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 sales, 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.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Boat on Trailer

Been getting all the little things done on the boat in preparation for launch day.  Managed to get the boat on the trailer without too much damage (just a couple of scuffs and a small dent).  Nothing that can't be easily fixed.  Should've paid more attention while getting it on the trailer.  I hate having to re-do work 'cause I rushed or didn't pay as much attention to something as I should have.  Thanks for the help from Rob, Mike and my son Sean.

The boat does look beautiful.  I've got the mast on now and shrouds have been mounted.  I purchased the "Pocketship Sailing Hardware Kit" from clc.  The shrouds ended up being just the right length for my mast.  I guess that means I got all the dimensions correct.

The trailer is an aluminum Magic Tilt that was purchased from a local dealer.  They set it up as best they could from the dimensions I gave them.  The bunk supports are a little long.  Gonna borrow my sons saws-all and take care of that tomorrow.  The only option that I added was the spare tire.  It's a nice trailer and the out the door price + TTL was a shade over $2100 new.  On a related note I was able to get the boat registered (although it threw the local DMV into all kinds of convulsions and took about 2 hours and lots of phone calls) and was able to obtains reasonable insurance through BoatUS.

Since this picture I've remounted the removable tabernacle, and boom support and mounted the mast.  I also loaded on the 150lbs of extra ballast and mounted the running lights.  Measuring the current height of the trailer and comparing it to the garage door height I have a scant 2" of clearance but should still be able to put it in my garage should I need to.

I finished adding the drop boards while it was in the garage.  They fit pretty well right out of the box.  I had to shave just a little off the outboard edges of the curved top of the top board to get clearance for the sliding hatch.  After I did that it fit perfect.

Also note the compass.  I really like it in this position but I can't take credit for it.  I saw it on someones blog I just haven't been able to find it again to give them attribution.

Interestingly last night we had one of those severe Florida thunder storms that drops torrents of rain in a small amount of time.  This morning I went to see where I was leaking.  I checked inside the lazarettes, not a drop.  Checked the cabin interior, again dry as a bone as was the dorades.  Pretty nice.

I added a swivel cleat to the base of the mainsheet block.  Others have done this and manual tells you that small boats should never have the mainsheet cleated.  However, my rule of thumb is that you should always have the mainsheet in hand.

I've still got some running rigging tasks to complete.  The plan is to splash it this weekend if the weather cooperates.