Epoxy fillet or timber best for constructing plywood boats?

Question from Kevin Wright:

Is there any great strength or time difference between using framing glued with epoxy and epoxy fillets for gluing boat panels together

Reply by Michael:

As long as the specifications are met the join is as strong as the plywood either side.

building 10 Goose sailboats in the Philippines - OzGoose

For timber joints the gluing surface to the plywood has to be three times the thickness of the thinner ply in the join. This already has significant safety factors, so the glue area doesn’t need to ever be more than this for strength. Particularly if the outside corner is glass taped.

With a fillet it is just about the same rule. The radius of the fillet has to be three times the thickness of the thinner ply in the join. – In the example below, the plywood is 6mm thick (4mm ply would need a 3 x 4 = 12mm fillet etc). However there are a couple of limitations.

Filleting tool for joining plywood - oz goose sailboat

  1. This is assuming that the angle between the plywood being filleted is roughly 90 degrees. If the angle is more acute, the fillet can be reduced to match the glue area requirement of timber. If the glue area on the ply is 3 times the smaller ply thickness then it is OK.
  2. with thicker plywood – larger than 9mm (3/8″) the cost of the epoxy fillet becomes quite large – so using a much smaller fillet to smooth the corner and the appropriate number of glass tapes becomes much more economical in materials.
  3. where the angle between the ply is more obtuse (wider than 90 degrees the radiussed fillet can end up being too thin in the middle where it crosses the join … also with variable angle side the visual width of the fillet will change continuously … so in those circumstances I use a flat ended filleting tool so that the glue contact area to ply is correct and the filllet will be much wider across the join and have the same visual width the whole length.

Quick Canoe 042

Also not just using cab-o-sil but some wood flour as well will make the fillet fade into the general timberwork.

Masking tape to keep fillets tidy - OzGoose sailboat

A nicely done fillet.

If organised and using the gaffer tape method with fillets (and the ply and gaffer tape are compatible to hold well) the building speed can be terrifying, particularly with eggcrated construction like the Oz Racer – or anything that has a self draining cockpit – there is almost two boats worth of filleting/joinery when that is the situation – and filleting saves a huge amount of time, particularly over setups that require bevelled timber glue cleats (which adds another process.

Here is one of my Quick Canoe designs we group built in France over a week to canoe down the Loire River the following week.  With the right tape, the method works really well.

Temporary use of Duct tape method of quick assembly for some hullshapes - open goose sailboat

Another way of doing a bogglingly fast fillet job is to use one of the gap filling cyanoacrylate glues for holding the panels together temporarily.

Both the tape method and the cyanoacrylate method assume only slight tensions to hold the panels together. DON’T try in the bow sections of the Eureka … that nice shape takes quite a bit of tension to hold and you need copper wire twisted

But at the same time as lauding the advantages of fillets, I do like using timber in many applications as it produces a very fair (smooth) hullshape rather than the small scale wobbles of much stitch and glue work.  The Goat Island Skiffs use timber joinery and they end up being a very smooth shape.

Oz Goose sailboat everything from a trainer to high wind solo thrills

building 10 oz goose sailboats in the Philippines. 10 for the price of one imported Laser

The OzGoose was almost overlooked until Texan, Ian Henehan, started to put videos of what it could do on Youtube.

He showed:

  • Lots of speed – up to 12.9 knots on a tide free lake. 10 knots is very easy to achieve.
    Family sailing – with two adults and three kids aboard the boat will still move along very well and give a good feeling of sailing

Oz Goose in rough water downwind

  • Training boat – underlying the plans is a very sophisticated boat, proper foils, correct spar bend, light weight. But you don’t have to worry about that, follow the plans and the boat will GO. This means that student sailors get instant feedback when they do things right.

They built the boat over three days, now they have their first sailing lesson - oz Goose

  • No handling vices – helm remains balanced at any heel angle at any windspeed. Boat has enormous stability making it forgiving of handling errors that would capsize other boats.

Rough water upwind and hints of where the stability comes from - oz Goose

  • Easy righting from capsize and no water aboard

Jinky and Job, first time capsize - Oz Goose sailboat

  • Light to handle on shore
  • Quick rigging – less than 5 minutes, sail is reefable on the water for strong winds.

A well sailed boat in light winds can sometimes lead single handed boats - Oz Goose sailboat

  • Simple building – a good prospect for a group build project – we built 10 in the Philippines with a week of kit prep for a volunteer team then beginner sailors and boatbuilders assembled the boats in 3 days.

Very simple construction method - oz Goose sailboat

And the videos,

Note how neutral the helm is as the boat heels and the good speed despite the number of people aboard.

And the top speed videos. As the photos show the goose handles rough water happily as well.

Sizing outboards for small sailboats like the PDGoose, OzRacer, PDRacer, Ooze Gooze

Some great discussion on the forum about what size of outboard. Gordo said

I’ve been in KevO’s with a 2.5hp and 2 guys…way overkill. One of these new super small aircooled, light models would be ideal. like 1 hp. Or whatever is lightest. The uses of a goose or duck sailboat are not only for sailing. I’m planning to use an electric if I ever get back to sailing the Goose. A cheap trolling motor to be used only when leaving a lee shore or getting back to the dock if the wind dies. But if you feel you’d need a long motor run time, gas obviously is the only option. A torpedo would be ideal, but for the price I’d go gas.

