I Fell in Love (cont'd)

I took a large sheet of cardboard, attached to the aft section of hull at the butt joint, and bent the cardboard around the "U". It is well to run the cardboard past center line. By adjusting up and down the contact on the "U", a proper slope of the upper fantail is established. It cannot be too sharp as the material must bend around the lower corner of the transom. I did remove a tapered piece of the hull bottom, about 1/4 by 4 inches at the transom. This helped a great deal in easing the curve.

I established the lower line of the fantail by placing the inner cut out piece of the "U" inside the cardboard against the lower edge of the transom allowing it to fall against the slope of the cardboard to establish the line on the cardboard for the lower part of the fantail. The cardboard pattern was trimmed, leaving about 1 1/2 inch extra on all edges for final trim of the plywood once it is in place. A left and a right pair were cut from 1/4 inch plywood. It is best to layout the kerf lines to make them even. About 3/4 in. at the top to about 1/2 in. at the bottom. These lines should be perpendicular to the top curve. You are making a cone shape, not a cylinder. Be sure to use a sharp plywood blade and support the plywood on a flat table as you cut the kerfs.

The aft section of hull was removed from the butt block (that is why it was screwed in place) and the new section of hull/fantail was set in place, stitched with copper wire to the transom, and bent around the "U". It took two men, some clamps and a rope to bring the curve into place. The bottom of the fantail is laid out using the inner cut-out of the "U" as a pattern. All is stitched and glued together. Be sure to fill the kerf cuts with epoxy paste or fairing material and glassed over. After coving and fiber glassing the seams inside, the extra width of the fantail sections can be trimmed.

I used a pneumatic stapler (1/4 by 7/8) to join much of the plywood. The staples can be removed or ground off. It makes for a very fast way to clamp. I used 5 minute epoxy on many of the joints, spread the epoxy and popped in a few staples. All the cut out pieces were first coated with penetrating epoxy. This made gluing, coving, fairing, and painting much easier. I used carbon fiber fabric and epoxy on all joints. More expensive than fiberglass, but easier to sand, and no itch!

The fantail bulwark is laid out much the same way as the fantail, only this time you have two "U's" to bend to. The upper "U" is cut from the well used "inner cutout". The "U" is blocked at the correct height and the cardboard pattern is bent around the two "U's" starting from the butt joint in the bulwark. Again, use your eye to establish a pleasing line.

I kept a log of my time and found that I could not make as good time as Kevin Brown, about the same with two men working as with his one. However, as I studied my log, I realized that it took more time to build the fantail than to build the rest of the hull. A great deal of thinking time goes into custom work.

I built the pilot house with a forward angle to the windows. I used the Tubby Tug basic plans, but of course all the dimensions and angles were different. Much trial and error was involved. (Emphasis on the "error")

I added a vertical block at the aft end of the fore deck at the pilot house, then opened the bulkhead at that point to add a drain scupper. The forward bulkhead was cut open for my big feet, and a ceiling was added above to make a water tight compartment which I use as an anchor chain locker.

The rope molding in the bulwark looks good, but is VERY labor intensive!

The steering mechanics was the most time consuming part of this project. I tried 4 different systems before I got the steering to work. In the new fantail hull, I added two fore and aft bulk heads 6 inches apart. This is the width needed to drop in (if I ever wanted to) a small gas outboard motor through a cut out in the bottom. I made a 2 inch cut out between the bulkheads so the electric trolling motor could swing up through the fan tail. This all worked well and good, but I could not make a mechanical connection that both steered and swung. However, this would work if a remote steering system was used like in Bill Hodgdon's design.

I finally created a cavity the size of the motor in the bottom of the fan tail. I built a telescoping system for the vertical tube of the motor, thus eliminating the swing up action. Then added a quadrant to the telescoping system. The quadrant is adjusted with a set screw. Now the set screw can be eased off and the motor can be lifted into the cavity, and locked in place for trailering. Steering is by a traditional drum and cable on the quadrant with a wooden steering wheel in the pilot house.

When I started building HERCULES my wife asked me why I wanted to build yet again another boat, as I have two already. Simple answer: "It puts a grin on my face."