The snow ball builds momentum 

last time i had just ordered my wings….

Well they came and they were well worth the money and the decision to buy not build. There has been lots of work on the boat since last time with at least an hour every evening and most of every day off working on it. Theres no other boat distraction on the sence as the ninja has now been sold. I decided to sell the boat with the foils and get new ones for Luna, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

So the wings turned up and with a bit of advice from Phil (Atomik) and Simon Maguire, i set to cutting and bonding the sockets together. Cutting the sockets was the scariest exercise in the whole process, if they were cut wrong it would have been a case of buying more and starting again. So i made a cutting jig and taped the tube into it as tight as possible so it would not move, luckily it worked so then i had to glue them together.This lead to me pining them together on a wooden board with screws so they could be set in place and held while it was setting. Once this was set then the carbon wrapping began.

Now was time to start cutting the hull to take the sockets. I knew where i wanted the front of the wing bars to be so i started there, drawing the oval shape onto the hull and then cutting it out, small amounts at a time on both sides. When it was a good tight fit it was time to head back to the living room with it where i could slot all the wing assembly together and get the location of the rear sockets. Alot of measuring went on here. i had to make sure everything was staying level side to side, front to back and trying to get the right angle on the rear wing bars all at the same time. Gradually i cut down into the back of the hull to locate the wing sockets then measured some more. Everytime i get to a big point in the build i get butterflies hoping that what i am about to do will be right. I definitely had this when i was about to glue the wing sockets into the boat. I still measured more just to make sure. After the glue had set it was so exciting to pull away all the things i had propping the wings up, it was really starting to look like a moth rather than a canoe! This was all over a week or so of work, it doesn’t happen fast…

Next step i made up some more bulk heads to go under wings and glued these and a couple of others in, then tape these into the hull, so 2 layers of 2 inch wides strips ether side and also were wrapped around the inside and outside of the hull where the sockets were mounted in. 

There have been other bits going on at the same time as this like making up the king post. This was quite a big job and ive been warned of the poor, abused king post area of a moth as the area that takes the punishment, this all has to be tied into the wing sockets to support all the stress and strain. With having a great big pushrod tube that runs straight throught the middle of the boat ive had to slot a high modulas sleave over the top and make some extra joints above and below to link everything together, this took along time to make sure all the curves and angles fit perfectly. 

With some more bulk head sandwich material i added an extra layer to the inside top rim of the hull to A. Give a bigger bonding surface for the hull to stick to and B. To also support the single inner layer of hull that was left when i cut the outer hull layer of carbon and foam away to insert the tube to hold the tramps.  This was then glued and clamped and will be wrapped once the deck is bonded on too. 

The last two days have been spent finishing off the nose cone and everything under there. I have bonded a reinforcement piece which runs between the top of the bulk head and the pushrod tube all the way from the front to up against the king post making sure its all locked it tight to take the abuse. The bulk heads are in both sides of the king post and all the taping is setting in the spare room as we speek. The nose cone assembly will be permanently bonded onto the hull tomorrow, all being well. I have cut the foam to shape for the deck and bagged the inner layer of carbon on ready to trim foam away to insert my reinforement peices in before the top layers of carbon go on next. 

I’m sure ive missed a few bits out of this blog, so much has been happening, as far as other equipment for the boat i have bought a ka 16 sail, ctech boom, prodder, exocet main foil, in negotiations on a cst mast, just looking for a rudder and tiller now.

Next time i write a blog i may have a complete hull for you to see. Estimated launch date is mid april.







 

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I have a canoe!

So last instalment the hull had just been popped out the mould and set into its cradle, alot has happened since then.

It’s surprising how long it takes to do very small jobs, i have never used a tape measure and ruler so much in all my life!

