Monday, August 31, 2009

Mean Machine

Since the last post, my sailmaker (Ryan Malmgren; MadSails) came over to take measurements. He and a colleague on the East Coast are currently building the sails. Should be ready in a week or so.

I've put a couple coats of clear urethane on the stick and have one more to go. I decided to try out an automotive clear coat due to price (~$40/qt.) and availability (local auto parts store). It is supposedly professional grade stuff used in body shops.

I also got all of the holes for deck hardware drilled, filled with thickened epoxy and redrilled. That was the last step before getting a coat of finish paint on the cabin top gunwales and cockpit sides.

Looks pretty bad-ass, if I do say so myself! One more coat tonight and she might be ready for the non-skid paint.

Then on to the things I have been putting off, like melting lead for the keel bulb. :)


Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Last night after work, I made a few minor preparations and Traci and I stepped the mast. We steadied the rig using the jib halyard and two lines from the mast (just above the spreaders) down to the chainplates. I tied a third line above the speaders which I used as a "measuring tape" to ensure that the rig was centered in the middle of the boat.

Once I had the mast positioned where I wanted it, I cut the shrouds to length and attached the Hi-Mod studs. I started with the lowers, then the headstay, then the uppers.

Looks pretty sweet, I think. Hopefully my sailmaker can come by soon to take down some numbers.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I owe (another!) huge thanks to a bunch of my co-workers who came over after work on Friday to help flip the boat and get her on the trailer---although I think they would help me move a body for free beer. :)

All went extremely well. Only took about five minutes to roll the boat off the cradle and lift it onto the trailer.

Over the weekend I glued up the mast sections using West System G-Flex 655K, trimmed the mast length to fit within the confines of class rules, and ran the main and jib halyards to assist in the stepping of the rig. I nearly stepped the mast this evening, but ran out of gas. Traci and I will get it stepped tomorrow after work, so our sailmaker can get over here and take measurements.

Stay tuned!


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pretty Fly for a White Guy

I finally got a couple of coats of finish paint on Alchemy this weekend. I am using Interlux Brightside (Blue-Glo White), which is a one-part polyurethane paint. It's not quite as tough as the two-part offerings available, but it is a rather robust finish which my dad and I have had good success with in the past. It gets quite hard after about 30 days.

The original plan was to spray the finish paint on the boat. My dad and I have found that your run-of-mill Wagner consumer-grade HVLP power sprayer is capable of doing a fine job. Naturally, the summer weather here in the Midwest had other plans. To be able to spray (somewhat) efficiently, you need essentially no wind if you are going to be spraying outside (which is a really good idea). I say "somewhat" because spray application is not nearly as efficient as brushing. And when the paint is at least $40 per quart (more for two-part finishes), that might be serious consideration.

Given this weekend's wind and forecast for thunderstorms, I opted to roll-and-tip the finish coats. This technique involves rolling the paint onto the boat in 2-foot-wide sections and lightly dragging a fine brush over the rolled paint to remove bubbles and prevent drips and sags from forming. I have found that the biggest "secret" is that you need to use quite a bit of thinner when you are rolling-and-tipping. Interlux recommends their #333 Brushing Liquid at a maximum of 10% by volume. This, of course, varies with wind, temperature, and humidity. Sorry, no silver bullet here.

By trial-and-error, I found that 5 "cap fulls" per 8oz of paint worked well. The draw back is that you don't get really awesome coverage. The paint goes a long ways: I have put on two coats (with one quart of paint) and one more to do. But there are still a few spots where the primer was thin (or completely sanded off) where I have a dark spot. The best news is that the ratio of thinner to paint that I am using has great leveling capability and very few brush strokes can be detected in the finish. See for yourself below:

I wet-sanded with 320 between coats. This did a good job of taking care of a few sags that I got when I was fine-tuning my method.

Anyway, I am very pleased with how the paint is going on. More wet-sanding tomorrow night probably with 400 grit, and a (hopefully!) final coat on Tuesday.

Stay tuned!


P.S. For those of you that don't get the reference in the post title:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Prime Time, Part 2

After a few hours of sanding and filling tiny fish eyes in the epoxy (and then more sanding!) I got a coat of primer (Interlux Prekote plus a touch of 333 Brushing Liquid) on the hull. I rolled and tipped the primer. Unfortunately, the primer didn't flow out like I wanted it to (streaky), but it will get sanded anyway. Hull seems pretty fair, so I am happy with the result. I still need to hit a few spots with spot filler tomorrow, and then maybe finish coat.

Over the last couple days, I also faired in the spin pole tube. I cut a couple of pieces of plywood for the top and bottom and one for the front end. A little thickened epoxy, and layer of cloth, and some fairing filler end it looks pretty darn good. I've got a thin coat of epoxy on it tonight so hopefully it should be cured up and ready for paint tomorrow.

OK, that's it. I'm bushed. More tomorrow.