Thursday, January 28, 2016

Rachel Platt - Morejohn my other half

I have been around for awhile. I talk a lot here on this blog about what I have been up to in designs, boat work and our sailing life. I want to share some pictures of my wife Rachel from this past year of adventuring. I would never have accomplished what I have to date if not for her being by my side literally or backing me up back home when I'am off single handing. We have been together for over 26 years now. I wake up every day looking forward to what she has to say. 

Rachel trying the paddle board out in front of our place in the Bahamas

Rachel posing in front of our yacht in Antigua. The Hogfish is anchored behind all these other yachts.

Rachel with her first cup of tea in the morning

Now I'am ready to hear about what she dreamed about last night or what's on her mind. It's breakfast time on Hogfish.

The two of us after running a 5 mile Hash in Antigua.

Me stalking Rachel in Martinique 

Having lunch in Tyrell bay in Carriacou 

St. Bart's 

Looking for beach treasures a few days ago

Racing Wild Bird off of Nevis

Passing by a Smurff boat in Grenada yesterday.

Trying on a huge piece of sea glass a few days ago.

The two of us on Hogfish celebrating Rachel's 50 again birthday back in March.

The truth is I don't know what I would do without her. 

Why I can't have a Swan 43' sloop.

Its very simple. I want one so badly but I just can't bring myself to change my whole life in order to have one. I have been lusting after a Finnish built Swan 43' sloop designed by Sparkman and Stevens from the day I first saw one. To me this design has been the epitome of Classic beauty in a fiberglass mid size offshore sailboat.
I look at this boat with lust just like looking at Gabriel Reese the super tall Volly ball player and model. Never mind that she is happily married to that big guy that surfs a lot.
Just look at the lines of this beauty from any angle. Perfect. Just the thought of steering her to windward as this is what this beauty was first designed to do well makes my eyes water. Pure bliss gazing foreward over her clean deck with everything all in its place with perfect proportions. I'am talking of the Swan now not Gabriel.
Yes I have wanted to own one of these for ever.
So what has stopped me to acquire one of these beauty's? It's not as hard as if I'am trying to lure Reese away from Laird Halmiton being 5'3" tall, married to a shorter Reese and not that much into surfing now.
I'll tell you now the sad but true facts....
I'am not the man for either today, simple as that.
My story,
This past month I noticed that the Swan 43' sloop anchored in Falmouth harbor in Antigua was for sale. I looked her up online. The asking price was $99,000.00
She looked to be in good shape on the surface but I know that This boat has not been sailed much in years. Idle boats need lots of work.
I went to sleep dreaming of this boat. Thinking I can have her. 
But then being the list guy I am I started on comparing her to the Hogfish Maximus and going over all the changes I would have to make to be able to sail this beauty.
Here's some of what I love about the Swan 43'.

The sheer and flush deck. So pretty.
The simple cockpit. Enough room for a few people underway and at anchor.
The timeless beauty and looks. Nice to look at when in your dinghy.
The powerful sailplan.
The open interior plan set up for offshore sailing and racing.
The galley, simple.
The nav station old fashioned with no electronics below decks.
The deep cut away keel and separate rudder. Pure S&S design work.
The fact this is hull # 50 built by Nautors in Findland.
The fact that sister ships are always winning races here still. A fast boat.
Oh and did I mention she is so pretty.

Then I started on the things that I have taken for granted having designed and built the Hogfish Maximus to suit my personal needs for an offshore sailboat. A boat that I can sail alone every where at any time.

I would have to get used to not having the following,

A great all weather anchoring retrieval and setting system.
Shallow draft. 4'6" more draft. Ugh
A simple sailplan that can be reefed in seconds.
A place for our 12'3" hard dinghy on deck.
Three separate full double bunk cabins with privacy.
Huge amounts of storage space.
Every part of the hull accessible in minutes.
Solid total watertight construction.  
Being able to use miss matched hardware. You can't do that on a Swan.
An enclosed all weather dog house and steering station.
Easy wind vane access and installation.
Easy steering gear access.
Easy rudder removal.
Mast tabernacle.
Large galley.
Shower in the head.
Low initial cost to me In 1999.

This is what  I would have a hard time dealing with in trying to be a Swan Man.

The anchor system on the bow is mainly for one anchor with a power windlass that is small. These boats were designed to be raced and not really cruised in much.

The bow J area is huge. Great for big powerful head sails that can be changed back and forth by young crews that don't worry about being swept overboard at night when heeling over. A roller furling headsail would be a sacralidge to looks and performance. Too many sails to change at my age.

The mainsail as designed is bigger than on this boat today. Having sailed on lots of S&S boats over time some have lots of weather helm with the original mainsails. My guess is that's why this boats Boom is shorter.

The cockpit is open to the weather so would have to fit a very well done low canvas dodger to try to have a place out of the weather. Looks will suffer. Ugh

The deck is flush but with a large dinghy on deck the bow area would be a bit tight. Would have to go down in size in hard dinghy.

