Friday, September 18, 2009


First coat of topside paint done. I plan on putting on a second coat tonight.

Interior shot, looking from front to back (rear seat is removed) I plan on painting the interior as well, using the same topside paint as the exterior, but in a "sand" color.


Again, I have a few days of progress to report... After our successful launch, I had to get around to actually finishing everything. I started with a long session with the random orbital sander, smoothing down all the rough spots from the first fairing coat. After that got smoothed out pretty good, I put on a much thinner second coat, limited to the area around the fiberglass joints. After this was set, I ran over everything again with the sander getting the hull and deck nice and smooth. There are still a couple rough spots here and there, but you have to be pretty close to see them. Then finally, I put on the first coat of paint. I started with Rustoleum Wood and Fiberglass Primer, which went on without a hitch. I used a foam roller (cut in half to ~4") for the majority of the hull, and a small brush for the coaming. Last night, I put on the first coat of Rustoleum Topside Paint after giving the primer a quick, light sanding. The boat looks great, I'll try and get a couple new pics up soon.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


The XCR got wet today! Still not faired, sanded, or painted; but who cares! We took a very short trip on Lake Macatawa since we had our kids with, but still had a great time. Sara (almost 3) enjoyed peeking over the edge of the coaming, while David (1) promptly fell asleep:

How this is comfortable, I have no idea...

Because I took a bunch of pictures, here is a little slide show:

Pre-launch Marathon

So, I had given myself a goal of getting the XCR in the water on Labor Day... that didn't quite happen, but not because it wasn't ready to go. Anyway, I have a few days worth of work to report on. I narrowed the tasks down to the minimum necessary to get the boat into the water: getting the trailer finished and roadworthy, installing the seats, and installing the carrying handles.

First the handles. What should have been simple turned into quite a struggle. I found a place that looked good, then drilled holes for the mounting screws through the deck and backing block. I was using machine screws, so I needed to put the nuts and washers on the inside to hold everything together. Since the handles are near the front (and back) of the boat, the nuts and washers are inside the closed off area behind the bulkhead. I had installed a hatch, so I should be able to just reach in there and spin on the nuts right? Wrong. First of all, I peak in there and don't see my bolts... hmm... I figure out that they are not long enough, so off to Menards for some new ones. Back from Menards with new bolts that are plenty long, so I check the fit with the mating nuts. I find out that I ended up with course thread bolts and fine thread nuts. Arrrggghhh!! Off to Meijer this time (Menards in closed by now...) to get the right size nuts. Back home, checked everything again, and it all fits, good. So now to just reach in a thread them on... not quite so easy! I had to squish myself into the narrow front of the boat, and reach through the small hatch all the way to the very front and thread those nuts on blind. After much stretching, wriggling, and sweating, I finally got them on and tightened down. Whew!!

The seats were a lot easier to get installed. I first made 8 aluminum "L" brackets that the seats hang from. Here is one without the holes drilled:

These were mounted to the seats using some more stainless steel machine screws where this time, everything fit the first time! I then used some larger diameter bolts to attach the "L's" to the previously installed seat brackets:

Finally, the trailer... First I put the plywood bedding on. Then I built "bunks" starting with the 2x6's I had previously cut to match the bottom profile of the boat. A couple notches were cut into this part for the U-bolts that held the bunks to the bed of the trailer. Then, I glued and screwed a 1x4 to the top, glued a piece of camping pad to that, and wrapped the whole thing in trailer bunk carpet.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Seat frames

I epoxied and fiberglassed the seat mounting frames in place last night. The frames are made of 1/2" plywood fiberglassed on both sides. Several sets of stainless steel nuts are embedded in the frames to allow for a variety of seat heights and angles. The seats will be held to the frames using aluminum angle brackets and thumb screws.

Also, the trailer is mostly assembled... I still need to put on the plywood decking, mount the bunks, add the tongue extension, and install the wiring and lights:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back upright

Having been a few days since I last posted, I have several days worth of progress to report. After all the bottom fiberglass and other reinforcements were added and faired, I applied a couple coats of epoxy / graphite mixture. This mix has been shown to be a very durable and low friction bottom finish. You can read about some others's experiences here and here. I ended up doing the application with two rather thick coats, instead of 3 light coats. Here are some pictures:

We had some unseasonable cool weather here in Michigan (mid 60s during the day, 40s at night) so I ended up putting a little heater "inside" the boat to make sure the epoxy cured nice and hard:

Final appearance after 2 coats:

After letting everything cure for a day, I cut some simple shallow "V" blocks (that will eventually be used on the trailer), called over a couple friends, and flipped the boat upright again. Here is my wife trying it out: