Pontoons connected

I’ve finished the cross members, figuring 18mm plywood should be plenty strong for the task. I’m not sure how much weight they’d be able to carry, but I feel confident other parts will break before the cross members do.

Connecting the pontoons was pretty straight forward. After some careful measuring, making sure the pontoons where parallel, fitting and gluing the cross membersĀ was easy. All the seems between the hull and cross members have been strengthened with 50mm glass fiber. I thing she looks nice šŸ™‚

The area between the cross members willĀ be decked in. Here I’m adding someĀ blocks to help attach the deck to later on.

Crossmember strength

As my designs show, my plan is to connect the 2 pontoons using 2 box sections and a deck. Below is a detailed design of the box section, showing 3 bulkheads and openings for storage.

Cross member, 200 x 20 x 20 cm

My initial plan was to make the sectionsĀ using 18 mm plywood. That would be plenty strong I think. But it would also be plenty heavy. So I’m considering using 9 mm plywood. Or maybe use 18 mm for the verticals and 9 mm for the horizontals. But can I get away with that?

How much strength do I need?

The pontoons will weigh around 100 kg each when finished. I plan to use them for storage when underway and I will probable have one or two batteries on board. Let’s say the total weight of each pontoon could be anything up to 200 kg.

Total width of the boat, and therefor the box sections, is 2 meters.

In an extreme scenario one pontoon might be in the water and one might be suspended in mid air, for whatever reason. That means each box section need to be able to carry 200 kg / 2 (box sections) = 100 kg as an absolute minimum. To account for dynamic loads, I would like a safety margin of 100%. So each box section needs to be able to carry 200 kg at 2 meters length.

Anyone care to help me calculate / guesstimate the minimum required wall thickness?

Box section, x-ray view showing 3 bulkheads inside

3D catamaran design refinements

Here is the latest iteration of my catamaran design. I’m still not sure what I will do for cabin, but I guess I’ll figure that one out as I go along.

I’ve added some additional braces under theĀ deck (the deck will be 18 mm). I’ll probably add a 45 degree panelĀ from the underside of the deck to the side of the hull to make the entire structure more rigid.

Another change from previous designs is that I moved the front cross member forward, against the front bulkhead. This will increase cabin space dramatically. The net between the bows should make a nice place to sit and enjoy the water šŸ™‚

Holes in the bulkheads

While driving home from work, I was thinking about how to secure stuff stored inside the hulls. What if I have some supplies, batteries and whatnot on board? I don’t want everything sliding back and forth while sailing. I need something to tie stuff to…

So IĀ drilled some 5 cm holes in the bulkheads. This gives me something to attach a line to. Ideally I should also have attachment points along the length of the hull.Ā Not sure how I should go about that. Suggestions are welcome!

She’s upright

This weekend the bottom of the first pontoon was closed and she could be turned upright. Another milestone šŸ™‚

I’ve also started work on the second pontoon. The glued together sides are on the garage floor. Bulkheads are done already, so I should be able to start gluing her together next weekend. It’s going to be a crowded garage.

Next is filleting all the joints. It’s pretty hard to get epoxy thick enough so it doesn’t run. I need to add about 10% filler material, measured by weight (150 g of epoxy needs 15 g of filler). That makes it so thick it’s hard to mix. In the end IĀ kust checked every few hours and smooth out any runners. Not perfect, but good enough for me.

I’ll put injection resin on the inside to make the wood waterproof. I may also paint the inside, haven’t decided on that yet.

Making some sawdust, finally

After lots of thinking and designing, the time has finally come to make some sawdust and see if I can actually make my ideas a reality.

Raw materials, underlayment/Russian softwood

This pile should be enough for both pontoons + parts of the middle deck. I’m not sure what to do with the cabin, so I’ll get wood when I get to that part.

Sides for pontoon 1

Laying out and connecting the planking for the sides of the first pontoon. I made the connection with a simple butt join and glued a piece of plywood on top of the butt. Not the prettiest, but should be plenty strong for what I need.

Making a mess

Sawing the bulkheads sure makes a lot of dust. I cut bulkheads for both pontoons. Hope I got the numbers right Ā šŸ™‚


Just follow the plans…

More bulkheads
I love rounded edges
Reinforced nose

I will round off the edges and add a few layers of glass later. Should do the job. The front section, up to the first bulkhead, will be sealed permanently for make an air tight chamber. I wonder if I should fill it with foam or something else? I will impregnate the wall inside and out with epoxy.

Closing the bottom

That actually went a lot easier than I expected. I dreaded having to adjust the curvature multiple times, but somehow it fit on the first try. Very happy with the results šŸ™‚

…and back to catamaran

Just beforeĀ I started building, I decided (more or less on a whim) to go back to my initial catamaran idea. I really like catamarans.Ā They are inherently stable, don’t need ballast andĀ look good too. So I tweaked my first designs and came up with this:

It’s going to be a sailing cat and it will have some sort of cabin, although I’m not entirely sure howĀ I’m going to shape that.

Some dimensions:

LOA: 4.80 m (15.8 ft)
Beam: 2 m (6.5 ft)
Draft: 15 cm (6 inches)

Added some lee boards

MyĀ hopeĀ is still to get away with the chine runners only. But people who seem to know more about sailing than me (which is basically everyone) regularly suggest I should add something to keep the vessel tracking in a straight line while sailing. Lee boards seem to be the obvious choice.

In my design I’ve added some reinforcements to the hull and something for the boards to pivot on. I’m thinking this could be done even simpler by justĀ using a piece of rope tied to the cabin sides. We’ll see about that when we get there.

Lee boards

The bottom will also have longitudinal runners, also helping to keep the vessel tracking straight.

Bottom view, showing longitudinal runners