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Not a proa

Page history last edited by Kevin 6 years, 3 months ago

Note: Newest entries are at the bottom. Sorry if the page loads slowly, I should have made small thumbnails of the photos but I'm too lazy. If it really doesn't work let me know and I'll break it up to two pages or something.


June 15-17 2012


This is my sailing kayak Flounder.  It is not a proa.  Still, I'm using the wikiproa to make a quick web page for this.  I think you can only see it if I send you the URL.  Thus:










This was the original idea.  I want a very light sailing kayak I can put on top of my car and take into the very shallow bays around here.  I want it as light as possible, as fast to set up as possible, and able to sail to windward in as shallow a puddle as you can imagine.  Also, less that 14' so I don't have to bother registering it.  Also, as little epoxy use as possible.


So this is the model I came up with.  13' 10" long, 28" wide, square.  The sail is a sail I thought Bacon had, but they didn't. 


June 18






Scarphed with gorilla glue...



Chines on with gorilla glue.  Very fast way to work. 


June 19:





June 20:



Cut out transom notches for chines.



Looks like an iron cross.



Hey, it fit!



Bottom on.  Everything is 1/8" doorskin.  What could possibly go wrong?





I had laid out a bottom shape, but when I bent the sides to it it looked too fat.  So I made a shape I liked better, and trimmed the bottom.








It looks like the sides are caving in, but they're more or less straight vertical.  I think this will look alternatingly very pretty and a little odd, depending on the angle.  Oh well, onwards.






June 23:




19 lb bottom and sides.  Not bad.


June 25:



Sizing the doublers for the bottom of the cockpit.  1/8" is not enough to sit on.





For this I used epoxy.  I'm being horribly careful, full rain suit and double gloves and so on.










So, floors and side frames are in, bulkheads are in, all with gorilla glue or titebond ii and stainless 5/8" nail gun brads, and the smallest square drive stainless deck screws Lowes had, I think they're 1 1/4" long.  Very fast way to build.


June 26: 





Ruminating on a centerboard.  I decided against it.  It was just too long, it would have used up the whole cockpit.





June 30:





Clamping the mast step stuff to the back of the bulkhead.









Daggerboard trunk, made of excellent 1/4" marine ply Pete gave me, glassed on the inside then glued up.  Very strong.  A little heavy, but I'll put up with some weight in the trunk and the mast step.


July 1:






The pvc is clamped in place to simulate the edges of a cockpit, so I can sit down and figure out how wide I want the decks to be.  Too narrow and I couldn't sit up there if I needed to, too wide and I won't be able to move around to the high side of the boat when I'm sailing it like a kayak, which is how I hope to mostly sail it.  So 4" wide decks look about good.  That leaves me a 20" wide cockpit to sit in, that's pretty roomy.


You can see the mast step here; I can loosen the bolt heads behind the bulkhead and put shims behind the mast step tube, so I can alter the rake of the mast to move the CE fore and aft if I need to.



July 2: 




Laminating a beam to go across the front of the daggerboard trunk.  It looked ok, here, but not when I put it in.







First time mast up!  This is a wonderfully light windsurfer mast Laurent gave me when he moved.  Man is it light!  



The old Gibbons sail.  Already recycled once, I made it out of an old jib I found in the dumpster at Mariner Sails.  





And here we go




I cut out a square top, as you see, but in a fit of good sense I recut the leech to make it a pinhead.  It's about 45 ft^2, which is a lot on a 28" beam when you're supposed to be sailing it kayak style, without hiking out.  We'll see how that works out.  I put in a reef point, and I can always just put a smaller sail on it.




I was struggling with where to carry a passenger; I didn't want to make the cockpit long enough to carry two people, so I put in a few braces under the deck behind the cockpit.  Now I can carry someone sitting there with their feet behind me, and based on this the sheet will clear them fine.



July 4



Cleaned up the daggerboard slot on the bottom.  Very gratifying to see that the second sheet of 1/8" I glued in as a doubler seems to have glued down well with no gaps or anything, you can hardly even see a glue line.




