Friday, September 22, 2017

A Cosy Stateroom

We made another little push to finish up Autarkia's interior with some recent work on the 'stateroom' (sounds a little hoity-toity don't it?).

Anyway, some overhead shelving for books, clothing etc adds to the storage space.  I also put in an LED hidden light strip that illuminates the whole space nicely,  and to add to the illusion of size - a mirror across the bulkhead.  That will encourage us to stay slim and attractive :-)  For safety, I covered the back side of the mirror with Gorilla Tape so that should the mirror be broken (by virtue of me looking into it beyond a reasonable interval or otherwise) the shards will be restrained.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Ground Tackle

The windlass is a used Lofrans I got at a ship breaker.  I took it apart, regreased it and it is as good as new with a fresh coat of paint.  The bow roller is for a boat trailer and works well in this application as well.  The cleat and windlass are bolted to the deck with aluminum angle reinforcements on the under side.  The hole in the windlass where the chain feeds through is capped with a piece of plastic and some weatherstripping.  The anchor chain hangs from the cap and its weight holds the cap in place keeping the rainand spray out.

I have 150 feet of 3/8" chain.  Pretty heavy!  

Here is the cap held in place.

There is lots of room for the chain to pile.  The bitter end is shackled to the structure, but I do have a couple of hundred feet of rope as well if I need to extend it.  Those aluminum bars help reinforce the aluminum angles on the deck stringer, and carries some of the load down to the bottom stringers.  I have some rubber mats for the chain to pile on, and if I need to wipe up any water it will collect against a cross piece.  I intend to wash any mud off the chain as I stow it.  We'll see how easy (or not) it is to keep this area clean.

I have a Rocna 13 lb with chain and 200 feet of rode that is stowed in the propane box.  I intend to keep looking for more anchors to add to the collection but for now I think we are good for this area anyway.

Monday, September 4, 2017

A Visit From a Fellow Blogger and Sailing Barge Builder

It was a delight to have Dennis Donohue come by and visit us aboard Autarkia today!  Dennis is building a Triloboat and has been blogging it here:

Nice guy and definitely a kindred spirit!  So good to make a new friend...

An Improved Steering System For the Outboard

When I launched Autarkia last October it was under pressure and duress imposed by the city to get her off the property.  Hence some things were rushed and one of them was the steering system for the motor.  I had to be able to power her from the boat launch into the harbour a few hundred yards away.  So I rigged this very simple tiller bar to the motor that worked rather well.  Well enough in fact, that I used it once again to take her out and test out the off center board this summer.  What I noticed though, was I zigged sometimes instead of zagging.  You see, with this setup you moved the tiller bar left to go left and visa versa.  Makes sense when you think about it, but quite counter-intuitive for someone used to tiller steering with an outboard motor or a rudder.  Another drawback was that you couldn't let go without it wanting to change course.

Here is the original setup.   the tiller bar was hinged at the edge of the deck and in the pic the motor is turned all the way for a right turn, with the top of the tiller bar pushed all the way to the right.  The linkage to the motor was with some aluminum bar and a ball end.

So I finally pulled that out a couple of weeks ago and replaced it with this:

The steering shaft is 5/8" keyway bar stock I got at Princess Auto, along with two bearing blocks; one for the top and one to go through the deck.  The upper support was made with some ABS plastic I had, mounted and bedded to the cabin bulkhead with aluminum angle and SS bolts.  I parceled and served the shaft with tarred seine line and will varnish it.  Also I have yet to make a a boot for the bottom end to protect the bearing.

I made the steering crank with some steel bar stock and had it welded to a weld-on hub - also from Princess Auto.  The knob was cut out from a 3/4" piece of HDPE plastic I had.  I simply used a hole saw to get the round shape.  I chucked it into a dril and sanded the edge a bit.  It now spins on a 1/4" SS bolt.

The bottom end of the shaft has two more weld-on hubs spaced a couple of inches apart, over which I was able to very snugly fit a piece of heater hose.  It made a dandy drum.  Poly rope and bearinged  garage door pulleys complete the arrangement.  Since the photo was taken I tweaked the placement of two of the guide pulleys.  That piece of white PVC pipe is a tunnel for the fuel line running from the deck box housing the tank down to the motor.  I store no flammable liquids inside the boat.

Here is the starboard side.  The burlap bags are filled with 2x4 cutoffs for the wood stove.

I fed the rope through pex pipe fittings in the sides of the motor well and bedded them in with polyurethane caulking.  Also, I smeared lithium grease on the rope where it passes through the fairleads.

I haven't taken her out yet, but have run her tied to the dock at all power settings.  The motor turns from lock to lock with a little over two turns of the crank.  It is as smooth as butter.  The motor also stays put when you let go.  I am quite happy with it and when it breaks it will be easy and fast to fix.

The Mate approves!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Pondering the Post-Apocalyptic and Whether I Will Need Bridge Swings

I have finally abandoned a requirement I imposed upon myself from the very beginning of the Autarkia project.  And that was to have a mast that can fold down from a tabernacle, so that I could easily get in under the local bridges.

