Moving Sites for New Scamp Build

So as not to confuse the troops, I have decided to create a new build blog for my next Scamp build.  I will not move the last few posts (cuz I’m not smart enough to know how), but will add all future build blog posts here.

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Making the Mast Spars

This step looks impressive and is impressive from the casual observer, but really it’s not that complicated.  Just take your time and follow the right sequencing.

And then when something goes wrong…take a deep breath and figure out how to fix it.  Boat building is really about problem solving, like life and relationships in our life.  The key is in learning how to fix it.

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Practice on scraps to get the Bird’s Mouth cut adjusted correctly.  Notice the top cut is too long and the bottom cut is a tad too short (you can see the sliver of wood left in the bottom of the V in you look carefully).

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The cut length is good, but the angle needs to be narrowed a bit.  I narrowed the cut from 45 deg. to 44 deg.  and it fit perfectly.

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Did I mention obstacles?  This spar broke right over a knot in the wood.  I’m grateful it broke now as opposed to later in the build.  I hardly noticed the knot, but while flexing the spars, I heard the wood begin to break.  This sound lead me to the problem.  With a little pressure it gave way.

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And, my replacement Spruce stock contained a split right down the center of the board.  Now what?  Head scratching…

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So, I had to open up my own bag of tricks.  With the left over broken pieces in my hands, I decided to scarf them to produce a full length stave.  Now it’s long enough and I’ve used up the left overs.

Once cured, I’ll taper the staves to spec and get ready for epoxy.

It Begins Again…Well, Maybe

After thinking long and hard about building another Scamp, I’ve decided to take the first step.

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But, why build another Scamp?

Simply stated, I can’t find another small sailboat I like better.  Scamp has so much going for it.  I want to see if I can improve from my first build.

Are you just going to build it and then get disgruntled and sell it like last time?

I sure hope not.  My goal is to build another boat and then spend time getting to know her and teaching my kids to sail.  I really want to hold this one.

Why not just buy VG Doug Fir for the spars?

Sitka Spruce is approximately 15% lighter than Doug Fir and not much money.  In fact the difference between buying 38 board feet of Doug Fir and Sitka was less than $60.  With this small price differential, Spruce becomes the clear winner.  I want the mast as light as I can get it.  Yet, I’m not tempted by carbon fiber, I like wood.

So does this mean I’m committing to build another Scamp?

Not exactly.  I’m much more comfortable stating I’m committing to building the spars.  I’ll take it that far and see how I feel.  I’ve lost interest before in projects and found them laying around the corner of the wood shop, so I’m taking this opportunity one step at a time.  I’ll build the spars and if that goes well, I’ll consider moving toward the foils.  I’m all about baby steps and small commitments.  Remember, “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass”.

How will I build my spars differently from last time?

  1. 15% lighter, according to internet wood species data.
  2. More hand planing of the mast.  Last time I left it quite chunky  This time I will remove more material, rendering the mast even lighter.
  3. I’ll use a line to secure the block at the top of the mast as opposed to hard attachment, like Jason did with Argo.
  4. I plan to orient the mast block on the aft side of the mast for better halyard alignment (still playing with this).
  5. I’ll take the time to add leather wraps to all contact points.
  6. I’ll slightly oversize the boom (vertically).
  7. I’ll white tip all spar ends for a more historic look.

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Parting shot…like my new hair cut?

This is my dad, who I love very much.  He is 79 years old and can still out work me.  We made the SLC trip together to pick up the spruce.  We had a lot of time to discuss building ideas.  He’s a great designer and engineer.  It’s a huge blessing to have him in my life.  Now let’s fire up the planer and make some wood chips.

Dreaming of Another Scamp

As I sit in my den, looking out toward the South on a cold Idaho blustery February afternoon, my thoughts are with a boat called Scamp.  I thought you already built and sold a Scamp, my mind says.  Well, yes that’s true…but we’re just being honest and yes, my thoughts are with yet another Scamp.  Why another one…I did that once.  Well, I guess because I want another one and long to go sailing again.  But, wasn’t it sort of a pain in the butt?  Yes.  Wasn’t it frustrating to show up at the lake and have too much or too little wind?  Yes.  Wasn’t it frustrating to sort out all the lines and unwrap the lazy jacks from my neck?  Yes.  So, why do it?  Because there is just something about sailing that I can’t seem to shake.  It’s more poetry that perfection, more rhythm that efficiency, more authentic than artificial.  It’s like stepping back in time 2000 years.  A boat you build from your own hand, sail with the wind and howl at the moon.  Who doesn’t want to do that?  I do.  Life is too planned, too stiff, too certain, too predictable.  Let’s have some adventure!  Let’s build another boat.

Why not Long Steps?  It would be easier to row, easier to self steer and it looks really cool.  Long Steps is undoubtably a really neat boat, but I feel it’s too long and too complicated for me.  I have a small lake 1/2 mile from my house where I plan to do most of my sea trials.  It’s only 1 mile around the lake, hence very small.  Yet, at this small little insignificant lake, I could learn a lot about sailing and a Scamp would fit perfectly on this small lake.  Rigging time would be less than a Long Steps and frankly, I just don’t want to allocate the time to build and take the room to store Long Steps.  Remember, I now have a Skiff America 20 residing in my garage.

