Saturday, November 27, 2010

Starting Out

It will be another couple of months before I can really get started on my first boat, but I have gotten one task out the way.  Because I have a limited amount of working space, and want to be able to move my build around depending on what I'm doing, I've created a work platform on wheels.

This is an 5/8" x 4' x 8' OCB board backed by 2"x4" framing, with 6 - 5" rubber wheels.  I expect to use this for my first two builds (the GL-15 will overhang 3' on each end).  It should allow me to move the boat(s) around for easy access during construction, and shove it out of the way when I'm not working on it.

Currently on the platform is some lumber for a shelving project that my wife insists I complete before getting to the fun stuff.

Playing With Numbers

As noted in my previous post, I am currently planning a series of four boats.  Their plan lengths are 7'-10", 14'-0", 25'-0", and 43'-10".  I started playing with the proportions between one boat and the next.  Rounding these proportions to 2 digits, I got 1.79, 1.79, and 1.75.  Almost a geometric progression!

I like this kind of thing.  To make it perfect, I revised the length of the final build to make its proportionate increase 1.79 also.  This would make the last build 44'-8", an increase of 10".  According to the folks on the Glen-L forum, it is easily feasible to extend of length of any Glen-L design by up to 10% by increasing the proportionate spacing between the frames by the same ratio.  A 10" increase amounts to a little over 1.5%.  Good enough.

Would I build a 5th boat, either larger or smaller in this series?  Not likely.  On the short end, the next smaller size would be about 4' 7".   This might make a nice R/C model, but not a practical boat.  On the big end, you're looking at about 80'.  Not impossibly large, but a little rich for my blood, and WAY more than needed for non-commercial use.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Some thoughts to follow up the Toastmaster speech

In spite of my wife's doubts, I really do intend to build a boat.  Indeed, I intend to build multiple boats, assuming that I don't get disgusted with the whole operation during my first build.

I've given further thought to which boat(s) I'd like to build.  I started thinking that my original plan to first build an 8Ball (7' 10") would leave me with a tiny craft that wouldn't be able to carry me as well as a kid or two.  Maybe I should do something larger...

A few weeks ago, I took my son to the local city park for a Boy Scout merit badge event.  There is a small lake at the park, with a boat launch.   Ah ha!  Yes, I could build an 8Ball and launch it here on the weekends... but the sign at the park says that boats up to 15 feet are allowed.  Maybe a larger boat that would more easily transport my fat butt was in order.  I was thinking of a Tango as a second build... but a Tango is 18' 6"... to big for the park lake.  Also, I figure a Tango would take me at least 3 years to build... and a lot more money that I can afford in the near future.

Back to the Glen-L site.  I pondered several of the plans, and finally decided on the GL14.  Still pretty expensive though... and I estimate a 20 month build time, and that would keep me off the water for two years.

OK, I'm a planner.  I like to come up with (some might say grandiose) plans.  I've gone back to the idea of building the 8Ball first.  I can knock this out in three or four months, and find out if I really like doing it.  Then, later in the year (2011), I can get a start on a bigger play boat (Glen-L14).  After I finish this, I can do a bigger build... perhaps a Glen-L25, if I can figure out a way to build it with limited garage space, or get the HOA to let me build it in my back yard.  As I said in the speech, I would eventually like to tackle a ocean going boat... maybe a Starpath (44').  But that won't be anytime soon... I'd have to move closer to the ocean to make this practical, and that won't happen for another 10-12 years, after I am ready to retire.

I've already bought the plans for the 8Ball.  I'd have started building already, but cash is tight until after Christmas.  I plan to order some of the supplies I'll use in the build starting in January, and by the time things warm up at the end of winter, I should be ready to start cutting wood.  Stay tuned for updates.

Gonna Build Me A Boat

This is a speech that I presented at a Toastmasters' Humorous Speech Contest in the fall of 2010.  It pretty well sums up where I'm coming from as far as it comes to boats and boating.

Since I was young, I’ve been fascinated by the idea of sailing around the world, visiting foreign lands, and seeing incredible sites.  Although I’ve made a start toward this goal a time or two, something has always seemed to get in the way.  A job change, a move, or family would come between me and my dream.  Now, as my son is getting older, and I am getting closer to retirement age, that boat has begun to creep back into my thoughts.  I’ve always enjoyed building things, and it occurred to me that I could build my own boat.  Mr. Contest Master, fellow Toastmasters, and Guests, I’d like to tell you about how I’m gonna build me a boat.

My dream boat is a 40’ cutter rigged cruising sailboat.  There’s nothing particularly special about this type of craft.  You’ll see hundreds like it if you go down to any marina in America.  This is the size of boat that would cost you as much as a medium sized house.  But by building it myself, it will only cost as much as a small house.  At least the cost is spread out over a period of several years, since a large boat is not something one man can build quickly.  More than a few people have built boats in their back yard, and if they can do it, then so can I!  Or can I?  My house doesn’t have a very large back yard.  Even if it did, the Home Owners Association in my neighborhood would have something to say about it.

I know that some of my neighbors have little projects of one sort or another that they work on in their garages!  Surely the HOA will have no complaint if I build my boat completely inside my garage!  My garage is about 20 feet long.  With this in mind, I found a nice little sailboat design:  18’ – 6”, and almost 8 feet wide.  This will easily fit in the garage while I’m building it.  Afterwards, I can throw it on a trailer, and pull it around to whichever lake I want to go sailing on.   

Did I mention that I haven’t built a boat by myself before?   Sure, I helped my dad build a 16’ runabout when I was a teenager, but that was 30-odd years ago.  While I know I can do the woodworking, I’m less sure about the fiberglass.  I’d really hate to start a $10,000 project only to realize half way through that I hated my new hobby.  Maybe I need to scale it back a bit.  I know!  I can set a total budget of $1,000 for my boat.  This way, if I gave up halfway through, I’d only be out $500.  I can live with that.  If I did happen to go beyond the halfway point, I could probably force myself to finish the job, no matter how much I hated it. 

With that $1,000 figure in mind, I determined that I could build and equip an 8’ sailing dinghy.  This would easily fit in my garage, and the my costs won’t exceed $500 until the boat was practically finished, minus things like hardware and sails.  This is ideal!  I’ve ordered the plans for this boat.  As soon as I get the garage workspace ready, I can get started. [Pause] Did I mention that my garage needs some work?  Let’s just say that if you look in the encyclopedia under “disaster”, you’ll see a picture of my garage.

You would expect a two and a half car garage to have room to build a boat… and it might, if I could convince my wife to move her car.  Does anyone want to lay odds on the chances of that? [Pause] I’ve been spending the last couple of months trying to clean up the mess, adding shelving and a new workbench.  Another week or two, and I should be ready to go.

Of course, installing shelving and building the work bench… and buying new power tools… wasn’t cheap.  My wife tells me that I can’t spend any more money on the boat until next year.  So I’ve got a few more months to plan and dream before I can start my practice Dinghy… to see if I like boat building enough to build a Day Sailor… to hold me until I retire and move somewhere where I have room to build my dream boat.

I’m gonna build me a boat.  Mr. Contest Master.