Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Quick Update

Weather has not been cooperating much. Five years of drought and then it decides to monsoon right when I want to start painting!! Well I am thankful for the water. The lakes around here look wonderful now. Hope they stay that way for when I am ready to splash my boat.

In the meantime, I have completed the rollover structure and cradle and removed them from the boat. I've put on one coat of primer and am sanding that smooth. Another will go on as soon as it's not too humid. Possibly Sunday.

I think that will be the last coat of primer needed so once that's smooth sanded I can mark the water line and proceed with the final painting before the flip.

I have a few pictures of the remainder of the rollover and cradle construction.

Here are the caster supports for the building form. These will be attached to the building form legs when I am ready to roll the boat out of the garage.

I decided to beef up the boat to building form horizontal braces

Corner braces between the rollover structure and the cradle. The cradle connection will be made when everything is reinstalled on the boat just prior to the flip.

Everything off the boat while I complete the painting.

I'll leave it at that for now. Take care.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Completing The Cradle and Rollover Structure

Work is essentially completed on the cradle and rollover structure. Since the last posting, I finished assembling the cradle and added carpet and padding as well as corner bracing.

I carpeted the cross battens between the support frames with double layers of indoor outdoor carpet remnants. The support frames were handled a bit differently. On these I used pipe insulation foam covered by one layer of carpet. All of the carpet was secured using a staple gun with the staples being inserted in the areas not directly contacting the hull.

Once the carpet was all in place, it went back on the hull to see how it fit and to get ready for making the rollover structure.

The rollover structure is a temporary piece that will only be used to protect the hull during the flip. Once that is completed, it will be removed and the lumber re-purposed for something else (probably stairs to climb in and out of the boat).

This structure needs to be sturdy enough to take the stress of rolling over and to hold the boat on it's side long enough to transfer the casters from the building form to the cradle. It also needs to be able to skid a bit so that we can re-position the boat for the final roll. This is because the alley were we will be flipping is too narrow to roll the boat completely in one shot.

The structure was made from 3/4" plywood connected together with 2 by 4 lumber. It bolts to the cradle and extends under the hull where it will be connected to the building form. This will be performed later after the hull has been painted and had sufficient time to cure. I'll also be adding a couple of corner braces between the cradle and the rollover structure to strengthen that connection.

I made the rollover pieces that fit against the hull by using a technique involving what I believe are called witness sticks. Unfortunately, all the in-progress shots of that work did not come out so I can only show the finished result.

But the technique works like this. I placed a long level on the cradle bottom that extended over the side about 15 inches. From this I hung a piece of 1/4" poster board of sufficient width to cut the shape of the hull into (approximately 24 inches wide). This was hung in such a way that it rested against the hull at it's widest part. It extended down past the sheer.

Then I made a small diameter stick with a pointed end. This stick was long enough to reach from the narrowest part of the hull to just beyond the closest edge of the poster board. At about every inch going down the side of the hull, I placed this witness stick with the pointed end against the hull and the other end on the poster board. The stick was kept parallel to the ground. I made a mark on the poster board at each point.

Afterwards, I drew a line connecting all the marks and had an approximate shape of the hull. This was cut out of the poster board and then adjusted by fitting against the hull. When I had it correct, I transferred the shape to the plywood, allowing sufficient overhang on the hull side to allow connecting the plywood to the cradle and to allow extending under the boat hull.

After cutting this out of the plywood, I tested it against the hull and was pleasantly surprised to find that it fit just fine. With carpet padding it would work as intended. I then rounded over the outside corners with sufficient radius to provide a rolling surface.

This process was repeated for the other end of the cradle (where the hull shape is different).

Then the structure was connected to the cradle and cross bracing installed between the two rollover frames. The structure is good and solid and once it is connected to the building form under the boat, will provide a stable means of rolling the boat over. On the side edge, I added some additional 2 by 3 lumber that extended slightly past the plywood edge. This will serve as a skid plate when we have to slide the boat back in the alley for the final rollover. It also strengthens the plywood so it won't split with the weight of the boat on it.

