Thursday, January 6, 2011

Our New Online Home

We've moved!  We have a new home on the internet at  The new space will have the same  updates as this one, but will also allow us to add more features as our fleet grows.

Thanks for reading our blog, and we'll see you over there...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Getting there...

The cockpit on the second hull has been bonded into place.  Just like on the first hull, the cockpit was tacked together using the hull itself as a template with a sheet of plastic between the hull and cockpit pieces to prevent them from bonding together accidentally.  The whole piece was then flipped over and permanently bonded into one solid piece.  Plywood backing plates were also added in the appropriate areas.  It was then flipped back over and bonded to the rest of the hull.  Notice as well the cleats added along the top edge of the frames to provide a large area to bond the hull to.

It also soon going to be time to paint the inside of the hull with Zolatone.  This time around we primed it first with regular latex exterior primer in order to try and prevent some bleed through issues we had on the first hull.

Another nice improvement our second hull has is the addition of drain holes to allow water that gets in  the opening for the bow sprit to drain immediately out.  We accomplished this by adding a piece of ply between the bow and frame 18 that's angled slightly downward astern to direct the water towards the drain holes.  It's a little difficult to get a good idea what's going on from these pictures, so I will try to add a few more in the next update.

Finally, here are some pictures of our custom motor mount.  If you're interested in buying a similar one, get in contact with us.  We can help get these as well as other hardware for a lot cheaper than you would if you bought them from a specialty marine supply.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


The first hull made it to the rigger's yesterday.  Things are getting real...

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Progress on the second hull is well underway.  A few things have changed this time around.  We have already figured out most of the bugs and decided on how we want all details, so progress is much faster.  Construction on this hull began in earnest on October 12, and the second hull is almost ready for paint on the inside and cockpit construction is well underway.  When you take into account the three weeks that two of the guys in the fleet were sailing in Mexico on the Baja Ha Ha (lucky bastards), the progress so far has been particularly swift. 

Baja Ha Ha - faces not shown to protect the not-so-innocent

If you are going to be in the Portland area January 12th to the 16th, you can stop by and see us at the Portland Boat Show!  We will have one completed hull and one in-progress hull at the show, and there should someone from the fleet there most evenings to answer any questions.  We hope to see you there!

So, getting on to the business of the second hull, I will try to focus primarily on things that have been done differently this time around.  Much is the same (sanding never gets fun), but a number of things we are doing a little differently.  First of all, we constructed a proper cradle to hold the hull.  Previously we simply supported the hull in only 3 areas, and the cradle was about as study as an Irish bank.  Unfortunately, the hull shape probably suffered a bit because of this, but this time around the cradle is built for the ages.  There is a 1/2" plywood support at each frame position, and they are securely fastened to engineered wood I-beams used in home construction.  The thing is a tank.

Once again, stitch-and-glue construction takes things from random bits of plywood to a boat-like object in a short period of time...

By mid-November the frames were getting installed...

Frame 89 got doubled-up to provide extra support for the mast...

Carbon was added to the bow to further stabilize the sprit hole (there's gotta be a nautical term for that thing)...

And there's a piece of hard plastic to support the sprit bearing and make it slide back and forth more easily for articulating.

We've also included  holes in the side of the hull to help drain any water that gets in around the sprit hole, but I unfortunately do not have any good pictures.  I'll try to include some in the next update.

We also had the foresight to pre-cut the access holes to the sealed bunks as well as limber holes for proper drainage.

As of a couple evenings ago, the cockpit was well underway and the inside had been painted with a first coat of sealing epoxy.  With a little luck the inside will be painted next week and the deck and cockpit permanently attached.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


The first hull of the Portland i550 fleet is complete!  ...mostly.  The minor details of a keel foil and rudder still need to be attended to, but we are building molds for those.  Still, the hull itself is basically ready to go.  In the next few weeks it will be making its way up to the Seattle area to spend some quality time with a rigger, but for now it sits in my garage while work on hull number two gets going.

It's starting to get cold and rainy here in Portland, but I hope to be able to put up a few pics from out on the water in the near future.  In the meantime, you'll have to make do with the final build pics.  Enjoy!

Finishing up some final details...

A view of the articulating sprit rigging and setup...

 This companionway cover is simplicity itself...


A few close-ups of the new shiny bits.  These were made by a local outfit.  They're not "marine", which means they cost about half as much as they would have otherwise!



And here are a few shots that look like the boat might be heading down to the boat ramp...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

....and Presto! It's a boat!

If you're a fan of cooking shows, this is going to feel familiar.  The host cook shows you all the ingredients, starts putting them together, and then turns around and pulls a perfectly done roast out of the oven.  Well, that's kinda what's happened here... except that it took 6 months.

The last time I updated this blog we were looking at a bunch of plywood in a boat-like configuration.  Now, it's pretty much a boat.  It still needs hardware, and there are a still some foil and other fiddly details to figure out, but it's pretty much there.  In the not too distant future I may even have pictures of it out on the Columbia.

What happened in the past 6 months?  Well, my compatriots put a metric shit ton of work into this thing.  I helped some too, but between having a new baby at home and going through some seriously busy times at work, I've been a little (OK, a lot) lazy on the boats and blogging fronts.

So, with all due apologies to the rest of the Portland i550 crew, here are a bunch of pictures of what's been going on...








That's where things stood as of last week.  We also have a carbon-fiber mast and a bunch of the hardware.  I'll try to get some pictures of those as well as some more details on what we actually did in the coming weeks.

Oh yeah, and one more thing.  One of the crew got a job offer he couldn't refuse.  The only problem was is was in Texas, so we're now either down one guy or up one extra boat kit.  If you have any interest in getting in our group build at a discount, let's talk!