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Instrument Panel and Rudder Work

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Decisions, Electrical, Epoxy, Modifications, Sanding, Tools

I have worked on the Skerry over the last few days but neglected to make post about my progress.   This post will hopefully highlight the things I did.

1) Cut some wooden blocks to mount under the seats at the forward and aft frame.  This blocks will be screwed to the frames and hull.  I will install u-bolts through them to allow the boat to be lifted at four point.  I plan to lift the boat out of the water using a davit on my dock.

2) I epoxied the center seat, waited for it to dry, then sanded all the seats.  They are ready for installation in the hull.

3) I prepared the rudder yoke by sanding, drilling out the tiller connection hole and filling with thickened epoxy, and covered the yoke with epoxy.

4) The rudder half that was fitted for the spacers in my last post was routed to allow for the motor cabling to pass through it.  The rudder yoke also has a channel on its underside for the cabling to run to the tiller.

5) I started building the tiller connection / speed control.  The speed control mechanism is directly from the minn-kota trolling motor.  It has 2 wires that run to the battery and 4 that run to the motor.  I connected the wires to it and covered the connections with liquid electrical tape.  Next, I built a small piece of wood, drilled a hole in it, and filled it with thickened epoxy.  This will then be re-drilled along with the yoke to form the connection to the rudder.  The wood piece was connected to the speed mechanism with lots of thickened epoxy.  This will soon be built up and faired with microballoon thickened epoxy.

6) I opened up the instrument panel that I built a few days ago for all the components.  They include a power switch, radio with usb connection, battery meter, on-board charger inlet, and cigarette lighter style power adapter.  Neat plastic latches that will allow the panel to clip into place are also installed.  After I made sure everything fit, I started coating the panel with epoxy.

7) I built a second blank instrument panel for use without all the electrical components.  This was made so that I can remove the battery and all the electronics to use the boat when I don’t want all the extras.  This panel was made by tracing the existing panel onto the original seat which I no longer have a use for.

8) I coated the rudder and dagger board with Interlux Pre-Kote Marine Primer.

Unfortunately I don’t have pictures off all this stuff, but you should get a pretty good idea of what I did by reading.

Time Spent: 6.5 Hours

Total Time In Build: 133.0 Hours

Making a Larger Center Seat

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Decisions, Modifications, Tools, Woodworking

Because I have chosen to add an electrical system to the Skerry, I needed to make a place for the battery.  I chose to install it under the center seat, right behind the center frame.  The battery stuck out a little bit, so I elected to make a new seat the extended 3 more inches to stern.  I traced the original seat, adding the portion I needed, then cut it with my jig saw.  I will use the original seat to cut a panel that fits vertically under the new seat.  This removable panel will house the electronics and hide the battery.

Time Spent: 1.0 Hours

Total Time In Build: 116.0 Hours

Trolling Motor Quick Disconnect

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Auxiliary Propulsion, Decisions, Modifications, Tools, Woodworking

This afternoon I glued all the rail spacers into place.  While waiting for them to cure, I did a little work on the aft breasthook.  I modified it to accept the inwale and also to install a quick disconnect for the trolling motor wiring.  I decided to have a quick disconnect so that I could remove the trolling motor / rudder for trailering and / or use the sail-only rudder which I plan to build.  A Japanese saw and a 1-1/8″ hole cutter was used to modify the breasthook. As you can see in the pictures, the power wires will run under the breasthook, then inside the rail to the center frame where they will connect with the battery.  In the second picture you can see how the plug connects the breasthook power to the tiller / speed control.

Time Spent: 2.0 Hours

Total Time In Build: 86.0 Hours

Custom Electric Rudder – More Shaping

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Auxiliary Propulsion, Decisions, Epoxy, Modifications

I just finished putting on a second layer of epoxy thickened with microballoons onto the rudder to fair the trolling motor.  The clamped down paint stirrer is compressing the trolling motor cable run and epoxy into the channel I cut.  I also took some time to sand a bullet nose leading edge and a tapered trailing edge into the rudder.

Time Spent: 0.5 Hours

Total Time In Build: 79.0 Hours

Fabricating Custom Rails – Part 2

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Decisions, Epoxy, Modifications, Tools

Today I attached the rails to the Skerry hull using epoxy thickened with silica, the standard high strength adheasive that I have been using all along.  It took a good amount of time and had to mix two small batches.  As I work I added spring clamps every 8″ or so.  Clamps are essential when building a boat like this.  Once I had the rails attached, I drilled some pilot holes with a counter sunk bit through the hull and into the rail.  This is a modification from the plans.  I wanted to add a little extra strength.

Because I am doing a modified rail (adding a inwale on spacers), I took some time and cut about 60 two inch long spacers of the same rail material.

