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  1. #51
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    Al hulls... the perfect material for circumanvigation

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonRise View Post
    ...And no offense meant, but didn't anyone else find it funny or ironic that someone from China is lamenting "cheap asian imports in the eighties" and "You cant compare a 70 HP asian importengine with this beast"?.....
    I lament the US car industry all the time and i was born in the USA.

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonRise View Post
    ....But have you thought about the applicability of the aluminum as a boat material? The specific alloy and the weld filler and the effect of welding and the HAZ on the strength of the aluminum? And aluminum's annoying (from an engineering/design standpoint) property of having a finite fatigue life, as opposed to steel which can have an infinite fatigue life?.......
    There are disadvantages to all materials. I look forward to hearing what you think is the best of the AL alloys ( I like 5086H116 for salt water boats but a lot of inorganic chemist friends of mine laughed at me for saying that and advised "you are being duped, save your money"). And please expand on any of you concerns, it will be good training for me. BUT do know that AL sailboats (and motor boats) are sought after in the small ship world. Al markedly increases the resale value, ~2x the value when young and many times more valuable when old. It is the least amount of upkeep (omitting Stainless Steel) when compared to fiberglass, steel and wood. It can have a yield strength Almost as strong as steel at 1/5th the weight. It is a yield strength of 4 times that of new fiberglass and will not age as fast as fiberglass. It is easy to work with (carbide bits, grinds quick, lighter) for DIYers. This is always a debate on sailing sites about what is the BEST material. But no one would argue that Steel, Aluminum, fiberglass and wood are not appropriate. The answer is each material has pros and cons but AL, Steel, Fiberglass and Wood are all time tested. Aluminum always adds up as an almost perfect compromise of the strength of steel, the maintenance and strength/weight of fiberglass and the ease of building of wood. And it is BURLY when you hit a cargo container or atoll. I will only live another 70 years (i am shooting for 100 years) I feel safe that AL will be the best hull material to get me to that age and i am sure it will outlast me. I do regret not having the nice curves of fiberglass but this lapstrake method may make me eat my words.

    I promised earlier in this thread a list of resources comparing hull materials. I will post that later today... i hope.

    MoonRise and others, I would love to see photos of good and bad welds for boats if you can provide um as I hope to spend a few years practicing before i start my boat. PLEASE let me know what to look for? how deep of a weld? How do i keep air and water from getting trapped between welds? When do i weld both sides of a joint and when do i weld only one? What is the best way to remove oxidation? Is these a little welder that is portable and can be used for repairs when at random harbors in other countries? What bad things happen if i have a repair done in a small port papua new guinea or some little island in the pacific and the filler material is the wrong alloy? (this bothers me and makes me think the best alloy is the most common one not the least corrosive)

    I hope these weld questions are addressed by the Boatbuilding with Aluminum (Hardcover) by Stephen F. Pollard book. Those that have read it, is there a big difference between the 1993 (ed1) hard cover with gray color version and the 2006 soft cover with the photos of the AL boat? If there is additional info in the new version i will buy that, but i found a deal on the old one. In addition to welding sections i am particularly interested in the self jigging design section and the sections particular to sailboats and keels.

  2. #52
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    Hi all,

    5000 series of Aluminium is good for marine use, The U S Navy usually specify 5086-H116. I have use 6061-T6 in application where the alloy have no contact with salt water and I have no problem ( inside and on deck of a glass over Ply boat). I am not too worry about corrosion with 5000 series alloy, but electrolysis from sources within the boat and outside the boat could be a big problem with alloy boats.

    Here is my 2 cents worth on the strength of a hull, it all depends on the design, scantling, material use and building technique. IMHO, Fiber glass hull could be just as strong as Al. A figerglass boat build by Pacific Seacraft was pounded on a reef for over 24 hours(??) without holing.

    On Pollard's Boatbuilding with Aluminum, the newest one is the 2nd edition with a red band on top and bottom of the cover.

  3. #53
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    HAZ issues?

    Pollard book: I know which is which. I wanted to know if they added addition information or images to the new one (2006/red soft cover/2nd edition). If it is only a reprint with a new cover i will buy the old one used. I guess i didn't phrase that well.

    HAZ issues: Is marine plate aluminum T4 (annealed) or is it tempered?
    (moonrise and others) Am i safe in assuming HAZ softening is not an issue with T4?
    You cant really re temper an entire boat... or can you?

