Sea Sled madness. It’s in my brain.

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by DogCavalry, Nov 11, 2019.

  1. DogCavalry
    Joined: Sep 2019
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    Location: Vancouver bc

    DogCavalry Senior Member

    As many kind folks who tried to save me know, I’m going to build a Hickman Sea Sled. I appreciate you trying Mr Efficiency, but there’s only one cure, and it’s not “more cowbell”. (SNL Blue Oyster Cult reference)

    I settled on 25’ loa, for a reason that no longer matters. Back in 1991, when I first read about them in the Sept/October issue of Woodenboat, I was working on a carvel 47’ Colin Archer double ender lifeboat ketch. I was in Acadia Nova Scotia where part of my family has lived for 400 years, and another part of my family has lived for about 12000 years. And I wanted to go fishing in the Bay of Fundy. I could get a hand-lining license for a small fee, provided I fished with only a hand line, and my boat was no bigger than 25’. And they shut down most of the Atlantic fisheries that winter, to give the cod a chance to recover. (Spoiler: they didn’t.)

    So I moved to Vancouver, built houses, raised a child, wrote a novel. Now I’m 54, and if I’m going to have that Sea Sled, it’s time to start.

    Transom, with the opening for the outboard well.
     

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    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
  2. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Do you have plans, or are you building "by eye"?
     
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  3. DogCavalry
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    DogCavalry Senior Member

    There are no plans to be had. Hundreds of hours of research, then tradition lofting on the walls, with long splines.
     
  4. DogCavalry
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    DogCavalry Senior Member

    I'd loft on the floor, but my knees aren't up to it.
     
  5. BlueBell
    Joined: May 2017
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    Location: Victoria BC Canada

    BlueBell Ahhhhh...

    Yahhh, another boat build!
     
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  6. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Go for it!
    That is some impressive laminating on your transom - it looks like a work of art.
    We shall all very much enjoy following your progress on here.
     
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  7. DogCavalry
    Joined: Sep 2019
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    Location: Vancouver bc

    DogCavalry Senior Member

    I'm using scsntlings from Dave Gerr's Elements of Boat Strength. Fairly conservative, I think, but the sea sled form is quite tolerant of extra weight.
     
  8. BlueBell
    Joined: May 2017
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    Location: Victoria BC Canada

    BlueBell Ahhhhh...

    I built my transom on my 25' ( 10' beam ) houseboat the same way but with vertical 2x4's and 3/4" ply on each side, glassed outside only.

    Looks like a great start DCavalry! What's next?
     
  9. DogCavalry
    Joined: Sep 2019
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    Location: Vancouver bc

    DogCavalry Senior Member

    Permanent bulkheads, then temporary OSB sections. I'm going to build proper engine beds under the floors, for the future.

    Your transom is massive Bluebell. Adequate strength for sure. I'm limited to depth of attachment points for outboards. 57mm plus heavy glass layup inside and out.
    I was hoping to use the back balcony, so to speak, as a large outboard well, but that opening is huge and low. I'd be swamped three times a day. Proper outboard well it is.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
  10. DCockey
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    Location: Midcoast Maine

    DCockey Senior Member

    What glue?
     
  11. DogCavalry
    Joined: Sep 2019
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    Location: Vancouver bc

    DogCavalry Senior Member

    PL premium within the structure, and silvertip epoxy for the composite layup.

    Lots of ceramic coated screws.
     
  12. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Will the boat be used in salt water? If so any experience with ceramic coated screws exposed to salt water?
     
  13. DogCavalry
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    DogCavalry Senior Member

    It will be in the Pacific, mostly between the mainland and Vancouver Island.

    If salt water touches those screws, that will be the least of my problems.

    But I don't think I'd risk them if it wasn't going to be saturated in epoxy. That being said, they are rated for permanent outdoor use in ACQ lumber, which is a monstrously corrosive environment. But a chip in the ceramic coating exposes regular steel. Not a good substitute for stainless or bronze or monel.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
  14. DogCavalry
    Joined: Sep 2019
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    DogCavalry Senior Member

    Hickman’s original sleds were very narrow by modern standards: not surprising considering he first patented them around 1914. So my 25’ boat (7.62m for the rest of the world) would be 6’ or 1.83m wide. I wanted more beam, at least 8’, and I’ve agonized over the difference for 28 years.
    A few months back I read Dave Gerr’s excellent articles in Boatbuilder Magazine, where he discusses first the history of sleds, then in a follow up article a few years later, a number of sleds that were built, inspired by the first article. The most interesting, to me, were the sleds built by Marcus Lee, of Leecraft design in Sitka Alaska. Those boats were all around my ideal size, and varied in beam from 8’4” to 11’4” on 25’ loa. I was, as the youngsters say, pretty stoked. The article was almost 20 years old, but I called the number given in the Leecraft ad, and Marcus answered. He’s built a fair number of sleds since Dave Gerr wrote about him. Now he’s retired. But like any good Dad, he was glad to talk about his kids.

    So my sled will be 25’ by 10’. I’m not afraid to make her wider, but I’m a carpenter with a disabled child. Money is, and always will be, tight, and that’s okay. I called in a favour and got the use of a good shed until next September, but it’s only 14’ wide, with a 10’ door. Fortunately I’m only 6’4” tall, and 230#, or the next 10 months would be claustrophobic.

    Hammer time
    John out
     

  15. DogCavalry
    Joined: Sep 2019
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    Location: Vancouver bc

    DogCavalry Senior Member

    The first sleds were fast as hell, and so directionally stable it was, at the time, considered almost impossible to broach them. The flip side of the coin was that they were resistant to changing direction, like when the pilot wanted to steer. And the sharp bottom chine would dig in, occasionally tripping the boat. So Hickman invented the non-tripping chine - after inventing the surface piercing propellor, then the inverted V Hull. In 1931 he invented the prop riding 3 point hydroplane, more than a decade before Arno Arpel’s specious claim to it, but that’s another different wild eyed rant.

    Hickman’s non-tripping chine is the subject of my thread Buttocks. Ad Hoc included a link to one of his later patents which illustrated it perfectly. In short, Hickman kept the parallel slab side of his boat, and cut off the bottom chine starting at the bow and growing towards the transom. By the transom, the beam was almost half chine. I didn’t like that, so my chine is completely parallel from bow to transom. The angle of the chine is similar to those of a 1952 Jackson designed sled that PAR thought well of. It has a warped plane effect in its deadrise, but each is only 10% of the beam, so I don’t anticipate any trouble there.

    J
     
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