Lots of words not many pics this post.
OK, nose work is on the nose. Thankfully I have pretty much finished them. It took a number of bog runs to get both noses matching and fair to the rest of their respective hull sides as well as being the right (matching) angles, thickness, shape and look. In the end, that is all it boils down to though, looks.
Here’s the thing, the look for the most part makes absolutely no difference to the way the boat will sail. Provided the hulls point the same way and are within reason roughly the same shape, the rest is about how we feel about how the boat looks. Nothing else.
I have been involved in a number of conversations recently (on various forums and in person) about the value of aesthetics. Or more precisely the cost. Cost is measured in one of 2 ways, the price you pay in dollars or the price you pay in time and effort. Sometimes both. The dollars are the extra bog and sandpaper needed to get shapes right and hulls fair and smooth or in paying someone else to do that for you or the time it takes you, the owner builder to do it yourself. (There is perhaps one more unspoken cost, in the health cost that this extremely physical work exacts, but this is also somewhat subjective because to a younger man, this is great exersize, to an older man it is sore muscles and aching joints).
For me now, after 10 years and at my age, every day applying bog and sanding it off again is one less day I spend enjoying the end result. Many years ago I promised myself I would not get lazy toward this end of the build so that I ended up with a beautiful boat. But over the decade of the build the facts of my life have changed dramatically (and that was always likely in what amounts to 20% of my lifetime), and when the facts change, you are within your rights to re-assess your priorities.
Of course this also sounds like me justifying my laziness, and to an extent it is. Lazy is an interesting term. Lazy is sitting around doing nothing, which in a way is my end goal! But when you are pushing a meter long sanding board in 35 degree heat, lazy is hard to avoid. And having said all of that, I have not yet hit my limit and am persevering with the fairing.
So whilst I debate the meaningless value of the esoteric beauty of a well finished boat compared to the intrinsic value of a well built boat (structurally) I am still striving for both, the question is, for how much longer? I know I have been diligent with the unseen but critical detail of the integral build and often this was time consuming work, but for me could not be compromised on and in many cases I erred on the side of overbuilt. It is often the case that we doubt the structural integrity of a build that lacks the finish detail and it is often more commercial for professionals to spend disproportionate time and effort on the latter rather than former as a result. That is a sad and perhaps dangerous outcome that we value that which looks good but may not be as sound over that which is sound but may not look as good.
So, the noses took a little longer than I had hoped. The noses from bulkhead 0 forward are hand shaped, and by eye. Originally by the boat builder and then by me when I added the more pointy and curved last section. The hulls from 0 back are identical because they were cut from the kit and a result of that. But there was no template or plans for the noses, it was all by eye. Of course the direction was taken from the hull panels each side, but other than that guide the rest was bespoke. And of course, hand making 2 items intended to be the same it is inevitable that getting them exactly the same is going to be difficult. There is similar then there is identical then there is exact. Where do I stop on this?
To complicate this difficulty, the 2 noses are 20 feet apart (7 meters). This is where the discussion of aesthetics and the point (or pointlessness) of it comes in. Its impossible for someone to see both bows at the same time from a distance close enough to notice a difference of a few millimetres, get further back to see both and you cant measure such a small difference, you need to scan from one to the other like watching a tennis match and the differences become invisible. Get closer and observe one and then the other and by the time you have moved over to the other you have forgotten what the other looked like. So again, the differences if any are imperceptible. So why worry right? Just leave them. I tried to but I as the builder did something no-one else is ever likely to do. I compared them by trying to photograph them from the same distance and angle and comparing the photos side by side. And kept doing that until I couldnt see enough difference to bother any further.
Of course I was also observing them from all sorts of angles, putting straight edges and battons across it in various places and observing differences. Until I had removed enough of the problems I saw or until I decided the problems were no longer worth the effort. (we are getting down to less than a millimeter hollows or bumps).
The major difficulty with the bows is the convergence of so many angles and shapes. Heres a run down of the various factors: The outsides of each hull are for the aft half vertical flat panels which then gradually tilt out at the top to and angle of about 15 degrees whilst remaining flat. Most boats have this right, so no big deal. But the inside bows, where the tortured twist shape is conjured from a flat panel is quite problematic. These shapes are supposed to be there so trying to fair them out is not such a good idea but leaving them in makes the bows look banana shaped top to bottom like this ((–)) when you see both from front on. I wanted them to look like this V–V ]. So the noses blend those curves out to make the fronts more straight up and down rather than bowed.
Not so much a problem on the outsides as I mentioned, because they were already flat panels. But the inside panels were tortured with a twist to form the chamfer panel and the volume both top to narrowed bottom and flared out from the bow to the full hull width in a short distance with a twist from the 15 degrees or so of the bow shape to 45 degrees of the chamfer panel (the angled panel that joins the hulls to the underside of the bridgedeck). Each hull panel from top to bottom joins either the curved deck panels at the top or another hull panel at a chine at the bottom. On the outside that bottom chine is a consistent convex angle and a straight (ish!) line 300mm above waterline. On the inside, that chine starts as a convex angle like the outside then flattens to no chine then become a concave chine. All of that also causes there to be concave and convex curves in the twist of the panel as it transitions from the bow to under the bridgedeck, from where it flattens again at 45 degrees for the rest of its length aft.
Blending all of that to 2 somewhat V shaped bows is hard enough because the only way to achieve it is to run battens looking for the hollows, run bog screeds and sanding sessions and repeat over and over until the shape is just about right, then repeat it on the other side trying to replicate or mirror the other.
Here are a series of shots trying to show the transition from one shape to another. Because in some cases the problem is only visible (at this stage) via the use of a batten or a straight edge, those changes are quite subtle so may not appear in the photos as obvious as they seemed to me with the aid of such tools. Each change is only adding or subtracting millimetres of material. And of course it could just be that this build has finally driven me nuts and they look one of 3 things depending on your sanity, A) exactly the same now as they did before, in which case this has all been a waste of time and effort, B) much worse than they did before which is probably worse than option A, or C) fantastic and I ought stop now and should be congratulated for the effort at some point with a rousing “huzzah!”
So what say you? Will she make a grand entry or does she look like an old pugilist that took one too many to the face? Yo Adrian………
One nose is still slightly pointier than the other at the deck, its so close though I doubt anyone could pick it. A little challenge for you, before going on to examine the next 2 photos, decide from the above 2 which you think is pointier, port or starboard. Then see if the rough cardboard template I made bears out your decision. Let me know how you went. And if you are guessing, after all its only a 50/50 chance dont cheat and say you nailed it! Whichever it is, it is staying that way because I aint fixing it now.
So that’s it for the noses and it for 2015, the tenth year of the build is done and dusted (thats the first thing I wont miss when she is done, the dust) we are into the eleventh and final year, surely I can say that now and it be true.
I have enjoyed this year very much, even the really hard, hot hours. Jo and I have achieved a lot but 2016 promises so much. We will finally move into a house of our own, one that whilst modest, is on the waterfront in a marina community, and with any luck Yikes will join us there for her final internal fit out and we will get to enjoy her on the water for a while as a power boat until we can afford masts, probably the following year.
Thanks so much for staying with the blog, or if you are new, for joining me, for what looks to be the final chapter(s) of the build blog and the start of the cruising blog. Thank you also for the emails whether they are ideas or tips on how to do things, questions about why or how I did something or just words of encouragement, I try to answer them all and really do enjoy them. Please keep them coming.
Jo and I would like to wish for everyone, everything they wish for as the year winds down, stay safe and join us again in January when I hope to have more good news on our build, our new home and our lives.