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Thread: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

  1. #176
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Wow, that's ambitious Jeff. Seems to me this boat carries enough sail without that additional at top, but I guess if you have really light wind it could be useful. Next, you may have to come up with a more weighted center board to offset the higher center of effort, to avoid excessive heeling.

    I haven't been watching the forum for a while. Nice to see you getting out on some trips, and getting your reef solution worked out. Nice job

  2. #177
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    It is pretty ambitious, but I've been caught in some super light air this summer and have often wondered how a topsail would work... I don't plan to use it for much more than ghosting along. If nothing else at least I'll get some cool photos.

    The center of effort will raise about 17" and move forward 1". I don't know how big of an effect that will have on heeling, but I tend to think the centerboard would have to be pretty heavy to do much since it's a shorter lever.



    Got the top and bottom halves sewn together, now to join them and hem the edges.

    Have you had your Phoenix III out any?

  3. #178
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Great job on the sewing - impressive!

    > Have you had your Phoenix III out any?

    We've had the Phoenix out a number of times, but now she lives in Utah with my daughter (built for her).

    Have been on the water a lot though. I got the Morbic 11 out for a half day sail last week. So simple to rig and sail - always fun. We have a Beneteau First 35 that we sail/race 1-2 times a week.

    Eager to get on with a Devlin Surf Runner 25 build - a motor boat, of all things! Waiting on a plywood order. Made the building frame today. This should keep me busy for a year, building it on my own. Mostly a fiberglass boat, with a wood core, but will have a classic look with bright wood accents. I bought a 55 gal drum of epoxy part 1, to give an idea! :-)

    Keep the adventures with your Phoenix coming - good learning from you.

  4. #179
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Ah, I didn't realize your daughter wasn't nearby.

    Wow! Good luck with the Surf Runner... that sounds like a massive undertaking. I've had half a Bolger Diablo cut out for a year now, but lost steam on that project. I'll finish it up someday, just been too busy improving and sailing this boat.

    I've got the two halves sewn together, the foot and leech hemmed over, and a 3" wide piece of 5 oz Dacron tape folded in half sewn down the luff. Also a stack of three of corner patches. I had some 5/16" spur grommets left over from my sail kit so I evenly spaced them out about every foot down the luff. I was pretty surprised my designed 1" of hollow and round came out exactly right in the finished product, there was a lot of opportunity for errors to accumulate. I thought about buying green cloth and making the panels alternate white and green to show off the miters, but decided against it. Now I kinda wish I had.



    The next step will be to make a top mast and get everything rigged up. A 13' spar isn't going to stow very nicely in the boat, so I've been wondering if I could make it in two pieces, yet still be strong enough. Or maybe I can roll up the sail and lash it to the side of the mast when not in use.

  5. #180
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    The heat index has been up over 100ļ every day this week so I haven't had much opportunity to work on the boat in the afternoons. This morning though I managed to test rig the topsail which revealed some more bugs to iron out.



    I built a quick and dirty topmast out of a fir 2x4' ripped down the middle which I eight sided and then rounded over with a random orbital sander and some 40 grit. A loop of stiff line is cow hitched around it and slips over a peg epoxied to the side of the main mast. I'm thinking this will probably become a metal loop wrapped with leather once I determine the right location.

    The sprit got a new beehole in the tip and another cleat added near the heel. The sheet from the topsail's clew goes through the beehole down to the cleat, but maybe a flagpole setup might be better. That way I could clip the sail to it without the risk of losing the tail up through the hole while I'm tying it on.

    There's a few bugs that still need to be worked out though. My CAD drawing must be a bit off because the sheet isn't pulling nearly in line with the mitered seam. The two fixes would be to either raise the topmast or move the beehole down the sprit. I've read overlapping the sails a bit helps with performance, so I'll probably move the beehole. Also I think the peg on the side of the mast might be binding up the sail when letting it out 90ļ.

