Saturday, November 17, 2012

Real Sail pics

The previous post was on the sail.  This one is about the actual sail, the first one for Nemo, not counting the blue tarp one way short trip of a few weeks ago.  The new sail from Duckworks is absolutely awesome.  Close to the wind without a problem, converting small gusts into forward motion, easy tacking, smooth jibing, and perfectly sized.  The center points of the sail and the boat are perfect since I could not feel any pull in my helm.  She sailed straight and fast. I am still high on adrenalin from the ride. Can't wait to get back on the water. This is why I built the boat.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sail pics

At dusk Nemo was rigged with a beautiful Dacron sail:

I think I rigged it right. Attached a pair eyes and cleats for halyard and downhaul at the mast. The sail has a row for reefing right in the middle section.  So I can take Nemo out during 20+knot winds, regular in this section of the Caribbean.
Very curious how things will go on the water this Sunday. More to follow... 

Sail is here!

The customs department has finally released the sail after two weeks of pondering whether or not to allow the importation... The dacron sail has been made perfectly by duckworks. Awesome job Sandra and Chuck! When the Pathfinder is ready the order for its sails will be coming your way. Nemo will be rigged-up tonight so pics are to follow soon...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Nice row

Took Nemo out after a full day working on the pathfinder.  I had a small test sail made with blue tarp and wanted to test out the new centerboard. But at rigging time on the beach I noticed the tape on the leach had let go so the sail was useless. So it was going to be a rowing trip.  The new 7.5' oars did a much better job than the 5' ones.  But I suspect that the oarlocks are too low on the gunwale. I will bring them up a few inches with a block.  That should prevent them popping out and a more comfortable sitting position.  The centerboard casing shows the water and with waves caused by other boats some water splashes into the boat.  This should be prevented with a cap on top of the case when the centerboard is not used.
But the row was beautiful.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sail underway

Sandra and Chuck at Duckworks strong-armed their sail-maker and made him make my 40sqft sail on the spot and ship it to me.  WOW!!!  The sail for Nemo is underway...  It should be in Aruba by next week so that I have it in my hands after another week (due to our dreadful customs processes) (which take more throughput time than making and shipping the sail to Aruba!) (oh well, what ya gonna do?).  The sail is very small so did not take much capacity and the sail-maker was idle right at my order moment, so I just got very very lucky, and thanks to Chuck and Sandra's insistence of course!
The centerboard case is being fabricated.  Glued it up yesterday together with the handlebars on the centerboard itself.  It all fits beautifully.  On top of the handle a nicely varnished cap of pine will steal the show.
Next step is to cut a hole in Nemo's bottom. That may hurt a little. I intend to protrude the case and glue it to the bottom with doublers and to the seat panel.
Not sure if more attachment points are necessary to fix the casing in the boat. I am thinking of a triangular or rounded knee flush with the seat to hold the case better in case of lateral forces.

A grounding will be bad for the boat no matter how the case is protected.  A dagger-board has that weakness. A rotating centerboard would be better of course but would also take up more boat-space  which we do not have in this small vessel. So I have to just be careful approaching the beach (like the old days with the Sunfish) and pull up the dagger-board before it is too late.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

CB slot and Sail

The necessity of a centerboard instead of a leeboard became clear on my last trip with Nemo. The hassle of switch the leeboard from one side to the other during or right after a tack or jibe causes loss of leeway and the boat is too small to juggle all the lines, centerboard and rudder helm in a small space.
So I decided to make a centerboard for the leeboard.  Simple fibered sides with spacer blocks, epoxied to the center seat's side panel, giving it stiffness.  The boat will receive a nice cut along its bottom.  strengthening the lower aft corner and the top forward sections with extra glass for any possible groundings.  The centerboard will have two strips glued at the top creating a "T" so that it can me pulled up.

The lug-sail is being ordered with Chuck at Duckworks; he is really a great help with figuring out what is best for Nemo's sail.  Right now we are looking at the following setup:

I have ordered stuff there before and really like Duckworks' collection of materials, prices and service levels. 

