Delta V in progress Building a Delta V Sailing Dinghy

(If anyone has questions about boat building, don't hesitate to ask me.)

In late 2003 I started on a Delta V sailing dinghy from Northwest Marine Design. The Delta V is a design that conforms to the NS14 class, a development class mostly sailed in Australia. I thought long and hard about building a Swift Solo but eventually decided on the Delta V because I wasn't sure that I could handle a Swift Solo and the Swift Solo is too expensive to build unless you are really going to use it.

I did buy the construction manual for the Swift Solo, which was a good idea as it has a number of good ideas for sailboat building. I adapted many of the techniques there and also other techniques used in building the Swift Solo. The plans for the Delta V are not as detailed as I would have liked, and I didn't receive the page for the Delta V with the bulkheads. This actually worked out well in the end, as I got the offsets for the bulkheads from the designer, and this, along with the offsets on the plans, let me loft and print the building forms and the bulkhead templates using an HP plotter.

The plans for the Delta V specify plywood deck, cockpit, and bulkheads. I decided to strip everything, because a stripped deck, cockpit, and transom look much nicer than plywood, and then I may as well strip the interior bulkheads using the poorer-quality strips. I only needed to bead-and-cove the hull, as the deck is quite flat and the cockpit and bulkheads are absolutely flat.

Stripping everything means that I had to glass both sizes of the bulkheads, cockpit, and deck, which I decided to do using 9-ounce S-glass. This is the first time I used S-glass, and I bought a high-thread-count (57x54, I think) 9-ounce 8-harness satin weave S-glass from J. R. Sweet. (I bought the last 43 yards of this material that they had, in a combination of 50-inch wide and 60-inch wide material.) This glass was listed as second quality, but I couldn't find any flaws in it.

I wasn't too worried about wetting out this glass because I was going to use System Three Clear Coat, which has worked fine for the high-thread-count lightweight glass I've been using for the Prospector models and the Caspian Sea kayak. I did try a small bit of the glass on a flat panel, and it appears to work great. The glass itself is very drapable, but not fragile like 8-harness satin weave is supposed to be, probably because of the high thread count. The pattern is also quite nice, and I'll probably leave it show through on the topside for traction. (I ended up using mostly Raka 350 epoxy, which is more viscous that Clear Coat, and this caused some problems with the wet-out.)

I decided to modify the Delta V in other ways. I used 1/4-inch strips instead of the 3/8-inch strips specified for the hull. I hope that this works out OK. I thought that the S-glass I used would have enough strength for this thickness of strips. I also decided to use uni-directional carbon fiber tape in a number of areas, as J. R. Sweet had some at very attractive prices. This would, however, probably make the boat not conform to the NS14 rules.

Order of Construction

My plan was to first strip and glass the hull, using bead-and-cove strips. I would build a hull cradle to support it while working on the interior of the hull. Then I would use left-over bead-and-cove strips to make several bulkheads, including the transom, which would be glued to the hull to further support it. Next I would strip the deck and glass its interior. I would attach the mast partner and the spinnaker pole supports to the underside of the deck. I would then build the remaining bulkheads and the daggarboard trunk and mount them all in the hull. Then I would glue the deck to the hull and bulkheads. The chainplates could now be attached to the bulkheads.

The last parts to be stripped would be the cockpit floor and sides. The cockpit sides would again only be glassed on the interior (non-visible side). The supports for most of the hardware would be attached to the cockpit floor and sides and then they could be glued to the deck and bulkheads. Finally, the exterior of the deck and cockpit sides could be glassed. This allows a single 60-inch piece of glass to be used for both the deck and the cockpit sides and also used to strengthen the hull-deck join.

Making the daggarboard, rudder, rudder cassette, and tiller is largely independent of making the hull. Even fitting the daggarboard into the trunk can be done before or after it is made part of the hull. (Actually before is somewhat preferable, as it would be easier to fiddle around with this task without having to move the entire hull for access.) Preparing the spars and rigging is similarly independent of other tasks, at least until final assembly of everything.

This account of my building effort is not quite in the order that it actually occured. Instead this account is more in a logical order. In some cases I have noted where the account diverges from a chronological order.


Determining exactly what hardware (blocks, cleats, etc.) to use took quite a bit of thought. I didn't like some of the choices made by the designer, and thus needed to determine what I wanted instead. This thinking process continued throughout the building of the hull and deck and was only finalized just before I joined the hull and deck, when I needed the first bits of hardware.

I put together a list of all the hardware I used. Most of the hardware was from Harken or Ronstan. The mast, boom, and associated hardware were from Dwyer Aluminum Mast Company. After thinking of using a stiffer mast, I decided to retain the specified mast. I did go with a sliding gooseneck from Dwyer (but later built my own, see below).

I decided to rig the boat with high-tech rope instead of wire, using deadeyes from Precourt. I mostly did this as I could thus easily adjust the length of standing rigging. I decided to run the halyards internal to the mast, mostly to make the boat look nicer.

I modified the main sheet setup, the boom vang, and the cunningham, using ideas from Harken and Ronstan. I decided not to use a windward sheeting car for the main sheet. This was partly to save money but also because I could then use smaller track, which I think fits the boat better. The main sheet tackle consists of two fiddle blocks, giving a 4-to-1 advantage, sheeted from the boom. The boom vang is still double-ended, but with a triple and a double plus a cascade, giving an 8-to-1 advantage. The cunning is also cascaded, as in the plans, again with an 8-to-1 advantage, but the primary connects to an eye strap attached to the gooseneck.

Finally, I decided to add a trapeze to the boat.


One important issue was how to fasten the hardware to the boat. Much of the hardware is subject to fairly heavy loading and thus needs to be well secured. I mostly used ideas from the Swift Solo, using leftover bits of bulkhead material for backing plates. In many places I used Stainless steel machine screws anchored with stainless steel flanged weld nuts (available from McMaster-Carr). The weld nuts were placed on the underside of the backing material with the sleeve of the nut projecting up into the backing material. Epoxy was used to glue the nut to the backing material. A second backing piece was used to ensure that the weld nut does not separate from the backing. While the epoxy is curing a machine screw coated in release agent (carnauba wax) is threaded on the nut so that the threads of the nut are not fouled with epoxy. This ends up with a low-weight, high-strength fastening mechanism.

For the main sheet traveller track I decided to use flanged serrated nuts instead, as there are has 20 screws, and weld nuts would end up being overkill. The jib sheet track attachment is accessible, so I just used regular nuts and washers.

Fixing Forestay Stemplate Attachment Some items, notably the stemhead, are anchored in sold wood. Instead of using wood screws, I took an idea from Gougeon Brothers, and drilled oversize holes to hold two nuts, one near the bottom of the hole and one at the top. The holes are filled with thickened epoxy, which securely holds the nuts. The only problem with this attachment method is that you have to be careful when screwing into it. If you misthread the bottom nut and force the screw into it, you can end up "stripping" the epoxy. The bottom nut then just spins and you can neither remove nor insert the screw. Fortunately, it is possible to drill out the hole and remove everything and then redo the attachment.


There was quite a bit of preparation before the real work of building the Delta V could begin.


Sanding Forms Forms 3 Forms 2 Forms 1 The first task was to cut out the forms. There are ten forms, on a 16-inch spacing. I used 1/2-inch plywood for all the forms, as this makes for lightweight forms.

Everything is much bigger for a sailboat, even a dinghy, than for a canoe or kayak. I used three 4-foot by 8-foot pieces of plywood for the forms, gluing the forms I printed to the plywood and cutting them out with a jigsaw. I then sanded the forms down to the line using a stationary belt sander.


Lumber Cutting Strips 2 Cutting Strips 1 Cutting 2x4 2 Cutting 2x4 1 The next step was to cut the strips. I bought a bunch of 2-by-4 Western Red Cedar boards (14 14-footers and 6 10-footers) from a local lumberyard. (There is quite a difference in price between 2-by-4's and 2-by-6's for some reason.) I wanted non-flat sawn boards, but couldn't get enough. I then cut the boards into strips, cutting the flat-sawn and non-flat-sawn differently to end up with the proper grain orientation. Some of the boards had their grain shift down the length of the board, so some of the strips have shifting grain. I placed these strips near the top of the hull to achieve a hopefully-interesting visual effect.

Layout For Hull Layout For Cockpit Unfortunately there is a lot of waste in cutting 2-by-4's into strips. I could only get 16 strips out of a 2-by-4, so I thought that I would be a couple dozen strips short. It turns out that I wasn't short, however, as I used the strips quite efficiently. I ended up with a bunch of thin strips, ranging from 3/16-inch down to under 1/8-inch, most of which ended up as scrap.

I decided to lay out the strips for the cockpit, hull, and deck so that I could set up a nice-looking design, and so that I could determine which strips need to have beads and coves put on them. The hull side will be mostly dark, with white pine accent strips. The cockpit will be mostly tan, with some variation. The deck will have an arrowhead-like layout, with 1/4-inch white pine accents.

Strips Coved 2 Strips Coved 1 Strips Beaded Cutting Beads 3 Cutting Beads 2 Cutting Beads 1 The next step was to cut beads and coves on the strips for the hull. I set up my router in the router table and ran through all the strips for the hull twice, using a climb cut to get cleaner cuts and using multiple finger boards to hold the strips solid and tight so that the beads and coves wouldn't wander and so that the strips wouldn't launch through the router.


Gluing Stem Bending Stem Preparing Stem Form I decided to make a laminated inner stem so I measured the stem diagram and made a stem form. After some adjustment I cut the stem form and put in holes for the bending clamps. I then cut several 1/4-inch by 5/4-inch strips and used a bunch of thin strips from the regular cutting. I steamed these strips and bent them on the form, in two batches. After they dried, I glued them. I used epoxy, and also put three layers of the 9-ounce S-glass in as well, as I wanted a very strong stem. This made quite a mess, but I sanded it reasonably clean using my belt sander.


Stem On Forms Setting Up Forms 2 Setting Up Forms 1 As specified in the Delta V building instructions, I made a ladder-style strongback. I used 3/4-inch oak plywood cut into 6-inch strips and screwed together to make two 6-inch by 1.5-inch planks 9.5 feet long. I cut supports for these planks to sit on sawhorses, leveled everything out, and threaded the eight large forms onto these planks. I then added on a narrower section with its own support and put the front two forms on this narrower section.

Note that the front form has a slot for the stem form to fit into. I cut a slot in the stem form and fitted it to the front form. I faired the laminated stem using the belt sander. I then clamped the laminated stem to the stem form and faired it in place.

Stripping the Hull

The next stage was to strip the hull.

Stripping the Sides

Stripping Hull  6 Stripping Hull  5 Stripping Hull  4 Stripping Hull  2 The first strips of the hull were quite easy to place as they have no sharp curves. I put a white pine accent strip as the fourth strip on the hull. The only issue is that the first strip was a bit short. I latter extended this strip at the stern with a bit of a matching strip.

Stripping Hull 12 Stripping Hull 11 Stripping Hull 10 Stripping Hull  7

Stripping Hull 16 Stripping Hull 15 Stripping Hull 14 Stripping Hull 13

Stripping Hull 20 Stripping Hull 19 Stripping Hull 18 Stripping Hull 17

Stripping Hull 23 Stripping Hull 22 Stripping Hull 21

radiusing tool coving tool marking a strip I wanted to have accent strips that were parallel to the waterline, at least for the front half of the boat. When I got close to the waterline, I measured the front forms to see how much distance was left to the waterline. I then marked and trimmed several strips with a chisel and then sanded them smooth. For the first strips I tried cutting off the cove side and putting in a new cove by using a rasp in a grove, as suggested by Bram Dalley, but this took too much time. For the next strips I cut off the bead side and put on a new bead with a radiusing tool from Lee Valley. This was much faster, and the chiselling and sanding did not damage the cove edges much, if at all.