    Handling the sail is looking promising and I think I'll be able to do it out on the water. I can let everything hang horizontally with the sheet as I roll or unroll it around the topmast. Next week the weather should be better so hopefully I'll be able to test it again.

  6. #181
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Well as it turns out... I'm an idiot. The topsail isn't quite symmetrical along the mitered seam and I had it laced on upside down. I flipped it over and the sheet pulls quite a bit better now. So no need to go drilling more holes in the sprit!

    I also experimented with hoisting the top mast with a halyard instead of trying to hook it on a peg at the top of the main mast. I think this is the way to go, even though I was trying to avoid more lines to deal with. The binding issue seems to be fixed since it lines up behind the main mast now.



    I'm anxious to give it a try, but it looks like this week will be a lot of rain and thunderstorms.
    Last edited by The Jeff; 08-17-2021 at 08:55 AM.

  7. #182
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    I got out on the water over the weekend to give the topsail a try. I found some new bugs to work out, but I really think it's a viable sail for my dinghy. The wind throughout the day was from near calm to maybe 15mph at times judging by the Beaufort scale... it was definitely too much sail at times, but not uncontrollable. I don't really have any hard data on how much it helps but I could feel a difference, especially when I sailed around marshy islands that normally would have really cut my speed down.

    I tried sticking the 15′ topmast under the jib and out over the bow like a bowsprit, but it interferes with how the jib sets. Maybe I can stick it out the back, otherwise I might need to think about making it two pieces.



    To raise the sail I first hove to, tied the sheet onto the clew, and unrolled the sail. In the future Iím going to change this to a clip or something so itís a lot easier.



    Next I tied the halyard onto the topmast with a rolling hitch and slid it up between the sail and sprit.



    Things were going along way too smoothly so the sheet decided to tie itself in a knot around the end of the sprit as the sail flapped away. I managed to poke the knot off with an oar, but then the topmast slipped out and the whole thing turned upside down on the far side of the mainsail. That involved taking everything back down, getting the lines sorted out, and trying again.



    But eventually I got it situated. The mast bows quite a bit more than I was expecting and I later lashed the top mast to the main mast in a better way so it didnít lean back so much. It almost seems like the sail is too big in actual use, but I need to try a stiffer topmast rigged more vertically before cutting the sail down.



    The day's mission was to sail past a traffic camera on the bridge so I could get a blurry look at how it sets!


  8. #183
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Sailing season is over, so now it’s on to the winter improvements! The last major modification I can think of is to remove the hatch on the front of the sternsheets and replace it with a big rectangular one on the top. I’ve had trouble with water seeping through the seal when the boat gets a few inches of water inside which is why I bought an auto bilge pump for my most recent trip to Ocracoke. The larger hatch will also make the space a lot easier to access for storage.

    I jigsawed a hole for a 14.75″ x 10.6″ Seaflo access hatch and stripped back the paint. I had to cut through the central stiffener and unfortunately the 1/4″ plywood is a little too flexible for my liking. It might be ok once the hatch is bolted in place, but I’m going to add a .75″ x 1.5″ stiffener on either side of the hole.




    You know that box of wood scraps we all have that are probably really not worth saving? I found my 6.5″ diameter discs from when I cut the holes for the original inspection hatches! I beveled the edges a bit as a “weld prep” and epoxied it in place with thickened epoxy. Packing tape kept everything flush. I also epoxied the two new stiffeners along either side of the hole.



    While I was epoxying I added some drain holes to the motor well. I used a large Forstner bit and intersected the floor of the well a bit. Then I filled the holes with thickened epoxy and drilled again with a smaller bit. The holes came out right at floor level, so they should drain nicely.



    I tested the glue bond on the piece I cut out for the access hatch and was very pleased to find it took about 5 decent whacks with a 3 pound mini maul before breaking off. This was purely a mechanical bond since both pieces were encapsulated with 3 coats of neat epoxy before later being joined with thickened epoxy. A chemical bond is stronger but it really makes no difference since the plywood failed along the entire joint.


