Building Kayleigh

By Terry Lesh - Portland, Oregon - USA

Part I: Hull Construction
Part II: Outfitting

Kayleigh : 18' Sharpie Camp Cruiser - Part II: Outfitting

Outfitting is an ongoing process for any boat. Like an artist doing a painting, at some point you just have to quit. But I never seem to quit on my boats. Even as I type this She is sitting out there waiting for me to complete the monkey stick steering system (see Duckworks articles) and install the new bimini. Below was the stage of outfitting at the annual Quinn's Cove Summer Solstice Messabout at Caterpilar Island's Fishermen's Slough June of 2009 on the Columbia River in Oregon.

Temporary bimini

I was fully loaded for a week's voyage of circumnavigating Sauvies Island via the Multinomah Channel on the Columbia River. Must have had several hundred pounds of water, food, camping stuff, books, and fuel on board. With me added to the load, she was well down on her lines with the bow foot and transom just under the waterline. There are several things to note in this view: 1. The starboard cabin door shelf where the depth sounder is located; 2. The watertight storage hatches just aft P & S of the engine; 3. The fact that the cabin doors swing open over the cockpit seats allowing for greater hatch storage area and security for electronics when doors are closed. The blue seat cushion (Sportacushion) adjusts to different positions for sitting, lounging, reading etc., and works great for a beach seat/cushion. The umbrella served as my temporary bimini.

So how does one go about deciding to outfit one's boat? The pocketbook notwithstanding, each venture demands its unique requirements. But the basic vessel-human interface needs apply to all outings.

Let's start with the floorboards. Experiences with the use and maintenance of al types of floor boards - varnished teak, oiled teak, varnished or oiled mahogany, oiled cedar and painted cedar - has lead me to some practical conclusions. Varnishing and/or oiling of any woods is beautiful but labor intensive and unrelenting. Teak is best but still requires continual maintenance. For a boat like this where it will be gunkholed and beached in al kinds of environments, easy maintenance floorboards are the answer since your floorboards are gonna be sandy or muddy on the first day out.

View of cockpit and floor boards

I used good tight knot cedar fencing for the floorboards and painted them with Rustoleum Painter's T ouch Latex Primer Grey (a quick drying very tough flat finish). It can be just washed, repainted and used with a couple hours any day to keep fresh. The floorboards are mounted on cleats attached underneath port and starboard and along the center so the whole assembly can be easily removed. Since there are no holes anywhere in the hull, and the center of longitudinal gravity of the hull (and all the water will locate that gets inboard) is just at the aft side of the cabin bulkhead, this is where the hand operated bilge pump goes. Later a hinged flap was installed there to access the inside bottom of hull. Note the cockpit hatches P & S. They good sized for easy access and loading large items such as life- jackets and coolers. To make them water resistant extruded plastic hinges are epoxied on. Further aft are the cockpit seat cutouts P & S for the fuel tanks.

Before viewing what I used for portholes, lets have a look at the conformation of the cabin door assembly. I research other boats and plans debating long over what kind of cabin door and porthole arrangement arrangement would be best. I liked the cabin door and hatch arrangement I had on the 18' Baymaster Dory-like sloop I had. The hatch raised up on forward hinges (clam hatch) and when closed fit down over a drop board like hatch door. It was simple, very functional and easy to make secure with padlocks. The problem was that the drop hatch had to be removed completely for cabin entry - which is how we sailed the boat - so we could get in and out of the cabin easily. When removed the damn thing was always in the way, no matter where we put it. I wanted a helm position at the aft cabin bulkhead inside the cockpit, so the navigation instruments had to be at eye level there. The structure below shows how all these requirements were solved.

The structure left shows how all these equirements were solved.

The solution is a combination of swing out cabin doors that open over the cockpit seats, and a removable drop board bottom for full cabin access. The doors are permanently hinged, and when open swing over the seats and have some of the navigation instruments on back of the doors - making them easy to read when the doors are open. They are secured open with small bungee bal cords. The drop board slides out of its slot and is easily stored alongside the cockpit seat longitudinal bulkhead with bungee hook cords.

Now for the portholes. I wanted those fancy brass round opening ones, but couldn't justify the some $400 each cost. I would have had ~ $3200 in portholes! I did more research considering a variety of homemade openings, RV type windows, and other marine boat types. Then Mark Neuhaus, a Coot buddy who was building a Kayleigh sister ship, sent me the following picture of a boat he saw in Cathlemet, Washington, at the Wooden Boat Show there.

Cathlemet, Washington, at the Wooden Boat Show (Photo by Mark Neuhaus)

This is a bar running Pacific Ocean sports fishing version of the Kaleigh. It sports a planning hull configuration (option included with the building plans from Tracy O'Brien) with at least a 50 hp four cycle Honda. A beautiful rendition with lots of good ideas. Note the round portholes. Close inspection reveals screw in type portholes (available at a very reasonable price from Duckworks) installed backwards and trimmed with a matching ring on the outside.