The hull was trimmed down so i now have a lovely straight deck level that slopes gently off to the transom. Now i started to make the nose cone just seemed a good next step to me, i shaped up some of the ever faithful solid foam wall insulation to slot into the hull to give me a good over lap so once the carbon part was made they could be slotted together then the shaping started with the serform, the initial shape came quickly but the devils in the details so when i thought i was getting close the straight lines came out again. I drew a centre line down the mould and then lines across at 90 degrees every 10 cm so i could see the shape all the way down the cone, lots of fine sanding and re drawing later it was beautiful! I put a single sheet of glass over the top of the foam just to give it a bit more surface strength then covered it in parcel tape.
Before laying the wet materials i cut heated and shaped the foam for it and then laid it up and got it bagged.
Once set it went straight into the kitchen oven for a post cure then the excitement of unwrapping it, always the most fun part i think. Popped it off the mould and it was lovely light and super stiff, once it was trimmed i marked up were the over lap was going to be on the cone and hull and removed the outer layer of carbon from the cone and the inner layer and foam from the hull and then slotted them together. I did the same process next for the transom. When they were both on the boat the transformation was amazing it really started to look like a boat that may float!!

Ive also made the centre board case which was wrapped around a mdf form, 5 layers each side overlapped at the ends making ten on ends so nice and strong.
Most of the bulk heads are made single carbon sheet on each side of a bit of core cell then cut down to shape, still amazes me how strong it is with so little material.

Ive spent alot of time lining the cb case up in the boat and trimmed away the excess foam and carbon in the hull and marked up were the case will be bonded in. The push rod tube is all dry fitted ive put a 40mm tube in to take a carbon pushrod tube and all the rope necessary for the wand, as we speak the bow sprit is curing no boring straight tube for this boat!

So thats were I’m at i have bought wings from Maguire boats that are in the ups strong hold in luton they obviously find them to sexy to get rid of as ive been waiting for them for nearly a week! Once there are turn on the afterburners that get this boat on the water!

So to do
Put boat in in living room make up a jig for wings measure lots!! Cut shape and bond wing sockets together then bond and carbon everything together in boat, create deck, insert re enforcement’s, few more bulk heads and strengthening, and so on……

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Blood sweat n beers

Its been an amazing month of the build.

After getting the mould finished and ready to build it was time to find a bigger space to be able to have tables out and lay up, what better place than the living room! This took a very understanding girlfriend who would be a pivotal part of the hole process.
Once id taken over another room of the two bed flat i wasn’t going to make the same mistake again of skimping on the release agent, so with at least four coats of polish and then the same of what should have been a single coat release agent the hull was ready to be laid up in it.

A big thanks to Tim at Matrix composite materials for sorting me out with all the materials.

As this was the first hull id made and the first time id vacuum bagged i decided to do the layers separately to reduce the risk. Im so glad i did!!
So before any carbon was cut i thought it best to cut and shape all my foam pieces to fit the mould, i found heating it slightly really got it into the tight bits, this took a day.

The next day was spent cutting and trimming the carbon and ancillaries waiting for the girlfriend to come home from work with an extra pair of hands to help. We started to wet out the carbon on a couple of pasting tables rolling it onto a tube as we went. Once all wetted it was then rolled out into the mould and pushed into the edges.

Next we added resin to the foam pushed it all into place and taped it to hold it in place while we sorted the bag out. Note to anyone spend lots of time before hand getting the bag sorted as much as possible before getting the resin out! We had a few hours of panic trying to get the bag to fully seal up, it got quite stressful and i got the beer out and left the OCD girlfriend to sort them out. Those little hands were USEFUL!!

Once the bag was sealed i just had to check every so often that no leaks had appeared and by 3am the resin had set and i could go to bed.

The next day after pealing the bag, etc off there was a little tidying to do and some gaps to fill between the foam but overall a good result. Sadly after having used 90% of our takky tape supply we had to order more, so everything stopped for a few days which turned into a few more and the well over a week later the stuff had arrived after issues with the courier.

This time there was alot of time spent on preparing the bag, once bag was prepped the pasting tables came back into use as before this time with +\- 45 carbon laid onto the foam. This time less panic calmly finished taping the bag down and switched the pump on and automatically the bag was sealed result!

Next morning it was like Christmas pulling everything off to see the result.

