First Boat

Hull #1014, Suzie Q
Decided to build a boat...

Having never built a boat before, I read a lot and watched some youtube and started thinking. After drawing up some ideas and making some scale drawings and doing a few calculations it was time to get started. Spring was on and I wanted to have her in the water by 4th of July.

The air boxes came together and I just placed them at the edges of the hull bottom piece and glued and screwed it in. I realize now this was probably not the best way to put her together and have since seen many better, more structurally sound ways of piecing them together. She seems strong enough though after adding chines and a couple of ties for the deck lids. The hull came together well enough but I have not actually measured her after I finished to see if she is in compliance with the rocker requirements.

The real engineering problems came about when adding the bow sprit housing into the deck and designing and building the rudder and tiller assembly. I was concerned that the deck would be weakened over time and not strong enough for the downward forces of the sprit. After having sailed her I realize that it is fine and I overbuilt that along with many other things on the boat.

I think it took about an hour to shave the rudder with the hand plane (and the same for the leeboard), but I think they came out looking good and fairly aquadynamic! In some of my research I saw where they ran lines around the head of the rudder to be able to raise and lower it undersail. I liked this design so I decided to incorporate the idea and it works out great! Maybe one of the most reliable systems on the whole boat! The gudgeons and pintles on the other hand were a total failure. The bottom gudgeon spun around and bent both it and the part attaching to the rudder on the first test sail. I had to replace the cotter pin pintle and reinforce the gudgeon with double thru bolts. Now it seems to work fine.

Once I got all the bits built and pieces rough fit, it was a mad rush to get it fiberglassed, painted, and figure out the timing of putting it all together. The firberglass was something I had never done before but it looked easy enough on youtube. Plus, I really wanted the extra rigidity I thought it would add as well as waterproofing the hull. It turned out better than I hoped and I am glad I decided to do it, it actually was quite painless! Once I finished that and as I waited for the last couple of coats of paint to dry on the decks I built the sails in the driveway. Since the sailplan called for two sails I figured I would practice sailmaking on the main as I wanted a bit more of a cut in the jib and I figured it would be trickier to make.

Sails cut and and paint dry I put her together and got sailing! The boat is definitely a better sailor that I, but I am learning every day. I am fortunate to be staying on a small lake right now, so it is very easy for me to pop out for a quick sail around the bay whenever I have even a spare half-hour. It has been great to learn the winds and sail around the lake. Each time gets me a bit farther from home and making tighter lines to wind. Of course my tacking is still pretty terrible, but I am getting hang of having two sheets to control.

All-in-all, I am very happy with her design, she is extremely stable and easy to control. When I can get everything dialed in properly she really goes! It is so much fun! Now, to design the next boat...

Happy Sailing!

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