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Core Sound 15 #162 — Building the “Norma T”

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Week 9 — Day 43: Upright and on the Trailer


This morning, after my less-than-successful attempt to establish lines for a bootstripe I finished installing the Andersen Bailer. Then decided to remove the boat from the building cradle and do another flip (my most previous post is from this morning at the end of page 7.)

Then, I brought the trailer over and placed the boat onto it.  I think with some small adjustments that the fit is good and I will figure out how to add some keel rollers. 

My afternoon today was all about installing the decks. They will now need trimming and sanding before adding final coats of varnish.

I needed to do a little adjustment to the aft decks. They didn’t quite match the curve of the inwales when approaching the transom. I cut the excess from the inside of both aft decks and those cut wedges fit quite nicely to fill the 16 inch long wedge-shaped space on the inwales not covered by the decks. (Note the “line” in the photo.)  I’m satisfied with the fix. 


The new motor came just in time for Norma T

To remind about the boat name... I planned to call it “Baltic” as explained in a previous post. My mom has lived with us for six years, the last year included her being in home hospice care.  My family and I recently thought it would be a great thing to name this family boat for her, Norma T.  I bought the lettering. 
       Mom decided that a new boat with her name on it needs to have a “shiny new motor.”  She wanted me to buy a new motor for her so I ordered one fourteen days ago. Mom’s health declined a lot in the past few weeks.  She died yesterday around 2 am. Ironically, the Honda motor arrived just hours before she died.  It was another one of the pieces of her life that was now in order and complete. 

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Motoring around the pond during Gramma Camp!  🙂   Just enough for the kids to start getting used to the Norma T.      (My daughter joined us... what a great Gramma Camp helper.)

Today: My son’s family came up last night and we took everyone out for a sail. I love that this small boat feels so comfortable for four adults and a couple kids. Note my sailing position, feet up and

Week 10 — Day 47 & 48: It’s transforming Into a Sailboat   Back at the building of Norma T.  In these two days I was able to finish the main mast tabernacle and it’s installation as well

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Now, a motor question

In the photo above, I placed the motor on the port side of the transom.  I actually always imagined it on the starboard side and most pictures I’ve seen show a starboard placement.

       Are there reasons to place a motor on one side or another?  I put it this way just to see what it might be like and if I can see reasons why the other side might be better. 
       With this placement, it looks a bit more comfortable to operate if sitting on the center/aft seat (which my boat has.)  I suppose the tiller handle of the boat’s rudder assembly could get in the way of sitting in the middle... unlesssss... I connect the tiller to the rudder assembly with a pin (bolt) instead of permanently gluing it. 
      Thoughts on this?

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Todd Stein:

I noted with great interest your CS20 Mk III build-thread.  It was one of the first threads that I read through when I stumbled into the B&B Forum this spring. 
       Yours seems like a LOT more boat than my choice, and way beyond what I would want to take on.  But, it looks like it will be a great boat to have and enjoy.  It would have been an incredible boat to use when I lived on Lake Huron in Michigan’s Mackinac Straits area. But, a boat wasn’t possible at that point in my life. 

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I put mine right rear for some of the same reasons you described:  tried to imagine where things would feel most comfortable as I sat and operated the motor.  So, whatever works best for you and your layout, I'd say.  Once away from the dock I usually keep the motor fixed and steer with the rudder.   But I would not link them in case you need to do some quick maneuvering, when youd need to swivel the motor.

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I am responsible for the starboard motor mount recommendation. It is only relevant to motors that do not have reverse gear and transom mounted on 17 mk3's.


On the CS15 or any of the CS mk1's you can mount the motor on whichever side that speaks to you.


On the mk3 I had to cut the transom down for the exhaust to to clear the transom when rotated for reverse. No, a long shaft does not help as the leg extension is below the exhaust. The problem is that it is such tight fit that I can only fully rotate the motor by turning it to the left. To do this I have to lift the tiller straight up to clear the cockpit coaming, plus the motor tiller is on the left which puts it close to the coaming. If mounted to starboard I could just rotate the motor to port without having to remember to lift the tiller straight up.


There are other motor possibilities for the mk3's which we can discuss elsewhere.



