Here are some photos of the top-side during construction. The cabin isn't going to be particularly well appointed, but then it's not intended to be anything more than a way to get out of the weather and provide a bit more confidence in some of the heavier seas. There might be the occasional overnighter if Ron goes on a fishing trip with the 'boys' or if we get caught out in a storm or break down.

Days 37 & 38 ( Apr 2, 2006): Finally, some real work on the top-side.


Deck Frame

Well, I finally got some real work done up top. If you look very closely, you can see where I've moved a deck beam forward from its original position. To prevent springing during the move, there is a pine crossbar on the frame where the deck beam was originally located. Why move it you ask? Simple: the boat can be built with or without a cabin. When building without, the deck frame just stays at the original position, but to build the cabin it needs to be moved forward 15 inches. I hope nobody gets too excited over the fact that it actually ended but moving 15-1/2 inches. It was a lot tougher than I thought to get the measurements just right where the sheer (top edge) is curving in toward the bow.


This is a lovely shot of the 3 drains I've got so far. I'll still need one for the bilge pump and one in the motor well when it's built. Actually, only the centre one is an honest-to-goodness bilge drain. The other two are the inlet and outlet for the cabin's cooling system. You may recall that we're planning to pump lake water through a transmission cooler or other radiator-like device to try and keep the cabin to a manageable temperature for Devy. Those hot days can be pretty tough to deal with at the best of times.


And finally, here's a shot of the cockpit floor in progress. As you can see, I've got the floatation and the floor battens in place. There was some confusion over how to make all this work, because every set of instructions I've got just glosses over the flooring. A bit of reading between the lines and some comparisons between the floor and the hull led to the result you see hear. Note that the floatation stops about 9 inches short of the transom for access to the drain plug and 'coolant' plumbing. If you look sight along the sheer at the right side of the photo, you can see that there is still a lot of planing to do in order to get the side-decking under control. I decided to leave that until I had a floor because it's quite a reach from outside with the boat on the trailer.

Days 39 & 40 ( Apr 12, 2006): The floor was harder than I expected.


Test fitting the floor

There isn't a lot to show this week. I spent all day Saturday and Sunday measuring, making sketches, thinking, measuring, cutting.... I didn't think I'd ever get it figured out. The cockpit floor (foreground and covered with junk) was trivial. The main cabin floor was reasonably straightforward. But the floor under the forward part of the berth was brutal. First of all, it's not so much a floor as one component in a system. I suppose that it might not be technically necessary to even but a floor under any part of the berth, but I want some easy to use storage, even if it means giving up a bit of space. That means making the floor reasonably flat and level and that close to the bow the hull is far from flat and level.

Of course the biggest problem stems from the fact that there is any usable space at all! You see, the plans call for just a sleeping platform in the cabin. If Devy--or anybody--is actually going to spend time in the cabin whether underway or not, then it's important to provide actually seating. I've been struggling for some time with the idea that the berth is shown as only 3 inches or so above the hull at the keel. That's not really comfortable seating. I've done quite a few sketches that lead me to believe I can add nearly 10 inches to the height of the cabin without being horribly ugly. Yes, things have to be reshaped a bit and the cabin roof might end up as a plain roof instead of having both a ceiling and a roof, but I now have things organised for semi-comfortable short-term seating instead of having just a sleeping platform. I've actually been kicking around the idea of making it a 'pop top'; a roof that raises and lowers. Although I know in principle how to keep such a thing waterproof, I feel that I really should get more comfortable with wood as a construction material before I start trying to pull of funky stuff like that.

It was quite a lot of work to get all the details worked out, but I think it'll all come out fine. Even though the floor under the forward part of the berth seems to have a lot of wasted space under it, there is actually more storage than the original drawings allowed for. Skis, wakeboards, fishing gear, and more will all fit out of the way and out of sight. And that wasted space will be packed with foam, thus adding to the buoyancy should I get stupid enough to hole the boat.

 Days 41-43  ( Apr 16, 2006): The floor is complete


The view from the top

I got the floor in and some basic framing for the berth. It was a pretty challenging week-end, between trying to get the floorboards epoxied, the floatation and flooring installed and the bow-eye installed (oops! not photo!). Anyway, the two big jobs were getting the floatation into the oddly shaped spaces available under the flooring and getting the bow-eye in.

The bow-eye took 4 hours from start to finish! Nobody locally can supply one with long enough bolts to get all the way through the stem. No big deal, right? Just drill the hole a bit bigger and use a coupler nut and some threaded stock to extend as necessary. Not likely! I'm not sure what kind of equipment was used to manufacture the bolts on the eye, but nobody could match either the thread or the size. 5/16 " was too small, 3/8" was too big, and the metric sizes didn't work either. Just fishing a nut down and using an extension socket wasn't really an option because I'm not really keen on depending on the holding power of an unwashered nut in this situation. In the end, I just went out and bought a standard u-bolt and then used a coupler nut and some threaded stock to extend the reach. It's not as attractive, but at least I know it'll stand up to the intended use.


