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Shipyard Memories #11: The Catboats: Framed Plywood Construction, Fitting Out

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 12-09-2010 03:42 AM 2411 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: The Catboats: Framed Plywood Construction, Backbone and Structural Components Part 11 of Shipyard Memories series Part 12: The Catboats: Framed Plywood Construction, Finished Photos and Sailing. »

Completion of the hull is a milestone in any boat building project, but while many think of it as half way, those who have done much of it will be hard to convince that it’s a full third. In a sailboat I think of the parts as Hull, Fittings,and Rig.

The first photo today is one of Catspaw at Coal Harbour on the north end of Vancouver Island, where I had my shop. I have inserted it here to show the placement of the motor. Again Catspaw is the economy model of these two and you can see that she sports an outboard motor on a custom mount on the rudder. This was plenty of power and could be tipped up out of the water for no drag when sailing but it did have an interesting effect on rudder balance.

This is the high end model with an inboard saildrive version of pretty much the same motor. It was a beautiful, quiet power plant but the fact that it was inboard and gasoline powered meant that I had a thick stack of “safety regulations” that had to be satisfied. That added a lot of work.

This is the centerboard in glue-up. It was designed to pivot at the lower forward corner and incorporated about 20 pounds of lead to help it drop. It was eventually shaped to a foil for the part that extended below the keel and was then skinned, like everything else, with ‘glass cloth and epoxy. With the board up these boats draw only 16” but when the board is down it increases the draft to 4’ 8”.

When this photo was taken the hull had been moved into the “heated shop” and painted with “Midnight Green” Endura. Here the rudder has been shaped and awaits painting and installation. I know that this was about Christmas time because I remember taking this rudder home and using it as an extra coffee table for a party we were throwing. It was a big hit. My first “art furniture” perhaps.

Next up is the fresh water tank. It’s often hard to get a tank to fit well in the odd shaped spaces afforded by small boats and I’ve found it frustrating and expensive working with welders to get complex shapes just right. Consequently a lot of my tanks, both water and fuel were made out of plywood and epoxy. This one will fit forward under the vee berth and yes it does get a top :-) . The filler is at the back and the drain is at the front. The box shape at the back fits over the end of the mast step.

This is the transom with the rudder gudgeons and pintles being fitted. They are cast aluminium bronze and were made from patterns that I designed and made specifically for this boat. You can also see the position of the saildrive leg here.

This last shot is a custom anchor / rode box that I designed for Catspaw. It served to keep the anchor secure, the wet rode outside the cabin, and it stiffened the foredeck sufficiently to allow me to take a pass on the deck beams. That made for more room and a cleaner appearance inside.

These are obviously only a few of the many bits and pieces involved in outfitting these two but they are included here because, well, they’re the things I have pictures of.

For info about any of the other fittings, just ask and I’ll fill you in as best I can.

Thanks for checking in.

Tomorrow finished shots and some under sail.

Thanks again

Paul

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/



12 comments so far

View sedcokid's profile

sedcokid

2677 posts in 2284 days


#1 posted 12-09-2010 04:29 AM

What a joy it is watch your transformation of these materials into a beautiful hull. The photos are Great!

Thanks for sharing

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

5072 posts in 1483 days


#2 posted 12-09-2010 04:47 AM

Oops! Sorry about the repeat photos…. fixed now.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View Schwieb's profile

Schwieb

1534 posts in 2147 days


#3 posted 12-09-2010 05:09 AM

Wow Paul, this is a real treat. Great insight into boat building. Thanks for posting this.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Napaman's profile

Napaman

5359 posts in 2762 days


#4 posted 12-09-2010 07:47 AM

more great picts…I really like the anchor box…makes a lot of sense in terms of deck stiffness…and the added benefit of more room underneath…not to mention it looks nice…

You mentioned glassing the centerboard…what about the outside of the keel? On my boat I have heard builders debate both ways…some say it is a bad idea because you risk water penetration if you beach the boat and hit some tough rocks—-and may not realize it trapping water inside the keel where it could rot out and you would not know until too late…

some suggest just glassing the sides…and then putting a metal “shoe” on the bottom of the keel…

Great blog…cant wait for the sailing shots!!!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

5072 posts in 1483 days


#5 posted 12-09-2010 08:07 AM

If you’re in the ocean, I wouldn’t worry about rot from sea water… ain’t gonna happen. With epoxy there should be no problem, even in fresh water but many, many boats were done with polyester resin. The only thing it sticks to is other polyester resin ie: fiberglass boat construction. It never has and never will stick well to wood and could easily be the source of the horror stories.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View tdv's profile

tdv

1114 posts in 1755 days


#6 posted 12-09-2010 11:49 AM

Really enjoying this you make great boats
Seasons greetings
Trevor

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View Splinterman's profile

Splinterman

23058 posts in 2047 days


#7 posted 12-10-2010 01:05 AM

Hey Paul,
Now that is good information….nice one.

View Napaman's profile

Napaman

5359 posts in 2762 days


#8 posted 12-10-2010 03:24 AM

Hi Paul…what did you mean by this statement right above:

“It never has and never will stick well to wood and could easily be the source of the horror stories.”

Are you talking about a metal strip/shoe as the source of horror—-or glassing the keel? or something elese…?? lol

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

5072 posts in 1483 days


#9 posted 12-10-2010 03:31 AM

Glassing the keel. If you do it with epoxy no worries, if you do it with polyester you’re wasting your time or worse.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View Napaman's profile

Napaman

5359 posts in 2762 days


#10 posted 12-10-2010 03:41 AM

ok…yes…epoxy all the way…thanks…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

2536 posts in 1462 days


#11 posted 12-10-2010 03:19 PM

Paul
I am curious about the fuel tanks that you made. How well do they flex and did you put baffles to reduce the “sloshing” back and forth. Is this permited any more?

-- David in Damascus, MD

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

5072 posts in 1483 days


#12 posted 12-10-2010 07:43 PM

Good questions. As for the permission, At that time non explosive fuels like diesel weren’t paid much attention as opposed to gasoline which came with all kinds of rules and regulations. I don’t know if that would still be true but would be worth checking. The tanks I built were for the second Cape Scott 36 we built which was for an American customer and passed all US regs to be exported. They were 3/4” marine fir plywood assembled with the corners filleted with epoxy and re-enforced with a tri-axial cloth in epoxy, then skinned inside and out with 6 oz. cloth again with epoxy. They were rigid and when well chocked in place were very solid. We did add baffles as I remember. It would take a fair long time for an engine room fire to burn through 3/4” of plywood so they’re as safe that way as anything else.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

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