I’d agree too. Problem with electric is the limitation in range for the weight (don’t forget to strap down the batteries too or they will go crashing through the side of the hull). This is the weakness of electric. Also the thing that happens is in good weather a small electric troller can be OK, but when the going gets tough – headwinds, rough water – they just don’t have it yet or the bigger electrics need serious battery power. One thing to be aware of is that smaller air cooled motors can be noisy. Ask to hear one running and see if you can bear it.

Seth added a price info and an overview …

It would appear that size is air cooled… and the exhaust is up there on the motor. Which means, using it is going to sound nearly identical to running a weedeater in your yard. I don’t think I could stand to listen to that for more than about 15 minutes.

If you ‘step up’ to the 2.5 horse water cooled listed there, it appears to be something which was designed to be an outboard rather than a cobbled together sort of setup. As it is water cooled, I would guess (hope) the noise is going to be more in line with what one would expect from an outboard (still noisy, but not so buzzy). The water jacket surrounding the cylinder will absorb and muffle more noise than the thin wall with fins of the air cooled model. It looks to be $625 whereas the weedeater is $535-580. So… a little less than a hundred more and from appearances alone, a ‘real’ outboard.

And, The Adventure Begins!

About Myself

My name is Mike Coleman.  I am 37 years old.  And, I live in Greenville, South Carolina. Always being one to seek out the next adventure, I found boat building and sailing a few months back

I have a full time job that has been taking up some of my weekends for the last few weeks.  However, I have most Saturdays and Sundays off.  I get 3 weeks of vacation a year. I also get a lot of holidays and long weekends.  This time off is the most valuable asset that I have.

You will all be happy to hear that I have absolutely no background as a builder.  Other than a bird house or a pine derby car, I have never built anything of consequence.  I will be leaning heavily on my father and the Michael Storer Boat Building Community, for help and guidance throughout the process.

There is one last thing that you should know about me before we get started.  I didn’t grow up sailing.  In fact, until a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t know anything at all about sailing.  I decided that I would sail the Texas 200 in 2013.  Then, I decided how to make it happen.

The Plan

This all started when I stumbled across  Michael Storer’s PDRacer (Now the Goose and OzRacer) videos on YouTube.

I laughed my tail off at the thought of building a sailboat for a couple of hundred dollars. Then, joining my local yacht club.  At first, that was all that I thought about the idea.  However, I kept coming back to the videos of these little boats doing the most amazing things.  Eventually, I did a Google search for “Texas 200” .  That was the beginning of the whole thing for me.  My sense of adventure took over.  And, I quickly progressed from thoughts of building an 8 foot box, to planning to build the much larger and more complicated Goat Island Skiff.  My idea was no longer an idea.  It had become a plan.

Goose and Duck Sailboats

Now, If you’re wondering why I’m back to building a rectangular boat, it’s because I had enough common sense to seek advice before I took the next step.  I grabbed my credit card and prepared to purchase the plans for the Goat Island Skiff.  Then, I backed off.

The Goat Island Skiff.

Goat Island Skiff in the UK

I sent an email to Michael Storer himself.  I told him my background and he suggested that I do the 12′ Goose instead.  He told me that he thought that it would take a while for a non-sailor to be able to handle the Goat.  And, since swimming the Texas 200 was out of the question, I took his advise.  It was the next day that I realized that putting me on the smaller, simpler boat had cost Mr. Storer $85.  He could have easily given me the go ahead to buy the more expensive plans.  After all, that was what I wanted to do.  But, he didn’t do that.  I immediately purchased the Goose plans and haven’t looked back.

Perttu Korhonen sailing his OzRacer in Finland

At this point, I hope to participate in 3 events:  The 2012 Sail Oklahoma, The 2013 Texas 200, and the 2014 Everglades Challenge.  But first, I have a boat to build.  I will keep you all updated every step of the way.  Please feel free to send emails to me personally at  .

Sail Oklahoma is on October 4-8 2012. Food, Friends and Boats

We hope a gaggle of Geese will show up at Sail OK! in Octber 4-8 this year.

Rick Landreville from Canada at last year's Sail Oklahoma boat jamboree

For one reason, we are welcoming Geese to race in our Heartland of America Duck Races. You will race same course and at same time as the Ducks but be scored in your own class and have your own prizes for first-second-third.

For second reason, Michael Storer will be one of our featured designers and is coming all the way from Australia for the event. Designer of the OzGoose, who better to talk Goose gobble with?

homemade boats at the sail Oklahoma regatta

Third reason, the other four featured designers, Jim Michalak, Dave Gentry, David Nichols and Richard Woods. Michalak has created hundreds of designs, Gentry is famous for skin on frame, Nichols is a noted authority on sails and small boats, Woods is a prominent multi-hull designer as well as small boats.

Fourth reason, lots of food, lots of fun, sailing, racing and camping.

Fifth and final, Cowboy Cookies!

Love, Jackie and Mike Monies http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SailOklahoma/

Hello world! Goose Duck Goose. All rectangular sailboats welcome, er, EVERYBODY welcome

The Goose is a simple stable sailboat for one or more persons.

Goose sailboat - cheap DIY home built boat.

It is absurdly easy to build and sails very well.  Have a look at the video at the bottom of this page.

simple construction of Goose sailboat

It has been titled the PDGoose but we are showing our intention to be welcoming to any square boat variation.  PD Goose, OZ Goose, the cruising Ooze Gooze – all are welcome.

Ooze goose micro cruising sailboat for rivers and lakes.  Intracoastal waterway anyone?

Because of the close family relationship we welcome all varieties of Ducks to any event and also to contribute here.

Sail Oklahoma event for homebuilt wooden sailboats.

We also are forming relationships with the groups that run the great Sail Oklahoma and Texas 200 events.