out of the hayloft

The obvious question people would ask upon seeing the VG23 in the hayloft was, ‘how are you going to get it down from there’? Over the years we’d joke about elaborately far-fetched schemes for accomplishing this task. Eventually though we’d conclude the answer was equally obvious – ‘it’ll require a crane’.

So last weekend a team from Grues Gendron arrived to lift the boat from the hayloft. It seems that nearly every major task in this boat building project has had a mis-start or two and, following that tradition, the first crane to arrive would not fit into the barn.


Soon enough, a second crane arrived and we got down to the business of strapping the VG23 in for the ride. In order to clear the back of the truck and fit through the barn door we needed to angle the boat so that the stern was lower than the bow.

Slowly the VG23 was lifted from her cradle and lowered onto a waiting trailer.

attaching the crane

boat coming down from the hayloft

boat coming down from the hayloft

boat coming down from the hayloft

boat coming down from the hayloft

VG23 on the trailer

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umm, man overboard?

With hindsight, I guess I should have been on guard considering the summer seemed to have progressed fairly uneventfully. I steadily made progress in the cabin, painting and running a minimum of electrics.

I spent the remainder of my time in the hayloft installing various deck and rigging hardware.

transom hardware

I will never feel comfortable drilling through the deck. Paranoid about leaks and rot I’ve been drilling the initial hole slightly larger than the corresponding bolt, filling it with epoxy and then re-drilling at the proper size. Finally, everything gets bedded with a generous application of sealant. Only time will tell how successful this approach will be.

Forward Pulpit

Usually I close up shop in the hayloft on the Thanksgiving weekend. This year I thought I’d see if I could squeeze in another weekend or two and so planned to spend the day installing the chainplates. As I was stepping onto the ladder to climb out of the hayloft it broke and I instead spent the day in an emergency room nursing what turned out to be a pair of broken ankles.

a pair of casts

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painting the interior

To celebrate the start of the this year’s building I spent some time below deck painting and varnishing. I was surprised to see how large the VG23’s cabin appears with a shiny coat of paint.

VG23 interior

VG23 interior

VG23 interior

VG23 interior

VG23 interior

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paint fumes

To prepare for painting the VG23 I put in the requisite “who knows how many” hours of sanding primer and then erected a bit of a spray tent by hanging an enormous tarp from the hayloft rafters. The hayloft has been the perfect space to build but I was worried about dust and the pigeons that have been hanging about all summer.

On painting day we setup the air compressor on the lawn next to the barn and ran a hose up through the hayloft window. To keep dust down we used a watering can to wet down the floor and then we started mixing paint.

I’m still not sure if my giddiness was due to finally seeing the VG23 with a coat of paint or simply a result of getting a bit too close to the overspray.

spraying the VG23

spraying the VG23

spraying the VG23

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installing windows

One of the things I find so satisfying about this boat building project is being challenged to just figure out how to get a task done. Building and installing the VG23’s windows was a perfect example.

My first step was to pick up some lexan to fit the window holes cut last fall. And using the “universal radius”, (which just happens to come filled with a refreshing beverage), I measured and then cut it to shape with the jigsaw.

shaping lexan for the windows

The first lesson I learned was to cut plastics at a nice slow speed, otherwise things heat up and the blade tends to stick. Combine that with a couple reminders of the “measure twice, cut once” lesson meant that by the time the windows were complete I was on a first name basis with Lynn over at Johnston Plastics.

sealing the windows

My attempts at sealing the windows were turning out to be a frustrating mess until my sister’s fiancee suggested I use the masking tape edging trick pictured above. The key to getting a reasonably clean edge is to remove the tape before the sealant begins to dry.


In between tasks I’ve also been making gradual progress sanding primer.

sanding primer

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