Pylasteki is a 1961 Pearson Triton sailboat. She is one of my personal project boats... I am rebuilding her as a blue water cruiser.

Enjoy, if you have any questions or comments, drop me line:


Thursday, March 25, 2010

March 24 2010

Yesterday after work I cut some out the rest of the cockpit templates I had been drawing up.

Just 1/2 inch birch plywood, good enough stuff to hold a straight line without much help.
I spent some time re-leveling Pylasteki, as I noticed a little air under one of the once tight jack stands. Hazards of working in a boatyard with a sand lot... Just used a water level and marked the scribed waterline.

I'm calling the cabin top/hatch sliders level, which is pretty close to the scribed waterline. Most of the time I measure top and bottom of stuff that runs athwartship (from one side to the other) off of a known true plane... Or something that isn't going to get changed. So, while I could hang a plumb bob to see if the vertical faces on each end of the cockpit are inline with gravity, what matters more to your eye is that they are inline with the rest of the vertical lines on the boat... So if the companionway bulkhead mirrors the main bulkheads, thats what I'll build to. Otherwise with the hatch boards out bulkheads will run at a different angle than the cockpit.

Not to say that is something even worth thinking about... but if you have a boat set up in one spot and steady you can pick a bulkhead to work off of and build a whole boat that looks right, or try to trust a plumb bob and level and build something that doesn't match. The trick is to take a level, and cut a wedge off one of the bulkheads so everything is evenly out, to the center of the earth, for the entirety of the bilge.

I'd probably change my tune if I mostly built boats on land, but the big one floats... so my brain wraps around thinking the boat is in its own little world.

In other news, my 24 inch wide cockpit won't work. I had a boat in the past with straight, narrow cockpit seats... but it had a transom hung rudder. Pylasteki's tiller sprouts up from the cockpit sole (floor) and needs a greater swinging clearance for knees and other things. Because of this you have to be far enough away from the tiller to make a tight turn, but also close enough to push it over the other way past center and gybe... The close enough in side of things, means I'd need to shove the coamings in about a mile to make it comfortable to push a the tiller past center.

The reason for the Triton's tapering cockpit is so when seated, your forward knee has somewhere to be. It tapers wider at the front than the back from 26 inches to a hair over 37.... at the forward end... at least at the top.

If I were not building a blue water boat, it'd be easy to square everything off and do away with the bridge deck, gaining the clearance to make things work. But, I'm not... So, no matter how much I like the aft end of a Herreshoff Alerion 26, things will go back more stock than not.

I also fired up the pad sander and started on the starboard side gelcoat removal and stopped as the sun was setting. It's not real smart to plow around with 40 grit after dark, at least in my book... as the fairer and flatter you can keep something while chewing off the old finish, the easier it is to arrive at an end product that is smooth and fair...

In other news, I found a 6 inch pad for the 7335 Porter Cable, and a counter weight that lets it work together. Locally I can't walk in and grab 5 inch paper with a stick back, while not a big deal to order and bring in... I try to keep everything standardized so whatever works. The 5 inch pad at full tilt boogie never wanted to stay flat for me, and always had the feeling it was about to do something unexpected. Expecting the unexpected is something I try to do, but not a desirable trait in my sander.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Grinding and paint removal... done. March 21 2010

Today I went from 2:30 till 7...

Settees removed, head bulkheads removed. Chainplates pulled, galley bulkheads removed... Salon shelves removed...

Then all the tabs ground down. I ground down to the first layer of mat against the hull with my 8 inch makita grinder, and made a lot of dust. Pretty much everything was tabbed in with 5 layers. 1 layer of mat against the hull, 1 layer of roving, another layer of mat and another of roving, then a last layer of mat. I swept up close to 30 lbs of dust by the old calibrated elbow... lifting the cardboard box over the side.

I removed the paint using a 4.5 inch grinder with a twisted wire wheel. (not a cup style)
I held it perpendicular the hull, and moved it up and down following the angles of roving, then held it upside down and blasted the other side of the roving. Fastest way I've come up with for paint removal... Though it has crossed my mind that it'd take all of a half hour to grind the inside of the hull smooth with 40 grit on an 8 inch... But that would sacrifice some strength, and I'm not into that even though the Triton is built sturdier than the temple mount...

As far as order of operations go, take out the shelves and top of the bulkhead and grind it all flush before removing the settees. I wasn't thinking straight when I started from the bottom up... Ended up twisting and contorting to make it all happen... cest la vie. Small boats are not as easy to work on as big ones, though a day of grinding does noticeable things.



Friday, March 19, 2010

March 19 2010

Tonight I went from around 5:00 till 6:30 laying up another divinycell panel, and grinding off the edges/prepping the face of the one from a few days ago. Should be ready in the morning. I'm planning to mock up my cockpit in the morning out of plywood, get all my templates made and then start assembling the pieces. It is supposed to rain sunday, so I will switch back over to grinding later in the evening.