  9. #184
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    The boat project that never ends.. like most of them. :-)
    Thanks for sharing your mods with us Jeff. Good luck with it.

    Gary

  10. #185
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Got the area around the new hatch painted and the hatch installed with butyl tape. The #10 screws on the sides fasten to the new stiffeners I added underneath and on the ends are machine screws through the 1/4″ plywood sternsheets. This will really improve access and keep the bilge water out. I faired the front well enough youíd never know there used to be a hatch there. Someday I might carry the cleat across to make the sleeping platform a little more stable but right now I'm sick of stripping paint and epoxying.



    I epoxied an oak peg onto the top of the mast when I was experimenting with my topsail, but it ended up not working very well. It was too hard to slip a loop of line on the topmast around it, and using it to route a halyard didnít work either. Plus it also tended to mess with the set of the jib halyard turning block.



    I chiseled off most of the peg and sanded the rest smooth. I need to figure out something for the topmast halyard, there might be just enough room for another beehole in the middle.



    The boom jaws have been gouging the mast a bit so I sanded back the varnish so I could epoxy on some 6oz fiberglass. I knew keeping the scraps from fiberglassing the hull would come in useful someday!



    Itís been too cold lately to varnish in the garage, so I set up the mast in the spare bedroom. I put on five coats of Helmsman spar urethane, probably not as good as real spar varnish but Iíll give it a try this season. I canít imagine itíll be a problem for a garage kept boat. The fiberglassed section is a little noticeable, but not too bad.



    Next I'm planning to mount a diaphragm bilge pump and touch up the paint once it gets warmer

  11. #186
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Nice work, Jeff!

    In #182, is that the creepy scary bridge on Rt. 3?
    "George Washington as a boy
    was ignorant of the commonest
    accomplishments of youth.
    He could not even lie."

    -- Mark Twain

  12. #187
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Hah! It is, I cross it twice a day and have always enjoyed going over it. The view is beautiful.

    I scraped the guardrail pulling a 20' trailer with a tractor on it one time when a dump truck took his half in the middle. Managed to squeak through with just a bent stake bracket.

    A few months ago I got stuck when a guy missed the bridge all together. Thankfully he landed in a shallow area and was able to get on the roof of his truck.


  13. #188
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    A few times I've nearly buried the rail while I was trying to bail water out with my Tropicana jug, so I thought a diaphragm pump might be a more sedate way of keeping my feet dry. My first thought was to have some sort of hard mounted plumbing going to either side with a diverter valve so I can select which side to pump. I'd also need check valves on the ends of the pipes to keep water from draining back in. Pumping into the centerboard case seems like a tidy way to do it too.

    Iíd like the pump to be centrally located so I can work it on either tack, but this option looks like itíll take up too much floor space and the plumbing might be awkward.



    Back here on the sternsheets looks pretty convenient, although the handle would need to be lowered to accommodate the sleeping platform. Looks like thereíd be a lot of awkward plumbing and long runs for this option too.



    Underneath the main thwart with the handle just sticking through is high on the list. Itíll be mostly tucked away and the plumbing runs will be short.



    I think Iím leaning towards something like this. The handle should be a little easier to work and itís still out of the way.



    Now that Iíve typed all that out about the bilge pump, Iím wondering if a single flexible hose and check valve would be better. Since Iíd need to lean down to work the diverter valve I might as well just clip the hose onto the frame where the water collects.

  14. #189
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    In other news, I've got my first child arriving the middle of next month! So I imagine my boating plans will be tied up for a while. Anyway, my wife bought a mobile for the crib but it didn't come with anything to hang it. So I ripped a scrap piece of red oak flooring to 3/4" square and steamed it for 45 minutes. Tinfoil seals the pot of water to a scrap piece of aluminum square tubing.



    The oak bent quite easily and I just held the curve until it set with some thick welding gloves. All done after sanding, varnishing, and some custom 3d printed brackets to clamp it to the crib. I rather enjoyed bending the wood, perhaps there's a boat in my future with steamed ribs.



