Skip to content


September 29, 2012

In the interests of an honest record, I should, in contrast with the rather chipper last post, report that we suffered a major set back this month. Scrap thieves broke into the shop and made off with all of the bronze we had been collecting over the entire project, including the vast collection of silicon bronze screws and bolts my Dad has been collecting for 15 years now and all of the hardware from the Sans Souci. We lost beautiful 8″ bronze cleats, portlights, a heavy duty cast bronze bow roller, travelers, and most devastatingly, our rudder post, the fabrication of which is outlined two posts down. It breaks my heart all of this stuff will be sold at pennies of its actual value and melted down.

On the bright side they did not find our ships wheel or the manual winch (also brass/bronze), and are now safely in storage at home.

It puts us in a hell of a bind as total replacement cost is just shy of $9,000, and we spent a long time finding and making the previous rudder shaft. I’ve spent much of September scouring scrap yards and rebuilding the back wall of our shop to make it harder for thieves to get back in. At this point I think all hope of recovery is pretty much gone.

I’m looking at putting together a kickstarter so that we can replace at least the rudder shaft quickly and not fall any farther behind. A fall launching is now out of the question. Maybe if the kickstater works we can shoot for the spring.


Engine Install

September 5, 2012

Refurbished Pathfinder 55

The biggest piece of equipment we pulled off the Sans Souci was a 55hp marine diesel engine. Bob has spent much of the last year rebuilding it in Maine. We also secured a prop shaft and two tanks. One was originally for water, but we have converted it to diesel so we have the capacity to carry 100 gallons of fuel for an ocean crossing. We also have fuel filters and water separators.

The project as we go into the fall is to get the engine and associated systems installed. As of September 2012 the tanks are installed on either side of the foot well. I have also put in the exhaust port and am running all of the hose through the stern while the deck is still off. This includes a wet exhaust system. We added a Vetus water lock and water/gas separator, both or which are installed. I am also connecting the footwell drain hoses to  a pair of through hulls just below the transom. The starboard through hull will handle the starboard footwell drain as well as a Gusher 25 manual pump (also from the Sans Souci) and the port through hull will handle the port footwell drain and the water from the exhaust.

By the end of September I want to have all of this secured so we can cover it all up with deck. The deck will be “laid canvass” – in this case two layers of plywood with a layer of xynole fabric over it create a non slip surface.

Once the deck is on, I will install a very low bulwarks (a toe rail really) then we paint and launch!

The Rudder

December 19, 2010

The rudder was built by Swarthmore externs Anna Kastner and Jean Dahlquist.  We glued up a blank out of 2 1/2 inch pine, and shaped to plan.  The rudder was epoxy impregnated and reinforced with heavy fiberglass mat.

The worm gear is a used Edson from a shipyard in Maine, keyed for a 2″ shaft.  The shaft was once for a prop, and bent at Jason’s shop (I tried heating it up with a torch, but needed Jason’s forge to get it red hot to bend to the correct angle).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Casting the Keel

October 20, 2008

With the lead assembled, we found 2 cast iron bathtubs and had Jason Roberts weld pipes to the drains.  These became our crucibles, which were then supported on heavy steel saw horses.  Jonah had built a mold out of three layers of plywood, supported by ribs and then packed into a sand box to halt any leakage through the mold.

Mike Greenberg, Alice Hershey, Daniel Koltonski, Emiliano Rodriguez, Wendy, Kate, Jonah and Bob assembled with many bottles of propane and a collection of torches.

Salvaging lead

August 20, 2008

This boat requires close to 8,000 pounds of external ballast.  We gathered up lead from various sources, including lead pipes, part of an old diving bell, and buckets of used wheel weights.  The largest contribution came from the good ship Tegolin, an old Columbia 20  which had seen better days.  We towed the Tegolin from Penn’s landing to the Pyne Point yard in Camden, NJ where we had her hauled out.  It took a few days to demolish her and recover 4,100 pounds of lead.

Framing the Deck

August 5, 2008

main cabin carlin

The deck is framed with douglas fir 3″ molded and 1-1/2″ sided sawn beams (the carlins and “heavy beams” are 3″x3″).

framing at the bow, with a hatch opening framed out

Interior Fairing

July 1, 2008

Below are photos of the faired interior.