Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Skeg Work

I had hoped to complete work on the skeg before posting but the weather is not cooperating, so I've decided to post a status report on work completed so far.

The skeg is the fin that extends down from the center of the boat to provide some semblance of control when in turns. Essentially, it is supposed to reduce the amount of hull sliding in a turn.

For the Vera Cruise, the skeg is an 11 foot long piece of oak tapered from a height of 3 inches at the aft end to approximately 3/4 inch at the front. I covered making this part some time back, but it's been setting in wait until the fiberglassing of the hull was completed.

Installation is relatively straightforward involving 8 bronze 1/4 inch carriage bolts. The holes for mounting had been previously drilled into the skeg and the hull prior to fiberglassing. They had to be cleaned out after the glassing was completed. Afterwards, the area was taped off to limit the overflow of epoxy from installation. I also had to do a minor filling of a bit of damage to the front of the skeg.

The skeg was going to get epoxied to the hull in addition to the use of the carriage bolts However, I wanted to insure that there was a seal coat on the mating surface as well, so this was accomplished first.

I used thickened epoxy to do the gluing. With a bit of help from my wife, who held one end of the skeg up in the air, i was able to get it lined up and a couple of bolts slid into place. Then it was a simple matter of adding the remaining bolts, adding washers and nuts to the ends extending into the inside of the hull, and tightening them down.

The plans call for filling the carriage bolt holes with epoxy but I had previously drilled them out using a 3/4" counter bore which allowed me to fill them with 3/4" oak dowel rod. Since the skeg is getting painted, I was not concerned with matching end grain on the plugs with the grain of the skeg. These were epoxied into position.

After curing, I sanded them smooth on the skeg.

I also wanted to add a layer of fiberglass to the skeg as added protection against bumps and water intrusion. Getting the glass to lay over this was a bit of a challenge, and in fact after glassing I ended up having to cut a couple of small pieces (approximately 3/4 inch in length) away because they pulled up away from the oak during curing. I lay the fiberglass over the skeg and taped it to the hull.

My intention was not to overlap onto the skin, so I did not add fillets at the skin / skeg seam. But to make it easier to install the glass, I did overlap the skin initially.

Epoxy was applied and allowed to set up for awhile. Then I went back with a straight razor blade and trimmed the fiberglass at the seam.

For the seam, I am going to add thickened epoxy in a fine bead and smooth it out. Then the entire skeg and immediate area will get one final coating of epoxy.

However, because of the two areas where the glass lifted, I will first have to do some repairs. This is where the weather got in the way. The temperatures have dropped too much to do any more epoxy work. The skeg has been smooth sanded and the two repair areas have been taper sanded in preparation for small pieces of glass. The epoxy that has spilled onto the skin has also been cleaned up.

Once I can get back on the project, I will complete this work. I still need to apply a couple of fill coats of epoxy before doing the seam work. I am not sure at this point how soon I can get back on this.

In addition to the work on the skeg, I started working on the spray rails. I don't have much to show on that task yet so I will leave it for another day.

Winter has been a slow time for construction since I started three years ago. I have a propane heater for the garage now, but it is not adequate for doing epoxy work . It is adequate for other types of work , but there has not been much of that lately.

Anyway, that's it for now. Take care.

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  1. Hi Carl, I love looking at the updates of your boat. Your workmanship looks amazing. I have a boat quite similar that my dad and I have just started to restore. We cant find any identification of who made it etc, wondering if i can send you a photo to look at, as yours is the closest design that i have found to it. Main difference being mine was fitted with a stern drive (outdrive). We are just trying to identify the boat. We live in Adelaide South Australia. Cheers Brendan

    1. Hello Brendan,

      Feel free to send me a picture at mrintense56 at austin dot rr dot com. I have seen very few of these boats on the Internet so I have no doubt you are having difficulty identifying it. FYI, my boat design does allow for the installation of a stern drive. Thanks for viewing the site.


  2. Thanks will send from briitsh four x four email address with my boat as subject
    Thanks Brendan


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