His Name Is Lewis
Ok so here we go, the little matter of a DIY self-steering system to get built.
I reckoned I’d soon get fed up with talking about ‘the self-steering system’ and as it’ll hopefully become a very important member of the ships company sometime soon I figured I might as well give it a name. I decided on ‘Lewis’, not after the long suffering Lewis of ‘Inspector Morse’ fame but after the Outer Hebridean Island. It’s a Hebridean vane, see what I did there.
Anyway the kit arrived the other day, various bits of carbon fibre rod, threaded stainless steel rod, plain stainless steel rod, lots of square section, flat bar and odd shaped bits, a pack of screws, bolts, nuts, washers etc. In addition there was a bag of lead shot and a piece of marine ply.
Also included were two loose-leafed manuals. One containing written instructions, the other copies of hand-drawn scale diagrams.
Here’s the kit laid out on deck:
At first glance the instructions looked a bit daunting, there are some 20 pages crammed with scale drawings and a similar number of pages of written instructions. I showed them to Gail and she just said ‘yeah, so, you built this boat from plans didn’t you’? Good point and actually one of the main reasons I chose this design, if I’ve built it I can repair it so it’s perfect for a Wharram.
After a quick skim through I decided the best thing was just to get stuck in an see how I got on. After a couple of hours I’d made a little drilling jig and pretty much finished the first couple of parts. The instructions actually say parts 1& 2 are the more difficult pieces to make and suggest maybe leaving them for later. I figured they didn’t look too bad so I cracked on anyway and all went pretty well.
It’s a long time since I did any metalwork as such but it’s really just a case of taking a lot of care over measurements and finding the best way to deal with cutting and drilling. Stainless steel is hard and I already blunted two drill bits. There are a lot of holes to drill and quite a few that need threads cutting so I’ve ordered up some cutting paste and some good drill bits. A decent angle grinder makes finishing a lot easier as well.
Anyway here are the results of todays labour.
For those who haven’t visited Johns website here’s a snapshot taken from an article in PBO magazine last year showing one of the first customer built vanes. My biggest challenge will be figuring out how to mount it on the stern tube and connect it to the tiller bar but I’ve got a ways to go before I need worry about that.
One other little job done today, I flush fitted the dedicated GPS antenna to the pod roof. Should be able to see them statillite thingys from there.