So for now the upgrade of Nemo to become a racing sailing dinghy is going full speed ahead. :)=)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

First Sail

Could not stay landbased.  I had to take Nemo out sailing with whatever I had.  A small bluetarp square sail which I made was rigged and off we went...  Reaching, fast, approaching the mangroves quickly. Tried to tack, not enough speed for that, so I jibed, switched the leeboard, tried to tie it, lost lot of height in the process, before I reached the outer edges of the bay grabbed my oars and started rowing back. All in all about 30 minutes of action. Good thing I had practiced rowing last week. This time there was a blow against my effort but still made good headway, with sail flapping around my head.

Many lessons from this first quick sail.
  1. She sails quickly due to very little resistance
  2. The mast seems to be very good as it is.
  3. The lines used are not good because they stretched, causing the gaff boom to lower, causing the sail to lose its good form. I have to find a good line and add some cleats so there is a place to tighten the line.
  4. the center point of the sail is too far forward relative to the position of the leeboard, making it very hard to sail close to the wind and tack. 
  5. The leeboard on  rope is not handy.  I want to tack and just leave the leeboard where is. The boat does not heel so it is not necessary to change the position of the leeboard. A bracket to hold the bracket on two places, maybe such that it can be rotated backwards when needed, like when beaching.
  6. longer oars are needed, already ordered 7.5' ones, and a manner to fix them when not in use.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Just a quick update on the conversion of Nemo from motoring yacht to sailing dinghy.
My daughter and I painted the ends of the mast and sprit boom with a oil based primer. The mast did get unthickenened epoxy on the bottom section for abrasion.  The centerboard, which was partly fibered, and epoxied on the bottom 3/4 th part, which will be in the water, also was primed with oil based house paint. I am doing these experiments with paint primer and epoxy to learn what will happen in practice.  It is much cheaper and easier to use housepaints than the polyurethane paints and since the boat will be on the trailer most of its life, we can do this.
Also a mast collar was fabricated and finished and will be epoxy glued to the deck and painted with oil primer and glossy finish.
Mast step was epoxied again today and will be glue-fitted tomorrow.
Holes will be drilled in mast top and boom to hold sales and snotters tomorrow.  The wind is very low thesxe days so I will also make the gunter sail of 45sqft by Saturday.
Pics... naaaah, who wants those?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Gunkhole row

After working on a dolly half a day to enable easier exiting out of too narrow gate, the trailer is too wide, Nemo is not, so I have to separate the two which is a slight hassle, I can be on the water in about half an hour. The oarlocks were placed on both gunwales earlier in the day after adding small blocks below the gunwales for better backing.  Epoxy sets really quickly here. The pics will do the rest of this post:

I weighted the rough cut mast and it weights less than 10 pounds.  For a 6cm thick mast it seems OK.  Just have to keep the boat right up as much as possible to prevent a knock down.  But before the tipping point is reached around 45 degrees the gunwales will be below the waterline so we will have another issue...  Will have to test that is shallow water and see what she does.  A turtle or will she simply lay there on her side.  But before all that, the mast needs finishing, sanding mostly.  Deck hole, waterproof that with epoxy and paint (looked into leathering the mast-hole but cannot get solid brass nails.  And I am worried about nailing into the deck causing possible water intrusion. Maybe a nice wooden collar around the hole as a primary barrier for water entering the mast hole.  The mast step has been laminated and will be drilled (including water drain hole in the bottom) epoxied and fitted this week.  Rudder and leeboard will be primed and finished with oil paint.  Let's see if we can get Nemo under sail next weekend.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Conversion to sailboat

After taking Nemo for some sculling sessions, which did not work out due to a to short oar, i have been busy converting Nemo to a sailboat. Putting a 2hp engine behind her was a stupid idea. I wanted to get on the water and then an engine was the fastest route. But also the noisiest. So a blue tarp sail of about 25 sqft for a sprit rig and a sportier 50sqft one for a standing lug setup. I intend to use the same sprit boom and mast for the lug rig as well. The mast is being fabricated from 3 planks and will be 9 ft long, 6 cm diameter. The sprit is 6 ft long and 4 cm thick. Testing what works and how she sails before committing to a dacron sail is the plan. A barndoor style rudder and a leeboard with 3 lbs lead built in will track her, hopefully, windward.  We are expecting very bad weather in the coming days so i may not get her on the water for trials this weekend. But i may just go anyways, just to checkout how she looks with sails.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Launch pics

With beer on the bow, off to the sunset:


Droused with beer on the bow, Nemo took me and after some passengers for a nice ride.
She is very small... But for her function as tender, very capable. With three adults, we had no problems with waves. She can carry lots of weight. I forgot boats always look larger on the dry than on the water.
Pics will follow soon.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Last steps of the process towards the water

Had Nemo inspected today and received the registration papers this afternoon. The registration numbers are on route.

