Hello and welcome!  This blog will be following the building of a very special boat.  It is a custom designed sailing yawl by Alfie Sanford and is being built by Pease Boatworks and Marine Railway in Chatham, MA starting this fall 2008.  I was very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work on such a project with my limited knowledge in boat building.  

The first week is over and it has proven how much you can get done in a short period of time.  Although we haven't actually starting building the boat, there are many steps required before in order to get things ready.  I will be working very closely with the master carpenter Brendan and Drew who work at the yard, then my friend Oliver will be joining us in December.  A small crew allows an intimate and consistent construction process.

Before I arrived in Chatham on Sunday night, the guys at the yard had already been busy cutting, planing, scarphing, and gluing the cedar planks for the boat.  They range from 26-44 feet.  On day one, Brendan and I went to the local marine store and shopped for lumber.  We bought 16  1x12x16's, 30 2x4x16s, and a sheet of plywood.  Our goal was to create a 40' by 9' box, perfectly accurate, square and level on all sides, that will support the building of the boat.  It should be noted that the boat will be built upside-down, and then flipped as we go along.  I cut 9' spacer boards that will go inside the box at intervals of 3 feet to add rigidity, strength, and form to the box.  The floor of the shop is neat in that it is poured concrete with timbers set in at floor level about every 4 feet.  When building the box, we would start at one end and go along the edge screwing it into the floor as we got it straightened.  Very cool!  In a couple hours it was finished and taking up most of the main shop.  Later we cut and installed the uprights that are of varying height to support the laser cut molds.    These were screwed onto the spacers.  Let me note here that in this stage, and all stages of boat building, it has become apparent to me that measurement accuracy, leveling, and pluming, is VERY important.  Once the uprights were installed, a tripod with a rotating laser head mount was brought into the box.  One of our starting points with the molds is to line them up to the actual waterline of the boat.  we set the laser to the waterline length and leveled it.  As the laser spun around, it hit every upright in the boat and all Brendan had to do was go around with a pen and mark them all.  The molds (which were cut by a laser and sent to the yard in puzzle pieces) were attached to the uprights.  Everyday we check the molds for level and plum accuracy.  If we are off by one tenth of a digital degree, then we will go so far as taking it apart and putting it back together to get it SPOT ON.  Lots of bracing is added to the uprights after the molds went up to add more rigidity to the overall structure...once we start building the boat ontop of the molds, there should be no movement.  
While we wait for the #2 mold to arrive (we never received it, so they are making it up for us), we scarph more cedar planks until we are out of cedar.    I had to put 4 pieces together to make one plank as we get into the "scraps" or smaller pieces of cedar.  Its always good to have extra.  

Since being here for just one week, I have realized a few things.  This is exactly what I want to be doing at this point in my life.  The guys at Pease are in it with there hearts and are true professionals.  At the end of this process, I will be glowing.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions.  I should be updating at the end of every week with more write ups and pictures.  I also set up a small digital camera in one of the rafters of the shop with a time-lapse movie setting, taking a picture an hour every day to show the progress.  I will put up small clips here to see how cool it is.  Expect a 3-5 minute video putting our entire 10 month project at super speed.



Anonymous said...

Connor...that sounds amazing - really awesome I am so happy for you!!!

what is your e-mail so I can send you my first few weeks in France...mine is Zespice33@yahoo.com!

Lots of love and good luck... btw, I still haven't started my blogspot, but I will soon hopefully :)



luckysitsinback said...

this will be nice to see on the bookshelves, in a form i love...enthusiastic learners, excellent reporting, classy photos...congratulations on finding serendipity!
i look forward to her launch and your next big adventure.