Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ships log

Boat position: N38* 57' 46.03"  W84* 14' 45.13"

Nautical miles traveled: .0006583

Engine hours: 0

Captains state of mind: Hmm?

What's this all about you ask? The reason there is a small percentage of nautical miles traveled is because the boat moved. The reason the boat moved is because it's sitting on the axles that will move her to THE LAUNCH SITE. The reason I moved the boat is because I could.

The move of the boat represented about two feet forward, then two feet back. It was a pretty easy thing to with a little nudge from my skid loader providing the power.

Getting the boat on the axles was a pretty straight forward job that consumed some hours. The first thing I did was reinforce the bow section of the building cradle. Since the aft section of the boat was getting lifted the highest, I decided to jack up this end first, and then do the bow. I was afraid the lifting cradle on the bow would not handle the shifting, forward push of the load, so I added some bracing to the cradle. The next step was to build cribbing using concrete blocks on the port and starboard side of the boat to catch it if something bad happened. I knew it would not twist off of the jack since it was supported by the bow cradle, but if the bow cradle failed, and it dropped down on to the cribbing I had under the bow, it could roll off of the jack, hence the cribbing on the sides.  I used a 30 ton bottle jack under the keel and a frame member to jack the boat up. I also placed cribbing along side the jack in case the jack failed.

The boat  went up off of the jack stands smoothly, and without any hiccups.  I was pretty pumped to see it separate from the building cradle, and slow was the speed I chose to operate at. I would lift if a couple inches, then stop and take a walk around to see how it was behaving on the bow building cradle. Once it was high enough, I would add some wood blocks to the temporary side cribbing to keep the distance to the hull close, then lift it some more. I guess it took about an hour and a half to lift it the 14" I needed to get the axle under the keel. Most of the time was me checking things out and going outside the barn to chain saw more wood blocking as she got higher.

Being able to jack this boat up from one point gives some testament to how stout she's built.  

I had the axle under the boat before I started to lift her, so once she was high enough, I rolled the axle to the final position the squared the axle to the hull. Since I still had the cradle strong back in place, and since the hull was built square to the strong back, I just measured off of the strong back and positioned the axle off of that. Because the rear axle is so wide, the cradle strong back prevented me from  putting two of the four wheels on the axle while the strong back was in place. Once the axle was in position, I torch cut some of the strong back away, and put the two outer wheels on the axles. With all four wheels on the axle, I lowered the hull on to axle. I was amazed at how much the axle started to deflect, but due to me reinforcing the tube, the deflection was minimal. Once the load was fully on the axle, I lightened the load a bit and fabricated the stanchions that will prevent the boat from tipping off the axle. To pad the hull from the stanchions, I cut up pieces of rubber mud flaps and put them between the hull and the stanchion pads. Once the stanchions were in place, I lowered the hull on the axle and moved my operation forward.

Placing the hull down on the forward axle was much easier and went pretty quick. I just had to jack the hull off of the forward cradle, cut the cradle and strong back away, then roll the steering axle in place. I took a few measurements, and made sure the steering axle was parallel to the rear axle, placed some two inch blocks on the I beam cross members I had made for the steering axle, and lowered the hull on to the steering axle. The only hiccup I had doing this was when I was putting the hull on blocks so I could move the jack, two of the concrete blocks broke, and I had to replace them. The loud popping of the block made me jump a bit, but it worked out OK. As I placed the full load of the hull on to the steering axle, I quickly realized the tires are not beefy enough. If I tried to haul the boat with those tires and as much as the tires have bulged, the tires would quickly heat up and blow out. A blow out would be sure to happen even at the slow speed I'm going to be traveling at. I kept more of the load on the keel blocks, and a call to my tire guy assured me I could replace the 10 ply tire with some larger 24 ply tires that would make the trip. I'll deal with replacing the tires in a week or so.

The hull is now about 18" out of level so very little work will be done up there until she gets to THE LAUNCH SITE. There are a few little jobs I need to get finished before I haul her out of her nice cozy barn, but my main focus will be  getting the super structure ready to install. Now that she's on the axles, I measured her down the road height at 14' 5". This height is lower than I had originally thought it would be, and that's a good thing as wires should be of little issue. I will clear the highway overpass by more than a foot and a half, so for right now all is good.

Now that the hull is on the axles, and I have the cradle removed from the shop, I am moving on with getting the super structure put together. The panels are already built, and now that I have the cradle steel available to me, I'll put together a gantry and get on with some more building. The building part of this type of project is fun, with all the devil in the details. I'm not going to make any promises, but this next part of the build should go pretty fast.



  1. Boy! That took some big hairy b*lls! :-)

    I've seen a lot of boats & ships moved in and out of the water over the years. We moved a 2000 tonne icebreaker onto a marine railway with a single D8 Cat dozer. It's amazing how you can move such big pieces of equipment with a little knowledge and skill. Oh yeah, and the right equipment.

    I'm gonna steal a few of those ideas if you don't mind.

    Nice work Conall!


  2. Yehaa! - feels great when you pass another real milestone - nicely done. Look forward to seeing the pilothouse done & matched up to the hull.


  3. Just a few more milestones to go Norm: The trip to the launch site, being able to see the whole boat as one piece, and launch. I'm ready

  4. Nice job Conall! I guess she is in the "amphibious" stage of her development now...


  5. She won't be needing a wheelie bar . Thanks Peter.

  6. “Being able to jack this boat up from one point gives some testament to how stout she's built.” It does look promising! Forming the hull of a boat is an essential part, whereas, it would serve as the watertight body of a ship or a boat. It is waterproofed by applying tar or pitch. I’m excited to read about your update by the time she gets to be in the launch site already!

    Mark Brown

  7. You’re almost done with your boat! Are you the only person working on it? I really admire your skills, and I believe that you will be able to build a sturdy boat that will last a lifetime! It’s been months, how is it now?

    -Paulina Kimberly