Jump to content


Building a lighter plywood/epoxy Windmill more like a Javelin/Cherub

windmill javelin build plywood epoxy Sebago Canoe Club cherub lighter modifications hack

  • Please log in to reply
27 replies to this topic

#1 hippophagy

hippophagy

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 25 December 2013 - 06:29 PM

I'm thinking of building a Windmill in my basement in NYC. People rave about them and it seems like a pretty straightforward build; this would be my first build (I'll have the help of an experienced wood boat builder). I'm interested in possibly adapting it a bit so the hull would be a little lighter (I'm not worried about building to class specs). I live in New York City and I sail out of Sebago Canoe Club in Jamaica Bay where we launch from a floating dock so the lighter the better. I'm wondering if a Windmill could be built more like a modern ply/epoxy skiff such as the Javelin or the Cherub to maximize weight savings and possibly increase strength.

 

I read this very thorough Javelin build plan by Luis Pinto and also this great build page on the Cherub by Jim Champ. It seems that you could take the basic forms of the Windmill and build it more like these boats. In his excellent Windmill build article Tom Lathrop recommends 9mm ply for the hull bottom and 6mm for the sides. The Javelin builders seem to be getting away with 3mm ply covered with 4oz S glass with 4mm ply over the false floor. Both the Cherub and the Javelin incorporate a false floor and I'm considering doing the same on mine. 

 

To take things a step further (or a step too far some would say) I'm wondering if I can rig this hull a bit more like a skiff with a single trap and a spinnaker pole. The reason I just don't build a modern skiff is I'm hoping for a hull that could be a bit more versatile. I'd like to be able to do short cruises for beach camping (with a cruising rig) and take my wife out once in awhile in a boat that she can sit down in. The more modern skiffs seem a bit trickier to build and less suited to other uses.

 

So in summary I want to keep to the basic plan of the Windmill, build it a bit lighter using S glass and thinner ply and rig it a bit more like a modern skiff but also have the option to rig it for cruising. I'd like it to be fast but it will be classless (or in a class of it's own depending upon how you look at it) so it's not about being faster than anyone else. I'd like to be able to do other things than try to go fast but I understand it's a narrow hull designed for racing so it will never be a big wide heavy day cruiser.

 

Do you think any of this is worth doing? Will I see reasonable weight savings and comparable strength? Am I adding too much and compromising a time tested design? I know one of the selling points of the Windmill is cost savings in materials and rigging. Am I defeating the purpose by adding all this stuff? Will I end up with a lighter faster more versatile boat or a compromise that sucks money and time (and just basically sucks)? Any and all opinions and suggestions are welcomed. Thanks!



#2 Major Tom

Major Tom

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 853 posts
  • Location:Darkest Africa
  • Interests:Dinghy sailing, and good red wine!

Posted 25 December 2013 - 07:55 PM

Rather put your cash, time and skills towards building a class legal boat, the class is not that important, but being able to race it and to re sell it later is worth a lot.

#3 hippophagy

hippophagy

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 25 December 2013 - 08:03 PM

Rather put your cash, time and skills towards building a class legal boat, the class is not that important, but being able to race it and to re sell it later is worth a lot.


As far as racing goes for me I'd just do open races at my club. I have no car so getting the boat to races would be a challenge. I see your point about resale but if I build it and I like it I'll probably hold onto it.

#4 EdFontana

EdFontana

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 136 posts

Posted 25 December 2013 - 11:13 PM

A Windmill is a great boat.  They shorted the dagger board and simplified the rudder planform (recently) to make it even better. 
 
It is kind of amazing that a boat designed in 1953 at legal weight is as fast(er) as a V-15.
  Windmill WM 89.5 Vanguard 15 VGD15 90.5
http://offshore.ussa...ard_Classes.htm
 
With all that freeboard and woven Dacron sails with short battens it still compares well to the Tasar with low freeboard, mylar and full length battens. (... length helps) Tasar TASA 88.2
 
Before they had a minimum weight (or tanks), a neighbor built one to 165 lbs in the conventional manner. Weigh each piece of wood before you buy it. 
 
I think the traditional plans are 1/4 inch plywood with stringers. There is no reason (that I know of) that you could not make (vacuum bag) your own (balsa cored) plywood with mahogany face veneers (I think someone did that and it measured and finished well, ask the class).  People have also built them out of 3 layer western red cedar.  The outside layer grain was on a diagonal, as if cold molded.   Each piece of cedar wood was 2 inches wide as if looking at a 2x4 edgewise, except beautifully finished in polyurethane over WEST Epoxy.
 
