Building a Frolic2 – Part Five

by Robert Jacobs - Fresno, California - USA

The plan is to install the leeboard bracket, main mast step, and mizzen mast step/partners, and rudder hardware while the deck paint dries. Actually, every finishing detail not related to the decks can be finished at this time.

Read   Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5

Part 5?! What? This is part 5, and the dang thing ain’t even done, yet? Geez.

Truth be told, I really have been working hard, but there comes a point in every build that progress just seems to slow to a crawl, and that is finishing. Now, I don’t mean completion, because that’s a different thing.

I mean finishing. Like paint. And paint prep. And details. Ahem.

Geez, y’all, but at some point this here snowball backfired. Good gravy, how did this project become such a long, drawn out excursion? Well, I’ll tell you.

I started out with the intention of whipping this thing together and being on to the next thing. This was to be a quick and dirty place filler of a boat to use while I built my DREAM camp cruiser. All along, I was harboring a dirty secret, but I think the boat knew.

It wasn’t until sometime around the glass prep stage that I really fell hard. Really. The crawling around and poking and scraping and sanding eventually got to me. There was a moment when I decided that THIS was my dream boat.

Now, to be clear, I didn’t suddenly start doing a better job, because the work has been the best of my ability from the get go, but I started doing a better job, you know? I started being much more fussy and careful than I normally would have been. This, for example, will be the first boat I’ve built in this style with no glass tapes or edges visible anywhere. Which is NOT to say the boat is smooth, but you can’t see any cloth reinforcements. On the outside. Ahem.

The bow and stern watertight compartments will not have their tapes dressed too crazily, for example. Nothing is going in there, so who cares if THOSE tape seams are visible. Those compartments are being primed now, by the by, while the boat is still upside down. It is nothing at all to slide under there, pop up “inside” the boat, and paint the underside of the deck framing. Not much more, at all, to paint the rest of the compartment, too, while you’re already there.

The ends will be primed well, then given a few coats of light colored deck paint. They will be finished and ready to go as soon as the hull paint is dry, cured, and ready to flip.


I use house paint on my boats. I have ever since Pete Culler told me too. You can argue with him about it.

My preferred type of paint is Porch and Floor, because it is tougher than wall paint. Now, we have been using water based stuff out here in the Golden State for a long while, and though it stymies my painter’s brain, the water based stuff holds up. I have a skiff with a 10 year old paint job in my yard right now. Porch paint over glassed plywood.

Here’s the thing, though. Just like epoxy, paint CURES, it doesn’t “just” dry. Epoxy that’s hard to the touch isn’t necessarily cured, and neither is paint. Paint needs a good week or two, as much as a month to really cure. Really.

In the same way “dry” but not fully cured epoxy is easier to work than fully cured, paint is more easily damaged in the Dry, But Not Yet Fully Cured Stage. This is the stage that the paint gums up your sandpaper and can be easily scratched off.

And, so, as I hop around the boat, from spot to spot, “Chasing The Cure”, the paint is getting finished. Slowly. Ahem. However, once the boat is flipped, almost the entire thing will be finish painted. The cockpit seats, the decks, and the cabin tops will need to be installed, glassed, and painted, but that will be it.

The plan is to install the leeboard bracket, main mast step, and mizzen mast step/partners, and rudder hardware while the deck paint dries. Actually, every finishing detail not related to the decks can be finished at this time.

Meanwhile, back in reality. The boat has received several coats of hull paint, so far, and it looks better than we hoped. I hope. My good friend, who is a sailor, told me it would be easy to spot when I flipped it. It is nice to have friends, eh? Otherwise we wouldn’t have anyone to say such dreadful, hilarious things to us.

Aside from the painting, which takes a while, as I explained, there has been real building, too. Well. I have gotten the cabin sides and coamings sheathed with a layer of four ounce glass, solely to stave off checking. Guess who has two thumbs and hates four ounce glass? This guy! Hehehe.

Seriously, it was easy as pie, despite the daunting nature of laying glass on a vertical surface with borders. Seriously. Here’s the deal.

I made a paper template by stretching heavy brown paper along the boat and securing it with stick pins. Then I traced along the inner edges of the stringers with a pencil. I removed the paper, cut just inside the lines with scissors and test fit. Not only did they fit, they matched sides! Whoo-hoo! There is a space in the middle of both cabin sides that will be deadlights, so they get no glass. Yea! Again, this glass is not structural, but simply to keep my beloved fir from checking so. It will get very little resin, and the weave filled with high build primer.

