Welcome statement

Welcome to my blog on the building and sailing of a Goat Island Skiff (GIS). Join us on the Michael Storer Wooden Boat Plans forum or on Facebook, where the community of Storer Boat builders, owners, and admirers share their ideas, experiences, and watery hi-jinx.

If you are new to this blog, start at the beginning by selecting the oldest date in the blog archive located in the left-hand column. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Chivita returns to her birth waters

Labor Day weekend, Lake St. Catherine, Vermont.  Chivita shakes off a l-o-o-o-o-ng hiatus and sets sail where she was meant to.

The LaFontaine Family camp, "Que Sera Sera"

The current fleet (not shown: the Sunfish "Brisas"

Headline: Boy Skips Stone, Follows Dad's Footsteps!

The following sequence needs a little bit of background explanation.  I set out with my niece, a Miami native with some dinghy sailing experience who now attends college in Massachusets.  The lake has been struggling with weed growth for several years and this summer is no different.  They collect on the foils (daggerboard and rudder) quickly ruining the boats ability to point up wind; we struggled with horrible lee helm all day.  Also, it's important to note that I still haven't addressed the halyard and downhaul cleats.  The sheets enter the cam cleats at a bit of an angle such that the tend to ride up and out of the cleats' jaws.  This happened again as seen in the time-lapse photos below (frames are at 30-second intervals).  Final note: we never went over.*

Trying to beat upwind in spite of weeds, Erin works the main

Keen observer will note shore has slip from right to left, indicating leeway

Helm crouches down, keeping hull flat in fresh breeze

POW!!! halyard lets go with tremendous sound; all ballast is windward, throwing hull to port; captain scrambles to make sure she doesn't fully tip!

Crew keeps her cool, but takes a nice safe seat while captain gather the rig prepares to row...

The rest of the story is that we struggled to row against the wind until we got to shore.  After a bit of deliberation, Erin determines we would look totally badass if we sailed home anyway.  THAT's the spirit; you have a bright future young lady.  Badass it was as we fought our way up wind, lifting the dagger board periodically and using an oar to come about.  We were both justifiably proud of our ability to overcome adversity.  (It helps that we were within walking distance the whole time, but still...)
Headline: Boy Commemorates Labor Day By Enjoying Leisure 

*...cue Robert DeNiro as Jake LaMotta: "You neva got me down Ray... hey Ray, you hear me? You neva got me down..."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Boom, pt. 5

The boom is built.  All it needs now is exterior finish and hardware.  Weight = 7.6 lbs

Monday, August 11, 2014

Boom, pt. 4

It's officially a box now!

MORNING UPDATE: Some of the seams need filling but the box is closed and ready for refinement.  It weighs about 9 lbs. in its raw state.  That's an average of several readings on my bathroom scale.  I'm curious to see what the final weight ends up at after removing some material and adding coatings.  But basically, it weighs about what my solid boom does but ought to be much stiffer.  We'll see...

Boom, pt. 3

No better lunch than an open-faced stave sandwich:

Boom, pt. 2

I cut the scarfs, lofted the tapers, and did the first round of gluing:

(Disregard what looks like an overlap of two parts; that is a shadow due to one part being off the ground a bit.)

Fore taper; this is all I could get in such a short distance

Aft taper; when complete the end should be a 50mm x 50mm square

The front and rear spacer blocks are light weight white wood.  The rear is long to accommodate different clew set ups.

Next I will position and glue the two staves.  I have some finishing nails set on the curve line that the bottom stave will clamp to.  Once those are cured, I'll add the remaining side panel, shape and dress, finish, hardware, collect measurement data, etc.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Boom shaka-laka-laka, boom...

And so I begin another project designed to distract me from real life.  I had not planned to do this when I built my GIS, but I have now begun construction of a hollow boxed boom for Chivita's lug sail.

Why?  If I may quote myself, here's how I responded to such a question on the GIS Facebook page:
"The first thing to consider is that the original boom is perfectly adequate for average sailing conditions and experience. Untold numbers of us have done just fine with a solid timber boom of about 40mm cross-section. Some builders have experienced more bend than others and it's probably due to the wood chosen (it's hard to get really tight-grained Fir or other suitable lumber).

The box boom is driven by those that want to take the Goat to "The Next Level." A loose footed sail allows for greater range of draft adjustment; One can achieve a very rounded belly if the circumstances call for it. The price is greater complexity, greater skill level required to make any use of the capability, and--most important for this discussion--the need for a very stiff boom. It's not hard to visualize how a boom will flex more if it is acting upon a sail lashed only at the two ends while being pulled by the down haul and the mainsheet between them.

I wasn't planning to take Chivita to "The Next Level" but I have been a little annoyed at how the foot of my sail is shaped and one solution is to convert from lashed to loose foot.  Also, I've got the material necessary and I've really enjoyed the online discussion.

