Monday, May 3, 2010

I can almost taste it...

Ahh, springtime in the boatyard. Every day is Monday. You can't even look forward to Friday because that is the day that everything hits the fan for weekend deliveries. It has been tough to keep momentum going for the past couple of weeks. It seems like the last thing I want to do after the whistle blows is climb on another boat; even my own.

Somehow, I have managed to brush the chip off my shoulder and get quite a bit done on Dark Secret. Both outer stems are on, sheer is finalized, port and starboard rubrails are on, and the aft rang is in. This afternoon, I rolled her in between a couple of the big girls at the yard and took her back off the trailer. She is pretty much on her lines, but I still need to tweak her fore and aft a bit.

In the absence of an owner other than myself, I have procured the stock for the outer keel. It is going to be as described previously. See the link in my previous posting for info on that. I don't want to re-hash the keel argument again. Templating for that timber begins this week, as well as the lamination of the forward rang.

The outer keel will be installed with an adhesive bedding compound, not epoxy. If somebody steps forward and wants to own her with the Valgerda keel, I can more easily remove the part to install the extended skeg. This is the only "structural" part that will be assembled that way. Obviously, the lead ballast will be bedded with something out of a tube, too.

This brings up an interesting aside. I realized this morning that there are very few fasteners in Dark Secret. All of the plank fasteners were temporary. Other than the #8 x 5/8" screws holding the rails on, the entire boat so far relies solely on glue joints. The screws affixing the outer stems were left in place, but they are basically redundant. They functioned as clamps until the glue cured. All of the joints in the boat's assembly are bare mahogany to bare mahogany. This is one of the best scenarios for epoxy to perform to its best possible characteristics. There will be a half-dozen or so 5/16" bronze bolts to affix the outer keel and ballast. That's about it for fasteners in the structure, other than affixing hardware.

I am truly, madly, deeply, ass-over-tea kettle in love with this boat. I will not be inconsolable if she remains my concern for the foreseeable future. I will exhibit her at some regional shows with the hope of building another boat for someone else (I'd love to do Bill Garden's Eel with a laminated frame at each station and epoxied lapstrake planking. That stern would be a knockout). As long as I don't lose sight of why I started this in the first place, I'll be OK. It's not about having another boat; there are too many on my plate as it is. It's not about selling it; money is relatively easy to earn. This is about being the guy who does what he says he will do. And the process.

This has been one of those extremely rare instances in life when the reality far exceeds the fantasy. It doesn't happen often. That thing you are thinking about doing - building a boat, or asking a wonderful woman to marry you, or raising a child, or making a sundae - I urge all of you; invest yourself fully into it. Whatever it is.