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Week 10 — Days 44 & 45


The finishing stuff is taking a long time... (and I’m wearying of all the various forms of messy and sticky. 😄)  


In the past couple days the decks were trimmed and sanded.  Two coats of epoxy were applied to them. They are sanded again and awaiting planned coats of varnish. The two thwarts were installed. I added the gunwales and stainless hollowback rub rails.  And, I did some other miscellaneous things.  Completion of the hull is just around the corner after the varnishing process.  (I will then need to complete the actual sailboat stuff: centerboard installation, rudder assembly, and mast steps.)


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This is the point in the build where it is easy to rush, and go sailing.  Three extra coats of varnish are hard to do when you know you could be sailing.  Resist temptation, and do a fine job (as you have been).  Hope we get to meet this fall at the messabout.

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I wrote my mom’s obituary today (she died four days ago.)  Since she has been a full partner+plus in this family boat and it will be named after her, I thought that I’d post it here. (I share this forum string with others so I make it more personal from time to time.)

My family will come together at the cemetery on Wednesday, July 8 for a short service. When complete we will move from the grave to the boat, which I will bring with me to the cemetery. My family will have a Christening of the Norma T with some Chardonnay (her favorite) and Point beer (our favorite.)  We will then apply the Norma T lettering to the transom. 


The hull is essentially completed except for a first coat of varnish on the decks and doing a bit of touch up. I can do that tomorrow (I will add more coats of varnish later.)  I’ll post some pictures of the boat when I finish tomorrow. I will also post a little report on the Christening. 


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Norma T


Norma T. Johanson, 96 years old, died at home on July 2, 2020 after receiving the care of Ted and Joan Johanson for many years, and the care of Ascension Home Hospice for a little more than a year. Norma’s family is very grateful for the hospice care provided to Norma by Megan, Julie, and Mark, and on occasion, Stephanie and Maria.

Norma was born in Minneapolis on April 21, 1924, shortly after her parents William and Gudrun (Grandma Goody), along with her older sister, immigrated from Norway. More children were born into the family: three rather frisky, funny, intelligent boys and a baby sister. Norma’s father died early, leaving a single mother with six children. Norma’s older sister was able to work in support of the family and Grandma was a salad chef at the Hiawatha Club on Lake Minnetonka. That left Norma with a bulk of responsibility for her four younger siblings, who called her Nonie. A favorite activity of Norma’s in high school was music, playing flute in North High’s band and the (“always winning”) Robbinsdale City Marching Band.

After high school she worked in a small chemical research lab in St. Paul, where she met and married O Walter Johanson in 1947. Norma chose to maintain her maiden name “Torp” in place of her middle name, Eleanor. She had two sons. Bruce was born in 1948 and Ted in 1953. They continued living in Minneapolis until the boys were out of high school. A job transfer brought them to Columbus, Ohio where Norma obtained work with Highlights for Children Magazine as “Telephone Directory Librarian” to support the phone sales program. After retirement, Norma and Walt lived near Ashville, North Carolina until they bought a house on the shore of Lake Huron across the street from Ted and Joan’s family; Mackinac Island and the straits were part of their visual panorama. Ted relocated to Stevens Point in 1995 and Norma and Walt soon followed.


When Walt died in 2013 Norma sold her house to Ted and Joan, choosing to live independently in an area apartment for about 18 months. Her blindness, however, became worse and she needed more care. She moved in with Joan and Ted, having her own “apartment” in the house.

Norma’s blindness continued to worsen until becoming “black.” Listening to recorded books became her primary daily activity. After having exhausted most of what she wanted to listen to from the Stevens Point Public Library, the Wisconsin Talking Books and Braille Library sent her 3,458 books, most of which she “read”.

In March of 2020, Ted began to build a family sailboat. Norma wanted to partner in the project and the family decided that “Norma T” would be just the right name for the boat.


Norma is survived by her son (Ted/Joan Johanson), grandchildren (Kirsti/Steve, Marna, Peder/Kirsten, Luke/Sarah and Kallista), and great-grandchildren (Ellie, Owen, and Mabel).

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After reading the obituary, my daughter just posted her wedding rehearsal dinner photo of my mom (Norma T) and her baby sister... being the loudest and rowdiest “laughers” at the dinner table (mom is in the middle and her sister is on the left.)  It is a favorite family memory.