Assembled the trailer last night so we have means of transportation to the water. Will setup the hitch/ball on the car tonight.

This Friday we are scheduled for the launch of Nemo.

May be an odd day to launch... but “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” (Romans 14:5)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


The bright areas get all the attention now with 3 layers of varnish to protect against our strong UV rays. Deck, mid-ships seat and stern flotation/seat received the first layer.
Port side of hull received vessel name also.
After bright works are done the hardware will be fitted.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Second layer interior brightside polyurethane is spread out. Could not resist and taped the half inch reflective stripe right under the blue masking tape below the gunwhales. She is starting to look very nice. I have accepted the roughness and ugly spots as mine. What matters is tha Nemo will be safe on the water. Sturdy she is and I think we will have a blast on the water with her.

Interior painting

Basta with the sanding. It is a workboat, a learning project, I want to get on the water! So the first coat of paint was slapped on the interior. The deck was not planned to get varnished but a good section of it was unblemished so I taped a triangle section to varnish it together with the seats. Gives a very nice wooden touch especially with the SS hardware to be mounted.

If I had done what I had read about filling, using a rounded something to fair the corners, all the time, I would have been done much sooner. The stern seat fill on the port side is near perfect. The rest is a good example of poor workmanship. The methods I use to make the fillings were different, trying out what works easiest. The process of filling includes the sanding the next day. This was minimal with the rounded fillings so this is the preferred method (as I was told by many people before).

The starboard gunwhale is smooth while the port gunwhale shows a gap between the inner and outer sections. You can see my learning path on various sections of the boat. I wonder if the still rough areas can be patched with filled epoxy the day I want to attempt cosmetic fixes. Should be possible with some sanding of the paint. That will be another project. First on the water.

The reflective stripe will be attached along the masking tape which gives me a nice baseline. The vinyl name can also be attached to the bow. Getting close...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Last filling session?

Same actions as yesterday except using less epoxy since the gaps are getting smaller and less in quantity. Sanding with 120 now instead of 80 is also indication of last sessions of filling and sanding. Maybe one or two sessions left before first paint coat. Getting closer to the water!

Fitted the engine on the bracket and it feels strong. The transom does not wiggle at all upon moving and tilting the engine. The forces get sent straight to the entire boat.

Need to fit two small feedstock on the inside hull under the gunwale where the oarlocks go. These are an inch or two longer than the gunwale. This could also be done at a later stage. Some small elastic nets against the inner hull to hold small items will require similar cleatstock to be epoxied to the hull.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Filling ?

No pics today because there is nothing to show. The final phase before interior painting is filling the tapes and other gaps resulting from amateuristic boat building. More and more of these quality issues pop up after previous bigger issues are covered. The perfectionist in me is relentless even though he knows he is eating humble pie with this project.
I cut a spreader in half so all spots coild be reached easier. The two speader, one in each hand works real well, like when drywalling.
Touched up some sanded spots on the hull with the left over paint. No problems there.
But how can the rounded corners be sanded better? And the 3 plane corners? There must be a secret method because i cannot reach those half inch round corners... Any ideas?

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Thought that I could speed things up now I see the finish line... made a large batch of epoxy (you can tell what's coming) with 410 so the filling of all the corners and unfair surfaces a could be done. I put all of it in a plastic bag so I could cut it's corner and push it out into the corners. All went well until the plastic bag and its content started feeling very hot in my hand... The filled epoxy all of a sudden went rubbery and it was very tough to work with. The contents were quickly spread to the corners to reduce the volume in the plastic bag as much as possible. Then this was cleaned up and made reasonably fair. It did fill all the big gaps well.
The lesson is to stick with small batches and be patient with the process. When this project is done I will miss working on it so there is no reason to rush.
I hope the epoxy will be OK after it sets.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fitting panels V

Deck, center seats and srern seat were glued in place with 403. No mechanical fasteners were used, just a bunch of heavy weights to hold down the panels.
Two pieces of 12x6x1/2 were fabricated and glued to the transom to beef up the area where the engine will be mounted.
Will tape the deck to the vertical support panel and tape that panel to the inner hull so that the pulling forces on the deck will be transferred to the hull without pulling off the deck.
Filling the gaps, fairing the taped areas and then painting of the interior can start.
I forgot to sand the transom, which has already been painted before the engine mount enforcement was glued to the transom. So now i am not sure if the will stay put. There will be no particular force on the glued piece since the engine will clamp it to the transom anyway. Just hope it will not fall off.