The best match for your needs might be Tom's stitch and glue way, except make the panels yourself. Core them with balsa. I think what you want is a boat that measures with the addition of corrector weights and maybe floor boards and extra glass.
 
Someone has tried a trapeze, you need a steady breeze.
 
Of the boats I have sailed, the Windmill and J-22 I liked the best. 
 
You might want to look into 6 oz bi-directional stitched glass. That is the experimental material of choice for my experimental build - a high freeboard hull, with room for a second person or a dog, under a laser rig that I hope can sail even with traditional lasers.

#5 knobblyoldjimbo

knobblyoldjimbo

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,527 posts
  • Location:effinque (FNQ) AUS

Posted 26 December 2013 - 12:26 AM

I was looking at making a cat that is designed for ply. I then found someone who had gone so far as getting a cut file for cnc cutting. He'd done it for Duflex panels but there are others, core with glass skins. I heard that consistent marine ply is now hard to get.
duflex or polycore seem to be lighter than ply anyway.

#6 eliboat

eliboat

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 978 posts

Posted 26 December 2013 - 01:38 AM

Ed knows what he's talking about.  I don't know what the class rules are for corrector weights, but it might be worth looking into if you end up making the boat much lighter.  If you built it out of 1/4" ply and changed some of the structure, you could save some weight surely.  3mm you could certainly do (I have in my Frosty...old school Moths do this and obviously the aforementioned Javelins too), but you will pay pretty stiff penalty in the form of fragility.  3mm ply is pretty dainty stuff and needs to be looked after a lot more carefully than 1/4".  Also, since you want to limit weight because of your launching setup, consider that most people don't actually have it as good as you!  Launching on a dolly is a far bigger pain in the ass than storing and launching from a dedicated dock.  Most big sailing programs are pulling heavy ass 420's, FJ's and other boats up on docks.  MIT hauled super heavy tech dinghies onto their docks for years, until they shaved a whiole bunch of weight last year by going carbon.  The point is, a standard Windmill isn't heavier than these boats that get hauled onto docks by kids all the time, so as others have pointed out, i might be worth your while to at least try to make it class legal so that in the event that you do want to sell it, you will have a somewhat easier time.  All of that said, good luck!  Post pictures of your progress here, I for one would love to see how you make out.  The Windmill is an excellent boat that is underappreciated by most people since they haven't actually sailed one.  As Ed pointed out, given when it was designed, its performance is pretty remarkable.



#7 Ned

Ned

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,521 posts
  • Location:Wahiawa, Oahu

Posted 26 December 2013 - 03:25 AM

WindMills are pretty good as is.  Be careful about removing the toughness in your quest for a few pounds.  There are good places to remove weight and for your application the skin and especially the bottom may not be the place if you like boats that don't have dents in the skin.  

 

Interior members are fair game and so forth.  Spend some time with the plans or better yet track a WindMill down and sail it to see where the weight is best removed.  

 

Impressive boats and very far ahead of their time.  Enjoy the building and sailing.    



#8 Fishingmickey

Fishingmickey

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,641 posts
  • Location:New Braunfels, Texas

Posted 26 December 2013 - 05:05 AM

Also food for thought.  If you redesign and change the specs from a Windmill you won't have a Windmill when your done.  If your planning on racing Portsmouth and it is not a class legal boat then the rating is wrong and you won't be able to honestly race it with a mixed fleet and you won't be accepted into the Windmill fleet either.  The "Mill" is a great boat and it sounds like you have the initiative to build a good fast boat. Build it class legal and then you have something in the end that will have good value.  Go rouge and you have a fun to blast around boat that you can't race and will only have value to yourself.

FM



#9 EdFontana

EdFontana

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 136 posts

Posted 26 December 2013 - 12:49 PM

May not have listened well enough. The question might be, "Could one make the Windmill hull shape double bottomed using thinner ply?"

For me at least, double bottom boats wipe out my back. I likely would have more experience in a JY-15 or an Vanguard 15 if not for Sunday night pain, that lasted, after regattas in each boat. I like double handed boats, but literally can't stand double bottom boats.

So yes, but try spending a weekend with the ergonomics of each interior layout before you build one. Should have addressed this directly the first time.

The shorter DB fixes the ergonomic issue of high speed jibes with the board high enough to not trip over. The DB has to be down far enough to clear the vang. The new rudder profile is deeper, so there is more control off wind in waves.

If you switch to a compression vang, or gnav that would solve a lot of issues for the crew during tacks upwind, when you are generally forward in the boat. There are people who know stuff and can help with the early decisions. North Sails has a fast set of sails, but they might need adjustment if you use a compression vang, Ethan can help. And I think I saw Dave Ellis post here. He has first hand knowledge that would be most beneficial to your cause... I don't know if he is working with a sailmaker right now.

