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:


Monday, August 25, 2008

Behold... a deck is made stiff.


After cutting off the top skin.

After digging out the wet balsa, and removing the well adhered stuff.

Semi-finished product. Prior to picking up the pile of sticky gloves. At the moment she is tied up with two bowlines around the bow chocks and tightly looped down under the stem. The dock lines are tied to each side of the loop created by the bowline, and the spring line is tied to the port side dock line. We spent a few minutes figuring out how to keep her tied up without a bow cleat!

Thanks goes to my good buddy Rob, for helping out and itching along side me as this project happened. (Whose shoes are pictured in the first picture...)

This weekend, we removed the bow pulpit, and bow cleat. Then cut the top skin off of the foredeck with a circular saw, and chiseled and peeled, and scraped off the wet planks of Balsawood. Planks, not end grain... interesting! The planks tapered around the edges of the deck, and at the base of the cabin top. We then cleaned out under the edges and packed the edges full of thickened epoxy and waited for it to kick during lunch. Cabosil and ground glass fibers, as I'm not a fan of cabosil alone in epoxy for gap filling, just a little to much like rock candy. Then we cut the balsawood to fit with a fillet knife and smushed it into place using thickened epoxy. By this point the top skin had been cleaned up, all the dry mat (lots...) ground off of the bottom wiped with acetone, and weighted down. 10:30 Saturday night...

Thanks to the Capt Rob of the scallop boat Doris Jean of Point Pleasant, NJ for loaning a 500 watt halogen light which made it all possible, and kept moral high by providing a steady stream of jokes and stories. Hope our paths cross again soon.

Sunday morning was enjoyable. Stepping onto the deck at 9:00 was reassuring, as it was stiff even without any fiberglass! A mad dash of grinding, fiberglassing, and threatening anyone doing a rain dance to have their feet removed with a random orbit sander. (Well not really, but it makes for a better story! Grin.)

Three layers of 17 ounce biax is in place on the deck, and nearly flush. I did not add any fairing compound to the top, as I'll be removing the crazed gelcoat prior to paint. We left the fiberglass tape a little wider than it needed to be (Thanks for cutting it Rob!) and figure that whatever overlaps higher than it needs to will disappear during the fairing process with the gelcoat.

Note: Three sides are glassed in, I'll be back thursday and will be adding fiberglass reinforcing inside the deck core where the duct tape currently resides. We brought the new core back to the start of the cabin top for that purpose. The other side will be done the same way, with hopes of adding a little strength, and never having any space bigger than 2x4 feet rot from water intrusion ever again.

Note 2: A few supports were placed under the deck to retain the camber of the stock deck, rather than let it relax and become a flat deck.

Dinky was also placed on deck. I will remake her a little wider, but the boom needs to be raised a few inches. The boom vang also has some interference, and the lines led aft will either need a cover made over them, or a rack to support Dinky to keep them running clear.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dinky the dinghy.

Meet Dinky, a shrunken down frameless interpretation of Phil Bolgers Tortoise. 4 inches less beamy. (32 inches wide...) and an 1 1/4 shorter than the plans call for. Two pieces of 5/8ths ply on each end as sacrificial transoms, a piece of cardboard between the real transom and the heavy ply. A hand full of 32 inch long scrap nailed in with finish nails held her form until the glue set up.

Going to take her down and set her on the cabin top of Pylasteki and get some perspective of a dinghy like object, and how big a hard dinghy will fit!

Have a little bit of glassing and painting to do before the dunking of Dinky...

Rob, Thanks for the help tacking on the bottom.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Ewww! Balsawood smells like gym socks!

I bought a plastic boat to get away from rotten wood. Ha!

My starboard bulkhead is rotten from a leaking chainplate. I did some excavation work and here are the results... Started out with a crusty spot about the size of a quarter. Both the outer plys were in great shape, the inside varied from dust behind the fiberglass to thoroughly separated charcoal chunks. The more I dug around, the more rot was found. Finally I hit fiberglass and air on the other size, but only in a space about the size of a penny. Yikes!

She sounded the same hammering around all the bulkheads... Maybe next time I buy a boat I'll break out the drill for some core samples! Nevermind that, just chalk it up as learning. Still would have bought Pylasteki, no choice! I think boats choose their next caretakers, not the other way around... Almost like cats, except in this case... the boat is Alf.

