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By John Turpin - Edmond, Oklahoma - USA

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The next step was to shape and install the external keel and stem. The shape of the stem required laminating strips. Because I would be installing a stainless keel band, I opted to stick with Doug fir here instead of going to a hardwood. The external keel and stem were glued on with thickened epoxy and stainless fasteners.

Planing off the landing in preparation for the stem
The external stem being laminated in its form
The new stem
The keel

Having missed my schedule, I was now prepping for hull paint in the freezing cold. An unusually cold winter had hit us and I now had to wade through snow to get to the workshop. I spent hour after hour, day after day, fairing and sanding. This is tiresome, often depressing, work. Instead of looking better, the boat just seemed to get uglier each day. Eventually, I got her as smooth as I could and called a buddy who would let me borrow his HVLP painting system. Soon, I would paint.

Using chalk and a long board to find problem areas
A scarf joint that needs attention
Building up the stemhead
The hull goes outside for the first time
The portable heater that saved me from certain death by freezing

Taking a page from Dexter, I wrapped my workspace in heavy plastic and prepared to get to work with the spray rig. I used Glidden oil-based porch paint and, once I figured out how thin the gun needed the paint to be, it sprayed on beautifully. When finished painting at the end of January 2010, the hull wore three coats of epoxy and four coats of paint.

Glidden oil-based gloss white paint
It's definitely shiny
The painted hull, ready to go under plastic for a month of curing time

Much of frigid January was spent working on masts and other non-hull tasks. The masts have three sections; two sections of aluminum tubes and the top section of birdsmouth Southern Yellow Pine. Once painted, they were joined using fiberglass bearings and shoulders.

Once the hull paint had cured, I was able to fabricate and install a 316 stainless steel keel band. The way I run into stuff, this will come in handy.

Shooting more Glidden porch paint on the mast tubes
Birdsmouth mast tops gluing on the workbench
The masts aligned and glued
Stainless bar stock fastened to the external keel with countersunk fasteners
I fear no reefs

On February 6, friends assembled for the turning of the hull. For the first time, I was able to see what my new boat would look like. I fell in love with her all over again. All that thankless planking, fairing and sanding was suddenly worth it.

Five of us turn the 150 pound hull over
We finally get a look at the boat from the right side
The hull is not only beautiful, but very light
The cockpit starts to show itself
Lapstrake artwork

It was February and still bitter cold. All epoxy work had to be tented and heated with work lamps so it would set up over night. Outside, the snow was still piling up. But, I diligently waded through it to work on the cockpit. I was still spending every available hour trying to get the boat completed for the start of the sailing season (which I would ultimately miss).

Laying out the bench tops
Once the locker interiors are filleted and epoxy-coated, the tops could go on
I built a pair of insulated ice boxes into the benches, accessed through deck plates

Then, locker hatches could be constructed

A heating tent to help epoxy cure in frigid temperatures. I might as well be in Alaska.

March 2010 arrived with even more snow. To celebrate, I started work on the centerboard trunk. The trunk interior is glass covered and graphite-epoxy coated. When assembled, it was glued, screwed and clamped over the centerboard slot.

Trunk components are cut from ¼" Okoume ply
9 oz. cloth will protect the trunk from wear
Graphite on both the trunk interior and centerboard should reduce binding
Assembling the trunk and testing fit
My Japanese saw quickly cuts the centerboard slot
The trunk fits over the slot and through the mid-bulkhead

Before I could shoot paint on the interior, I needed to finish several cockpit tasks. I covered the cockpit sole with 4 oz. "surfboard" cloth from Duckworks. So, the bottom of the boat now has a stainless-clad keel, ¼" ply, 9 oz. cloth on the exterior, 4 oz. cloth on the interior, three coats of epoxy on the outside and three more coats on the inside.

I built mast steps from laminated plywood. I want my masts to rotate, so I inset slippery HDPE plastic. Also, it is supposed to bring good luck by putting a coin under a sailboat's mast and good luck is something I really need. So, I permanently set state commemorative coins in both the main and mizzen steps. I put a North Carolina coin in the main step because the boat was designed there; an Oklahoma coin in the mizzen step, as the boat was built here.

Untold hours were spent sanding the boat's interior. Trust me; it gets old after a while. But, if you want a pretty, smooth cockpit, it has to be done. Also before I could paint, I needed to cut a hole and "bed-in" my Anderson bailer. Soon, I'll be ready to paint!

Glassing the cockpit sole
The mizzen mast step with embedded Oklahoma coin
Hours and hours and hours of sanding
Bedding-in the bailer

to be continued....

For more details on this building project and our ongoing adventures, visit Blue Peter's website at

Fair Winds
John Turpin
Edmond, OK
s/v Blue Peter


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