Saturday, 16 February 2008

Yacht "Blue Heron" Building the Tender


  • First you need to work out what size and design you want.

  • Then you need to get hold of some plans. Check out the link on the left for B and B yacht designs.

  • Then you have to work out how to read the plans and purchase the right materials.

  • If your plans are in Imperial and you learnt the metric system, be carefull about how you translate the recomended wood thickness.

  • Then you need to join the bits of ply, using an tapered overlaping join.

I think I went a bit over the top in terms of insuring the join was well pressed together (see photo), but got the desired result.




Don't take shortcuts. In these photos you can see I didn't follow the plans that well. The whole bow including the topsides should have been joined together first. I had a hell of a job getting the topsides to come together evenly.
To be fair on myself, the garage I had borrowed to do the project didn't have enough room to use the method in the plans, (see the link to the left).





But we got there eventually.
Thankyou for inventing the West System Epoxy and fillers for hiding less than perfect workmanship. Who cares about the extra weight.





Remember to tripple check the measurements for the dividing bulkheads where the hull is cut in half. My wee error was fortunately in my favour and worked out well. If the error had gone the other way, I'd not have got the bow section inside the aft section.



The work progressed steadilly over the winter months.
Mostly I worked on it after work in the evening but the weekends were good for achieving so much more. It took up all of my spare time for about four months.
In the weekends the crew would pop around for a while and give a hand with the sanding.
Then we got to the stage were we could go no further until the hull had been cut in half.


It was quite cerimonial at firsts with the whole crew making the first cut together
Like cutting a wedding cake.





When it had been cut in half, we were able to position the seating in the aft section
.









From then on it was lots of filling fairing and sanding. Not the most fun part of the project for me.









A Quick trip to Whangarei on the trailer to make use of my fathers

spray gun to apply the three shades of two pot paint system from Wairou Paints.













Then we Glued the closed cell foam onto the rubbing strake and covered it with Hypolon strap using Lancer Industies Two Pot contact adhesive.
I was amazed at how much time went into painting and finishing it. Probably about a third of the build time. In part due to the three colours that were each individually masked.








Back to Auckland for "Lawn Trials", which the kids informed me it passed with flying colours.
















Then came the official launching at Gulf Harbour Marina, Whangaparoa Peninsular, where "Blue Heron" was berthed.








It looked just fine sitting alongside.













Fitted in place for offshore passages in the nested position the 11 foot long boat only took up 6 foot deck space. Nice and snug.











True to the designers claims, it was fast. Hamish (9) and Dad (?) both won first prize at the Devonport Yacht club beach sports day rowing races, held at home bay Motutapu Island.











It is a favourite pastime for Hamish to go for a blat around the bay. Seen here with a five hourse Yamaha. It is super quick with the new eight hourse Yamaha.








It sails well. I used a full laser rig but have puchased a laser radial rig for when the wind is up a bit. It floats high and leaves most of the water outside the boat when righted after a capsize. It planes like a skiff when the wind is up, great fun.




And it tows really well, even in a chop.







We got what we wanted in a dinghy. It is a bit of a pain having to put it all together and stow it when the weather is expected to be less than ideal and we are passaging. This is nothing in comparrison to having a tender that is as versitile as our Spindrift 11 Nesting Dinghy. We named her "MyST" (My Spare Time).


































Friday, 15 February 2008

Yacht "Blue Heron" The Refit Starts - Winter 2003 - Electrical System

The 20 year old electrical system had been added onto over the years.


It wasn't until a really close look behind the scene was undertaken that the reason for the odd light flicker became apparent. Many of the old copper wires were joined with chocky blocks that had green copper ends held in place by the screws. The resistance created by the corrosion had created so much heat at some time in the past, the plastic surrounds of the chocky blocks had melted in some cases.

DC power has a reputation for creating fires if enough corrosion/resistance/heat is allowed to build up.

Some considerable thought and planning happens about this stage.


An Opportnity to build a new bookcase is too hard to resist.

What to do with the old bookcase hole. More thinking and planning required.

New BEP AC and DC Switchboards, not cheap but good value.

A cheap ICOM GPS that didn't last a year before it decided to retire.

At this stage, more than 300 meters of marine grade (tinned) 1.5mm and 2mm wire had been run through the 13 metre long boat, and vertually non of it vissible. It's amazing where it all goes.

Drilling holes in bulkheads is not a good feeling. At times the access points are virtually inaccessable. I knew I should have kept up those yoga classes.



Then there was the 50mm and 75mm marine grade wire that ran fore and aft from the generator and main engine through the BEP heavy duty Switches and blocking Diodes (located in the old battery box) to the new Victron AC 50 Amp battery charger and the new 440 Amp bank of six volt lead acid house batteries. And the new Lofrans Windlass on the foredeck, 2 x 10 meters away there and back.

Thanks World Power for doing all the heavy work and teaching me how to do the light stuff right.

If you are planning an electrical upgrade of this scale don't expect any change out of NZ$15,000.

Notice how I sacrificed a water tank (with a 100 litre bladder) for the new easy access house battery stowage. Getting easy access to maintain these expensive, easily abused batteries is important if you want to get your money's worth out of them.



The gauges left a few holes in the bulkhead that I left to the boat builder to sort out.
But thats another story. Stay posted.

































Yacht "Blue Heron" Getting to know the boats secrets.

We cruised on Blue Heron for three years on the New Zealand, North Island, NE coast when our various work commitments and projects alowed.












Here she is anchored off Russel in the Bay of Islands.
The teak woodwork looked great varnished, but we soon worked out it would be a lot of work to keep looking good on the outside .














We were really pleased with the way she handled, dispite having a baggy old mainsail. She is a relatively comfortable yacht offshore, although the confused sea around Cape Brett had the crew feeling a little queezy.

In a building breeze from the east, we sailed back from Great Barrier Island reaching speeds of 12 knots across the ground with a single reef in the main and poled out Headsail (Number 3) and wind peaking at 27 knots.















There where aspects of the boat we were not comfortable with in terms of ocean passaging that had to be put right. We had no passive income and felt the work should be done before we departed New Zealand.

The position of the gauges annoyed me for one and they told lies.

The Position of the Mainsheet winch was silly and it wasn't up to the job.
The echosounder beeped (a lot).










The list started ;

  • Investigate wet spots in Teak Deck. (More on this later)
  • Improve the dodger.
  • Replace the Standing Rigging
  • Replace all running Rigging
  • Replace the 20 year old foresail furler
  • Add a Trisail track to the mast
  • Improve the Spinnaker pole track system
  • Rebuild the water logged rudder
  • Treat Osmosis
  • Sort out the electrical systems
Of course the list grew as all yacht maintainance lists do. If you choose to do it right first time, there are no free lunches. If you choose to take short cuts, it's not long before those jobs present themselves again for your attention.