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Tom Lathrop

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About Tom Lathrop

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  • Birthday 09/17/1931

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    Oriental, NC
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    10/08/2019

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  1. What I asked is clear. No opinions were offered from me. I did not ask anyone to evaluate the Australian builder I am using although they have many successful aluminum boats as well as provide extensive hands on training for prospective builders. I understand and stated that boats or kits shipping from Australia may too much for many in the USA. The questions were only related to what issues wooden boat builders might have with aluminum as a material.
  2. I posted this thread with the thought that wooden boat builders would have some thoughts about aluminum as a viable and practical material for a Bluejacket. So far, none have expressed any thoughts along those lines, such as: What are opinions of aluminum versus plywood as a boat material? That is, not regarding the obvious ones of building expertise or price. What are the issues in contemplating an aluminum boat for the average home builder? Which is more desirable aesthetically? Which would you rather own? Which is less maintenance? Anything else?
  3. I know some facts Egbert, but am waiting to get more definitive data after the boat has completed construction and trials. Each model will be somewhat heavier but I don't think it will be as great a change as I originally feared. This is due to my assessment of the knowledge and skill of Plate Alloy in use of aluminum in building boats. Some features of the Bluejacket design are effective in mitigating increase weight. Probably foremost of these is the large water plane and buoyancy that offer a much lower bottom loading in weight per square area compared to other boats. At least in these boats, less weight means more performance while using less power and fuel than commercially available options. For those who have a desire to build or have a wooden boat, I don't think the aluminum version will be a great deterrent to building the current wooden model. For those with less time, space or opportunity to build their own, as well as finances to buy a more expensive aluminum one, availability of a commercial Bluejacket will be a positive. For my part, I still favor the current wooded model because I just like the ability to build my own.
  4. In case some people have wondered what is going on with Bluejackets, this is the latest. Plan sales and building is moving along, although at 88, I have started slowing down on all facets of boating. There have been several inquiries about whether a Bluejacket can be built in Aluminum. My answer has always been that a BJ can certainly be built in aluminum but I am not in a position to do detail design and manufacturing in that medium. Quite a few aluminum boats have and are being built in the Pacific Northwest and are used mostly for fishing. None of these boats are, to my knowledge, optimum for cruising, which is a Bluejackets stock in trade. Weight of aluminum is a lot greater per unit of volume than wood which is the main reason that attempts to use other materials have not been pursued to a good conclusion. Weight of the boat and resultant performance advantages of light weight was the driving force behind many decisions in the Bluejacket design. Earlier this year, a builder of aluminum boats in Melbourne, South Australia contacted me about the possibility of using aluminum for 100% of the boat structure. After considerable discussion of what would be involved and by his enthusiasm for the project, work was started on evaluating whether a Bluejacket could gain the benefits of non-perishable material and rugged aluminum structure while retaining its better qualities of performance of the wooden model. Of course, the benefit of an ability to buy a commercially built Bluejacket from a quantity builder was also a main factor. How well this is accomplished is a bit unclear but the prospects look good. While I did do some work on this project, the main effort has been from John Pontiflex who owns and operates Plate Alloy Australia Pty Ltd in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He builds a fairly large range of aluminum boats that are used mainly for fishing, either commercially or privately. Some modification of structural parts of the wooden Bluejacket was required to utilize aluminum but the design was followed very closely. He says that cruising boats are not a big item in Australia at this point and none that approximate a Bluejacket are available. Therefore a commercially available aluminum Bluejacket may well be a viable offering for Plate Alloy. He also teaches aluminum boatbuilding and the welding techniques necessary to make a good job in one week (or so) courses in various areas of Australia. CNC kits can then be a large part of Plate Alloy’s offerings. Cut files are, of course, available but legal requirements safeguarding their use by those other than Plate Alloy will be required. Shipping costs of ether boats or building material from Australia to the USA are high. Such costs may make shipping of boats or part inventories infeasible but that can be worked around is not known yet. The attached photos show the boat in its unfinished form at the trial launch. The engine is not equipped with final controls and is a larger size with much more weight than the 70hp specified. This engine is a larger than recommended size as that is what John had at the time. Performance is expected to be good with the recommended engines up to the Yamaha 70hp model. Yamaha outboards from 50hp to 70hp all have the same displacement although the 70hp will provide the best high end speed. In case some people have