With the holiday season upon us, we want to clue the world in on what we are thankful for: Family, friends, and the beautiful 65-foot Anna that is coming to life on the framing floor at Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding. Last week, we got a serious holiday treat. We stopped down to see how she was coming together, answer questions, and explain to the craftsman who actually build our boats what we were after. We took some pictures and some notes. And put them all together into a holiday designer’s photo album for Anna. What we hope — knock on cold-molded, hand-laid mahogany — will be our best boat ever.
This is the keelson—the internal longitudinal structure that runs down the centerline of the boat’s bottom. It’s a big chunk of wood—60 feet long, 3 feet wide, 6 inches thick—made up of a whole bunch of small pieces. Each one of the seven layers is edge-glued to width and scarf-glued to length, then stacked up in place on the upside-down frames and then glued together to match the curve of the yacht’s backbone. It’s then lifted off by an electric beam crane for easier beveling, shaping and coating. Next step: It’ll be glued and bolted to the frames, stem and transom.
Fairing the Frames:
Here the crew working the final fairing on the laminated frames and longitudinal members. The frames are laminated to the “lofted” shapes we provide in full-size mylar patterns printed from our 3D computer model. The crew gets exact shapes and bevel angles, so the frames are properly shaped and beveled. Then they coat the frames with epoxy before being “legged up” with temporary lumber supports and erected in the proper place to form the hull’s framework. The longitudinals, like the sheer clamp at lower part of photo and the keelson above, are laminated over the framework and fitted in later after being cleaned and shaped. The whole structure needs a few licks of hand planing to get the bevels just right before the strip planking gets applied. That’s what these guys are doing with the aid of long wooden battens. The amount they’re taking off is about a sixteenth of an inch at most—the computer loftings are that good.
We’re looking up through the framework at the bilge of the boat. This is where the keelson will land when glued in place. We like to use the right material for the right job: Wood is great for most of the boat, but in high-load areas it’s better to use a higher-modulus material. Where the ballast keel bolts on and the mast lands, we blend wood with composite materials. Look for the dark green sheet near the top. It is a composite fiberglass sheet that was machine-cut to fit with each laminated frame and the intercostal wood blocking. Together they form an egg-crate-style grid in the bottom of the boat to distribute loads from the rig, the keel, and the load if Anna grounds out. (It is awful to consider. But we do have to plan for it.) In way of ballast, the frames have been widened by gluing on cheekpieces on each side of the laminated frames. The keelbolts pass right up through these frames and will be bonded in place in oversize holes with epoxy resin. Expect much more on that story in the future.
Here’s our own Paul Waring doing a little quality control. Even the best shops can use a fresh set of eyes to make sure the tricky parts are just right. We’re near the stern in this photo. You can just see the transom in the lower right corner. Paul is standing in front of a bulkhead that is at the aft end of the cockpit. It is watertight, with no limber holes, to serve as a collision bulkhead. Again, it’s awful to consider, but we do have to plan for the worst case. The sea will find any weakness.
Finally, here’s the cockpit being molded not of wood but of low-tech fiberglass. Even in high-end wooden boats, we prefer fiberglass for cockpits because it’s a place where lots of intricate corners come together. And making these corners watertight and durable is best done with fiberglass. We can mold in gutters for truly waterproof cockpit locker hatches. (That is what the guy in the blue shirt is doing.) Both men are working on the first, outer skin of glass and vinylester resin that is going down over a throw-away mold built of construction-grade sheet material. Over this will go foam core of different densities depending on loads. Just to put that in context a bit: the upper rudder bearing is mounted in the cockpit sole. And there is lots of load there! That is followed by the inner glass skin, again tailored according to the loading each area will see.