From the inside


 Days 44-47 ( May 17, 2006): The topsides are starting to come together.


I've got quite a few pictures in this set because there wasn't a lot of time for much of anything. That sounds odd, I know, but the band I'm in (Saskatoon Brass Band) had a couple of major festivals on consecutive week-ends, so between extra rehearsals and road trips, I didn't have much time for either the boat or the web site. But I still took pictures!

This first shot is of one of the rehearsals for the Prairie Brass Band Festival. This is the 6th such event, originally started by the Saskatoon Brass Band. Not a boat photo, but it's proof that there was little time for building!

Prairie Brass Band Festival rehearsal in Winnipeg, April 2006


This is what I managed to get done on Sunday afternoon after getting home from the festival. Bumper rails. Oh well, they needed to be installed and they are.

Bumper rail


And then we (the band) help inaugurate what we hope to be an annual Canadiana Festival with a couple of local bands, including a High School Select Band. This first edition was an all Howard Cable event, including the man himself waving the stick!

But I still managed to get some work done on the berth. Here's my pride and joy: I got a pretty much perfect fit along the inside of the hull. It took a couple of tries with some scrap MDF to get a template cut, but the results were worth it. As you can see, there is some storage under this part of the berth.

The main part of the berth


...and the part of the berth that fits in the very front worked out okay, too. I've packed floatation foam under this part of the berth.

The very front of the berth


Well, the band festivals are over, so it's back to work with a vengeance! Here's the main cabin wall, complete with routered cutouts for the entry door, a window, and a couple of access doorways to what will be storage under the seating part of the berth (not yet constructed). The attentive will notice that the access doorways are just a bit taller than makes sense--oh well, I did a great job on the berth (so far) and screwed up the measurements here. I never realized the problem until after I had everything epoxied in place, so I guess I either leave them and put large doors or find a way to close in the top half of those holes. Either way, you'll get pictures.

The main cabin wall


Yup, the doorway works!

The cabin doorway


And here is the front deck. It's not a great photo, because I was in a hurry to make it for a Mother's Day supper. But the deck fits!

The forward deck



Days 48-50 ( May 22, 2006): Slow but sure...

It sure doesn't feel like we got a lot done this week-end. That's especially disappointing given that it was a long week-end (Victoria Day). Oh well, the work that did get done went smoothly and there were no obvious errors. In fact, I fixed a rather glaring error--I somehow missed putting on a proper keel-strip while the boat was upside-down. I actually thought I had done this, but reading about someone else's directional stability problem and its resolution sent me below to do it right. What would have been an hour or so with the hull upside-down took more like 5 or 6 hours. Sorry, no pictures: I tried, but there just isn't any way to get a decent picture of something like that from one foot away.


Here is a shot of the front deck from the aft cabin wall. You can see the side decking at the edges of the picture.

Forward Deck


Here is an aerial shot showing the aft cabin wall and most of the side decking. Through the doorway, you can see a bit of the cabin's side walls nearly ready to install. You can also see I've added panels to fill in the holes that I thought were going to provide access to under seat storage. That didn't work out the way I expected, but filling them back in looks pretty simple.

Aerial shot of side decking


Here is a shot of the complete berth. As you can see, there is no way to get decent exterior access to under-seat storage, which is why I'm closing these holes up permanently.

Berth is finished


 Days 51 & 52 ( Jun 4, 2006): We got a motor!


We didn't get any work done last week-end because Crestline was fighting through one of the most complex year-ends ever. Between broken accounting systems and inexperienced inventory staff, I was kept busy keeping the data collection under control.

Starboard view of cabin frame and outboard motor

As you can see, we picked up the new motor! This is a new(!) 1999 Suzuki 40-hp two-cycle with oil-injection. My brother Dave came in with his half-ton to help me pick it and hang it off the transom. Now that I see how it sits, I'll need to lift if off again to make things a bit more robust. Oh yeah, I've got the framing finished for the cabin.

Stern view of the new motor

The motor looks good against the white.

Stern-Port view of the new motor

Yet another shot of the motor. Can you tell I'm excited?

Cabin framing from port-bow

OK, we did get some work done, too.All it needs now is a roof. I was afraid that it was going to look bulkier than it does, and I'm sure it'll be better once it's painted.

