Cutting a big hole in my boat

Tonight I tackled the installation of the pedal mast and gearbox. Just another challenging job that I couldn’t afford to mess up. First I had to cut a big hole in the boat where the Mitrpak right angle gearbox will go. The shaft in the photo runs between a pillow block inside the pedal mast, and out to a coupling to the gearbox. The lower 14 tooth cog will attach to it.

Hole for mitrpak gearbox
Hole for mitrpak gearbox

Next I did my best to line everything up




The prop shaft will actually run along the side of the boat. The hole is cut in the cockpit sole which hangs over the main hull about the width of the gearbox.


Here everything is epoxied into place. The Pedal mast aluminum plates are bedded in epoxy, and sitting on a little square of fiberglass. Tomorrow I will fiberglass over the top of the attachment plates for the pedal mast.

2000 hours to the Race to Alaska start

First Workout. snapped by Ciana
First Workout. snapped by Ciana

2000 hours until the start of the Race to Alaska!
Back in November when I started building this boat I did a couple easy trainer rides to start towards getting back in shape, but before my workouts totaled 1 hr, my time gave way to boat building. In the last four months,  aside from family and work, most of my time has been working in the shop. This has come at the detriment of all else. I keep reminding myself to start workouts, but then I look at my calendar, my long list of jobs, and I forget to exercise.
So today was workout #1. I’m calling myself out here, because I can’t afford to slack off. From here on out I’m waking up early for a short but intense workout. My baseline is commuting to work, which is about 7.5 miles each way,  three days a week. So a whopping 45 miles a week :(.
Today I warmed up for 5 minutes and then held over 300 watts for 20 minutes. I’m guessing I averaged 320 watts. I’ve never trained with power, so I don’t even know if that is any good.
I’m writing this while I cool down. Now its time to make Ciana breakfast, take her to school, and get out the the shop.

The boat: V16 R2AK by Rick Willoughby

Below is a drawing of the latest design by Rick Willoughby. — a custom trimaran or stabilized monohull focused on enabling Matt Johnson to compete in the 2016 Race to Alaska (R2AK).  Rick is an Australian engineer who designed the V series of pedal boats, on of which was used to set a World Record for 24-hour distance attained in a human-powered boat.  Rick has pioneered the flex shaft propulsion system and dipping rudders, and in this R2AK-specific sailing design has also included a centerboard and canting foils.



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Building hulls through the winter

Over the winter of 2015-2016, I stopped by Matt’s house in Ballard a few times to help him build the hulls for his V16 R2AK.  It was a pleasure to work in his recently re-organized shop, in part because I always get good ideas about how to improve the work space in my garage and often get to try using nifty tools — some of which I’ve never seen before!

December 8, 2015

After checking out the table and chop saw work bench that Matt built, we epoxy coated some long lengths of door skin and then started laying out the bulkhead positions for the amas.  I love that Rick’s plans are all-metric!


We used hot glue to tack the foam bulkheads in place.  It seemed to work pretty well, though you had to work fast and together to insert the bulkheads before the glue cooled too much.


The amas have a nice knife-like profile.  Suddenly straight door skin panels start to look like they might move through the water pretty fast…

January 3, 2016

After the holidays we dry-fitted the base of the main hull.  It was tricky to get the longer door skin panels to hold a smooth curve, especially between the bulkheads and near the re-curved part of the bow.


After consulting with Rick, Matt decided to add a few stringers, so we worked together to rip them on his table saw.  I also did some sanding of some a previous epoxy coat that had beaded up in an interesting pattern of stippled patches.  It was nice to have the shop vac set up to filter out the dust.


February 11, 2016

Now the main hull is taking form enough that one can imagine pedaling and sailing within it!


We weighed it and Matt portage-posed with it before settling into the main job at hand: gluing decks on the amas.