Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More to do

It's been awhile. But it's not like I haven't been busy.

I do want to race PHRF and that requires a certificate, which in this neck of the woods, requires a minimum of 19' and 400 lbs of ballast.....so I have been expanding the boat.

First, I have created the molds for the additional lead. 6 bricks at 40 lbs apiece should get me to the weight I need. I just hope the extra lead doesn't blow through the bottom of the boat!!

Second, I am working on a bolt on stern/suger scoop. I am building off a plan Chad of Knot Racing created. It is coming out pretty well.

Here it is w/ the first layer of glass.

Finally, I got out sailing again with the new sails. They still require some minor tweaks, but work brilliantly....sorry all, I don't have one picture....BIG mistake, but I will rectify that soon!!!

Happy Holidays!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The numbers...

So here is a summary of the numbers:

1 garage

12 months

9 gallons of epoxy


and the number we have all been waiting for.....it takes 528 beers to build an i550.

Actually, the beer-ah-meter was my time clock of sorts. It took somewhere around 500 hours to build the boat. I pretty much spent 40-50 hours a month working on it.

I spent $1500 on used Melges 20 sails. $1000 on hardware. $1500 on epoxy and resin if not a bit more. $300 on the trailer. $1000 between ply and the other building materials. Somehow, the West Marine wallet vacuum sucked the rest in $50 and $100 increments.

Lets hope we get that much fun out of the boat!!


Saturday, November 13, 2010


The boat got wet today! I have named it Carbon Offset....because it is SOO green!!

Rigging up

Me and Molly on our maiden voyage

My favorite pic of the day, BOYS ROCK BOAT

A virgin touches the water

Another view

I grabbed some dacron sails while I get the Melges 20 sails altered. I am looking forward to a little more breeze next time out.

Huge thanks to John P who helped throughout this project. It was really nice to have him along for the first trip out today.

I am EXHAUSTED!! I will summarize the numbers in the next blog entry (dollars spent, hours spent etc.)

Finally, I can't thank Molly and the boys enough for putting up w/ my crazy project over the last year...you are SOOOO awesome!! Thanks

Good night!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Keel foil top plate

There have been issues w/ other boats losing the top plate of the keel foil. This plate keeps the keel from dropping out through the bottom of the boat.....in other words, a fairly important piece! One HUGE advantage to being a part of the second generation of boats is learning AHEAD of time what to avoid.

This is my plan:

Drill 3 x 1/4" holes down through the top of the foil

Cross drill 3 over sized holes where the first holes terminate

Flatten the top of the holes for plates and washers, bolt it all together and fill w/ epoxy and pray!

Here is the bulb atached (temporarily) to the bottom of the foil

So far so good!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

keel bulb

A very exciting and different part of the build: melting 150 lbs of lead and pouring it into the female molds.

The set-up, big burner, dutch oven, and molds VERY close by.

Safety gear....lead is really toxic, so respirator, safety glasses, and cold water at the ready.

Lead melted and ready for the big slide.

Sliding the oven off the burner and pouring. (Bend at the KNEES!!!)

Snap crackle and pop.
A little persuasion to help the foil section stay buried in the molten lead.

Lead in the molds.

Waste/shlag weighing in as planned.

Finished product.

Molly took video of the pour.
I was only able to get that posted on the i550 facebook site, and I can't get that link to load here. A quick search should pull it up for you though.
I have 150 lbs of lead between the two halves. I also have a little extra to fill in between the 2 halves when I bolt them together and 20 lbs in the keel foil. I won't be over the max, but pretty close to it!

Besides getting the keel assembled, I really only need to cut down the sails and I am ready to sail!!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Getting close

So I took a few weeks off. Work is busy, I was a bit burned out after putting in alot of time over the summer, and there is a real hesitation to FINISH as I dread finding out what is going to break first. But I'm over all that now and making the final push.

Rudder w/ tiller handle, extension and pintels/gudgeons all in place

Boom, gooseneck, mainsheet blocks and bridle done

Piles of halyards ready to be fished through the mast which has spreaders finished and halyard sheaves all cut in

The punch list:

run halyards and measure sails to be cut down

pour lead keel bulb and attach to keel

get keel into boat and beef up keel box

GO SAILING......hopefully only a few weeks away at this point!!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

rudder, hardware and mast...

Have been working on a couple of things at once:

Rudder is shaped, glassed, beefed up around the gudgeon location and painted (first coat)

I have also been installing the Ronstan hardware. Here is some of the cockpit bling. I went w/ one access port and 2 speakers (thanks Chad for that idea).

Finally, I got the mast stood up fully rigged w/ the standing rigging. It looks like all of the rigging came out right. Time will tell as I tune everything, but at this point, it looks pretty good. Unfortunately, I didn't have the camera handy so pics will come later....
I am still short one boom.....need to work on that soon!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bow sprits and beer caps......

I got the bow sprit sorted (mostly) tonight.

And counted bottle caps. Progress continues......

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Plugging along

HUGE day Saturday this past weekend as John Perrault came by and spent the ENTIRE day (in sweltering heat) helping me build and rig the mast. We got all the standing rigging sorted and 4 of six shrouds installed. We had it up more than once but as both of us were scurrying around lifting, balancing, sweating, measuring, sweating, lowering, cutting, raising the mast (and sweating) there wasn't much leisure time for photography.

Here's a picture of the mast laying down next to the house:

I also built the trailer:

And CAREFULLY lifted the boat up in the air (scary):

And placed the trailer under the boat:

I got a HUGE amount done this weekend. Thanks again to John, I would be no where near this far if not for him.

Oh yeah, and today was the boys first day of school:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cool home made bling....

Still working on the bits and pieces to put the mast together.

Saddle to hold the shrouds to the chain plate and the forestay fitting:

These pieces have turned out really sweet.

