Category Archives: Boat

Sonoma

What’s that you say; I just left a cliffhanger for our Bay Area trip? No conclusions, no finality, and weeks later you want to know what we were up to. Well, I guess I can finish the story of the trip out.

After hanging out in the South Bay for a while, we went up to Sonoma for the real point of our trip: our friends Scott and Marilyn’s wedding. The wedding was nice and set up at the Sonoma Golf Club which was a pretty cool venue.

Other than the wedding, we went on a couple of hikes in the area. Nothing particularly spectacular, just the normal NorCal fare, and did the obligatory wine tasting. Rather than just go to a couple of wineries like we normally do, we classed it up and did a wine and food pairing lunch at St. Francis which was a lot of fun and highly worth it.

So that was our Bay Area trip in a nutshell. It was chill, which is how I like it.

Sonoma was dry, but pleasant.

Sonoma was dry, but pleasant.

Double Jasmine. At the B&B.

Double Jasmine. At the B&B.

We stopped at my favorite SF coffee shop on the way back, The Interval. Bet you can't guess why.

We stopped at my favorite SF coffee shop on the way back: The Interval. Bet you can’t guess why.

Apparently there was some sort of youth sailing event, I think they were in Optimists.

Apparently, there was some sort of youth sailing event. I think they were in Optimists.

Polyethylene Kayak Repair

When I was at my parents place, I went kayaking with my mom and brother. It was fun as always, but about halfway across the lake, Tyler’s kayak was seriously slowing down. When we pulled into the island to check out the kayak, it had a fairly substantial leak. Some bailing and a hard kayak back (for Tyler :) ), we got in safely but then we needed to fix the kayak.

Upon inspection, there were two large cracks right under the seat and that was indeed where the water was coming in from. The kayaks are rotomolded polyethylene, so we couldn’t use the traditional epoxy and cloth repair; we had to use molten plastics instead. It turns out that most boating stores sell polyethylene rods just for that purpose.

The crack before fixing. It doesn't look that big but it leaked a fair bit.

The crack before fixing. It doesn’t look that big, but it leaked a fair bit.

Step one is prepping the surface: drill a hole at the edge of the crack to retard future crack growth, sand down the crack to be smooth, and dry the area.

And the crack halfway through repair. I forgot to drill the holes, so it took two passes.

And the crack halfway through repair. I forgot to drill the holes, so it took two passes.

Step two is applying the polyethylene. The best tool is a large soldering iron or other non-flame heat source, but I used a butane torch and was careful to not catch the plastic on fire. You want to heat up the plastic on the crack and the plastic rod, then press the plastic rod into the crack. You want to stay just below the melting point and limit total heat input to the boat to minimize thinning of the plastic.

And post repair. It looks OK, if I used a soldering iron you wouldn't get the burn marks.

And post repair. It looks OK; if I used a soldering iron you wouldn’t get the burn marks.

Step 3 is cleaning up: if you don’t have time to clean up, you don’t have time to do the job.:) I’m trying to be better about this.

Overall, the repair worked quite well. 5 months in now and it is still functional.

Functional Kayak.

Functional kayak.

Angel Island pt 3!

So I believe that this may be the first time that we have triple posted for a single location but, as it happens, Angel Island is a favorite of ours so you can all deal. It is a small island in the San Francisco Bay, just north of Alcatraz, and the island is entirely a park with a fair bit of camping available – maybe one of the few places in the country where you can legally camp in a city.

We also got a chance to use our US camping equipment for the first time in a while, so the bright orange Eureka made a reappearance! Instead of some crazy kayaking to the island or running a 12K, we took the ferry out with some friends and just did an overnight camp. It was a lot of relaxing and hanging out outside and by the beach. So quite a nice relaxing trip and I highly recommend Angel Island for anyone who lives in the SF area.

On the out from fisherman's wharf. No longer locals we are allowed to go there.

On the ferry from Fisherman’s Wharf. No longer locals, we are allowed to go there.

And we get treated to the iconic view of the Golden Gate bridge for our troubles

And we get treated to the iconic view of the Golden Gate bridge for our troubles.

Going camping with friends means we can get a Jasmine & Lloyd picture!

Going camping with friends means we can get a Jasmine & Lloyd picture!

And our neighborhood beach. I think my new camera phone is working out alright.

