Monday, September 04, 2006

Sail, grommets, painting trim...

I had to be away for some training last week, so the boat was on hold for that time. However, my wife Leslie was fast at work sewing the sail, and by Wednesday she had the entire thing done! Which is really a very incredible fete! She's got some sore fingers to show for it, but it's really a thing of beauty as you'll see in a few moments.

The next step in preparing the sail for rigging is to give it some shape. As you may have noticed if you've ever seen a sailboat in action, a sail typically has some shape to it as the wind fills it. In other words, when viewed from the side, a wind-filled sail is not flat, but has a bow in it. I don't know about you, but I had never given any thought to HOW a sail got this shape, until it was time to try to make it happen! OK, now I'm a little nervous...

It turns out that a sail gets it's shape by cutting two of the edges of the sail in a curve, rather than straight! According to the plans, our sail has 5" of "roach" along BOTH the "foot" of the sail (the bottom), and the "head" of the sail (the leading edge of the sail). This means that we had to somehow draw a curved line from the middle of the edge of the sail to a point 5"down from the corner on each end. It's tricky to do, and unfortunately I took no pics of the process. Suffice it to say that I used a narrow 7 foot long piece of 1/4" plywood, and bent it in a 5" deep curve, to create the edge for marking. Below you'll see how the roach came out.

After cutting the rounded edges of the sail, it was time to install the grommets. If you are like me, and have never installed grommets, you need to know that it takes a special tool to do so! Here you see the two sides of a grommet, and the two pieces of a grommet tool.

Now I've loaded the two sides of the grommet into the two parts of the tool... and here's the hammer I used to pound them into shape.
As you can see, I doubled the sail material for strength, and installed the grommets about 1" from the edges of the sail...
and about 15" apart.
And here you can see the spacing of the grommets... and if you look along the left edge of the sail, I think you can see the rounded edge... or the "roach" of the sail... which, God willing, will take on a smooth bowwhen it catches the breezes and propels our boat!
Next it was time to paint the trim. I haven't shown you here, but since my last post, we put two full coats of white paint on every surface of the boat. We decided to add some interest to the boring white paint by adding a little dark blue trim. You can see here we have chosen to use the blue on the sail arms, the mast, the rudder assembly and the leeboard.
Again, I neglected to take pictures of some steps in the process. The only part of the hull that is getting blue trim are the gunnels, quarterknees and breasthook. I started with the boat bottom-side up... taped off the gunnels... and put two coats on the part I could see. Now I have tipped the boat over, and have taped off the gunnel to create a straight line along the inside edge.
Painting the breasthook... and the front, top of the gunnel.
Here you can see the side of the gunnel, already painting, and the top just starting to get a coat.
Abracadabra! Using the miracle of modern technology... in an instant, two coats have been applied, the tape is off... and the boat is trimmed in blue! This quarterknee came out nice, I think.
A side view... not bad lines, if I say so myself!
A view looking down the length of the boat from the front...And finally, from 45 degrees behind. I think it's ready for hardware... and a launch this week! Take a good look at those clean white surfaces... something tells me it's not gonna stay quite this clean for long once we start climbing in and out! And to think, it all started with this!

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