So that looks good.  I went over the chines with a sander and rounded them a bit, then epoxied the chines, then went over it with thickened epoxy to fill any gaps in the chines, then laid the tape on, then wetted the tape out, then went over it with a plastic squeegee to squeeze excess epoxy out and make the chines adhere well.  All worked a charm.  Then like an idiot I took it outside to sit in the sun, with the charming dumb idea that that would cook the epoxy off faster so it wouldn't sag.  Arrgh.  It outgassed, of course, so I had big bubbles in the tape.  I saw it when the epoxy was still green, so I carried the stupid thing back in the garage and put all my epoxy stuff back on, gloved up again and cut the bubbles out with an exacto knife and pasted patches over them.  What a pain.




Also, the first beam I made looked bad.  It was a bit off to one side, it angled too much, just not good.  So I made another one.



And the decks were bending the wrong way, concave with the good side in.  I want the good side out, and I thought this bend they had would make things difficult when it was time to put them on so I came up with this method of persuading them to bend the right way.


July 5:


Feathered the edges of the chine tape, prepped the bottom for glass, then flipped the boat over and installed some center beams as a final prep for decks.  Then epoxy coated the bottom of the cockpit and cut and installed the new laminated beam across the daggerboard trunk.





After it got cool I went back out and glassed the bottom:




I'm a little afraid to think how much it weighs now.  40 lb?  Oy.



July 8



Test fitting the cockpit stringers.  The side decks are 4" wide, which should help in a knockdown and give me something to sit on if I have to sail it that way.




Stringers with blocks screwed and glued in place.





Stringers clamped in place.  I made some little corner roundings for the corners of the cockpit, and some little triangular knees to keep the whole thing from twisting sideways under stress.


Remaining to do:  

Flip on side, plug screw holes in sides, apply patches to some of the framing inside the cockpit.  

Flip over, do the same for the other side.

Figure routing for rudder up/down lines and steering lines.

Install stainless U bolts in bow and stern, front for painter, back for mainsheet block.

Install pedal steering in cockpit.

Finish sail.

Make sail bag.  

Figure out what to use for sheet.  

Make mast cap for top of sail.

Install decks.

Tape deck seams.

Install deck hardware; mainsheet block, cleats, steering line routing

Epoxy exterior.


Make rack for truck.


Go sailing!


July 11:







Cut out the decks, installed the mainsheet thimbles aft and a U ring on the bow for the painter.  Also cut limber holes in the floor frames so the thing can drain if it gets some water in it.


Also took the broken brad gun apart.  Nothing seemed wrong.  Put it back together.  Now it works.  Ok, then.


Went and bought screw in hatches, but I think I can't bring myself to cut holes in the deck, I think I'll put them in the bulkheads instead.


I started this thing on June 18.  I think it would be rather nice if I got it done by July 18, which I should get done pretty easily.  I think.


Updated to do:  

Flip on side, plug screw holes in sides, apply patches to some of the framing inside the cockpit.  

Flip over, do the same for the other side.

Figure routing for rudder up/down lines and steering lines.

Install stainless U bolts in bow and stern, front for painter, back for mainsheet block.

Install pedal steering in cockpit.

Finish sail.

Make sail bag.  

Figure out what to use for sheet.  

Make mast cap for top of sail.

Install decks.

Tape deck seams.

Install deck hardware; mainsheet block, cleats, steering line routing

Epoxy exterior.


Make rack for truck.


Go sailing!


June 12, 2013


So, I built that last summer, and sailed it about twenty times over the course of the year. It's a pretty good boat to paddle, surprisingly. Very shallow draft. The sail shown is a bit much...


I took it out on the pond behind the house for some test sailing:



That was fun, but not safe to take anywhere at all remote. The leg o mutton sail shown is well overpowered in anything over ten knots, and even in under ten but gusting it's a little bit hairy. And, worst of all, I can't self rescue in deep water. The boat is just too unstable to get back into. I can remount a kayak in any number of ways, but not this thing. I suppose if I were really in trouble I could pull the rig out and then get back in the boat, but that's a disaster, there's just no way.