And our neighborhood beach. I think my new camera phone is working out alright.

Old yeller.

Old yeller.

Rubber Band Paddle Boat

I am starting to get up and running with enough new tools in New Zealand to actually build some fun things. I decided to start on a pretty easy project and build a rubber band powered paddle boat. It was a fairly small boat, only 14 cm long and made from 20 mm and 10 mm thick boards. The first step is to cut out the hull and the top deck out of 20 mm thick board and the two paddles out of the 10 mm thick boards. Next, you use a rasp or plane to round the bottom and front of the boat for hydrodynamics, and then a round rasp to cut in a groove for the rubber bands. Then go ahead and sand down the hull and the top deck and glue them together; exact positioning is not important. Next, press the paddle halves together to make a paddle; you may have to sand the grooves to ensure a good fit. Then use the round rasp to groove the center of the paddle. This allows a gap for the rubber band to wind up in. Now, a bit more sanding of the of the paddle and the boat is almost done. Put a rubber band around the grooves and insert the paddle wheel. Do one rotation and then add another rubber band. Then double rubber bands help to keep the paddle wheel in place when it finishes unwinding.

The boat was placed in the sink and worked great. I wish we had a swimming pool or hot tub to test it out in and see what sort of distance it could achieve.

This was the second iteration of the boat. The first iteration had a much smaller paddle wheel and didn’t work well at all. Also, the paddle was almost the same width as the cutout in the hull and didn’t let the rubber band wind up and, also, the paddle hit the hull and stopped rather frequently. So if you want to resize the boat, make the wheel cutout at least 25% larger than the wheel itself, and make the wheel extend at least one hull height into the water.

I hope you can have fun building your own paddle boat!

The plans. Exact dimensions are not that important.

The plans. Exact dimensions are not that important.

The kitchen table is a great place for wood working with the addition of a few clamps. And a lot of seeping.

The kitchen table is a great place for wood working with the addition of a few clamps. And a lot of sweeping.

A test fit of the paddlewheel before gluing the deck on. The  paddle had to be sanded down a couple of times to fit well.

A test fit of the paddlewheel before gluing the deck on. The paddle had to be sanded down a couple of times to fit well.

Making wood toys floats my boat.

Making wood toys floats my boat.

Sailor Bird

Before we moved out of the SF Bay area, we went for one last sail on our friend’s boat, which we learned was called the Sailor Bird. We got some really nice winds, peaking at 22 knots apparent wind sailing at 90. We got up to a 7.1 knots maximum water speed which feels like flying on the water. There is something special about a monohull boat heeling over past 45 and rolling in the waves. I’m going to have to make sure that we keep sailing in the future.

You always know its windy on the bay when the fog is blowing past Alcatraz at noon

You always know it’s windy on the bay when the fog is blowing past Alcatraz at noon.

We missed 3 buoys by about a total of 20 ft. I was at the helm for only one of them.

We missed 3 buoys by about a total of 20 ft. I was at the helm for only one of them.

Obligatory Couple in boat picture with Jasmine and I.

Obligatory couple in boat picture with Jasmine and I.

Second Obligatory Picture of Scott and Mariiyn. If it looks like I was looking straight down at them while I took the picture it is because I was.

Second obligatory picture of Scott and Marilyn. If it looks like I was looking straight down at them while I took the picture, it is because I was.

We need to make a brochure for the Sailor Bird, and this would be the cover.

We need to make a brochure for the Sailor Bird, and this would be the cover.

New Boat – Finished

Finally launched the new boat for the first time this year; the winds got over 5 mph at highish tides during daylight hours for the first time. The boat also now has a traditional bad joke name:”Sherwood” as in “sure would be nice to be out sailing”.

The boat sails pretty well and we went on a 3 mile round trip in 2 hours. Our GPS had us maxed out at 2 mph! That being said, the wind was from the north and the tide was flying to the north so our downwind water speed was probably more like 4 mph. It could tack alright upwind with the lug sail, maybe 50-60 deg off the wind. Also, after having spent Christmas sailing in a catamaran, the dinghy turns on a dime even if it doesn’t have the grunt of the cat.

So now we are going to try to find a good weather day to do a day trip around the South Bay – hopefully sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Finished boat in the backyard. I love the boat but I think that we might need a v3 on the sail.

