The 9.5 Laura Bay - Part 4
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design by Warren D. Messer - Seattle, Washington - USA

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6

One of the things I like to do is check on the comments that are posted at the end of each story. It gives me some good feed back as to how you, the readers, are following along and keeping me aware of what I say and do. After checking in several different books, and my 6th edition copy of ROYCE'S Sailing Illustrated, I did a find and replace in StarOffice for all references to centerboard and changed them to daggerboard. Thank you for the hint, I like to be correct. I also enclosed the "daggerboard" trunk for added strength and to keep my legs from getting whacked when the seat is in the forward position. I just wish I had filled the voids with foam before I enclosed it all. There are several things I would do differently if I was just making a pure sailing boat and will talk about them in the last story. If it seems that the weather here changes a lot from what I 'm wearing in the photos, yes it's the Pacific Northwest where a 20+ degree change can happen from day to day. And now for something completely different. PBS has been re-airing a lot of Monty Python lately.

Now that the inside construction is completed, its time to flip the hull over and finish the outside. The first thing is to get on top and cut out the rest of the "daggerboard" opening. Trim it so it's flush on the sides, but don't cut into the fiberglass lining the trunk. I left the forward and aft ends of the opening slightly rounded in the corners for appearance. The fiberglass tape and cloth roll into them better too. You will see that there is a small gap between the hull and the bottom inside edge of the trunk that will need to be filled with fillet material. Fill that and the small shelves made by rounding the corners. This helps make for a water tight fit. Make sure to pre-coat all the edges with epoxy before applying the fillet material.

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Check all the bottom seam edges for fit and alignment. With all the bolts and nuts holding the seam edges in alignment during construction, there were no problems. The only areas needing a touch up, were at the bow where several panels converge, and at the stern, where there were a couple of small gaps in the fit. Pre-coat all edges with epoxy and fill/square up any areas that need it. On the stern edges, leave a slight radius for the glass tape and cloth to roll over. Fiberglass hates a square edge. Make sure to pre-coat all the panel seams and fill any gaps with fillet material. Smooth down all the seams and give the hull a light sanding with 100 grit. Don't grind down the seam edges and change the shape of the curves or create flat spots. Keep it fair.

I've gotten good enough laying down tape, that I don't pre-coat the area first anymore. I learned on this hull that if I give the very start of the tape a good wetting to hold it in place, I can guide the tape and wet it out at the same time. Before I learned this, I started the first seam tape at the stern and worked forward. When I got to the bow, I had to put in a couple of darts to get the tape to lay flat. So I thought what would happen it I started at the bow and shaped the tape along the curve as I worked aft. Some times out of the mouths of babes, etc. So I moved my tape holder to the back of the hull and learned something in the process.

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I started with the side seam tapes first and finished with the keel seam tape. This covered all the ends at the bow and made for a smoother finish. I didn't need any extra strength, so I trimmed (tapered) the side seam tapes to just meet up with the keel seam tape. The bottom cloth would cover everything anyway. I also stopped just short of the stern seam tape for the same reason. Let the epoxy cure overnight and trim off the selvage and fair the edges. I like to use a plain old hacksaw blade (22 teeth/inch), bent and lightly dragged along the edge. It takes off the selvage and doesn't harm the tape or hull. Then mix up some Quickfair, bag it and squeeze out along the seams. Fair in with a squeegee and let cure. The last time I'll have to do that.

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I've found an easier way, with less mess to fair out taped edges as we will see. Once the fairing compound has cured, its time to give the seams a light sanding with some 150 grit to smooth out the fairing and hull. Don't over sand into the glass fibers.

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One trick I learned a few years back from System Threes great booklet on working with epoxy, is using masking tape under the final edge of a glass clothed surface. Place the edge of the masking tape along your final finished edge of glass. Then overlay the glass cloth beyond the width of the tape. While wetting out the cloth, stop halfway down the width of the masking tape. After the epoxy/resin has gone "green", take a razor knife and trim the wet glass along the edge of the masking tape. Then lift the tape and excess glass cloth off the hull. Press down any spots along the finished edge that try to lift, and let the epoxy cure.

Mark where you want the final edge to be and place an edge of the masking tape along this line. I had to move the tape after I took these photos, as I discovered later that my 50" cloth needed to be 52". I raised the tape to just below the seam edge. Normally I always make sure that each succeeding layer of cloth extends beyond the one below it. I can live with it as the tape under is tight to the hull. The materials list has been updated to 60" cloth.