Stripping Hull 26 Stripping Hull detail 25 Stripping Hull 25 Stripping Hull detail 24 Stripping Hull 24 Two narrowed strips were put on the boat with a full-size strip in between, then the distance to the waterline was measured yet again, and a third strip cut down and put on. Then the two accent strips and a separator strip were attached.

Stripping Hull 30 Stripping Hull 29 Stripping Hull 28 Stripping Hull detail 27 Stripping Hull 27

Stripping Hull 33 Stripping Hull detail 32 Stripping Hull 32 Stripping Hull 31 After the accent strips were added, a few more strips were added until the sides of the hull were finished. These strips interlock in unusual fashions, and cutting out a slot for the next strip is rather tricky. I ended up having to patch a few gaps in this area, but fortunately I could use the end of the appropriate strip so the result doesn't look too bad. Between adding these strips, I cut off the protruding ends of the previous strips so the bow finally began to take close to its final shape.

Stripping Hull 37 Stripping Hull 36 Stripping Hull 35 Stripping Hull 34

Stripping the Bottom

Stripping Hull center 9 Stripping Hull center 7 Stripping Hull center 5 Stripping Hull center 3 Stripping Hull center 1 At this point, I put a strip down the centerline of the boat, tucking it into the two previous strips. I then filled in the two open areas on the bottom of the boat, alternating strips parallel to the centerline with strips parallel to the gunwales. The front of these strips had to be trimmed appropriately and then either a cove or a bead had to be put on the cut bit of the strip. I used web clamps to keep the strips in place and to make sure that the hull didn't float off the forms.

Stripping Hull center 17 Stripping Hull center 15 Stripping Hull center 13 Stripping Hull center 11

Stripping Hull center 21 rear Stripping Hull center 21 Stripping Hull center 19 rear Stripping Hull center 19 Stripping Hull center 17 rear The first few of these strips were easy, as they ran off the stern of the boat so their length was not critical. However, the remaining strips had to be trimmed at both ends, which, as usual, was much harder.

Stripping Hull center 27 rear Stripping Hull center 27 Stripping Hull center 25 rear Stripping Hull center 25 Stripping Hull center 23 rear Stripping Hull center 23 The final few strips were, as usual, hard to place, because they had to be bent when being installed. I cut the bottom off the cove on the last two strips, but it still was a struggle to force them in. Fortunately, the inside of the hull is not visible so the cut-off cove doesn't show.

Smoothing the Hull Exterior

Sanding Bottom 3 Sanding Bottom 2 Sanding Bottom 1 The next step was to smooth the outside of the hull. I started the smoothing process with a plane and spokeshave, to get the major bumps off. Then I continued with my random orbital sander. I attached the dust output of the sander to my shop vac, which made the process almost entirely free of dust. I faired the bottom of the hull with a sanding board, and finally sanded out the sanding marks with a final pass of the random orbital sander.

Glassing the Hull Exterior

Seal Coat Bottom 2 Seal Coat Bottom 1 After the exterior of the hull was smoothed, I put a layer of 9-oz S-glass on it. First I put on a seal coat, and when this was starting to set, I filled in the cracks with a mixture of epoxy, wood flour, and quartz micro-spheres.

Glassing Bottom 3 Glassing Bottom 2 Glassing Bottom 1 Glassing required two lengths of 50" fabric, which I overlapped about 5" along the midline. I then put System 3 ClearCoat epoxy on the glass. This did not go as well as I had planned, as the glass is very closely-woven and the temperature was low, which made the epoxy thicker. I was left with some air pockets along the threads of the glass, particularly where there were two layers of glass, and some cloudy sections, where the small air bubbles did not out-gas. However, the end result is not too bad. I added three fill coats to bury the glass and provide sufficient depth for fairing the exterior.

Final Fairing of the Hull Exterior

Sanding Bottom Glass 3 Sanding Bottom Glass 2 Sanding Bottom Glass 1 After the epoxy hardened, I faired the result using the random orbital sander and the fairing board with wet-sanding paper glued on it.

Building the Cradle

Cradle 8 Cradle 7 Cradle 6 Cradle 5 Cradle 3 Cradle 2 The next task was to build a cradle for the hull. This was used as a place to put the hull while the inside of the hull is being finished and while the deck is being prepared. The first part of the process was to cover the cradle area with plastic and cut out a piece of indoor/outdoor carpet to size. Then six layers of 6-ounce glass with some carbon fiber tape for stiffening was laid out and glued together. This was done in two steps so that the glass could be wet out. Next wood stiffeners were cut out, placed on the cradle glass, and glued on. Epoxy fillets were then added, using a mixture of epoxy and glass fibers. Then two layers of epoxy mixed with graphite dust were added. The final step was to glue the carpet to the cradle using contact cement.

Much later, after the hull was finished, I put wheels on the cradle, making it into a simple dolly for moving the hull around.

Sanding and Glassing the Hull Interior

Sanding Interior 2 Sanding Interior 1 After a hiatus to finish my Caspian Sea kayak and to do other things, I popped the hull off the forms, put it on the cradle, and sanded the inside of the hull. I used a paint scraper to scrape off the remaining glue. For sanding, I mostly used my random-orbital sander, but also had to do a bit of hand sanding at the bow.

Glassing Interior Glassed Glassing Interior Placing Glass Glassing Interior Fill Coat I then glassed the interior of the hull. I first put a seal coat on the interior and filled gaps with a mixture of epoxy and, and quartz micro-spheres. I didn't use any wood flour for color as none of it can be seen in the finished boat. When this was non-tacky, I placed 9-ounce S-glass transversely across the hull, overlapping the sections about two inches. I used only a single coat of epoxy to glue this glass to the hull, as it is all inside the boat.

Glassing Interior Carbon Tape Detail Glassing Interior Carbon Tape Instead of using a keel plank, as specified in the plans, I instead used two strips of carbon fiber tape as stiffeners, running them all the way from the stern to the bow. I laid the two strips right next to each other except where the daggarboard opening will be and by the bow stem. As mentioned above, this use of carbon fiber will probably make the boat not conform to the NS14 rules. However, the carbon fiber did a great job of stiffening here and elsewhere.

Attaching Transom I next attached the transom to the hull, to provide strength for the hull as the cradle does not provide as much support as the forms. (See below for how I built the transom.) For glue, I used epoxy and plastic mini-fibers with wood flour for color, because the transom join will be visible. I put a 1/4-inch radius fillet on the interior join, to further strengthen the transom-hull join.

Stripping the Deck

The next major part of the construction was to strip the deck.

Stripping the Deck

I flipped the strongback and forms over to use the other side of the forms to strip the deck. As the deck is nearly flat, there was no need to use bead-and-cove strips and even no need to bevel the strips. I selected several contrasting strips for the outside edge of the deck, the centerline, and the edge where the deck meets the cockpit.

Stripping Deck 6 Stripping Deck 5 Stripping Deck 4 Stripping Deck 3 Stripping Deck 2 Stripping Deck 1 I started by attaching the second strip to the forms using hot-melt glue. (The first strip extends beyond the forms, and thus is not as easy to attach to the forms.) I then placed a pair of center-line strips and then the outside strips. Next came a pair of white pine center-line strips, then three strips along the deck edge, followed by a third pair of strips down the center. I used fiber tape to force the strips together and spring clamps to force them into alignment.

Stripping Deck 13 Stripping Deck 12 Stripping Deck 11 Stripping Deck 10 Stripping Deck 9 Stripping Deck 8 Stripping Deck 7 The next strips I placed were the ones along the edge of the cockpit. These strips follow the cockpit sides for a while and then angle in towards the center line. I cut each strip into two pieces and glued them together at this angle. I put five strips along this edge, matched up with the five strips along the outside edge of the deck. I purposely cut the strips so that the joints did not line up.

Stripping Deck 18 Stripping Deck 17 Stripping Deck 16 Stripping Deck 15 Stripping Deck 14 I stripped the rest of the deck parallel to the angled strips, to give an arrowhead design. I cut some white pine strips in half, to give a pinstripe look. These pine strips alternated with some visually-interesting strips and some background strips, in a fairly regular pattern, with some modifications near the front of the cockpit. I worked both forward and back, letting the glue set up between strips. After a while I did two strips at a time, cutting, sanding, gluing, and taping them in one operation.

Stripping Deck 25 Stripping Deck 24 Stripping Deck 23 Stripping Deck 22 Stripping Deck 21 Stripping Deck 20 Stripping Deck 19

Stripping Deck 29 Stripping Deck 28 Stripping Deck 27 Stripping Deck 26 All these strips were quite easy to do as I used the wheel on my belt sander to trim them to the correct length, after cutting the strips roughly to length using a mitre saw. For most strips the curve where they met the edge strips was so slight that the end could be just sanded straight. The toughest strips were the last two near the bow, as these had to be sanded to fit the curve of the edge strips. However the sander did an excellent job of trimming down to the correct curve.

Stripping Deck 30 Stripping Deck 31 Stripping Deck 32 The last part of the deck to be stripped was the narrow rear deck. I finished up at the stern with some background strips, to give a closure to the stern.

Finishing the Underside of the Deck

I decided to work on the deck in a non-standard fashion. I wanted to leave the top of the deck unfinished until the very end so that I could glass the top of the deck and the cockpit all together. This required taking the deck off the forms and working on it before any glassing is done, and had to be done carefully to avoid splitting the deck.

Underside Deck Seal Underside Deck I popped the deck off the forms and flipped it over. The deck popped of very easily, with no damage. I placed the deck upside down on the deck forms, which provide some support, but not complete support. I then carefully smoothed the underside of the deck with my random orbital sander. I then (after a delay to build the bulkheads and put them in the hull) put on a seal coat and filled in the cracks and levelled off the hollows with a mixture of epoxy and microballoons.

Underside Deck 5 Underside Deck 4 Underside Deck 3 Underside Deck 2 I then glassed the underside of the deck with some 60-inch fiberglass. I added carbon fiber tape for stiffening down the centerline and along the middle of each side, extending all the way from the bow to the stern. I then built the mast partner, adding two extra layers of strips and fiberglass where the mast will penetrate the deck extension. I also added carbon fiber tape along the edge of the deck where it will not be supported.

Bulkheads and Small Pieces

Note that this section is not in chronological order with respect to the previous sections. Several of the bulkheads were built during the process of building the hull or deck, and the transom was attached to the hull just after it was glassed, before the deck was built. The bulkheads and small pieces were finished and some were attached before the underside of the deck was glassed.

A major difference between a canoe and the Delta V is that the Delta V has seven transverse bulkheads. The order of stripping between the various parts of the Delta V is a bit tricky if one wants to make the best use of the cedar strips. It is convenient to strip the bulkheads early, but the bulkheads are also a good use for left-over ends of strips, particularly as the bulkheads should be stripped with vertical strips.

Visible Bulkheads (Transom and Cockpit Front)

I decided to strip the two bulkheads that have external faces, the transom and the bulkhead that forms the front of the cockpit, with horizontal strips to look better. As these bulkheads do have external faces I also decided to use select strips and to strip these two bulkheads early on. (As it turned out, I did these two bulkheads very early on, during the stripping of the hull, as the weather was too cold to work on the hull for quite a while, but I could do the bulkheads inside.) I also stripped these two bulkheads as one unit, from which the two bulkheads were later cut.

Transom Gluing 4 Transom Gluing 3 Transom Gluing 2 Transom Gluing 1 Transom Strips As the bulkheads are flat and I wasn't using staples, I had to cut some straight lengths of plywood to act as clamps. I then cut strips to the correct length (59 inches) and arranged them in a nice pattern. Next, I edge-glued these strips (in batches of about eight), clamping them between the plywood clamps.