I cut out the port settee, and most of the head bulkhead. It too was full of water... I switched over to 16 grit Norton (bought another box...) and have been using Nortons hard rubber backing pad instead of the flexible black plastic ones you find at the hardware store. They will grind up into a corner and leave a rubber trail... instead of getting caught on something sharp and getting jagged. I like diamond flap discs when I'm working with all fiberglass, as they last forever... they get loaded up with wood, so cutting out bulkheads they aren't so great. The hard paper backed discs run about 2 bucks a piece... I've used 6 or 7 so far.

Made it till 9:00... then I kicked over my halogen work light and popped the bulb. Oops!

Picture will come after I'm done grinding and get all the dust out. Today I scooped up a lot with my dust pan off the sides of the hull where little avalanches were forming...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March 18 2010

Last night I laid up a sheet of divinycell with a layer of 1708 on each side. It was set up and pretty this morning...

Got off work around 5...

It was raining, but not blowing very hard so I could work inside and stay dry.

I cut out the starboard settee with a skill saw and rode along side the tabbing. The face came out in pretty much one piece. Then I ground down the top tab to the plywood where I could see the seam, and got the aft end freed up off the lower tab with a pry bar. Once the ply was out I used a cutoff wheel to slice off the part of the tab hanging out... Saves on dust.

Then I cut out the aft shroud bulkhead, if she was still fitted out... The hanging locker bulkhead.
I used a cut off wheel on the angle grinder, cut through down to the plywood right beside the hull, then came back and ground it with 36 grit on the angle grinder. (4.5 in) I chopped the bulkhead in half with a sawzall to make it easier to remove. Geometry wants to hold a tightly fitting bulkhead in place. It won't be going back in the same spot... so no need to keep the old as a template.

Most of the plywood was in pretty decent shape, except the outer edge of the bulkhead. 4 layers thick in some areas, 1 mat, 1 roving, 1 mat, 1 roving... then finish cloth. Beastly strong... I went down to the first layer of mat, I'll come back with an 8 inch pad sander to keep everything smooth.

Took a dinner break, and came back to do some more grinding. I burned down the tabbing... Still have a few feet to go before its a fresh start on the starboard.

Pylasteki looks like 25 pounds of powdered sugar was dumped inside of her...


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Transom and how to's...

Today I took off work around 3:00 and went till 7...

I started out with a template of the stringers that will become the cockpit sides.
The easiest way I've found to start a project that hangs in space... Is to build a 2 dimensional outline that can be hung in space, defining a few planes.

In this case, I have some very straight 2x4's that are marked out in 6 inch increments from the aft end of the cockpit back. In addition to this, I have lines drawn square to the faces... so I can measure down with a tape measure or folding rule (folding rule gets a better fit) and jot down the measures on a notepad. The easy way is feet, inches, 8ths. When you go to warp a batten around something 16ths don't matter very much.

Good batten material: buy a #1 kiln dried treated 2x4 that is perfectly straight, no knots around 10 feet long... Rip with the grain... Feel around for hard spots and thin it down if there are any. Its not so important for lofting lines that it be perfectly the same width, as it is that it'll bend to your marks evenly. If you are jointing with a table saw... rip off one side, put your ripped side to the fence... rip again... then take your pass. I like around a 1/2 inch thick for big boat stuff... Rip a bunch of them, as they age some turn to hockey sticks/firewood.

From here, I marked out a piece of flat birch plywood... doesn't do you any good to make a template out of scraps that aren't straight and flat. I used a sheet rock t-square and made lines every 6 inches, then laid a piece of brown contractors paper across the plywood, and remade my lines. If it fits right the first time, I have my template for the other side... but where the paper comes to shine, is doing what I did here. See the tall section at the far end? I measured down from the underside of my 2x4's... You can either do the math to add a few inches to every measure, or just slide the paper to where it looks right... and or, find a piece of scrap that it lays over but didn't have a factory side to loft off of...

Next, take a screw and lay it on your marks... smack it with a hammer. Your mark is transferred from the paper to the plywood quite nicely. Now warp a batten around and play connect the dots with a pencil. Let it fly where ever it runs natural... this is just a template.

Take it to the boat, screw it to your bridge... now take a compass with a pencil, lay it on the hull and scribe the line. 3/4 or 1 inch is a good setting... measure it and jot it down on the piece. Go back and cut it out with a jig saw (or a circular saw like I did here... it's faster.)

If you are doing a bulkhead that has a sole that is flat... I build a carpenters square that stands on its own... a 1 ft square piece of 3/4 as the base, and two 2 foot tall by 1 foot wide pieces screwed together. Now if your floor is square you have something to align to, something to screw a piece of luan to for a joggle/tick stick...

Anyway, next up I cut the transom flat. I said yesterday I was going to loft a 1/2 inch curve into it... I decided today that flat will work just fine. A Triton's transom curves out 5 inches from square, per the plans... 3 1/2 inches at the top by my measuring. Mine was 2 1/2 inches taller than flat, so you have options. Either warp a batten around it, or take a piece of doorskin and roughly scribe the transoms curve on it. Then transfer that to a piece of 3/4 plywood that is wide enough not to lose its flatness... then come back and lay a pencil on top and scribe your line. If you like it... come back with a sharpie.

Once I scribed my line, I measured it out... 32 inches from the bottom of the heart to each corner, and 21 to the middle.

