Sunday, April 10, 2011

Getting back in the swing of it

It's been pretty busy. Aside from the usual goings on at the boatyard with the covers coming off of customers' boats and the long-awaited closing on the Thomaston house (The portrait to the right is Captain Harvey Mills, who had the house built ca. 1860. Watch for a separate blog site for the house restoration project coming soon), I have also pulled Dark Secret out of hibernation. She weathered the winter with no issues so I am moving forward with the remainder of the list.

Today I cut the mast thwart, morticed the step, and test fitted the mast. The rake is specified at 5" in 10', or 1:24. The height of the mast thwart at the centerline is 17 7/8" from the top of the step, so 1/24th of that is just a tick under 3/4". Once I cut the thwart for the mast (I scaled the location of the cut from the plans), I measured the distance from there to the station and added 3/4" to establish the cut for the mortice. There are a million ways to lay this out, but I find simpler is better.

I think she looks great with the mast just sitting there. I left the mast square from the step to just above the partner. It goes to round where the gooseneck mounts. I have not decided whether to wrap the leather around the mast or the partner. I'm looking for advice on that one.

Speaking of goosenecks, I have spec'ed the remainder of the hardware for the boat. The gooseneck will be coming from Ballantine's Boat Shop in Cataumet, MA. They make a beautiful fitting for use on the 12 1/2 that they build. The rudder hardware will be coming from Duck Trap Woodworking, Duck Trap, ME (more on these fittings in a later posting), and the blocks will be from Rieneck's, Hull, MA. The hardware from this outfit is absolutely jewel-like. Unbelievable fit, finish, and overall quality. The down side is that none of these fittings will come on the cheap. Such is life. A former co-worker once told me, "Anything worth doing is worth over-doing."

Interior finishes are the next items to tackle, as well as finishing the remainder of the spars and rigging. I am going to lower the height of the floorboards. If you look at the drawing of section 7 that I posted earlier, you will see that the sole is shown above the throat of the frame by about 1 1/4". I used this height as a starting point to lay out the panels, but as I mentioned previously, the rowing ergonomics don't really work that well for me. Lowering the sole will drop my knees out of the way for a much more efficient and comfortable stroke. When that is done, I will take her out again and determine whether I need to also raise the oarlocks off the rail.

Dark Secret will remain on Cape Ann until she is done. This gives me something to work on after hours during the week. Friday night to Sunday afternoon will be spent at the Thomaston property getting it ready for occupancy. Once I get the barn floor shored up properly, she'll go up there so I can sneak out for a quickie when time and weather permit.

Stay tuned. I'll be back at this much more regularly now that spring has sprung.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

As if I need more to worry about...

Once again, this newest post has very little to do with any real progress on Dark Secret. We are due to close on the Thomaston house early next week. We've been hustling to pull together a bunch of loose ends related to that undertaking, and I continue to do a couple of small side projects to bring in a little bit of extra funding. This will be my last chance to do that for quite a while. Between shoveling snow, putting food on the table, and getting all of the other things handled that need attention, there just aren't enough hours in the day.

Dark Secret's rig is progressing. I'm nearly done with rounding the mast and getting out the other two spars. I have finalized a design for the rudder hardware, and have sourced oarlocks that are more appropriately sized for the task at hand. They'll get ordered when I have a couple of nickels to rub together.

In order to keep from going insane, I have been thinking about the next boat to build. I have it down to a very short list of two possibilities. One of the candidates is Pete Culler's "Gracie," a 15'6" work boat designed for the Concordia Company, and the other is shown in this posting. It's William Garden's design # 683. It appears in his "Yacht Designs II" as "24' 6" Canoe Ketch." I ordered plans from Mystic Seaport, and the more I study them, the more I love this boat. She's got a wholesome aesthetic, and a (relatively) high-performance bottom. Mr. Garden makes a few remarks about the rig in the commentary that accompanies the study plan in the book. The boat was designed for an area "with lots of wind." He suggests that a short bowsprit and longer mizzen boom, or the taller main as drawn can be fitted for other areas. I have a rig from a 19' Corinthian that will work wonderfully for the main, and a Widgeon, or similar sailing dinghy, will provide the mizzen. The fractional rig from the Corinthian will necessitate a bowsprit and a longer mizzen boom to put the center of effort where it is shown.

I've been working on a model of her and the stern is a beautifully executed bit of design work. I'll post a photo when the planking is done.

This time last year I was preparing to pull Dark Secret off the building jig. I thought I'd have been done with all of the remaining details by now. Oh,well...