WARNING: WEAR PROTECTIVE GEAR AT ALL TIMES. GLOVES, BOOTS, AND WHEN PAINTING A GAS MASK. DO NOT TRY TO SAIL THIS ON THE SEA OR IN DEEP WATER WITHOUT A LIFE VEST. This boat is made for calmer water, and rough waves may shred the boat.
DO NOT sail if you cant swim!
Hi guys, I'm publishing yet a new instructable of something made last May (2011) Its the project i did right after the Gondorian armor you can view at This link
Its something that was born out of desire for sailing and being on water. Buying a boat would be extremely costly, so i ended up saying "How hard can it be?"
This is in a way less tedious (chainmaille) to make than the armour. However it required a totaly different level of ingenuity because of the the various problems arising from things such as sail rigidity, and water-proofing (those things can can be easily done, but can they easily be done with a lack of tools and on the cheap?) among others you may encounter yourself.
This time i moved out of my room into the garage to build this, partly because my room was too small and because it created a lot of chaos.
The amount of tools required here is surprisingly low. I had a saw, a drill and a measuring tape (as well as painting tools and protective gear and pliers etc the usual small tools) The boat was built entirely from my head (I drew stuff down of course) without any marine knowledge of any sorts when i began (google searches quickly remedied that) The only thing i knew how to do was sail a boat. The rest came as i went.
Most boats cost in the thousands of dollars to buy, and sail boats can cost in the tens of thousands (of course depending on size and materials, you will pay more for a boat made from mahogany compared to a boat made from a cheaper wood). I am offering you an instructable that lets you make a boat that is perfectly water worthy, for under 500$ (That excludes the cost of tools if you don't have them, and DOES NOT mean 499$, it means somewhere under 500$ depending on where you live) However there is a down side to this instructable. Once again, this was done a while ago, and at that time i had little knowledge of instructables and didn't think to take photos of every step. I did go down to my garage yesterday to take as many productive photos as i could to benefit the audience here.
Speaking of going down to my garage, (this was built 1.5 years ago) when i uncovered the boat it was in the same state as it was when i initially finished it in May of 2011, so this design is pretty durable as well.
This will not be as cheap as other stuff on instructables, however its well worth it if you live near a constant body of water (By constant i mean something that doesn't fluctuate with tide, as that will mess up your timetable, and may leave you stuck in the mud)
You must view this instructable from a different point of view. Its Cheap for boats. Its like buying a 10$ coke can, thats way expensive for Coke cans. However, a 10c Coke can would be cheap. It all depends on perspective.
I understand not everyone uses the metric system, so i will convert as many values as possible into the imperial system (inches, lbs feet)
Reasons for why i made this:
Step 1: Safety (common sense)
All right guys. Before we begin (and i know i have already stated this at the start) Please wear protective gear. As my warning at the start of this instructable may not be enough, i will outline in more detail what exactly i mean.
You will be handling tools that spin at high Rpm as well as sharp objects. You will also be working with some solvents, so pleasework in well ventilated areas. Take extreme care and dont rush your work. When sailing the boat take aproptiate safety measures and try not to sail in the winter as it is a bit cold.
Please read the following.
Step 2: Boat terminology and how basic sailing works.
Terminology and parts of the boat.
Ok guys, you need to know this before we begin. I googled most of this as i went along building the boat. Ill try to summarize as much as i can.
Relate to pictures to see what i mean. The picture below with the 2D boat is well labeled and should be easy to read. Ill give simple translations below to what isnt clear or may be obscure.
Main sail: Gives primary power to the boat
Mast: Holds the sails
Rudder: Steers the boat:
Boom: Holds the main sail in a firmer shape (not completely firm, that comes later)
Hull: The main "armor" of the boat, something that needs to be waterproof, hydrodynamic and durable.
You do not have a centreboard, instead you have side pontoons (the centreboard acts as a counter balance when the boat rocks from side to side as the wind blows into the sail)
Tiller= The stick that turns the rudder.
The shroud and other stuff i don't mention are irrelevant to the construction of this boat.