I cut the transom with a thin metal cut-off wheel (1/8th inch) on a 4.5 inch grinder. I always cut this kind of thing at an angle, where the back of the cut is much higher than the line, in case of goofs. If you try to hold it perfectly level, and things go awry you have to make it grow back.

I also advise cutting a 1/4 inch higher than the mark. It doesn't take long with 40 grit on an 8 inch grinder to turn a whole boat into dust. I came back with a straight edge and played with it till it looked right.

After that the weather started going south, so I fired up the grinder and attempted to burn off all the gelcoat on the port side. Didn't make it all the way... but total time invested hit 16 hours for the port side. She has an 1/8th inch of white, on top of the black tooling gel... It's about like firing up a grinder on a parking lot.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Warm weather has arrived!

So, last fall I cut out Pylasteki's cockpit to gain access to the rudder tube and make the cockpit lockers water tight.

This had a good and a bad side... on one hand, I had access... On the other, her insides turned to be outside. So, no interior work over the winter.

Saturday I spent the day working re-working my plans. I've learned a few things over the winter as far as time savings go. I had planned on using marine grade plywood to wall off the lockers, tabbing to the hull like the rest of the bulkheads, one sheet of which walked away a few months ago. (Drat.)

Having spent more than my fair share of time wedged in to the cockpit lockers grinding out various rotten wooden supports, glassing, and generally contorting... The time came to break out the thin metal cutoff wheel on the angle grinder.

My reasons for a fresh start:
I like destruction...
My back stay chain plate knee is rotten...
The cockpit lockers are to narrow to work a sail bag through, making the v-berth the sail locker.
The old lockers gave great access to the shallow end where you can't put anything, and require standing on your head to get to the deep recess where everything falls.
The athwartship bulkhead that keeps stuff in the lazarette from sliding under the cockpit isn't structural... and keeps one from being able to stash a decent size oar in the cockpit locker.

So, aside from the plywood stiffeners being rotten, and the generally goofy curvilinear shapes of the stock pearson deck mold... I decided the day had arrived to start with a blank slate.

Since I have an outboard on Pylasteki, the rear deck and traveller arrangement were tough on the rump... My minds eye pictures an alerion 28 style rear deck with cut down toe rails that taper out to nothing. Mainly because that image has haunted my dreams since I stepped on board one at the Annapolis boat show two years ago. No puddles for water to blister off the paint, no need for 2 sets of chocks to keep paint on the rub rails in the slip.

The bridge deck has to rank of a curve, which makes water puddle up at the forward corners, making the triton a wetter boat than it ought to be. I figure raising the cockpit seats an inch will make the cockpit more comfortable, give better viability looking forward, and an inch more room above the galley sink so it might stay dry on a port tack.

So... off came the curved stern rail, and off came the stern deck. This provided an interesting visual... as the transom appears 2 inches shorter now. Also curious, my deck being from the second deck mold... has a transom that runs up almost 2 1/2 inches from straight across. The Mk 1 and mk3's are much less curved. My eye likes the curve, but I will be installing a hatch on the aft deck... I am mulling over a flat (1/2 inch rise in the middle, as a truly flat surface looks concave) rear deck to make it easier to get a good seal, and give better access to the tiller on my outboard. Sigh, Pylasteki will just look like all the other tritons in the world I guess...


I've been wanting to try vacuum bagging, so I bought a sheet of divinycell foam. I'm mocking up the various pieces with the hopes of getting all my pieces out of 2 sheets. It will probably end up being 3... It will make a little waste, but I am going to glass the whole 4x8 sheets, and cut the pieces out as though they were plywood, then assemble with epoxy and glass tabbing.

This means I'll pre-fair the panels, paint the inside of the lockers... etc, before it goes together, with minimal time spent actually wedged inside the lockers themselves.

I'm plotting two stringers that will run continious from 1 foot 6 inches aft of the cabin top, all the way to the transom. I'll build this off site, upside down meaning the tops will be even to one another. My footwell will be straight, at this point I'm plotting 24 inches of width... same as it is down below. This may mean I need a tiller with more curve to clear knees, and regain some steering angle... I'm after the storage, and figure that wider seats will make the Triton's overly short coamings not hit the kidneys quite as easily.

Oh yeah... and it'll be lighter than stock, and I'll finally have a boat that when I crank on back stay... I don't get the feeling she's warping into a banana.

I'm a little vain when it comes to the style of Pylasteki. I really love the line Alberg drew of those coamings... pretty much perfect.

The stock cockpit seats run at the same curve as the bridgedeck, which is fine when underway... I'm going to square off the cockpit sole, minus a few degrees, not so much that its even visible. I sat in (on?) a Herreshoff named Margaret over the summer last year, she was comfortable... mainly for the flat, wide, seats. So long as she doesn't list, the water should burn off the seats in morning sun...

My bridge deck is going to be 2 feet wide, reason being... I'm moving the cockpit locker bulkheads aft to make more storage inside the boat, the cockpit was being shortened... primarily so I can run my drains overboard above the waterline, out each side in the boot stripe. If one hose pops, it won't sink the boat.

Thats all for now!