Meade and Jan Gougoen are set to enter the Gougeon-built i550 Sportboat
Hot Canary in the 2011 Everglades Challenge. You can read more about the
building process and the race itself in the Epoxyworks #32, coming out in March 2011.
Here at Gougeon Brothers, our technical staff constructed the hull of an i550 Sport Boat in their shop. Captain JR Watson oversaw the building process. The i550 sportboat is built with plywood stitch and glue construction. We used quarter inch 5-ply Okume plywood and judiciously placed 5 oz carbon fiber. The entire boat was built with WEST SYSTEM 105 Resin and 207 Special Clear Hardener.
The first task was to scarf three 4' x 8' pieces of the marine plywood together using the WEST SYSTEM 875 Scarfer™. We constructed a simple jig to enable the proper cut point on the plywood to minimize waste. After cutting the panels, we bonded them together with a mixture of 105 Resin, 207 Hardener thickened with 406 Colloidal Silica. Then we lightly sanded the panels with a random orbital sander to clean the scarf joints and prepare the surface for a coating of 105/207 mix. We "float coated" the surface by applying mixed epoxy with a 10" drywall knife. This was an efficient, yet effective method to coat three 22' x 4' panels with epoxy prior to construction.
With the panels coated, we overlaid the Tyvek™ patterns (provided by Watershed Sailboats) on the panels and made reference marks to transfer the pattern shape for accurate cutting. Using a hand held jig saw, we cut the patterns from the panel, careful to leave the original reference marks intact. It's always easier to remove extra material later than it is to put it back on.
Captain JR Watson built an ingenious jig we used to set a scribe mark around the perimeters of the cut and trimmed panels. From this point we drilled holes at 8" intervals to allow for the HDPE zip ties to "stitch" the panels together.
We loose-fit the panels with the zip ties in place to achieve something close to the desired hull shape. With bulkheads fitted in the same manner, the i550 was starting to look like a boat.
After cinching the zip ties we added some spacer modifications to the bulkheads to improve the hull camber midship and forward of midship. We tabbed the seams with WEST SYSTEM 732 Episize 9oz fiberglass tape. When the epoxy had thoroughly cured, we removed the zip ties.
We then completed the cockpit, deck, stem and stern using techniques detailed in the book, The Gougeon Brother's on Boat Construction.
After completing the hull, we moved the boat across the street to the Gougeon Brothers Boat shop for Meade and Jan to finish. They made a few modifications and customized the boat to fit the needs of the race. The i550 is a one-design class that allows modifications.
Read the full story in Epoxyworks #32, coming out in March, 2011.