Hercules in Stitch and glue - Continued

The superstructure is once again stitch-and-glue, coring 1/4" ply, and covering the sides with vertical mahogany outside and yellow cedar inside in 1/8" laminations. Bright finish as with the hull. The decks and cabin tops are laminated the same way, but longitudinal narrow yellow cedar strakes, for contrast with the mahogany. The main salon was pushed out on the sides to allow only a 6" wide walkway on the side deck, but much more space in the berth space and galley. This meant I had to use a foam-cored laminated cabin top for the main salon to allow only 2" crown in 6 ft. This makes the top more usable as a sunning space. All the windows are auto safety glass, bronze tinted, and set in stainless/nylon track with mahogany framing. The doors are the same construction as the cabin sides.

The interior is all yellow cedar above the sheer, red cedar below the sheer, with mahogany floors and white painted interior ceilings. With that much wood, it is necessary for brightness.

The cockpit has seats both sides with seat backs and tops of yellow cedar. The seat back is a little low, so I'm considering a taffrail, but am undecided.

The engine, a 32 hp Isuzu diesel, will go in in the near future. To insure this will not damage the interior, we are installing a 2 ft. x 3 ft hatch in the pilothouse roof, so the engine can be dropped straight down on the beds. The tanks are build in of plywood, fiberglass, and epoxy. I used some of the increase in displacement to increase the tankage to 50 gal. per side. Nice to have for a long trip, and can be left empty for short hauls.

I suppose you could come up with a harder way to build a Hercules, but it would take some trying. I think it is worth it, since I'll only have about 2000 man-hours in her, and I'm all jigged up for the next one. She is so striking, and the lines so classic, that I believe simply showing her at a wooden boat show should bring me some business. On the next I'll hire some help and probably not finish bright, unless the customer is as crazy as me.

I really believe this concept of using the mold frames to form cedar/epoxy plywood to shape allows a dimension for building that has not been much explored. Complex curves are almost mandatory in the semi-displacement speed range, yet the superior hard chine hull is seldom used because round bilge hulls are easier to mold in wood/epoxy. The additional time involved the way I did it is not great, the weight savings is very considerable, and the cost is almost the same. Also, I believe the maintenance costs on a stitch-and-glue hull will be less. Maybe not so crazy at all. Certainly plywood stitch-and-glue, with it's restriction only to convex curves, takes away a lot of the designer's freedom to innovate.

One last item. On the topsides of the Hercules, the joint at lower sheer line need only be a joint in those areas back aft and far forward where the angle becomes significant. In between I simply planked straight across with the double diagonals. In the area of inflection, I used a 6 " 6 oz. tape along the joint between all layers and on the inside. No loss of strength and no permanent framing.

I am away from home at present, but will send pictures of some of these significant items ASAP. Hope all of this is of interest to you, and I'd appreciate any comments you have. Tell Glen I won't forget to send him the fee for design on any sales we have. And I will consult on any shorter versions, (22 ft., 20 ft, 18 ft.) we may have a request for. I recognize that same hull in a number of your shorter designs.


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