    I got a 3d printer for Christmas and I've found a surprising amount of useful things to print with it. These are the brackets I whipped up to clamp the stick to the crib. Eventually I'd like to build a small metal foundry and cast some bronze parts someday and this would be an easy way to make patterns.


  15. #190
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Congratulations to you and your bride!!!
    ​​♦ During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act
    ♦ The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it
    ♦ If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear
    ♦ George Orwell

  16. #191
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jeff View Post
    In other news, I've got my first child arriving the middle of next month! So I imagine my boating plans will be tied up for a while. Anyway, my wife bought a mobile for the crib but it didn't come with anything to hang it. So I ripped a scrap piece of red oak flooring to 3/4" square and steamed it for 45 minutes. Tinfoil seals the pot of water to a scrap piece of aluminum square tubing.


    Congratulations! My son (and only child) is turning two in the middle of next month An adventure, for sure!

    And, simple but very nice work. I shouldn't think about it, because I have two canoes hanging in the garage, but every so often look at the traditional skin on frame solo canoes that Brian Schulz (Cape Falcon) does -- a sub 20lb boat of any sort just seems kind of incredible.
    Daniel

    Building a Campion Apple 16.

  17. #192
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jeff View Post
    A few times I've nearly buried the rail while I was trying to bail water out with my Tropicana jug...

    Hey Jeff, nice updates. Congrats on starting a family.

    Regarding the pump... Looks big! I use 2 Anderson bailers in my floor. I've tested the Mini and the Large and I only recommend the large, which isn't much larger. The mini popped up in my testing. The large works but only when you're moving along at the upper edge of hull speed. They work great downwind. Good luck!

    https://www.ronstan.us/marine5/produ...rodNo=RA554136

  18. #193
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Thanks, it'll definitely be an adventure! I've kind of been daydreaming about a bigger boat... but that's a bit further down the line.

    Paul, I've been going back and forth on self bailers vs a pump. In the end I decided I didn't like cutting holes in the bottom of the boat, having metal sticking up into the cockpit, and the risk of debris jamming up the gaskets. Plus they're pretty expensive! I figure the pump would be handy in a capsize or rainstorm while camping. I've really enjoyed your progress with the electric motor!

  19. #194
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    I'm a bit late to the party, but CONGRATULATIONS! Kids are wonderful.
    Perhaps you are a better man than I was and are not already wondering ahead to when your kids will be old enough to allow more time on the water. Just in case you ever want to know, I'll share. Our boys loved getting on the water at all ages but needed a dedicated adult wrangler to keep them physically in the boat until about the age of three. After that they can be great company on rowing trips. I have not taken them out dinghy sailing yet but would have done so around the age of four given truly benign conditions. Our limiting factor so far has been water temperature - I want them to enjoy the boat, and not to develop an intense fear of the freezing cold water should we wind up in it.
    But that's all a few years out. You're in for such a treat. Keep us posted!

    James

  20. #195
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Also, the steam bending looks great. You make it look easy!

  21. #196
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Thanks James. And better man? I've been trying to convince my wife I could build some sort of boomkin off the transom that the carseat would clip onto. It'd keep the kid out of the cockpit away from the boom and lines and offer a great view... yet she remains unconvinced.

    But seriously, your posts gave me hope that boating will work with a small child. I'm hoping I can get them used to the boat early on with rowing or trolling motor, then start sailing once we've developed some sea legs. There's a lot of marsh around here worth exploring and thankfully the water is pretty warm in the summer and early fall.

  22. #197
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jeff View Post
    Thanks James. And better man? I've been trying to convince my wife I could build some sort of boomkin off the transom that the carseat would clip onto. It'd keep the kid out of the cockpit away from the boom and lines and offer a great view... yet she remains unconvinced.