(Somebody just suggested the motor that Norma Torp bought for the boat could be named Torp-edo... that’s the spirit.)

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Week 10 — Day 46:  It’s a Skiff


I now have a ready-to-use motorized skiff... well.. without registration numbers... so I can’t use it for a while.  I put a first coat of varnish on the top decks, front hatch cover, centerboard trunk, and gunwales. I also added a couple aesthetic things to the gunwales, a 3/4 inch white molding extending down and a quarter inch pinstripe... just for fun. (I will paint a white waterline at some point.)




I’ll touch up a few spots of white paint on the inside. Eventually, I will probably put one more coat of white on the seat tops. 

The Norma T is ready for tomorrow’s Christening... I just need to get some Point Beer. 


This brewery is here in Stevens Point; we used to live close by, just down Water Street. One catches nice yeast aroma when driving by.  Point Special is their long-time flagship brew, but they offer all kinds of variations (and a great tour, with samples in their little bar area.) They also brew for all kinds of different beer names. Last year, my son was in Puerto Rico and ordered a local beer with his dinner. Yes, it was brewed at Stevens Point’s own brewery. 

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Christening the Boat: Norma T

Last night, my wife and daughter applied the name “Norma T” to the transom. The hull is done... well, except for... (you know what done means to boat builders.)



Theirs were hands that provided great comfort and support to my mom in her final days. 



This morning, I pulled the boat out of the garage to take it to the cemetery for my mom’s burial service (Norma Torp Johanson.)  I decided at a last minute to place the family rocker into the boat as another symbolic image, especially having mom’s great-grandchildren in mind.  The brief story of the rocker...

     When my mom’s parents and sister immigrated from Norway to start a new life, two Norwegian spinster sisters, their new Minneapolis neighbors, helped the young family with a few pieces of furniture, this rocker being one of them. After my mom was born, it rocked her, it rocked my brother and me, it rocked all of my children, and resides in our living room. The grandkids always look for it when they visit as my wife keeps interesting things on it for them. So, to honor part of our family heritage, I added this century old “generation” rocking chair into our Christening celebration. 

After the family graveside service, we walked over to the boat and everyone got themselves a cold drink.  The new motor that mom decided to buy for the boat was uncovered, as well as her name on the transom.  I briefly explained the chair and the boat’s name, gave a toast to mom by raising her favorite wine glass filled with Chardonnay (with ice, the way she liked it best), took a short drink from it, and poured some of the remaining wine into the anchor well. Everyone else followed with some of their chosen drink. (I thought it was funny to watch the grandkids squeeze out some of their boxed juice through the straw.)  Then, it was standing-around conversation for a while, being well supplied with refreshments. 


When the workmen began the actual burial, I walked my three grandkids over and explained what was happening with the process. The kids were more fascinated than anything and were comforted to learn that the casket with great-grandma’s body, along with their carefully placed daisies, were gently and neatly secured into a vault before being buried. 

We enjoyed each other’s company well into the evening. My four children and their families prepared the foods they fondly remember at my parent’s house when they were children. It turned out to be a great day for our family and hopefully memorable. 

We can begin using and enjoying the Norma T as a rowboat/motor-skiff as soon as the boat’s registration is complete... and as a sailboat when the sails come (and when I finish the rudder, centerboard installation, and tabernacle.)


Thank you for indulging me in this aspect of my boat-building project.  I like the memory connections that were created today. 

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I used to work for a remodeling company as a lead carpenter/project manager.  During production meetings it was common place for a lead to say his project was done, except for a, b, and c.  So we had to quantify what done really meant, and came up with the term "done done" to show that even a, b, and c were completed and we could send the final bill with a reasonable chance of the customer actually making the final payment. And then of course there is the old saying that "a boat isn't done till it sinks".


Looking good, soon you can experience for yourself if it is really done done.

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Week 10 — Day 47 & 48: It’s transforming Into a Sailboat


Back at the building of Norma T.  In these two days I was able to finish the main mast tabernacle and it’s installation as well as finishing the mizzen mast step/tube installation. The angles seem to be at least close.