How basic sailing works (and boats in general)
Boats float because the surface of the boat pushes against the water. The larger the surface area, the larger the force that pushes up your boat is. A boat that floats is one that has a larger force of upthrust, and a smaller overall weight (This is why metal boats can float, metal usually sinks, but that is because of the small surface area (and volume) it has.
Stuff floats because of density, If something is more dense, it will sink through the less dense stuff (thats why oil floats on water, because it is less dense) However finding out the density of your boats hull is a bit impractical (you need to know the weight that acts upon the hull, including the hulls own weight, and yourself)
We will be using buoyancy to find out if the boat floats. To do this Find out the volume of the boats hull in cubic metres(use pythagoras and trigonometry to measure out the triangle, then make some educated guesses and estimate the size of the tip of the boat, which is more difficult to measure) Use tape measures and protractors to find that stuff out.
Water has a density of 1000kg/m^3 (62.48 lbs/ft^3) Now, all you have to do is Multiply the volume of the object (Your boat) by the density of the fluid. The result will be the mass of fluid displaced, and the weight of that fluid is the buoyancy of the object. If that force is smaller than the weight of the object (you and the boat) You will sink. Remember to keep the units the same when multiplying, else you will get a very strange result.
The result i got allowed me to bring 276kg (608lbs) of weight onto the boat (This includes the boats own weight) Your looking for something that allows you to bring about 3 times your own weight upon the boat, considering your boat will weigh in at around 50kg or more, you want a margin of error for calculation mistakes and stuff like that. So, 3 times your weight should be pretty safe for sailing.
Step 3: Materials and tools.
Materials you will need
Most of this can be acquired at hardware stores : In the US Home Depot, in the UK B&Q
BRING A SNOW SHOVEL. THAT IS BECAUSE IF THERE IS NO WIND, YOU MUST ROW YOUR BOAT.
Step 4: Making the frame (skeleton) of the boat.
The Frame of the Boat
The skeleton of the boat is the most important part of the build. I made a slight error here due to inexperience, but quickly found a solution to it later in the build. The error was that i made the bottom of the boat pointed and not flat, something you do when you have a heavy fin on the bottom of the boat, which i had no way of making. The way you should do it (but i won't explain since i haven't done it) is make the bottom of the boat flat.
As every person has a preference, you can make the links as you wish, i will just give you guidelines on how I've done it myself.
Note: When connecting wood together, make sure the joint is flat on flat. And when making these connections, add wood glue into the joint, and then screw it together. This makes it even stronger.
Begin by cutting your wooden beams (Check the photos in the materials step for what wooden beams look like) and line up, end to end, 3 together and then overlap 3 more, side by side so that you can screw them together into one big length of wood. Screw them together with screws (Screw them in with the drill) You now have a fat piece of wood. Make it about 2.5 meters to 3 meters long (8.2-9.8 feet). This is the keel of the boat and has to be the sturdiest part of the boat. Add more wooden beams on the side to reinforce it if needed. Cut of any excess (this means bits that don't match together at the ends) and keep it for later.
After the keel is done, make some equilateral triangles out of the wood beams (refer to photo) but don't screw the triangles together yet. Once you have the triangles, make the top side, about 20-40cm (7.8-15.8 inches) longer than the other 2 parts. This long part will be the top face of your boat (That part that faces the sky) Screw the triangles together and then screw them to the bottom (The thick beam/keel) of the boat.
After the triangles are screwed in, add wooden beams to the top to connect all the triangles on all their corners (The bottom beam connects one corner, you gota do the other 2) Once that is done, you should have something looking like a toblerone bar.
Now pick one end to be the tip of the boat (the Bow) Add lengths of wood to each corner of the final triangle and link them so that the wooden beams meet at level with the deck of the boat (check the pictures) The length of wood coming from the bottom of the boat (keel) should be the longest of the three.
Add wooden beams halfway down the frame of the boat so that the hull of the boat can be screwed on to it.
Once you are sure everything is completely secured and sturdy, only then do you move to the next step.