Time Spent: 2.5 Hours

Total Time In Build: 78.5 Hours

Fabricating Custom Rails – Part 1

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Decisions, Modifications, Tools, Woodworking

Before I even started building the Skerry I knew I wanted to make some modifications to the rails.  If built as described in the manual, the rails are made by laminating two long pieces of mahogany on the exterior of the boat.  I wanted something more functional and certainly more appealing to the eye.  I am copying something a lot of other building have done.  Instead of just having an outwale, I will have an inwale as well.  Between the outwale and inwale, spacers will provide for a functional rail that things can be tied off too. The side by side comparison below may help you visualize the difference.

To begin this modification, I decided to cut a rabbet the entire length of the outwale that will fit over the top of the side panel.  This will keep a nice uniform appearance at the top of the rail.  I cut this rabbet with a rabbeting bit on my router.  Next, I test fit the rails to the hull.  They looked good!  Unfortunately It started raining again, bugs were filling the garage, and I didn’t want to epoxy them to the hull in the hot humid garage.  That step will have to wait.

Time Spent: 1.5 Hours

Total Time In Build: 76.0 Hours

Fiberglassing the Daggerboard for Strength

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Decisions, Epoxy, Fiberglass

Because the daggerboard has the greatest draft of any part of the boat, I decided to reinforce its leading edge with a little fiberglass.  I used some fiberglass tape and unthickened epoxy.  Once this gets a couple more coats it will be ready for sanding and paint/varnish.

Time Spent: 1.0 Hours

Total Time In Build: 74.0 Hours

Custom Electric Rudder – More Reinforcement and Shaping

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Auxiliary Propulsion, Decisions, Epoxy, Modifications

As promised, I added some more epoxy to the rudder to further strengthen and eventually shape it.  After an initial coat of strong epoxy thickened with high density silica, I mixed up some low density microballons and epoxy to build up the rudder.  Once cured, this stuff sands much easier than normal epoxy and is easy to shape.

Time Spent: 1.0 Hours

Total Time In Build: 73.0 Hours

Custom Electric Rudder – Reinforcement and More Cutting and Gluing

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Auxiliary Propulsion, Decisions, Epoxy, Modifications, Tools, Woodworking

With the epoxy holding the rudder and motor together now cured, I drilled some holes to feed cable ties through and around the motor.  I am using these to reinforce the bound between the two components.  The motor is a considerable amount of weight and I don’t want it falling off the rudder.  I will also be using more epoxy and fiberglass to further reinforce and fair at a later time.

Once the initial reinforcement was down, I cut an additional piece of wood to fit below the motor and behind its metal skeg.  My thought is that this could give the rudder a little more authority, and it will look better in the end.  Once that piece was cut to fit, I build a jig to hold the assembly inverted and I glued it to the motor.  Again, I used epoxy thickened with silica.

Time Spent: 1.0 Hours

Total Time In Build: 72.0 Hours

Custom Electric Rudder – Cutting and Gluing

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Auxiliary Propulsion, Decisions, Epoxy, Modifications, Tools, Woodworking

I knew from the start of my project that I wanted to build a rudder with an electric trolling motor built into it.  You may recall from previous posts that I bought the motor and cut it apart.  It has been sitting dormant for a couple week now while I contemplated fit / angling / wiring / etc.  Things that I considered:

1) Fore / aft weight distribution: I wanted to make sure the center of mass of the motor was directly below the rudder kick-up bolt.

2) Angle:  The rudder is curved at the front and sloped at the back, so I could not mount it perpendicular to either of these surfaces.  I did some measurements with the rudder head and found the angle that would leave the motor parallel with the water surface.

3) Wiring: I spent a ton of time figuring out how to run the four wires up the rudder and into the rudder head.  I probably spent the most amount of time doing this.  The complicated part is the kick up feature of the rudder.  I figured out how to do the routing and drew that onto the rudder, but you won’t see the detail in the photos until I complete that step.

4) Kick-up rudder position lines:  The Skerry is designed with only one line that is pulled to lower the rudder and then cleated off to maintain it’s down position.  Since the rudder will be many times heavier than designed, I figured out how to make an internal line to pull up and cleat off the rudder.  This will require modifications to the rudder head interior, but again, you won’t see pictures of that yet.

So with all that planning done, I started cutting the rudder with a handsaw.  When close enough, I used my router and flush trim bit to make the fit perfect.  Once I had the rudder cut to size, I used some clamps and sawhorses to build a jig that would hold the motor.  Next, I glued the wooden rudder to the motor using epoxy thickened with silica.  I’ll continue work on this tomorrow.

Time Spent: 4.5 Hours (3 of which were spent planning over the past couple weeks).

Total Time In Build: 71.0 Hours