Preparing Site for 34' Woods Catamaran

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by mariobrothers88, Nov 19, 2020.

  1. mariobrothers88
    Joined: Sep 2020
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    Location: San Diego, CA

    mariobrothers88 Junior Member

    Hi guys I am preparing the site to build a 34' woods catamaran. I currently have a raw parcel of land. I plan to level the dirt, put a layer of gravel, level the gravel, cover the gravel with a tarp, and then build the wood strongback out of 2"x6" lumber. Does that sound like a good plan? Any other suggestions to prepare the site?

    Also the site is currently uncovered with no roof. We don't get much rain here, but we should get some rainy days in the next several months I'm sure. I was thinking of just covering the structure with a tarp whenever there is rain in the forecast, but maybe it would be prudent to build a more permanent structure to prevent rain from causing issues. What do you guys think? If I were to build a structure, what would you guys recommend for the roofing material to keep out the rain? I'm looking for something low cost and quick to build like putting together some 2x4's and maybe some cheap plastic roof panels from home depot?

    Thanks for all the help everyone!
     
  2. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    tarpaulins that don't transmit light (and heat) through them would be a good idea in a hot summer, but your winter is coming, and it might be welcome ! I prefer those silver poly tarps (aluminium impregnated plastic ?) for reflectance. Set up some poles and ropes and pegs, and away you go.
     
  3. missinginaction
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    In southern California you'll have no snow loads to deal with but wind may be an issue. Over the years I've perfected (by trial and error) a good cover that provides shelter, protection and has proven durable. You mention 34' LOA but not width or beam or height. The width and height may be a challenge on a cat. Briefly I'll describe the cover I use that has proven durable in winds as high as 60 MPH. You'll need to adjust the numbers for your boat's dimensions.

    1. It's an "A" frame type structure. Boat covered is 28' LOA with a 10.5' beam. Boat height, on the cradle is 13'.
    2. I use 2 WHITE tarps. 10 mil. Grommets spaced 18". Tarps are overlapped. I could use a single tarp but two smaller tarps are easier to handle, lighter. I use 3/8" commercial grade bungee cord (available at Amazon in 300' spools). Cord is 3' long. Making my own cords saves me a lot of money. You can use "hog rings" to crimp the ends of the cords onto the hooked ends. Using stiffer commercial grade cords keeps the grommets from tearing out and helps your tarps last longer. I get 3 years out of a tarp.
    3. My A-Frame is built out of pressure treated framing lumber. The two ends use a 4x4x8 as the horizontal base and a pair of 2x4x16 uprights. Add a couple of 2x4x10's to form the sides of the "A" and a brace to keep the frame from shifting fore and aft. You'll also need at least 3 supports between the ends of the A-frame structure to hold up the ridge beam. The ridge beam is just 2x4 stock of an appropriate length. I make the beam longer than the boat so the tarps don't hang over the ends and tear. Find some 1.5" ID steel or aluminum channel to reinforce the seams in the ridge beam. This will add a lot of strength to the beam and it needs to be strong. Also, use a 3/4" round over bit on the top of the beam and cover the beam with some scrap carpet. The tarps will "work" on that beam and the rounded, carpeted top will greatly reduce wear.
    4. Orient the frame so that the strongest winds you typically get blow through the tarp rather than against it.
    5. After the frame is up cover it and use simple 12" tent stakes and the cord you made to stretch the tarp tight. We get periodic wind storms here. I've found that a few spiral or auger type tarp anchors used at the 4 corners of the tarps help to hold everything in place. I also install three rope tie downs over the top of the completed tarps to help keep the entire assembly down in the event that winds get under the frame and try to lift it. Wind is extremely powerful.

    This may sound like a lot of work but you'll be spending a lot of time under those tarps. You'll be happy you spent the time to build a solid structure.

    Good Luck,

    MIA
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2020
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  4. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    fallguy Senior Member

    I am building a Wood's cat and spent 4k on a hoop tent.

    For your strongback, you need to drive posts into the ground. Things moving is a real pita. For a 34' boat with say 12 station jigs, I would put a minimum of 4 posts on 2 sides of the strongback or 8 posts. They can be the sledgehammer type if the ground isn't too rocky. If you have really rocky ground, buy some big giant nails and drive 8 of them into blocking you can screw to...