Step 5: Making the mast installation.
Show All 8 Items
The Mast and its attachments.
About one thirds into the boat from the tip. Add another beam so that there is a small gap near the place where the triangle mets the keel. This is where your mast will be secured.
Get your aluminum bar, the fat one. And then screw it into one thirds of a way from the tip of the boat (approximately) Secure it into the bottom of one of the Triangles with threaded rods and nuts. It should be held in place as tight as possible to the bottom of the boat, so that the mast does not break from the boat structure (check photos for reference)
After this aluminum bar is installed, you have your mast socket. This allows you to remove the mast from the boat and park the boat in a garage (check photos)
Now take your wooden rail, and sculpt the bottom 20-40cm (7.8-15.8in) of it so that it fits into the aluminum bar (this depends on the aluminum bar you have). Then stick it in. Now drill 2 holes 10cm apart into the aluminum bar AND into the wooden bar at the same time. The hole should fit a 12mm threaded rod. Stick your threaded rods in and secure them with nuts. Add a loop headed screw to the tip of the mast. This is for the wire.
Now, i have frankly no idea how to explain this next step to you, but i will give you a photo that shows you what i mean. I invented a piece out of some metal shackles and a bar of aluminum that i modeled in my forge.
The piece i invented is called, a gooseneck. It holds the boom to the mast. If you can buy one great. What i did was bolt in a shackle into the mast (the wooden mast structure) and then drill a hole through a metal bar. I take this bar and round off the corners with a file then jam it into a thinner (about 15mm) aluminum bar that is about 1.5-2m (2-6.5 feet) long (depending on your sail). This becomes the boom mast, and when removed folds nicely onto the mast saving space and also folds the sail up quite nicely. After that, you just put the shackle pin through the hole in the bad, and viola, you have a boom mast. This shackle should be bolted into the wooden mast 20-40 cm (7.8-15.8in) above where your aluminum mast socket ends and it meets the wooden mast. THis is so that the boom is high enough for you to have some head space (you still need to duck tho when you move the boom)
Step 6: Making the hull.
Making a hull (With an addition that i am working on now)
Get your cardboard drywall, and cut pieces that fit the walls of the boat. Then simply screw them one like you would screw drywall to a building frame. Do this to 2 of the boat sides (The ones touching the water, not the deck). The drywall should be able to bend and flex so you can shape it around the tip of the boat easily.
Now, take your wood glue or paste. Its a thick paste that hardens to something similar to skate board wheel rubber and sticks very well to glue. Use it to fill every existing gap between any piece of wood and drywall you can find on the boat. On the inside and the outside. This will be your first barrier against water, and it has to be the strongest one as well. ADD A LOT OF THIS GLUE TO BE SAFE.
After the hull is done. Flip the boat so that the deck faces the roof, and cut out table tops, or wooden planks to make the deck. Make the deck a bit lower (Check the photos for what lower means) than the skeleton of the boat so that you have a space to sit in.
Wood glue up the top of the boat as well. Drill a small hole in the deck of the boat so that air pressure changes can happen so that your hull is not pressurized when put into the water.
Now, im about to explain something i found out very recently (2-3 weeks ago). This involves making the hull MUCH stronger than what it is now. This addition is under the form of Fiber glass. I would like to state the following before you read further (Look at the thing below)
If you want do to do this step, google it properly and get well informed. I am just giving you an idea to open up your options.
Fiberglass is like a cloth, but becomes super strong when you paint it over with fiberglass resin. It is also completely waterproof and what pro race boats use. I havent done this method, but i am telling you anyway because you may want to do this if you are taking the boat to sea.
Do the above steps, but instead of moving onto the next step "Making the Sail" continue by putting the cloth onto the cardboard drywall, and paint it over with resin. Do this outside. DO NOT do this inside because the fumes are absolutely horrible. Use a gas mask as well.
Step 7: Making the sail and the sail supports.
The sail configuration
This is so difficult to explain, i will probably ask you to use the photos as reference a lot.