When dry-fitting the mizzen, it looked good. The level showed continuity, there was a good comparison of high/low measurements between masts, and, from a distance, they appeared parallel. So, I glued things in place.  The photos I took later look as though the mizzen is a bit more perpendicular than the main. I’m not sure if that’s the case or if it’s an effect of my camera lens (sure, blame things on the camera.). It’s sort of like when I got everything with the tabernacle set and lining up well with the pins... and after installing it, I still needed to do some grinding to make the pins fit through the mast as intended before I could successfully step the main mast. Theory and reality... not always exactly the same. 

The rudder and centerboard are assembled and installed into the boat. With that, I have begun rigging of the boat (well, one piece of rigging...  for the rudder downhaul.)  I can foresee a lot of trips to Franks, a great old-fashioned hardware store in town that has a very full selection of individual stainless steel screws, bolts, etc.



Tomorrow, I might try adding the planned 2 inch white stripe just above the water line. We shall see how the day unfolds. 

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No sailboat work. I went downstate to visit the kids. My wife and daughter are doing a 25 mile bike ride to my son’s while I help my him try to start the 30 hp 1956 Johnson motor for the first time in 25 years or so. We’ve gotten some short runs, about 2 seconds or so.  It’s teasing us.





We are going to check the timing since the timing since gas is getting through, but I think it might be more of a carburetor issue (it seems “starving” for fuel.)  My son rebuilt the carburetor and put in new electronics this winter. 


I will return downstate tomorrow to keep trying to get this motor running. We will also attempt to get the starter motor functioning (to save some “pulling”).  It hasn’t been used since I disconnected the wiring in 1970. 

And one more tidbit, because I thought it was cute... on the way home tonight we stopped to visit my whimsical daughter and husband.  Their Boston Terrier has an abundant wealth of doggy toys, doggy accessories, and doggy life-enhancers. Scattered on the floor in this photo are but a few toys from her toy-cache. The little cabinet is filled with dog stuff.  (And, yes, that is a box of Crayola crayons on the end table... I told you, she is gifted in whimsy.) 😃


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Week 11 — Days 48 & 49


I’m doing some final stuff these days.  I consider the boat painted at this point with a few tiny touch-ups. I like how the boot stripe looks so far. I set it a couple inches above the waterline with a little flair in the bow and I think I will like the aesthetic effect on the water. 


When I installed the tabernacle and mizzen tube last week, the resulting rake of the two masts didn’t quite look the same as intended (and as I thought I had set them.)  The mizzen mast was too vertical, the main mast had too much rake (an easier fix, I thought) or a combination of both. This was how they appeared on Saturday:


Today, I had time to take a closer look at this. I had thought that the main mast wasn’t setting into the tabernacle quite right and hoped it was the “culprit”... because, I really didn’t want to try changing the mizzen tube angle.  The mizzenmast measured up correctly and the main mast indeed raked back too far... more than the prescribed 3 degrees. The bottom of the mast needed to be moved a bit toward the back of the tabernacle where it encounters the bolt. 

The bolt at the bottom of the tabernacle just didn’t fit well and ended up being rather a loose fit.  I had removed it and filled the hole with thickened epoxy a couple days ago to take another shot at installing it.  Today, I used a rotary sanding drum on a drill to remove material from the bottom of the tabernacle, checking until I reached the 3 degree rake. Success. I drilled a new bolt hole but I’m now waiting for some more thickened epoxy that I added today to cure. 

This is how things look at this point (a bit better, I think):

I will continue installing rigging as I wait for the sails.  Each rigging step seems to take me quite a while to accomplish and requires me to take several trips to the hardware store for various stainless screws and such.  🤪

I just received the boat’s registration from the state’s DNR and the boat numbers I ordered are on their way.  I can make an initial launch of Norma T soon. 

Progress continues. 

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Well done. Love the tribute to your mom. My first B & B build I named after my mom Susan Josephine Wenke. The Suzy J. It reminds me of her, but best is that I've had a great amount of opportunity to talk to her and share her legacy like you are clearly doing.  She was an amazing woodworker (no boats though!), seamstress, artist and gave me the "get er done" spirit.

And yes, the devil is in the details!

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  • PadrePoint changed the title to Core Sound 15 #162 — Building the “Norma T”

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