Frame from the starboard bow


 Days 53 & 54  ( Jun 11, 2006): The cabin roof and cockpit walls are in. Huge progress in relation to the actual labour :)


The results of this week-end's work are all out of proportion to the actual labour. I only cut four panels, two of which (the cockpit walls) I cut at the same time from sheets I had clamped together. Although, to be fair, one of the panels (the roof over the main part of the cabin) had to be built up from a couple of pieces with a butt-joint. Still, it didn't feel like a lot of work.

This first shot shows the floatation foam in the walls of the cockpit before we installed the walls themselves. I don't know how much good it does, but I've been working on the principle that any enclosed air-space needs to be filled with floatation foam, so I just did it. It's not like it adds much weight.

Floatation foam in cockpit walls


Here's a shot of the cockpit with the walls in place. And my sweetie and co-builder! If you are really paying attention, you'll notice that the cabin roof looks a bit different from the previous shot. There is a simple explanation for that--the roof has been installed instead of just sitting in place.

Cockpit walls


This shot is the first indication that maybe the lines of the original haven't been completely destroyed by raising the roof of the cabin. I put in a lot of time with scraps of lumber and sketches to get this look, so don't be too hard on me.

View of cockpit and completed cabin


Here we can see how important those cockpit walls are. If you compare this shot with one from about the same angle last week, you can see the that most of the top-heaviness is gone. It's amazing, really, what a simple curve can do.

View of completed cabin and cockpit walls


Last, but certainly not least, we have a shot of Devy hanging out the window, waving to her fans. She won't be able to do this after we install the windows. Every window will either be fixed (non-opening) or have a screen installed. In this case, the window will be fixed. The only opening windows are the front corner ones (the trapezoidal window in the centre of the shot) and the one at the back of the cabin beside the door.

Devy, waving out of cabin window


 Days 55 & 56 ( Jun 21, 2006): The motor-well is done and the rear seats are roughed-in.


We've got the motorwell done and the rear seats are roughed-in. When it's finished, the seats will be on hinges so that we can get at the batteries on the starboard side and at the head on the port.. You read right--we're putting a portable toilet in under the port seat. Hey, we've got a berth up front, why not a head?

Straight-on shot of the motor-well


That little stick under the motor well is actually a permanent fixture. The gas tank I'm using has an indent just off the centre line, creating a dual chamber tank. The second chamber acts as a kind of reserve--if you run out of gas, just tip the tank a bit and the fuel from the second chamber will pour into the main chamber. Presumably that will get you back to shore. Anyway, I checked around and this tank design is quite common so felt confident in putting this in to fit the indent, thus preventing the tank from sliding side to side. By the time we're done, there will be other things to keep stuff from sliding forward.

Also, we're planning to eventually cut into the main side wall of cockpit to create a foldout tray with a campstove attached. Toss a cooler under the berth and we'll be fully equipped for an overnight trip. I doubt that we'll actually do so on a regular basis, but it'll sure make getting storm stayed a lot easier to take. And I'll be the envy of all the guys when we go on one of those rare fishing trips!

Angle shot of the motor-well


 Days 57 & 58 ( Jun 25, 2006): The topside fiberglassing is done and the winch in installed.


This was a fiberglassing week-end. We got the 'glass on with no trouble at all, but by the time we got to the third coat of epoxy, things were slippery enough that being up on top of the cabin was just a tad nerve-wracking. There isn't really much to see, but it is shinier. I don't know whether we'll get to the paint next week-end or not. I still have to build fenders and install the trailer lights if we're going to haul it to the lake for vacation starting July 7.



Installing the winch was actually pretty easy. I've been looking at a few different commercial boat trailers and some of them just clamp the winch stand in place instead of welding or bolting through the trailer tongue. I figure if the commercial folks can do that, then so can I. Needless to say, that makes it a lot easier to get everything positioned just right. One of the things I was supposed to get done this week-end was to balance the trailer with the motor mounted. I got lucky--the tongue weight is 55 pounds without having to move anything around. I was shooting for something between 50 and 100 pounds, so this worked out just right. I'm guessing that I'll be adding about 40 pounds more at the stern, but I'm also going to be putting the spare near the front of the tongue, so it should all work out. If not, the winch stand is easy enough to move and the bunk was designed to be adjustable fore and aft so there won't be any problems.



Days 63 - 65 ( Jul 16, 2006): Ready to launch!

(Big gap in days because some of the time was spent on the trailer and other stuff that didn't get documented.)

We got the helm and some windows in. And the door, too.

Helm and windows


As you can see, this is really only suitable for standing, but I am planning to put a tall seat in there somehow.

Helm and door


The door latch hasn't been installed yet. But neither has the rear window, so a clamp serves nicely for now. The tach is in the lower left and the Suzuki monitor (oil level, temp, over-rev warning) is in the top right.

Helm and door


Here's a shot from the starboard. The windows are 1/4" smoke Lexan

Helm and windows