Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

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.

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  1. Nice work on the cradle, Carl! I believe it will serve you well.

    1. Thanks Mike,

      Taking almost as long to build as the boat though!! Got some of the carpeting on today.


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