Transom Glassing Transom Smooth Coat Transom Seal Coat Transom Smoothing I smoothed the strips using a scraper, a plane, a spokeshave, and a sanding pad. I then put a seal coat of epoxy on one side. When the seal coat had set up a bit I made a very dry epoxy mixture with microballoons and a bit of sawdust for color and used it to smooth out any voids and low spots. Then I put a layer of 9-ounce S-glass on. (Having some 60-inch S-glass was very helpful here.) On the exterior side I also put on fill coats, but I left the interior without fill coats, to save weight.

Bulkhead B Cutting Finally I glued printed outlines on the board, and cut the transom and the bulkhead that forms the front of the cockpit out of this panel. This bulkhead has access ports in it in the plans, but I decided not to add them.

First Interior Bulkheads

Bulkheads Making 3 Bulkheads Making 2 Bulkheads Making 1 As the deck and cockpit are stripped with regular strips, as soon as I finished the hull I took the left-over bead-and-cove strips and scraps to make a panel for two more bulkheads. (Building these bulkheads even earlier would also have allowed them to be used to keep the hull in its correct shape while the deck and cockpit were stripped.) I used a spare 4-foot by 8-foot piece of particle board as a flat base for this panel and the plywood clamps to keep the panel flat against this base.

Bulkheads Glassing Bulkheads Seal Coat Bulkheads Sanding I scraped most of the glue off one side of the panel and then smoothed it using my plane and random orbital sander. Then I put a seal coat on the panel and glassed it with the 9-ounce S-glass. I did not put any fill coats on the panel, as it will be an interior panel. The process was repeated for the other side of the panel.

Bulkheads Cutting 2 Bulkheads Cutting 1 To cut out the bulkheads, I glued the bulkhead outlines to the panel with rubber cement. I then cut out two bulkheads from the panel, and then sanded them to the line.

Daggarboard Trunk

Daggarboard Trunk Seal Coat Daggarboard Trunk Making As I had a bunch of 10-foot strips reserved for the cockpit sole and sides, there was no need to delay making the remaining panels until the cockpit sole and sides were done. So as soon as the deck was stripped, I started on these panels, working on them more-or-less in parallel so as to minimize the number of times I had to prepare epoxy. First I glued up a panel for both sides of daggarboard trunk and the mast base. The unit will be attached to the hull and bulkheads. I used nice-looking strips for top of the daggarboard trunk as it is visible. I took extra care to make the inside of the trunk very smooth, so that the daggarboard will slide in nicely. I then applied glass to this smoothed side and cut it in half.

Daggarboard Trunk Glassed Daggarboard Trunk Glassing Daggarboard Trunk Gluing Daggarboard Trunk Backing Plank I cut out cedar blocks for the fore and aft ends of the daggarboard trunk and mast step. I put glass on the exposed interior sides of these blocks and glued the panels to the blocks. I rounded the exposed edges of the unit and then glassed the exposed exterior sides of the unit, running a single piece of 6-ounce glass all around three sides of the unit and around the front of the daggarboard trunk part of the unit. The front of the mast step will be glued to a bulkhead, so it didn't need to be glassed. I cut out drain holes for the mast step part of the unit and then sealed the edges of the holes.

Remaining Interior Bulkheads

Bulkheads 2 Seal Coat Bulkheads 2 Making I arranged the last three bulkheads so that they almost fit within a 50-inch height and glued up a panel that could be glassed to fit the bulkheads. I purposely made the panel non-rectangular and put the glass on with a bit of a curve to fit the bulkheads. I then smoothed the panel with a plane and sander As all these bulkheads were interior I didn't take too much care in the smoothing process, resulting in some tear-out with the plane, which was filled with epoxy filler.

Bulkheads 2 Glassing 3 Bulkheads 2 Glassing 2 Bulkheads 2 Smooth Coat 3 Bulkheads 2 Smooth Coat 2 Bulkheads 2 Smooth Coat 1 I applied a seal coat to the bulkheads, then a smoothing coat of epoxy mixed with lightweight filler, and finally I applied glass to both sides of the panel.

Bulkheads in Hull Bulkheads 2 Layout I carefully placed the bulkhead patterns on the panel and cut them out and sanded to size. I then put all the bulkheads in the boat to see how they looked. I noticed that the gunwale of the hull had spread just aft of the bow, so I put some webbing clamps on to try to bend it back a bit.

Small Pieces

There are several small pieces that have to be made for the way I put the boat together.

Small Parts 6 Small Parts 5 Small Parts 4 Small Parts 3 Small Parts 1 First, I needed two holders for the spinnaker pole, which is 2 inches in diameter. I built these holders from strips, making blocks three strips wide, five strips high, and 9 inches long. I placed carbon fiber tape between the lowest three layers of strips, for extra stiffness. To help carry the load from the head of the attachment machine screws, I embedded oversize washers between the second and third layer of strips where the screws are placed. I drilled small pilot holes in the bottom two strips so that I could accurately place these washers.

I needed two blocks for the rudder gudgeons. These blocks are used to hold the rudder off the stern so that it can easily pivot. I took this idea from the Swift Solo. I built the two blocks as one unit, making a block three strips wide, three strips high, and 12 inches long. The blocks don't need to be three strips wide but I did this to allow the screws for the rudder gudgeons to be placed in the middle of a strip instead of at a glue line. To strengthen the block I placed glass between each layer. I also needed attachment blocks to attach the transom bar to the transom. I again built one unit, making a block three strips wide, five strips high, and 12 inches long. This was twice as big as needed for the transom block, but the extra will probably be useful.

Spinnaker Pole Holder Try 1 When all the blocks were made up and the glue had hardened, I sanded them on the belt sander.

I finished the spinnaker pole holders by cutting the block into two sections and using the end of the belt sander to sand out a receptacle for the spinnaker pole. This didn't work as well as I had thought, as the radius of the end of the belt sander was too big.

Spinnaker Pole Holder 2 5 Spinnaker Pole Holder 2 4 Spinnaker Pole Holder Take 2 3 Spinnaker Pole Holder Take 2 2 Spinnaker Pole Holder Take 2 1 I thus made up a second set of spinnaker pole holders, starting in much the same manner. However, this time I used a hole drill to cut out the recesses for the spinnaker pole. I first drilled pilot holes using a dowelling jig to get them straight and then used the hole drill from both sides. As the hole saw didn't make it all the way through the block I then used my jig saw to finish off the cuts. This method worked very well. I next sanded the recesses a bit bigger than the spinnaker pole. I then cut the ends of the holders at 60 degrees tangent to where the pole will be and then sanded them smooth.

Small Parts 8 Small Parts 7 I cut the rudder gudgeon blocks and transom bar attachments to size and shape on my table saw. I then glassed their exposed surfaces. For the rudder gudgeon blocks I used some lightweight glass that I had, as I wanted the glass to sit well around the corners of the blocks.

Stemhead Backing 4 Stemhead Backing 3 Stemhead Backing 2 Stemhead Backing 1 The stemphead was bigger than the inner stem cross section, so I needed to extend the stem backwards to serve as backing for the stemhead. I cut out seven pieces of left-over bulkhead material to roughly fit, sanded them lightly, and glued them in place. I then sanded them smooth along the top.

Chainplate Backers Chainplate Anglers 1 As the lower shrouds are placed at a 25 degree angle, I made blocks to provide this angle. I took some extra bulkhead material, cut out four 12-inch by 1.5-inch strips, and glued them into two blocks. I then cut the blocks at a 25 degree angle and then cut them in half to make four 6-inch long angling blocks. I also cut out some extra bulkhead material to double the bulkhead where the chainplates are attached. I shaped this to match the bulkhead on the outside and had a nice curve on the inside.

Transom Bar

Taking another idea from the Swift Solo, I built a transom bar. This bar will be used to attach the upper rudder gudgeon block (and maybe help prevent the skipper from slipping off the back of the boat). The geometry of the transom of the Delta V is different from that of the Swift Solo so instead of the transom bar coming out of the deck, it will be tangent to the deck. This requires a bit of extra work.

I built up the transom bar from seven layers of strips, two strips wide. I wanted the transom bar to cover the entire width of the transom, just under 60 inches, so I built it 60 inches long. As I already had the appropriate curve for the transom bar on the transom form, I used it as a jig. As the forms are only 1/2 inch wide, I edge-glued the bottom pair of strips on a flat piece of plywood. I next sanded both the top and bottom of this pair flat (and also removed all the exterior wood glue, which would have otherwise interfered with the epoxy.)

Transom Bar 4 Transom Bar 3 Transom Bar 2 Transom Bar 1 I then placed this pair of strips on the transom form, after cutting out two clamping holes, and glued two more pairs of strips to it with thickened epoxy. As is usual, I used first primed the strips with unthickend epoxy. I placed a layer of carbon fiber tape between each of these layers, as extra stiffener. (The Swift Solo uses a carbon fiber wrap for the transom bar, but I wanted to have the wood show.) As I had 3-inch carbon fiber tape and the transom bar is only 1.5 inches wide, I cut the tape in half lengthwise. This was a bit of a pain, as there is little glass holding the carbon fibers together and the fibers next to the cut tended to try to escape. I had to collect the escaped fibers and lay them down individually. Fortunately, only two or three fibers managed to escape on each side. I then glued three more pairs of strips to the transom bar, separating these with fiberglass. This made the transom bar six strips high. The seventh strip was added later, to make the bar flush with the deck. I smoothed the outside of the bar, cut it to the correct length, and clamped it to the transom to check it.

Transom Bar Done Transom Bar Gluing Top Strips Transom Bar Top Strips Transom Bar Cutouts Glassing Transom Bar Bottom I shortened the transom bar so that I could get it into the correct place (as the deck and stern-most bulkhead limit access to the transom). I put a 1/4-inch radius curve on the bottom edges of the transom bar and glassed its bottom and sides. Next I measured the transom bar against the transom and cut off the stern 1/4 inch of the transom bar where it will be inside the transom, so that the entire transom area will be flush. (You might notice that the bulkheads are already in place in the pictures, as I actually attached them before finishing the transom bar.) I cut two strips for the top of the transom bar to the correct length, and glued them to the transom bar. Then I put a 1/4-inch radius curve on the top edges of the transom bar and glassed its top and sides, where they are visible, wrapping this glass around the bottom of the transom bar and finally smoothing out the underside of the transom bar. I didn't glue the transom bar to the transom yet, as the cockpit sides and floor still had to be trimmed to fit, and this would be more difficult with the transom bar in place.

Joining the Hull and Deck

Now that the hull, deck, transom, and bulkheads were made, I was ready to join the hull and deck.

Attaching Bulkheads and Daggarboard Trunk Unit

Bulkhead Daggarboard Bulkhead Drain Hole Bulkheads Measuring 2 Bulkheads Measuring 1 I levelled the boat by raising the aft end of the hull cradle. I then carefully positioned the bulkheads in the hull, ensuring that they were at the correct fore-and-aft position, vertical, and square. I marked these positions and lightly sanded where the bulkheads go. I then cut drain holes in all the bulkheads, except for the bulkhead interrupted by the daggarboard trunk. This bulkhead was instead cut in half and drain holes were drilled out of each of the corners that will go against the daggarboard trunk.

Bulkheads in Hull 2 Bulkheads in Hull 1 I glued the prepared full bulkheads to the hull, using thickened epoxy, and then added fillets to both sides, finishing off with a layer of glass. The fillets were made with a mixture of epoxy and glass microballoons. This mixture turned out so white and ugly that I added some wood flour to the second batch, even though it will all be hidden inside the boat.

