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Four Bluebird Days at Assateague

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  • #16
    Originally posted by yellowcanoe View Post
    Now I am intrigued because my Monarch really needs a utility thwart. Construction hints please. For now I just have a bungee cord there. It's not working

    There is an overlong write up on outfitting a friend’s Monarch here. Unfortunately all of the (Webshots) photos are gone.

    To save you time reading through days of shop work blather here is the sequence cut and pasted:

    Sequentially it was time for the last big task, to cut and do the initial installation on a utility thwart/sail mount.

    DP cut a piece of Luan as a template, sanded the edges to fit perfectly inside the cockpit and, satisfied with the exactitude of the match, used the template to cut and custom sand a piece of hardwood for the utility thwart.

    A run through the router, a little RO/DI sanding action and the utility thwart was ready for installation.

    We traced the butt end of the utility thwart on kevlar felt, cut out that trace and stapled the felt material onto the ends of the utility thwart. The staples held the material in place during installation and it was easily saturated the felt with epoxy resin and propped/wedged it into perfect position.

    (Note: We “wedged” it into place by building a temporary platform of boxes and boards below the center of the utility thwart)

    Once the kevlar felt saturated Gflex sets up it will be easy to continue work on the utility thwart with it held firmly in position.

    A bead of Gflex filled any small gaps or voids along the top edges and it was time call it a day before either of us bumped into the hull or was unable to resist the urge to further futz with the resin as it set. Anyone who has worked with resin knows exactly what I mean.

    Day 3

    Pulling out the props and wedges the next day the utility thwart was already rock solid. But a couple pieces of 2” fiberglass tape spanning the thwart and cockpit edges will help secure it even further, and will clean up the transition between thwart to cockpit coming.

    I masking taped and papered the edges of the boat for drip protection and added a little yellow pigment to the resin mix before laying in pieces of 2” glass tape. DP wants a yellow and black color scheme on his green boat.

    Peel ply smoothed out over fiberglass tape, so the sanding stage will be that much easier. Time to walk away again.

    Day 4

    Peel the ply on the top tape. I’m still always a little amazed that peel ply actually, well, peels off epoxy resin the following day. And then further amazed that it peels off leaving such a nice, uniformly smooth surface.

    The peel ply eliminates the raspy raised-seam edges and any loose strands of the fiberglass tape, and helps fill the weave with resin. Sanding the faint and uniform texture left by peel ply is a pleasure compared to the laboring away dustily at the bumps, strands and unfilled weave.

    Topside done, time to flip the hull over to glass in the bottom of the thwart. Working up inside a hull having the boat positioned the 4 foot tall sawhorses is a godsend. As is a wheeled shop chair for scooting in and out underneath. And I’ve finally found a good use for a headlamp.

    Bead of Gflex to fill any voids along the bottom edges, 2” glass tape and epoxy lapping the bottom of the cockpit rim and utility thwart, peel ply smoothed out and walk away again.

    Day 5

    Remove the peel ply from the bottom and, dayum, that is one sturdy mommajamma of a utility thwart. I expect archeologists to unearth it one day after the rest of the boat has rotted away and wonder what the hell.

    Since that utility thwart is subject to considerable stress from a wind filled sail overly sturdy is welcome.

    I just got back from a 4-day family trip on Tangier Sound. Four decked boats, all with rudders, utility thwarts and sails. I’ll post some photos eventually.

    I am absolutely sold on the value of a utility thwart. Not just for the Spirit Sail mount, but also for some J-hooks to hold a deck compass, a > of bungee on either side to hold paddles and a lateral run of bungee to hold misc items so they accessible and not down in the bilgewater.


    • #17
      Originally posted by daveo4 View Post
      Thanks Mike. I have a pacific Action sail that is 11.5 sq ft. and it has always seemed a bit small. I wonder how that area compares to yours? Their web site doesn't mention area at all.
      Dave, the mid-sized (1.5 SQM or 16 square foot) and large (2.2 SQM or 23.6 SF) Pacific Action and Spirit Sails are essentially the same size relative to each other. IIRC the Spirit Sails are slightly larger in each case.

      The mid-sized Spirit Sail (they don’t make a small like PA does) is perfect for what I want to do under most conditions. I have both a 2.2 SQM Pacific Sail (bought used) and similar size Spirit Sail and that much sail area on a vee sail is more than I want to handle except in light winds.


      • #18
        Thanks Mike. That confirms that I could use a slightly larger sail, particularly for my canoes.


        • #19
          Utility Thwarts

          I remembered to take some utility thwart photos during a family paddling and sailing trip on Tangier Sound.

          The first utility thwart I install was the one in the Sea Wimp, and I got a little too cunning, shaping it in the manner of a traditional thwart. I wasnít thinking about the possibility of hooking a deck compass on the thwart and didnít leave room for such.

          I corrected that oversight on the Monarch, and also foresaw the utility of having an open cleat to hold the bow painter within reach. That utility thwart is wider than necessary (7Ē), but the extra space is handy.

          The utility thwarts in the Vagabond and Optima are narrower (5 ĹĒ) but still provide enough width for the Spirit Sail base and other things I want to have provided on those thwarts.