    But seriously, your posts gave me hope that boating will work with a small child. I'm hoping I can get them used to the boat early on with rowing or trolling motor, then start sailing once we've developed some sea legs. There's a lot of marsh around here worth exploring and thankfully the water is pretty warm in the summer and early fall.
    From my experience with nieces and nephews starting young, sailing is scary and boring (yes, both). Rowing gets a lot more interest. Flipping the boat upside down and jumping on and off repeatedly seems to be the most popular use for small children.

    Tom
    Ponoszenie konsekwencji!

    www.tompamperin.com

  23. #198
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    From my experience with nieces and nephews starting young, sailing is scary and boring (yes, both). Rowing gets a lot more interest. Flipping the boat upside down and jumping on and off repeatedly seems to be the most popular use for small children.

    Tom

    I dunno. I fell in love with sailing when I was 6 or 7. (A but older than we’re talking about, I guess). The idea of getting somewhere with the wind was just fascinating — and being on, but not in, the water was so nice! Plus I was a lazy kid; canoeing (the main alternative at the time) seemed like so much work.
    Daniel

    Building a Campion Apple 16.

  24. #199
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    I've been super busy with the arrival of my future crew back in April, but everyone is doing well and we're starting to get into the swing of living with a baby... he's sleeping pretty well at night which is a relief! Anyway, I've finally had some time to work on boat things. My wife and I are planning to head up to NJ to visit her family for a while the middle of next month and I'd really like to take the boat along. I've got some ideas for a trip on Barnegate Bay with the guy who helped me with the fiberglassing and his Mayfly 14.



    For a while now I’ve thought the suspension on the trailer was too stiff. It makes thumping noises at the slightest bump and recently while I was towing the bare hull I’m pretty sure the trailer bounced completely off the road! So, I ordered a pair of 500 pound leaf springs and changed them out. Of course my impact driver’s battery had to die right at the end so I scrounged up a worn out hacksaw to cut the U bolt in half. This improvement has really helped and I hardly hear any thumping now. Anyone want some rusty leaf springs of unknown weight and dubious structural integrity?



    I also noticed the fenders had stress fractures radiating out from the mounting holes, so they need to be replaced. Eighty plus bucks for fenders is just ridiculous so I made a pair from some scrap 1/8″ aluminum sheet with my CNC plasma cutter, press brake, and TIG welder.





    I bolted the new ones on with some fender washers and now they’re rigid enough the whole trailer moves if I hit them. I’ll get a buddy to powder coat them the next time I have a batch of metal work ready.



    The solid back really helps stiffen everything up compared to the flimsy sheet metal ones I replaced. So $35 in material, $160 in labor, $100 in powder coating… I guess I saved a grand total of -$215 doing it myself!




    I need to do a bit of work on the underside of the hull so I screwed a 3/8" eye screw into a joist underneath my sunroom. Then I rigged up my set of 3 and 3 blocks I normally use on a deer gambrel to lift the boat off the trailer. I've got to touch up the paint where I went off roading on an Ocracoke Island sandbar last year, and also repair a small dent about the size of a pencil eraser. I'm not sure what caused it, possibly the hook from a ratchet strap. Anyway, there's just enough room under here to work right at the edge of comfortable. I've been thinking of some sort of Roman A-frame crane and a big tree beside my driveway would be pretty handy, although then I wouldn't be out of the weather.

  25. #200
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Glad to see you pampering her!
    For future reference you can remove the bottom leaf to lower the spring rate. The result is a guess but it's an option.
    ​​♦ During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act
    ♦ The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it
    ♦ If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear
    ♦ George Orwell

  26. #201
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Congratulations on the new future crew! It's great to see you back at it already. Keep us posted on your trip.

    - James

  27. #202
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Yeah, congrats on the babe! Jeff, Awesome that you have the metal working skills and tools to complement your wood-working.
    I enjoy seeing all your creativity and home-made solutions.

  28. #203
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Thanks guys!

