Monday, April 21, 2014

The Utility: New motor; First bottom panel cut

This first half of April has seen some progress on the Utility project, although not much that is visible on the actual boat itself. I ordered a new Nissan 8hp motor from The motor arrived very promptly... and I promptly realized I’d never operated a tiller-controlled boat before.

New 8hp Nissan Marine outboard
So, the kids and I fixed that by taking a weekend getaway at a nearby lake. I rented a 14 ft Jon boat fitted with a 9.9 hp Yamaha, and we ventured out on the water. There really is a lot to be said for the simple Jon boat. They may not be the prettiest things on the water, but it’s hard to imagine a more versatile boat in that size.

In any case, our little aluminum Jon boat was by no means a rocket on the water, but it did what it was supposed to. The Utility will have a shorter, and more streamlined hull, although somewhat heavier. I imagine performance with its 8hp motor will be similar to the 14’ Jon boat with the 9.9 Yamaha. Time will tell.

Over Easter weekend, I began the break-in period for the Nissan motor. The first two phases were to let it run at idle for 10 minutes, then to run at <50% throttle for two hours. That’s done. The next phase is to let it run at <75% throttle.

On the boat framework, I have faired down the side planking on the starboard side. I have not yet tried to fill in any of the low spots, or “hollows”, along the chine. Instead, I decided to go ahead and cut the panels for the bottom planking by cutting one sheet of Meranti in half lengthwise.

My plan is to begin dry-fitting the bottom panel into place, and to use that as a gauge to determine just how much I’ll need to fill in along the chine. It is possible that any gaps will be minor enough that thickened epoxy will do the job adequately.

Rough placement of the first bottom panel

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