I was gluing up a large worktop the other day and thought that readers may be able to make use of what I call bench beams. Basically these are runners that hold the work at a convinient height allowing access to both sides; simply made from two strips of 6 inch wide three quarter plywood glued and screwed together. Then when gluing up a large top of other structure it is a simple matter to get the clamps underneath the work without disrupting what ever it is that you are sticking together. I should add that I placed a clamp on top for photographic purposes but normally there would be a selection of clamps on both sides of the work to even out the pressure and prevent any chance of cupping.
One word of caution however, and that is do make the beams accurately and second make sure that the bench top that you are using them with is flat also. Any twist in the bench top and this will be transferred to whatever it is that you are gluing up.
Here at the world headquarters of On Board we get quite a few books to review some are good and some are not so good. Some are about boats and boating and more than a few have nothing at all to do with boating it seems except for the glossy shot on the cover. The Art of Wooden Boat Repair with the subtitle 'A boat wrights secret tricks of the trade' is by a chap called Allen Cody Taube whom I must admit I had never heard of until I read this book. This volume runs to an easy to read 178 pages and it is enjoyable to anyone who has hankerings to learn how to work on wooden boats or more specifically repair them. There are no photographs in the book instead there are some illustrations but frankly I do wish there were more to illustrate the points being made. If I do have to take issue with the book is that the title leads you to believe that it is all about wooden boat repairs but it is not and it deals exclusively with re-planking carvel planked boats, there is not mention of other forms of construction, lapstrake for one. Whilst I realize that it is impossible to go into detail on every form of construction in less than 200 pages I do feel that the title is misleading and someone buying this from an online book seller may be disappointed as it may not cover the very thing that he or she needs to read up on. For all that it is a very good primer into the world of carvel 'plank hanging' and for that reason alone it can be recommended.
I do not know the price at this time, the book is not listed on Amazon and strangely the price is not shown on the book jacket so you will have to ask at your local book store which is where you should
be buying books anyhow and not at an online behemoth.
Sailors early on recognized the importance of keeping the bottom of their craft free of fouling, as they discovered that a hull covered with barnacles and weeds performs poorly. They used sheets of copper to protect the underbellies of their boats, and this practice is still used on some large sailing vessels.
Fortunately for modern boaters, we can now use paint with similar properties to those copper sheets. Most antifouling paints still contain large amounts of copper in the form of cuprous oxide, which is held in a binder to make it into paint. The rising cost of copper is one reason why antifouling paint is so expensive.
Unlike the copper sheets of old, antifouling paint often needs to be reapplied every year sometimes less often, depending on the area a boat is sailed in and whether it is left in the water all season.
It’s a good idea to decide what type of paint you need before focusing on cost and manufacturers. There is a confusing variety to choose from: ablative/self-polishing, traditional, hard modified epoxies, vinyl, thin film and a number of specialized varieties, each targeted at a specific application.
Ablative paints are formulated to wear away as a boat moves through the water, continually exposing fresh biocide. Because they depend on water washing away the paint’s surface layer, they are not a good choice for a boat that sits on a dock or mooring for extended periods of time. Because the rate of wear varies with water flow, leading edges that see higher velocities will require extra coats.
It’s wise to apply a first “flag” coat of paint that’s a different color than subsequent ones. When the flag coat begins to show, it’s time to repaint. Because the paint film wears away over time, minimal prep work is required before repainting.
In addition, copolymer ablatives can provide multi-season protection. Their antifouling properties do not degrade when they dry out, so these paints are perfect for trailer stored boats. All major bottom paint manufacturers produce ablatives and at least one manufacturer has a copolymer paint that does not rely on the boat’s movement to release fresh biocide, but it is sold for professional use only.
Older formulations based on rosin or rosin/resin blends, these paints vary from soft to semi-hard and generally cost the least. The softer varieties do not stand up to abrasion and are sometimes referred to as “sloughing,” which results when the biocide—almost always cuprous oxide—leaches out of the paint. These are single-season products and are an economical choice for cruising boats that are hauled each winter.