    I considered removing the lower leaf and have seen it advocated elsewhere, but I'm not entirely sure it's a good idea on 2 leaf springs. It seems to me the lower leaf helps spread out the forces on the main leaf and once it's gone all of the weight will be concentrated on a 1.5" x 1.5" area. Not only that but there's a hole where the bolt tied the two together so I didn't want to risk it.

    James, I've got a few ideas. I'd really like to do a long 30-40 mile trip down Barnegate Bay, or an out and back if I can't line up transportation. We were up there a few weeks ago on the boardwalk and I suggested we walk to the end so I could surreptitiously check out the Belmar Inlet. The weather that day was gorgeous and I'd have no issues sailing out into the Atlantic for a bit, although I don't know where I'd go from there.



    Gary, I've been trying to get better at woodworking, I feel much more comfortable with metal. It rarely cares which way you cut it, grimy fingerprints don't matter, and it seems so much more permanent. But I can't argue with the beauty of a nicely varnished piece of wood!

  29. #204
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    I finally got the boat registered so I can use a motor! I made the trip to the DWR office in Richmond so I could iron out a few questions I had on the application. I plan to take the boat to NJ next month and didn't want to play phone tag and then have the postal service lose my application. It was a pretty painless affair until the clerk went to lunch and I got briefly stuck with Ms. Attitude at window #3. She said someone would be in touch to inspect the boat to make sure it's actually homemade, but that hasn't happened so far and the decals and title showed up in the mail. Hopefully someone realized sending a guy out to the boonies to look at a 15' boat was a waste of taxpayer money.



    I hand painted the letters but they actually aren't all that great when you get looking up close. I first penciled in the outlines from the stencil, then filled them in with three coats of latex paint and a crappy artist brush that's much too small. I later went on a deep Youtube tangent of learning how sign painters actually do it and ended up buying a lettering quill. I plan to give it a try once I gather the right paint and cleaning supplies. I can see this becoming something more if it works well... it might be cool to paint my name and house number on my mailbox. If it doesn't work so well, I'll get a buddy who owns a photography shop to cut me out some letters on his vinyl cutter like most of the other boaters out there.


  30. #205
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    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    My son is now two months old and it's becoming apparent that long daysails aren't going to be happening very frequently if I want to live a happy life via a happy wife. I'm thinking a quiet cruise on some local creeks might be a way we can enjoy the water together and avoid my wife's sea sickness. I've got a British Seagull 40 Plus which I've tried a few times, but it's pretty loud and I can't say I'm thrilled about pumping oil directly into the water. So I've been thinking of an electric trolling motor setup and eventually a solar panel bimini to charge a large LiFePo4 battery. Shade and infinite range sound pretty good to me! It'll be a while before I get around to modern batteries, solar panels, and charge controllers, so for now I'm going to get the propulsion system going with a regular 12 volt battery.



    Here's the control box I came up with. I have a USB charger to charge my phone or VHF radio, an ammeter to keep an eye on the current so I can calculate range, and the speed control knob from the trolling motor itself. The USB charger has a digital voltmeter so I can monitor the battery's charge as well. And a 40 amp fuse up by the battery protects the entire setup.



    Here's most of the components. Since the total circuit is less than 15' long BoatUS says the wire can be 8 gauge. Not shown are some 50 amp quick connectors so I can remove the battery without unscrewing the ring terminals.



    Here's the power cables made up. I probably should wrap them together with something... heat shrink? amalgamating tape? something else? All the terminals are crimped, soldered, and heat shrunk so hopefully that'll help keep out the green death. I also made a cardboard mockup of the control box and found 8" x 5" x 3" is about right. I plan to have power come in the left and out to the motor out the right. The box will sit on the sternsheets while the battery is up by the centerboard for better trim.



    I've had a few offcuts of walnut veneer plywood kicking around for a couple years now from when I built a platform bed. They were just the right size to build a quick and dirty epoxied box! I mitered the corners, put some fillets on the inside, and a few pin nails held everything together while the epoxy set.



