Airex in the Sun

I forget now what the heat distortion temperature of Airex core is. I used to know off top of my head. I did always know it was lower than a cross linked pvc and slightly lower than SEN core. So when I set about heat bending some Airex window stops on the lander, I was surprised that this was all I could get to bend. It was a 100F day and I set the pieces in dark sand that was reading 155F. I thought just a little extra boost from a hair dryer was all I needed. No way. And this was with using weight.


KHSD Atlantic Rowboats 2012

Two competing teams used my F40 cat hulls that year. One was a tri and this one was a cat.  This is a video about David’s cat.

That crack in the bow was alarming.  Clearly no triaxial nor uni glass was used.  They declined laminate design. 

I was surprised how heavy and low tech the items like rudders or hatches were on these rowing multis.  I was retained to do a design for a trimaran for ’13 but Roy skipped out without paying, so the design sits.




The multihull sailor and philosopher Mark Evans used to remark that spiders will move into epoxy boats immediately, but never onto polyester boats.
I’m building the spaceship like a boat, with epoxy.  This large alpha arachnid in the lunar lander was warning me to back off.  It was his  house now.  There must be human health implications.


Kelsall Invite

I see Derek Kelsall has sent out a mass emailing, inviting me to his workshop.  I got two of  them, I guess in case I missed it.  Says he will increase my understanding.  I do understand it.  I had forgotten that I had been doing CM about a decade before KSS started  and its pretty similar to CM but with bits cut out of the bilge.

The trick as I see it is to start with curved panels; instead of bending flat panels into a curve.  The other trick is to resolve the compression along the keel.  That way you don’t have to cut bits and then laminate over the cut bits, and next fair that work.  I think I sorted that compression out and will build one that way as soon as I get this spaceship done.

I hope I’m still working the problems like Derek is when I get to his age.


Chris came through. The previously mentioned cat was actually named Jimmy, it was actually 60′, and the shape was not a tetrahedron but a flattened pyramid, as I forgot that I described it as correctly, years ago.





Ten Feet From Stardom

Back when I was wowing about a $100,000 design fee for a 52′ cat, the fellow who calls himself Ocean Cruiser correctly noted that if I were famous I could get those fees. Since I’m not, deal with it. He is right. And its not the first time I have been put in my place, or replaced by the famous designers.

It was back in the end of ’91 that I got a commission to design a 61′ trimaran.  It had all the makings of being amazing.  It was the first design that I had done in 3D CADD.  It had complicated organic NURB surfaces that needed to be trimmed to each other in 3D to understand how they worked.  Nobody was doing that back then.  Paul Steinart, Phd did the FEA work.  Reichard helped with laminates.  It was going to be amazing.  It would be light and quick, with only twin outboard power.  But the builders convinced the owner that I was a nobody, and if the project was to get the fame it needed, he needed a famous designer.  I hear it might have happened again.  Maybe some Alastra fame effect.


About the same time I did schematic design on a 40’something cat with undstayed mast.  I proposed that it have no main beam, but that the cabin slope 4 ways down like a tetrahedron to the decks.  It seemed to work.  I recall the owner was so nice and was from far away.  When Ricco visited, he told me he liked the design, but he needed a famous designer.  He hired Nigel.  I was pleased to later see that it was built, in NZ as I recall,  exactly like I proposed it.  I have not found pictures of it yet.  It had a name like Joseph or something, and was painted purple or chartruse or something.

My point is I understand the fame thing and agree that I just have to keep working and live without it.  No fame here.  Never will be.  Just working the problems.

Crashed Rudder-Note To Future Self

I see that my 53/57 cruising catamaran now in the South Pacific, the Lil Explorers, has trashed a rudder.  I understand they have done a repair by now.  It looks in the picture like it absorbed a lot of kinetic energy.  Note to future self.  Keep the board down deeper than the rudder at all times.  Its much easier to fix.

That was a 3″ OD shaft with  .75″ wall on the plans.  It moved.  You wonder why I shake my head at those other designers who think 1/8″ wall is fine?  My boats are designed  to dry out on a tide flat with no rudder damage.

blasted rudderExplorer



Hot Weather Tip

Nobody should build a boat outdoors. Do what I say, not what I do, or have done.
As in the picture, and its not really a boat, just built like one, notice the bog is dark. I use the slowest hardner in hot weather, but add graphite powder to make it dark grey or even black. That enhances a solar cure so I can be sure it will be sandable the next day. That also helps on cold days with a heat lamp.

Notice how the bog bits get darker as I get closer to completion.