December 31, 2005

For Evan - for the days when he wonders why...

Up in the bridgedeck cabin. Visualize if you will comfortable seating for 6, a chart table, and a wet locker/closet.

Looking down from the bridgedeck cabin into the port hull. The head is through the arched doorway and Maia's cabin is aft of Evan. The area he is working in will be Maia's school area.

From the galley looking forward in the starboard hull - currently the settee area/rubbish heap but imagine it as a future cabin for Ev and I. Aft of the future gourmet galley is the starboard guest cabin.

The view from the port hull, across the cabin, looking to the starboard hull. Spacious, modern, carbon-nomex comfort to come.

The view from the starboard hull looking across to the port hull.

Some day we will call all this home...

December 14, 2005

Absolutely nothing to do with the boat, but I liked this photo I took of a foggy Vancouver from midway up Cypress Mt.

December 12, 2005

Not much to report on the boat building side of things - I was in Baltimore last weekend and this past weekend we went to Port Townsend, WA to buy some materials. A long day of driving and ferry lineups but it was worth it.

Another multihull boat builder had a shipping container full of surplus aircraft carbon fiber/Nomex cored panels. These were "scrap" in the aircraft industry but fine for boats. His boat is a work of art but it's taken him 9 long years to get to where it is nearing completion. Anyway, he had a bunch more panels than he needed and I kindly offered to take them off his hands for what seems like not enough money. He was super generous and was glad to see them go to a good home; and I gave him all the cash we had brought.

Now if I can just convince Di that an all black carbon fiber saloon seating would look really cool....

November 24, 2005

Ceilydh's Particulars and other stuff that boat owners might find interesting

Length Overall 40'
Beam 23'
Draft about 2'4" with daggerboards up, about 5' - 6' when down
(haven't got around to checking)
Weight 4 tonnes (empty)
Displacement ~6 tonnes (full up)
Sail Area 877 square feet (main + genoa)
Rig traditional cutter

Water 2 x 40 gallons
Fuel 1 x 27 gallons diesel, 1 x 6 gallons gas

Motors Yanmar 3GM30, 27 HP diesel in port hull
17" Autostream 3 bladed feathering prop
Yamaha 9.9 High Thrust 4 stroke outboard against the starboard hull on the aft beam (the docking motor/auxiliary auxiliary motor)
Motoring speed ~5 knots with one Yamaha 9.9,
~7.5 knots when we had two of them,
probably about 7+ knots with the Yanmar but only had it running once back from the shipyard and the pitch was wrong (4 knots @ 1000 RPM)

Sailing Speed quite quick. Top speed reaching so far is 15.4 knots but have hit 11 knots
very often. Faster than typical condo cats :)

Anchors 33# Aluminum spade, 22# Danforth, Fortress FX-37
Rode 5/16" chain x 80-100' + 5/8" double braid on the primary anchor. Still trying to decide how little chain I can get away with for South Pacific cruising

November 19, 2005

It's been a busy weekend. Diane and Maia are visiting cousins, great-grandmother, aunt, and grandmother on Vancouver Island. That leaves me free to stay up late, work extra hours on the boat, and make some progress.

So... the deck over the hulls has been cut away on both sides now and it appears super roomy (until all the main saloon furnishing go in). All the inside seam taping is just about done. Tomorrow will finish it off. Then I either start bogging the inside seams or build a nice carbon fiber transverse beam across the saloon roof. Probably do the beam first since it will cover up some areas that will otherwise be bogged.

The inside finish of the saloon will be painted in a mat or satin white paint (no lining like "gerbil fur" carpeting). This saves weight & cost and is simple but it does mean a bit more fairing. Having a non-glossy paint hides a lot more than the exterior, which will be glossy like shiny new car glossy.

I've got one little damp spot that keeps coming back - I suspect a pinhole leak from the gutter just aft of the aft cabin bulkhead. Will try to isolate the source with some water and food colouring tomorrow.

N.B. A Saloon is the part of the boat where you go to sit down, have a few too many drinks, smoke and generally misbehave. A Salon is where women go to get there hair done. There ain't one on a boat.