    It's a tight squeeze, but I did manage to get all the components mounted to the lid. Next up is to varnish the box and wire everything in. I'm winding down my metal working shop for a while so I can stay at home and take care of my son while my wife works online, so this was a week's worth of work of getting 10-15 minutes here and there. Productivity has certainly plummeted!

  31. #206
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    299

    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Looks like first rate work! I think you’ll find the motor very rewarding. Just yesterday, as I cut the bevels for the second plank in the motorless sail and or boat I’m devoting so much time and energy to, my older son told me confidently but he would prefer a motorboat. Kids!
    My only experience was that the first year after a baby was born was an hard time to get anything done in the workshop. It gets much better. Congratulations again on your new baby!


    – James

  32. #207
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Thanks James! You're right about the lack of shop time. I've taken over the living room floor and coffee table with this trolling motor project and I think my wife is about to kill me. But at least I'm right beside the baby's crib and can get him back to sleep when he wakes himself up.



    Eventually I got all the wires made up and running to where they're supposed to go. I think. I epoxied the speed controller to the lid with a healthy fillet of thickened epoxy all the way around. After it cured I gave it a jiggle and said "that ain't going nowhere" so I'm pretty sure it's on there.



    It's looking like I imagined it would! The speed control knob came out of the trolling motor but I plan to make a pointier, more ergonomic one out of wood and write the numbers in the appropriate spots. Counterclockwise is reverse and clockwise is forward. 0 is when the central post looks like a backwards D.



    Everything works! I found an old battery kicking around and temporarily wired it up with some wire nuts. I ran it for about 5 seconds and saw no trace of any magic smoke... The volt meter works and the ammeter's needle goes in the right direction!



    The ammeter reads about 2 amps in all five speed positions, so hopefully that's just the no load condition and not some problem with the meter. I'm looking forward to doing some speed/amps trials and making improvements to the setup to try and make it more efficient. Maybe a NACA fairing for the shaft and some experiments with model airplane propellors.

    Next I'm going try and repair the box's veneer that chipped out, stain where I rounded the corners into the core plies, and varnish everything. Then figure out the wiring situation with the motor. As for steering, I plan to make a parallel motion linkage from the rudder's tiller over to a short tiller on the motor shaft.

  33. #208
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    299

    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    You might want to take a look at this gem of a thread:

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...Electric-Power

    It's a shame the pictures are down- he did really clean work and quality experimentation. On his recommendation I use these propellers on my trolling motor, which looks a lot like yours.

    https://hobbyking.com/en_us/master-a...-1pc-cw-1.html

    I can say those props they sure feel more efficient underway. My advice would be to buy a few so that you have replacements. I think you'll need to bore them out, which is trivial in that soft plastic. Use a triangular file to cut a notch into them for the shear pin. While you're at it, consider replacing the stock sheer pin with some appropriately-sized copper or brass wire, and make yourself a few replacement pins. My original shear pin rusted out instantly - it was clearly not suited to salt.
    Last spring I botched a launching at very low tide at Tomales bay on a trip with the whole family and couldn't quite work out why the motor felt so irregular and unresponsive. Sure enough, the shear pin had given out right at the very beginning of our short trip. I was able to replace it on the beach with a multi-tool, and we got home just fine.

    Ironically, it's experiences like this that have me so excited for a larger boat that I can row. We are experimenting in opposite directions! I'm glad you're publishing what you're doing.

  34. #209
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Super interesting thread! I tried the Wayback Machine for the images but they weren't cached. The poster logged in in April, so I sent him a PM to hopefully get a picture of his setup. I had a similar thought of mounting the trolling motor in a well, but I don't think the geometry would work on the First Mate unless it was up by the centerboard. And I have no idea how well a motor up there would work.

    Basically, the trolling motor would have two plates attached to the shaft. One that fairs the hull when the motor is dropped down for motoring, and another at the top of the shaft. So when you're done motoring you'd take out the "pod", turn it upside down, drop it back in the well and the top plate would seal the hull. You'd need a rudder to steer, but it should be a really clean setup and the motor would be completely hidden.