So this summer I thought I'd make some outriggers and try converting it into a little tri for those days when I want to sail in a little bit bigger water or to go a little faster. I wanted the beams to easily attach to the main hull, the amas to easily go on the beams, everything to be very light and fit on top of the truck, and everything very shallow draft. I haven't been working very fast, but this is what I've got so far:




Today was the first test fit of all the bits and parts:






Not bad! There will be four stainless 3/8" bolts that hold the beams to the big hull. The amas just slide onto the beams and get held there by bungees. The beams are Laser topmasts; I wrapped glass around them, then bogged the little flanges on in the right place, then wrapped the whole thing in carbon tow. Should be very strong.


As you can see, I never did bog or paint the kayak, I did absolutely the minimal amount of epoxy work I could get away with out of fear of my hands breaking out again, and kept it in the garage when I wasn't sailing it. I'm a little less worried now, I seem to have got it under control with better gloves and a strict 24 hour rule on any sanding or grinding or anything. So we'll see, but I guess I'll do a bit of finish work and then paint the whole thing and try going sailing. Of course as soon as I decide to work on it it starts raining, and the back yard is invaded by Canadians:




That's the raccoon trail you can see in the foreground.


No boat work today! Too bad. I guess I'll sit on the porch and read my kindle.


I'll post an update after I go sailing.


September 2013:


I went sailing! On the little pond in the backyard, anyway:



Works fine. Bit hard headed in a puff, and the rudder is a tiny kayak rudder. Thought I may need a bit more in real wind or if I make a bigger sail, so I made a 50% bigger carbon over cedar rudder:


I'm sorry my camera is a potato.



Very light 2 oz satin glass cloth over the carbon to protect it. Those are not tiny bubbles that will have to be popped out and filled. They are not. Shut up.


And I painted it, and on a whim decided to leave part of the decks bright, which I will no doubt regret at some point here soon:



And yes, you can see some tape on the amas under the paint. It takes me ages to bog something now, since my fingers may start itching at any epoxy use, so I just gave up. You can see tape on the hulls, and I just painted over it. I feel terrible. Oh well.


I bought a windsurfer sail off ebay, but I'm not sure I'll be able to use it. It takes an astonishing amount of downhaul, so I need to rig something like six or eight to one downhaul to get it rigged. I'm just not sure about all that in this boat. And I'd like to have the mast stayed, which I don't think will work with that. So I may cut down the torn up A cat sail Laurent gave me and adapt that. Yay, more sail work. I do so love sail work. :)  


Need to go sailing soon!


November 2013:


And so we did:





Laurent was in town, so John Wright and Skip Johnson and I met him in Galveston and did some sailing. Nice day, a few teething problems, but nothing too terrible. I did come to understand that a boat this fast and this lightly built should probably have a kick up board, not a daggerboard. So, it's always nice to learn something, eh?


The boat is very fast and easy to sail and safe as a tri, but I'm finding that I like it a lot in its sailing kayak incarnation. It's very simple, easy to paddle, the tiny batwing sail goes up and down really easily, it's just perfect. The only tiny fly in the ointment is that it's really not safe out in open water in any kind of real wind; once you go over, it's about impossible to get back into. So I only sail it near shore, which honestly is not a terrible burden.



This is the first test sail with the little batwing sail I copied from Craig O'Donnell's page:




on my little duck pond, before I painted the boat. Works great, easy to sail, all very nice. I took it out for a day at San Luis Pass a week or so after this. It was great for that, very good shallow water boat, very light and easy to get on and off the truck.


So! What's next?

I think I'm going to try a trip sailing up the Brazos River. Stay tuned!



Comments (2)

dstgean@... said

at 6:06 pm on Sep 28, 2013

Kevin, Talk about full circle! I remember you sailing in the first EC with a small tri... I'm glad to see you are still able to work with epoxy. Don't worry about the finish, everyone is always amazed by the fact you designed and built it yourself. Have you seen the Frank Smoot folders? Check out diy-tris.com for a speedy launch idea.


dave.pont@... said

at 11:52 pm on Dec 24, 2013

Very cool, the mark of a master boat builder to put together such a nice craft by eye and intuition. I hope you've been getting in plenty of sailing time.

Cheers, Dave

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