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Thread: Optimist build My first boat build

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    Boise, ID, USA
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    Default Optimist build My first boat build

    My daughter and husband Live in Coeur d'Alene, ID and have a J24 on Lake Pend Oreille that they sail and race. I have been drafted on occasion to act as ballast mainly. Early this summer they started a non profit Coeur d'Alene Youth Sailing Association to teach kids to sail. The fact that my grandson was 6 and wanting to help sail was some of the motivation to start it. Dan's (my SIL) father had owned and operated a marina in Sandpoint, ID until he sold it to the city a few years ago. Dan did have an Optimist and a Laser in addition to the J24.
    When they formed the association the requirement to participate were a child wanting to sail, a responsible adult, a life jacket, and if possible an Optimist. Dan did find and buy a used optimist in the Seattle area and brought that back to Cda and his brother gave him his Laser so the fleet consists of 2 optimists and 2 lasers and one of the families brought in an optimist for their daughter. This gave them 3 but still left them a little light on boats. My daughter thinks that all she has to do is ask and I will build whatever she asks for. I get a not so subtle FB message directing me to an Optimist plan. I ordered a plan from CABBS and after looking it overtold them they supply the sail and rigging I will build the boat.
    Here goes nothing. I have the strongback built and have started gluing up some of the components and hopefully this will float next spring.

    DSCF2933 (2).jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    se pa (Bristol PA)
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    3,085

    Default Re: Optimist build My first boat build

    Welcome aboard!

    level level and check level on the strong back before during and often as you build they have a tendency to twist when you assume they are stable.
    found a a build blog here.
    http://cabbs.org/cabbs-optimist-construction-photos/
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Hyannis, MA, USA
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    45,666

    Default Re: Optimist build My first boat build

    When I was 16 our yacht club decided to start a kids' sailing program. At the time Optimists were not manufactured but the plans were freely available. I worked with a local shop teacher to crank out what were essentially kits - all panels cut, chine logs, risers, gunnels and all that cut out. All to excellent tolerances. Perhaps things would have gone better had we insisted that the kids be involved in the building. In the event, there was a beer fueled night in which twenty or so dads made all the boats ready for painting. Some worked together, say three dads making three boats. Others worked alone. Some followed the plan exactly. Some were a little sloppy. And some had theories of how to improve something, bottom rocker for example, and found ways to fudge what they wanted without making obvious changes to the panels.

    In those sexual stereotyping days, the moms made sails.

    No two boats were quite alike.

    The sails were.

    But who cares? Community boatbuilding is always good.

    G'luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    PNW, an island west of Seattle
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    1,764

    Default Re: Optimist build My first boat build

    Congratulations, you've taken the first step toward delightful craziness. But you might want to raise that strongback up to a comfortable working height. Your back will thank you.

    Jeff

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    Oriental, NC USA
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    4,705

    Default Re: Optimist build My first boat build

    I built several optimists in the 60's to the original plans from Clark Mills. Easy and great little boats for kids. About 10 years go I built a mold from which about 30 optimists were turned out to the International Optimist Association rules. This was more of a PITA as the rules and tolerances are ridiculous. It seems the IOA frowns on home builders and goes for the very expensive commercially built fiberglass version. Good on you for not getting involved with them.

    If you are using the same building jig that Clark Mills suggested, the building height will be fine and much higher than the photo implies.
    Tom L

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Norwalk CT
    Posts
    985

    Default Re: Optimist build My first boat build

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Congratulations, you've taken the first step toward delightful craziness. But you might want to raise that strongback up to a comfortable working height. Your back will thank you.

    Jeff
    What Jeff said. Work at a comfortable height, build a stool for the kid to stand on. Optis are easy and fun to build and a ton of fun for kids to sail.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
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    15,294

    Default Re: Optimist build My first boat build

    I will light up like a Christmas Tree if my (as yet unconceived)grand daughter ever asks me to make her a boat!
    bruce

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Boise, ID, USA
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    14

    Default Re: Optimist build My first boat build

    I got the Bow, midframe and transom glued up, cutout, legs installed and everything on the strongback. I even got the keelson cutout. fit and installed. It looks pretty good everything is level and straight. Should finish the frame tomorrow and then it's off to Coeur d'Alene for week. One thing about these fram pieces they are making a dent in my warped lumber. I barely had to bend the Keelson to get it to fit.

    DSCF2935.jpgDSCF2938.jpgDSCF2941.jpg

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    Boise, ID, USA
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    Default Re: Optimist build My first boat build

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Congratulations, you've taken the first step toward delightful craziness. But you might want to raise that strongback up to a comfortable working height. Your back will thank you.