          The pad eyes, deck hooks and bungee <ís on either side are perfect for holding paddles. I like having a spare paddle within easy reach. When launching or landing I have the spare paddle secured on one side and the primary paddle on the other, so I have both hands free when hoisting myself out of the boat and grabbing the painter line. That is also a handy place to put the sail if Iíve taken it down but not collapsed the battens.

          Iím convinced that decked canoes with rudders benefit greatly from having a simple sail, and a utility thwart is the way to go.


          • #20
            Thanks Mike.. I am still wrestling with how to attach it to the coaming.. Surely its not held in place by bungees? The thwart and coaming look one piece to me in the pictures.

            My nakkid coaming looks like the one with the red thwart. Did you do some metal work to make the utility thwart?? Attaching it is my head scratching question.


            • #21
              More utility thwart blather

              Originally posted by yellowcanoe View Post
              Thanks Mike.. I am still wrestling with how to attach it to the coaming.. Surely its not held in place by bungees?

              My nakkid coaming looks like the one with the red thwart. Did you do some metal work to make the utility thwart?? Attaching it is my head scratching question.
              Kim, all of those utility thwarts are permanently attached across the cockpit using the same methodology. I will try to be more descriptive. Wayyy more descriptive (I’m procrastinating unpacking and repacking gear).

              I first figure out exactly where I want the utility thwart positioned, essentially far enough away that the sail doesn’t interfere with my paddle stoke range but close enough that I can lean forward a bit to step and unstep the sail or fetch things from atop the thwart. For me at 5’ 11” that is about 22” away from the front edge of the Monarch seat.

              Once I’ve determined the desired position I cut a piece of dimensional hardwood /__\ so that it fits precisely between the )__( inside edges of the coming. I half-round the four long edges of that board with a router, but leave the butt ends square.

              I don’t worry about trying to shape the butt ends slightly concave to match the curvature of the slightly convex coming edges. That kid of exactitude of fit is beyond my skills, and I have an easier work-around (later).

              It helps to make a template from a piece of scrap wood first, and once that piece is shaped to fit precisely use it to cut the actual utility thwart from a pricier piece of wood.

              I want the thwart held securely in place before I lay any fiberglass tape or etc, so for the first firm adhesion I cut a piece of kevlar felt the size of the butt ends, saturate the felt with epoxy and just slide the thwart in place so the felt/epoxy is mushed against the coming.

              I level out a temporary platform (usually a Xerox box, some pieces of 2x4 and a couple of slender wedges) in the boat so that the utility thwart, when resting atop the platform, is at the desired height with the butt edges fitted snuggly between the insides of cockpit coming.

              That piece of felt fills the void between the convex coming edge and the flat butt-end of the thwart, and once it sets up the thwart is already uber-sturdy and I can lay some glass tape across the transition.

              (Note: I mask or painters tape the perimeter of the area where the glass will be epoxied to catch any drips or dribbles. Edit Note #2, staple those pieces of felt to the butt ends of the thwart before saturating with epoxy so they don't slide out of place when wedging the thwart against the sides of the coming).

              The next day I fill any voids along the top edge with a bead of epoxy and lay some short pieces of fiberglass cloth or tape (and peel ply) so that they span the edges of the utility thwart up onto the coming.

              The next day (this is already a three day process) I turn the boat upside down (extra tall saw horses are ideal for working inside a decked hull) and do the same thing on the bottom of the utility thwart.

              The loose material is the peel ply, you can see the size and length of the glass cloth underneath.

              Once that cloth and epoxy has set up I arrange the thwart accessories in place, mark the holes and drill: Spirit Sail mount and deck hooks/pad eyes for paddle keeps:

              Deck hooks for compass, open cleat for bow line, lateral bungee for holding misc items atop the thwart.

              Once all of the holes have been drilled (I bevel the edges of the lateral bungee runs with a burr bit) everything comes back off.

              Wait a week (or more – it is a long process) for the epoxy to cure, then sand and paint the utility thwart.

              And put everything back on.

              That is a 5 Ĺ” wide thwart; the deck compass isn’t on yet (although the J-hooks are there), and it’s already getting crowded.

              Originally posted by yellowcanoe View Post
              The thwart and coaming look one piece to me in the pictures.
              Well thankee, I’ll take that as a compliment to my work.

              Actually, on some of the utility thwarts I epoxied a piece of dynel cord between the edge of the thwart and coming, so the transition was more ( than right angle L. It’s not needed for strength, but it looks nice.

              A far simpler way, at least to start, is to cut the same /__\ utility thwart so that the length slightly spans the outside edge of the cockpit coming, mount the hardware you desire on the thwart and use the type of clamps that come on “universal yokes” to hold it in place across the cockpit.


              I have a couple of clamp on utility thwarts sized for different open and decked boats, but now use them to mostly to determine the ideal location for a permanently mounted thwart.

              I know I want that accessorized thwart available on every trip, and having to remember to bring that piece with the clunky clamps and brackets sticking out just beyond the cockpit edge, and having to screw it on and off is a waste of time.

              If you start with a clamp-on thwart, and discover that it is something you want every trip, you can mark the ideal position angles on the underside of the thwart, cut it down to size and epoxy it into place.
              Last edited by Mike McCrea; 03-24-2014, 09:05 AM. Reason: MIssed a photo, forgot the staples


              • #22
                Thanks! Off to disappear in the swamp tomorrow for three days.
                this looks like a project for above 50 degrees. Say August