Bulkheads in Hull 3 Chainplate Reinforcements Daggarboard in Hull I then shaped the bottom of the daggarboard trunk unit to match the hull, and to make it the correct height all along. I drilled holes in the hull inside where the daggarboard trunk goes, so that I could later cut out the daggarboard slot. I then glued the daggarboard trunk unit to the hull and the bulkhead in front of it. When the glue on the daggarboard trunk unit had set, I glued the two pieces of the last bulkhead to the hull and daggarboard. I then glued the chainplate backers I had previously made to the bulkhead, adding some carbon fiber tape where the chainplates will be for extra reinforcement. Finally, fillets were added to the daggarboard trunk unit and the last bulkhead.

Preparing for Joining

Main Halyard Cleat Backing Plate Fairing Hull Edges I decided to attach the cleat for the main halyard to the bulkhead next to the mast, so its back will not be accessible after the deck is joined to the hull, and thus it needed to be taken care of before the deck is joined to the hull. I made a backing plate for the cleat. I then located the right spot for the cleat on the bulkhead and drilled oversize holes for its screws. I glued the backing plate to the back of the bulkhead. When the glue had set I drilled the screw holes through the backing plate. I then coated two machine screws and the thread of two weld nuts with carnauba wax (mold release). I next put some thickened epoxy glue on the threads and in the holes, placed the weld nuts in the holes, threaded the screws on the nuts, and filled the hole with epoxy glue. I snugged the screws up to force the weld nuts in close and put some more epoxy glue around the nuts to hold them in place. When the epoxy had firmly set I removed the screws.

Positioning Deck Fairing Hull Edges I sanded the hull and bulkheads so that the top edge of the hull was fair fore-and-aft and tangent to the bulkheads side to side. I made a cut-out in the visible bulkhead for the mast partner. I placed the deck on the hull, moving it around until it fit best. As the hull had spread a bit, this required moving the deck a bit forward from its nominal position.

Spinnaker Pole Holders Backing Plate 3 Spinnaker Pole Holders Backing Plate 2 Spinnaker Pole Holders Backing Plate 1 Positioning Spinnaker Pole I placed the spinnaker pole and holders on the deck so that the end of the spinnaker pole was correctly positioned and drilled oversize holes through the deck for the holder screws. I then made up backing pieces for the spinnaker pole holders. I placed the backing pieces under the deck and drilled screw holes through them. I then glued the backing pieces to the deck, at the same time gluing the weld nuts on, as for the main halyard cleat.

Transom Reinforcements Rudder Gudgeon Backing I sanded the stern hull flush to the transom. (I was going to put a bevel on the hull, as on the Swift Solo, for better water separation, but this was too hard to do. I should have cut the bevel before putting the transom on the hull, using a guide to get it all straight.) I made a backing for the lower rudder gudgeon block out of scrap bulkhead material and glued it to the transom. This backing also serves to double the thickness of the transom where the drain plug will be attached. I then attached 3/4-inch by 3/4-inch material, cut from the edges of the plank that was used to make the daggarboard trunk backing, around the opening of the transom, to provide stiffening for the transom, and an attachment area for the cockpit.

Rudder Gudgeon 2 Rudder Gudgeon 1 Drain Hole 1 I drilled a hole for the drain plug. I made this hole slightly oversize and filled the gap with thickened epoxy, using the drain itself as a form for the actual drain hole. I also placed the lower rudder gudgeon block on the transom, and drilled holes through it and the transom for the screws. I then glued in weld nuts. I did not glue the rudder gudgeon block to the transom, as I wanted to be able to easily cut the cockpit floor flush with the transom.

Joining Hull and Deck

Just before joining the hull and the deck I sanded the edge of the hull and the tops of the bulkheads and vacuumed all the junk (mostly sanding dust) out of the hull.

Tape Clamps Installed Tape Clamps Using yet another idea from the Swift Solo, I made some ``shear clamps'' from fiberglass cloth. I cut a 4 inch wide strip, saturated it with epoxy, and draped it over a 2 inch diameter form (the spinnaker pole). When the epoxy had set, I cut the strip in half, thus making some quarter-round strips of cloth. These strips were then tacked to the hull, in the bow area, with hot melt glue projecting up about 1/4 inch higher than the hull. Epoxy filler was then put in the gap between the strips and the hull before the deck was glued to the hull. The strips bend down under compression, but still keep the epoxy filler in place, resulting in a good bond between the deck and the hull.

Deck Hull Fillets Deck and Hull Joined Tape Clamps With Glue I then made up a batch of epoxy glue and applied it to the edges of the hull and bulkheads. I also filled in the glass clamps with epoxy filler. I carefully lowered the deck onto the hull and clamped it down with web clamps. I then added fillets along the stern part of the hull and the stern bulkheads. I left the web clamps on until the epoxy glue had fully cured.

Deck Hardware

Deck Smoothing 2 Deck Smoothing 1 The forestay stemhead, the chainplates, the spinnaker sheet block eyestraps, the jib sheet travellers, and the spinnaker tack sheet cleat all attach to the deck. Some of this hardware (in particular the forestay stemhead) requires a smooth surface for correct installation. As well, the chain plates stick up through the deck and would make later smoothing of the deck difficult. Therefore I next smoothed the deck with a plane, my random-orbital sander, and a fairing board. (I had hoped to do this later, so that the finished surface of the hull would not be subject to damage.)

Spinnaker Sheet Block Eyestrap 3 Spinnaker Sheet Block Eyestrap 2 Spinnaker Sheet Block Eyestrap 1 Backing Pieces I attached the spinnaker sheet block eyestraps in the usual manner. However, I first made up a bunch of backing plates, cutting part of a left-over panel into roughly 2-inch by 2.5-inch rectangles, so that I had a ready supply for the rest of the hardware. I then drilled oversize holes into the stern deck and a backing plate. I put weld nuts into the holes in the backing plate and glued everything together with thickened epoxy. Finally, I sealed the edges of the backing plate with thickened epoxy. I thought that that this would be sufficient, but I had problems with the weld nuts being popped off when the screws were reinserted, as the epoxy does not adhere well at all to stainless steel. I thus added an extra small backing piece under the weld nuts to hold them in place.

Stemhead 4 Stemhead 3 Stemhead 2 Stemheed 1 I attached the forestay stemhead in a somewhat different manner. The screws for the stemhead go into the lengthened inner stem and thus don't need backing. However, to improve the bond I used an idea from Gougeon Brothers. This method requires drilling extra-large holes, large enough to fit nuts into. Two nuts are then placed on a machine screw and epoxied into these holes. The nuts are thus very securely glued in and carry most of the load directly to the machine screw. I used this system for the four outside mounting holes of the stemhead, but just embedded the inner two mounting screws directly into epoxy.

Chainplates 4 Chainplates 3 Chainplates 2 Chainplates 1 I located where the chainplates for the upper shrouds will come through the hull and cut slots for them. As there were some unavoidable inaccuracies in this process, the slot for one chainplate was rather wide - I thus filled in the opening with a bit of left-over strip material, cut to shape. I then put these chainplates through the slots and drilled oversize holes for their attachment machine screws. I attached the Precourt deadeyes to the chainplates to ensure that they would clear the deck.

Chainplates 6 Chainplates 5 I then glued the angled blocks for the lower shrouds to the bulkhead, located and cut out the slots for them, placed them and drilled holes for their screws. I attached the chainplates to the bulkhead with machine screws and nuts, with washers under the head of the machine screws. These screws will be inaccessible, so to keep them from loosening I epoxied them to the bulkhead and chainplates as well as epoxying in the screw holes.

Making the Cockpit

Cockpit Sides The last part of the boat to be stripped was the cockpit. I had prepared and set aside 10-foot strips for the cockpit. I glued up panels for both sides of the cockpit and the floor of the cockpit just like I did for the bulkheads. The cockpit sides will be slightly curved but in the direction of the strips, so I made up both the floor and the sides as flat panels.

Cockpit Floor

Cockpit Floor Underside Cockpit Floor Glassed Cockpit Floor Glassing Cockpit Floor Filler Cockpit Floor Seal Coat When I had the cockpit floor glued up I smoothed and glassed both its top and bottom. I did not completely fill in the weave on the top, adding only one fill coat, to leave some texture on the cockpit floor. I did not put any fill coats on the underside of the cockpit floor. However, I did glue four strips of carbon fiber tape under the cockpit floor for extra stiffening. Adding the carbon fiber made an incredible difference to the cockpit floor, changing it from quite springy to very stiff. When put in place, the cockpit floor has very little give, even when walking on it.

Cockpit Floor in Place I measured the floor of the cockpit, transferred these measurements to the cockpit floor panel, and cut it to size. I also cut out a hole in the cockpit floor for the daggarboard trunk. I made the cockpit floor panel about 1/2 inch wider on each side than the cockpit floor, except where the bulkheads are. This extra width will provide for better attachment between the cockpit sides and the cockpit floor.

Cockpit Sides

Cockpit Sides Final Trimming Cockpit Sides Rough Trimming Glassing Cockpit Sides 1 I glued up the cockpit sides. Next I rough-trimmed the cockpit sides, as I had left-over fiberglass (from the cockpit floor) that just barely fit the trimmed size of the cockpit sides. I then smoothed the non-visible surface of the cockpit sides and glassed them. Next I did the final trimming of the cockpit sides. Then I smoothed the visible surface of the cockpit sides. These surfaces will be glassed later along with the top of the deck.

Attaching Hardware

Most of the hardware, including the halyard and vang cleats, main sheet traveller track and control line deflectors, and some hiking strap attachments, is attached to the cockpit floor. Some hardware, including the traveller control line cleats and some hiking strap attachments, is attached to the cockpit sides.

Main Traveller Drilling Holes 2 Main Traveller Drilling Holes 1 Main Traveller in Place Main Traveller Cut The first piece of hardware I attached to the cockpit floor was the main sheet traveller track. I measured the width of the cockpit floor where the traveller is installed and cut the traveller to the appropriate length. I then drilled holes through the traveller and the cockpit floor. Next I made up a long backing plate and placed it on the underside of the cockpit floor. Then I drilled the oversize mounting holes through the backing plate, securing the backing plate to the cockpit floor with some of the mounting screws.

Main Sheet Traveller Track Main Sheet Traveller Track Backing Main Traveller Underside Main Traveller topside I glued the backing plate to the cockpit floor with thickened epoxy. I kept the mounting holes open with screws coated with mold release, which also served to keep the backing plate in place until the epoxy glue set. I used flange nuts for the main traveller screws, gluing them to the underside of the backing plate at the same time as I glued the backing plate to the cockpit floor. I had problems with these nuts separating from the backing plate as well, so I added extra backing pieces to hold them in place. These backing pieces had recesses drilled in them to hold the flange nuts. Even so, one nut popped out later. I don't think that I would use this method again.

Cleat Backing I attached the rest of the cockpit floor hardware, the halyard and vang cleats and the hiking strap attachments, in the same manner as for the spinnaker pole holders backing plates. I used the pre-made backing plates, drilling holes through the cockpit floor and the backing plates and gluing the backing plates to the cockpit floor with the mounting screws and weld nuts holding everything together, Extra backing pieces were glued over the weld nuts to ensure that they did not move.

Joining Cockpit to Hull

Bulkhead Clamps 2 Bulkhead Clamps 1 To make more gluing surface on the bulkheads for the cockpit floor I made some angled strips from left-over bulkhead material. I then glued these strips flush to the tops of the bulkheads and to the bulkhead at the front of the cockpit. I then glued the cockpit floor to the bulkheads.

Cockpit Side 3 Cockpit Side 1 I then glued one side of the cockpit to the bulkheads. (I was going to put the transom bar in before this, but I got the order wrong.) This required quite a bit of fine tuning to get the cockpit side in correctly. I used several braces and clamps to hold the cockpit side in place while the glue set up.

Cockpit Side 5 Cockpit Side 4 Transom Bar Attaching 2 Transom Bar Attaching 1 When the glue had completely cured, I cut out a hole for the transom bar in the cockpit side. Then I glued the transom bar attachment blocks to the inside of the transom. Next I glued the transom in place and left it for the glue to cure. Finally, I glued the other side of the cockpit to the hull.

