Saturday, October 5, 2013

Laminating the Chine

I half expected the boat to be engulfed by those little sandcastles that termites make when I came back to the boat shop this week after a nearly five month absence. No termites, thank goodness, just a lot of black mold. I welcome the mold. It comes with the incredible amount of rain we've received over the past several weeks. Rio Grande City is now a tolerable grassland rather than a post-apocalyptic dust bowl. 

NASA was wonderful. I developed some algorithms for optimizing medical kits for spaceflight. And met real astronauts. The whole experience was incredibly inspiring. Fresh off this NASA high, I've re-committed to the boat project. This thing WILL GET DONE.

My brother came in on Sunday for a week of boat building. We actually spend the first few days battling the cockroaches (รก la Stormship Troopers) that made themselves welcome during my long absence. We finally got around to some boat work on Thursday and will have the first layer of the chine glued in place by the time he leaves tomorrow afternoon.

This week at my house. Pro tip: Don't leave potatoes in cabinet for 5 months.

My mentality re the boat project has shifted. I was beginning to feel paralyzed by the sheer size of the project--  by all the work remaining and all of the things that could possibly go wrong. I am now thinking no further than getting the chine laminated. Then I'll think no further than cutting the notches for the stringers on the bottomsides. Etc. This seems to be a more effective mindset, as I'm pretty sure I'll be able to get the chine in, and I'm pretty sure I can cut a few notches.

An acquaintance from college sent me this poem written by a boatbuilder. While at the moment I can't relate to the romanticization of boatbuilding in the body, I was particularly amused/struck by the first line: 
And so it is, the boat has come to own you

Indeed, building Luna came to own me. I resented my previous self who thought building a gigantic sailboat in small-town Texas was a good idea. Time away from Luna was exactly what I needed to build up the guts to finish her. Looking forward to the next few months of boat work!
Ali and Logan Keenan
The not-so-little brother and I.

Buehler sailboat build epoxy
Slinging epoxy.

Buehler Emily sailboat build
The first chine piece glued in place.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Quick update

Very little boat work happening recently. Lots of other fun things happening, though! In the last two weeks I finished all of the remaining classes I need for my master's degree, got my eyeballs lasered, and got a summer internship with NASA. GO SCIENCE!! That means that I won't be accomplishing much of anything on the boat this summer (though I'm hoping to get a few small things done in the next week before leaving), but I'm excited to come back in the fall and be able to work on the boat a lot more, as I'll only be splitting my time between thesis research and the boat!

Obviously, the plan I laid out back in September (?) to finish this thing has not come to fruition. The few, sad things I accomplished on the boat in the last 5 months: 
1) cut out all remaining chine notches 
2) ripped and planed a bunch of 8/8 rough white oak to 3/4" to laminate the chine and stringers with
3) spiled, cut, and installed one lonely piece of wood in the chine notches

I've been struggling for the past several months with whether it's a smart idea for me to finish this project. I desperately want to finish what I've started, but there isn't anything for me career-wise in the Valley (unless SpaceX comes to Brownsville--fingers crossed) and the boat isn't in any condition to be moved yet. I don't particularly relish the idea of living in Rio Grande City any longer, and part of me wants to donate everything I own and just get out. Ramon is moving to Austin next month to work on quantum this-and-that theory stuff (exciting, even if I don't understand it!), but I'm not sure I can handle living in Rio without him. So, the plan is to live one last single semester in Rio while I finish my degree and make a balls to the wall effort on the boat to get it in good enough shape to move it to a boatyard by December. Good enough shape = planking + fiberglass. Yup, that's the plan.
I can see clearly now, the blur is gone. ♫♪