Boat Design Quarterly No. 41 January 2013
From the Drawing Table
In this issue Paul Gartside and I discuss whether to build hulls right-side up or inverted (page 11). We both usually prefer the latter setup. However, if you’re putting together a small boat, you might consider rotating the hull several times during construction.
The most popular, and profitable, stock boat to come from my Chesapeake Bay shop during the 1970s was a 15' double-ended fiberglass daysailer. Its commercial success allowed me the luxury of building custom wooden boats…a satisfying habit that sometimes resulted in no financial gain whatsoever.
The ’glass hulls went together in a female mold, which resembled a bright orange bathtub (a nicely shaped bathtub). The mold sat right-side up on low sawhorses. Laying up a hull involved hours of leaning far over and into that mold…tiring work, even for a young man’s back.
To improve this setup, I mounted the mold on a “rotisserie” so that it could turn about a longitudinal axis. I planned to incline the mold to almost 90° of heel while laying up the first side of the round-bilged hull. That side would lie directly in front of me, and I’d be “working down” on it. Gravity would be my helper. After completing the initial layup on that first side of the hull, I intended to “come about” and rotate the hull in the opposite direction. Then I’d lay up the other side. This process would be repeated for succeeding layers of the hull.
When the day came to try this setup for the first time, I was some excited. A dark-green gelcoat had been applied to the prepared mold. I rotated the mold down to the left, lay in the cloth, and rolled in the resin. The job went quickly and well. Then I heeled the mold to the right and started on that side. The idea worked brilliantly…or would have, if I had allowed the left side time to cure sufficiently.
As I neared the halfway point of the second-side layup, a warm and sloppy blanket of resin-saturated fiberglass cloth from the hull’s first side, which now hung overhead, pulled loose without warning and silently draped down over my head. “A big green Casper the ghost!” That’s how one of my friends in the shop described the result. Still, I believe this idea has merit, if we’re careful about cure times.
In this issue --
Versatile strip-planked sea kayak
from Steve Killing
Striking 18' double-ended cutter
by Paul Gartside
Two easily built 13' sailing skiffs
by John C. Harris
Shoal-draft 24' cruising sloop
by William and John Atkin
Gaff-rigged catboat for sail and oar
from Phil Bolger