Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Monday, May 29, 2017

Bow Compartment And Back And Forth Interior Mock Up Work

Over the last several weeks, I have been focusing on two parts of the build. I want to get the bow compartment / anchor well to a point of completion where I can let it ride for awhile, and I have been slowly getting more familiar with the interior design of the boat.

I'll cover both of those here, starting with the bow compartment. This section of the boat is rather difficult to work in and I found myself having to step away from it from time to time to give my legs a rest.

The work remaining was mostly finish work and assembly with periodic switching back and forth between the two as needs of assembly dictated. Many of the parts needed pre-painting either because they would not be accessible after assembly, or they would be difficult to work on afterwards.

Wanting to allow a good bonding surface, I elected to leave the paint short of glue areas in many cases, with the plan of touching up the paint after assembly. I showed a bit of this in the previous posting when I painted the area below the storage compartment floor. After painting, that floor piece was epoxied in and then seams filled. Paint was touched up afterwards.

Other parts were pre-painted as well. The anchor well floor underside, the bulkhead forward face and the inner surface of the hull planking. I also completed staining of the hatch and hatch opening wood.

One of the tasks I wanted to do was add some insulating foam behind the storage compartment walls. This was mostly for sound insulation, but it would also help control dampness by insulating the compartment from the cold water outside the hull. 

I spent quite a bit of time trying to find foam, worrying about things like flotation factor, flammability, resistance to chemicals, and the ability to not absorb water. I finally settled on cross linked polyethylene foam. I acquired a 1 inch thick sheet of this and it was cut into appropriate size pieces and glued into place using a high temperature contact adhesive. This contact adhesive was chosen  because I hoped it would hold up over a long period of time. It was designed for gluing up headliners in automobiles, so I reasoned that if it could hold up under that harsh environment, then it should do well in the use I had intended for it.

Next, the inner compartment walls were epoxied into position. Like nearly everything I've worked on in this project, they needed further tweaking to get them to fit right.  But eventually the parts were installed.

Then this compartment was pre-painted, leaving bare the areas near where the anchor well floor would be glued.

The bulkhead was next. This too required further tweaking to get it to fit. It's always amazing to me that parts can be made to fit, but when they are finally assembled, further work is needed to get them to fit right. It was pretty cool to finally see his bulkhead permanently installed. I first envisioned this particular piece over 4 years ago, so it was a long time coming.

Finally, the anchor well floor was installed. One last item was to install the compartment LED light strip as I knew this would be more difficult after the floor was installed.

In the last set of photos, you can see the interior areas that still needed touch up paint. With the anchor well floor in place, access to this compartment was now restricted to the hatch opening, I can tell you that the combination of a small opening at a low height and the awkwardness of working in the bow compartment made it very difficult to get in there and touch up the paint. But eventually it was done. Then I could finally install the vents.

So that completes this section of the compartment for now. I will be returning to the anchor well to fiberglass it and paint that area, but I want to return to the other other part of the build that I have been focusing on, namely  working out the interior design.

The interior design has to take in numerous concerns such as ventilation, seat location, head room, location of interior fittings, the gas tanks, the floor design and height, and many other considerations, too numerous to list here.

With this many concerns, I felt that a slow approach to design was best, using temporary materials and trying various ideas as I went. I also found that I could see ideas more clearly as I got pieces into place. So far nothing permanent has been installed, but by trial and error, I have determined that the single level floor that I had originally wanted wasn't going to work.

This primarily had to do with inadequate remaining height for seating in the cabin which would have led to a difference in height over the length of the berths. Imagine a bed with a step in the middle and you get the idea.

But the first task was trying to get some idea of how to support the floor. Before I gave up on the single level floor idea, I sketched the following photo. From discussions with other builders, I determined that these supports should be made in such a way that they allow cross ventilation under the floor.

The next photo shows the original floor idea and cross bars as markers while trying to  determine the seat heights. From this experiment , I first determined that there was inadequate room for seats heights with the floor at this level in the cabin.

I also started considering the fuel tank location as this affects how the bilge area is to be ventilated. Originally I was thinking of under floor fuel tanks, but there simply isn't enough room, so saddle tanks in the side compartments is where I am going instead.The following is an early sketch showing this.

Here are some more sketches as I experimented with ideas. Keep in mind that these are rough ideas and only intended to help me plan the interior. I still plan on mocking everything up in poster board. Also, all of these were before I gave up on the idea of a single level floor.

After some additional experimentation with seat heights, I determined that an 17 inch seat height would be desirable. Checking this in the cabin with the original floor, showed that head room would be tight, but doable. But in order to get an 17 inch height, I would have had to raise the "V" berth height. This was not going to work as it would have covered the hatch on the forward bulkhead,

So I took a series of measurements from the floor and spots below the floor as well as the side markers I had established (which showed the height of the "V" berth). From these measurements, I determined that if I stepped the cabin floor down 1 inch, I could accommodate the seating height I needed.