This stemmed from fears of a post-apocalyptic Lower Mainland BC, where in this chaos - if bridge swings were still possible at all - they would be controlled by trolls and overlords - requiring me, in the dark of night, to stealthily sneak under.

There!  I now admit that I have gone overboard in a train of thought mostly born and fed by reading to much Dmitry Orlov, James Howard Kunstler, and others.   No, I am not a doomer.

That said, I still believe that we are in for a heap of trouble nonetheless that will include predominantly a financial crisis.  I predict though, that most infrastructures (including those involved in transport) will remain intact and functional.  So, the bridges will still swing.

So to move on with getting Autarkia a sailing rig, I intend to have her masted at least this year.  I am presently making inquiries and getting quotes for a steel tube, and the cost of getting it hot dipped galvanized.

Details to come....

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Off Center Board Installed and First Test

Yesterday, My son Wesley and I brought the board down to the boat.  It is quite heavy, and the two of us huffed and puffed a fair bit to get it from the pickup truck, up and over the dyke and down the ramps to the dock.

I had previously turned the boat around so that the starboard side was against the dock so we could set the board in place.

Since the board, despite the weight, has a fair bit of buoyancy, it was not too difficult to get the bolt through the hole in the hull.  I smeared everything with lithium grease.  Once the nuts and washers were in place it was easy to push the board under and haul it down vertical with the line tied through a hole in the leading edge at the bottom.  There is a similar line on the trailing edge to use as an uphaul.

The bolt hole is reinforced with some angle steel lag-bolted to the stringer.  The only load on this fitting is the tension on the bolt.  The board bears against the gunwale at the top, and at the chine at the bottom.  Both are very beefy structures.  With the bolt snugged down tightly the board is very stiffly held in place.  Yet, I believe that it will 'give' sufficiently should it collide with an obstruction.

After the install Wesley and I took her out for a little test outside of the harbour.  Compared to when we brought her in last October, the boat was much easier to handle.  At speed, she turns on a dime without skidding at all!  Sharp turns to starboard have avery tight radius that is only slightly larger turning to port. Nonetheless, she is a heavy boat and there is a some delay in her response.

We will take her out again soon, and document it with lots of pics and maybe some video in an upcoming post.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

More on the Off Center Board

Work on the board continues albeit in bits and bites.  It has been one of those jobs that has dragged on since starting last winter.  Just as a recap, and so you don't have to refer to older posts, Autarkia's off center board will be a single board, as opposed to lee boards that wing out, thereby needing one on each side for either tack.  This board will bear the lateral loads in either direction for either tack.

Because I had a lot of structural fir 2 by 4s I decided to laminate the board from those.

I glued them up with PL premium and used epoxied deck screws to hold them all together.  The board overall was 8 feet long and 2 feet wide.

I achieved the foil shape by rough shaping each individual piece with the table saw, and once glued up final shaping with a power plane and belt sander.

For a leading edge, and for ballast, I epoxied in a length of 1-1/2 inch mild steel bar stock.

I didn't do anything else to it until recently so here is where we pick up.

I fiberglassed the whole thing with epoxy and 10 oz cloth, doubling on the edges.  I made a steel bearing plate for the outboard side, epoxied it in along with galvanized lag bolts, coated the whole thing with more epoxy and painted it.  The pivot bolt is 3/4 inch diameter.

I am in the process of painting it now.

Here is how it will mount to the starboard side of the boat.

Once I have made a final determination of where exactly along the side the board will be mounted, I will install the reinforcement on the inside of the hull.  That consists of 3" by 3/16" steel angle about a foot long, that will be through bolted to the paired 2 by fours under it.  The pivot bolt I already have installed on the board was longer than I needed, so I will make spacers with some HDPE I have.

Since The upper part of the board will bear against the rub rail I will make a bearing plate from some more HDPE that I will fasten to the rub rail with bedding and counter sunk screws.  The lower part of the board that bears against the chine will be made with some Teflon I have, and will be bolted to the board itself.

I will make some spacers from HDPE to go between the board and the hull.  When I drill the hole through the hull, I'll coat it with epoxy.

The board has holes drilled and coated on the leading and trailing edges at the bottom to accept lift and downhaul lines.

If I make a rudder, I will likely use the same technique, although I'm going to experiment with a steering oar first.

And now for something completely different - our new fridge!

We bought this fridge from Costco online.  It is Canadian made, runs on 12DC and when running typically consumes about 33 watts.  It has two compartments - one larger and one smaller (compressor is underneath) for a total of 2.4 cubic feet.  Either compartment can be run as a fridge or a freezer or both as one or the other.  We've had it in for a week now, and the solar panels and deep cycle battery are doing just fine with it.  And we haven't had that much sun!

Lorri is pleased

Monday, June 19, 2017

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Back to Junk Again!