So as I mentioned, this work is essentially complete. I will be removing the entire structure including the cradle so that I can complete painting the bottom. I'll also be making final preparations for the flipping event. If it doesn't rain too much, I anticipate doing the flip approximately mid May. I can hardly wait as this is a big milestone.

That's it for now. Take care.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Building The Boat Cradle And Other Tasks

As I mentioned in the previous post, I had two primary tasks to complete before flipping the boat. One was painting the bottom and the other was building the cradle / rollover structure After the last posting, I applied a second coat of primer which used up all I had remaining. After smooth sanding that, I realized I was going to need more.

I also decided that I wanted to apply the clear polyurethane to the transom. So I placed an order for more primer and for the clear polyurethane. Since that was going to take time to be delivered, I decided to get started on the boat cradle.

Because of the shape of the hull bottom, I wanted to build the cradle on the hull. I had originally planned on doing this after painting the blue paint and letting it cure sufficiently. However, I realized that this wasn't going to work as it would mean a delay of more than two weeks after painting as well as a delay of waiting for the new paint order to be delivered.

What I decided to do instead was to build the cradle and rollover structure to a point where I didn't need the hull anymore and then finish the painting. Then while the paint cures over a period of two to three weeks, I would finish the clear polyurethane on the transom and finish any remaining tasks on the cradle / rollover structure.

At the time this decision was made, it was fairly cold outside so I decided to smooth sand the transom first and leave the building of the cradle for when the temperatures improved. I had always known after applying epoxy to the transom last year, that I was going to have to smooth sand it before adding the polyurethane. Epoxy, is not like paint and doesn't self level very well. Although the finish looked good from a distance, it had a distinct orange peel look up close.

The sanding was done by hand with a sanding block and took several days to complete. Here are some in progress shots.

 Once the clear poly is applied, this should look really nice.

The cradle design I came up with required three support frames made from 3/4" plywood. The frames needed to be cut to match the hull shape. Last summer, I made templates from 1/4" poster board and kept them put away until I needed them for the cradle. The support frames will line up with boat frames 2, 3, and 4.

The frames were laid out and set on the hull. Small adjustments were made to the curved cutouts. Since there will be thick carpet padding on these, they didn't have to be a perfect fit.

These first two frames were cut so that a level lain across them was level. Next, these two frames were connected together with  2 by 6 lumber. I wanted to have the lumber positioned in such a manner, that I could jack the cradle up and down to facilitate removing the casters after the boat was rolled back into the garage. Then the third frame was placed between the other two so that a final height for that frame could be determined.

 Unfortunately, during this cutting of the plywood, I had two saw failures and ended up having to use my jig saw to complete the cuts. This left a somewhat ragged and uneven edge on the bottom edge of the cradle. This wasn't a terrible problem because I had intended on beefing up the plywood with 2 by 4 lumber anyway. I set the 2 by 4's in place and then insured they were all level in every direction. These were then permanently installed with bolts.

Then, to add some strength to the cradle, I added triangular corner braces. I also purchased 6 casters which will be installed during the flip (more on this in a moment). These casters were used to determine a mounting method for the casters. In the picture with the casters, they are simply setting there and have not been installed yet.

The reason these casters will be installed later is a simple matter of economics. For these 6 casters, I had to spend 100 dollars. Since I would need another six casters for the building form to roll the boat out of the garage, I was looking at over 200 dollars just in casters!

Well that was just ridiculous and I determined that I can install these casters on the building form, roll the boat out of the garage and start the flip. Since the boat will be in a rollover structure, I can stop midway through the flip and remove the casters from the building form and then re-install them on the cradle.

The next step in the construction was to add cross battens across the support frames to increase the surface area supporting the boat. I used 2 by 3 lumber for this laid into slots cut into the support frames.

This is where I was at as of yesterday afternoon. I elected to epoxy the battens into the cradle so that work is in progress now. I am also finishing up any other work required on the cradle and I will be looking for carpet remnants today for the padding.

Once the carpet is installed, the cradle will be set back on the boat and I will begin work on the rollover structure part. I'll cover that in another post. Take care.