Hard modified epoxies
Based on epoxy resins, these are tough, hard, one-part paints that can be burnished in some cases. Their effectiveness and cost vary depending on the percentage of biocide used (usually cuprous oxide without additives). They can often be used to overcoat other types of antifouling, except for those that are soft or contain low-friction components. Boats usually must be launched within 24 hours of the final coat being applied, but this varies from paint to paint. These paints do lose effectiveness when out of the water for extended periods, but this does not happen immediately, so haul-outs are practical. They work by releasing biocide from within the paint over the course of the season and their effectiveness decreases as the biocide leaches out from deeper within the paint. Periodic scrubbing can offset this to some extent. Because the paint itself does not wear away it must be removed from time to time to avoid excessive buildup.
The hardest of antifouling paints, vinyls are often used on racing sail boats as they can be wet-sanded and burnished to a polished surface. They contain strong solvents, which are capable of attacking other paints, so all other types of antifouling must be removed before a vinyl paint is applied. Vinyl-painted boats must also be launched soon after application.
These are described as low-drag, high-performance paints suitable for freshwater use that incorporate lo- friction components like Teflon in addition to copper-based and chemical biocides. One such paint is stated to dry within two to six minutes and requires that a boat be launched within 10 to 30 minutes of application.
Specialized antifouling paints
Aluminum Safe: These employ copper thiocyanite in lieu of cuprous oxide to avoid galvanic attack of aluminum hulls and other underwater components. They are often available in spray cans for use on saildrive lower ends.
Boot-top: These are hard, scrubbable antifouling paints also using copper thiocyanate, but are compatible with bright colored pigments in addition to the muted colors of paints using cuprous oxide.
Transducer: Usually sold in spray cans, these antifouling paints are formulated so as to not degrade electronic performance. They may have zinc as a biocide.
Inflatable: This flexible antifouling paint is formulated to bond to non-rigid coated fabrics.
How do I choose?
Choosing an antifouling paint requires that you make several decisions: What is your existing paint and how much maintenance do you want to do? Does your boat sit on a trailer, or will it remain in the water for an extended period of time? Is the water salt or fresh? How important are boat speed and paint longevity? Since the severity of fouling varies significantly from area to area, it’s wise to consult other sailors in the area, local boatyards, and the guys behind the counter at your local chandlery.
Don’t buy on price alone; a cheap antifouling may not give you the protection you need and may instead cause headaches in terms of additional stripping and preparation. Most of the major marine paint manufacturers have websites that can be an invaluable source of information, particularly with respect to what types of antifouling can be used to overcoat other types.
It goes without saying when applying any paint: follow the manufacturer’s recommendation to the letter. Read the label carefully; the paint is expensive, and applying it to a poor surface may cause it to under perform or even fall off your hull. I’m the first to admit that on several occasions I thought I knew better than the manufacturer and ended up getting a sloppy finish. Applying antifouling paint is more straightforward than applying topside paint, but you must be careful to adhere to the application and safety recommendations.
Mask off the hull by taping along the boot-top and as necessary around depth or speed transducers. Protect yourself—a Tyvek suit is ideal—and roll on the paint with a short-nap solvent-proof roller. You’ll probably need a couple of coats. Follow and adhere to the overcoating times stated on the can. With ablative antifoulings, add an extra coat at the stem, the front of the keel(s) and the trailing edges of rudders, which tend to wear more rapidly than other parts of the boat. Pull the tape while the paint is still soft so that you get a sharp edge and use a cheap brush to coat those areas that you are unable to reach with the roller.
Getting the old stuff off
Removing years of old antifouling paint can be a real chore. Bear in mind that the paint is toxic to humans, so be sure to wear a proper respirator and a full body suit. Use a chemical stripper; they’re expensive but will save you lots of time. Wet sanding is another possibility, but it’s messy and may be illegal in your area because of the toxic waste.
Use 80-grit wet and dry paper (drywall sanding screens work well too) and use plenty of water from a hose. In most cases it is not essential to remove every last scrap of the old stuff, but you do need a smooth surface to apply the new paint to. Now is also a good time to repair any dings in the hull.
You should only dry-sand antifouling paint if you have a sander connected to a vacuum cleaner. The dust is very invasive and you will coat everything within a 50-yard radius. Also, the health risks of breathing the dust cannot be over emphasized; do everything you can to keep dust under control.
How often to reapply
Many antifouling paints have a limited life span. Even though some copolymer-ablatives will last a couple of years, most owners reapply at least one coat in the spring before relaunching if the boat has been out of the water throughout the winter. If you are in warmer water and the boat stays in all year, you should keep a close eye on its underbody; if the fouling gets harder and harder to scrub off, that’s often an indication that the antifouling paint is losing effectiveness and the time has come to recoat.
