I wouldn't want to have other builders of the Somes Sound 12.5, like its designer John Brooksor Dave in California, to have too close a look. She's a touch beamier and more flared forward than the plans.  Not deliberately, mind, but because of my imperfect bevelling technique from plank #3 onwards. (once one plank didn't meet the mold, the subsequent ones were impossible to meet the mold...)
Dave, meantime, has nearly finished his gorgeous version of this little beauty.
Next: to put in the Centreboard box, then on with the Outer Stem, Keel, Deadwood and Keel filler, before she's turned over.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Putting on last board

Arlene gluing #8, last week.
Today (26 October), we put on the last
board, the "Sheerstrake".  Then, a few bits
and pieces, like keel, and turn over.
Have been away for a while, racing our "other boat",  Xena, in the China Coast Regatta and the race to Hainan Island.  That is, we've been "going for a yacht", as our Kiwi crewmates say.
Just back a few days ago.  Racing with some success, having won our Division of the China Coast Race and now the China Coast Race Week Regatta, for which all we had to do was finish in the race from Hong Kong to Hainan Island in China.  Nice start photo here.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Boarding (Planking) ...

Garboard and #2



#5 and Starboard #6
The cardboard pattern we use for planking, each one
measured up for the relevant plank.  Seems to work.
Note the two dogs: our technical advisers: Marcus
and Basil (with cone to stop him scratching himself)

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Dan. And... a bit of "Yikes!" as the boards go on...

Had a bit of a backward movement last week ("Yikes"), when I found that the two layers of the Keelson had come apart in places.  This was due to only putting on Epoxy resin, and not putting on Epoxy putty.  I've learnt the lesson on that. Had to break it apart and re-glue properly.
Glue-ing the Keelson, second time around.  The trick here to avoid this is
to put on epoxy liquid, then thicken it with thickener to make it putty
then put the putty on thick so that it seeps out when you tighten it with screws.
To be fair to John Brooks, the designer, and his Book, he does say this. Just
that somehow I 'd ignored it... If you're building one of these: don't ignore this!

Mate Dan Kennedy, lives in Birmingham, spends 1/3 his time there, 1/3 in Perth
with one daughter and 1/3 here with another daughter.
We're swimming mates.  He left for UK last week.  Back next June.

Well, after regluing the Keelson it seemed fine, and we
managed to get the first two boards on. Now on the fourth

A "dory gain" at the inner stem. End bits still need to be trimmed off.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Scarfing, Spiling and Fitting the Garboard

My son John asks "what are you doing"?  I say "scarfing the garboard".  He says "I only understand the word 'the' in that sentence"....

Noel ripping the boards to one foot widths
Well, the scarfing worked out easier than expected.  We set up a scarfing jig that I made (instructions here), cut all the 3/8" plywood boards into 4 x one-foot wide lengths each , then ran the
Boards glued and clamped
circular saw along the edges with the scarfing jig, as per the link above, wet the edges with epoxy, then thickened the epoxy, put plenty on and clamped them with dry-wall screws and one-foot bits of Douglas fir.  Worked a treat and all boards are now scarfed into 16-foot lengths, one foot wide.  All seem, touch wood..., very solid.  I didn't wax the screws, but they all came out fine. (if they ever don't, put a hot soldering iron on them for a minute to heat up and try again).
Noel lines up the board on scarfing jig
The scarfing jig
Clamped with Fir
and dry-wall screws

That's not the way the scarf joints are done in John Brooks' book, but I reckon it's probably easier.  All boards were scarfed in one afternoon.  John uses the method of putting them all on top of each other set back 2 1/2", and planing along them.  I haven't tried that way so it's not fair of me to say my method is easier, though with the scarfing jig we did get very even and consistent cuts, that meshed well and it was all very quick.  All boards now piled up in my study.

Then for the Spiling of the first board: the Garboard.
For this, again I didn't follow John's book which uses a spiling batten and compass.  Instead I used one-foot wide cardboard about 1/8" thick, joined together to the length of the Garboard, and ran a line around it, trimmed to the final shape of the Garboard, then used this pattern direct onto the plywood board.  Seemed to work ok.  I'm planning on this method for all the other boards. This way, I hope, any mistakes will be on the cardboard, which can easily be ditched and start again. [On reflection, maybe there's some trap here; I guess I'll find out in due course...]

Fitting the Garboard
Arlene works on dry fitting the Garboard
Next, getting the Garboard on the Keelson and to the Transom....  Dry fitting first, before copying the final board to a second one, and then glueing both.
Oh boy, that was some work, and I've just come in from it. Drenched with sweat...
First, I tried the alternative method in John Brooks' Plans, which is to have no notches in the Transom, but instead to cut some tapering grooves lengthways in the Garboard at the transom end, about 3/4" apart and about a foot along, to "relieve the stiffness" as John says, the idea being that you can then bend it to the reverse curve of the Transom.
Nice idea, but I couldn't get it to work.
Although I cut the grooves several times, each time a bit deeper, I couldn't get the board to bend to the required line, so I decided to put a notch in the Transom, after all.
Dave says on his blog, here, that he found it difficult to fit the Garboard to the notch which he had pre-cut.  He says that if were to do it over, he would cut the notches after the Transom is installed on the Jig.  Well, I can now say that cutting the notches after is also tricky, because you have the 14' mold in the way, and cutting only with a hand saw, in the limited space between the Transom and the Mold is quite tricky too.  The only other alternative might have been a jig-saw, but I didn't really trust that and mistakes would have been more serious, I think
Now I have a combined method: the plank fitting into the notch, but with a bit of space still, which I'm hoping will come down flush with screws (using the pre-cut "relieving grooves"), when I get back to it.

I say "get back to it", cause I've come in, driven inside to the air-conditioning by the extreme heat and humidity.  All that faffing around in temperatures that my Weather Channel App tells me is about 105 degrees (41C) and humid, I came in dripping head to toe.... Shower and change.  I feel I've had a work out at the gym....