  4. #54
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    I was curious about the alloy content of my own boat and placed an inquiry to the manufacturer. My boat was made out of 5052 and while I used it only in fresh water I am told that many people have used them in brackish water as well. They weren't really seaworthy unless you stayed in the marina or a harbor. I have seen wakes in San Diego off of boats that would have capsized my boat so I never went anywhere near the ocean.

    In reviewing filler metal selection it looks as if 5356 is the preferred filler for most applications.
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  5. #55
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    cadmus,

    As you stated and realize, it's all about trade-offs. Strength, weight, ease of working, ease of repair, durability and deterioration, cost, etc, etc, etc.

    The 5xxx series aluminum alloys are NOT heat treated and do NOT respond to heat treatment. They do or can be cold worked (cold rolled at the mill, etc) to increase the mechanical properties (strength). In the 'raw' material state, they are in the O temper (the annealed stated), and after welding the HAZ will be back in the O temper or annealed state again. There is generally no way to restore the cold-worked material properties after you weld the 5xxx alloys.

    And the T4 state is not an annealed state, that is the "solution heat treated and naturally aged" state. The annealed state is "O" (letter oh, not number zero).

    The T temper states only apply to aluminum alloys that are or can be heat-treated, like the wrought 2xxx or 6xxx or 7xxx heat-treatable alloys.

    Aluminum as strong as steel? Only in some limited cases or situations. And the strength comparison almost never will apply to a welded aluminum item because the weld is in the O condition. Many alloy/tool steels or even just some plain carbon steel can have an ultimate tensile strength of 300,000 psi or greater, while NO aluminum alloy can do that.

    Welded 5052 using 5356 filler has a tensile yield strength of 13 ksi and a tensile strength of 28 ksi.

    Plain old low carbon A36 steel has a tensile yield strength of 36 ksi and a tensile strength of 58-80 ksi. And welded A36 can meet/match those strength levels.

    So the A36 steel, welded or not, is darn close to 3x stronger in yield strength that welded 5052 aluminum using 5356 filler. The A36 will not even have plastically yielded at the same stress level that the welded 5052 will have ripped apart.

    5086 using 5356 filler? That moves the tensile yield strength up to 17 ksi. Now that lowly A36 is only 2x as strong as the welded 5086 aluminum.

    Fatigue life, you ask? At the stress levels where the welded aluminum may yield, never mind fatigue, the steel structure may have an infinite fatigue life.

    As to a 'good' weld for an aluminum boat, that would look pretty much the same as a 'good' weld for anything made of aluminum. No craters or undercut, no cracks, complete penetration, etc. You know, the usual criteria for a good weld.

    And observe the 150F service temperature limit for 5xxx aluminum with 3% magnesium (which includes 5356 filler). A boat hull shouldn't see that temperature limit, but motor mounts or hot parts of the exhaust could!
    The best laid schemes ... Gang oft agley ...

  6. #56
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    Scantlings

    the O vs T nomenclature helped alot.

    Rarely is tensile strength a concern in the structural engineering books for boats. It is important but i guess after you bulk the thing up to be able to hit stuff at 20knots the max tensile strength it needs is well covered. It is always yield that they seem to worry about. Yeah steel is almost always better yield strength per millimeter.... but per pound no way. That is why the scantlings of AL boats are a lot thicker. You increase the thickness to meet or beat what you would have with steel plating but not so thick that the boat becomes heavier. (i am totally guessing on this but it is an assumption i have had since i was a kid and i am pretty sure that is the case)

    Check out these Michael Katsen articles out about Steel vs Aluminum Boats:
    http://www.kastenmarine.com/alumVSsteel.htm (this one addresses fatique and HAZ issues a little)
    http://www.kastenmarine.com/aluminum.htm (pro AL)
    (also this one was cool but off topic: http://www.kastenmarine.com/frames_first.htm)

    I am going to have to sit down and think about that filler alloy HAZ stuff...

  7. #57
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    Hi list,
    I have a question on welding boat parts. With the amount of knowledge and experience of this forum, I am sure someone can help me on this.
    Is it possible to welded 316 stainless steel to 5X aluminium? Al is too soft for some fastening application, overtime a round hole will become oblong from the pulling force. I am wondering whether stainless ferrule, nuts and bolts can be welded to Al? What filler materials to use and what process? Tig?
    Thanks!

  8. #58
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    Quote Originally Posted by rhapsody View Post
    Hi list,
    I have a question on welding boat parts. With the amount of knowledge and experience of this forum, I am sure someone can help me on this.
    Is it possible to welded 316 stainless steel to 5X aluminium? Al is too soft for some fastening application, overtime a round hole will become oblong from the pulling force. I am wondering whether stainless ferrule, nuts and bolts can be welded to Al? What filler materials to use and what process? Tig?
    Thanks!
    Nope.

