Caledonia Yawl – Chapter 7: Gunwales and motor well

The mast, yard and boom are ready for finishing. The centerboard is shaped and the lead insert is poured. The rudder trunk is assembled, the rudder blade is shaped, and the tiller is ready for finishing. The side benches and thwart knees are fitted, the motor well is finished, and the areas under the fwd and aft compartments are ready for paint. The keel shoe has been fitted, as have the bilge runners and their half-oval bands. The rudder hardware has been cast, and is almost ready to install.

Brass half oval and shoe

Brass half oval and shoe

The brass shoe is 1/4″ thick. It provides then best possible protection to the keel and skeg, which is perfect for beaching and trailering. The stems are protected with half-oval brass which is also 1/4″ thick.

Bilge runner

Bilge runner

The bilge runners have 3/16″ half-oval over their entire length. The fitting of this metal is labor-intensive, with all the rolling bevels and compound angles, but the protection makes it all worthwhile. It also adds about 35 lbs way down low on the boat.

Attaching the gunwale

Attaching the gunwale

The gunwale (guard) is built up of two layers, which combined with the three inwale layers, makes for a very stiff sheer. Add in the laminated frame (currently gluing up), and the bulkheads, and you have one very rigid hull. This is particularly nice on a rig which relies on shroud tension to keep the forestay tight.

Gluing on the gunwale

Gluing on the gunwale

We complicate the gunwale a bit by having it taper in height and width as it approaches the ends of the boat. If the gunwale is a constant cross-section it will appear to grow towards the ends of the boat. The hard way looks much better, and once you realize this, there really is no other way to do the job right.

Making the pattern for the motor well

Making the pattern for the motor well

The motor wells take a bit of thought. We considered making the cutout in the hull as small as possible, but that would require ensuring that the propeller was in the vertical position when installing or removing the motor and that didn’t seem like a good idea in a panic situation. So a pattern for the cutout was made which allows the prop to be in any position.

Determining the location of the motor well

Determining the location of the motor well

The diameter of the prop and length of the lower unit requires that the well be a few inches larger than Iain drew. The well is as small as is possible, with about 1/2″ of clearance from the cutout to the well sides. The cutout was made as close to the keelson as practical.

Cutting out the motor well

Cutting out the motor well

Cutting out the well opening is a bit tense. The cutout is used as a plug when the motor is removed for sailing, so the saw cut needs to be accurate.

The completed motor well

The completed motor well

The edge of the cutout is vulnerable, so we epoxy on a layer of Dynel fabric to beef it up.

The motor in the motor well (before enclosing it)

The motor in the motor well (before enclosing it)

The motor fits well. I’ll need to raise the fwd edge of the well up an inch or so to get plenty of clearance between the aft deck and the bottom of the powerhead. No big deal and it will look nice, too. The long shaft gives plenty of clearance between the prop and the hull. The short shaft may have worked, but this removes all doubt.

The motor fit through the cut out

The motor fit through the cut out

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