Oh my... What a lovely water tank you have. Well not really, its a leaky fiberglass tank that used to be buried behind three pieces of plywood. Screwed, nailed, and fiberglassed in place. Everything came out in reusable shape, except for a few screws and a batten or two. I like not having to co-ordinate my stepping/head banging motion to enter the for'castle/v-berth/pointy end... (To many styrene fumes this weekend... )

Now I can get to most of the fiberglass tabbing on the bulkhead, but not all. The little shelf on the starboard side came out after much head scratching and contortion. (It is times like these when being short is a plus...) Cut the fiberglass tabbing off the top side and went to pulling. Found that there were a few well placed screws. Hmm... Out came the hand saw (Gotta love a Japanese pull saw...) and soon the shelf was in bite size pieces. Shoulda made a pattern before doing that, but the port side is still there! Hope the hull is symmetrical, enough... (Grin)

In other news, New Balsawood smells like gym socks. On the drive down I kept wondering what the offensive odor was in the car... It wasn't me, this time. However, after some deductive reasoning and sniffing around, I've come to the conclusion that balsawood... smells funny. With four hours and change each way to enjoy the aroma, I'm wondering about this... Why does this wood, smell like a stinky old tennis shoe? It just seems wrong...

In addition to demolitions down below, the stantions are off the cored part of the deck. As well as the jib and genoa tracks. This is an interesting job to do alone, with no vice grips. If you take a thin strip of duct tape and loop it through the box side of a 6 point wrench, you can jam it on the nut, run up on deck and lock the wrench against the hull before it falls off. In theory anyway... (Grin!)

Only had to drill out one screw! With no lifelines I questioned my sanity... sitting on a 13 inch wide side deck, legs hanging over the side, pulling up on a genoa track, pushing down on a drill... Saying, I hope it doesn't pop loose suddenly! In the voice of Billy Crystal... "Your only mostly dead... No swimming for you!" (Princess Bride)

Most of the Jib Track bolts snapped off... The other side was a repeat performance. I was elated... that the sheaves were toast and I never tried to use them.

Curse Pearson for the wood screw into the galley bulkhead! I had spent quite a few moments looking at my rotten galley wondering how water got there. Now I know. The bow rail is still in place, because until i finalize the Dinghy design (Mark 3 at this point...) I can't get off the boat without it, unless I fancy a swim. The rail provides that last hand hold to hop down onto the starboard chock. This is a picture documenting high high tide. The tri-monthly nature of my fiendish boat demolition/refit causes this event to be under the cover of darkness more often than not...

Hey man, moooove that barge, I wanna go sailing! It has been almost a year since my last sail. I am going through withdrawals. Boats are floating around my brain... sketches are coming out my ears. (In a metaphoric sense... they are overflowing...) Crosby Stills and Nash, Jimmy Buffett and Bob Marley are emitted from my radio. Nevertheless, She's looking pretty sweet without all the deck ornaments... Wonder when someone will invent invisible lifelines? Or I acquire the ninja skills to carry a a live drop cord aft without fearing for my life...

Even that lens flare/ghost is checking her out... Yes, the bow pulpit is tweaked and it bugs me too. The docking prowess... 3 pilings and a concrete bulkhead wall. Dock lines are never long enough!

Ah yes the Styrene, I've discovered the joys of polyester resin for making molds. (VW bus intake manifold construction...) In a spare moment, between the rest of the demolition I took a moment to pop some molds off the aft deck to delete the hump behind the traveler, and the mount for the stern light. Lots of work to gain room for a water tight hatch to the lazarette... but she ought to be smooth as a babies hind quarters. I'm contemplating pulling a mold off the stern light mount and making two, for bow lights. The stern rail is a continuous curve, that nests perfectly to the toe rails. Perhaps that is a topic for another day... So much to do before the paint job!

Signed... a very tired,


Sunday, August 10, 2008


Galley Forward? But only... if the port lights are askew. (Grin)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Wild and crazy thoughts...

I have a theory about creativity. Perhaps I'll call it Zach's Theory of Creativity, the least creative name possible. It goes like this: Have a really wacky idea and balance it with logic. Why won't it work, Why can't it work... and Why things shouldn't things be done that way. The WWW's. If it passes those hurdles: Talk yourself out of it before you do something dumb. Failing that, beg for help.

I'm begging.

The last few days the cogs have been turning. I must by start by saying: One of my hobbies (obsessions?) is shaving grams off of bicycles. An ounce here, an ounce there, it really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things... but once you get started the world needs speed holes. (The only people more obsessed with weight reduction than bicyclists... NASA, Ultralight hikers, and the bulimic.)

This has been drilling my brain:

Why is the chain locker always in the very tip of the bow? 200 feet of 3/8ths BBB weighs 340lbs! (Yikes.) Then we slap an anchor or two up top, and a windlass right behind them. Stack a few chocks, and a roller or three out there too.

Then the cruising sailor builds a water tank, under the v-berth. Down low, often below the waterline. We pile steel high in the tip of the bow, and drink the tank dry thats down low. Hmm.

How to switch the two, and still keep the use of the V-berth. Drink the center of gravity lower... My dear readers... have any of you seen such an idea implemented? If I build two canvas pipe berths..... Nah.