The draft I could live with. But it would change our sailing dramatically. No more fun sailing across shoals. Bummer. And it won't fit into our slip back home as 6' is all we have there now without dredging.

Below she is classic and very pretty but set up for racing. Virtually no privacy. The worst part is she has a soft head liner made up of many panels. Horrors to me. All the deck hardware nuts and washers below have been very nicely glassed over. But how to change out without a project. Ugh

The steering and rudder are on a cable and steering wheel system. Alright but not easy to get at at sea back in that pinched beautiful stern.

There's is no way I could put a windvane on that transom. It would be like asking a beautiful woman to tattoo over all her cleavage. Just can't do it. So now I will need a good auto pilot or crew. Ugh

The galley and nav station are fine. The head is fine. The vee bunk is alright but will be a jump up for me to get into. The engine access is perfect.

The cost? A hundred Grand asking price is fair in today's market. I would do my best to lower it. I have several people that would buy the Hogfish so I could swing that price and the extra costs it would take to get her up to speed. But I would spend all my profit from the sale of Hogfish on her and then some. The Hogfish is in near perfect offshore going condition, shape with lots of new upgrades. Truth is the Swan is not in this condition.

It was a nightmare of a dream. Could I trade in my known girl for another unknown one that on the surface sure looked good. Boy would I love to get to know all her parts, her moods, what made her go. 
In the end I woke up and looked over at my "Reese" lying next to me in our very comfortable vee bunk.
I felt relived to know that " Hoggy " was still ours to sail the seas on. She may not be the sexist looking sloop out there but she works for me in so many ways.

Pretty small here. But you can look her up online.

At the dock in Antigua.

I would paint the hull a soft grey with an off white deck. The teak toe rails have been epoxied over and painted white. that's why the sheer does not stick out well enough. See the short boom. I would add back the 3' that's been removed.

Hey girl... Nice stern you have there.

This Swan was a yawl once. That's why the wheel is forward and the boom is short.

That's it. I'am over my infatuation. Some times you have to look around to see clearly.
My wife Rachel's cool, she's used to seeing me checking out all the beauties in the Caribbean.

Oh and please don't say anything to Laird. He's a big guy.


Thomas's Hayes new Flats skiff build.

Thomas Hayes is a fourth generation boat builder from Florida. He has been working in the Fiberglass production boat building business for 18 years working in all phases of the fiberglass production of boats as a hands on builder to supervisor. He knows his trade very well. 
I have had the pleasure of corresponding with him over this past year answering questions and giving my opinions and some advice on his personal project. 
He started out just wanting to design and build his own skiff for himself and then two more for family. This project has grown from just a hull mold to now a finished complete skiff with all molds ready for production of many more.
Following are some pictures Thomas has been sending me of his skiff in progress.
He has not launched his skiff as I write this blog but it will soon be in the water.
Lots of new ideas being used here in his skiff. Look closely... As I feel lots of these ideas will be finding their way to Others new designs.

Here's his unnamed new skiff just pulled from the mold. For the underbody pictures go back and look at my old blogs about new skiffs. This looks to be the driest running skiff out there. Can't wait to see her running.

Huge bow spray rail and lots of underwater spray defectors.

Look at that bow over hang. This skiff will weigh around 600-700 lbs when finished. It's a nice big skiff.

Here's the deck with all the hatches installed. No hinges on deck!!! All his hinges are hidden with his unique hinge system. It's very simple when seen.

 Bow hatch finished.

Bow hatch details revealed. How cool is this?

His moldings are as good as they get.

His deck mold has no hatches molded into it. This means that he can move his separate hatch molds where ever he or the clients want them. Look next to see how this works.

Because of his perfect moldings he just puts the finished part on the deck mold. He then gelcoats the deck around this part and when it cures this part is then glassed in as part of the deck. When it's all pulled out of the mold all he has to do is just trim and slightly buff in the transition edge of these two parts. To me this is brilliant. Saves having to make so many deck molds. Now you can have more shop space.

All hatch tooling parts in place here ready for the deck gelcoat and then glass work.

Now the deck is attached. The clear glass in the bulkhead is the side of the fish live well or bait well depending on what you're up to. This detail he saw in an old Cabo Boat and has carried it into his skiff.

Won't that be fun to look at when its full of bait night fishing? The black ring is the drain.

The not so fun side if you're the bait or the fish caught looking out into the cockpit. Look at the details and finish throughout. Top of the line. 

Skiff going together.

Console being finished. Now look.

Console details. Look at what goes here.

Removable cooler box. 

Thomas says he has been influenced by early Hells Bay and Gordon Skiffs having owned an 18' Waterman and a Glades skiff. 
He has put lots of effort and money into this project that has taken him a year of part time work. At present he says he has almost the same amount of $ in his first finished skiff here and all molds as a new store bought skiff bare hull. 
But he now has the molds to build the next two that his family members want and then he will have to see if he wants to get in the market to build more for others.
Wait and see how this skiff performs. It might be the next " ONE" for you.
Thomas will always be able to say " Yes it's my own design and build" with pride.
There's nothing like being in a boat you built yourself.
Well done Thomas and good building to you a master craftsman.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Fixing a hole in a boat.