This is where i had to go quite far out of the box and use some strange unconventional methods to reach the goal required (a sail that doesnt flop around) The problem was that the sail would droop under its own weight because it was so huge. To get it firm, i had to plant some sort of stick into the sail, like the wings on a birdhave small bones to support the membrane. I eventually came up with a way that allowed me to do it for nearly nothing. This way involves sticking plexi glass strips into the sail to keep it proped up.
However, the sail needed to bend and flex around the mast, which was fixed. This had to happen without the strips of plastic breaking, so i added a secondary "Mobile" mast into the sail that had the sole role of holding the plastic strips. This piece of wood had to be as close to the orignal mast as possible because it had to use the mast as support so that it wouldn't bend forward.
Begin by cutting your curtain into a right angled triangle. After you have your triangle (it has to be as long and tall so that it fits the triangle created by the mast and boom) Cut strips of curtain and then sew them onto the curtain "X" distance apart from the bottom of the sail. The pockets should be a bit wider than 5cm (2in). Refer to pictures to see what i mean. These pockets should match up with the marks you made earlier in this step.
Do the same for the front sail (but without pockets or marks) , however this should be an irregular triangle that has its longest side (Hypotenuse) From the tip of the boat to the top of the mast The wire supporting the front sail should run through the hypotenuse.. The other 2 sides should meet near the deck of the boat (refer to picture of me sailing in water)
To attach the Main sail to the mast, you must create a tight loop at the end of the sail. Wrap the last 20cm of the sail around the mast, and mark the point where the sail closes in on itself. this is where you have to sew using a sewing machine the seam of the sail so that you can slip it onto the mast like a sock. It should slide on easily without difficulty.
To attach it to the boom mast, screw in looped bolts into the boom at regular intervals, and just sew on strips of fabric onto the mast, then tie this fabric into the loop. This allows you to wrap up the mast when you want to pack it up as well as making the joint flexible.
To attach the front sail, you must run a wire from the tip of the mast, through your font sail (same sock method as with the main sail) and then tie the end of the wire to the tip of the boat.
Now where i mark on the sail in the photo (Photo with tag labeled "install here") you must add a thin piece of wood. In this piece of wood you will cut some holes for thin strips of plexi-glass to enter. These thin channels in the wood must be exactly where the marks on the mast are or where the pockets on the sail meet the mast. The channels must be about 0.5cm wider than the strips of plastic you cut above. To install the piece of wood, simply place it as close to the mast, then drape a piece of cloth over it. Hand sew the cloth into the sail so that it stays there when you move it. Remove the wooden piece from the sail and properly sew the cloth added on a sewing machine.
The reason this piece of wood does not connect to the mast is because the sail must be able to turn, however, the mast can not turn. If the mast can not turn, the plastic bits you cut earlier will snap and become useless.
On the wooden strip you just installed, measure about 20-50cm (7.8-19.7in) upwards form the gooseneck. Mark this distance and consider it as "X". Keep marking upwards this exact distance until you hit the top of the mast. You should have about 5-9 marks on your mast, no more no less. If you have less or more, change the value of "X".
After your sail is done, cut strips of plexi glass using a hacksaw. These strips should be 4.5cm wide at the most, and as long as the pocket you are making them for. (Reffer to pictures again) Once those are done, make 3 more identical ones, and stick them together with their corresponding partner (That is if your plexiglass is thinner than 2cm thick) Once that is done, duct tape each individual set of these plastic strips. This helps them flex better and if the plastic breaks (which it will) It will not affect the structure of the sail because the duct tape will hold it all together (YAY duct tape)
Stick the plexi glass into the main sail, and hold the mast upright and see if the sail droops or not.
Step 8: Making the rudder.
This is easy, add a threaded rod into the back of the boat from the deck sticking upwards. Oton this threaded rod will go your rudder
Atatch any flat hard object to any stick you can find that is sturdy. Then drill a hole into that stick and place it over the threaded rod. You now have a rudder.
Step 9: Side pontoons.