Friday, March 23, 2012


The trailer, motor and bimini arrived today. Motor fits perfectly although i need to make a thicker area on the transom so it has something beefier to push against. Did not do anything on Nemo today because of unpacking and reading motor manual.
These purchaes cost a multiple of the boat's materials. But we knew that. She is coming together...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fitting panels IV

Center and stern vertical supports for the seat panels were taped and epoxied for strength.

After this the tapes will be faired and top seats placed, glued and screwed to the supports

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fitting panels III

Spent 2 hours filling the gaps of the center set vertical panels. The gaps were pretty large. They were filled with the 410 but I do not have a good feeling about the strength of the bond to the hull. I will tape the insides of the panels to the hull tomorrow. That should give adequate support without much need to cosmetic touchups. Inner gunwales will then also be epoxied since only the side which got glued were covered. All the clamps are removed from the gunwales.
Lessons learnt today:
1. use blue paint tape along the to be filled areas. Saves time and leaves much neater finish so less sanding.
2. Find out how to get a panel to fit nearly perfect along a not so straight surface of the inside of the hull, filled chines being the culprit
3. Use thicker than the thinnest blue tape for lesson 1. Makes it even easier to fill the corners.
4. Most work is on the interior. After the hull was done, I thought, that's it, I am done, faster than what the designer said, haha! I am such a professional... Yeah right. If it was that easy... 2/3rds of the projecthrs are spent on the interior, and this is a dinghy! It is a peanut... One tenth of any decent sailboat, one hundreth of any small cruiser.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fitting panels II

The vertical center seatpanels are set with epoxy... But I think the gaps between the panels and the bottom of the hull turned out a litle too large. They will be filled with 410 tomorrow. Breasthooks are also glued to the transom and the stringers. Left the clamps on the gunwales for fear of them releasing. Will give them one more day. Panels glued yesterday were filled with 410 today. I wonder if another layer of epoxy is needed over the faired surfaces to make them waterproof... Or will the paint job take care of that enough?
Next is fitting the two seats and the deck and filling all gaps and "fairing" interior surfaces, followed by painting.

Fitting panels I

Stern seat vertical panel, inner gunwales and bow vertical panel were tabbed with filled epoxy in place yesterday. Nemo is starting to look like a real little boat now:

The streak on the starboard hull is caused by trying to sand off an epoxy drip out of the outer gunwale. Me walking away from the project after an epoxy job to avoid breathing fumes, also results in these issues. I think I will just fair it a little and repaint.

The deck, stern seat, center set with support panels and breast-hooks are dry fitted:

Started using the 403 filler adhesive filler. It works very easily, spreads nicely, just have to be very careful mixing it because the fibers are very light and will either blow away or jump out of the mixing cup.

Filling all gaps with 410 and adding a fiber tape with unfilled epoxy should beef up the structures plenty. Still quite some work to do before finishing her up.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Inner gunwales

Fitting, shaving and sanding the inner gunwales together with my 4 year old help was a joy today. She held them strongly while I used my low angle plane on them. The choice not to use my router nor the orbital sander but do do it manually not only was due to her presence but also because the desire to build Nemo with my hands as much as possible. The finishing phase is nearing quickly as all the woodwork is now done. Fitting, filling and finishing the interior is left to do.
Bought some Manilla rope since it begged me to pick it up. After looking at all the beautiful wooden boats, some tradtitionally rigged, the brown rope drew my attention. I spliced and eye in it to see if I remembered how to do it. After a few tries the results were satifactory. My future sailboat will have traditional rigging, using traditional materials. I am not gong to build a wooden boat and not use the ropes that look best on it. So some wooden cleats and blocks need to be constructed after Nemo is done (soon).

Friday, March 16, 2012

Prepare fitting

All panels have been coated at least once with epoxy. The last parts, quarter knees, were fabricated. Flotation chamber is moved to the sterm since both Mike and I thought it be better to have it closer to the motor. The two small hatches in the center seat will provide access to some storage there. The cleatstock fit perfect for the stern seat. I do not dare to release the clamps from the bow cleatstock for the deck since the slight curve may spring it loose.

The vinyl lettering for Nemo from iBoat came in as did the reflective liner. That will put on as last item.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


After figuring out how to clamp seatbrackets 6 " below the gunwale and transom, woodflour filled epoxy was smeared and clamped betweet the inside hull and the plywood blocks. These will function to carry the downward force of the stern seat. Also the bow deck will have support to brace itself to. No mechanical fasteners were used. I assume the epoxy bond is strong enough. The panels still need to be epoxied before they can be fitted.

Looked at the Eider design, a new one, of Sam Devlin today... What a beauty. Will it be my next boat? She seems perfect for me. Both to sail and to build next.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Another coat covers the previous epoxy layers. The last one makes me feel ike another milestone is reached. Considerable inside fairing is still to be done but after the seats and deck has been placed. The interior panels will be coated with two more epoxy layers tomorrow and the day after. The weekend may see the fitting of the seats. Tomorrow the brackets for the deck and seats will be placed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


After a one day stall triggered by scary thought about possible consequences of epoxy handling the building of Nemo continued.

Sanding paper 80 sanded the interior hull to prepare it for the next epoxy coating. 8 pumps of both containers in the small bucket, mixing it up for 2 minutes, while dressed in full gear, including full face mask instead of just goggles, organic air filter, tyvex suit, ruber gloves and rubber shoes the job was done smoothly. I looked like a warrior scientist waging war against some virus in my blue tent... Washing up after taking all equipment in reverse order I thought about checking on line how others may have perfected this operation.

Not much to show for today in pix. In the mean time the remainder of epoxy is used to cover the seats and other interior pieces.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Interior epoxy coat

Entire inside hull received first full epoxy coating. Don't know how many but I guess two should suffice. Another filled epoxy coating will be added after all seats are fitted. Spent nearly 2 hours straight on this and the two deck elements. Gunwales also were coated for the first time. The underside of the gunwale needs its layer also but this will be done when bottom is up.

Stepped into the shed (without the organic air-filter on) and smelled the strong epoxy damp... better keep the filter on all the time when wet epoxy is around. That stuff is very bad smelling and the filter works very well because I do not smell one thing with it on. At least I now know to recognize it, exhale and get the h..l out from where I am, cross the wind draft.

The hull is nice looking, imho:

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Dry-fitted the "deck" today. Got a bigger cleat and better hatch. Starting to look real now:

Used my low angle planer a lot and used eye sight mostly. The deck sits about 4 mm higher that the gunwale level. I a thinking about planing an angle on the edges. Everything will be painted with a white paint so filler will be used to round it all out. A rounded deck is my favorite but this 2 footer is just too small to try and make something very fancy. The large cleat is meant for solid anchoring/towing and will be bolted to the deck with bolts and nuts and large washers. The two pieces of rope place holders are meant to prevent chafing as much as possible. Another smaller cleat will be placed at the stern.
All internal segments are fabricated so next is epoxying all surfaces, followed by fitting them in place.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Third coat is on after some sanding. What worries me is how fast the paint comes off with sanding with 200. I guess that's what sanding is supposed to do. Hull painting is done, hurray! It was not bad at all actually. Turned off all the lights in neighborhood of nemo to avoid moths and bugs, like landgull knows. Tomorrow will show how shiny she will be.
Bought some 4" hatches for the stern seat. 27 kilos bouyancy from the center seat seams enough. Rear seat can store small stuff. Large hatch intended for bow compartment is a problem. The rubber washer comes loose... Worthless this way. Will check if i can get another larger hatch with better waterproof system.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Second coat Interlux bright went on as smooth as the first one, after a very light sand. Most areas are completely covered and the deep dark blue color is truly beautiful. Lines are harder to see now. Lots of wind tonight so I expect some dust settling on the fresh coat. Nothing I can do about that. Just to plan the last coat after checking windguru for lowest knots expected.