Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bashing board

It's been a while since I posted about boatbuilding, so here's where I am with the Pathfinder project. I've just glued up the centerboard from twenty-two pieces of appx. 1" x 4" locust and pine. This is a lot of glue, and even today, three days later, my right arm is still tired from stirring.

(It's a two-part epoxy that has to be stirred together vigorously for two minutes, then stirred again after adding the silica thickener. I've never been out of breath from stirring something before.)

So I've essentially glued up tabletop-size thing, and when the glue is cured and I take the clamps off (this week), then I'll shape it into a curve and eventually attach it to the boat.

This centerboard is the blade or "fin" that sticks down under the boat while sailing, to prevent capsize and instability, so it's important to get right. It's also the part of the boat that will bash into things (logs, turtles, crab pots, my leg) so I'm trying to find ways to reinforce the front edge. Latest contender: Xynole cloth soaked in epoxy, so when (not if) I run aground and the centerboard drags through a bed of oyster shells, it won't be reduced to a pile of soggy splinters.

(Kevlar also was an option, but evidently it's better for puncture resistance, and what I want is abrasion resistance.)

Given the way I sail, it's safest to assume there will be collisions, groundings, etc., and plan accordingly. Otherwise I'll be sailing around in a beautiful but very fragile Faberge egg of a boat, unable to do anything fun but wrap it in padding and get nervous every time I approach a dock No, thanks!

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