Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cockpit Framing

Well, it has been a year since I've started building the boat. A more ambitious or experienced builder may have been almost done by now. I'm working on the boat casually after work and on weekends. In the beginning, I often spent more time scratching my head looking at the plans than actually constructing something. And I took about two months off. Also, I'm trying to do everything myself, including rigging and sail assembly, which takes some extra time. Anyway, the boat is now over-budget and behind schedule ... not surprising for a project run by an engineer!

I made some good progress over the holiday weekend. The cockpit framing is almost done. There is nothing particularly difficult with this process ... just cut to length and make notches in the frames where necessary, then glue and screw.

All of this framing is going to be covered with a plywood deck. Well, everything except for the motor well, which is the small square opening (the far one with plywood sides, near the transom) in the picture below.

I had to modify the side deck frames to make the side decks (which are also where you are supposed to sit) wider, since I didn't notice how narrow the seats were until we flipped the boat over. These modifications weren't as difficult as I feared, but in hindsight I should have made this change in the beginning. I also installed a small stringer down the middle of the seats, so the side decks won't flex when I sit or stand on them.

I decided to cover the sides of the the foot well with plywood to make a water-tight cockpit, which isn't in the original plans. There are hatch openings in this plywood to access the storage areas under the side decks. I plan to make some water-tight plywood hatches to cover these openings. So any water flooding into the cockpit won't get into the bilge or cabin.

I also made some cutouts in the bulkhead to access the area under the side decks from inside the cabin ... and for better airflow inside the boat, which helps prevent wood rot.

I'm changing the design of the motor well too. I want some sort of motor well, since without one, an expensive bracket would be required to attach an outboard motor. (I can't afford a motor at the moment and I'm not sure if I will ever get one, but I'm building a motor well just in case.) Instead of the large motor well shown in the plans, I'm making a much smaller one off to the port side. Since I made the foot well so narrow, the motor well framing must be a little more complicated. I'm kinda just making it up as I go and it's all fitting together ok. (The following picture is looking down on the motor well framing. The plywood bottom of the motor well isn't installed yet.)

It all looks a little sloppily constructed, but the tops of all of these frames will later be planed fair and shaped so that the plywood decks will fit up nicely.