#10 Dex Sawash

Dex Sawash

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 155 posts
  • Location:NC USA
  • Interests:stuff

Posted 26 December 2013 - 04:06 PM

Should look at US-1 dinghy which is IIRC essentially a cut down windmill hull with a una-rig.
US-1 may have some of your details worked out already. But maybe you don't want less freeboard than the windmill.

#11 Steam Flyer

Steam Flyer

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,941 posts
  • Location:Eastern NC

Posted 26 December 2013 - 05:10 PM

Should look at US-1 dinghy which is IIRC essentially a cut down windmill hull with a una-rig.
US-1 may have some of your details worked out already. But maybe you don't want less freeboard than the windmill.

 

The Windmill is a fun boat; if you want to build something that's a good pick. However if you want to sail there are many around in good shape at a price far far less than you can build one for.

 

Having sailed both the Vanguard 15 and the Windmill a bit, it would surprise me if the V-15 was slower in any conditions other than light air. More difficult for a home builder though

;)

 

FB- Doug



#12 sailwriter

sailwriter

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 486 posts
  • Location:Tampa Bay

Posted 26 December 2013 - 06:15 PM

OK, I'll weigh in here. But it may not be what all my Windmill friends expect........

I, like you apparently, like to tinker with my boats. The  Windmill really is a good boat as it is. 

But, my racing days with crew are over. Single handing henceforth. (Yes, it's me, not any of the numerous pick-up crew I've used over the years.)

I'd use the normal ply on the bottom. (Boat #1 back in the day bottom flexed up and down enough to send a little kid (me) off balance.)

Thinner on the topsides.

Double bottom about four inches up, same "V" profile as the bottom. Foam blocks or the like to hold them apart.

This allows the topsides to be that thin with strength. It negates the need for (heavy) side tanks. It is self-bailing. It holds the dagger board well, negating the need for bracing on the top of it.

And the 'Mill is deep enough that it still will have more "sit room" than most boats.

I once put a Hobie 14 sail on a Windmill. No reason that a more modern rig can't be used.

The US 1 uses just the mainsail. (That boat started as a Windmill that did not pass measurement muster. So they cut down the freboard and made it a single hander. A moose in the genre of a Finn to sail, best by big guys. Not as fast as a Windmill.)

I once bought a Windmill (been sailing them since 1955) that had been converted to a mainsail only. They had moved the mast step forward a foot.

Used the regular mainsail. The class mainsail is low aspect, putting significant sail aft down low. A taller rig with shorter boom would make a new mast step forward unnessesary, if the mast were set up with no rake.

If you put the mast forward it becomes more difficult to use a trapeze, as it pulls you forward; My Contlender had a well-raked mast, so, while it still pulled me forward, not as much. My A-Cat's trap was attached so far up that it didn't matter as much.

A Hobie 14 sail, if you can find one, is about 115 square feet. Main and jib of the Windmill is 119. There are other small cat's sails that would work. I bought one from Masthead Enterprises used sails for my Raider frankenboat that had two reefs in it. Handy. Don't use the catamran moosy mast, however. A multihull generates much more force on the rig with their righting moment. You'd need a lighter mast or you'd flip at the dock. Just use spreaders,  and a diamond stay up front if necessary. 

As for using a trapeze. I found that upwind and close reaches it helped. On broader reaches I got my butt on the deck.

Sounds to me like a fun project.

And don't worry about Portsmouth handicaps. There are modification numbers to apply for boats with changes.

Dave Ellis



#13 hippophagy

hippophagy

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 29 December 2013 - 06:44 PM

I wanted to say thanks to everyone who responded. Particularly to Ed and Dave for your lengthy replies. You gave me a lot to think about and I know it's informed by many years of experience. I'll continue to post my ideas and progress in this thread. Thanks again. Matt

#14 EdFontana

EdFontana

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 136 posts

Posted 02 January 2014 - 11:11 AM

Campfire stories: other people will know if this is true.

Some guy named Laviano used to bring 3 hulls to nationals and would select based on the conditions. An easy to build hull allows you experiment with hull shape at full scale. I think he went on to do something for AC boats...

The Mooreman fiberglass boats were from the generically fastest of those hulls.
They have a pronounced knuckle at the bow under the chines. If you think you want to push volume below the chines, that is probably a good philosophy working within tolerance of the nominal lines.