wondered what is going on with Bluejackets, this is the latest. Plan sales and building is moving along, although at 88, I have started slowing down on all facets of boating. There have been several inquiries about whether a Bluejacket can be built in Aluminum. My answer has always been that a BJ can certainly be built in aluminum but I am not in a position to do detail design and manufacturing in that medium. Quite a few aluminum boats have and are being built in the Pacific Northwest and are used mostly for fishing. None of these boats are, to my knowledge, optimum for cruising, which is a Bluejackets stock in trade. Weight of aluminum is a lot greater per unit of volume than wood which is the main reason that attempts to use other materials have not been pursued to a good conclusion. Weight of the boat and resultant performance advantages of light weight was the driving force behind many decisions in the Bluejacket design. Earlier this year, a builder of aluminum boats in Melbourne, South Australia contacted me about the possibility of using aluminum for 100% of the boat structure. After considerable discussion of what would be involved and by his enthusiasm for the project, work was started on evaluating whether a Bluejacket could gain the benefits of non-perishable material and rugged aluminum structure while retaining its better qualities of performance of the wooden model. Of course, the benefit of an ability to buy a commercially built Bluejacket from a quantity builder was also a main factor. How well this is accomplished is a bit unclear but the prospects look good. While I did do some work on this project, the main effort has been from John Pontiflex who owns and operates Plate Alloy Australia Pty Ltd in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He builds a fairly large range of aluminum boats that are used mainly for fishing, either commercially or privately. Some modification of structural parts of the wooden Bluejacket was required to utilize aluminum but the design was followed very closely. He says that cruising boats are not a big item in Australia at this point and none that approximate a Bluejacket are available. Therefore a commercially available aluminum Bluejacket may well be a viable offering for Plate Alloy. He also teaches aluminum boatbuilding and the welding techniques necessary to make a good job in one week (or so) courses in various areas of Australia. CNC kits can then be a large part of Plate Alloy’s offerings. Cut files are, of course, available but legal requirements safeguarding their use by those other than Plate Alloy will be required. Shipping costs of ether boats or building material from Australia to the USA are high. Such costs may make shipping of boats or part inventories infeasible but that can be worked around is not known yet. The attached photos show the boat in its unfinished form at the trial launch. The engine is not equipped with final controls and is a larger size with much more weight than the 70hp specified. This engine is a larger than recommended size as that is what John had at the time. Performance is expected to be good with the recommended engines up to the Yamaha 70hp model. Yamaha outboards from 50hp to 70hp all have the same displacement although the 70hp will provide the best high end speed. The video does not work for me as yet.
  5. Its a Walkabout and may be the only one built. I went over to the B&B Messabout from Oriental today for a beautiful and mild day and many fine boats. Maybe the nicest was the new 28 foot sportfisherman that Graham designed. Really fine work. Great to see all the new and old boats and great to see friends, old and new. Carla's birthday celebration too. Heck, we deserve all the good fortune we can get these days. All the fried chicken, BBQ, fixings and drink that you could eat.
  6. The designer has been kind of laid up for the whole time that this thread has run on. Age has taken the lead role in allowed activity for some of us. I do not think the hull extension "bracket" is in any way ugly or that it messes up the performing lines of a Bluejacket. The BJ 27-271 underwater shape is essentially the same as the BJ25.5 with a extension motor mount. I think the longer Bluejackets run a bit easier than the shorter ones but that is fairly common among the type as long as the L/B ratio does not get too great. No problem here. There are many ways to structurally incorporate the "bracket" with the hull. I tend to like the method that transfers the cantilever load of the motor to the hull instead of just to the transom, which would require some strengthening of the transom area. Therefore a hull extension seems better in several ways to a bracket. With any hull extension, (opposite for a bracket) the boat will tend to run at a slightly lower trim angle than its sister with a transom mounted motor. Good thing for performance I think.
  7. OK, I am able to follow the logic of whatever system anyone chooses to use. In the USN we used knots, etc and that was fine as charts and literature followed that system. When I started to use small fishing boats in the 1950's, on inland lakes where no one had ever even seen a nautical chart, only statute made any sense if you wanted to be understood correctly as everyone clearly assumed that was the system used. Our first sailboat in 1970 had us using knots and nautical miles but all the waters we cruised and the waterway charts were in statute miles. Navigation was with a lead line, compass and chart. This meant that all such measures had to be translated clearly to avoid confusion. There does not seem to be any system that all can agree on but I find it silly to use any system that needs constant explanation to be interpreted correctly. I use statute miles and MPH without apology to any who think it less nautical because I think it causes less confusion.. Frankly, I wish we had opted for the metric system for everything long ago.