    We are experimenting in opposite directions! My wife thinks not having a motor is unsafe now that our son is on the scene, so this is partially a compromise to keep her happy. Plus I just like tinkering.

    Yesterday I cut the motor shaft down to 24″ from the centerline of the propellor to the mounting bracket. I used a pipe cutter which worked great for getting a square cut although the cutting wheel didnít quite make it all the way through due to the pipeís wall thickness so I finished it up carefully with a coping saw. The shaft is 1.125″ in diameter so I heated up a 3/4″ PVC elbow with a torch and smooshed it over the shaft to flare it out. Then a reducer bushing accepts a 1/2″ service entrance gland nut. I used an underground splice kit to connect the wires... the 14ga wires are long enough so both screws clamp. Then I wrapped the area of the splice in two layers of amalgamating tape and then the entire run with friction tape. I'm not sure that's the best way to splice the wires since I don't think you're supposed to use screw terminals on stranded wire, but we'll see what happens. I tell myself I want something easy to remove while I'm still testing.



    I havenít launched Moga yet, so I gave it a try with my canoe. I rigged up a quick and dirty motor bracket from a 2◊4 and a clamp on tiller from a 1◊2. I spent a lot of time cutting grass to save up for this canoe!



    It works! My wife, son, and I took it out for a 2.8 mile trip over nearly an hour. There seems to be a problem with the control switch though... I need to investigate further.



    Speed 1 = 2.2MPH, 12.3V, 6.25A, 76.9W
    Speed 2 = 2.6MPH, 12.2V, 8A, 97.6W
    Speed 3 = 3MPH, 12.1V, 10.75A, 130W
    Speed 4 = 4MPH, 11.8V, 18A, 212.4W
    Speed 5 = same as speed 4

    The speeds are a rough guess from looking at the GPS data. The tide was coming in and I didn't do two direction runs to average together.

    Something is up with speed 4 and 5. There is no difference between the two and I'm not sure which one is top speed. The trolling motor is a 30A model and their literature says speed 5 should draw ~29A. The speed control switch was slightly warm after an hour of usage, but all the wires felt fine. All of the connections are tight.

    The battery is also a little suspect. It's a starting battery that's been kicking around for a long time, so I don't know if the voltage drop is normal or not. The battery does return to 12.6V once the motor is turned off.

    Anyway, more testing required!

  35. #210
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Building a Ross Lillistone First Mate

    Today I took the switch apart to see how it worked on the inside and when I put it back together I had all five speeds. I think what was happening was the sliding contacts were hitting speed 5 when I was still in the 4th position. I did a lot of poking around with an ohmmeter to see which wires are energized at different speeds and I must confess that how the motor works is just as much a mystery as it was yesterday. I know there are "speed coils" to lower the amperage, but I really don't know how you get two different speeds when the same wires have continuity.

    Anyway, I tried the motor on my canoe again and got some better data. I did two runs in each speed to hopefully average out the tide which was coming in. The numbers were pretty consistent with yesterday and I can see that both speed 4 and 5 were top speed.



    I really don't know why I'm only drawing 18 amps when it's a 36lb thrust motor and the specifications say it has a max draw of 29 or 30 amps. I can think of four reasons:

    1. Battery problem. It is a pretty old starting battery.
    2. Wiring problem. None of the wires are getting hot after an hour of use, although the two speed coil wires do get slightly warm. Probably should have upped them since I moved the switch ~3' farther away from the motor.
    3. Ammeter problem? It was pretty cheap so I'll check it with a clamp on meter.
    4. Marketing BS? We've all got a 5hp shop vac that defies physics on a 120v 15a circuit.

    I'm still waiting on my trailer fenders to get powder coated but once they're back I want to launch my sailboat and see how the motor does. I'm planning to take it up to NJ later this month and it'd be nice if I could give the in laws some rides.
    Last edited by The Jeff; 07-13-2022 at 01:25 PM.

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