I sketched up this new plan and arrived at the following photo. Again it's rough. Also the "V" berth is shown extending further aft than I intend. It also shows the saddle fuel tanks and the aft cabin floor,. In order to make it easier to visualize these thins, I placed an "X" on the surfaces of the various floor and side panels. You can make out the lower floor in the cabin area

As the reader has no doubt guessed by now, this is an iterative process, giving and taking, experimenting, trying different ideas, discarding others, and all the time, slowly building up an idea of how the interior is going to be built. I hope by the time I post the next article, I will have some actual mock ups completed. But it will be quite some time before the real, permanent parts are made and installed, as this experimentation phase still has many hours to pan out.

So until next time, take care.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Some Cabin And Floor Design Work

On the bow compartment, I had gotten to a point of needing some foam for insulation. I had to do some research and looking before I found the foam I wanted to use for this area. Although this might provide a very small amount of flotation, it's real purpose is to insulate the storage compartment a bit and reduce noise coming from water slapping the hull up forward. I'll get into that discussion in the next post as I only just received the foam yesterday.

While I was waiting for the foam, I decided to return to the cabin design. As many know, I desire to shorten the cabin length and increase the aft cockpit area. With the heat being what it is down here in Texas, and given that the boat will primarily be used for day trips on the lake, I reasoned that most of the time will be spent in the aft end of the boat under a sunbrella bimini top where it's cooler.

My concern with the cabin shortening is keeping the look of the boat as much as possible. It entailed removing one of the windows planned for the cabin sides to gain an additional 18 inches aft.

Of course, shortening the length can potentially change the way the height of the cabin appears. I didn't change this on the mock up as I am not yet sure that it is needed. However the cabin is quite low on this design already, so interior room in the cabin is a concern.

This brings up the third consideration, which the floor height in the boat. As part of my vision for an open design, I want the floor height to be the same from front to back. This means that it is going to be a bit higher in the cabin.

Okay, so what this means is that in order to properly evaluate the cabin design, I need to have flooring in place so that I can make design decisions about seat heights, cabinetry shapes and placement.

The following images with the old building form lumber lying in position, show how the floor will span the frames and how it is higher than frames 3 and 4.

So the first order of business was to make a template for the floor using poster board. I needed something to temporarily hold it at the level the floor would eventually be at, so blocks of wood were used while the shape was determined.

 Like the fairing of the hull that I did several years ago, I don't have a clear idea of how all of this is going to look, except in a general sense. The details still need to be worked out. The best way for me to do this is to think about it for a while and then put something into place. Then back to thinking again. Each new piece in place makes it easier to visualize what needs to happen next. I try to do everything in a temporary manner so that I can back out of decisions if they turn out to be wrong.

In this case, I elected to make temporary flooring out of cheap plywood. This serves two purposes. First, it aids in further design as just mentioned. Secondly, when it is in place, I can then mock up the interior and make sure that everything is the way I want it. There is a third reason actually. I am going to need approximately 10 sheets of marine plywood for the cabin sides, cabin flooring, and fore deck. I plan to order this and have it shipped. However, the price of marine ply being what it is, it is going to be a bit of time before I have enough funds to pay for it. So temporary, cheap plywood allows me to continue work on the boat.

Once I created the first plywood floor piece, I realized that I was going to have to have better supports underneath as the floor came to rest in a slightly different manner than the poster board first indicated.

I've known all along that I was going to have to build up a structure for supporting the floor. By making temporary supports, I can get a better 3 dimensional view of that area. I can see where the supports will need to be.

Here are some images of this temporary floor supports being made and positioned. The top of all these supports are the same height, and level in both fore and aft, and side to side directions.

The last image shows that the outboard edges of the floor will need angled cleats attached to the chine and flooring. I can also see that I want to add more fore and aft supports between the frames. One thought that has come out of this is that the original lower frames (3 and 4) and the area surrounding them, can be used for a long storage area under the floor for a boat hook and oars. This will work as long as the supporting structure is designed correctly.

As for the cabin profile, here are a series of images showing what I am considering. The plan is to reproduce the profile in cheap plywood and mock up the cabin. This will allow me to get a better idea of how this will be assembled.

As can be seen, there is a lot of preliminary work that needs to be accomplished. Some money will be spent on plywood that will ultimately be removed and not used. However, I feel that this part of the build is critical to get right as I will be spending all my time here after she's finished. And the boat has to look right when viewed from a distance or close up. So it's money well spent in my opinion.

That's it for now, The next posting will cover more floor design as well as hopefully completing most of the preliminary assembly of the bow compartment. Until next time, take care.