Thursday, September 11, 2014

Planning for the Future

My PocketShip has been complete now for a few months.  She's still sitting at the dock at my sons house.  I've only had the opportunity to sail her about 4 times since she was splashed.  The weather here in FL has just been too hot to have any fun in at all and the winds have been light with the typical central florida pattern of afternoon storms.

Three week ago I had surgery on my left shoulder and that will limit me for a little while.  My future plans with my PocketShip is limited to sailing in the Florida 120 next may.  I plan to do many short excursions for shaking out all of the system of the boat before I attempt that event.

There are many things I haven't tried yet with reefing being the main one.  I have to purchase the blocks and lines and other misc hardware to complete this project and I would like sail in some adverse conditions so that I can work out the kinks.

The same goes with anchoring.  I have all the gear all set up but as yet haven't tried to use it.  In addition right now I only have a bow anchor.  I will purchase an anchor for the stern.

The electrical still requires charging from the shore.  I also need to purchase a small solar charger to set up on my companion way hatch cover.

These are all minor things and as far as getting them set up on the boat it I estimate that it will take about 1 day.  I wish my shoulder would be ready that quickly.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Build Retrospective

First off I would like to say that the PocketShip is a wonderful boat.  I think one of the best examples of a pocket cruiser in the 15' range that exists today.  It sails nicely and looks stunning.  Everything has a functionality that is very well thought out.  Design wise I can't think of any misses.

The build itself is much longer (at least in my case) than the estimated 500 hours.  My 1 to 1 1/2 year build turned into 3 1/2 years.  I tried to go with high quality sails, hardware and accessories on every part of this boat.  When in doubt I overbuilt.  The final cost of the boat is much more than I would have paid for a similar factory built boat.  However, I feel that the quality is a cut above anything you could buy commercially and I am intimately familiar with every nook and cranny.  That knowledge is important when sailing.


  1. Bulkhead number two was canted about 1/2" athwart.  It was the largest mistake on the boat but doesn't amount to anything.
  2. Technically not a mistake (since I did it on purpose) the hatch cover is a little skewed to make up for item number 1.
  3. When I marked hull for painting I masked for where the hatch cover contacted the hull so that I could get a good epoxy bond when I glued the hatch cover on.  Well, on the starboard side I simply missed.  I thought there was enough non-painted hull area that I could get a good epoxy adhesion.  I was wrong and the first sail when my son stepped on that area it let loose with a sickening crack.  There was no damage but there is a small gap there now.  I'm going to have to carefully excavate the paint from under that area and re-glue it properly.  For now it doesn't cause any problems.
  4. Even though I own a drill press there were many times that I missed getting the holes correct on the tabernacle, bowsprit, mast, boom and gaff.  They either had to be plugged and redone or bored out to make them fit.
  5. I think the hull painting would have turned out better if I had simply "rolled and tipped" it vs using a HVLP sprayer.
  6. The bright work got two coats of clear WR-LPU paint.  I think it could have used a third coat.
  7. In several placed where I have bright work that was encapsulated in epoxy I sanded too aggressively and removed too much epoxy and got into bare wood.  Sometimes it's hard to see those places before you paint.  When clear coated they become very obvious and didn't result in the finish that I was trying to achieve.  After the fact I learned that a rag with alcohol will reveal those areas instantly.
So, would I start another one tomorrow.  That's a resounding NO.  I've scratched the itch to build a cruising sailboat.  I am helping my wife and daughter with kayak builds.  They are building a Chesapeake 17 and a Petral SG respectively.  I am providing technical support and that suits me just fine.

The PocketShip was the third boat I had built.  Each of them was a stitch and glue boat and each one was better than the one before.  Ten years ago I build my second boat, a small sailing skiff that my son uses weekly either for sailing or fishing.

I will probably build another (smaller) boat again someday.  For now I will just relax and learn to be a great PocketShip sailor.