    Jeff
    The Frame pieces have legs on them that get everything up to a comfortable height.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Boise, ID, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Optimist build My first boat build

    I built several optimists in the 60's to the original plans from Clark Mills. Easy and great little boats for kids. About 10 years go I built a mold from which about 30 optimists were turned out to the International Optimist Association rules. This was more of a PITA as the rules and tolerances are ridiculous. It seems the IOA frowns on home builders and goes for the very expensive commercially built fiberglass version. Good on you for not getting involved with them.

    If you are using the same building jig that Clark Mills suggested, the building height will be fine and much higher than the photo implies.[/QUOTE]
    When I was searching for info and watching you tubes on Opti's. I printed out the measuring grid and tolerances a 2-3 mm tolerance was way tighter than I was going to build too. The kids don't care, if they get to where they want to race nationally or internationally. The parents can buy one that meets those tolerances.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Boise, ID, USA
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    14

    Default Re: Optimist build My first boat build

    This is the reason for this project. My Grandson and a friend on Lake Coeur d'Alene a couple of weeks ago.


    Opti .jpg

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Boise, ID, USA
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    14

    Default Re: Optimist build My first boat build

    I got all the stringers and frame members glued and screwed except one chine. I had it all clamped down with glue applied and was tightening the last screw when crack it breaks tight at the tightest part of the bend.
    I got it unscrewed and the glue cleaned up. I had cut a spare chine just for that eventuality. I came up with a redneck steam system. I wrapped the wood in towels and poured boiling water on it for about 20 minutes that got the temp up to about 130F. I clamped it a little differently and it pulled in a lot easier than the previous one did. I let it dry a little then drilled and screwed it and left clamps in place. I'll take everything off and glue it up next week when I get back. Once that is done need to cut extra wood down and fair up some things then should be ready to screw and glue the plywood on.

    DSCF2946.jpgDSCF2950.jpg

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    Boise, ID, USA
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    Default Re: Optimist build My first boat build

    A little more progress have the sides and bottom glued and screwed on.

    DSCF2967.jpgDSCF2968.jpgDSCF2969.jpg

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    se pa (Bristol PA)
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    3,085

    Default Re: Optimist build My first boat build

    aromatic cedar?
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    Boise, ID, USA
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    14

    Default Re: Optimist build My first boat build

    Yes, I picked up about 700 BF of this for about $ .50 a BF so I use it for quite a few projects. It's about with maple for hardness, fairly light, good rot resistance and fair strength and looks good. You do have to watch for knots.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Southern Maine
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    20,354

    Default Re: Optimist build My first boat build

    Somewhat down the road, but you used to be able to get Opti "practice" f9or about $100 on eBay. I lookd and could not find them. They are just as good as the class sanctioned sails.

    There is what appears to be an official sail for $115. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Optimist-Cl...0:pf:0&vxp=mtr

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    Boise, ID, USA
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    Default Re: Optimist build My first boat build

    I hadn't looked on ebay yet. There is a ton of sails out there in all different prices from about $170 and up.. My daughter and SIL have a used genoa and his dad has several used sails. I think they are going to cut one of those up and make a sail from that just for the fun of it. I haven't been able to find any 13/4" round stock. I got a clear fir 2x6 that was close to being QS today and ripped that in half and glued it up. I'll cut that into a hex and get the spokeshaves out later on. I should be able to come up with a pretty good mast.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Boise, ID, USA
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    Default Re: Optimist build My first boat build

    I am still working on the optimist. I put the box in for the daggerboard and covered the exterior with fiberglass. I used 6oz cloth and two coat of resin. This will give me some abrasion resistance the beach they pull out on has a lot of small rock 1/4" and smaller. This should give that 1/4" plywood some protection and support when out of the water.

    DSCF2982.jpg
    DSCF2990.jpg

    I also glued up and made the mast round. I glued up the sprit and boom also. I made the boom and sprit out of red oak that came out of the Idaho state museum and I had to scarf a coup0le pieces together to get the length I needed for the sprit. the scarf came out very well you can't see it unless you no where the joints are and even then they are easy to miss. I'm very happy with those first time for scarf joints. The mast was glued up from a doug fir 2x6.
    DSCF2980.jpg

    DSCF2984.jpg
    I drilled an 1 3/4" hole in a piece of scrap and slid down the mast as I used a spokeshave to bring it down to round and correct size. I think it will work.
    DSCF2977.jpg
    And the boom finished all three with spar urethane. That brings me up to date. Working on the rudder, tiller and dagger board. Waiting on SIL to find paint in a color my grandson wants.

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