    Although it is possible to join dissimilar metals together (think clad cookwear where aluminum or copper are joined to stainless steel for visual or thermal reasons), arc welding is NOT how that is done.

    If the aluminum is not strong enough, you have to make the design stronger somehow. You can beef up the local area (a boss, a locally thicker area for the fastener, some way of getting more material in the area to make it stronger, etc) or make the joint stronger (bigger diameter fastener, insert sleeve to spread the load over a larger area, threaded inserts to make the soft aluminum threads stronger, etc).

    cadmus,

    If the hull/boat/structure/whatever were designed based on ultimate tensile strength to handle a swell at 20 knots and not yield strength, as soon as it hit that swell at 20 knots the hull/whatever would pancake or otherwise deform permanently. Because yield strength is where the material YIELDS and permanently deforms.

    Aluminum is a nice material, but it (like pretty much every material) has its trade-offs. Aluminum is NOT steel and does not behave like steel. They are each useful materials, but they have to be used with their trade-offs and material properties in mind.

    Hey, large airplanes are made with lots of aluminum as part of the structure and the things fly and last for years. But behind the scenes, those structural aluminum parts are inspected and replaced regularly because the aluminum parts have a finite design life. The trade off was strength-vs-weight-vs-life, so they made the aluminum strong enough and light enough to fly but at a finite life.

    As Kasten mentions in the article, the stress/strength difference between yield and ultimate is typically MUCH broader for steel than aluminum. All part of the trade-offs. Once the aluminum part starts to yield (deform permanently), it is relatively close to totally breaking; while the steel part once it starts to yield (deform) typically still has a while to go strength-wise before it totally breaks. The "plastic range" of steel is typically much broader than for aluminum.

    Steel is typically a stronger material than aluminum, but an aluminum structure can be as strong or stronger than a steel structure. Steel is typically harder and more abrasion resistant than aluminum (hard-anodized aluminum not withstanding ). In an endure/fatige/cyclical-loading situation, a steel structure can be made to last forever load-wise, while the aluminum structure can not last forever no matter what. In a statically loaded condition, either material could last forever (load-wise). Steel can rust, aluminum can corrode. Etc, etc, etc.

    It's all about trade-offs.
    The best laid schemes ... Gang oft agley ...

  9. #59
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    Gentlemen,

    What I see in this entire post, is a lot of typical "windfairy lingo" commonly known as sailboat jargon. This is of course backed up by a total lack of knowledge of what they are really talking about.

    I've seen more bad guidance given in this post alone, than is generally generated in a week of normal postings. Here's just a tidbit of what I'm referring to.

    Pulsed mig is not the way to go. Regular mig is used all the time. BS. Pulsed mig would be the preferred process for this build. Anyone who thinks otherwise has never built a boat or worked on one. Ever heard of "out of position". Dang near everything you do on a boat is "out of position",

    High copper content antifouling paint for an aluminum boat. Again BS. Ever heard of electrolysis? Paint it with copper, and you won't have a hull to worry about in two years. Posting garbage can make some posters look really stupid.

    Lots more chit chat from posters who have never built any kind of boat, just read about it in a book somewhere. Must have missed a couple chapters.

    Hats off to the OP. Seems he's done his homework and understands some of the problems he's going to face. Unfortunately, he's gotten as much bad advice as good advice on this forum. He needs some help, but he's not getting it here.

    About the best thing I can say about all these other postings (the OP's questions/comments are fine) is that it's given a lot of posters an opportunity to show how little they know about welding and boat building.
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  10. #60
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    I'll admit i have only painted fiberglass hulls. But, I have seen a heck of a lot of AL boats with antifouling paint on um... never seen a AL keel boat that didn't (except maybe race boats that are pulled out every day and had a nice gel coat). It is true that brands very high in Cuprous Oxide are not recommended for AL hulls for the reason you suggest. But i believe copper thiocyanate is the active ingredient in antifouling paint for AL boats these days. Mercury, Cadmium, Lead, Tin and Zinc were also ingredients over the years but were phased out in the US due to environmental regulations... rightly so.

    So SundownIII, are you going to contribute or just criticize? What is pulse and why is it good? Do you know of a better alternative than antifouling paint for AL boats?

