Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tall Ships Erie

Tall Ships Erie 2013 took place on September 5-9. Celebrating Commodore Perry's victory in the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813 during the War of 1812, eight tall ships joined U.S. Brig Niagara at the port of Erie. Tens of thousands of visitors came to view the ships and get a taste of what life at sea is like. Here are some of the hilights:

St. Lawrence II- Kingston, ON:

Lynx, Portsmouth NH:

All in all, it was a good event. There were many, many people there. All the parking areas seemed to be full to capacity. (We ended up parking on the street.) The lines to get on each of the ships were long. I think the experience would have been enhanced by have a few crew members on the ships with a two minute talk about... something. Explaining how the ship operates ("These are the halyards, they raise and lower the sails...") or the maintenance that needs to be done. On one ship, one of the crew was repairing a block. She could have told everyone who walked past her what she was doing and why.

Then again, I guess they don't have to do that to draw in the crowds.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fiberglass: Not a Total Disaster

Labor Day Weekend was my big chance to fiberglass the hull, with plenty of time to lay the cloth and "fill the weave" with a couple more coats of epoxy in quick succession, avoiding the need to sand and ensuring a strong chemical bond between the coats. "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men," as they say, "Gang aft agley." And oh, agley did they gang! No lasting damage was done... But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Here we see the bare hull. All the nicks and scratches have been filled and sanded smooth. All the edges and corners have been rounded. Not everything is completely "fair", but everything is smooth, so the fiberglass cloth can easily lay against it.

Here the first two panels of cloth are laid out. My original intent was to use a single length of cloth to cover each side, leaving only a small lens shape along the keel to cover with an additional sheet. Reading John Welsford's article, Fiberglassing Plywood, changed my mind. Five panels as shown will cover everything except small portions at the bow and stern.

Well, that's how it was supposed to go. I've discussed earlier the careful planning I did, the test piece I made up, how I made sure the cloth could adhere to the curves I'd prepared.

Did. Not. Work. At. All.

Apparently what works on a 3 square foot trial can not be assumed to work on the entirety of a 20' long, 6'8" beam boat. Or the planets were not aligned, or the gods not appeased, or something. I started at the top to work my way down from there. I moved to the bottom to work my way up. I tried in the middle. Pressing the cloth down on one side of the curve caused it to pop up on the other. Smoothing the cloth on the other side made it bulge on the one. Strong words didn't help. Not even the stomping of feet had any effect. Unbelievable.

In the end, I had to concede defeat. Before the epoxy kicked off, I pulled the glass cloth from the boat, and cooled my heels with an ice cold beverage - extra bitter. Only the one panel of epoxy cloth was ruined, a nice benefit of not doing the whole side at once, one I had not considered. The others can be used when I glass the decks or cabin top.

The weekend wasn't a total loss. I put two coats of epoxy on the whole hull, and it looks very nice. It's the first big change I've seen in a long time, so that's pretty satisfying. I'll need to sand out some unevenness, and maybe give one more coat of epoxy before it's ready to paint. First, though, I need to finish the keel and the stem and stern posts. Here is where things stand today:

As for the epoxy soaked fiberglass