So that's what I did.

The portholes

Inexpensive screw-in deck plates installed backwards so they will open in, and trimmed with matching outside rings make perfect portholes and are easy to install. The outside trim rings are made from patterning the deck plates and cutting them out of 3/8" double sided MDO. The MDO is very strong and finishes nicely. Note the clam shell object on the port side of the cabin toward the rear. This is an intake cabin vent with a butterfly air valve on the inside so it can be opened or closed. Its located above the area where my stove, cabin heater and portapotti are. The hand rails are al hand made from the same mahogany as the decks. Note the placement of al the hand rails. Very handy for messing with lines and ground tackle from outside the cockpit. The hand rails on top of the cabin at the cockpit make for bracing oneself entering and exiting the boat, and hanging in choppy conditions.

Close-up view of the cabin front lights and cabin top assembly.

he running light mount was fabricated by modifying slightly the bracket it came with. Al running lights are LED's which are very bright and the batteries seem to last forever. I have two-three led clam lights inside the cabin which are quite bright. They are placed at the fore and aft end of the sleeping bunk for reading. The round hump thing on the starboard cabin top is an air powered vent. I have an interchangeable stove, gas light and heater that mounts on propane cans (the green ones). I have a 4-D cell 5" folding fan I run when any of the propane devices are lit. With the cross draft of the intake vent and the cabin top exhaust vent the cabin stays cozy, I can cook and read. A CO detector is mounted inside the cabin in the area where my head is when I sleep. This al works very well, but there is still a lot of residue moisture inside the cabin roof in the morning. While it is safe now, I suspect the cabin could use more venting. The hatch is a one piece deal that folds up from the cockpit side and help open by a hatch spring (see Duckworks Hardware). The down angle of the hatch top is the same angle as the cabin top.

Returning to the aft cockpit view

This view shows how the cabin doors open out over the cockpit seats. Note that the cockpit seat hatches are vented; there are step in pads P & S up near the cabin where the boarder can hold onto the handrails on top of the cabin; the cup holders P & S near the cabin doors; the rear hatches P & S aft of the motor well are watertight with compression gaskets and the tops held down with small bal bungees; and, the motor well and motor board are inside the false transom (an integral structural piece). Outboard power is a 1976 6hp Evinrude completely gone through (its like a new engine) and runs like fine watch, very smooth and quiet. Fuel tankage are four 3 gallon pressure tanks (I usually only carry two). Back-up auxiliary is a 46# thrust Min-Kota electric trolling motor powered by a 125 amp hour deep cycle batter located in the cabin underneath the starboard side bunk just at the aft cabin bulkhead.

I really like the arrangement/accommodations of this boat. The cabin has a full 7'+ usable length inside; the cockpit has a full 6' usable length. The cabin easily accommodates two people overnight, and another two could sleep in the cockpit on seats. Plus there is ample stowage for the endless boating gear involved in safety, navigation, communications, ground tackle, camping gear, galley gear, groceries, water, toiletries etc.

Once while cruising our 18' Baymaster Sloop in the San Juan Islands under power during a bad weather/tidal day we got caught (another story) having to run at a shallow angle in the trough and peaks of severe swells. The boat, even though it was a semi V hull, pitched and squirreled and leaped and pounded and even flew at times followed by near broaching. Scared the holly crap out of us and the dog! Part of my worries during this unscheduled carnival ride, was that the outboard motor was mounted on a lifting bracket outboard of the transom. In these horrible conditions the motor alternated between loudly cavitating out of the water and near swamping by following waves. I swore I would never have another motor set up like that again.

Prior to getting the Baymaster we had a 21' Drascombe Longboat with a tombstone transom and the motor well tucked in forward of that. That was the most seaworthy arrangement I had ever seen. There wasn't the sliding, squirreling motion in a bad following sea situation or in the big troughs, and the motor was always protected from cavitating or being swamped.

As can be seen in the above photo the motor is safely enclosed and protected inside a false transom design just like the Longboat. The displacement version of the Kayleigh design incorporates a somewhat narrow transom for her beam that is well tucked up to a steeply rockered hull in the aft bottom sections.

Going back to the lines drawing shows this rockered and tucked profile.

