Day25 Putting in the aft stembar
At last some real construction on the boat!
Today we bent the aft stembar, a 3/8" by 2 1/2" flatbar slightly curved to accomodate the aft upward curve to the transom. Things went smoothly and we had it in place in no time at all. We then snaped off the two closest stringers and pulled them into it, only to avoid possible later clutter by having them all join at the transom.
Next we aligned and leveled all of the webs at the foot of the keel, cutting slots into each ones center and putting a long piece of 1 1/4" flatbar on edge into the slots. After we were sure they were all exactly vertical, we tacked it on. Suprisingly none of the frames moved at all over winter so no adjusting was necessary.

Welding in support to keep keel frames aligned
We were thinking about putting in the heel bar ( aft of the keel ) but the angle would have to be determined by the type of motor we will be putting in. The optimum angle is 90 degrees to the prop shaft, and all engines sit at a slightly different angle. We're not sure how much of a difference this will make performance-wise, but it sure would look nicer!
This week we will have to decide on which engine to go with. We are leaning towards Yanmar. ( Excuse the pun! )
The radius plate, pre-formed has been ordered, but won't arrive for 2 weeks so we haven't much to do for a while except the dreaded grinding and priming of the frames and stringers. It's amazing how long it takes to do what seems like such a small area! We found that all means of cutting off mill scale are tedius next to using a grinder. ( Or sandblasting of course!) Unfortunately we found the grinder became too heavy after a while, especially when grinding under the stringers, so we went and bought a smaller light duty one for that and it is great for getting into tight spots without making too much of a mess.
Slowly the framework is becoming red with primer. For us priming the frame first has many advantages even though some of it will have to be removed before welding on the plate...
  • The boat is being built outside, in a more wet-than-dry climate, and rust happens quickly
  • I feel the neighbors are likely sensitive enough to our " skeleton of steel " let alone it being rusty. ( People, including myself, tend to have thoughts of junkyards at the sight of rusting steel! )
    Red primer disguises it as a big red bike!
  • Once the boat is plated, those hard tho prime areas won't have to be.

I don' recommend this method to anyone because we have no idea how it will turn out, but we do know the fumes given off by welding on primer can be harmful.

Day 25:
7 hours - Put in aft stembar and support across keel. Ground and primed two more sections.

The Big Sailboat Project series DVD's available at

Written, produced, and arranged by Sandy Sims