- Evan

November 13, 2005

A badly done composite image of the starboard hull. I hate digital cameras that have a 38mm equivalent "wide angle" lens.

The deck above the hull, inside the cabin, has been cut away so you can see down into the hull rather well. This won't last forever as there will be a refrigerator forward and a chart table midships that will block the view. There will still be 9' of headroom in the hull under the cutout though!

Lots of nasty grinding to smooth out the join between deck and cabin side. After I took this shot I spent about 1/2 hour vacuuming the dust.

I have about 1 gallon or less epoxy left, from my original 55 gallon drum + 15 gallons of hardener. Time to order some more!


October 23, 2005

We haven't updated for a bit but progress is continuing. All the side windows are installed, most of the seams are taped and the cabin is now more or less waterproof. Evan spent more than a few demoralizing days bailing the port hull and trying to figure out where all the gallons of water were coming from. Eventually he discovered that one of the original ports had it's seal broken during the deconstruction phase and water was pouring in.

September 15, 2005

We are at the stage where nothing dramatic will happen for a while. The windows will go in over the next week or so, then a door, then it will be time to sand and fair - again and again. I guess we will just work away at it then suddenly it will be time to rebuild the interior, and sew curtains. I like making curtains. We did buy the oven though! I've told Evan he is now formally banned from ebay until we rebuild our savings. He has to use up/install everything else he bought first.

I have a story out in the September Pacific Yachting which is nice to look at when the work gets me down and I would rather be sailing. It all has a purpose.

September 7, 2005

The taping of external seams on the cabin is going well. All of them are done with the exception of the new little overhanging lip I added above the cabin door. Last rainfall only dumped a few cups of water in the boat, probably through one window.

This coming weekend we'll visit the boat with some black construction paper and try to finalize the shape of the side windows. I'm looking forward to putting in the windows (using a high tech silicone glazing material without screws) and a door, making the boat watertight for winter.

Then it will be time to fair the external seams a bit before painting the outside of the cabin. Hope to get it done before fall rains hit in earnest.


August 21, 2005

Back at the dock. Between end of the summer social obligations and post blitz burnout, work has slowed down a bit.

RICHARD WOODS (Our boat's designer) came through Vancouver and spent the day spinning sailors yarns before visiting the boat. He was darn quiet as he assessed the construction site - but did take a ton of photos and has offered feedback and support if we need any.

Rain is still a problem for us (Ev bailed about 20 gallons from the interior after our single rain). But he spent the past couple of days taping up seams and filling in the gaps. Windows and doors are on the agenda for the next few weeks.

The mast is temporally secured. The chainplates are on hold while the cabin is made waterproof. Hopefully the number of PERSONAL WATER CRAFT will reduce on the river after the end of summer. The wakes from all the little boats managed to chafe through the lines holding up the forestay and shake the shackles open on two of the shrouds...

August 5, 2005


The boat is back in the water, on time and on budget. How rare is that for a boat?

I had the pleasure of standing on the side of the river, while she chugged by, an hour late, spewing black smoke.

Aside, from the fact she looked like her engine was on fire, I got to admire the lines of the cabin from a better angle. We hadn't been thrilled with the look, from the ground, while on the hard. But across the water the cabin lost all its boxiness and looked fairly sleek. (We'll do some pictures from that vantage next week.)

The engine problems were actually propellor problems. Ev set the pitch wrong on the prop, and also got the rotation wrong, but countered this by hooking the controls up backwards. The result was they ran it in reverse at a 1000 rpm for the trip down the river.

Fortunately, we have a nice bank for beaching her on across the river from our dock and the repair is minor.

We're now off, later today, for a boatless weekend of R&R.

August 1, 2005

We can see the first finish line. It looks like we may escape the fate of those who have bitten off a bigger boat project than they have the energy, or pocket book to sustain. This project definitely pushes that edge though. As much as Evan insists we are not building a boat - we pretty much are.

Our goal for this haulout was to keep the duration to no more than a month. In that time we needed to install a fully functional diesel (where no diesel had gone before), take out the rotting mast beam, replace the cockpit and midboat sole, erect a cabin (and get the thing somewhat watertight), fair and paint the underside, get the mast back up and keep within our budget.