The lines drawing best shows the highly rockered bottom and tucked in transom. Also note here the lines of the center of lateral resistance of the hull, where the deepest section of the floorboards are located immediately aft of the cabin bulkhead. This is where the bilge pump goes. I don't know how many gallons the cockpit can hold before breaching the 8' water barrier between the cockpit and the cabin, but it seem to be a large safety margin. This drawing also demonstrates the crash/floatation area at the bow; the floatation areas just aft of the bow and the floatation/stowage areas just aft P & S of the motor well. Some comfort issues can be explained here as well. The heights of the cabin bunks are 9" from the floor allowing for at least minimum comfort when sitting inside (as in galley activities), and allows good stowage underneath (as is in groceries, water bottles, fuel bottles etc). The heights of the cockpit seat tops are 11" which gives longer term seating comfort and great stowage room.

I'll get into more details of performance characteristics of this boat later. Here I wish to point out that while such a severely rockered bottom and narrow raked transom make for a relatively slow hull speed, it more than makes it up in sea handling and at anchor behavior. I have seen many boats moored in the open water on mooring buoys splashing and bashing themselves silly in headlong waves and wind. This hull behaves like a duck in pond happily and smoothly just rocking along. No worries! This is a typical Sharpie design that I have modified according to my needs and previous experience with the kind of waters I venture out in. Sharpies and banks type dories have a lot in common. The dories are historically planked crosswise on the bottom, have steeper raked and narrower transoms, higher and more extended bows. Sharpies historically have wider transoms, more rocker, lower profile bows, and lower freeboard at the cockpit. They are an empirically derived boat for turtle fishing in the Gulf Coast where its shallowness lends to choppy waters and steep waves. The low cockpit freeboard allowed the fishermen to work their traps over the side. The highly rockered bottom and tucked transom allowed them to work in choppy waters without getting pitched overboard. There have been evolutions and interpretations of both dories and sharpies. The sharpie design was the basis of the evolution of the modern racing yacht, according to Dave Gerr, in his book "The Nature of Boats."

Now lets have a look at how I arranged my navigation station.

My apologies for the poor quality of this photo, I tried to magnify the image and it pixelated. But you get the idea. On the top of the hatch are the two GPS devices. One is a Garmin Legend that keeps tracts and gives me current trip data such as an odometer, current speed, maximum speed, and total elapsed moving speed. I have the read set at max magnification so I can scan it at a glance. Just to the right this is the chart plotter. Below and on the right is my depth sounder.

The Garmin Legend is an economical GPS that keeps tracks with reciprocals, landmarks with routes saved from plotting on the computer via Garmin Mapsource. I got it on sale for $99. For an easy to read chart plotter I have the Lowrance XOG running NauticPath Marine Charts. The screen is much larger than any of the hand held's and is very clear. The unit combines Points of Interest data right on the marine chart so you can see what facilities (marinas, restaurants, services, etc) are in the immediate area of your position. It also tracks. I got it on sale for $160. So for $260 I have a complete chart plotting and GPS system with back up, al very easy to read. The NauticPath Charts are very distinct and colorful. The boat position is continually plotted in the readout chart graphics. Both of the GPS units are mounted on quick change mounts so they can be secured easily when leaving the boat. The depth sounder folds into the cabin on the door.

I found this system very useful in navigating the Columbia River on a three day trip last summer. Between the depth sounder and chart plotter which shows depth contours, I was able to navigate the river in the most efficient and safest way by following the depth contours along the shortest course possible, moving from side to side on the river along the channels and staying more or less in the eddies. Since it was in the spring with high water, I was also able to determine the safest overnight anchoring spots by navigating into hidden sloughs or high water lakes. I always have paper charts to refer as well. Using the electronic chart plotter along with the paper charts gives me a much better mental picture of what I am seeing with my eyes. Boating in unfamiliar waters it is often difficult to relate to what one sees on the chart to what one sees in the real.

Here are some example of the GPS system readouts.

This is from the Lowrance XOG Chart Plotter. It has a 3.5" screen (looks just like a car GPS). The location is Fred's Marina, where the anchor symbol is. The red dotted line is my track from heading up the Multinomah Channel on the Columbia River near Portland, Oregon. The screen is zoom and brightness adjustable, and is very clear. It is not a sunlight backlit screen like the Garmins, so a hooded lens shade is needed to read in bright sunlight. Al during my trip I had no difficulty in reading the screen. Control icons are available for finding local points of interest with full information of address, phone number, what's available and how to get there.

Hear is a shot of Sucia Island in the San Juans.

The blue "T" is an icon for tide and current tables that are kept up to date according to your GPS position. No matter where you are you can go to a simulator mode, find another port or anchorage you want, press "goto" or "find" or "map" and it brings up your route.

Here is the Garmin Legend set on the "Trip Computer" page in full magnification.

Having two GPS data sets in front of me saves taking my attention away from watching where I am actually going by having navigate the GPS screens.

That about covers the outfitting of my rendition of the Kayleigh Design, the "Marsh Hawk."

(Photos by Author unless otherwise noted)

Copyrighted 2010 by Terry Lesh

First E rights to Duckworks Magazine. Others by permission only



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