Finishing the Hull

After a long delay, I finished off the hull.

Reinforcing the Deck

Deck Reinforcement 3 Deck Reinforcement 2 Deck Reinforcement 1 The first step of the finishing was to add reinforcement to the part of the deck that goes over the cockpit. For each side I trimmed four strips to length. I cut some carbon fiber tape in half and then to the same size as the strips. I glued the strips together with the carbon fiber tape between and then glued the strips to the underside of the deck. I then cleaned up the exposed edge of the reinforcement.

Sanding and Trimming the Deck

Filling Screw Holes Sanding Mast Partner I then sanded the deck (actually re-sanded the deck as I had been sanding it as I went along). I also trimmed the outside and inside edges of the deck using a 1/4-inch radius plane. I also trimmed the mast partner to size and cleaned and trimmed its edges. To keep epoxy out of the 26 screw holes in the deck and cockpit sides, I filled them with carnauba wax, using masking tape with a small hole cut out to keep the wax away from the surrounding deck.

Glassing the Deck and Cockpit Sides

Deck Seal Coat The next step was to glass the deck and cockpit sides. I glassed these together to get a nice join between the deck and cockpit sides, but it is not possible to use one piece of glass for this, as the forward cockpit sides are under the deck. I first put a seat coat of epoxy on the deck and cockpit sides. I filled in a few imperfections at this time as well.

Deck Glassed Deck Glass Cutting Deck Glass Laying Then, on a very hot day I cut some glass to fit the deck and most of the cockpit sides. I let the glass hang down about 3 inches over the hull, with a line of masking tape to provide a good edge. Because of part of the cockpit sides are underneath the deck, the front part of the cockpit sides cannot be glassed in this operation. I then glassed the deck and cockpit sides in the early afternoon. I later cut the hull edge of the glass at the top of the masking tape and removed the excess. I'm not putting any fill coats on the deck and cockpit for traction purposes. Unfortunately, the sun heated up my workplace in the afternoon and I had some outgassing problems, due to the seal coat not being airtight. I fixed up a number of these, but a few remain, that I will have to live with.

Deck Glass Edge Sanded Cockpit Patch Sanded Cockpit Patch The next day I cut out glass patches for the front of the cockpit sides, and the underside of the deck reinforcements. I then glassed this last bit. I cleaned up the edge of this patch, the edges of the mast partner and the deck reinforcement, and the edge of the glass that wrapped onto the hull with a scraping blade and my random-orbital sander.

Attaching the Rudder Gudgeon Blocks

So that there is no way for water to get into the rudder gudgeon blocks, I drilled out the mounting screw holes in them to 1/4 inch, filled them with epoxy, and then redrilled holes of the correct size. The lower rudder gudgeon block already had mounting holes and nuts, so there was not much to do for it. However, the upper block still needed mounting holes and nuts. I decided to use a method similar to the one I used to attach the stemhead.

Upper Gudgeon Block Nut Recesses I mounted the nuts for the upper block screws in the block itself, so I drilled out recesses for them. Then I carefully leveled the boat, attached the lower block to the boat with the rudder gudgeon, thrust a 5/16-inch rod into the lower gudgeon, and marked the placement for the upper block, being careful to ensure that the rod was vertical. I then drilled out holes for the upper block mounting screws in the transom bar, as the mounting screws will stick into the bar somewhat. Next I drilled these holes out to 1/4 inch.

Upper Rudder Gudgeon Block Done Upper Rudder Gudgeon Block Gluing Upper Rudder Gudgeon Block in Place Upper Rudder Gudgeon Block Placing I then glued the upper block to the transom bar on the marks, using the rod as a guide to ensure that the upper block didn't move. I liberally used carnauba wax on the upper block screws and gudgeon to ensure that they can be removed later. Last, I glued the lower block onto the hull in a similar fashion, again using the rod to make sure that everything lined up correctly.

Cutting Out the Daggarboard Slot

Daggarboard Slot I cut out the daggarboard slot using a long (16-inch) drill. I drilled out near the corners of the slot, and, after turning the hull over, cut between the holes with a jig-saw. I then used files and sandpaper to clean up the cut-out. I then sealed the edges of the cutout and filled the slight voids between the daggarboard trunk and the hull using epoxy. I finally sanded this epoxy smooth.

Making the Daggarboard, Rudder, Rudder Cassette, and Tiller

After a very long delay (two years), I finally got back to working on the Delta V. The first task was to build the daggarboard, rudder, rudder cassette, and tiller.

I decided to build the foils from foam and carbon fiber, as is currently done for the Swift Solo. I generally followed the construction methods for the Swift Solo. I bought a supply of carbon fiber, peel ply, absorbent fabric, and plastic sheeting. I bought foam cores from Greg Ryan (NYC skiffs), using the same sizes as for the Swift Solo. Instead of using hybrid cloth, I decided to use carbon cloth and some fiberglass. Some of the carbon cloth I bought from US Composites is heavy (11 oz) so I also modified the layups somewhat.

Rudder and Daggarboard

I thought a long time how to ensure that the clamping boards were straight, which is an essential part of the process. I thought about buying aluminum or steel square rods. In the end I realized that the square rods that are part of Tule car racks are just about ideal, the only potential problem is that they might not be the exactly correct length. In any case, I had four such rods, so I decided to use them. As these rods are very stiff I could then just use some particle board that I already had instead of buying plywood.

Clamps for Making Foils Stands for Making Foils I cut stands to go on top of saw horses. The stands are short so the clamping boards can be placed on the saw horses, and narrow so that the Tule rods can extend beyond them. As well, the top piece is only screwed on to the stand so that it can be removed to get out of the way of the rods. As the rudder is not as wide as the daggarboard, I cut a little riser for the rudder clamping boards. I then cut clamping boards for both the rudder and the daggarboard. The picture shows the clamping boards next to the Tule rods (with their plastic end-caps removed.)

Rudder Foam Blank on Stands Rudder Foam Blank Gluing to Stands Rudder Foam Blank I decided to make the rudder first, as it is smaller, and, hopefully easier. I glued the two pieces of the rudder foam core together and also glued the waste parts together, as they are used to put pressure on the layup. I then glued the foam core to the stands and put the entire assembly on a pair of sawhorses. I put little stops on the sawhorses to prevent the assembly from moving and also used a bit of plastic sheeting to prevent anything important from sticking to the sawhorses.

Rudder Clamping Rudder Ready for Clamping Rudder Fabric I cut the fabric for the rudder. I used 6-oz fiberglass cut somewhat short, 11-oz carbon fiber, 6-oz fiberglass cut a bit short, and 11-oz carbon fiber. I marked the mid-point of each by pulling a thread, which was useful to help place the fabric. The remaining pieces of the layup are peel ply, absorbent fabric, and plastic sheeting. I applied the fiberglass and carbon fiber to the foam core in the usual manner, and then added the peel ply, absorbent fabric, and plastic sheeting. I then placed the foam blanks and clamping boards on the layup and clamped everything together using the Tule rods.

Rudder Laid Up Rudder Removing Peel Ply After the epoxy had hardened, I took off the clamping boards and the plastic sheeting. I then pulled off the peel ply and absorbent cloth. Vice grips are an essential tool for this job as they allowed me to securely grab the peel ply and absorbent cloth and pull in different directions. I noticed that I had let the clamping foam drop a bit too low on end, resulting in a non fair leading edge near the top of rudder. I decided to sand and fair this problem later.

Daggarboard Fabric Daggarboard Carbon Fiber Daggarboard Foam Blank I put together the foam core for the daggarboard in the same manner. There were a couple of special issues in cutting the fabric for the daggarboard as I had some 49-inch fabric and the daggarboard needed 25-inch wide pieces. To better utilize my expensive carbon fiber fabric, I cut it asymmetrically. This worked out OK, but I should have been even more aggressive, as the daggarboard really needs 25.5-inch wide fabric. I used full-length 11-oz carbon fiber, 6-oz carbon fiber cut 16 inches short, 9-oz S-glass, 6-oz carbon fiber cut 18 inches short, and 11-oz carbon fiber.

Daggarboard Removing Peel Daggarboard Clamping Daggarboard Layup Ply I laid up the fabric in the usual manner, except that the end of the foam core tore off the stand on the fourth layer. This required some fancy handling of the assembly, but I managed to prop up the end with a piece of scrap and proceed, losing only about 1 inch. I then clamped everything together, waited until the epoxy hardened, and then removed the peel ply.

Foils Fairing Daggarboard Faired The peel ply leaves a textured surface. I faired this surface on both the rudder and the daggarboard with some epoxy blackened with graphite powder and thickened with silica thickener and quartz micro-spheres. I then sanded both of them smooth using a fairing board. It was a bit odd adding the filler and then sanding almost all of it off, but, aside from being very messy, this worked out well. I also used this filler to fill in some minor problems in the daggarboard resulting from it breaking off the stand.

Foils Done Rudder Filling Bottom Rudder Filling Top Rudder Removing Foam I dug out the foam at the ends of the daggarboard and rudder to a depth of about 1 inch, and filled the cavity with a lightweight mixture of epoxy, micro-spheres, and graphic powder. I finished the tops of the rudder and daggarboard by fairing this filler surface flat and epoxying a cosmetic layer of carbon fiber to the top. I finished the tips by sanding a fair surface and putting a seal coat of epoxy on the tips. Finally, I made a last sanding pass and put on three coats of clear System 3 WR-LPU.

Rudder Cassette

There is a good document on making the rudder cassette for the Swift Solo. It starts out with a foam core that will later be destroyed, which I didn't have so I decided to used the somewhat older method of using the rudder as the blank for the rudder cassette. To make sure that the rudder cassette can be removed from the rudder, I decided to use two layers of plastic sheeting inside the layup. As my span between the rudder gudgeons is larger (11 5/16 inch) than for the Swift Solo, I had to slightly modify some of the dimensions. With the larger span, wider carbon fiber tape is called for, which meant that I could easily use the 3-inch carbon fiber tape that I had.

Cassette Inner Release Cassette Preparation I glued the rudder back on the stands. Then I used some double-sided tape on the trailing edge of the rudder (actually carpet tape for its thickness, to round off the the trailing edge a bit) to start the first layer of plastic sheeting, which I made very wide, over 20 inches. After I wrapped this layer, I secured it back to itself with some double-sided tape. (This time some no-thickness tape.) The next layer of plastic sheeting was only tacked to the first in a very small spot under the layup area, but I made a larger connection outside of the layup area.

Cassette Clamping Cassette Layup Then I wrapped 14-inch wide absorbent fabric around, followed by the peel ply. Next came a layer of 6-oz carbon fiber, 50-inches long, making in effect two layers of carbon fiber. The middle of the layup was two 50-inch layers of 9-oz S-glass. The outside of the layup was 50 inches of 11-oz carbon fiber. All the fabric was 12 inches wide. Then came peel ply, absorbent fabric, and finally plastic sheeting. Doing the layup was a bit of a pain as, even though the absorbent fabric didn't move, its thickness still made the layup feel insecure until nearly the very end. Having the wide plastic sheeting protected the rudder from the inevitable messes. The wrapping process but a fair bit of pressure on the leading and trailing edges of the layup. To put some pressure on the middle, I again used the waste part of the foam cores, lightly clamped to the layup.

Cassette Ready for Pintle Cassette Outer Peel Ply Removed Cassette Removing Outer Peel Ply When the epoxy on the rudder cassette had cured, I removed the clamps, cut everything off the stands, and removed the outer absorbent cloth and peel ply. Because I laid up the rudder cassette to the end of the rudder, they adhered to each other at this end. (On reflection, I should have made a collar of plastic sheeting to prevent this.) I trimmed off this end about 1/8 inch with a cross-cut saw. I then pulled the rudder cassette off the end of the rudder. It came off quite easily.