This summer I met Bernie Evan Wong when racing RS Elite sloops at the Nonsuch Bay Resort.
I was bow crew sailing for a local English expat named Tony Sayer.
During the luch break I met Bernie and his daughter Sarah. We talked fishing and cooking fish. It got around to boats and stuff. Someone said I built boats and did repairs. 
Bernies question was what I thought it would take to fix a hole in his Mumm 37' sloop.
So far the locals had been very diverse in quotes and advice in repairing this hole that had been caused when the crane that was lifting it had its wire break and thus dropped it onto a concrete dock piling.
The quotes ran from many thousands up to $10,000.00 US to fix with no real time frames.
Would I mine looking at it and giving some advice.

The boat was built by Carroll Marine in America to high standards. It is cored with balsa below the waterline and Kledgecell above. It was built in epoxy with varying unidirectionals. 
I looked it over for a few minutes and then explained how I would do it and how long it should take.
My estimate was for less than 40 hours labour up to the finish paint coat. 
Bernie asked if I would do it. Sure... Why not. But after I was done with the Wild Bird project. And only that as I wanted to be off sailing and Bernie had a waterfront lot full of boats needing work. I had not crewed for him at this time.

Rachel's hand sticking in from outside. Lots of cracks in the interior hull parts.

The floor has this aluminum grid to support the keel. The balsa core in the bottom is there because of its compression strength. I hate Balsa core as its always wet and rotting. This was the case here along the edges that were exposed by the new hole. It was wrecked like this right after hurricane Gonzalo so was almost a year old.

I cut out the dead core first. I ground the outside skin off to the second layer. This would enable me to be able to add back a new skin that would be flush with the old hull skin.

Now I screwed on strips of 1/4" plywood that is cut across the grain so as to be very bendy. This I screwed on with self tapping screws into the hull core and skin. The two outer strips are screwed from the inside out and help Fair the skin strips. The vee shape aluminum tape is my rain gutter drain to keep the water off my new hole. It rains here on some days for about 3 minutes on off all day long at intervals. It's a pain in the butt. But it worked.

First I taped over the plywood skin with aluminum tape. The epoxy resin would not stick to this. I then glassed in on top of the taped outer skin the first inner layer of glass cloth. When wet I could fit it to the inside of the old cores edges to get a good seal.
I then let it cure. After wiping off the blush and then grinding I could then appy the new core.
Now I could lay in the new core both Balsa and Kledgecell on top of the outside skin.
This I glued down in epoxy glue.
I then let cure.

After the core had cured to the new outter skin I then ground off the scrim and faired in the core to the existing hull. From there I glassed in the inside new skin that has huge overlaps on the old hull.

The interior bunk pieces that were there before were reglassed back in. I cut them loose to get at the hull where they had their cracks. They now just fit back in like a puzzle.

On the outside of the hull I then stripped off the plywood form strips and filled and faired the inner skin where it was touching the old hull skin. This was easy as everything is very clear to see through the resin. After this was done I then glassed a final layer of cloth over the whole ground area and over the inner skin. Before this epoxy cured I spread a fairing putty over this skin so as to have a perfect bond.
When this cured I faired the hull with a 7" foam pad using a Mikita variable speed grinder.
After this I sanded with a random orbital sander and then rolled on 3 coats of Awlgrip 545 primer.

Done, 32 hours labor total. Bernie was very happy.

Friday, January 8, 2016

New blog....

With my daughter Lilian's help I now have a blog site at Wordpress that will show all my designs and sketches very clearly. Everything I post on there is free for all to use for building your our own boat.
Please remember this. I am a lifes experiences and self taught idea man that is sharing what I feel would work for me and possibly others. I am not in the plans selling bussiness. I am sharing my ideas in order to hopefully help others get motivated to design and build their own boat. 
This new blog will only have my sketches and designs in it. Please bear with me as I learn the working of this new site. I will over the next few weeks upload all my drawings and designs that I have with me currently on my sailboat the Hogfish Maximus. It will be very random jumping from powerboats to sailboats. 
The best way to ask me questions is via email
I will continue to be posting on Chris Morejohn. Blogspot as usual.

Today finds us hauled out with us in Jolly Harbor painting the HFMs bottom for the coming sailing season. We launch on Monday and will be off sailing south for Martinique on Tuesday.

Lots to say in this new year. Wishing you all a great year ahead.

This morning. One more coat to go. I like to paint alternate colors so I can see how it's wearing off.

Christmas Day with our daughter Lillian and Rachel on the HFM

Party hats later in the day with Rachel and Gayle on Wild Bird.

Talk soon....