Under no circumstances should antifouling containing cuprous oxide biocide be applied to outdrive or saildrive legs. These are made of aluminum and will be subject to galvanic corrosion. Special antifouling paints using copper thiocyanite are available in spray cans for aluminum and seem to produce good results when correctly applied. There is no need to coat regular outboard legs, which spend little time in the water. Do not paint your bronze propeller, as it too will be affected by galvanic corrosion. Zinc anodes should never be painted; these are meant to be exposed and waste away throughout the season.
This video is shot at the Les Voiles de Ste Tropez a clasic yacht regata that I had the pleasure of competing in some years back, not on my own boat I hasten to add. I can almost smell the varnish and 'Brasso' polish. If this does not make you feel that you need to get out on a classic sail boat now then I am not sure what would. Enjoy.
I found these tongue depressors in Walmart today for $1.50 for 75. Walmart actually call them Jumbo Craft sticks and marine supply stores call them epoxy mixing sticks. The price seemed like a good deal so I picked up a couple of bags. When I got home I did a quick internet search and some places are charging upwards of $5 for these thin but overly wide birch wood lolly sticks! Rush down to your local Walmart now before they are all gone.
Since I have had my ipad I have found more and more uses for it aboard the boat and use it not just for the obviously things like watching movies and playing music but also as an invaluable navigation tool. On my ipad I have loaded both the Jeppesen and Navionics cartography and I like them both for different reasons and for slightly different applications but the one problem with using the ipad as a navigation tool is keeping it charged on board. At the chart table I installed a couple of the 12 volt cigarette style sockets and these are great for plugging in some stuff like MP3 players, cameras and such like. However more and more portable electronics are using USB plugs not just for the transfer of data which was there original intent but also for supply charging voltage to the device.
For the most part the USB plugs are a better, more secure fit that most of the 12 volt cigarette lighter type plugs. Not only are they less prone to fall out while underway but they look neater. But not all USB sockets are created equal. As an interim measure I was given a couple of the excellent Zantrex inverters which plug into the 12 volt sockets. These are very secure at both the receptacle and the USB sides and are much less prone to disconnect themselves at an inopportune moment like some other manufacturers products. However what is not universally recognized and this is something that I personally did not realize is that the Zantrex units only have an output of 750 milliamps which is sufficient for charging up an iphone or ipod but not enough for the ipad which requires 2amps.
To make sure that enough power is available during the coming season I am installing one of the
dedicated USB sockets from Blue Sea. These have two stacked outlets one above the other but the total load cannot exceed 2.2 amps so although you can charge and run an iphone and ipod at the same time you can only charge and use one ipad or the socket will be overloaded. Swapping out the socket is a simple affair as the hole cutout in the panel is the same.
Interior of the Back Cove 37
Ready for the off!
The Back Cove 37 has been out for a few years now and with hull numbers into the mid fifties has proven to be a steady seller. Currently the 37 heads up a line up that also includes the smaller 34 and 30 footers. Back Cove yachts are made by Northend Composites out of Rockland in Maine which are constructed with foam cored hulls for thermal insulation and noise reduction whilst decks are laminated with end grain balsa with solid fiberglass sections where stanchions, cleats and other fittings are bolted in place. Unlike yachts made by parent company Sabre yachts the back coves are all distinguished by having a single engine driving through a conventional shaft and propeller; Sabre's on the other hand all have twin engine installations with Zeus pod drives in most cases.
The 37 is set up for two couples with an island queen forward and a double guest cabin further aft to starboard, opposite to port is the heads compartment which boasts a separate shower compartment which is much larger than many comparable sub forty foot boats. From the down accommodations one steps up 2 steps to the large galley area which runs along the port side. The galley has an electric two burner cook top, deep stainless sink with hot and cold pressurized water, microwave oven and fridge/freezer. Cabinets are cherry as is all the joinery below this is topped off with Corian counter tops in the vanity and galley. Opposite the galley is the helm position which has two Stidd chairs, one each for helm and mate. The helm features Sea Star hydraulic steering with an adjustable wood rimmed wheel, the usual array of switches for lights, wiper, horn etc and large panel which would accommodate the owners choice of multi function displays. Up one more step from the galley and helm position there is the main salon seating area which has settees port and starboard with the signature high gloss sole table for dining on the port side. Talking of soles this looks like traditional teak and holly but is in fact a laminate so maintenance is limited to a an occasional wipe over with a sponge to remove marks and spills. In fact this is one of the features of the Back Cove range with easy clean surfaces, a minimum of exterior woodwork to varnish which is limited to a small eyebrow molding and other treatments which mean that the owner will spend more time boating and less time on maintenance.