Pintle Spacer Pintle Guide Curing Pintle Guide Preparation I made up the pintles of the rudder cassette by wrapping some 3-inch carbon fiber tape around a 5/16-inch rod (which will later form the pintle pin). I thought for a while how to get the wrap started nicely, discarding several plans involving double-sided tape. In the end I just waxed the rod with carnauba wax and wrapped some masking tape inside-out around the rod. This made a nice sticky surface to catch the ends of the carbon fiber. I wet out two 12-inch sections of the carbon fiber, wrapped most of them around the rod, and hung some clamps on to keep everything tight. I also made up a length of roughly 1/4-inch square carbon fiber and epoxy, to be used as a spacer between the rudder cassette and the pintles.

When the epoxy had cured, I pulled the pintles off the rod (this was very easy). I then hard-cured the pintles and spacer by putting them in a warm oven. I then cut off the trailing end, sanded them smooth, and used a file to remove the masking tape from the inside. I trimmed the spacer to the length of rudder cassette and sanded it.

Cassette on Stands Because I made the rudder cassette on the rudder, it didn't have a foam core so I couldn't glue it back on the stands to put the pintle and reinforcements on it. Instead I drilled holes in the stands, threaded two rods between them, and mounted the rudder cassette on the rods. I had to be careful to make the top holes very near the top of the stands, as I wanted to rest the pintle rod on the top of the stands when I was attaching the pintle.

Pintle Done Pintle Layup Cassette Taped for Pintle Before attaching the pintles, I taped off the middle 5 3/4 inches of the rudder cassette so that I could easily remove everything there. I glued the spacer to the rudder cassette, but only outside of the tape. I also put the pintles back on the pintle rod and glued them to the spacer, being very careful to make everything lined up and centered. I used spacers above the stands to hold the pintle rod in the correct position. Having a rod through the rudder cassette made it easy to line up the pintle rod straight and even. When this epoxy had set up, I faired the space from the pintles to the rudder cassette with more epoxy. When this epoxy had hardened I sanded it smooth.

Pintle Reinforcement Layup Pintle Reinforement The next step was to wrap the top and bottom of the cassette with carbon fiber tape. I cut two 12-foot pieces of 3-inch tape and rolled them up. I added more masking tape, because the previous sanding step had messed it up somewhat. I tacked the first carbon tape with a bit of 5-minute epoxy. Then I unrolled the tape around the cassette, epoxying it on. I found that a good method was to start out with some epoxy in place, unroll the tape on one side of the cassette making sure that it lined up correctly. Then I pulled the tape tight without moving it laterally. Next I put some epoxy on the tape, smoothed and tightened it with a squeegee, and finished off by putting on more epoxy making the section ready for the next wrap. The epoxy removed by the squeegee made up part of this additional epoxy. I covered the tape with a layer of peel ply, smoothing it and pulling it somewhat tight.

I made up 6-ounce batches of epoxy, which was just enough for the tape on one side of the cassette. The first 4 ounces I thickened with a but of silica. The last two ounces thickened on their own, and, as a bonus, I thus ended up with clear epoxy for the outside of the wrap. The slightly-tacky epoxy left over from the first tape was used to start the second tape.

Rudder Pintle Rod At this time I fabricated the rudder pintle rod. I took the 3-foot long, 5/16-inch stainless steel rod I bought from McMaster-Carr and cut a 13.5-inch section off it. I smoothed one end of the rod on my belt sander and then drilled a 1/8-inch hole near the other end. After smoothing this hole, I spliced a loop of 1/8-inch V12 rope through it. Two washers will be used on the pintle rod, one on each side of the rudder cassette so that it does not wear against the gudgeons. To make washers that fit snugly and were not too big, I slightly enlarged the holes on three 1/4-inch washers.

Rudder Cassette with Pintle Rod Rudder Cassette on Hull When the epoxy had hardened I removed the outside peel ply and cleaned up the epoxy over the masking tape. I then cut the cassette to the exact dimensions needed (11 1/4 inch), allowing for space for two stainless steel washers on the pintle rod, and test hung it on the rudder gudgeons. I then rough-sanded the entire cassette. The next, and most aggravating step in making the cassette, was to remove the peel ply and absorbent cloth from the inside. The fact that my cassette is over 3 inches higher than the Swift Solo cassette made the job much harder, as it was very difficult to work on the middle of the cassette. After the peel ply was removed, I cut out two 2-1/2 inch holes.


Tiller Layup Tiller Foam and Sleeve I also made the tiller over a foam core. I ordered carbon fiber sleeves from Soller Composites. The sleeves easily conformed to the tapered tiller core. I wet out the core and applied a carbon fiber sleeve. Next I applied a 12-inch reinforcement sleeve at the large end of the tiller. The next layer was some of my unidirectional carbon tape. I applied one 3-inch tape the entire length of the tiller and a second tape on the large end. The final layer was another sleeve. I hung the tiller assembly vertically, hanging a spring clamp on the bottom to provide some tension on the fabric.

Working with the carbon sleeves was very easy. They easily formed into larger-diameter sleeves, which I could easily fit over the tiller form and other fabric, even when wet out. For each layer, I applied an initial coat of epoxy. Then I put the layer on, added more epoxy, and smoothed everything out with my gloved hands. After I hung the assembly, I applied more epoxy and smoothed it out again. When the epoxy had cured tack-free, I added one filler coat. When this coat hardened, I lightly sanded the tiller. I then hollowed out the small end of the tiller, where the tiller extension will attached, and filled it with the lightweight mixture of epoxy, micro-spheres, and graphite powder.

Tiller Gluing to Cassette Tiller on Cassette Tiller End Prep The tiller is attached to the rudder cassette towards its bottom. I made a template of the inside of the cassette and rough-cut the tiller end to match this template with a jig saw. I then used a sanding drum on a rotary tool to sand the tiller end to closely match the outside of the cassette and provide the correct tilt to the tiller. I measured the correct tilt by putting the cassette on the boat and figuring out how much tilt was needed to have the tiller clear the cockpit sides. When the tiller was sanded correctly, I epoxied it to the rudder cassette and sanded everything. When the glue had hardened, I sanded the affected areas. I then drilled through the tiller in-line with the holes for the rudder pin.

Fitting the Daggarboard into the Trunk

Daggarboard Block Form I thought for a long time how to fit the daggarboard into the daggarboard trunk. Methods that have been used for the Swift Solo are using wooden blocks fit to the daggarboard, using carpet (between blocks and the daggarboard, and using SparTite. The problem with wooden blocks is that they may not fit exactly, producing point loads, which can cause failure. Carpet alleviates this problem, but does hold water, and can hold sand, which would score the rudder. SparTite is recommended, but I didn't have any on hand. In the end I decided to use epoxy mixed with graphite powder and a bit of quartz micro-spheres to fabricate the gasket between the daggarboard and the trunk. I decided not to form the daggarboard fitting block inside the daggarboard trunk, both because it would have been very hard to do and because I was worried that something would go wrong and the daggarboard would get stuck. I made a form just slightly larger than the daggarboard trunk from some left over wood. The bottom of the form was also wood, with a cutout the size of the daggarboard.

Daggarboard Block Curing Daggarboard Block Curing Daggarboard Block Setup Daggarboard Block Prep I tried a number of ways to make the blocks. First I waxed the interior of the form and the daggarboard with carnauba wax. I then added petroleum jelly to the daggarboard for extra release power. I then fit the daggarboard into the form at the appropriate level, making sure to have everything level left-to-right, and tilted appropriately fore and aft. I filled the small gap between the daggarboard and the bottom of the form with putty. I then made up some epoxy mixed with graphite power and some (not a lot) of quartz micro-spheres. I poured this mixture into the form and let it cure. When the block had cured, I removed the form and slid the block off the daggarboard. This made a decent form, but this form did adhere to the board, and did slightly damage the board. I think that the problem was that the form rubbed the release agent off the board. Fortunately, the board was easy to repair, just needing a bit of resurfacing in a couple of spots. On my second try I used thick plastic (painters) wrap. This try ended up very easy to remove, but the plastic wrap separated from the board, and the block thus did not conform to the board well. On the third try I used thin plastic (food) wrap. This worked quite well.

Attaching Daggarboard Lower Block Daggarboard in Trunk (under hull) Daggarboard in Trunk Attaching Daggarboard Upper Block Daggarboard Blocks Sanding After the good blocks had hardened completely, I sanded them to fit in the trunk, putting a slight curve on the lower block to conform with the hull. I attached the blocks to the trunk with thickened epoxy. First I did the upper block, attaching it at the level of the cockpit floor. When the epoxy for the upper block had cured, I pushed the daggarboard through. I had to do a bit of sanding to get the correct fit. Then I attached the lower block flush with the hull, using the same mixture of epoxy, quartz micro-spheres, and graphite powder as the block itself. When this epoxy had hardened, I faired the hull around the lower block.

Fitting the Rudder into the Cassette

The gap between the rudder and the rudder cassette was much smaller than the gap between the daggarboard and the trunk. It thus only made sense to fill the gap in place. However, this meant that it would be harder to recover from mistakes.

One problem with fitting the rudder into the cassette is holding the cassette vertically while supporting the rudder at the correct position. To hold the cassette vertically I attached the rudder gudgeons to a board and then attached the rudder to the board using the rudder pintle pin. The board could then be clamped vertically, holding the cassette in a vertical position.

Filling Rudder Cassette Filling Rudder Cassette Prep I first filled the top gap between the rudder and the cassette. I mounted the cassette on its board upside down. I put thin plastic wrap and masking tape around the top of the rudder and carefully placed it in the cassette, upside down. I used shims to center the rudder in the cassette and then filled the lower edge between the rudder and the cassette with masking tape. Finally I poured epoxy into the gap, trying to make about a 3-inch-high filler. Unfortunately, I had a tiny hole at the bottom of the gap, which caused quite a bit of the epoxy to run out. However, some of the epoxy remained and I think I have sufficient for the top gap. When the epoxy had cured I removed the rudder from the cassette and cleaned up.

cassette-lpu Filling Lower Gap I next did the lower gap, making sure not to have any holes. In any case the lower gap was easier, both because the upper filler helped to center the rudder and there was more room to anchor the masking tape that I used to fill the lower edge. As well, I used some putty to fill the ends, where it is hard to get the masking tape to conform correctly. When this epoxy had cured, I removed the rudder and cleaned everything up. Now that all the messy work with the cassette was done, I did a final sanding and applied clear System 3 WR-LPU to it.

Spars and Rigging

I bought the mast and boom directly from Dwyer Aluminum Mast Company. I bought the mast step and masthead block; spreaders and spreader attachments, tangs for the standing rigging and trapeze, the sliding boom gooseneck and boom outhaul cap, and two bails from them as well.

I decided to run lines through the mast, boom, and spinnaker pole, so I had to attach quite a bit of hardware to the mast, boom, and spinnaker pole. The three halyards run through the mast, so there are five exit blocks for them, two at the mast base for the jib and spinnaker halyards, one near the mast base for the main halyard, and two up the mast for the jib and spinnaker halyards. (The other end of the main halyard goes through the masthead block.) The spinnaker tack line runs through the spinnaker pole and needs an exit block at the front. The outhaul runs through the boom and needs two exit blocks. On the other hand, I decided to use slugs that fit in the sail track for the boom vang and cunningham, eliminating the need for several eye straps or bails.

For most of the exit blocks I used Ronstan 20711 or 20711A blocks. These blocks are small, which is very important when placing a block inside a dinghy mast. Many of the attachments were standard, but some were a bit tricky. To ensure that I didn't mess up the mast or boom, I made a trial run of some of the attachments with some of the left-over mast.