I am really not set up for metal fabrication.....this is a pretty down home effort. For instance, I cut out 4"x4" squares for the saddles. I then clamped them to the workbench with 1/2 the saddle protruding off the edge of the bench (on a 45 degree angle so I could fold corner to corner) and grabbed the corner that was hanging off w/ some vise grips and began to fold it over. This is 1/8" stainless steel and is really stout material. Fortunately I have a shelf on the bottom of my worbench full of tools or I would have simply lifted the bench off the floor. So I begin to wrestle with the piece and slowly get it to fold to about 90 degrees and then ever so slowly to about 135 degrees.....not quite a taco, but getting close. The problem is the radius of the curve is too large. I need to get a tighter fold. So I stand back, scratch my head and think, "what is the maximum preasure I can bring to bear on this with what I have on hand....". Then it dawns on me, use gravity, and something heavy.....REALLY heavy. The heaviest thing I own is my car. And it is no light weight import. It is a Lincoln Towncar. (And yes, I have heard ALL the jokes about chauffering to the airport and how many bodies fit in the trunk....). So I put the saddle just behind the front tire, with a piece of wood above to spread the load from the tire and below to keep from marring it and SLOWLY back up. I get the car fully on top of the saddle and.........NOTHING!! My little vise grips and wood clamps had folded that metal as far as it was going to go. Fortunately, my neighbor showed up just about that time and I KNOW he has a beefy bench vise. 15 minutes later I have 2 saddles w/ just the right bend!!!
The mast is NOT going to fail because of chain plates or the connection to the shrouds!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Someone put FOAM in my mast....and I'ld like to BEAT THEM SENSLESS!!!!

Had planned on running internal halyards, but didn't expect to find large chunks of closed cell foam all the way up and down the inside of the mast. They simply would not have provided a great deal of flotation, and they weren't fit tight enough to keep water out.....they were just some idiots bright idea....probably some hack home builder......

So I spent the ENTIRE day creating ways to extract the crap.

Thought one: pour in solvent to melt it.....but every thing I tried (including walking around the hardware store openning every type of nasty chemical I could lay my hands on and dripping some over a sample) proved that this is PETRIFIED foam.

Thought two: stand the mast up with something in the top end and bounce the mast to push the foam out. I started with smaller items and eventually had a section of lead pipe, probably 20 pounds worth of concentrated battering ram....and got nowhere.

Thought three: use long sections of 2x2 to insert and pound it out....again, no luck.

Thought 1.5 (forgot this one already)....shop vac on one end and compressor on the other.....you can guess how that worked.

Finally I created a 15' long drill bit using conduit, expansion bolts, cotter pins and an agressive wire brush on the end, and slowly drilled the foam out.

Here is the contraption:

And the mess:

BUT VICTORY WAS MINE!!!!! I can now run my halyards THROUGH the mast.

I also received my latest package(s) of goodies. Really cool web tie sheaves for the forestay adjustment, the GREEN and black fiberglass sleeve material for the prod and my $50 headstay bolt....long story on why one bolt cost so much....but let's just say it is EXACTLY what I needed, and they are hard to find.

Still putting together metal bits and pieces, but hopefully I am close to assembling the mast.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

what I can and can't do......

Here is the mast base and halyard organizer (what I can do)......

And the standing rigging I ordered (swaged, which I can't do......)

Just about all the parts for the mast are done.....may assemble tomorrow! This won't be the lightest mast in the fleet....but should come in under 40 pounds all up. Hopefully that doesn't wreck the "righting moment" equation (in other words, I hope the mast isn't so heavy it tips the boat over by itself!). But I will feel confident sailing it around SF Bay, which is worth ALOT in and of itself!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

whole new repetoire....

I am trying my hand at metal work now......dealing with .040" material instead of .25" material.

Metal work is dirtier, louder, and not nearly as aesthetically pleasing to me......but highly functional and certainly neccessary.

Some tools and the beginning of my chain plates and tangs for the mast:

My plan is to also make the mast base halyard organizer and the stem fitting. Also ordered my standing rigging today...may have a mast this weekend????????

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Christmas in August!!

The PRIMARY activity this weekend was cleaning out the garage. Fairing and sanding generated a fine patina of dust on EVERYTHING in the garage, that generally found its way into the house despite my best efforts. Molly has been very supportive of the build, but the last 2 months of sanding have...well, let's say, "tested her patience". So while she was out Saturday with some friends (on a pub crawl no less!) the boys and I took everything out of the garage, then blew it off or washed it, and put it back in the garage. It was an 8 hour marathon, and they were troopers! I am still beat tonight, but it was worth it. You know the saying, "if momma ain't happy....nobody's happy"! Well, momma is happy again!

I also got the sails I purchased in the mail this weekend. They are Quantum second hand sails from a Melges 20 owned by Michael Kiss. The head will need to be cut down a bit on the main and the jib, minor surgery. The spinnaker should plug right in. This will leave the boom a bit long for class sailing, but I am not seeing another i550 in my neighborhood anytime soon.

More presents showed up in the form of the Ronstan hardware kit I ordered from Watershed. Very exciting to have the "boat bling" in my hand to start placing pieces!!!!

Finally, I got a coat of non-skid on the cockpit floor. The boat is going to look real nice when finished!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

bits n pieces....


and mast step

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Pulled the tape today and the paint looks AWESOME!

A couple of shots....

(Should have wiped down the sides for the glamour shot...oh well....)

And my favorite...if you look closely, you see the reflection of the foot bensons on the far side of the boat...NICE!!!

Also got the spreaders set up. They will require some glass cloth, but are looking good so far. Just hope a squirrel doesn't decide to try climbing this mess before the epoxy cures!!!

It's getting closer!! I can alsmost TASTE it!!!!