Thursday, January 23, 2014

Home Stretch for a Cold Molded Custom Catboat

From this humble beginning (above), we have come all the way to this (below):
This morning we freed the boat of all plastic and tape. The final finish turned out beautifully. It was better than I imagined, but what I had hoped for. Brian did a phenomenal job spraying four coats of semi gloss AwlGrip. Seth and the crew did an incredible job getting the boat to this stage, no doubt about it. The green bottom paint and brightwork will be the zinger to complete the hull. The rig will be the crowning moment, tying it all together.

Bottom paint really makes a difference. 

We are getting closer to looking like the original concept,to what the owners and I had envisioned. There's still much to do but we've peaked and now we're on the descent. By the end of February, we should have a boat ready to sail. 

These photos give the idea of how involved the process gets. It accounts for a thousand big steps and many more smaller ones in between. There is the constant need to helicopter over the whole scene to be sure we're on track, and then zoom back in to the task at hand. This is basic boat building, or building of any kind for that matter. From the first discussion to this point in time, it means staying the course, keeping the original vision in mind, listening to one another, and to the customers. Changes are inherent, but cannot distract from the main objective. Each person has played their part, and so very well. It's almost possible now to dream about how this catboat will perform. That stage has been kept very quiet, although we sense that she'll be a good boat. Back to much more to do!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Our Cold Molded Custom Built Catboat Gets an Awlgrip Paint Job

Days away from painting there's still so much to do. We opted to paint the boat with a two part Awlgrip paint system. While it is more labor and materials-intensive and expensive up front, we decided that in the long run it will serve the owners well. The durability of the material alone will be a huge savings on yearly maintenance. But the main reason to go with Awlgrip: compatibility with the epoxy cold-molded process. We'd seen enough paint failure and print-through on past projects which were smaller in surface coverage and therefore not as significant to repair. This hull has volume! Add to the volume all the deck hardware, cabin trim and do-dads and repainting this boat would be a horrible annual chore. So that settled the argument!

Today, Brian, Seth and Tait sanded, puttied and re-sanded every spot on the hull in preparation for painting tonight. The boat has been taped off. The shop has been cleared out in case of over-spray. This will be the final finish after thirteen months of hard work.

The second coat has been sprayed on. Brian's mixing up the third coat batch. He's added a flattening agent to subdue the gloss a bit. It is a catboat after all. That is haze from the over-spray. Needless to say, we're all out of there. Brian is suited up with full face respirator. Fans will deploy as soon as the last coat is applied.

Second coat; two more to follow. Tomorrow will be the proof. There's always another coat if we're not happy. From my perspective, it's probably going to be good enough. That's always the defining moment in a shop like ours; just how good should it be? Looking down on the cockpit, I get the sense that this boat is going to be loved, sailed well, full of family and friends all enjoying the day out on the boat. That is the main thing in the end.