The Pontoons (balance)
This is slightly tricky. You need this because it helps with boat stability a lot when the wind is a bit stronger. This is one of the things i spent time thinking about and came up with while reading a magazine on the loo (The best place for ideas :) ) The trouble that i had was keeping the boat upright while the wind was blowing into the sail (This creating an unbalanced force pushing the boat sideways)
The solution would normally be a counterbalance keel. This is VERY difficult to make because of the water that needs to be sealed out, while making the keel removable. The REAL solution was adding side pontoons, simple and very cheap alternatives that are removable and easy to install.
Measure about 50cm from the back of the boat and mark the side of the boat (on both sides) Then measure about 80cm to a meter in front of your mark and mark that place again on both sides of the boat. This is where you will drill a 12mm hole into the body of your boat (The skeleton) and will glue in using epoxy 12mm threaded rods which will ultimately hold the frame of the pontoons.
Now, get 4 lengths of wood that you used for the frame of the boat. 2 will go on each side. Connect 2 together to produce 2 long lengths of wood. These should measure about 4 meters in length each. Now, connect them in the ends and produce a very long rectangle shape. Now, measure out the spaces on that rectangle where your threaded rods will screw in. Measure so that the rectangle spans equal lengths on each side of the boat.
Bolt in your rectangle.
Now, you will need some 16mm threaded rods. Go to the ends of your rectangle (the bits paralel to the boat hull) and drill 16mm holes into the ends, drill 2 holes on each side. The holes should be close to the corners of the rectangle shape. Bolt your threaded 16mm rods into these holes. You should have bolts on both sides of the frame (this is because the bolts should be adjustable)
You now must get your huge styrofoam blocks and cut them using a knife (or as i did, a modified solder gun that would hot wire through the styrofoam) Cut them so that they are about 50-1m longer than the shortest length of the rectangle, but not longer than the boat itself. Once you are happy with your shapes, stick them together (If they are too thin) and then drill 16mm holes through the styrofoam.
Bolt the 16mm bolts into the styrofoam and fill the excess holes with styrofoam glue. Shape the Styrofoam pontoons to have a sort of a bow (Sharp tip to cut the water) Once everything is dry, Screw the entire thing onto your boat. It should NOT move when screwed in properly. Use washers if you need extra force.
Calibrating pontoons for your weight.
Your pontoons should be screwed into the wood rectangle frame via 16mm threaded rods that are adjustable. Adjust these by screwing the Bolts that hold them into the frame tighter or more loose. Move the pontoons up and down on each side, so that the boat is completely straight. Get a bottle of water and put it on the boat, if the bubble is in the middle of the bottle, its straight. There is a tool (spirit level) specifically made for this, but using a bottle is more fun, and doesn't require you to pay for an extra tool that you'll use only once (by all means use it if you already purchased it for a previous project)
Once the boat is straight, move the pontoons (On both sides) up by about 20-30cm, which is 7.8-11.8in) this is because your boat will sink into the water a bit because of weight and force the pontoons into the water. Pontoons will not sink into the water because they are made of styrofoam, which is SUPER floatable. If you do not adjust the height for the sinking, it will rip your structure appart and you will have a bad day.
The pontoons shouldn't really be in the water. they just need to rest on top of the water, and take any sway produced by the wind. They are solely there for balance.
I weighed at the time (and still do) around 75kg. You may be a different weight, and the 20-30cm (7.8-11.8in) adjustment may not be accurate for you. This is why you should get the boat into the water on shore and fine adjust the pontoons on each side (do this by counting how many times you must turn the nuts on the rods 360 degrees)
Step 10: Paint Job and lacquer.
Painting and laquer.
WARNING: WEAR A GAS MASK AND WORK OUTSIDE. STRONG FUMES MAY CAUSE DIZZINESS AND NAUSEA, AS WELL AS RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS
Do not do this if you are using the Fiberglass option in the "Making the Hull" step.
This takes a while because of the long dry time of oil paint. This is why its best to do this in a warm environment. Firstly, flip the boat upside down. And support it on something.
Now, put plastic sheets on the floor to protect the floor from paint and other hazards.