Well, 95% of our goal is met, but we are out of time. Ev is back at his job tomorrow and we need to leave for the Island on Friday. The boat needs to go splash, so there are a few late nights left on the agenda.

Today we finished fairing the underside and got a coat of primer on. Ev's dad, Dennis, worked on the diesel - getting it ready to run. Still to do is the finish coat, another coat of bottom paint and sorting out a few mechanical systems.

It was nice for Ev and I to work side by side in a boatyard again. I have missed being fully involved in this project. I even miss being in a boatyard - covered in grime, seeing my work evolve into the finished product.

But I must say - I'm not sure if it is a geographic thing, the difference between sailors and fishermen, or simply that I look more fetching covered in blue dust and paint splatters than white dust and paint splatters, but I received a far higher caliber of propositions when I worked in the boatyard in Annapolis, than I do here.


July 31, 2005

Evan has been off work for 32 days to work on the boat. Before that he worked 10-30+ hrs a week in the three months leading up to our haul out. I decided to compile a list of random stats so you can see how our month looked.

  • Evan took 3 of the 32 days off.
  • We averaged 3.5 people at the boat each day
  • The largest one day work party was 6 people
  • Except for the day we hauled, Evan never worked alone
  • 12 different people came to the boat to help us out - most worked more than 4 days
  • Leighton was at the work site the most frequently, working around 20 days
  • We removed approximately 500 lbs when we took off the old structure
  • We added back about 1200 lbs including the diesel
  • We went through a 55 gallon drum of epoxy
  • We used up 250 yards of fibreglass and 16 sheets of 4X8" foam core
  • It rained on 5 days out of the 32
  • Evan bought 30 icecream bars for our helpers
  • We drank 14 cases of beer and cider and 3 bottles of tequila
  • I made meals for 6 or more 14 times
  • I made meals for 10 or more 4 times
  • Dousing your body liberally with baby powder before grinding fibreglass, then showering with cold water is the best way to combat the itch
  • Three other methods were tried first
  • I did 10 loads of fibreglass dust covered laundry
  • Washing each load twice is the trick
  • We put 20x our normal monthly mileage on the car
  • We used 2 grinders, 3 sanders, 2 drills, 1 jigsaw, 2 skillsaws, 1 reciprocating saw and 1 chainsaw
  • We went through 4 chainsaw blades, dozens of jigsaw blades, 8 grinding discs and 50 sanding discs
  • The only paid professional help we had was the crane operator for lowering and lifting the mast and a machinist who machined our prop coupling
  • Many of our helpers are computer geeks, who needed the business end of a power tool pointed out
  • We have taken 4 rolls of slide film and a few hundred digital pictures
  • Evan had 3-4 demoralizing days and only 2-3 minor setbacks
  • Between us we averaged 8 hours less sleep a night than normal
  • Maia gave up her bed to guests for 10 nights
  • Evan and I are still talking

So yesterday wasn't stellar. Ev had a rough go of trying to get the engine running. It involved a bunch of smoke, some sort of short, and liquefied battery cables. Fortunately, Don was there to help unhook stuff because Leighton and Robin just thought the near fire was "cool".

I think Evan had a middle of the night, solution giving, brainwave though. I have a vague recollection of him explaining something...

I am not out there again until Monday. Hopefully, fairing and painting the bottom. Monday is also the last planned work day before splashing on Thurs - but who knows. If Ev is right about the diesel we might get back on track, if not we'll need to hire a mechanic.

Peder and Robin got a good start on the fairing work though. Sanding overhead is definitely not fun - and earns them double boat miles.

Woo hoo -the news from the boat is the engine cranked over today and the starter motor isn't fried, as Ev had worried.

July 30, 2005

Up, up with the mast.
The mast went up, then down, then back up again yesterday. The process was virtually drama free. In other areas it wasn't the most productive day - but that was a nice milestone.

I had pictures to post, but seem to have misplaced the camera. I checked the fridge, but only the phone was in there. I'm guessing the stress is getting to us. Fortunately, we are both pretty peaceful with it, just confused. I think I have an idea what we will look like in our dotage though. Two vaguely out of it people, consulting lists that seem to be written in a foreign language, who keep putting the phone in the fridge...

