Friday, March 14, 2014

Splash Day Approaches

We are getting really, really close now.  With a bit of luck, Lagniappe will be leaving the comfort of the shop in a week or two and face the cold hard reality of spring on the Delaware River.  The current plan is to move her out of the shop and back onto the trailer on Friday, March 21. Then, we will test fire the engine, and if all goes well tow her to a nearby boatyard for launching into the river.  Then, it will be back down stream to the docks at the Independence Seaport Museum for rigging.

There is not much left to do on the boat aside from lots of varnishing and the rigging.  House electrics are done (bilge pumps, running lights, anchor light, and engine) Every nut, bolt, clamp, through hull fitting, and cotter pin has been double checked and tightened. The bottom paint has been touched up where needed.  

The cockpit sole is completed.  I have a 5 inch high engine box.  I could have gone a couple of inches lower, but this will leave space for noise insulation, and the box can double as a table for all those alfresco dining opportunities fast approaching. Also, I am thinking that a 5 inch box will be harder to miss when moving around the cockpit and thus less likely to lead to a twisted ankle. We shall see.

My first mate (seated) and my boatshop buddy John share a quiet moment.
Hatch covers and engine box have just been painted.
I played "gotcha" with the State bureaucracy for the past couple of weeks in an attempt to get legal.  In New Jersey (and I guess in many other political entities) boats need to be registered if the boat is longer than 12 feet.  This entitles the owner to pay the state a registration fee.  The requirements for registration of a "homemade" boat are challenging.  One must do the following:

  • Present a completed registration form (Form number OS/SS-27) to the Division of Motor Vehicles. 
  • Provide the originals of all receipts for all purchased parts. My particular pile of receipts is about 2 1/2 inches tall. The purpose of this requirement is to enable the government to collect sales tax on any items purchased out of state, hence not taxed by New Jersey.
  • Prepare a statement describing all construction details.  This must be notarized by a licensed Nortary Public. The Notary doesn't have to attest to the accuracy of the statement; just the fact that the applicant (me) said that it was correct.  Hmmmm. 
  • Take photographs of "all four sides" of the boat, plus all deck areas, and all cabins.  I know port and starboard, but I am still searching for the other two sides -- an especially challenging enterprise on a double ender like the Grey Seal. Nevertheless, I provided a whole bunch of pictures, so they were able to decide what constituted sides 3 and 4.
  • Show the boat to the New Jersey Marine Police so they can complete form number ISM/SS-10A, the "Hull Identification Number (H.I.N.) Investigation Report" attesting to the fact that the hull does not have a hull number because it is a homemade boat.
  • At that point, I was able to go back to the Motor Vehicle Agency.  They looked at my pictures, photocopied my receipts, calculated the sales tax I "owed," took my form OS/SS-27 and the form ISM/SS-10A, plus one new form, for good measure, accepted my $68 registration fee, and granted me their blessing to sail my boat upon the waters of New Jersey.
The Marine Police, by the way,were great. They stopped by the boatshop one afternoon (their station is across the Delaware, and a few miles north of the Museum,) looked at Lagniappe; we talked boats for a little while; they gave me the completed Form number ISM/SS-10, confirming that the vessel is indeed home build and hence does not have a hull number, and wished me luck with the rest of the process. I went back to varnishing.

Now that I am registered and titled, I needed to make boards on which to affix my numbers and my registration stickers.  That was an easy job with a few scraps of plywood, epoxy, and white hull paint.  One more coat and I'll apply the stick-on black numbers.

Number boards painted and drying.

Speaking of boards, I fastened my name boards.  I found that they didn't look that great on the sheer strake, near the stern.  A transom is the place for a name board, I think.  Jeff happened by and suggested the sides of the house, where (very cleverly) I had left exactly the right amount of space between the porthole and the running light.  The boards fit in perfectly, and I think they add a touch of class to the whole project.

Nameboards are now fastened.

My stays arrived yesterday.  I ordered them with an eye rolled onto the lower ends and a few extra feet of wire rope at the top.  I will do a crimp once I have the precise measurement.  While I am partial to bronze fittings, the wire rope is 7x19 stainless wire, so I went with stainless eyes as well.

My new shrouds and forestay waiting for rigging day.
There is no such thing as a "last" coat of varnish on a boat, but, for now at least, I think my tiller has about enough to last the season.  I put one more coat on for good measure, and it is drying, waiting for launch day.

A very shiny tiller.  The knob, by the way, is African Blackwood.

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