  11. #61
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    paints

    After some searching the more common antifouling paints out there for aluminum hulls typically have copper thiocyanate or copper-omadine in um as the main active ingredient. Here is 2 in example.
    http://www.boatersland.com/alum.html
    http://www.jamestowndistributors.com...g+Bottom+Paint
    Having only painted, say a dozen hulls, every product I used had copper sulfate in it. As an ecotoxicologist who studies the effects of heavy metals on aquatic ecosystems I did a little analytic chemistry work for a team studying 15 different antifouling paints on the market 2 years ago… all contained copper. My statement was not untrue.
    Several products I found for AL hulls do not contain copper. One site (that brags more environmentally friendly paints) cites your concern and claims that the primers typically used on boats are not trustworthy.
    http://www.epaint.com/questions/#4

  12. #62
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    I will tell you that as a former boat builder, I have never felt the need for pulsed mig. Out of position? Yes, all the time. I have built or been involved in the building of more that 500 aluminum jet boats and offer good, truthful advice on this board. From my experience, pulsed mig or tig is unnecessary and just a hassle. To tell anyone they need to have pulsed mig is to do them a disservice because you dont need it, and when the poster has limited welding skills, you dont want it.
    My two cents
    Bill

  13. #63
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    Ooops i said copper sulfate. Meant to say copper oxide in post #61.

    -----i'm checking back frequently to see how i can get out of buying antifouling paint.
    Last edited by cadmus; 04-06-2009 at 08:14 PM. Reason: needed to add a jerky comment

  14. #64
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    Only one way to not have to use antifoulant never launch your boat. that tri lux is good paint. We use it in the yard i work in for pretty much any alu parts that are under water.

    Before you paint your bottom i would talk to a few people who do alot of painting of alu boats not sure what would be the best primer for under the waterline. for above we usually aluma prep then aladine then use a two part awl grip zinc chromate primer.

    Also probably one of the most important things to think about is your electrical systems. Fastest way to make that alu hull disintigrate is having stray current/ bad grounds ect .

  15. #65
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    Quote Originally Posted by SundownIII View Post
    Gentlemen,

    What I see in this entire post, is a lot of typical "windfairy lingo" commonly known as sailboat jargon. This is of course backed up by a total lack of knowledge of what they are really talking about.

    I've seen more bad guidance given in this post alone, than is generally generated in a week of normal postings. Here's just a tidbit of what I'm referring to.

    Pulsed mig is not the way to go. Regular mig is used all the time. BS. Pulsed mig would be the preferred process for this build. Anyone who thinks otherwise has never built a boat or worked on one. Ever heard of "out of position". Dang near everything you do on a boat is "out of position",

    High copper content antifouling paint for an aluminum boat. Again BS. Ever heard of electrolysis? Paint it with copper, and you won't have a hull to worry about in two years. Posting garbage can make some posters look really stupid.

    Lots more chit chat from posters who have never built any kind of boat, just read about it in a book somewhere. Must have missed a couple chapters.

    Hats off to the OP. Seems he's done his homework and understands some of the problems he's going to face. Unfortunately, he's gotten as much bad advice as good advice on this forum. He needs some help, but he's not getting it here.

    About the best thing I can say about all these other postings (the OP's questions/comments are fine) is that it's given a lot of posters an opportunity to show how little they know about welding and boat building.
    Sundownlll: Thanks for comment :-) (also from the other posters) All negative and positive feedback is actually useful. I should be the first to admit im not a professional welder or boatbuilder. Since i plan to use the boat myself, the incentive to make a strong boat is high. I have no plans of sinking in middle of indian ocean.

    zeyang

  16. #66
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    hi list.
    Im into the most difficult step now, - planking the hull.
    My plan is to use between 13-15 planks on both side. It will make them approx 20 cm wide. The most critical (estetically) is the planks above waterline. They should look good and have same curve as sheer.

    Here is an example from another boatproject. As you see, the plank has different wide to make them have similar angle (spring) as the sheestrake. I gonna make templates (or maybe only a bunch of battens) to simulate how it would look, then make templates in wood. Probably will use a couple of month on this step.

    zeyang
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  17. #67
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    Re: Scantlings

    Quote Originally Posted by cadmus View Post
    the O vs T nomenclature helped alot.