    I can't stand having strongbacks move. Mine were tapconned to the cincrete.

    Sunlight is a great enemy of epoxy. It degrades it rapidly. And it speeds cure rates dramatically. Rain slows projects down as you can't sheath, fair, or paint under any cjance of rain. You won't need a tent to start, but you might want it after the boat is full width.
     

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  5. mariobrothers88
    Joined: Sep 2020
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    Location: San Diego, CA

    mariobrothers88 Junior Member

  6. Blueknarr
    Joined: Aug 2017
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    Blueknarr Senior Member

    At $120 get two or three
     
  7. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    You need a tent to cover the entire rig.
     
  8. missinginaction
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    You can try the Harbor Freight tent. It might work, but I doubt it. But for a while, maybe. Anchor it really well, if you do try it. It took me seven years to do the work I needed to do on my boat. Over those years I had at least four instances where high winds literally blew apart various structures that I had built. In order to protect the boat I had to go down and reconstruct the cover. Each time I looked at the damage and did my best to build a better cover for the next storm. Eventually I came to the cover I described in my earlier post. It has held up well for three years now and in over 60 MPH winds.

    BTW, when most of the damage was done over the years there was a substantial storage shed located right next to my boat. The peak of it's roof was at least 25 feet tall. I thought I was well protected. It didn't turn out that way. I can't speak for the weather in San Diego but we get high winds here from time to time. I've developed a healthy respect for the power of the wind.

    Good Luck,

    MIA
     
  9. mariobrothers88
    Joined: Sep 2020
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    Location: San Diego, CA

    mariobrothers88 Junior Member

    Thank you so much for the really detailed response, I really appreciate it! However, I am having a tough time visualizing exactly how you built the A-frame, you wouldn't happen to have a photo you can share would you? Thanks so much!

     
  10. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    I think you need to build something if you have concrete walls there.

    Anchor the sill plates with tapcons to the wall tops.

    Maybe make some wood trusses from 2x4s. Put them on say 4' centers. Make sure the trusses are smoothly sanded round at the joins and have no shards of wood or staples to tear plastic. Sheet it with white plastic 6mil. Get the plastic big enough to cover end to end. Build a long 2x4 and staple the plastic one edge to the plastic and lift and pull it over one windless evening or morning. Use 3 ropes. Close it fully, but leave some vents for heat to escape and a door. Staples and batten boards the plastic edges. If you don't close it well. Wind comes inside and will lift it off.

    Spend the money on the tent and not the concrete floor.

    I will look for the tent brand tomorrow. Some Chinese thing. But how big is your concret walls onside? A tent might be hard to fit in or over them.
     
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  11. missinginaction
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    Let's see if I can find a picture.....

    IMG_20200926_113418369.jpg IMG_20200926_113347346.jpg
     
  12. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    good looking shed, but his beam on the flica is maybe 18 feet; add some walking room and he needs 22 feet wide bottom and high sheer sides; long story short; he cannot a frame
     
  13. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    You might be right fallguy, I was wondering about how wide he'd need it. I'll post a few more photos of a frame I set up ten years ago when I was in the middle of the build. This one worked pretty well with the wind but the snow and ice played havoc with it because the "roof" had little pitch. The OP won't have the ice issue in San Diego.

    I found that the trick was to get tarps that extended down to within 3 or 4 feet of the ground. This kept wind from getting under the tarps and lifting them up. good anchoring is key.

    Geez, ten years ago......I'm getting old.....

    pearl photo's 10-2010 031.JPG View attachment 162548 pearl photo's 10-2010 033.JPG
     

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  14. mariobrothers88
    Joined: Sep 2020
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    Location: San Diego, CA

    mariobrothers88 Junior Member

    Thanks for all the input guys, it's greatly appreciated!

    Two of the walls are 15' tall, the other wall is the side of the house which is over 20' tall (see attached photo). I was thinking of buying the car canopy tents from harbor freight and reinforcing the steel poles by attaching them to the concrete wall or attaching them to 2x4s. However they are only 9.5' tall, which might be an issue. They also sell more durable canopies that are a bit taller at harbor freight, like 11.5'.
     

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