Those molds were picked up by Mike McLaughlin. The rules allow a 1/4 inch of out of plane radius in the bottom panels. In the Mooreman this may have been centered. I think Mike added more volume below the chines within the rules. If you make your own plywood and want to play with a parameter, getting volume below the chine might be possible.

If you are always planing, volume below the chine is not as important. Maybe not even helpful.

The Mooreman glass boats seem to have panel stiffness arranged in this order based on a deflection test and patterning of internal structural elements: 1) bottom the thickest, by a lot. 2) interior tank walls (and deck), there are all sorts of people loads there, 3) outside shear panels thinnest by a lot. The transom is double walled, but structural elements pattern.

The McLaughlin boats are Kledgecell. A lot more headroom on minimum weight so all the panels seem stiff with no patterning of internal structure.

Talk to the class measurer, but I think the selected Laviano/Mooreman hull was the most dart like at the chines with the gunwales max flared between the thwarts. Really don't know about the transom or rocker. Just sort of know about the other stuff.

#15 hippophagy

hippophagy

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 02 June 2014 - 01:33 AM

So I decided to build to class specs. I'm building the boat in a 200sqft room in my Manhattan apartment basement. I'm following Tom Lathrop's composite build instructions found here. You can follow my build on this Facebook page.



#16 EdFontana

EdFontana

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 136 posts

Posted 02 June 2014 - 11:35 PM

Thanks for the link. Somehow it never occurred to mark the plywood in the vertical.

If you build it like Tom's, it will be fast.

#17 John D

John D

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 335 posts
  • Location:Sebastian, FL

Posted 03 June 2014 - 02:04 AM

The latest composite Windmill hulls built by Johannsen Boat Works seem to perform at the top of the fleets being very stiff and at minimum weight. Some durability issues in the the trunk area have also been addressed. Check out the Windmill site.



#18 RKoch

RKoch

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 490 posts
  • Location:da 'burg

Posted 03 June 2014 - 04:12 AM

A standard Windmill is still pretty light. You shouldn't have a problem pulling it onto a float. And you'll be glad its class legal in case you decide to try class-racing, or to sell the boat.

#19 sailwriter

sailwriter

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 486 posts
  • Location:Tampa Bay

Posted 05 June 2014 - 12:57 AM

About 1960 Homer Luzier of Sarasota, Florida was building plywood Windmills using no nails/screws. He was a craftsman, so all joints were perfect, so the old Resoursenal (sp?) glue (Elmer's, believe it or not) worked fine. And the boats lasted and were like furniture.

But they were significantly lighter than most other Windmills.

Finally, at a Sarasota regatta (As a high school sophomore I was crew for the winner, Dennis Snell) all boats were weighed and the class adopted as a minimum weight the lightest boat.

It weighed 198# and was by Homer L.

Those boats had no air tanks and, obviously, no double bottom.

So, if you can get the hull down to that weight finished, you are doing well.

You can add up to 15# of lead and still be legal. So make it light and add lead later if you want it class legal.



#20 Major Tom

Major Tom

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 853 posts
  • Location:Darkest Africa
  • Interests:Dinghy sailing, and good red wine!

Posted 06 June 2014 - 08:12 PM

So I decided to build to class specs. I'm building the boat in a 200sqft room in my Manhattan apartment basement. I'm following Tom Lathrop's composite build instructions found here. You can follow my build on this Facebook page.


Glad to see that logic has prevailed. Enjoy the build and then enjoy pitting your skills against others using similar equipment.

#21 RKoch

RKoch

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 490 posts
  • Location:da 'burg

Posted 06 June 2014 - 08:28 PM


About 1960 Homer Luzier of Sarasota, Florida was building plywood Windmills using no nails/screws. He was a craftsman, so all joints were perfect, so the old Resoursenal (sp?) glue (Elmer's, believe it or not) worked fine. And the boats lasted and were like furniture.
But they were significantly lighter than most other Windmills.
Finally, at a Sarasota regatta (As a high school sophomore I was crew for the winner, Dennis Snell) all boats were weighed and the class adopted as a minimum weight the lightest boat.
It weighed 198# and was by Homer L.
Those boats had no air tanks and, obviously, no double bottom.
So, if you can get the hull down to that weight finished, you are doing well.
You can add up to 15# of lead and still be legal. So make it light and add lead later if you want it class legal.

When I was sailing prams in the late 60s, the hot set-up was a Luzier hull and a Bremen sail.

#22 hippophagy

hippophagy

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 30 June 2014 - 02:31 AM

Some good progress on the build here https://www.facebook...windmillsailing Any tips on sailing the Windmill solo? I weigh 145lbs but I'm fairly athletic. I intend to put reef points in the sail for cruising and I'm also considering a trap too. I seem to remember people suggesting just going with just the main for soloing. Found this great photo on the class page of someone soloing http://windmillclass.../photos/243.jpg with both sails. Thoughts? Thanks!



