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Ben Miller

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Ben Miller last won the day on July 3 2020

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    TC, MI

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  1. Congrats on the new crew-member! I'm in the same boat, literally (well, almost) and figuratively, as of seven weeks ago. His arms are still too short to reach the oars, but I'm sure he'll be shuttling me around before too long.
  2. No update on the color scheme, sorry (the interior is still Pre-Kote white) but I've put Mo Bear to use a few times now and I'm very pleased with her performance. She looks good and rows even better!
  3. I like to think I'd be done with this by now, but cold spring weather and the arrival of a new baby have significantly slowed the process. Still, I've managed to make some progress on the final finishing. There's one coat of Pre-Kote on the interior and two coats on the exterior (the photo here is after the first coat was sanded down and before the second was applied). My plan is to finish off the hull (sand second primer coat smooth, 2-3 coats of Brightside) before I pick up on the interior again. I've been "longboarding" the exterior for looks, but I'm seriously leaning towards pulling out the random orbital sander for the interior, at least for dealing with the primer coats. I'm not (at all) going for a concours-level paint job on this, and with all the different corners and nooks and crannies the interior takes about 10x longer than the hull. Any reason for me NOT to do this? Oh, also I've got a paint scheme question. The hull will be white and the interior will be light blue. I've been thinking about where to end one and start the other, and I'm leaning towards bringing the white up over the top of the gunwales, knees, and transoms and then starting the light blue on the vertical surfaces of the sides and transoms. Any thoughts about that? This looks the best in my mind's eye, but it also means that I'm painting the top and bottom of the gunwales, which will add steps to my painting process.
  4. I still have painting to do, but "Mo-Bear" tasted water today:
  5. I've been waiting for it to warm up outside so that I don't have to do the messier/smellier jobs inside the house. That's finally happened, so I gave the hull its first really solid overall fairing a couple weeks ago and put the final coat of epoxy on it yesterday. The paint is in-house, so as soon as we get some nice warm days I can start that process. I've been doing a lot of metal-hunting online for my keel strip, and while options are plentiful, picking one is more complicated. The two factors I've uncovered are 1) 5/8" is an unusual width 2) I need 85", and anything that long or longer comes with exorbitant shipping costs. My current plan is to get aluminum bar from a local welding shop. Their price is high, but the specs are right and shipping is $0. I'll glue it down after painting with Sikaflex 291, as discussed above. I'll also add a screw at each end, just for good measure. Remind me to mark where there are already screws into the keel, so I don't try to go through one!
  6. Thanks, that sounds worth a shot! Adhesive sounds a lot easier to deal with if it doesn't stick permanently.
  7. Graham made a comment about the keel rub strip on a CS17 that got me thinking. For a lighter boat--say a dinghy like the Catspaw 8 I'm building--would it be possible to simply epoxy stainless hollow back to the keel, and forgo screws? I'm not planning on dragging my loaded dinghy up a rocky beach. The most stress it will likely come under is when I slide it, unloaded, onto the dinghy dock at the marina. If I can skip the screws, then I don't need to worry about how I bed those down and prevent them from rotting. If this is a terrible idea that would result in the rub strip popping off a month in, then what's a good technique for sealing off the screw holes?
  8. For what it's worth, I've been keeping a loose log of the time spent on my Catspaw build, and I'm up to about 110 hours. I still have fairing and painting and a few small details to go. This is working on it in bits and pieces here and there, which is not an efficient way to get the job done. Also, this is my first boat although I have some experience with wood-working. So unless you have some expertise, larger blocks of time, or are just faster than I am, I'd plan on spending something close to the higher end of your estimate.
  9. Good to know! I wasn't too worried about it, but I figured I should check on the weight and I'm glad it's coming out in this range. For the past few years I've been using an old (as in 1980-something) Achilles inflatable to get out to my mooring. It probably weighs somewhere in the 60-80 pound range, based on this awesome old Achilles catalog: https://achillesboats.com/pdf/files/1980achilles_catalog.pdf (I think my particular dinghy is an ST-4, and I use it without the seats or outboard mount.) It's not too hard to haul it off the dinghy rack at the marina, rest it on my shoulder, walk it 20 feet to the dinghy dock, and slide into the water, although it can get a little fun when there's a good breeze. I was hoping for the Catspaw to be no heavier than the inflatable, and ideally a little less, and it looks like I'm on track for that.
  10. I weighed my Catspaw yesterday: right now it's at 57 pounds. The exterior still needs some fairing and a couple coats of epoxy, plus paint over the whole boat and a metal rub strip on the keel, so the fat lady hasn't sung yet, but I'm very pleased with the results so far. Looks like I'll come in within the spec page's estimated 60-70 lbs weight for a Catspaw 8, and hopefully on the low end of that. One of my requirements for this boat was that it be light enough for me to pull off the dinghy rack and drop into the water on my own, and it looks like I'll be able to do that.
  11. Finished up shaping the mast step. This was a fun piece! So many angles going in all different directions.
  12. Thanks, Alan! That compliment means a lot. Can't wait to get it in the water this spring!
  13. Thanks Paul! I'd probably go with some different art for a permanent workshop, but in this case, what I have works fine. Speaking of (unintentional) art, I've been appreciating the interlocking of all the different parts and layers that make up the aft corners of my dinghy:
  14. Thanks for the input! Maybe I'm overthinking things, but I wanted to make completely sure that I aligned the center seat properly to the bottom of the boat before I gooped it up and glued it down. My solution was to drill a couple of small holes in the hull just to one side of the keel and then insert finishing nails into the holes. That way I could drop the centerboard trunk down over the top of the nails and register the side of the trunk against them. It's all glued down now, so hopefully it worked! I had some time over the holidays and I made some good progress on Mo (named after a "dinghy-shaped" cat my wife and I used to have). I'm using Gaco oarlocks, which required a little extra thought compared to a standard oarlock. These oarlocks get mounted into a 5/8" hole. After some thought, I wound up gluing a small reinforcement block on the outside of the hull directly under the oarlock and then drilled the holes. Having the knees glued in is really making the boat come together, and shaping them to match the curve of the transom and gunwale was very satisfying. My next task is to build the mast step and drill the hole in the upper mast support. I'll be reaching out to B&B for advice on making sure those bits are properly aligned with each other, since I imagine that would have a big impact on sailing performance.
  15. Ok, the frame is almost ready to go in, along with the central seat. Any tips for how I can align the seat properly with the keel? I’m thinking of epoxying it down first and then cutting the centerboard slot later, but I want to make sure everything winds up in the right spot. Second question: what’s a good way go about cutting out the limber holes that pass through the seat and frame? Do one first (probably the seat) and then trace onto the frame. That’s what’s making the most sense to me, at the moment.
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