Yes, I really want the simplest, easiest, most seaworthy competent little sailboat known to man.  All these requests point directly at a Scamp.  It’ll be complicated enough, trust me.

I’ve already indicated on this blog what I would do differently next time.  No sense in reiterating that again here.  Let’s just keep it a dreamy feeling at this point.  Nothing concrete or etched in stone, just a desire to build another neat little sailboat.

My wife asked me to wait for 1-2 years before building another boat, but I learned there’s wiggle room.  What does that mean…wiggle room?  Well, she also said, last weekend, after a great dinner and date, that I could spend my allowance on anything I wanted.  Allowances are non negotiable, unrestricted funds.  So, if by chance, I wanted to build a mast out of Sitka Spruce, the funds are there and waiting.  Wow…that’s sort of exciting.  To build another mast.  And, this time out of Sitka Spruce.

The real question now is, would I rather build another Scamp or get a small teardrop trailer to pull on jeep rides through the mountains?  Remember, I live in Idaho.   Both items won’t fit in my garage.  So, it’ll come down to one or the other.

If I commit to attend annual Scamp rallies and see new sights with a Scamp, the Scamp would probably win out.  A boat can take you to amazing places and as my motto says,
“Never Stop Exploring”

Why not build one with me?  I’ll blog about each and every step.  You build one at your house, I’ll build one at mine.  Then some day we’ll sail together.  Randy, are you in?  

Yard Keeper Idea

I noticed when raising the sail on Shackleton, there seemed to be a lot of internal resistance in the halyard.  I think this resistance was coming from the halyard loop I tied around the mast to tend the yard.  In thinking through this setup, I’ve come up with another idea that might have merit.

Take a look at the drawing below:

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Might this work to:

  1. Tend the yard by keeping it close to the mast, especially when reefed?
  2. Keep the halyard running freely up the mast, lowering line resistance?
  3. Keep the yard/sail freely coming down the mast when reefing or lowering?
  4. Tend a loose halyard from blowing away from the mast when attaching to the yard

It’s just an idea, but one that may prove helpful.  What do you think?  This could be built by laminating two layers of 3/4″ plywood together and rounding all the edges.  Whatever is needed for required strength.  

Wood Choice for Spars

When I built Shackleton, I used VG Doug Fir for all the spars.  If I build another Scamp, I’m considering splurging for Sitka Spruce.  At double the cost, you might wonder why anyone would choose Sitka Spruce, at least I did.  Is it just tradition or are there beneficial characteristics to using Spruce over Doug Fir?  And, are these benefits real or perceived?

Here’s what I’ve learned:  Both woods are light, strong and very suitable for spar application.  However, Sitka Spruce is 18% lighter than VG Doug Fir per unit volume. Is this significant?  Consider this:  If your mast weighs 20 lb. while using VG Doug Fir, that same mast would weigh 16.4 lb. if you used Sitka Spruce.  To me this is very significant.  Anytime you can reduce weight aloft, you should, especially on a sailboat.  Think of the lever arm extending up into the sky that the mast represents.  A little weight at the top end will have significant effect due to it’s height and leverage.  The lighter weight benefit becomes even more significant if you make the yard out of Spruce, after all, it’s higher than the mast.

The lighter weight will also make stepping the mast easier, and raising the sail.

For these reasons, I’m leaning toward Sitka Spruce.  Another note on VG Doug Fir:  I had trouble routing VG Doug Fir on my last build.  The wood splintered badly and the tendency to splinter seemed unavoidable.  In searching the internet, I found this is a very real problem unique to VG Doug Fir.  My experience mirrored those found on wood working forums.

So, there you have it:  VG Doug Fir at $4.80/ft or Sitka Spruce at $7.93/ft?  I’m going Sitka all the way.

 

 

Voyaging Storage Strategies

Since we’re on this subject, I couldn’t help but bust out another scenario and discussion.

First the criteria:  Supplies for 2 sailors on a 5 day voyage.

I’m thinking my storage criteria for a second Scamp build would be to accommodate a weeks worth of provisions.  Anything longer than that would be a one off with possible resupply along the way.  With that in mind, how much storage would this require?  How much water would this require?  I believe the Texas 200, or any outdoor pursuit recommends 1/2 gallon/person/day.  Let’s use these numbers as we plan our one week voyage.  The math comes out to 5-7 gallons of fresh water…which really isn’t that big a deal.  In fact, when Preston and I sailed off Port Townsend we did just this.  We strapped a 5 gallon jug up under the veranda.  We never came close to using all the water, but it felt good knowing we had plenty.

Clothing for a 5 day voyage wouldn’t take much room.  Food a little more, but not bad.

What I’m getting at is this:

Might one have ample storage capacity by:

  1. using the front bow area for clothing, sleeping bags, pads and tent
  2. using the lazarette for anchors, line, beach rollers, block and tackle and wet clothing
  3. using 2 dry bags under the veranda (one lashed to each side) for clothing and food
  4. using  a 5 gallon jug of water strapped to the center line under the veranda
  5. using two 6″ round hatches installed in the front face of the seats (under the veranda) for first aid kit, flares, emergency items, radio, camera gear and cook kit

If this is sufficient, one would not need to cut any holes (other than small ventilation ports) into the seats or the sole of the boat.  Am I crazy or on to something?  I’d have to think this through over a period of time, cuz often I get carried away to excess with any good new idea.