    Rarely is tensile strength a concern in the structural engineering books for boats. It is important but i guess after you bulk the thing up to be able to hit stuff at 20knots the max tensile strength it needs is well covered. It is always yield that they seem to worry about. Yeah steel is almost always better yield strength per millimeter.... but per pound no way. That is why the scantlings of AL boats are a lot thicker. You increase the thickness to meet or beat what you would have with steel plating but not so thick that the boat becomes heavier. (i am totally guessing on this but it is an assumption i have had since i was a kid and i am pretty sure that is the case)

    Check out these Michael Katsen articles out about Steel vs Aluminum Boats:
    http://www.kastenmarine.com/alumVSsteel.htm (this one addresses fatique and HAZ issues a little)
    http://www.kastenmarine.com/aluminum.htm (pro AL)
    (also this one was cool but off topic: http://www.kastenmarine.com/frames_first.htm)

    I am going to have to sit down and think about that filler alloy HAZ stuff...
    I found some good information about welding aluminium in AWS (american welding society) Guide for Aluminium hull welding. AWS D3.7:2004
    Also some hints in some documents from Burea Veritas about alu boatbuilding.
    Then you have the book from Tom Colvin. (steelboat building) which is find very good regarding process of building.
    Else i didnt find the two aluboat books so good. (except for the fabricating techniques in the Pollard book)
    Ahh yes. There is another one. Rules for Building and Classing Aluminum Vessels from American Bureau of Shipping (1975) (a little technical) and mostly for boats above 30 meter.

    Usually, it seems welding is only a small part of the process. Making templates, fitting plates and cutting is a much bigger part of the overall work.

    zeyang


    zeyang

  18. #68
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonRise View Post
    cadmus,

    As you stated and realize, it's all about trade-offs. Strength, weight, ease of working, ease of repair, durability and deterioration, cost, etc, etc, etc.

    The 5xxx series aluminum alloys are NOT heat treated and do NOT respond to heat treatment. They do or can be cold worked (cold rolled at the mill, etc) to increase the mechanical properties (strength). In the 'raw' material state, they are in the O temper (the annealed stated), and after welding the HAZ will be back in the O temper or annealed state again. There is generally no way to restore the cold-worked material properties after you weld the 5xxx alloys.

    And the T4 state is not an annealed state, that is the "solution heat treated and naturally aged" state. The annealed state is "O" (letter oh, not number zero).

    The T temper states only apply to aluminum alloys that are or can be heat-treated, like the wrought 2xxx or 6xxx or 7xxx heat-treatable alloys.

    Aluminum as strong as steel? Only in some limited cases or situations. And the strength comparison almost never will apply to a welded aluminum item because the weld is in the O condition. Many alloy/tool steels or even just some plain carbon steel can have an ultimate tensile strength of 300,000 psi or greater, while NO aluminum alloy can do that.

    Welded 5052 using 5356 filler has a tensile yield strength of 13 ksi and a tensile strength of 28 ksi.
    Its not normal to use 5052 for boathull.
    (from the AWS guide for alu hull welding)

    5083-H321 (which is pretty normal)
    Tension (ultimate tensile strength across a butt joint) 40 ksi
    Tension yield strength across a butt joint: 39 ksi

    Another factor is weight. Im using 8 mm plates. I can compensate the lower strenght of alu with thicker aluplates so in end i figured i can get a decent result compared to steel.
    Steel is a good material, but it means more maintainance, its heavier to handle alone and i cant use my woodworking tools for cutting, and besides i really like the feeling of a working with aluminium.

    zeyang.

  19. #69
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    Hi Zeyang,

    Welcome back!m
    Its been boring while you were on holidays.

    Cheers

  20. #70
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    Hi Zeyang
    How is your project coming along? I am sure readers of this forum would like to find out too. Have you make any progress? Any new pictures?
    I would like to know how much Aluminum you will need to complete the hull and deck? How do you estimate the amount of Aluminum you need? Comparing to building in wood, would your boat be heavier or lighter than wood?

  21. #71
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    hi,
    short update. im into second planking from keel (of totally 15), propellar is on and checked for clearance.
    regarding amount of aluminium (i will spend around 2.5 tonn totally) weight is not too far what you will expect in a wooden boat. Total weight of boat is 20 tonns. (means alot of inside ballast)

    zeyang
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  22. #72
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    (welding laps on both side it means at least 1000 meter of welding, so its some hours welding job to do)
    Hope you have a gas tanker on standby for all that.

  23. #73
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    Gas is no problem :-) Its a close distance to my local gas-shop

    pics of bow. distance between is 20 cm. makes it similar to wooden bow.
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  24. #74
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    Keep us updated!

  25. #75
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    Re: alu sailboat buliding

    yes, will do. please dont keep you breath though to see it finish, i try to spend beteween 50-100 hours a month on boatbuilding but its a little tedious work. Hopefully manage to finish the planking stage by end of september. Need to turn the boat upside in october at latest (before winter arrive)
    Hopefully deck and frames will be finish by december and whole boat finish by july next year.

    A long journey!

    zeyang

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