Here are two forum threads that hash out all sorts of considerations and the results of some experimentation:

There is also a long thread on the GIS Facebook page, but I can't find a good way of linking directly to it.  I'm not a big fan of using Facebook for this sort of discussion and collaboration, but it is what it is.

Here is a graphic depiction of some of the new booms being done compared to my design:

All the other builders report great stiffness (except Clint who is still building his as this is written).  Joost's giant boom is based directly on Storer's recent design and he has readily admitted it is far larger than necessary.  Bob and Paul had already built theirs and found them to be a bit heavy but certainly stiff.  I am trying to match the original solid boom weight (or be lighter) while increasing stiffness enough for loose footed rigging.  Is it feasible?  I'm not an engineer and I don't have material density tables at the ready.  But I'm a Powerpoint wiz and I can compare the cross section of one design to the other to see if the amount of wood similar or not:

I conclude that there is a tad more material in the new boom, but it's possible that the plywood (shown here as light tan in color) is light enough to weigh the same as a smaller amount of heavier Fir.  It's not out of the question.

So today I started making sawdust.  My goal is to have the boom ready for the late-September Goat Gathering I've been coordinating.

Pictures please...

The offcuts
I still have most if not all the excess wood from my build.  There are two large chunks of ply left from the plan that will suit this boom build well.  My plan is for overall dimensions of 50mm x 80mm at the middle, tapering gently to 50mm x 50mm aft and tapering more rapidly to 50mm x 65mm forward.  The side panels will be 6mm thick ply separated by 12mm thick staves of Douglas Fir.  The fir is the same stock I used for my current boom, which started out as a fairly tight grained 4x4 post.

Remnants of 4x4 that yielded original boom
I laid the fir to orient the grain horizontally and made a 38mm cut to get the desired width of the staves.

Blank that will yield three staves
I turned the resulting blank grain to vertical to slice off three staves of 12mm each.  I will need three because the boom's length is longer than the 8 ft. of the lumber.  There will be scarfing...

Three staves yielded
These are 12mm thick.  There was talk about going thinner, but I didn't think this lumber would support being sliced much thinner without checking or warping.  12mm will give a good amount of gluing surface.  Plus, I'll be rounding off the corners and 10mm won't leave much material for that.

The offcuts, cut
 After slicing up the Fir, I ran the ply through the saw at 80mm width.  There is a short section that is only 75mm wide, but that will be integrated into the aft taper.  I'm keeping the large triangle intact for some as-yet unknown future use.  Hoarding has its benefits sometimes...

Lining up the joints
The overall length of the boom will be 3.6m, or close to 12 ft.  The lumber is only 8 ft. long so some joinery is needed.  The ply will be joined with butt straps like the GIS side and bottom panels.  The staves will be scarfed (not my favorite task).  I want to make sure none of the joints align with others so as to minimize weak spots.

This is where I stand tonight.  I would glue things tonight, but the scarf joints will take time to cut properly; I'll try to do that tomorrow.  Then I can glue the scarfs and the butt straps all at once.  I have two tubes of West Systems epoxy adhesive.  I don't want to waste any of it so I need to have enough things to glue before breaking the seal on the tubes.

When the butt straps are cured, I can lay out my taper lines (the boom top will be flat, the bottom will curve upward) and cut the shape.  That will be the guide for the staves and what ever end blocks I end up using.  I wish I knew whether the tube glue will last (uncured) between steps.  If push comes to shove, I've got some plain epoxy and adhesive powder filler I can mix up.  These materials are all remnants from the family canoe build of 2012.  Yay hoarding!

More to follow...

Worst Goater ever?

Wow.  I suck at actually using my Goat Island Skiff.  It's been a full year since my boat has been on the water in the shadows of The Big Apple.  I guess that's why I didn't BUY a boat...

Since that epic mission I've busied myself with a million other distractions including: helping IAZ,P find her new home; the purchase and partial assembly of a new trailer; the listing of my house for sale; the long overdue sale of my old car; the research, hunting, and purchase of a used Jeep Patriot for my teenage daughter, and participating in the Around Long Island Regatta on the sloop Flor D'Luna:

One Goaty thing I've been doing is organizing The Great North American Northeast GIS Gathering of 2014 to be held in late September on Seneca Lake in New York State.  If THAT doesn't generate a good blog post, I don't know what will.

Another Goaty thing I've been doing is continued participation in the online GIS community (lots of new Goats in 2014!), especially the crowd sourcing discussion and design of a hollow boxed boom.  In a valiant attempt to remain a boat builder, I will attempt to do a good quality but accelerated build of my own version of a box boom.  More details will follow in the next post (or two, or three...).