Evan did find the misplaced engine key though. So come Thursday, we won't have to hot wire the engine. It is a bit of a disappointment though, because with "little" Ceilydh, we never did find the key, and breaking in to the boat and hotwiring the engine to get to our going away party is a treasured memory.

We're thinking of buying stock in Tim Hortons. Based on general boatyard surveys, it seems nearly any brand of beer will do, but the donuts have to be Tims...

Photos to come. I hope.

July 27, 2005

Hey - a picture! Here's more: Link to Catamaran Pictures
Inside the cabin is a nice place to work. And we know we are missing a few windows.

So, it seems I may have inadvertently shared our future cruising plans with Evan's office a couple of years before we intended too. Ev sent out my blog link without letting me know - and I had comments on there that he hadn't read through that fully. They may have figured it out anyway, but it is nice to do these things more formally, when it is intended.

In the hope that they hadn't got to it yet, I've sanitized the old blog and am abandoning it. This site is quicker (and potential easier) but my inner geek is still rather un-nurtured and I'm confused about how to post links and stuff.

I will eventually find a way to post our photo link in a prominent place, and even have this fanasty about learning to do some of the "advanced" stuff.

Until then, just bear with me.

Catamaran Pictures:

I got a whole whack of questions by email so I'm answering them all here. Also see Ev's post on the cabin raising. The pictures are cool. Link To Catamaran pictures

This boat:
Is a Wood's Meander 40' Catamaran. It was built on Gabriola Island in 1987. The design was for accommodation in both hulls and a separate steering pod. We preferred a design that has a central bridge deck cabin tying the interior space together. We bought the boat for a rock bottom price with the intention of doing heavy modifications.

The previous boat:
Was a 1978 Fortune 30 built in Victoria. We lived aboard and cruised for over 8 years and sold her when we decided to return to Vancouver from Annapolis, MD. We outfitted 'little' Ceilydh over a one month period in May of 1995 and swore we would never do that intense an outfit again. HA!

The transition:
Last time we set sail we had a loose plan to go indefinitely and did cruise for 3.5 years before stopping in Annapolis. After the first year of cruising we began to dream about the 'next' boat, one that would be comfortable for a lifetime of cruising for us, as well as for our guests - some of whom were becoming finicky about their holiday accommodation as they left their 20's. We also started throwing around the idea of a family and realized our little boat would be stretched to her limits. We encountered several cats along the way. We were particularly smitten with a Derek Kelsall design and then an Outremer we spent time on. At one point we tried to purchase a PDQ 36, which fell through, but the goal was set.

The Plan:
We work in loose 5-year plans. We are currently in the middle of the one called "Go back to Vancouver, let Maia get to know her family, earn money, find a bigger boat."

Initially, we planned to save our money and shop elsewhere for a boat (BC is not a Catamaran Mecca). Ev started to follow this boat in the 'for sale' ads quite some time ago and when the price got ridiculously low, we needed to go see why. It turned out to be a very sound, well built, well designed boat that was wrong for the region and neglected for 5 years. So we bought it, complete with a few dozen wasps nests inside and a heavy coating of moss on the exterior. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Now we need to finish up the current projects, save up for a while and do another series of projects. Once the cabin is complete and the diesel is in, we will likely be sailing on a very unfinished boat for a year. Still to come will be ripping out the current galley and replacing it with my dream kitchen(I'm sort of serious here), building the the salon furnishings for the new bridgedeck cabin, ripping out the old setee and turning it into a main cabin for Ev and I, and updating our sail inventory. Eventually, I would also like to tackle the head/shower arrangement and set up a work table/desk for homeschooling Maia.

We won't be moving aboard until shortly before we leave. Living aboard is a pain in Vancouver and we like our neighbourhood.

The Circumnavigation:

Is an open ended plan. I want to sail around the world, and Ev and I are very capable of doing so. The boat will also be very able. We have no timeframe though - just a goal to have a good time and go where the wind blows us. This has worked well for us up until this point!

