Monday, November 15, 2010

Sewing Practice

I am no stranger to a sewing machine, but I'm no professional either.  So before I commit to a couple hundred dollars worth of Dacron, I thought I'd brush up on my skills.  Plus, I'd like some experience with hot knife cutting as well.  Therefore, enter Project Burgee wherein I get the practice I need while creating salty gifts for the family's sailors.

A little background for the reader--
My family (i.e Dad) has a lakeside cottage (or camp as they are called locally) where we have a Sunfish and a motorboat.  My brother also sails a J24 in the Long Island Sound.  Once I add my future Goat Island Skiff, the family will have something of a fleet worthy of our own House Flag.  The camp is named Que Sera Sera and features a striking black and white paint scheme.

So I drew upon this design vocabulary for our House Flag.  A good flag uses symbols or graphics rather than letters.  I stylized the initials QSS to be more graphical and less... alphabetical.  This is the result:

 So I ordered some flag cloth and set to work!  I gathered my plans, my tools, sewing notions, and liquid lubricant.  This is where my family eats, so I had to work fast.

 Using a soldering iron with a pointy tip and an aluminum straight edge allowed for clean cuts.

The white cloth is not heavy enough to be opaque, so two layers will be in order.

 The cotton/poly edging and brass grommets.  I plan to use grommets like these for my Lugs'l spar lashings.

I cut a strip of cloth to use as border edging.  The folds are about a quarter inch for this 4"x6" mini version.

 This is why I'm practicing!  Actually, there are two problems here.  One is that the thread is way too thick for this project.  It will be good for the seams on my sail though.  Also, I did not fuse the edges of the design with the iron because the white cloth was getting scorched. I'll have to work on that.

 This is why I chose to use two layers of black cloth.  I swear, the beer was NOT the reason for these stiches...

 I LOVE it when a plan comes together!  This tiny size was the rehearsal, but it happens to follow the sizing guidelines for a Sunfish according to the US Power Squadron's Flag and Etiquette Committee: 1/2" on the fly for every foot of mast, and a 2:3 hoist to fly ratio.  In this case, the fly is 6".  I've got dimensions for all the boats in the fleet, as large as 10"x15" for my brother's J24.  So I should stop typing and keep sewing...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Using SailcutCAD

Here's a screen shot of the Storer GIS Lug sail as rendered by SailcutCAD.  The slider bars left and bottom rotate the image about the horizontal and vertical axes respectively.  It's a nice feature because it helps to visualize the shape by moving it.  I'm posting this mostly to test the process of taking a screen shot and uploading it to the blog.  I'll jump over the the forum next and repeat there. Time will tell whether I duplicate all entries in both venues or use this blog for the nitty gritty detail and just "announce" the latest on the forum.  The drawback to that approach is that lots of great discussion gets generated there, and I don't want to dampen that collaboration.

Concept of the operation/commander's intent

After many months of lurking and commenting on the Michael Storer Wooden Boat Plans forum, it’s time for me to jump into the party and start to build my own Storer Boat. The object of my obsession has been the lovely Goat Island Skiff designed by Australia's own Michael Storer (aka MIK).  (Lot's of great photos here.)

But building a wooden boat is not crazy enough for me.  I want to build the boat AND make the sail. Part of that is to be economical, but really… I just want to do it. I’ve read Emiliano Marino’s The Sailmaker’s Apprentice. I’ve studied the various pics of Goats in EUR, AUS and USA and noted details where they differ. And I know there’s at least one forum contributor that made his own lugs’l. Plus, the cold weather is setting in here (the US Northeast) and I’m pretty sure that I won’t be mixing epoxy for many months; sail making sounds like a good cold weather pastime. I also seem to recall someone posting that having his sail ready and waiting made building the boat go quicker.

My plan calls for some traditional touches and some actual hand sewing. But MIK’s design philosophy has been to combine traditional aesthetics with modern materials and techniques. I will continue in that vein; no cotton here. In fact, my lugs’l will begin its life on a computer screen. I have played around with the free software SailcutCAD and I think I’ve got the hang of it. I understand how its outputs relate to traditional lofting techniques and broadseam development. I think it will be great to use this blog and the above mentioned forum as a sounding board, then take the feedback and make tweaks in Sailcut.

Wish me luck!