Finished boat in the backyard. I love the boat, but I think that we might need a v3 on the sail.

A sailing selfie! One downside of a small (8'4") boat is it is a little cramped, especially as I am 6'4" tall.

A sailing selfie! One downside of a small (8’4″) boat is it is a little cramped, especially as I am 6’4″ tall.

We had to head in a little early than planned, as you can see it got a little foggy. We could only see 30 ft, and we actually sailed for about 10 minutes from when the fog rolled in till we made it close enough to see the shore again.

We had to head in a little earlier than planned; as you can see, it got a little foggy. We could only see 30 ft, and we actually sailed for about 10 minutes from when the fog rolled in till we made it close enough to see the shore again.

Pop-Pop Boat

Also know as putt-putt boats, they are extremely simple steam engines, normally just a coil of tubing over a flame.  The coil heats water into steam, which pushes out the entrance, creating thrust and a vacuum in the tube which sucks in more water and the cycle begins again.

So here are the basics: Take ~12-16 inches of 1/8″ copper tube and wind the center into a coil leaving the two ends around 4″ long and pointed in the same direction.  Create a small boat hull; I just used an isopropyl alcohol bottle cut in half.  Cut two small holes in the bottom for the tube ends to stick through. I cut my whole small and just pushed the tube thru with no caulking and it worked fine for 20 minutes before some bailing was required. PRIME THE COIL by filling it completely with water by just running water through one end till it comes out the other. Add a bottle cap full of IPA under the coil. Light and let go in the water and it should put along merrily after 30 seconds. That’s it. It is really just that easy and fun to do.

Building this, for all of its simplicity and basicness was very satisfying.

Building this, for all of its simplicity and basicness, was very satisfying.

It worked pretty well in the bathtub, we will have to go find a pond next.

It worked pretty well in the bathtub. We will have to go find a pond next.

Boat Progress #3

Finally got the boat far enough along to take it out on the water for a go.  It works!  At least it doesn’t sink. We took it out about a mile into the bay and were able to sail about quite well until we tried to go back in.  We planned the trip poorly and were going against the tide (~2 knots) and into about a 5 mph wind and we were able to tack well enough to go about 1 ft a minute in the upwind direction.  So we rowed it about half way back till we were out of the tide, then sailed it back in most of the way and paddled in to finish up at the docks.

A couple of slight modifications are still needed:

– A bigger sail, as we just used the old boat’s sail for a test run.
– Fix the tiller which started to show some cracks by the end.
– Add the gunwales.
– Touch up the paintjob

And then out again for another run and, hopefully, once it is working well I’ll post some more detail about the build.

Daggerboard and rudder cutout of 1x12 and then faired down to a airfoil shape

Daggerboard and rudder cutout of 1×12 and then faired down to an airfoil shape.

The boat all built just waiting for a paintjob.

The boat all built just waiting for a paintjob.

And on the water for the first go.  We are still working on how to set up good boat pictures :)

And on the water for the first go. We are still working on how to set up good boat pictures. :) It is a bit small but its waterline is just under 8′ so it doesn’t need to be registered.

New Boat Progress #2

So I have not had much time to work on the boat in the past couple of weeks, but it is slowly taking shape nevertheless.  The basics of the hull are in place and I am about one day of fiberglassing away from finishing the structure.  Hopefully a maiden (rowed) voyage could take place by the end of October with sails up by mid November.

from the prow

From the prow.

and just off the port

And just off the port.

You’ll have to forgive the bit of the mess in the garage and the mess on the boat.  These are all just in progress shots.

New Boat Progress

I’m in the beginning stages of building another sail boat and I thought I would share the current status.  So far the outer skin and frame are prepared and I’ve started putting all the pieces together so about 20 hours done and maybe 60 hours left to go.  This time I am basing it off of plans for the Blondie so I hope it works better that attempt number 1.

Step 1 is measuring out and cutting all of the plywood skins.

Step 1 is measuring out and cutting all of the plywood skins.

Step 2 is epoxying the cutouts together to make full length skins.

Step 2 is epoxying the cutouts together to make full length skins.

The side panels epoxied together.

The side panels epoxied together.

I also fixed some of the plastic tires on the neighbors electric toy quadbike :)

I also fixed some of the plastic tires on the neighbors’ electric toy quadbike. :)