Once the patterns were cut, some four ounce glass was rolled out (right there on the hull’s bottom. And you thought flat bottom boats were stupid… hehe), and the patterns traced onto it and cut out. Horrible, ghastly business, and I won’t sugar coat it. Working with epoxy and glass is as awful as it is glorious.

Not really. I used a few tricks, and the job went quickly and simply. First, I laid the glass pieces out, and then rolled them gently, so I could lay down an end in wet resin, and roll out the rest. Then I laid the glass on a piece of plastic sheet, and saturated the first few inches with epoxy using a chip brush. The bristles were cut way down, both to prevent excess absorption of epoxy, and provide a firmer, yet still gentle tool to apply epoxy and smooth cloth.

Once the end of the cloth was wetted out, it was simple to place the wet end in place on the hull side and stick it down with a little pressure. After the first little bit was stuck, the cloth was simply saturated and rolled out some more in little steps until I reached the end. The coaming was longer than the cloth was wide, and I wanted to cut the pieces across the cloth to minimize waste. The joint was made by using the selvedge edges abutting. Whee!

Now, as I said, these pieces are just being adhered with epoxy, not filled, so the trick was to get a good “stick” and but have any “float” or any sags or drips. Not at all hard to do with this light weight cloth, which saturates easily and takes relatively little resin.

The cloth stuck down has a fairly rough texture, but the dimples were easily filled with a high build primer, which should be plenty strong enough for an area of the hull nothing should ever bang against, ever. Ahem.

And the foils.

Well, the foils got to foiling. Foiling isn’t all that fun, really. Well, let me explain the foils for this boat. See, first were the plywood foils, built to plan, and abandoned because of questionable wood in one of the internal plies expose in the shaping process. Plywood is no fun to shape, y’all. Either dull your edge tools, or burn through pads on the wood eraser.

The new foils ain’t been all that fun because they are laminated with wood glued up in all manner of which ways in order to help prevent, hopefully, warping in the board area. The problem with that is when you want to cut the shape into the board you have essentially created the gnarliest grain structure possible for yourself. Yea, tear outs! The saving grace of the plain wood foils is their reaction to the wood eraser.

Well. The foils ain’t nothing I haven’t already made, for this very boat, so I won’t go on any more except to say they are NACA-esque (Kafka-esque, too, I wonder?) and they look nice, so far. The leeboard is a bit further along than the rudder blade, but they are both coming along nicely.

Which reminds me. I MAY convert the rudder to a downhaul rather than use a weight. May. Which, of course, means may not. I’m unsure. I think a downhaul will provide a better rudder blade. I’ve always had weighted blades, and I have never had problems, but if I can eliminate hanging weight and maintain functionality, I’d like to. I’m not sure why. I just think a lighter rudder assembly would be better than a heavier one, provided equal performance.

I’ll have the spars and the foils and the oars and a pump ready soon, and some pictures of it happening. I’ll bundle all THAT tripe into a bunch of nonsense runons, such as this on here, and then I’ll slap on a few pictures, so the world wide web will believe it really happened. The internet made us all from Missouri, eh?

Anyhow, I’m out to foil around, maybe spar my boat a little today. Oar, maybe I’ll work on the pump. I could use a lift. Ahem.


  1. Thank you, Gary.
    There are days I feel the anxiety of not being done yet, and then others when I understand how life flows. I surely can’t wait to use her, though. Gods willing, mayhaps in company with Oracle, one day…
    The slight delays in my finishing, mostly due to the vagaries of life, have actually put me in a much better position for when I do launch her.
    For example, since “The Delays” started, I’ve met a fellow who has a place I can leave the boat for stretches of time, right on the water. No tow = more fun. Hehe.
    I have also met, during the interim, a new sailing buddy.
    Really. A very talented sailor, and a goofy goober like me. We’re going to have fun in the Lark. Shhhh. Don’t say it too loudly, but that’s what she’s to be called. Lark.
    All that said, I sure do want to be DONE! I wanna go sailing. Hehe.


    P.S. Funny, the orange, eh? Orange and blue are compliments, you know? 😉

  2. I have been using HD Baer semi gloss exterior on my boats for a few years. On my dineky sole it lasts for a few years of shoe scuffing on sand and shells. I like your hint to try porch paint. This fall I will be cruising both HD and L paint sections.

  3. Oooh, don’t tell anyone you’re following my advice. It might earn you one of those jackets where the sleeves meet in the back. 🙂
    The most Golden paint score, by the by, is the “mis-tint”. Lurk early and lurk often. A 9$ gallon of paint is the perfect color, for me. 🙂


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