Here is a very low aspect junk sail for Autarkia.  The mast - a single section of 5 inch Schedule 40 aluminum pipe (comes in lengths of 20') extends about 20' above the waterline.  This gets me under most bridges except for during freshet, when we won't go out anyway.  It is a small sail for the size of the boat.  Only 218 square feet, but it will be easy to sew up and cheap to make.  And I don't have to worry about a tabernacle or stays.   Autarkia will be under-powered under sail, however as a motorsailer she should do ok.  Going downwind or on a reach she'll poop along, and if I get a few knots then we'll be happy - for now.

I have to make a decision soon because I'm just about ready to install the off-centerboard.  The placement depends on the sail I'll use and its center of effort.  Also, I am going to experiment with a steering oar that I can deploy or stow as required, and also fix in place as one would pin a tiller.  The advantage is there is no issue in shallow water with nothing to hit or hang up on the bottom, and it may also function as a Yuloh.  More on that in a later post.

The sail by the way is a traditional fan shape.  According to Hasler and McLeod it should furl nicely as the boom, yard and battens all point to roughly the same spot.  I can likely get away without any winches, and by using a double sheeting system can keep most of the lines and mess forward.

Fickle me.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Autarkia as a Gundalow

Well, truth be told, we are nearing the limit of our budget to build Autarkia.  However the good news is that she is mostly built, mostly fitted out, and once I install the off center board within the next short while she will be completely functional as a motor cruiser.

But the dream has been to sail her.

And over the past year and a half I have kicked around, researched and have agonized over a sailing rig for her.

The criteria have been specific in one case, and loose and flexible in others.  For example, we have always wanted to get under the bridges on the Fraser and Harrison Rivers.  The spars and rig must be dippable and easily done so by two people in their sixties and ,alas, not getting younger.  But in all other areas, we are quite willing to compromise.

Autarkia is based in Mission Harbour here on the Fraser.  We don't see that changing any time soon.  The Fraser is a tidal river and depending on the time of year can even flow a little backwards on the incoming tide.  During freshet though (the time of this writing) she flows along at up to 5 knots or so.  The tug towing operators here (log booms and gravel barges mostly) take full advantage of what the river is doing at any particular time.

And that is exactly what all of the traditional sailing barges around the world have done.

Take for example the Gundalows that used to operate in the Piscataqua Region of Maine.  These flat bottomed cargo carriers would follow the tide up and down the river, augmenting the tidal flow and providing control with a lateen sail - an ancient and proven rig.

What makes this rig desirable functionally for us, is that we can use a very short mast (say 16' from the waterline) that I can easily build up from fir lumber that is readily and economically available.  I can hoist a long yard (say 35 to 40 feet in length) at the beginning of the season and leave it there, hauling down the high tip as required to get under the bridges.  I can also build that yard from fir lumber, and counter-weight it with lead so that it is easy to do so.

The other interesting and economical thing we can do is hank on a genoa for a sail.  It should be relatively easy to find a used one for a reasonable cost, and maybe have a nicer one made later on.  In any case it will not be something strange and difficult for sail-makers to quote on.

Here is a sketch of Autarkia with a lateen rig, using a genoa with a luff of 34', leech 30',7" and a foot of 21'.  The sail winds up being about 315 sq.ft.

No, she won't be a rocket at all.  But we have tidal flow here and an engine.  Facing the truth once more we know that we are now at a stage of life where the time to learn  to cross oceans or venturing dangerous waters is behind us.  Being realistic about how and where we will enjoy Autarkia - our local waters - and taking into account our present skill set with regard to sailing, I think we may be on the right track.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Next Project

I finally made the deck box covers.  I used plastic composite fascia boards from Rona.  They are 1/2" thick and 7"wide. I joined them together with 3/4" aluminum angle and SS nuts and bolts.  Now we can sit outside!

My next project is going to be a doghouse for the companionway.  With all the rain we've had so far this year, it has been quite apparent that we need one!  Every trip in or out of the boat so far has meant rain getting in when we open the hatch.

I intend to make it with plywood, and paint it up with the house colour.  I will make the door with 3/8" or 1/2" tinted Plexiglas framed up with aluminum.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Propane System

I finally built the deck boxes that house the propane tanks, fuel tank, gas cans, kerosene and other flammables, as well as extra storage for line, stern anchor etc.

I made them from high density polyethylene and abs plastic, fastened together with aluminum extrusion and SS fasteners.  They are screwed down to the deck and bedded with polyurethane caulking.

So just this evening I completed the whole propane installation consisting of a Dickinson BBQ and a Dickinson cooktop.  Each has its own tank, with the tank feeding the cooktop inside via a 12v solenoid valve so that the propane can be safely shut off so as not to accumulate in the hull should a leak occur.  The switch that operates the solenoid has a very bright red LED indicator so as to remind the chef to turn it off after use.

 The boxes are cut out at the bottom so any accumulated heavier-than-air gases drain overboard.  The hose leading from the solenoid goes through the deck via a galvanized nipple and flange screwed and bedded to the deck.  The hose and wire are sealed with electrician's duct seal putty to the top of the nipple.

The switches are yet to be labeled.  The far right one turns the gas on and off.  The far left is the galley light.  Beside it is the momentary contact water pump switch.

Hinged covers yet to be made