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Thread: Building a Hybrid Moonfish

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Annapolis, MD, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Building a Hybrid Moonfish

    Our summer vacation fleet needs something that sails to complement the outboards, canoes and kayaks already on hand. So I’ve started building a Bateau.com MF14 Moonfish. The Moonfish is a tape-and-glue small plywood sailboat, similar to a Sunfish. The objective is to have her ready by this time next year.


    She’ll be joining a fleet that features cedar strip-plank boats. That’s where the “hybrid” comes in. Instead of ply, this Moonfish will have cedar strip topsides and deck. I’ll be using versions of the strip building techniques described by Schade, Folsom and others for kayaks and canoes. Topsides and deck will be finished bright.


    A few prior Moonfish builds have been well documented online here:
    https://forums.bateau2.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=20214


    Here:
    https://forums.bateau2.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=58206
    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...sh-Build-in-UK


    And there’s another underway here:
    https://forums.bateau2.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=62869


    I’m indebted to those builders for pre-answering many of my questions and offering lots of good ideas. Now I get to make my own mistakes, of which I’m sure there will be quite a few.


    My sole prior experience in boatbuilding was a stitch-and-glue rowboat about 20 years ago. I’ve been planning this build since January, waiting for the weather to warm up and my daughter to get her stuff out of our garage. That’s given me plenty of time to overthink everything. This certainly won’t be the fastest or most economical way to build a Moonfish. But it’ll be fun! So here we go …

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Annapolis, MD, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Building a Hybrid Moonfish

    Bateau.com offers a CNC-cut kit for all the plywood pieces, but I couldn’t see ordering the kit only to throw a considerable portion away. So I’ll be cutting the plywood myself. The experience is good for me, right?


    There’s a boat in here somewhere:
    003 Half-inch ready to cut.jpg

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Annapolis, MD, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Building a Hybrid Moonfish

    Hey, look, I found a transom!

    006 Transom.jpg

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    North Shore, Massachusetts
    Posts
    8,636

    Default Re: Building a Hybrid Moonfish

    Quote Originally Posted by Chenier View Post
    Hey, look, I found a transom!

    006 Transom.jpg
    thanks for sharing, sun fish are awesome.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    North East England
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Building a Hybrid Moonfish


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Annapolis, MD, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Building a Hybrid Moonfish

    Here's a visible sign of progress - the frames are all cut and trimmed.


    007 Frames.jpg


    Lightening holes, ventilation holes, limber holes and drain holes will all be cut later, after I assemble the parts and see where the longitudinals intersect the frames.


    Those longitudinals, the stringers and trunk sides, are next at bat.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Annapolis, MD, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Building a Hybrid Moonfish

    The longitudinals are cut and trimmed. Bow and trunk sides on the left, aft stringers on the right.


    There are two trunk sides and two aft stringers - the pairs were cut stacked so that both sides of the boat would have the same mistakes. The boatbuilding literature calls this "symmetry".

    010 Longitudals.jpg

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Annapolis, MD, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Building a Hybrid Moonfish

    I tackled trunk/bow stringer assembly. This is a slight departure from the build notes which would have me lay out the deck next. As you can see from the photos my garage shop doesn’t have a lot of extra room, so I’m doing as much as I can before erecting a big 4’x16’ worktable.


    Here I’ve cut cleats for the mast step and daggerboard from cypress and added lightening holes to the big plywood parts. The lightening holes are partly to save weight but also to allow some air circulation during the months the boat will be in storage. The build plans say “Respect minimum 2” offset” for lightening holes in the frames. That seems like a good guideline. In addition I’m keeping 2” between holes.


    011 Trunk and Bow Stringer parts final.jpg


    Kindly ignore the limber holes some idiot cut on the deck side of the stringers. Thank you. The working limber holes are on the hull sides of these pieces.


    Next is a dry fit of the assembly. It took a while to get everything square and clamped into position. Then I drilled through at each of the cleats and pegged the assembly with 1/4” red oak dowels. That holds it square and let me put each component exactly where it belonged when epoxying.


    014 Trunk and Bow pegged with dowel.jpg


    This photo is the way the whole structural frame gets built - upside down on a flat deck.


    The epoxy step was a bit of a mess, in part because the last time I fooled with marine epoxy was about 20 years ago. I’m trying out SilverTip because the manufacturer says you can let it sit for 72 hours before needing to sand when putting more epoxy over it. Everyone else says 12 hours - even the same manufacturer’s other brand of marine epoxy.


    Before assembling everything I coated the inside of the trunk sides with epoxy so I wouldn’t have to get into that slot later. Then came a small frenzy of epoxy gluing and fiberglassing. There was enough play in the structure that the final piece, the starboard trunk side, might not line up with the dowels if the epoxy set firm. Fortunately, using slow hardener, there was enough flexibility after 1.5 hours to get that piece in place and then clamp everything:


    016 Trunk and Bow Stringer epoxied up.jpg


    In this photo the deck side is up.


    The Build Notes say to fiberglass inside of the mast step and inside the daggerboard slot. I used the method recommended in Gougeon Bros. book: Lay a piece of fiberglass around three sides of the hole. Apply a second piece to the fourth side, then close up the assembly. In retrospect it would have been much easier applying the glass as four pieces - one for each side of the hole. Except for the bow side of the mast step, all the glass could be applied to its appropriate component the day before. Live and learn.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Mountain lakes of Vermont
    Posts
    10,971

    Default Re: Building a Hybrid Moonfish

    A nice operation you've got going there.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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