With the hull now created it was time to get the travel box up through the spare room window and get the hull cooked before pulling it from the mould. Four hours later the heat was turned off and it was time!

So now it was time for the reveal, the baton trick comes back out and wow all that release agent worked!!! It took 2 1/2 hours and Lunar was there in all her glory.

What’s next is to trim the top and the back of the hull down to the shape it needs to be, and started shaping a male mould up for the deck. Its time to set the pace faster now, the aim is still to have the boat ready for her first sail in April. Fingers crossed

Thanks to Chantelle Longstaff for putting up with me and helping out so much.

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It gets physical

Its been a while since my last post but lots has been happening.

They say when doing a project think of how long it will take and double it. Well add some on to that too. I see the lunar build as a series of lots of projects leading to one final outcome. So the plug project was complete last time. And tonight the mould project was complete too, but getting there was definitely a journey.

One thing i have learnt, as i think ive said in previous blogs, chines are a pain in the bum! Especially trying to get the glass for the mould to go round it at such sharp angles. But the finished article will make it worth it in the end.

This is my first mould that i have made so it was a learning process along the way. I started building the mould with a first layer of 200gsm woven roving, which worked well for the first layer as flexed around all the hard shapes. Then 3 layers of 300gsm all of this was made up with polyester resin for its fast setting properties. Its this point while it still had some flex i thought it would be a good idea to pop the mould from the plug. Thanks to Phill atomik for the great idea of using long flexible battens to get between the two as sadly with all the curves id made into the hull and an obvious stinginess on my part with the release agent, it was well stuck!! It took a good 4 hours of both me and my girlfriend trying to prise the two apart but in the end with some big crack and popping sounds the two separated.

After that the mould was placed back on the plug and reinforcing ribs and plates made out of MDF were glassed on top.

Next came a sad part of the process. The plug that id put my life and soul into had to be taken apart to make room for the mould to be completed. So piece by piece it was deconstructed alot quicker that it was built. With little time to morn the loss, the mould took its place on the bench.

Little bit of filler here and there, high build primer and alot of wet and drying and the mould was super smooth and ready for the a glossy white coat over the top.

So thats where I’m at now. In my spare room i have a glossy mould hardening off, a good compound and polish and it will be ready for some black gold, which will be in the post this week.

Stay tuned, the next post will hopefully show a brand new hull!

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Now for the fun part

So been a long few weeks constantly covered in dust. Time spent to date is 145 hours and I’m at the end of the hull shape plug.

I did have to have a week off last week to do some repairs on the ninja after some contact with a rather solid article racing in Barts bash but today was back on it doing all the final bits to the plug. In hindsite i could have maybe done a more simple shape on the hull i have spent at least half of the time lining up the chines on the front of the boat, a lot of time for something that is not going to help it go any faster ……

I’m happy with the shape i have and now it is time for the mould making, im getting very excited about this stage, i have lots of fibre glass, resin, and wooden shapes to reinforce sitting poised to be draped over the sexy hull shape of the lunar.

While ive been doing the plug in my spare time, at work the project has not been far from my mind changing some of the ideas slightly especially deck layout and control systems, making sure that the hole boat is as aerodynamic as possible. I still have some ideas that i would love to do but have that niggling voice in the back of my head saying learn to walk before you try and run.

So were next, this week i will be laying up the mould onto the plug and filling up the shopping basket to get all the really exciting final hull materials here.

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Time flys !

Its been a long few weeks it doesn’t look like much work but to date i have spent 112.5 hours working on it from the time i started drawing the templates out. I think I’ve got quite far….. I know its a bit sad to keep count of the hours spent.

So last time i started to put the fibreglass over the foam, this went better than expected i thought the foam was going to react a bit with the resin due to the heat but it kept its shape perfectly.
The difference was very cool it went from what looked a bit of a mess to looking like the rough shape i had drawn out on paper.