Speaking of maintenance, as someone who takes care of his own boats and does all his own work access to the engine, generator and associated machinery would be hard to beat. From the aft deck a simple push of a button hinges up the majority of the salon sole to give clear access. In fact if it was necessary to ever remove the engine the sole could be removed entirely fairly easily and a forklift used to remove the engine through the large glass aft salon doors saving time and money. All too often little thought is given to maintenance by manufacturers and it is necessary to actually cut holes in the boat to get tanks, engines and other major parts out.
So having checked out the boat dockside Rita and I were most keen to take the boat for a spin. Accompanied by captain Eli from Dimillo's yacht sales in
Portland we headed out into Casco bay. The air temperature was only just above freezing but with the reverse cycle air conditioner set to 69 we were toasty and warm. Visibility from the helm is excellent and it was possible to see everything around us and I especially liked the view aft when it cam time to dock the boat at the end of our
test. Power on our test boat as I mentioned before was the optional 600 hp Cummins which appears plenty and give lots of get up and go; buyers can also specify a Cummins 480 or a Yanmar 560 although the larger engine will probably make the boat an easier sell when the time comes to move on. Pushing the electronic throttle forward the boat swiftly accelerated to a maximum just shy of 30 knots and a check of the Mercruiser electronic engine monitoring panel showed that we were burning about a gallon per mile. Throttling back to 2700 rpm the boat felt happier and the fuel consumption dropped to about a mile and quarter per gallon. In fact I tried the boat at all speed ranges and she seems comfortable at 12 knots where she sipped fuel and Rita remarked that at this speed cooking would be far less of a challenge than it might at faster hull speeds. There was a little chop out in the bay and the boat coped with it admirably and I could see that in far tougher conditions the boat would be able to take care of herself and the crew very well. The Back Cove 37 I found to be well thought out, well constructed and ideal for a couple and a couple of guests to spend an extended time aboard. Seaworthy with good looks she is a boat that both my wife and I like a lot and is high on our list for our next craft although I am not sure how I am going to hold my head up in the yacht club bar when they find out we have gone to the dark side and bought a power boat.
Engine access is excellent.
Mid March means that it is Maine Boat builders show time. This year I am giving a talk on strip plank boat building but that is not until Sunday so I am writing this the day before having just got back from a boat test on the Back Cove 37. Rita and I have been casting around for new boat for some time and although I have been a sail boater all my life we are seriously looking for a power boat that we can spend a serious amount of time aboard. High up on our shortlist is the Back Cove 37. We both like the open plan and the galley up layout means that meals can be prepared underway with less chance of the cook feeling seasick that is often bought on by not being able to see out.
The drawing above shows the layout which is ideal for two couples but for most of the time Rita and I would use the boat just for us and we would have pleanty of room to spread out.
As someone who does all their own maintenance I love the way that almost the entire bridge deck opens up at the touch of a button allowing superb access to all the of the mechanical bits; this for me is one of the big plus points and I feel that Back Cove should make more of this. Even if you get someone else to do all the maintenance the mechanic will thank you for choosing this boat as he will not have to crawl into dark filled holes to change filters or do any other such jobs.
Three engine options are offered with this boat and the test model that we took out for a spin has the largest Cummins QSB 600hp engine which as you can see from this photo I took when I lifted up the cover has plenty of room to work around.
We went out for about an hour on the boat and although the air temperatures were in the low thirties we were toaty and warm inside the boat with the reverse cycle air conditioner keeping the cabin at a pleasant 70 degrees.
More pictures and performance figures will follow tomorrow after I down load the rest of my photos from my camera when I get back to my office.
This film is interesting in that although rather quaint it actually shows wooden minesweepers and ML's (motor launches) being built and commisioned in Devon in England. My father was actually a radio operator on one of these boats for a time and came aboardone such vessel when the boat was handed over to the Royal Navy from the builder. Towards the end of the film you can actually see some of the waterside buildings that still stand down in Brixham in Devon which is a place I know well as I used to live close to there and have sailed into that harbour many times but on a yacht rather than a commisioned warship.