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Building a Sport C Class Outboard Powerboat

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November 24, 2006

Construction began with the form for the reinforced cockpit, an APBA requirement in this class. The cockpit is a composite of epoxy, fiberglass, carbon fiber and Kevlar surrounding a foam core. This is my first attempt at this sort of construction, so it has been an adventure. The remainder of the boat will be plywood put together stitch-and-glue fashion. Weight savings will be a big part of this project.

The cockpit form, ready for 'glass, carbon and kevlar.

The form is first draped with foam, bent where necessary with a heat gun.

The cockpit form with foam core going on.

The layup starts with fiberglass over the entire cockpit, followed by carbon fiber and Kevlar in the immediate vicinity of the driver and then a second layer of 'glass over the entire structure.

Fiberglass, carbon fiber and Kevlar applied.

The final step is a skim coat of sanding filler made from epoxy thickened with phenolic micro-balloons. Smeared on with a plastic squeegy, it fills in the low spots and other imperfections. Additional filler is troweled on to fill larger irregularities. More filler will probably be needed before this exterior surface is ready for paint -- a step that will come next spring after the boat is fully assembled.

a skim coat of micro-baloon sanding filler

The interior of the cockpit has been laid up, and the bulkhead behind the seat installed. Only two layers here, with carbon and Kevlar around the driver, and 'glass in the nose.

Inside of cockpit with bulkhead

Back upright again, the next step was to cut out the cockpit opening. I couldn't resist getting a little bit creative with the shape. The side piece is supposed to come up to the top of my ear.

The cockpit opening cut out

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