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Now its time to unfold the glass cloth, align it to the hull, and smooth out the wrinkles. I like to let the cloth rest for a couple of days before I wet it out. I also found from lightly smoothing it with my hands a couple of times a day, that I could shape the warp and weave of the cloth to take on the curves and shape of the hull. I thought that I was going to have to put a seam down the centerline from the daggerboard to the bow, but I found with my daily smoothing that the glass cloth was conforming to the hull. Just take a ridge or "poof" of cloth and just chase it to the ends or edges with a light smoothing action with your hands. When I was finished laying on the hands, the cloth fit like a glove. Hallelujah, no seams!

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The next step is to wet out the cloth. You can now mix up some bigger batches of epoxy, but I still limit myself to 3oz mixes. I don't have any bigger cups; but then I like mixing epoxy. What ever size you mix up, get it out of the container and out on the cloth quickly so the bigger batches don't kick on you. Remember, bigger, quicker, hot, damn.

Spread the mix out on the cloth in big "S's" and use your squeegee to spread it around and wet out the cloth. Another great place for the rubber edged squeegee. Start along the centerline by the daggerboard trunk and work out, fore, and aft. Work both sides at once so the cloth doesn't get pulled from your perfectly smoothed position. First wet out one side of the daggerboard trunk then the opposite side. Then aft and forward on both sides. Work both sides and keep it even and you won't displace the cloth.

Wet out the cloth that covers the daggerboard opening and let it turn "green". Take a razor knife and slice down the middle to about one inch from the ends. Then cut in 45's to each of the corners; press the ends and sides down to the inside of the trunk opening and paint on some more epoxy to hold it down. Check on it a couple of times to make sure it stays down.

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After the cloth has been wetted out and set long enough to turn "green", its time to trim the edges like we have talked about. Take a razor knife and cut along the edge of the masking tape and pull the excess cloth away from the hull. Press down any areas along the edge that lift and mix up some epoxy and wet out again any areas that could use a little more help or look dry.

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This edge needs to be faired as well and its time to break out the big guns. I always like to try out new ideas and this looked like a winner. Getting fairing compound out of it's container in the proper amounts, mixed, and in place without a lot of mess and waste was always a challenge. The tube comes with a two nozzle fitting that goes on the end that will spit out a 2:1 mix for hand stirring, or attach the extra mixing nozzle and point and shoot. I wouldn't waste a mixing nozzle for a small job, but for fairing in the edges of several taped seams, its money well spent and time saved. Plus oh so easy and clean. Just squeeze out a bead and fair in with a putty knife. I laid out 2-3 seam edges and faired them in, and continued on with the next set. Remember that it's called Quickfair, so don't doddle around and let it go hard in the mixing chamber. It takes a while for the expelled bead to harden up, so you can spend more time laying down the beads. If you have two people to do the job, great; but it can be done alone and still not be rushed.

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With the SilverTip epoxy you can wait a couple of days between applications and not have to sand. Some builders may have gone on and filled the weave of the cloth after the wetting out went green. I like to let the wetting out cure, fair all edges and let cure and sand; then fill the weave and overlap the faired edges as I go. It gives me a smoother transition, or so I think. YMMV. So its usually 48 hours before I fill the weave, and I can wait up to 72 before I really have to sand. But I can't sand everything without cutting up the glass cloth at the tops of the weave, so what's the point anyway?

I've tried filling the weave with straight epoxy and that just makes the boat heavier and uses up too much epoxy. I've used just straight Quickfair to fill the weave and that works, but it goes on stiff and doesn't like to be spread thinly over large areas. Or it doesn't like me to spread it thinly over large areas. So now I mix the two and create a thick soup that fills and spreads easily. Usually two coats is all that's needed. I mix up 2oz of Quickfair with 1oz of SilverTip. I give each a quick stir before I mix the two and give this new mix a one minute stir. Pour it on and spread it out with the rubber squeegee, over the bottom and over the glass cloth seam onto the side panel. This mix dries fairly clear, so I cover some of the side panel as well. It's going to get painted anyway.

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That's it for this segment. The next story will be on the sailing rig, rudder, and daggerboard. I've got my sail and everything is rigged up. The new beta test yacht paint has arrived and the first coat of the interior is done and when I finish writing this story, I will give it a second coat.

Thank you again for reading my stories and the comments you post.

Warren Messer and Laura Bay