Now was the day of the filler! The exciting bit getting it all smooth and putting the fine details onto the hull. Ok so it wasn’t a day it has been many days so far and i nearly have one side completed, my day job just gets in the way all the time!
The port side of the boat is now in a fetching mustard colour thanks to the filler primer just to show up any little imperfections i have left, so im now just working round doing those.

Next step is the starboard side of the boat that is about half done i hope to have that done by the middle of September, to then make my cradles and take the mould off the plug ready for payday to go by some carbon goodies.

So thats my month planed hopefully there will be some sailing in there as well, have to get some training in for the event at Grafham water at the end of the month.

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Foaming hell!

So i haven’t talked much about the ideas or design going into this boat, as i said in previous posts I’m not using any computer design in this build, and the design has just come out of my head with a few nods to design elements i like from other boats. Undoubtably there will be many design details that people wont like and don’t see the reason why they are there, they are there because i think it looks cool and some may perform a function. I didn’t want my own boat just to look like another moth, it has to have its own character.

I have attached a picture of a model of the initial design idea, the shape of the hull and wings are going to be very similar to this modal.

Once its built I’m hoping for a very clean and clear deck area with very little rope on show.

So back to the build

Progress has been fairly good fitting it in around work, and the mrs Scorpion that i have been fixing up to teach her to sail in, oh and getting out in my ninja when theres some breeze, managed my top speed of 27.2 knots the other day, i wonder if my own boat will propel me to that sort of speed??

The spare room has got quite small now that the nose is attached to the main body of the boat i have a couple of inches front and back to play with, getting it back out the flat may be interesting…..

There have been many many long sessions spent filling voids with high density foam, sawing, sanding, and reshaping untill i was pretty happy with the shape. I didnt realise how long that part of the process was actually going to take. The fibre glass layer is going on and now time for the more fine shaping. Out comes the filler! I’m going to love this bit.

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Been a busy few days

After a long time thinking and doodling about my own boat, it was finally time to put it properly down on paper. I took rough measurements from my ninja, and some other models when I had the chance, sectioned it all up and drew my hull shape to fit the boxes.

Next step, a long and repetitive time on the drawing board, drawing 19 different half cross sections of my boat and cutting them out to be used as templates.

After many hours of tinkering the templates were all done and off I went to wicks to get some materials to make it come to life.

So where I’m at at the moment:
– the structure is mostly in skeletal form.
– the spare room has been emptied and the beginnings of my boat are now filling it.

Whats next:
– fill the skeleton with foam and get the full final shape before glassing. I feel this will take quite a while…

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The beginning

Since I saw the first foiling moth, sitting proudly on a dinghy show stand, I was in awe of it, like so many people were and are today. “One day I’ll sail one of those”.
Watching the development throughout the years, going faster, the first foiling gybes, then the holy grail the foiling tack! At this time i was sailing RS600s and Musto skiffs, always looking in amazement at the silent stalker flying around the course still hoping one day to have one.

Last year I finally took the plunge and bought my first moth. A 2010 bright yellow Ninja. My god it was better than I could ever imagine. Hours and hours I played trying to tame the yellow moth, with much help from Matt Lea sailing most sessions with him at Grafham water sailing club. Soon the swimming was less and the foiling gybes had started. I started to understand the boat and started to develop parts, repair things, play with the magical black stuff they call carbon, god I love it!

Still the sailing progressed, met more mothies, pulled off my first foiling tacks!! Went to events and met these magical people called home builders… Well what more can I say, I like a big challenge!

I carried on in my little yellow Ninja, sailing every moment I had trying to make it, and me, go faster with the idea that someday I could make one of my very own.

The aim this year was the worlds, go get a solid result and have fun, now they have passed the time is right. So now its time for the “Luna”.

I am not going to be using cad or rhino during this design and build, just pen and paper and my imagination. Mainly because I’ve never used it before and can’t be bothered to learn. Plus it will be nice to see how the design evolves as I go.

Feel free to follow my posts as I go though this journey. I expect there to be some ups and downs along the way to which I will tell all, but for now it is just the beginning and there is defiantly more to come.

James.
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