Build is over sailing adventures will continue to be documented here!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Canvas and Sail Cover Update

I decided against getting the bimini but did order a companion way cover, sail cover, and cockpit cushions.  I didn't contract the canvas guy to do the sacrificial cover for the jib.  I found a local sail loft that did that work (but I haven't picked the sail up yet).  The canvas guy hadn't done that kind of work before so I thought I would take it to a pro.

Here is the short list of items that I have left to do.

  1. Set up the anchor and rode.
  2. Buy a battery (agm).
  3. Finish the electrical wiring
  4. Install the cabin light
  5. Buy and install solar charger
I didn't want to run wires back to the transom so I purchased a Navisafe tri-color that will operate as my rear navigation light.  I need to purchase a mount for this with the idea of putting on the boom support upright.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Ordering up some canvas

Not wanting to have to take the sails off and on each time I go out I've decided it's time to get some canvas made for my PocketShip.  This is the ordered short list of what I'm having a custom canvas guy estimate for me.

1.  Main Sail Cover.
2.  Sacrificial Furling Jib Cover.
3.  Cockpit Cushions.
4.  Bimini.

I'm totally sold on the first two and will probably order them up unless they're just way too expensive.  I'm in for the cockpit cushions too if the price is right.  The guy said he wouldn't have a problem doing a small bimini that sat between the bridle and the mainsheet just under the boom.  I'm not sure I want to mount that to my boat and having all that extra hardware seems like it would really get in the way.  That being said, this is Florida and in the summer time any amount of shade is a blessing.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Maiden Voyage

At the dock after the christening ceremony.  Getting ready to leave with Gilligan (Scott in the sunglasses).

Backing it out

Turning it around.

We're off down the canal and into Little Lake Conway.

The rest is eye candy sailing pics.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Got the Sails Up.

Got off work yesterday and went over to my sons house and worked on rigging the sails.  We had quite a few misfires on where to run the lines and sheets but and it took about 2 hour for me and my two sons to get it straightened out.  The maiden sail will have to wait till thursday as we ran out of sunlight.

At this point I'm got to record the last of the time that it took me to build this boat.  I have some small things that I WANT to finish but nothing that's going to keep me from using it for its intended purpose.  Here are the final hours.

Hours this session: 6
Hours total: 673

Sunday, May 18, 2014


This morning I took the boat over the Little Lake Conroy and put it in at the boat ramp off of Hoffner ave. behind the church.  The ramp was very crowded and busy but my son, Sean is experience with this and was there to help me.  After getting the boat prepped we waited in line to get the boat in the water.  Finally it was our turn.  We backed the boat as far as we dared but couldn't get it to float off.  We eventually had to get in the water and push it off.  This exposed the need for a tongue extension for the trailer.  I had ordered one when I got the trailer but they had forgotten to put it on.  I'll taking the trailer back for that work on friday.

The boat ramp is about 3 miles across the lake from where my Seans' dock is located.  He has a home on one of the many canals that provide access to the lake.  My other son Scott and I set off across the lake using the Torqueedo outboard.

I didn't have the mast up and left the sails on shore with the mission to just get the boat over to Seans' dock so I could do the running rigging there.  I did drop the centerboard and that worked just fine.

I kept the throttle eased back since I didn't know how much distance I could get out of the Torqueedo.  Once we got to the other side of the lake Scott had problems identifying which of the 3 canals in the same general area was the one that would take us to Seans' dock.  I called Sean and he rowed out in the last boat I built and flagged us in.  By the time we got to the dock the Torqueedo was down to 52%.

I beached the bow of the boat on the left hand side of Seans' dock and tied it up.  Sean had brought the car and trailer around to his house after he dropped us off.  We did a little cleanup and I left her in Seans' back yard.  A previous commitment to go visit my mother in law kept me from getting the mast and sails up and having a nice sail around the lake.  I'm going to try to get out and do that on tuesday evening after work.  At that time we'll have the christening ceremony and first sail.