Our newest crew member

Progress on Selah has been on hold for a few weeks while we returned to Alice Springs for a far more important project: the birth of our first grandchild.

Our grandson, Judah Obadiah James Harris entered the world on Wednesday 8th February. It was awe inspiring to be able to finally hold him, after tracking his remarkable pre-birth life with frequent updates from Haley over the past months.  It has been a joyful time for us, but also mixed with sadness, as we must leave soon.

We love Alice Springs, but is as far from the ocean as it is possible to be in Australia, only a couple of hundred kilometers from the geographical center. We can’t wait to introduce Judah to the joys of the sea, and have been thinking about ways to accommodate our grandson onboard Selah. As it happens, we think catamarans lend themselves to child-proofing.

A life changing moment, when we meet our grandson for the first time.

Meanwhile, back at the build, here are some of the jobs that Pete completed before joining Deb in Alice.

Construction has moved back into the sleeping cabins. These are divided into port & starboard cabins by the installation of a structural bulkhead that runs fore-aft between frames three & five. This creates a T junction with frame five where two stout posts are laminated into place to take the compression loads from the mast, which is stepped directly above. The resulting fabrication is incredibly stong.  In this respect, catamaran engineering takes its cues from aeroplane construction rather than traditional boatbuilding. A lightweight skin to keep the elements out, and massive truss members to take the major loads.

The fore-aft compression bulkhead, that links frames three and five along the centerline, and divides the sleeping cabins. The plans provide the camber-measurement, needed to create the curved fore deck.

As this is a structural element, the designer provides details, listing scantlings and the required camber to provide a curved deck, which is fixed above. This was a little tricky for Peter, as Deb had already left for Alice, and he needed to figure out how to induce the bend of the deck bearers, while keeping them under control for screwing and gluing.

It took a reasonable amount of force to bend the bearer. The heavy-duty (270 kilo) Irwin Quick Grip clamps have been fantastic. We have used them practically every day of the build. Expensive, at about $60 each, we consider them indispensable. We have three.

We have also chosen to incorporate a deck locker here, by installing a secondary,  non structural partition. This was made from 6mm ply to keep the weight down, and will be stiffened by shelving that will make the most of this rather tall and narrow space.

The storage locker will be accessed from above, via a deck hatch. The mast compression posts can be seen in this shot.

Installing the second partition presented another challenge for Pete working on his own, as it was large and unwieldy. He devised a system of temporary cleats to hold it while he glued it into position with epoxy fillets.

Cleats were cut from scrap 18 x 18 pine and used to temporarily hold the partition in place for filleting on the reverse side.
After filleting on this side, the cleats were removed to allow filleting to the other side.
Pete also bored and dry-fitted the 2″ skin fitting for the holding tank outlet. This was our first below-waterline fitting. After the hulls are painted it will be bedded down with Sikaflex. The 52mm hole was saturated with three coats of resin.

6 thoughts on “Our newest crew member

    • Hey Tim & Kathy. How great to hear from you! It would be fantastic to catch up if you make it over. We are only 15min from the ferry terminal in Devonport. There is a beautiful beach front Caravan Park here. You’ll need your winter gear although, so far, it’s been a very nice autumn. We’ll enjoy reading about your travels.


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