Mast Base Test Run The most complicated attachment was at the mast base, where the jib and spinnaker halyard exit. This area needed special work as the halyards come out of the mast where the sail track is, but the blocks are attached inside the mast. I should have had Dwyer put a "sail feed" cutout there, but I didn't think of it in time. I thus had to cut out the sail track to make room to both get at the appropriate part of the mast, and to let the halyards exit the mast. I also had to ensure that there was sufficient room to insert the slugs for the cunningham and boom vang. As well, I wanted the halyards to come out as low as possible, so I had to remove a bit of the mast step. On my first practice run, I used a hacksaw to cut out most of the mast track and finished off with a rotary cutting tool. To cut out the spaces for the blocks, I started with a drill and then used a rotary cutting tool, finishing off the corners with a file. I wasn't happy with this practice run, particularly with the smoothness of the sail feed cutout, so I tried another practice run using my belt sander to grind away the sail feed. This turned out much better, so I decided to use this method on the mast.

Spinnaker Pole Hardware

Spinnaker Halyard Exit Block Spinnaker Halyard Exit Block Measuring The first exit block that I attached was the for spinnaker tack line, in the spinnaker pole. (This was the easiest one, so I did it first.) I laid out the cutout for the block, drilled some holes with a drill, rough cut the cutout with a rotary tool, and finished up with a file. As this block was close to the end of the pole, I fastened it with machine screws and lock nuts.

Boom Hardware

Outhaul Exit Block Installed Outhaul Exit Block Prep I decided to not cut out the sail track for the outhaul exit block. This meant that I had to install the block on the inside of the boom and also make its cutout from the inside. This was a bit difficult, but a preliminary attempt on the scrap material showed that it was doable. I drilled into the boom from the top, protecting the sail track by enclosing the drill in a metal sleeve. I used my rotary cutting tool to enlarge the cutout, working both from above and from below. When I had the cutout appropriately sized and smoothed, I drilled the fastening holes with the drill press. As the block is at the end of the boom, I used machine screws and lock nuts to fasten it to the boom.

Boom Hardware The rest of the boom hardware, the main sheet bail, the boom vang bail, the outhaul eye strap, the outhaul exit block, and the outhaul cleat, were all standard. I used mostly pop rivets to attach them to the boom.

Mast Hardware

The main halyard is attached to the halyard cleat on the cockpit bulkhead. This means that it will exit the mast toward the bow, which means that the exit block should be angled forward. Fortunately, there is room between the mast partner and the deck so that the main halyard can be pulled directly vertically.

Mast Base with Halyard Exit Blocks The jib and spinnaker halyards come out of the mast to the cleats slightly out of line with both the exit blocks and the cleats. I had hoped to angle the exit blocks, but there was no way to install them angled. I could have, and should have, angled the cleats, but I forgot to do so. I'll have to see how this arrangement works in practice as the angles are not large. I have an idea for how to install some deflector sheaves in a very small deck organizer.

I used my belt sander to grind away 2 1/2 inches of the sail track at the base of the mast, leaving a nice smooth surface. I used the drill press and then a file to cut out a single recess for both the jib halyard and spinnaker halyard exit blocks. I then used a rotary cutting tool to remove a small bit of the inside of the sail track so that the cover plates of the blocks would fit well. As these two blocks are at the end of the mast, I attached them with machine screws and lock nuts.

Mast Main Halyard Exit Block Done Mast Main Halyard Exit Block The exit block for the main halyard was much simpler to do. I laid out the recess on the mast, angling it forward. I cut it out with a cutoff disk on the rotary cutting tool and then enlarged it to the correct size with a file. I used pop rivets to attach the block to the mast.

Mast Upper Shroud Attachments Mast Lower Shroud Attachments I then measured the mast for the standing rigging. I drilled mounting holes for the spreader mounts, the lower shroud tangs, the upper shroud tangs, and the forestay tang. The spreader mounts and the forestay tang mounted with pop rivets. The shroud tangs used through bolts. I cut these bolts to the correct length after attaching the tangs. At the same time I measured for and attached the upper jib halyard exit block.

I hadn't decided the exact position of the upper spinnker halyard exit block or the trapeze wire mounting points, so I did not do them at this time.


Now that the hardware had been attached to the mast and boom, I could set up the standing and running rigging. I spliced halyard shackles on the end of the jib halyard and main halyard. I used some cotton twine to pull the halyards. The cotton twine itself was pulled using a lead weight (a fishing weight).

I had decided to use high-tech rope (1/8-inch New England V12 line) and micro deadeyes from Precourt for the standing rigging. Each shroud has a main line and a control line. The main line goes from the thimble that attaches to the mast tang to the middle deadeye using two locking Brummel splices. The control line goes between middle and bottom deadeyes, using a locking Brummel splice at one end. The micro deadeyes have three eyes for this control line, resulting a 5-to-1 advantage.

Lower Shrouds Made Up One problem is that when making the second Brummel splice for the main lines there is no access to the other end of the line, as that end already has been spliced to something. Fortunately there is a mobius way of making a Brummel splice that doesn't need access to the other end of the line. Unfortunately, with this method the eye is formed at its final size and cannot be adjusted. Putting a thimble or deadeye in the eye requires adding a bit of slack and prying the thimble or deadeye into the eye. This extra slack is unavoidable if you can't access the other end of the line, but with access to the other end a Brummel splice can be made so that the eye is adjustable when made and can thus be tightened down. Therefore, I made my main lines with a regular Brummel spice at the deadeye end and a mobius Brummel spice at the thimble. (Actually, for the upper shrouds and forestay I initially made simple splices at the thimble end to test lengths and only latter redid these as mobius Brummel splices.)

I measured the distances for the shrouds and forestay and made up main lines for each of them six inches short, splicing in thimbles and the middle deadeyes using locking Brummel splices with extra-long tails. I then made up control lines, by splicing 4-foot lengths to the middle control eye in the lower deadeyes.

Shroud Bushings Shroud Bushings The upper shrouds go through the spreaders. As the spreaders are aluminum there needs to be a bushing to prevent chafing of the shrouds. I bought some 3/16-inch inside diameter MDS-filled nylon bushings from McMaster-Carr for this purpose. I drilled out the spreaders so that the bushings fit tightly. I also cut out a 1/8-inch slot from the holes to the end of the spreaders. This allows the shrouds to be slipped in to the bushing holes and then the bushings pushed into the holes. Of course, the bushings have to be permanently mounted on the shrouds. To prevent chafing of the sails, I put a larger, nylon bushing at the end of the spreader, securing it by pinching the end of the spreader a bit. This system looks like it will work quite well, and is very light-weight.

Mast in Place Mast in Place Mast Partner Exit Block Recess When I had all the standing rigging mains done (with temporary upper slices), I attached them to the mast and mounted the mast in the boat. First I had to cut out a bit of the master partner to allow room for the main halyard exit block to go through the partner. At this time I also placed the mast step on the cockpit floor, drilling holes for its mounting screws to keep it in place.

Forestay Adjusted Shrouds Adjusted Forestay Test Shrouds Test Once the mast was mounted, I attached the standing rigging, using temporary lashings between the deadeyes. I measured the distances between the deadeyes and determined the adjustments to the shrouds and forestay to make the distances appropriate. I then took the mast down and adjusted the lengths of forestay, still using temporary splices. I remounted the mast and checked that the lengths of the shrouds and forestay were correct. Finally I took down the mast and redid the upper splices as mobius Brummel splices.

Cunningham Boom Vang Boom Hardware I mounted the boom on the mast. As the boom has a sliding gooseneck I needed to support both of its ends. I put a mast slug under the gooseneck to support the forward end of the boom and used the main halyard to support its aft end. I spliced the lines for the boom vang and cunningham to the blocks as needed and attached them to the mast and boom. I also put the main sheet together temporarily, tying the main sheet to the main sheet block.

Outhaul Exit Detail Outhaul I also spliced the outhaul primary and main lines to their blocks, leaving the main outhaul line long, as I didn't have a main sail to test its length. I placed both lines in the boom. Putting lines inside small spars is usually a pain, and the outhaul was no exception. I had to make some hooks to grab the line and pull it through the exit block in the middle of the boom.

Fabricating a Gooseneck

Gooseneck Dwyer The sliding Dwyer gooseneck was too loose, causing the boom to flip back and forth then the boom vang was under tension so I decided to build some replacement parts for it. First I thought of putting together a replacement part to fit into the boom out of aluminum strips and rods, but then I decided to make up composite parts. I needed to at least replace the piece that fit into the mast sail track, so I needed a surface to fit the mast and a prong that would connect to the universal joint.

Gooseneck Bracket Clamping Gooseneck Mast Piece Laid Up Gooseneck Preparation I fabricated the part to fit the mast against a mold made by waxing a 3/8-inch aluminum rod, and fitting the rod into the mast sail track with a plastic sheet behind the rod and around the mast. Then I laid up three layers of carbon fibre surrounding two layers of fibreglass against this mold. I used peel ply and cloth and another plastic sheet to compress the layup. The part that fit into the universal was a U-shaped bracket with an internal opening of 3/4-inch and internal depth of 7/8-inch. I cut a 3/4-inch block of wood to use as a mold and rounded off its edges. I then laid up the same number of layers of carbon and fibreglass against this mold and likewise compressed it.

Gooseneck Pieces Gooseneck Bracket Material As the bracket setup was adequate for lots of brackets I decided to replace more of the universal joint. I formed the center of the universal joint (a 3/4-inch by 3/4-inch by 1-inch block with rounded edges) from carbon fibre, fibreglass, and epoxy, I used the bracket material as a mold for the center to get one dimension correct. When all the pieces had fully hardened I removed the peel ply and cloth. I rough trimmed the mast form, cut out correct-sized portions for two brackets, and cut the universal joint center to size. I further strengthened the boom end bracket with more layers of carbon fibre.

gooseneck-mast-bracket-clamping gooseneck-mast-bracket-attaching I used carbon fibre to attach the mast bracket to the mast form, first tacking the bracket in place with a bit of 5-minute epoxy. I then added carbon fibre to the bracket and ran more carbon fibre over the bracket to firmly attach it to the mast form. This was all lightly compressed under peel ply and breather material.

gooseneck-on-mast gooseneck-aluminum-slide gooseneck-assembled I drilled holes in the brackets for the clevis pins and rounded their corners. I drilled a hole in the boom end bracket for a machine screw to attach it to the boom end piece. I drilled holes in the universal joint center and rounded its corners. I cut the correct length of 3/8-inch aluminum rod, drilled and tapped it for two screws, and drilled corresponding holes in the mast form. I finally put the entire joint together with clevis pins, using washers at the ends of the pins to prevent abrasion, and used a machine screw to attach it to the boom end piece, using washers to spread the load.

gooseneck-installed To protect the gooseneck I covered it with a coating of System 3 WR-LPU, after sanding any portions that were too smooth. The finished gooseneck slid well along the mast, but did not rock back and forth at all.

Coating the Hull

The hull still needed to have a coat of System 3 WR-LPU. The WR-LPU provides a tough surface and protects the epoxy from UV radiation. But first there were a few minor things that remained to be done on the hull.

Minor Tasks

Cockpit Edges Filling Chainplates After Filling Chainplates Before Filling The place where I cut out a bit of the mast partner needed to be sealed with epoxy and the area around the chainplates needed to be filled in a bit. After cleaning the hull with a tri-sodium phosphate solution, I made a bit of epoxy to seal these areas where needed and then filled them in a bit more with some thickened epoxy. The join between the cockpit floor and the cockpit bulkhead had a bit of gap and there were also some unevenness between the cockpit floor and the cockpit sides. I cleaned and sanded these edges. The I masked them off with tape and applied a clear fillet to them.