The two-year goal:

Also, not set in stone. We're flexible. Life changes. I just need motivation to say "no" to that really cute pair of shoes sometimes. Especially if they go with the skirt I just made.

This is the coolest & Cabin Raising:

So, I can see that my blog has been visited 175 times in one day. I have also had a bunch of emails, including several from old sailing friends we haven't heard from in years. Now I am completely motivated to get back to the boat and get something dramatic done so I can post some cool pictures and a few good stories.

You were right Leighton, this *is* fun.

Evan continues this entry:

Today was "New Cabin Day". Just like an old fashioned barn raising, we had a bunch of friends help us to put up all the prefabricated panels in position. We had a little bit of trimming of panels to make it all fit, but nothing serious. It was very gratifying to see that the computer model accurately reflected the real boat. I had created the computer model based on the original drawings and a few measurements so there was a lot of faith involved.

The cabin looks good to me and I'm anxious to complete a few seams to make it watertight in case our spell of good weather ends soon. It's a bit more bulky looking than I would like, but I hope the windows and paint treatment will reduce it's visual bulk. We'll see. On this boat I accepted a bit more windage in keep the bridgedeck clearance good.

The Beginning:

We reached the point of no return before borrowing a chainsaw. But I think was when Evan actively started to look for a chainsaw that I began to realize exactly (ok, not exactly - frankly, I'?m still bewildered) what we had got ourselves into.

Our catamaran is under going renovations.

For photos:[link]

We've been talking about this for a year, and for the past 3 months Evan has been prefabricating cabin pieces. On paper, the concept seemed fairly simple; cut away the old central structure of the boat and erect a new cabin -? tying the two hulls together. After that modest project'?s done, all that will be left are the little details of furnishing and finishing. Easy as pie.

We hauled out the boat on July 4th. Our friend Ken arrived on July 7th and for three days he and Evan, and then our friend Don, began the process of dismantling the old structure and installing our new diesel. After the initial dismantling was done, it became clear that we needed a more efficient way of hacking a huge hole in the middle of our big boat. That is when Mark thought of the chain saw.

Mark arrived on July 13th. By now the rigging was down, the mast beam was out and any value our boat had to anyone but us, was nullified. Then the Chain Saw Wielding Californian took things a step further and put our boat in a state that left me speechless. Actually, beyond speechless; terror struck. Then Stew, Dee and Coral showed up. They too were struck speechless and were obviously concerned about our apparently slipping mental health.

The dismantling continued; chain-sawing, grinding, smashing, wrenching. This is a very well constructed boat that doesn'?t want to be ripped apart. Ev and Mark work daily for 7 days and Leighton (who had been helping for months with the prefab work) volunteered to see the project through by going every day.

Midway through Mark'?s visit, when Stew arrived, we were able to start putting in the cockpit and cabin sole. The result was dramatic and quite good for everyone'?s mood; the rebuilding was underway.

This past week has seen Dennis, Ev, Leighton and I finishing up the underside of the cabin/cockpit (it needs to be faired and painted before we relaunch August 4th). Ev is also setting up the structure so the cabin can be erected. This week is the big push - ? getting all the details done so we can put the boat back in the water and have it float, steer, and run.

Dee & Stew, Mark and Ken all come from our days of cruising in Mexico. If anyone could understand the significance of this project to us, it is them. But it goes beyond this, really. The first time we got a boat ready for cruising, Evan and I were awed by the power of the friendships we were so lucky to have surrounded ourselves with. Ten years ago, there was rarely a day that went by that one of our friends didn'?t show up at "?little"? Ceilydh to lend a hand, or provide a meal. It was a circle of support that buoyed us up, no matter what was going wrong.

To have such a thing happen once in your life is amazing. To have it happen twice requires that you stop what ever you are doing to simply appreciate the beauty of friendship and say ?thank-you. So to Ken, Mark, Dee, Don, Cheryl, Val, Stew, Leighton, Gail, Ramsay, Lynne, Robin, Carolyne, Colleen, Tyler, Peter, Dennis, Helen and those I may be missing. Thanks for hopping aboard our slightly crazy dream and helping to keep our heads above water. And, to those who were also there the first time as well, you are truly amazing.