Begin by giving the boat 2 coats of Blue paint. Let each coat dry before the next one goes on. Also, On any coat of paint, sand with 300 grit sand paper to remove the gloss so that the next layer can stick on nicely.
Now, give the boat 3 layers of blue paint. Let this dry completely, and then wait another 3 days. This is because lacquer has a strong solvent inside and may destroy the paint job if it is even slightly wet.
Once all of the above steps are completed you are then going to start the most important step of all. Lacquering the boat. This protects the hull, as well as making it completely water proof. Lacquer dries fast, so this wont take as long as paint.
Add around 5 coats to be safe. Wait before each coat is dry, sand, and then stick the next one on. Dry lacquer is when you touch it, it is not tacky at all.
Once that is done, your boat is almost finished.
Step 11: Rigging.
This part is easy.
Tie 2 ropes to the end of the boom, and then tie 2 ropes to the corner of the front sail by sewing on a loop hole made from fabric.
The ropes at the end of the boom must stay relatively taut and should first pass under an object (The frame of the boat that sticks through the middle, or a bolt that holds the pontoons) to act as a pulley so that the string is taut at all times which pulls the boom down and further stretches the sail and gives it a larger surface area.
There , rigging is done. Read on to find out how to use this rigging to control the boat. The next step gives you a brief lesson on how to sail a boat.
Basically, all you need to do is pull the sails towards you, or let the wind pull it away from you by loosening your grip on the sail.
Step 12: How to sail the boat.
Sailing instructions (basic)
Now, i will give you an absolute crash course on sailing in this instructable.
WARNING: Do not take me as a sailing professor. I STRONGLY advise you go to a sailing instructor and properly learn how to sail on a liscenced boat. This is just for fun and for sailing on a small lake if you are a complete beginner.
As i wrote in the first pages about sailing terminology, you have a front sail and a main sail. The main sail does the moving, and the front sail does the turning. Thats how it basically works. There is more to all this, but for now, this is whats its like.
The basic rule with sailing is, get the wind behind you. That means that when you are sitting on the edge of the boat (on the boats sides) the wind should be blowing in to the back of your head. Again, this is extremely basic.
Tighten the front sail (Pull the rope towards you) and the main sail to go faster. Loosen the front sail and main sail to go slower. If your sails are flapping, either there is no wind, or the sail is too loose, or you are not with the wind to your back.
The front sail should be adjusted a couple of times only, until you deem it is fit for the current wind, and then tied to something on the boat. this frees up a hand which you should use for the main sail, and the other for the rudder (unless your good at using your feet). The main sail needs to be constantly adjusted for wind movement (The front sail too, but thats way advanced)
This will make you move forward.
To steer move the rudder. Move the rudder stick right to move left, and left to move..... Right.
Now, you know how to steer and move the boat forward. Let me teach you how to turn.
I recommend turning towards the wind (into the wind) Its safer for your boat. Build up a bit of speed and then sharply turn left or right (Depending on wind) As you do this, pull the main sail towards you and tighten the front sail. Once the sails start flapping, release all the strings, and keep turning. Once you have turned, go back to normal.
Q: I am not moving fast enough or at all
A: Either there is no wind, or the sail is too loose, or you are not with your back to the wind.
Q: The rudder doesnt work fast enough
A: Get a rudder that sticks deeper into the water and is wider.
Q: I tried the above and i am still moving slowly
A: The main sail is too small, get a bigger mast and a bigger sail. Or go to a sailing instructor and ask him this stuff, maybe you aren't sailing properly.
Step 13: Conclusion.After finishing everything and making sure everything is done. Get it out on the water and if it floats (without water leaking into it) you are set to go. If however water does leak into it from one place or another. Try to spot the leak and stop it, and if you cant do that, add a few more layers of lacquer.
Before i leave you to it, i would like to say that writing this instructable brought back awesome memories, and i now close the circle by giving this boat to everyone here that loves to build and create stuff.
I hope you enjoyed this instructable and remember, half the fun is building it :)
Good luck in your future endeavors.