  8. Paul, Very honest and informative story that could have turned out much worse. My first capsize occurred in about 50+ MPH in October on the Chesapeake before I knew anything. There were over one hundred boats in similar circumstances and boats had no extra flotation beyond the wood they were built with. Rescue boats were over worked and I was in the water nearly an hour. Among other lessons we found out that hypothermia is real and recovery can be long. Only a few boats stayed upright due to skill, circumstance and/or luck. No one could handle that kind of wind in a CS17, no matter how well prepared and skillful. Stay off the water when such wind is in the offing. Us cat ketch sailors know that we should release the main when pressed but that would have been of no use in your situation since you had a built in guarantee of capsize. Water ballast has added a really great level of safety to the Core Sounds with only minor loss of convenience and unnoticeable loss of performance in most cases.
  9. Velocity and speed are not the same things. Velocity has a direction component and speed does not. Lots of engineering students have gone off track by confusing the two terms. Therefore VMG means speed made good in a specific direction, which can be upwind, downwind or crosswise. Neither SMG nor CMG are as well defined although CMG can be so defined if you wish.
  10. Alan, What are your thoughts of the new roller spinnaker relative to the old one?
  11. Our Spindrift 10 was named Scoter. Bay River Skiff was Loon, Liz named all the Birder kayaks. She also named the Lapwing. 8 foot tender was Chirp. Grand Slam 7.9 was Merlin. Hunter 22 is Rooster. Windmill 15.5 was Harbinger. There are some outliers like a 13' runabout Scamp and BJ24 LIZ was named for her. There are more birds than boats so there will be no shortage of bird names for anyone. Mike and Linda's Red Knot continues the tradition.
  12. We were out but not in a sailboat and had Bluejacket 24 LIZ out. I have either sold or given to others almost all my boats. There comes a time for that and doctors say that my time has arrived to take things easier. Here is a photo of Avocet. Avid birdwatcher Liz was impressed as the avocet is her favorite bird. Sorry for the quality as she had the camera on the wrong input and Photoshop plus my skill level can only do so much. Wonder where the other 43 boats were in this picture?
  13. Good to see Core Sound MK3 Avocet out with the other 44 boats on the Neuse yesterday. Looking as sailing great while doing well against all the big boats.
  14. You're right Chick, but then it never gets the chance as it gets swallowed first.
  15. Oyster brings up another apparently lost art which is, how to cut up a chicken for frying. Every year for Thanksgiving Liz and I get together in Cherry Grove Beach, SC with her relatives for several days of eating and jawboning, but mainly eating. Sometimes my contribution is a smoked turkey but mainly I cook three fryers. Now a Fryer is not just any chicken but the proper southern name for a chicken young enough to have the best and tastiest small parts, not the big and chunky, not to mention older and tougher birds. I do cheat a bit and cook in a Frydaddy and Grandpappy outside as the kitchen stove is always crowded with other cooks inside. I do most of the cooking that includes oil or grease outside, which gains points with the important people of the household. Chickens, shrimp, arsters, soft shelled crab, okra, corn dogs as well as other bits find their way into the deep fryer. Fish are best done in a cast iron washpot over an open fire but that is another story. We used to get our chickens from the Village Butcher in New Bern until they changed hands and the new butcher had no clue on how a chicken should be cut up or what the pieces should look like. How someone got to be a butcher without this necessary skill, I have no idea but some chicken lovers just turned up their noses at the unrecognizable pieces on the plate and moved on to other fare. Among the 40 or so hungry eaters are always plenty of experts of southern culinary fare who look with disfavor on anything that looks as if it may have come from KFC. Not my fault but I was embarrassed just the same. Several Thanksgivings ago, the Yankee spouse of one local actually brought a tub of KFC to the feast and was forced to take a re-education program before being allowed back to the table. Now we, mainly Liz, cut up our own chickens and everyone is happy once more. Occasionally one family will bring a boiled county ham to the feast. Now, it's probable that most of you have never heard of or even considered that a salt cured country ham could be made edible by boiling it but, behind such assumptions linger the greater truths. As a lover of salt cured ham, I myself had some trouble getting past the apparent sacrilege of boiling such an already tasty cultural icon. Nevertheless, an epicurean delight awaits the adventurous eater who is lucky enough to be offered such a treat.
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