#23 sailwriter

sailwriter

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 486 posts
  • Location:Tampa Bay

Posted 01 July 2014 - 08:55 PM

No problem sailing a Windmill alone.

With a proper jib stay, sailing under mainsail alone works very well if the dagger board is angled aft under the boat. Balances just fine.

(I placed third in a Midwinters in high winds and a light crew sailing upwind with no jib.)

Not quite so balanced with a reef in the main and flying the jib.

This is a relatively low aspect rig. With a reefed mainsail it ends up with a lee helm due to the jib's relative size.

Even if the dagger board is angled as far as it can be toward the bow under water, still there is lee helm.

Unless you sail it "on its ear", inducing weather helm. Not fast or comfortable.

Now, sailing with a reefed main and no jib would be very quick in a blow.

Dave Ellis

National Champ 1957.59.80,85 04,05



#24 Joshua

Joshua

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 27 posts
  • Location:NY
  • Interests:Golf, sailing and ladies of the night

Posted Yesterday, 09:55 PM

Looks like the OD Windmill class had a resurgence this year at their nationals with 37 entries. :)

No surprise at the winner.



#25 fastyacht

fastyacht

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,961 posts

Posted Yesterday, 10:07 PM

No problem sailing a Windmill alone.

With a proper jib stay, sailing under mainsail alone works very well if the dagger board is angled aft under the boat. Balances just fine.

(I placed third in a Midwinters in high winds and a light crew sailing upwind with no jib.)

Not quite so balanced with a reef in the main and flying the jib.

This is a relatively low aspect rig. With a reefed mainsail it ends up with a lee helm due to the jib's relative size.

Even if the dagger board is angled as far as it can be toward the bow under water, still there is lee helm.

Unless you sail it "on its ear", inducing weather helm. Not fast or comfortable.

Now, sailing with a reefed main and no jib would be very quick in a blow.

Dave Ellis

National Champ 1957.59.80,85 04,05

I have a friend who singlehands his on a trapeze and he says it is crazy-fun.



#26 EdFontana

EdFontana

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 136 posts

Posted Today, 01:40 AM

Hiking strap position and tension help for single handing. And getting the mainsheet block up off the floor. Here is what I remember:

 

A pair of straps anchored at the shock cord location back on the keel under the tiller. Rear thwart holds them up and out exactly where you want them.  They are pretty high in the boat as, with no double bottom, there is depth.  I remember them as about a foot off the floor - impossible to miss if you step across both on the tacks. 

 

If you ever have a crew, it helps to give them a little room. We ran with the mainsheet ratchet on a foot long wire about a foot back from the back of the trunk. A spring at the base and a PVC riser kept the sheet feed to the ratchet above the straps even when fully hiked. 

 

Both jib and main sheets cleated in cam cleats on the rail. The aft end of the DB well had a pod that could be sat on with a set of double ended controls for vang and maybe outhaul. The traveler and Cunningham were run to the side tanks just under the sheet cleats. The jib halyard was high on the port side of the DB well.

 

With controls and straps in these positions the boat is easy to single hand for traditional mark rounding courses.

 

The boat loves to be sailed light.

 

Thanks for guiding me to the 37 boat results. It reminds me of how wrong I could be about defining a good start.

 

Sailing against Ethan and Trudy in Charleston for the first time, my thoughts were "This guy is a 505 world champion. And a sailmaker (North). He has great boat speed and he wins a lot of races. But he sure does not know how to get a good start."

 

But then I thought about what the definition of a good start was in my mind: Clear air, favored end...

 

But there is this other thing... favored tack.  Being in phase, in clear air, right at the start. Ethan and Trudy, for me, redefined "Good start" in the first regatta we "competed" with them. They don't get trapped out of phase at the start very often.

 

As I looked at the list, I think I learned something positive about sailing from every familiar name on that list. 



#27 Blackjack2

Blackjack2

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 123 posts

Posted Today, 10:50 AM

As I looked at the list, I think I learned something positive about sailing from every familiar name on that list. 

Looking at the list, was there any "woodies" up in front?



#28 EdFontana

EdFontana

    Anarchist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 136 posts

Posted Today, 06:58 PM

Larry is 5th on this list. I don't think be was using the trapeze though.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: windmill, javelin, build, plywood, epoxy, Sebago Canoe Club, cherub, lighter, modifications, hack

1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 1 anonymous users