“Samsara” or the return of “Purple Goop”

Buddhists believe that life is one great revolving wheel, that existence is cyclical. I would ask what evidence these beliefs are based on, and yet here we are again, spreading globs of Purple Goop once more. Perhaps the Buddhists are onto something. Or maybe the epoxy is getting to my brain.

We glued balsa on each face of the rudder…

And dispensed the purple goop, aka West System 407. This a easily sanding fairing compound, helps get a nice smooth surface.

We hit some record lows here in Gloucester, enough to freeze up the creek!

Til next time…

The Moment of Truth

With unnerving frequency throughout the course of the rudder build to date, I’ve said to myself “here’s the moment of truth.” As the pile of practice rudders and jigs can attest, the truth of the moment is usually that I neglected to consider one factor or another. I lost track of how many discards there are, I stopped counting at 7…Fortunately, we’ve had a string of successful moments of truth in the past 2 weeks, and things are progressing nicely. The crux of the project was gluing the two faces of the rudder together- getting all the bolt holes and edges to line up nicely, keeping the epoxy out of said holes, and clamping everything together, all within the working time of a batch of epoxy. I’m happy to report that everything went great! Epoxy doesn’t like cold weather, so Ryan agreed to turn the dining room into a temporary workspace, we cranked the heat, and got to work. Here’s about 45 minutes broken down to 20 seconds.

The next step is to attach resin-soaked balsa on each side to finish out the thickness of the rudder. Balsa is extremely light weight, and when saturated with resin should add considerable strength and be rot-resistant. Then the whole thing will be encapsulated in fiberglass.

I considered doing a long taper to the trailing edge for a more optimized hydrodynamic shape, but ultimately decided against it for a number of reasons. One is, the hull speed of the boat is about 5.75 knots, a racer she is not. Lifting NACA foils probably improve efficiency of modern blade type rudders, but the Ariel is old school, with the rudder attached to the back of the full length keel. It seems to me that putting a foil shape on the rudder would be like putting a whale tail on my mini-van.

Ladies and Gents, I got my eyes on the prize now, hoping to have the rudder finished up by the end of the month, get the chain-plates to the fabricator soon afterwards, set-up the new rigging, sand and paint the deck, rough-out the interior, and go sailing by summer! I’ve been telling everyone who asks sometime in May or June, so I guess I better make it happen. Until next time!

Potty Talk

It’s been lying in wait since we first laid eyes on her, but the prolonged procrastination is at an end. Ladies and gents, a bag full of a stranger’s urine.

Actually the reality of removing this “shit” wasn’t nearly as bad as I imagined. I’m also fairly certain that the mysterious green liquid is anti-freeze, not urine. So thanks former owner for pumping out the holding bag (bladder if you will) and taking my future renovation-innovations into consideration! After about an hour I had the old toilet, the holding bag, and all the associated plumbing ripped out, gingerly carried up the companionway (which is missing steps at the moment), down the ladder, and properly disposed of. We’re hoping to hit up the spring boat show in Annapolis to check out composting toilets. “Heady” stuff.


In other news, the rudder build is progressing nicely; hope to have everything glued up within the week, updates to follow. Until next time, keep ‘er between the navigational buoys.