Mast Step Mounting Filled Mast Step Mounting The mast step screws needed to be mounted. I secured them using the same method as for the stemhead, drilling oversize holes and then filling with epoxy while machine screws with nuts are in place. This connection doesn't carry a tension load so I only used one nut. The hole I drilled was open below, so I had to be careful to embed the nut in the epoxy and not have epoxy flow through the hole. As I already had drilled holes just slightly larger than the machine screws I just drilled some larger holes partway down.

Void Fixed Void Under Glass Void Fixed Void Under Glass At the same time I fixed up some of the voids under the glass. I drilled very small holes into the voids (initally 1/16-inch then 1/32-inch) and used a hypodermic needle to fill the void. This worked quite well, but, of course, it would have been better to not have the voids in the first place.

Sanding, Cleaning, and Coating

Hull Edge Preparation In preparation for the WR-LPU, I cleaned up the hull. I used a scraping tool to remove drips and runs from smooth portions of the hull. I also used this tool to fair the edge of the fabric that wrapped onto the sides of the hull from the deck. I left most of the fabric on the sides, to provide a grip for any trapeze work.

Based on a tip from Gougeon Brothers in EpoxyWorks 21, to prepare the part of the hull that I had left rough I used a Norton RapidStrip Wire Brush to abrade the epoxy surface so that the WR-LPU would grip well. This didn't work as well as I expected, probably because the weave on the boat was too fine, but eventually I adequately roughened the deck. I then again cleaned the deck with a tri-sodium phosphate solution and a degreaser.

coating-hull-2 coating-hull-1 I then flipped the boat upside down and touched up the sanding on the bottom and sides of the hull and cleaned it up with a degreaser. I put three coats of clear System 3 WR-LPU on the bottom and sides of the hull, except near the deck where the fibreglass was left rough for traction. To make give longer setup time and easier application, I diluted the LPU about 10-percent with distilled water and I also wet down the garage floor to increase the humidity. This worked almost too well, as I did it during a cold rain storm, so the LPU dried much slower than usual (a couple of hours versus a few minutes).

coating-hull-3 coating-hull-4 When the bottom of the hull was dry, I flipped the hull right side up and applied LPU to the deck and cockpit. This part of the hull mostly had texture from the fibreglass, which would have made painting with a brush difficult, so I rolled out the LPU using a foam roller. I used a brush only to get at places where the roller could not go. This worked out quite well, with no problems concerning bubbles or drips.

Putting the Hardware on the Hull

traveller-controls main-sheet-boom rudder-cassette-installed When the LPU had dried, I re-attached hardware to the hull. The hardware that was re-attached included the mainsail halyard horn cleat; the jib and spinnaker halyard cam cleats; the boom vang cam cleats; the drain plug; and the rudder gudgeons and rudder cassette. I re-attached the main sheet traveller track and track ends and the upright blocks for the control lines to the cockpit floow and attached cam cleats for the control lines to the cockpit wall, using mounting points I had placed earlier. I cut two lengths of 3/16-inch line for the traveller control lines, tying it off at one end, and running the line through a track end, then through a traveller car control block, then through an upright block, and ending at a cam cleat. I also spliced the main sheet to the fiddle block and set up the main sheet blocks and the control lines for the main sheet traveller.

hiking-strap-aft hiking-strap-fore At this time I made up the hiking straps. I made up two hiking straps from 2-inch webbing, folding over the ends twice and stiching them in a box and cross pattern. I short short lengths of 3/16-inch line and used them to make loops attaching the webbing to deadend eye straps on the cockpit floor. To keep the hiking straps taut I ran two short pieces of stretchy stuff (shock cord replacement) between eye straps on the cockpit wall (where they were attached with a hook end) and the fore ends of the hiking straps (where they were attached with a deadend screwed into the webbing).

tiller-extension-closeup tiller-extension-fasteners tiller-extension-connection I also attached the tiller extension to the tiller, using a saddle to mate the tiller extension to the tiller. I drilled out two holes for the machine screws for the tiller extension and, after checking that everything fit, used HeliCoil inserts to hold the screws, which I cut to size.

cunningham-slide-installed cunningham-slide gooseneck-eyestrap-installed gooseneck-eyestrap boom-vang-orbit I next finished off the boom vang using a Ronstan 20mm orbit lashing block for the primary, lashing this block to the boom vang bail on the boom. I did the same for the cunningham, mounting an eye strap for its primary Ronstan 20mm orbit lashing lashing block on the gooseneck boom end cap. I used two machine screws for to attached the eye strap, drilling and tapping holes into the end cap for the screws. When I tested the cunningham, the mast slug kept on sliding, so I made up a special mast slug that had the eyestrap above the mast partner and an aluminum flange below the mast partner to keep the it from slipping.

cunningham-orbit-connection cunningham-orbit-connection-detail cunningham-done cunningham-primary-slug Terminating the primary on the same eye strap as the cunningham block interfered with the block so I had to use a second slug for the primary. I made up a special slug with a dead-end eye strap, in the hopes that this would make a better termination for the cunningham primary, but passing an eye splice through the end of the eye strap was difficult, and a luggage tag splice ended up stressing the line, so I decided to just use a second regular eye strap for the primary. I tried several ways to connect the lashing block to the eyestrap, including a loop spliced through the block. I finally decided on a loop that was pushed through the block with both ends around the eyestrap. This had the advantage of naturally turning the block to the correct orientation.

I then attached the gooseneck boom end cap to the boom. Instead of using pop rivets, I drilled and tapped holes for three machine screws, so that I could remove the end cap. I also had a few small fixes or updates to the hardware that involved using some epoxy. The mounting screws for the drain plug needed to have their hole widened out, filled with epoxy, and redrilled to seal the hull from water intrusion. The hole for one of the mounting screws for the stemhead was stripped, so I drilled it out, refilled it with epoxy, and then drilled and tapped it. The flanged nut for one of the mounting screws for the traveller track was stripped so this hole also had to be drilled out, refilled with epoxy, and then drilled and tapped. In each case I first painted the inside of the hole with epoxy and then filled it with epoxy strengthened with mini-fibers. I waited until the epoxy was fully cured before drilling and tapping.

Storage and Transportation


cover-3 cover-2 cover-1 The hull had been living in my garage all through the long construction process but it needed to eventually go out into the open. I decided to have a simple tarp, held up with some plastic pipe over the cockpit. This pipe would have a 90-degree elbow to fit into the mast partner, then run back to the stern of the boat with a cut-out to fit against the transom bar.

I bought the pipe and elbow and cut the pipe to length, about 4 inches past the rudder gudgeon. I used a bit of the left-over pipe for the part that fits into the mast partner and put everything together, drilling one hole for pinning to the rudder gudgeon and one hole for fitting into the rudder cassette. I bought a regular 16-foot by 12-foot tarp, cut it down to size, and placed grommets all around. I threaded nylon line through the grommet holes. Tightening the line holds the tarp on the hull.


I planned on transporting the dinghy on top of my Volvo station wagon, upside down. I already had a rack on the car, and bars for transporting canoes and kayaks. I planned on using two canoe attachment devices to hold the stern of the hull to the rear bar and building a cradle for the deck that would attach to the forward bar. This cradle would be curved to fit the deck and have a groove to fit into the bar. It would be held onto the bar with bolt hangers and steel plate. Outdoor carpet would form a cushion between the cradle and the hull.

bow-cradle-forming bow-cradle-clamping bow-cradle-gluing bow-cradle-sanding bow-cradle-wood I bought a 2-by-4 and cut off two 3-foot 6-inch pices. I then traced out the curve of the deck onto the boards, using a form from making the hull, cut to this line using a jig saw, and then sanded down the line with my belt sander. I then glued the two pieces together and sanded the joint smooth. I wanted to make the cradle exactly fit the bow, so after some sanding to make the cradle almost conform to the bow, I made up some epoxy paste and used it to fill the last little gaps, clamping the cradle to the bow with a web clamp.

bow-cradle-epoxy-carbon bow-cradle-drilling bow-cradle-fitting bow-cradle-groove bow-photo-angle After this glue had hardened, I cleaned up the cradle again. I cut the base of the cradle at an angle to match the angle of the rails on the car at the point the cradle will be installed. I then cut out a groove for the bar with repeated passes through the table saw. I made the end of the groove slightly wide for the bar clamps. The cradle is to be attached to a rack bar with hanger bolts and steel plates, with wing nuts to hold the steel plates onto the bolt hangers. I cut two sections of 1-inch steel plate and drilled two holes in each of them. I used the sections as templates for drilling holes for the bolt hangers and then attached the bolt hangers. I next put a layer of epoxy on all the surfaces of the board and a second layer blackened with carbon power on the exposed surfaces.

When the epoxy had cured I cut and glued carpet to the top side of the cradle with contact cement.
TO DO to end of section
I put the cradle on the car, and some rollers on the other bar, and put the hull on top.
Finally I made up straps from buckles and 1-inch webbing to hold both the bow and stern of the hull to the bars.

I also made up a bridle to hold the bow down. This bridle attaches to the stempiece at the bow with a bow shackle and then runs down to two attachment points at the front of the hood. At the stern I just ran webbing around the transom bar and then to the rear of the car.


The final major step is to buy the sails. I have been looking around to find a manufacturer who makes compatible main and jib sails. I also haven't attached the jib track, which I will do after I get the sails. As well, I haven't determined how big to make the spinnaker.

Last Steps

After the sails there is only one last required step - attaching the jib hardware. I am still thinking about changing the jib hardware and eliminating the track.

I have also been looking at making up soft shackles and hanks - made from (generally Dyneema) line - and using them. The basic idea is just to make up a short length of line that has a simple small eye splice in end and a stopper knot at the other. The stopper knot goes through the eye splice, which is then pulled shut to hold the knot. There are, however, myriad variations, with different ways to do the eye splice and different stopper knots. There are also variations that have a very small line to help open the splice eye and O-rings to hold the splice eye closed. The tricky parts of the process are to get the lengths all correct and tying the stopper knot very tightly.

halyard-soft-shackle-closed halyard-soft-shackle-buried halyard-soft-shackle-eye-open halyard-soft-shackle-eye-tail halyard-soft-shackle-eye-brummel I have also been thinking of using a soft shackle to terminate the halyards and attach them to the sails. The basic idea here is to first make an openable eye splice with 20 inches of small-diameter line. The eye splice is about two inches away from the center of the line, and the shorter line is buried into the longer. To lock the splice, but still allow it to be opened, there is a Brummel lock about four inches away from the splice, and the shorter line is again buried into the longer and tapered. The tail of this entire splice is then buried into the halyard, leaving about 4 inches protruding and an Ashley stopper knot is tied at the end of the halyard. The entire process is shown here with 1/8-inch single braid line for the eye splice and 1/4-inch single braid line for the halyard.

halyard-soft-shackle-jib One problem is finding just the right size line to make the eye splice for a given halyard line. My jib halyard is 3/16-inch UltraTech, a double braid line with a tight cover. I tried 1/8-inch line for the eye splice and found that the after burying the eye splice tail into the halyard core that the halyard cover would not fit back over the entire core. (Albeit 3/16-inch UltraTech does have a very tight cover.) What I did was to milk the cover up along the bury as far as possible and then bury the cover into the core from there to the end. The stopper knot was then tied at the end of this inside-out tail, and whipping was applied from the cross-over up to where the eye splice exited the halyard line. This appears to be OK, but does leave the core of the halyard line on the outside of the stopper knot, where it is subject to abrasion.

There are few optional steps - the spinnnaker hardware and the trapeze hardware. I haven't decided whether to do them immediately, or wait until after the boat is launched.

Lessons Learned and Construction Tips

Building the Delta V was much more difficult than building a canoe or kayak. If I had to do it again I would make a few changes:

I also picked up some construction tips, many of them quite late in the process:

Updated 28 November 2009 by Peter F. Patel-Schneider.